Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pepper's Birth Story

I had delusions of grandeur regarding the telling of this birth story. Perhaps if I had more than two arms, 6 more hours in the day, and more than 2 hours of sleep in one stretch, the writing of this birth tale would actually do the real thing justice. But, I suppose it's time to lower my expectations of myself for a little while at least. So the following will have to do...

Sunday, June 8th, I awoke around 9am to what felt like little more than pre-labor pains, very similar to the low back and lower abdomen discomfort I feel during my periods. Husband promised we wouldn't just sit around waiting for something to happen again and he took me out to breakfast. By 11am we were having waffles and I was making trips to the bathroom for digestive distress about every 10 minutes. Husband was noting the time of any pains that seemed more uncomfortable than the usual. They were probably happening every10-15 minutes without any defined beginning or end.

When we got back home, I got in the bathtub with the hopes of settling my aching lower back. Once I did that, the discomfort seemed to get organized. Suddenly, I could identify a start and stop for the low grade pain and pressure in my pelvic floor. So we called the doula and she decided that it was probable time for her to come over. By the time she got to the house it was around 2pm or so. I was getting out of the tub because laying on my back back was no longer cutting it. The doula and husband helped me to remember to breathe and relax my face with each surge of the growing pain. I think by this time, I could actually call it pain and finally started to believe that I was really in labor. We enjoyed some smoothies that husband whipped up and then the surges were coming every 4-6 minutes. At that point, we all decided that it was time to go to the hospital.

Husband loaded up everything our little car could hold and we headed out for the 40 minute drive. It was great to have the doula in the car to coach me through the contractions while husband focused on driving safely. When we arrived at the hospital it was about 5:30pm, and I could no longer talk or walk when a contraction came on. It required all my concentration to breathe through the pain of them. Once admitted, they put me on the monitor and Curry was looking good. From there, I couldn't wait to get into the tub.

Once again, the tub seemed to ramp things up a bit. The water felt fabulous between contractions, while the surges were surprisingly intense and yet still manageable. Time becomes a strange thing when in labor. It went fast and yet so slow. While in the tub, the nurse checked me and said I was only 2 cm but 100% effaced. About an hour later, she checked me again and I was fully dilated. In that hour I experienced more pain than I thought was humanly possible. I moaned and groaned, despite my hope to make it through labor without a single cry. I vomited and then pronounced that I couldn't do it anymore and that I didn't want a baby afterall. Classic transition signals, apparently.

Shortly thereafter they put me back on the monitor to check how Curry was handling the rapid progression. She was struggling. With each contraction, her heart rate took a dive. I didn't realize it at the time but there was a fair amount of concern in the room and suddenly the room was filled with nurses. The lead nurse yelled to another nurse to call the doctor and tell him that he didn't arrive soon, the baby would arrive without him as I was already pushing. In those moments they put in an IV and shoved an oxygen mask in my face. Thankfully, I had no idea why. I was too caught up in my urge to push. But once I did see the IV I recall telling everyone, "Bring on the drugs!" Luckily, everyone had read the birth plan and no drugs were brought.

I pushed for about 20 minutes at the most. In between pushing, I begged the doctor to just take her out. Turns out that they were considering it after all. The doctor was concerned that Curry wouldn't be able to take many more dips in her heart rate and he was quietly preparing to do an epiosotomy and vacuum extraction. But Curry had other plans. She came so hard and fast that there was no time to stretch my perineum as I had hoped. At 9:20pm, Curry the fetus morphed into Pepper the baby when she emerged from my body. She was wide eyed as they immediately laid her down on my bare chest. Pink and perky, Pepper let out a tiny cry and was quiet again as she scoped out the room. At that moment, all pain disappeared and I was totally in love.

Meanwhile, I bled and bled while we awaited the delivery of the placenta. 750mL of blood loss makes me a very weak girl. Plus I had two second degree tears from the quick delivery. My cervix decided its job was complete when it closed up for the night. The doctor had to pry it back open and that my friends is not pleasant. It took about 40 minutes for them to get the placenta to come out. I no longer believe that the afterbirth is the easiest part of labor.

All in all it was a fast furious labor that went basically to plan. I go over the labor and delivery in my head at least once a day, trying to remember more details and seal the memories in my head forever.


Nadine said...

What a great story. Thanks for sharing!

Cate said...

I am envious of your wonderful birth story. Feel free to email if you want to commiserate about the joys of motherhood and newborns.

Aurelia said...

Oh, my you did get what you wanted, and hell, what I wanted to!

I'm glad for you, very glad that everything is going smoothly. And i'm damned impressed that you are okay after that much blood loss.

Now go take some iron sweetie...or eat some meat.

Casey said...

I'm so glad everything went so well for you. Sorry about the blood loss. The same happened to me both times. It sucketh mightily.

I hope you're doing well. Easy does it, my friend.

Dino aka Katy said...

well that doesn't sound to bad ;) I used to say I'd have kids already if it wasn't for having to go through labor. These days I'd happily go through labor pains if I could just have a child - funny how things change isn't it.

Stephanie said...

i love the story

Sarah said...


Anns said...

Wow, I didn't even know that not delivering the placenta was an option!

Great story, thanks for sharing - you are my hero for doing it without drugs!

Tink said...

Woo hooooo!!! Yea!!!! I'm so happy for you!!!!

Sorry I haven't been around much to have noticed the fact that you've had a wee one, but upon returning to the blogsphere am thrilled to hear of the good news!

Congratulations... over and over and over again!

Julia said...

Sounds like a very good labor for you. I am glad the medical personal was so careful and professional but also that they didn't freak you out unnecessarily as they made preparations for interventions, if such were needed.
And hey, my placentas don't like to exit either and require strong and painful persuasion. Stubborn little placentas.

marlena rivers said...

wow. boy are you brave! what a story. glad you an dthe baby are safe after all that. i very much admire your courage. my birthd story was very different but really the ultimate similar experience is the joy of meeting the new life the baby and then everything else sort of recedes but it's nice you can replay it to yourself. so wonderful to see you at this point in the journey and now it's really the beginning!

Electronic Goose said...

This is a great labor story. I completely understand wanting to write it perfectly; I felt the same way but was too exhausted to do so. I'm still trying for my journal entry, though. Some day it will be written ... hopefully before I forget the details!

I agree about the afterbirth pains part too. I lost too much blood too and they had to do all kinds of fun things to slow the bleeding.

Congratulations again. It sounds like you did an awesome job in labor. I can't believe she only took 20 minutes of pushing!