Saturday, September 13, 2008

Natalie's Birth Story

September 6, 2007: Natalie's due date. The day came and went without any fanfare. So much for the theory that second babies come sooner than first babies (Sammy was born on his due date). Apparently my uterus didn't get the memo.

September 7, 2007: Contractions start, getting closer together and stronger as the day goes on. I'm determined to stay home as long as possible, and decide not to leave for the hospital until the pain is nearly unbearable.

September 8, 2007: More contractions, more breathing exercises. Didn't sleep well the night before, so am extremely cranky.

September 9, 2007: Sunday night, finally go to the hospital to be checked. Since this is a VBAC attempt only 20 months after a C-section, decide it would be prudent to make sure scar is holding up. Pronounced "in early labor" with scar holding up well, and nurse says she expects to see me back later that evening but is sending me home to be more comfortable in the meantime. Gives me something to help me sleep (similar to Benadryl, if I remember correctly?) and about an hour after I get home, contractions stop abruptly.

September 10, 2007: No contractions all day long. Feeling disgusted, frustrated, and very cranky.

September 11, 2007: Contractions start up again. Actually relieved the day comes to an end with no baby, since I prefer baby have a birthday without so much negative association.

September 12, 2007: OK, now this is getting ridiculous. Contractions frequent, and bearable only with visualization and breathing exercises. This means no sleep for me. I spend the second night in a row in the bathtub, since it's the only way I am remotely comfortable.

September 13, 2007: I've had it. I tell Ron, "I am having a baby today and I don't care how it comes out. We are going to the hospital." We leave right at the start of rush-hour traffic and need to drive all the way across town. The hour-long car ride is the longest ride of my life.

Here's where my birth story really starts. We get to the hospital at about 9:00 a.m., and I am pronounced to be 4 cm. I have mixed thoughts about this. On the plus side, I am finally in active labor. On the minus side, 6 days of labor (5 if you count the one-day break I got on Monday), and I'm only at 4 cm? Kill me now.

I was checked in and sent to the labor and delivery room. I had been determined to have an unmedicated birth, but I was exhausted and had no more reserves left to deal with the pain, so when they asked about an epidural I said "yes, please". I still think that was the right decision for me, considering the marathon that was still ahead at that point.

Labor progressed slowly but steadily. At about 2:00 p.m., the nurse talked about adding some pitocin (NOT in my birth plan - it raises the risk of uterine rupture, although only slightly, but it wasn't a risk I wanted to take) but I didn't have to argue the point since they were too busy and never got around to trying it.

In my labor with Sammy, I stalled out at 6 cm, so when I finally got past that point, I really started getting excited that this was going to happen. At 6:00 p.m., I was pronounced complete. My epidural was wearing off and I could really feel the pain in my hips again (interestingly, throughout the whole labor, the worst of my pain was in my hips, which felt as though they were being spread with the jaws of life).

Right before my nurse went home at the end of her shift, she said, "You look familiar. Where are you from?" and that's when we figured out that we graduated from high school together (both of us had different last names then, which is why we didn't make the connection earlier). Since that high school is in a small town three hours north of here, that was an amazing coincidence.

At about 6:45, the doctor finally came in and had me start pushing. Two hours later, at 8:53 p.m., Natalie Rose finally made her appearance - but only after getting stuck on the way out. Thankfully the doctor was skilled enough to get her past the pubic bone without breaking her collarbone, although they watched her closely for the first few minutes to make sure she was moving both of her arms. She was, so all was well.

I think the doctor put her on my chest as soon as she came out, but honestly I don't have very many memories of those first few minutes after she was born. I was so exhausted, and tired from not sleeping formost of the past week, that I think my brain shut down for a little while. The first memory I really have is when she was over on the warming table, and the doctor said, "That's a big baby". I remember thinking, "What? She looks tiny," but the doctor turned out to be right. She weighed in at 9 lbs. 1 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long.


Bri said...

Happy 1st Birthday Natalie! And wow! You are a supertrooper!

Tabitha said...

I love birth stories, what an amazing part of life! Happy Birthday Natalie!

Carol Beth said...

Happy birthday, big girl!

Becky, so cool that you got your VBAC--wow, I do NOT envy you that long labor.

You'll have to change the caption on Natalie's picture now!

Becky said...

Thanks to all of you for the kind words and birthday wishes!

Mommy Vern said...

Wow Becky! What a long labor! I do wonder if labor does begin earlier than they say- since I had contractions earlier the week before as well, not as intensely as yours were but definite contractions. I couldn't imagine stalling out or stopping all together once they get going. I think that would be agnony, especially once you are at 6 cm.

You're comparsion to the 'jaws of life' are so dead on! I think the fact that my spine was/has been misaligned is much of why I had that pain. Luckily, my doula and Bryan minimized that feeling for the most part as each contraction came. Then it seemed to shift to my rear! That was the worse- feeling like a bowling ball was there! HA.

I am amazed you gave birth to a 9 lb little girl AFTER a VBAC, that's so awesome and a feat in and of itself! A beautiful birth story minus the long labor. I took evening primerose oil capsules at 7months on without my doc's permission and I really think it helped my uterus contract much better. Also, did they use a suction or forceps with you too? I couldn't imagine 9 lbs!! :)

Thank you Becky for sharing and HAPPY BE-LATED Natalie!

You will have to share Sammy's too!

Becky said...

Mommy Vern - I thought about taking evening primrose tablets, but never ended up doing that. However, I was drinking red raspberry leaf tea by the gallon. Perhaps that helped? I'm sure it didn't hurt. And nope, no suction or forceps. They offered to "help" with the vacuum after I'd been pushing for an hour, but I was too stubborn to allow it at that point. Towards the end, I was ready for the vacuum but didn't have the energy to form the words! I guess it worked out in my favor, though.

I think I might have posted Sammy's birth story back in January...I'll have to check that, though! Maybe I just meant to, and never got around to it.