Tuesday, January 8, 2008

T minus 1 day

Sam turns 2 tomorrow. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone! I don’t think I’ve ever written out his birth story, so here it is.

My last day at work was Friday, January 6th. My coworkers took me out to lunch, and afterwards M, an OB nurse, said that she noticed I was having regular contractions. I hadn’t realized it until that point, but she was right (obviously, they were not painful – just tightenings). I went home and slept somewhat fitfully that night, as the contractions were annoying and made it hard to sleep.

The next morning (January 7th) I started timing them, and noticed they were very regular, coming about every 7-8 minutes. Since they were still not painful, we decided to go to the mall and walk around, in hopes of getting things moving. We walked, and walked, and walked some more but they never got painful. Before going to bed that night, they were about 5 minutes apart. Another fitful night of sleep followed.

Sunday, January 8th, I woke up and thought my water was leaking, so we decided to go in to the hospital. At that point, contractions were about every 3-4 minutes but still not painful in the least. The nurse, after doing the test and determining that my water had not broken, checked for dilation and got a shocked look on her face. She called the doctor in, and he checked me as well. They agreed that I was 5 cm dilated but couldn’t believe that I wasn’t in any pain. At that point, they admitted me (it was about 7 a.m.)

My plan was to have a natural childbirth, with as little intervention as possible (hardy har har – fate was laughing at me, in the corner). So I walked the halls, took hot showers, rocked, and did everything else the nurses told me to do in hopes of moving things along. At 2 p.m., 7 hours after being admitted, the nurse decided to check me again. I had not progressed at all. At this point, they gave me a choice: I could either have them artificially rupture my membranes, or I could go home. I know now, I should have chosen to go home, but I had gotten myself so pumped up to have a baby that day, that I couldn’t bear to leave! I agreed to let them rupture my membranes, knowing at that point that I was committed to deliver within 24 hours, one way or another.

Two hours later, they checked me again. There was still no further dilation, although the baby had moved down further. At this point, they wanted to start the pitocin, and I knew I didn’t have much choice so I agreed. It really wasn’t as painful as I was expecting, from other peoples’ horror stories. They kept upping the dosage until it was at the maximum, and at that point it was definitely painful but I could still get through the contractions by doing my visualization techniques (we’d prepared for childbirth with Hypnobirthing classes). By 10:00 p.m., I was only dilated to 6 cm and I was exhausted after having two nights of very restless sleep, so I finally asked for an epidural. Looking back, that was probably the smartest choice I made all day, because it allowed me to get a few hours of sleep.

Just before 1:30 a.m., the doctor came in the room and said the baby was starting to have some big decelerations, and they wanted to get him out right away. Since I hadn’t dilated any further, and the doctor sounded like he meant business, I knew that was the only choice left at that point. Samuel Roger was born by cesarean section at 1:30 a.m., Monday, January 9, 2006.

I’ll never forget his first cry. He sounded indignant and not too happy to be out of his warm, watery home. My first glimpse of him was from across the room, as they brought him directly over to the warmer to weigh, measure, and swaddle him. The first time I saw my baby, my nose was being assaulted with the smell of my own burning flesh, as the doctor cauterized my incision. By the time Ron finally brought him over to me so I could see him, all that was visible was his face poking out from his nest of blankets. I couldn’t have held him anyway, since my arms were strapped down to the table, so all I could do was look into his eyes and tell him how happy I was to meet him.

An hour later, in the recovery room, I finally got to hold him and nurse him for the first time. I finally got to unwrap the blankets and count his fingers and toes. Although I was thrilled to finally meet my baby, I couldn’t help but be sad about the way it all came about. To add insult to injury, the nurses kept telling me that I’d probably have to have all future babies by cesarean section. I know now that’s because this small suburban hospital doesn’t do VBACs – they don’t have the necessary in-house obstetrician and anesthesiologist.

So yeah, the birth experience left a lot to be desired, but the end result of my wonderful little boy made it all worth it. And little did I know then, but I would go on to have a VBAC after all.

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