Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Birth Story...

This is the story of Coben's birth. There is a lot of information here and maybe even too much in some places so read at your own risk. :)

Thursday morning (2/26) I left work early because I was contracting a lot AGAIN. And as soon as I got home the contractiosn stopped AGAIN. I was starting to wonder when I would know it was really time since i was experiencing so many fake-outs. Despite the contractions stopping, I must have known because I spent the rest of the day preparing. I picked Cady up from school and we went and bought some things that I was going to need for the hospital. Plus I painted my toenails and shaved my legs, not an everyday occurance when you are nine months pregnant.

Just before midnight my water broke. I woke up Rob and told him it was time to go to the hospital. We packed our bags and then deliberated about what to do with Cady. This was the scenario that I had feared the most...a middle of the night labor where we would have to wake Cady up and figure out where she should go. I imagine that the whole scenario is a little scary for a two year old WITHOUT being woken in the middle of the night and shuttled off somewhere. At 1 a.m. we dropped Cady off at our friend's house (Cady's best friend, Emma). It was agonizing. Cady lost it when it came time for me to leave. She started sobbing and saying she wanted to go with us and it practically tore my heart out. If not for Gretchen, Jerimy and Rob pushing me out the door we might have had another observer in the delivery room. By then the contractions were really starting to pick up and I couldn't even think straight. It was a relief to get a text message as we arrived at the hospital that said that Cady had calmed down and was doing well, but poor Gretchen and Jerimy, because both toddlers were up until 3 a.m. and then only slept until 6:30 that morning.

So, most of you know that I had had a full day of pretty strong contractions about three weeks back. The OB visit following that day confirmed that my body had made progess and was dilated at 2.75. Well, I had several nights of contractions after that and then Thursday some really intense contractions that sent me home from work. Well, I was really expecting good things until Nurse Cratchett (our first nurse) after ramming her hand up informed me that I was only 3 cm dilated! What???? And by then I was already having the really bad, brings tears to your eyes type of contractions. The only upside I could think about this news is that knowing I had a lot of progress to make before delivery I could only hope that it would mean a shift change from Nurse Cratchett. I mean, this woman was scary. I already described her non-gentle cervical check. She was the same way when inserting the catheter into the back of my hand, she kind of rammed it in and kept twisting it around until my hand was coated in blood and yet it still wasn't in. Additionally she had a poor bedside manner, was really disorganized and just really didn't seem to have a clue. I have many examples of things that happened that really made me fear having her as a nurse, but I'll move on for brevity sake.

So, Nurse Cratchett floods me with fluids (2 bags within a short time) and then informed me that my choices since I was still not progressing much were to 1) Go for another walk 2)Start pitocin and an epidural and 3) Keep waiting. I agreed to the Pitocin and an epidural. OMG, I have never ever ever in my life felt what I felt when he administered the epidural. It is NOT what I experienced last time. He told me I might feel shooting pain through my legs. What I felt was like 10,000 volts of electricity running through my left leg and I started screaming. I couldn't even help it and I am EXTREMELY private when I'm in pain. I'm not a grunter, groaner or yeller I just go inside. That just gives you an idea of how bad it was. I was screaming, "No, no! Stop, My leg! OMG!" It was the most intense thing I have ever felt and I was extremely embarrassed at my reaction which seemed to be coming from another person. It turned out to be the best epidural EVER. I could lay any which direction I wanted (last time I had to be flat on my back) and I could feel the pressure of the contractions without the pain.

After the epidural my blood pressure started crashing and I was nauseous, dizzy and weak. Rob was awesome helping me through this part. At one point I leaned up on my elbows to throw up into a bed pan and the crazy nurse actually had the nerve to tell me that I needed to lay down or I was going to make it worse. Hello, I'm throwing up! Anyhow, they shot me with epinephrine a few times and got it up to 90/40 which is where it stayed. Then shift change, thank god! I got the best nurse ever which just reaffirmed how little confidence I had in the one prior who by the way stopped me from progressing by completely shutting down my contractions by flooding me with all that fluid I mentioned that she gave me before the epidural. Yet, she never caught on that I wasn't having contractions. She would walk in every time and go, "huh, you are not getting any credit for your contractions" because she thought the monitor was positioned wrong. She's reposition it and leave again, come back and go through the whole routine again. HELLO, I'M NOT GETTING CREDIT BECAUSE YOU STOPPED ME FROM CONTRACTING!!! Anyhow, did I mention how much we LOVED our second L and D nurse? She was great and got things going. When she arrived she took charge and started to make things happen again. She upped my pitocin, took off the stupid pulse monitor that the other nurse had forgotten about and was preventing me from sleeping, and cleaned me up since the other nurse thought that it would be a good idea to give me an epidural without a urinary catheter.

