Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Birth Story - Part 2

Operating on no sleep here... I mean... really... NO SLEEP. Any recommendations on a book or SOMEthing to help us sleep through the night and get this feeding thing down would be greatly appreciated.

So - where was I? Asking for the epidural at about 1pm I think.

1:00pm Sunday July 15th
We walked to our room that we would eventually give birth in and stay for the remainder of our time at the hospital. I was having pretty harsh contractions at this point and they were about 4 minutes apart. They ran a bath for me and I was screaming so loud during the contractions the little bathroom was reverberating with sound. Mr. M was trying to work with me through them. I couldn't take it - I asked for the epidural.

They informed me I would need to get the IV to get a bag of fluids through me before the epidural could be placed. That was extremely hard - the IV, I know that sounds crazy, I mean - I gave birth for chrissake. But it's true, needles just drive me insane for some reason. I screamed bloody murder as they placed the IV.

I begged them to tell me how long it would take for the epidural guy to come. They told me I had to wait for the whole bag of fluids to go through me - now I don't think that actually happened. It seemed like the guy was there a mere 5 minutes later ready to place the epi. The guy who placed my epi was this really harsh dude. He informed me that I couldn't be squirming around like I had been when he puts the needle in. He tried to get all preachy with me, and I had my first moment of directiveness. I basically told him that I'd do the best I could under the circumstances but stop f*ck*ng with me and get that thing in. hehe.

The most painful part of the epidural was the novicaine needle. Which really - was not as hard as the IV. The most difficult part was definitely holding still while he put it in. My whole body was shaking with contractions - like tremors, they were so painful. So the test was to try and get the needle in before the next contraction hit. He basically had a window of about 2 minutes to get it done. The jerky dude ended up being very efficient and got it done immediately.

It took about 5 contractions to get the full effect of the epidural. Then - it was relief. My left side didn't numb as fast as the right. It did eventually get there though - and my legs felt like rocks. They put in a catheter into my bladder which I thought would totally suck - but I was numb so it was fine. Here I was strapped up to every monitor and machine known to man, the exact opposite that I thought I wanted. I was at peace with it though - I did extremely well laboring at home and getting to 5 centimeters by myself. Also - having my water break on its own was something I really wanted too.

4pm -
We rested for a bit - turned out the lights and tried to nap. I was too excited to sleep though. Mr. M did try to get some sleep which I was greatful for - since the rest of the evening turned out to be a long haul.

5pm -
I'm fulling dilated to 10 and they wanted to wait a bit for me to start pushing since I couldn't feel anything at this point. They didn't want me to waste my energy pushing when I didn't know where to send my energy. They dialed my epidural back to an 8 - 12 is the max btw.

6pm -
We started for a few trial pushes - I still couldn't feel anything and pushing was a bit ridiculous. I had to rely on muscle memory hoping that if I thought about pooping then my body would push like it was pushing. No luck. I couldn't even make my toes wiggle. I didn't push for EVERY contraction since it was a bit fruitless till the epi wore off a bit. They dialed me back down to a 6 at this point since they wanted to get the show on the road - and so did I.

The real pushing starts. It's hard work - I can feel the contractions, I'm sucking down oxygen as much as I can between co1ntractions to keep my energy up. Mr. M has to hold one of my legs while the nurse (Suzanne!) held my other leg. My legs were totally dead to me and I couldn't really push against anything so I relied on my upper body to pull on the handles of the bed to curl into a ball and push down. I tried back pushing and both sides pushing.

still pushing... every 2 minutes... I'm beginning to get exhausted and my body is fighting so hard I'm vomiting into a dish Mr. M is holding up by my head. The puking is painful especially during contractions - and I'm only vomiting up stomach bile so it stings and burns my throat. Although it sucked - it did squeeze the baby down with every purge. I puked a total of 4 times during pushing. My body was at utter exhaustion and unable to do anything but contract all muscles - including the stomach - thus the puking.

still pushing - and now I'm bargaining with the nurses and Mr. M. Begging them to tell me how much longer, PLEASE GOD - how much longer!?! They promised me that the baby was "right there!" Brought over a mirror to help me feel like I was making progress and asked if I wanted to feel the head. I felt the head... once. Then I was over it. I just wanted her OUT. They also said - the baby would be out by 9.

still pushing - obviously 9pm came and went. At this point I was pissed the hell off. I vetoed the phrase "she's right there!" from everyone in the room. No one was allowed to say anything about her almost being there for the remainder of the labor. Obviously their promise of 9pm was bullshit as was their promise of her being right there. So what I did was ordered they remove the mirror - and no I didn't want to feel the head, because goddamnit this just wasn't working.

I told the room they better come up with some options because this was obviously not working. I had now been pushing for 4 total hours - and couldn't take anymore. My body was so extremely spent that I couldn't do much more to help this labor along. I dug as deep as I could into myself to find the strength at this point. The midwife offered an episiotomy saying she thought it might help. I asked about vacuum extraction - they brought in the OB on the floor. She came up and looked me directly in the eye and told me that she could do it, but it would tear me and that I'd still have to push just as hard as I had been. She said she thought I could get this baby out. She also said - if I didn't get this baby out by vacuum that she'd have to start talking C section.

