Monday, March 24, 2008

Birth Story Carnival #2: Will

With son #2, I was nausious much longer throughout my pregnancy, and when I wasn't, I was DOG TIRED. My poor two-year-old wanted nothing but for me to play with him, but my big belly just wouldn't allow it. And I was UNCOMFORTABLE! This was waaay different than my first pregnancy. At my doctor's appointment around 34 or 35 weeks, he looks at me and says, Hm. I think this little guy might be breech."

WHA? ACK! No way...get out! I had spent WEEKS of run around trying to get my insurance company to approve my request to have the baby at the same hospital where Nick had been born so that I could attempt a VBAC. Weeks. Not exaggerating. And just the week before I finally achieved success. Had the papers to prove it. Like hell if I was going to have another HUGE surgery with weeks of recovery if I didn't have to. Plus, with a 2-yr-old now at home, I imagined it would be even harder to manage.

My doc told me he was going to wait until 37 weeks to see if the baby would flip on his own. He explained in great detail this exercise I could do to try and assist the baby in flipping (which TOTALLY didn't work). He also explained that there was a process we could then try, called an external version, to flip the baby around 37 weeks if he didn't do it on his own. He said it was a one-shot deal, and either the baby would flip or he wouldn't, that most women said it was EXTREMELY uncomfortable and that I could possibly go into labor. It was an out-patient procedure, but I'd need to be in the hospital for several hours and be put on an IV.

Well, at 37 weeks, he hadn't flipped and after soul searching and listening to the horror stories of other women who'd had these "versions", I opted to give it a whirl.

The morning I was due to go in for the procedure, the sitter picked up our older son. I knelt down in front of him to give him a hug and kiss good-bye, and said, "Say a little prayer for your Mama and baby brother today, hon."

Dressed for the winter weather, he slapped his little mittened hands together, clenched his eyes shut beneath his winter hat and said, "AMEN!" with a big nod. (And if that ain't the sweetest thing you've ever heard your heart is made of stone. STONE!)

At 1 p.m., I checked myself in. Put on a BEAUTFUL hospital gown and got onto the bed. A nurse came in and drew blood. Another nurse came in and hooked up the IV. A third nurse came in and put a shot of terbutaline into my IV. All the while, I'm watching TV and waiting for my hubby to meet me - he was on his way from work. (They wanted him there because there was a small chance that I may need an emergency C-section due to complications of the version.)

At 2:15, I was shaky and feeling like a drug fiend. My doctor and Nurse #3 came in and said, "Are you ready?" Hubby wasn't there yet but was due any minute. Not realizing the entire procudue would last about 15 seconds, I went, "Yeah, sure!" all chipper-like.

What it amounted to was the doc slathering a ton of ultrasound gel on my belly. With both hands in gloves, he pushed up on what I assume was my baby's head and Nurse #3 pushed his butt to one side. I remember thinking, "God, I hope he's not smushing my kid's face!" In what was the most INSANE looking event I have ever witnessed, the baby got into a position where he looked like he was lying transversely, and then - WHOOP! - he flipped right into place. Like I said - 15 seconds. Tops. It didn't feel great, but it didn't hurt, and I sat there, trying not to look completely shocked, wondering how so many others had said it was so awful. Five minutes later, hubby came in, sort of sad to think he missed it all.

I sat in the hospital for another 45 minutes to an hour, just in case this pushing and smushing were to bring on labor, or cause any bleeding. It didn't, and we celebrated that night by going out to Red Lobster.

Fast forward to three weeks later. Little buggar was due the day after my birthday, and its needless to say that birthday sucked. Day after my birthday passed and no baby. Major suckage. I had a doctor's appointment the following day, during which my doctor proclaimed that while I was at 3 cm at 50% effaced he wouldn't induce labor until I was a full week over due.

Oh. My. God. Another WEEK?!? Get out. Now. You suck.

But while he was down there "checking" I felt this pinchy, really sucky-feeling twinge. I was like, "What the --?"

He told me everything looked great, and as he was leaving the room he told me he'd see me again soon and smiled. (It turns out he "stripped" my membranes. Rock on, good ol' doc. You do love me.)

