Saturday, January 4, 2014

Joseph's birth story

Today is Joseph's due date. A perfect time to share his birth story. :)

First, a little catching up...

For the past few weeks, I've been downing the evening primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea, and dates in preparation for labor. I've also been sitting on the yoga ball, tailor sitting, pelvic rocking and sleeping solely on my left side trying to get the baby in a good position. He was Right Occiput Anterior and I wanted to get him into the Left Occiput Anterior position. See, when a baby is ROA, they have a tendency to twist into the posterior position (face up) for birth which leads to the dreaded back labor. I bet you can guess where I'm going with this, but I'll come back to it. :)

For a good part of my pregnancy, I've had Braxton hicks contractions. Once I started drinking raspberry leaf tea, I had them more frequently. I was having contractions all the time, but they were rarely regular and only once or twice did they come with back pain or cramps. At my 36w4d appointment, I was almost 2 cm dialated and 50% effaced. At my 37w5d appointment, there was no change. At my 38w5d appointment, I was almost 3 cm dialated and about 80-90% effaced. The doctor said he didn't expect I would make it to my next appointment! Things were looking good. Baby was low, I'd made progress, and I'd been slowly losing my mucous plug. I had my doubts, however, and continued to expect to go late.

Speaking of being late. I was so sure that I was going to go past my due date that I put January 12th down as my due date on my registries. My due date was actually January 4th!

And now, to the exciting bit...

I woke up early December 30th to use the bathroom. My panty liner was soaked in a watery/bloody mess. Wasn't quite sure what was going on. I came out of the bathroom and said to Mike, "Something's happening." But I wasn't sure exactly what was happening. I got back into bed. The fact that it was kind of watery had me wondering if my waters had broken because they can burst or trickle. Was paranoid for a long enough time that Mike suggested I call Roxanne. I texted her and I called my OB. It was determined that this was totally normal and probably my bloody show.

The following morning, New Year's Eve, I woke up around 5:30am with contractions. They were uncomfortable but not necessarily painful. They were lasting about a minute ands were a little over six minutes apart. I texted Roxanne to let her know, and then I tried to get some more sleep. I couldn't go back to sleep though as I wanted to keep timing to contractions. They got to the point that I had to focus on breathing through them, but they were still totally bearable.

We decided it would be fine for Mike to go to his 7am Crossfit class. I know some of you can't believe we thought this would be okay with contractions that were six minutes apart, but I was feeling fine! And really, I had just started having contractions, so we probably wouldn't even be heading to the hospital until after lunch, right? The average first time mom has a labor of about 10-12 hours. The plan was that Mike would go to Crossfit and then swing by his work to pick up his computer so he could work from home after the baby arrived.

I finished my breakfast and took a nice hot shower. Weathering the contractions was so much nicer in the shower I didn't realize that they had gotten so much worse until I got out. My contractions started alternating: one bearable contraction, one oh-my-gosh-i'm-going-to-die contraction. It was around this time that I began to realize that I was in back labor.

You know, the kind where the back of your baby's skull is grinding against your spine? It's a lot of fun.

I managed to get dressed, tried a few positions to get through these contractions. NOTHING was helping. I had gotten to this terrible point that I couldn't relax through my contractions. And relaxation was my key to an unmedicated labor. I'd been in labor for just over two hours and I wanted to give up. I actually said to myself in the mirror, "I can't do this!"

I texted Mike at 7:45 telling him to come home after Crossfit. Then, three minutes later, I texted him again, "No, just kidding, come home right now!!" Mike had turned the volume of his phone all the way up, unfortunately, for the last bit of the class, so had their music. So, he didn't get my text until 8. He rushed home to find me (on the floor? on the bed? I don't remember.) crying that I couldn't do this. That I wanted the epidural. Mike grabbed my bags and put them in the car. I was slow moving and confused but Mike came back in and helped me to the car.

I had a bearable contraction and decided to lay my seat all the way back. A few minutes later, I had the awful kind. I think I flipped over in the car. I was crying. I said things like, "I don't want to have this baby! I want the epidural! I can't do this!" I was in transition and didn't even realize it.