When I heard C-section something came over me. I distinctly remember looking at Mr. M's face and seeing his worry and fear. I couldn't do that to him and I certainly hadn't worked this hard to have vaginal pain AND a c-section scar after all of that. I told the room - there was no way in hell I pushed for 4 hours to have a c-section. I told the midwife to cut me... I didn't feel it.

I looked at Mr. M and I looked into the eyes of my midwife - and I pushed so hard I thought my eyeballs would explode out of my head. Then I did this rocking motion - more like I'm trying to push a car out of a snowy ditch. Out she plopped - on my belly.

Li.llian makes her arrival. There are no words to describe the relief of this moment. I didn't have immediate feelings of love - I just rubbed her down and she made these little whimper cries. Not screaming - I almost felt her relief too I think. They let her stay on my chest for quite a bit - until...

Post partum hemorrage begins. The OB is called in - they are pushing on my belly so hard, it hurts almost as bad as the worst contraction. The placenta hasn't come yet - and people are frantic around me. I hear things - like "blood loss" "no placenta", "fourth degree", "cytotec".

The OB is stitching me up - and I ask her how bad it is - she informs me I have the worst tear that one can get. I have a fourth degree tear, the cut helped to get her almost out but once she came it was an explosion and my vagina and anus basically became one opening. They had to place cytotec in suppository form up into my uterus to get it to clamp down and stop bleeding. The placenta finally came out - and WOW does that feel amazing. Like the best poop you could ever take. I wouldn't stop bleeding so they also had to give me some sort of blood clotting drug into my thigh as well.

All the while - my beautiful girl - who was not so beautiful at this point, squished like crazy was getting 8's and 9's on her apgars. She was perfect.

So that is my birth story. Do I have any regrets? Not at all. If I hadn't have gotten the epidural I think I would have just given up and they probably would have done a c-section. Turns out that my dear girl was face up - and I was enduring back labor. That is why the contractions were so unbelieveable. It's also why I pushed for 4 1/2 hours - her little head was stuck on my sacrum and pelvic bone.

I pushed my baby out - and I'm very proud of that. However, the feeling I had that night when the lights were low and I was in my hospital bed with my husband and baby sleeping peacefully was not utter happiness. I felt like I had been gutted and left for dead. Like my body would never recover to its original shape or size and that I would forever be 'scarred'. My vagina would never be the same - I know that's weird, but it's true. The nurse helped me to take a bath while she changed my sheets. I just cried in the tub. I had a catheter to help me pee, IV to keep my fluids high since I lost nearly 4 cups of blood, and stitches holding my bottom together. I was given a diaper filled with ice - which felt heavenly but also embarrasing. All dignity was lost at this point. I couldn't control my peeing or my pooping for that matter as it just kinda fell outta me with the stool softeners they were giving me. Of course the alternative (constipation) was not something I wanted either - trust me, I experienced that a few days later.

All of this got better. My body has healed - a bit, but not all the way yet. I'm still bleeding, which is quite normal. Going to the bathroom has become much easier - and everything seems to be working properly. I have trouble sitting on hard surfaces.

Breastfeeding is the current battle - no thanks to my breast reduction 7 years ago, we're struggling quite a bit. That story will have to wait - she's sleeping, and I need to take advantage and get some rest as well.


At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Christina said...

My suggestion for her sleeping longer has to do with her feedings and you can b1tch slap me and block future comments if you want, this is not what a determined breastfeeder wants to hear.

Pump a bottle and add a scoop of formula to it, it "should" fill her up more and allow her to sleep a bit longer.

Thanks for sharing your story, it brought me to tears. Im so sorry you had such a hard and painful experience.

Hang in there, look forward to your next post.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Amy said...

I know this may sound cheesy, but I am proud that you listened to your instincts and did what needed to be done.

So many things will never be the same. So many things will be so good.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

Hey, I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing yet, but about the night time. I got home a little less then a week ago with my son, and what works for us for night time, is to cluster feed him right before bed, like every couple hours, and then put him to bed nice and full and let him sleep until he wakes us. It's worked so far, keeping my fingers crossed.

Hope all goes well with you!!

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Kait said...

I had horrible back labour as well. So, I can totally feel your pain. I guess that I was lucky that she didn't get stuck, although her heartrate was very low and the nurses were wandering around me mutter "c-section" as well. At that point, I just about went into shock (I think that c-section was just about my worst fear). Anyway, they ended up delivering her by forceps, which was fine with me.

I can't say as I can identify with you on the embarassment portion, as I didn't feel that way, but I didn't have the same problems that you did with the tearing. But I can totally understand what you mean when you talk about the sitting on hard surfaces! Even now, 10 days later, I can finally cough, laugh and sneeze without crying after.

::hugs:: Here's to good healing and more sleep.


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