That evening, I answered numerous phone calls with, "No baby yet. Hello?" I was having some contractions but nothing serious, and at 7 p.m. they had stopped. I was depressed, planning to spend the next day walking at the mall until that damned baby decided to come out. So I took a bath. Or rather, the bottom half of me took a bath. I sort of rolled from side to side to let one or the other side soak. I almost cried. At 8, I got out of the tub and put on sweats and moped on the couch.

The older boy went to bed and I tooled around on Myspace letting the entire Internet world know that we didn't yet have a baby.

Contractions started again around 9. By 10, they were strong and hard and coming every four minutes. The plan was to call my Dad, and we got the answering machine. At 10:30 I told hubby to call my Mom - this was getting SERIOUS. At just after 11, she was at our house and we were getting ready to leave. We got to the delivery ward of the hospital at 11:45.

Having implemented a new system of intake since the last baby, I was put in a gown and into a bed in this intake room. It was still a private room, so I didn't much care where I went. I was checked and told I was 5 cm. The nurse left the room to get the intake papers for me to sign. When she came back she asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10.

Let me say I understand the reason for the this "pain scale system", but it does no good if the doctors ignore the pain level at which the patient diagnoses themselves. When she came back with those papers, I told her I was an 8 as I shakily signed my name.

"Well, we'll get you some meds when you get to your room, then." She leaves. Ten minutes later, she's back with another nurse, who then asks my pain level.

"Ten." They both look at me as if to say, "Honey, you're going to have some time having a baby if you think you're a 10 already." I could feel their strain to not roll their eyes. They weren't hostile, just...doubtful. But let me say in my defense, I'm one tough chick. I really hesitate to rate anything as the highest or best, reserving five stars for the few movies or books that just blew me away. I didn't ever say I was a 10 with my first baby. I kept thinking it could get worse. But this really was a 10. It was happening so fast that it was all I could do to keep breathing and keep my eyes open. Really.

So Nurse #2 helps me get up and waddle toward the hallway. The closest open room was three or four rooms down the hall. I think I stopped five times. My poor hubby, walking behind me, carrying all my clothes, didn't know what to do. This was so much different than the first time.

Once finally in my room, Nurse #2 puts on the fetal monitor and says she's going to call for meds. I told her I wanted an epidural right away. (I don't mess around - especially this time.) She says the doc is going to come in and check me first.

The longest 15 minutes of my life later, here comes the doc, all smiling and shiny and fresh. "So - how're we feeling?" He's grinning, knowing that the "stripping" he'd done earlier had done its job. I didn't answer. In my defense, I didn't glare at him or curse him out, either.

He asked me the pain question again as he checked my IV and the baby's heart rate and the strip of paper feeding out of the fetal monitoring device. "Ten."

"Well," (clearly not believing me) "we're going to check you and then the anesthesiologist will come in to get you that epidural."

He gets into position, checks me, then sits up quickly. "I think we may be too late for meds." I was fully dilated.

NOOOOOO! I know many women can do natural childbirth, but it was honestly something I'd never really thought I needed to prove to myself. Give me drugs. "You can't give me anything?"

"I'm afraid it may be too late for them to kick in." But he had the drug doc come in anyway, and while we were waiting, my water broke.

By this point, I have my eyes closed, rolled onto one side, gripping the rail of the bed, reminding myself not to tense up, to keep breathing.

The drug doc finally comes in and puts in the epidural, but the doc was right. I didn't feel any of it. They tried to wait awhile for it to kick in, but this baby was coming, ready or not!

I was no longer watching the clock. I didn't care. When they said push, I pushed. And to say it hurt like hell was an understatement. But I was past pain. You just keep going. After 15 or 20 minutes, the doc notices that the baby's heart rate is dropping when I push, and is slow to come back up after the contraction. He orders the nurses to put an oxygen mask on me to see if that will help things. It doesn't.

Knowing all I've gone through to have this child naturally, he says he's going to give me one last try - they'll use suction to see if they can't help him out more quickly, but they'll do so after they get me into the OR, because if it doesn't work, its an emergency C-section for me.