We made it to the hospital around 8:30ish? Mike went inside to get me a wheel chair. The staff was slow moving until Mike said, "My wife is having a baby RIGHT NOW!" Then they rushed to help him!

It was all a kind of blur. I remember feeling embarrassed as we wheeled past people. I remember getting to registration just as a contraction hit and I could no longer sit. I paced very quickly, but the nurses at registration thought I just took off down the hall and started yelling at me to come back. "Just give me a minute!" I snapped.

A few minutes later I was in a triage room. People kept trying to rush me just as I was having these awful contractions. (Get in the gown and hop on the bed? Yeah, you'll have to wait a minute!) Eventually, I did manage to change and get on the bed. A nurse checked my cervix and I was 9 cm. Another nurse came behind her to double check. Next thing I knew, I was being wheeled to a delivery room. I was moaning loudly the whole way, trying to get through my next contraction.

Shortly after we got to the delivery room, Susan, my backup doula showed up. My primary was on her way, but she lives about 45 minutes from the hospital so she sent the backup just in case. Shortly after, though, Roxanne showed up. Susan decided to stay so I had TWO doulas and Mike supporting me though the process.

So, this period is all a blur of pain. If you've ever had a posterior baby, you know. It was nonstop pain. Pain so awful I can't even describe. I totally understand why women say they felt like they were dying.

Around 9ish I began pushing. Oh my gosh. That was such hard work! I remember pushing really hard and then the nurse said, "If you push harder, we could have this baby in about an hour." What?? Harder? For a whole hour? Oh, and what so many women have said about pushing being a relief? So not true for me. It was not a relief. It was not as awful as the contractions, but it was not a relief.

They brought in a squat bar and I braced my feet on either side and I grabbed on to give me leverage and that helped me push more effectively. But I was totally worn out after each contraction. I'd fall back on the bed, just close my eyes, and breathe. And yes, I did that for almost an hour. When he was getting close. I would reach down and touch his head. Never thought I would do that, but I found it very helpful to touch his head and feel my progress.

The doctor gave me a shot of lidocaine in my lady bits and I am sooo grateful that he did. At first, I thought I didn't want the shot, but my doula was like, "oh yes you do!" So, I never felt the ring of fire. But feeling his head come out was so weird!! I was so paranoid about tearing, so I gave little pushes to ease him out. His head did tear me. But only a little bit. And then I pushed out his shoulders and got myself a 2nd, almost 3rd degree tear. Hurray. Again, thank goodness for lidocaine.

When he finally emerged, I think my first words were, "That's a baby!!!" It was so surreal to think that this little baby just came out of me. I say little, but all around everyone was like, "What a big boy!" He was 8lbs 7oz!

The doctor held on to him for a moment to let the cord blood drain and I couldn't understand why he didn't hand me my baby right away. I was a little delirious. "But it's MY baby!!" I said. It's just took a moment for the cord blood to finish pulsing and then Mike cut the cord and they passed my boy to me. All goopy and bloody and crying and beautiful. 

I don't remember how I felt. I think I was mostly in shock! I kept saying (for days) can you believe we made a baby? Isn't it crazy? He was inside my body! 

So, that's Joseph's birth story. All the gory details. :) We love this little guy so much and feel blessed beyond measure.

TL;DR: 5:30 woke up with contractions. 8:30 arrived at hospital. 9:51 Joseph was born.


Melissa Aldrich said...

Love love love this story! Love your bravery! Love that you got to hold him as soon as possible. Love his sweet face! Love that you're a mama! Would love to serve you however I can!

Megan said...

What a story! Early, fast labor (although I'm sure it didn't feel all that quick given all the pain - yikes!) I love the part where you're just in shock that you had a baby; it's so sweet. Congrats again on your adorable little boy!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

Oh, I'm so glad I found this story! I feel like I missed out on everything from not reading your blog for so long. I didn't even know you were pregnant until after JoJo's picture showed up on facebook (I think)! How crazy is that!!!
Now I feel a little better. :-)


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