Anyhow, neither Rob nor I slept at ALL that night and we hadn't eaten since 6:30 the night before. So by lunchtime the next day I was seriously questioning my ability to push when the time came. But my body took over when it came time at around 12:45. What a neat moment when you are waiting around for something to happen and you finally get that green flag. The words, "It's time to push" have to be some of the most beautiful words in the world. They encouraged us to do some practice pushes which I quickly stopped doing when Rob and I noticed that we were alone in the room because the Dr. and Nurse had run out to take care of something. But then they came back and it was game on. This time I kept the lowest amount of epidural even though I had the button to increase it. Rob watched me struggle with that decision. The contractions were really starting to hurt despite the epidural and I was a button away from not feeling again. I was scared out of my mind to feel, but also wanted to feel at the same time. I opted to be able to feel and I could feel EVERYTHING. I LOVED it!!! I could feel his head and knew how hard I needed to push. When he started to come out it was the coolest feeling ever to feel myself pushing him out, especially when I could tell that his shoulders were trying to come out. It took me only a handful of pushes and about 15 minutes to get him out from start to finish and thank god I got him out quick because he had the cord wrapped around his neck THREE times as well as his legs. It really saved him from being oxygen deprived. My big boy was 9 lbs and 20 1/2 inches and of course it was instant love. He is a quiet baby. His cry is quiet and he doesn't really use it! So far (knock on wood) he's one of those babies I've only heard about that cries when he needs something. You meet the need and voila, he stops crying. He is so mellow. Mostly he just likes to be held close and that satisfies him.

We stayed at the hospital for two nights after we had Coben. Cousin Starin (THANK GOD) stayed with Cady both of those nights which Cady was absolutely thrilled about. They had fun times together and Cady looked absolutely wiped out by the time we arrived home on Sunday.

It's now day 4 and Rob and I keep saying, "Did we just have a baby?" because for the most part it doesn't seem like he is even here. He sleeps the vast majority of the day and only hollers out at us if he needs something. Cady is the best big sister ever. She watches everything that we do with him and she is constantly bringing him things like a blanket or a pacifier. Rob being the best dad ever has really been great with giving her so much attention while I take care of Coben. She still climbs in bed with us sometime during the night but has an amazing ability to continue sleeping when Coben has a period of crying. I keep wondering if it is supposed to be this easy.


Great Aunt Sophie said...

Beautiful Paula!! Growing up I loved having Gigi recount the stories of how Tim, Mimi and I arrived...Very sorry about Nurse Crazy Woman, at least there was a shift change. I love the image of Cady going about her sisterly duties, with great importance I'm sure. Glad that Coben is off to a mellow start!

KMK said...

Very cool story. That's great that Cady is so into being a big sister and that Coben is so laid back :)

Did you say anything to the hospital about how bad the first nurse was?

Sonya said...

Ok. I am shell-shocked. Thanks for the vivid, truthful description. Glad I read it after I found out my news. Coben is a great reward for all that work!

Krumpledwhiskers said...

The thing that I left out Sonya is that as soon as it's over, you want to do it all over again. I went into this birth with excitement, not dread, because the highs of the birthing process FAR FAR FAR outweigh the lows.

Krumpledwhiskers said...

Katharine, I did not say anything. And I feel terrible because the second nurse, I believe, was trying to lead me to do that. After fixing everything she made a statement that if I have any issues with any personnel or want to file a grievance, here's the procedure. Unfortunately, I was so wiped out at that point and was beyond thinking straight. Typically, the hospital follows up with a phoned survey. I'm going to note my concerns there. If they don't then I will have to say something. I would have HATED to have her at the birth and nobody should feel that way. I *did* send a thank-you card to those that were exemplary! :)