So into the OR I go. I really gave it all I had. I thought I was going to die. That thought seriously crossed my mind. As they took the oxygen mask off me and put on the other, with its knock out gas, I remember thinking that if this had happened to me even 40 or 50 years ago I might not make it. I was scared and my hubby wouldn't be let in to hold my hand.

The next thing I know, I'm coming back to, but its as if I'm melting. Consciousness returns head-first, and before I can even open my eyes, I hear my husband is there with me and want to cry. Instead I ask if the baby's alright and if, indeed, he is a boy. He tells me he weighs 8 lbs, 1 oz, 20 1/2" long. William Robert was born at 3:25 a.m. The baby's in the nursery, and he's been up to hold him.

I want to cry again. Instead, I ask hubby to help me itch my nose. You know a man truly loves you when he holds his finger out so you can shake your head back and forth against it to itch your nose. He laughs at me, which makes me smile - a small return to normalcy for us - and tells me that was the third or fourth time he's told me the baby's weight and that he's OK. I don't remember asking the other times.

Slowly...slowly...movement returns to my arms, then my body, then my legs. I feel beat up. I feel helpless. Nurses come in to change my gown, then move me to a different bed. It takes three of them to lift me and move me over.

Finally, they give me ice chips. Its around 5 in the morning and I can't talk my mouth is so dry.

Around 6 I get to my room and at 6:30 they bring in the baby so I can try and nurse him. He's beautiful. He looks just like his brother did when he was first born, only he has less hair. But he's screaming. He cried the entire 10 minutes I saw him. He didn't successfully latch, and a nurse comes back to get him, saying he needs to be taken for some blood tests.

I'm exhausted, so hubby and I rest. At 7:30, the baby's not back yet, and I've realized that I didn't get a very good look at him. I'm feeling robbed of the bonding that I'm supposed to get. WHERE is my baby?

At 8:30, I shout to hubby - "HEY!" He jumps up with a start.

"Wha...?" he's all groggy.

"Go get my baby."

"I'll buzz the nurse."

"NO!" I shout as he's leaning over to push the nurse call button. "Just go get him."

I don't know why I was so adamant that he go find the baby...I'm sure it was the drugs. I'm not irrational...most of the time...

He sits there, looking at me, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, realizing you cannot argue with a woman who's just been through what I'd been through. He stands up. "Well, where do you think I should go?"

"I don't care. Just go get my baby."

Somehow, this argument goes back and forth some more. He tries to make me see I'm being silly, that they wouldn't keep the baby any longer than necessary. I don't buy it.

"GO. GET. MY. BABY...NOW!" Its not OUR baby, its MY baby. Move it!

At nearly nine he comes back with no baby. They were testing him for God knows what.

A nurse then comes in to check on me. "Can I have my baby, please?" I felt as though I were being the most patient, gracious person on the entire planet.

"Oh, he'll be right in, " she coos, going to take my blood pressure.

I start to argue with her - that it wasn't right that I not see my baby right away. What about this bonding time I was supposed to get? What about feeding? I was sure he was starving!

Just as I'm starting to get border-line hysterical, in comes a nurse with a screaming baby in a bassinette. The first nurse gives up on my blood pressure and leaves the room so I can nurse him. And boy does he ever! No problems that time...and from there on out, he has proven to be a good eater.

And the screaming? Well, that's just about the only time he'll do that - if you get between him and his food!

Despite how negative this sounds as I read it again, I don't think I'd have changed anything with either experience, even knowing what I know now. I wish the first delivery wouldn't have taken so long, and the second wouldn't have gone quite so quickly. But I ended up with two healthy, happy boys that make my heart melt when they give me big squishy hugs every day.

1 comment:

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

It doesn't sound negative to me, although I felt angry when the medical staff wouldn't believe you as you rated your pain. Why do they underestimate us?
I so get how frantic you felt for your baby, not knowing if he was okay or what. I am so glad he was fine and took right to nursing, that can be a real bugger;)