Monday, July 16, 2012

The Birth Story: The During

At 4:00am my alarm went off and I rolled out of bed, not needing to hit snooze since I was already awake. Despite having crazy butterflies the day before, on this morning things were calm and peaceful.
Since I showered the night before I merely got dressed and straightened my hair. Because having a good hairdo is important for a safe and easy delivery (note the sarcasm). Okay, it's because I was attempting to look semi-put together. We snapped a picture a few minutes before we headed out the door to the hospital.
Since I was "past due" we didn't need to call ahead to see if there was room for us to come in. Past due, apparently, takes precedence when it comes to inductions. We walked in and the labor floor was calm and there was a group of nurses at the nurses station. They pulled my binder and got me into a room. While I "gowned up" my nurse Mary came in and started setting up. Since I wasn't in labor the process was easy and methodical. I was already in the system, so there was just some last minute paperwork to be filled out and put together. Mary set my monitors up and after awhile I started to notice that I was having Braxton Hicks contractions regularly. Mary informed me that they were 12-15 minutes apart. Although I secretly hoped it was my body telling me that today was the day, I took it instead as a good sign that this induction wouldn't be like Grace's at all.
Aaron grabbed some breakfast, and I started my "diet" of apple juice and ice chips. The sun slowly started to rise, and with every passing minute I was more and more eager to get the show on the road. After a few unfortunate attempts with the IV, it was finally placed and at 6:30am they started the pitocin.
I was checked before the pictocin was started and learned that my cervix and the baby's head were both pretty high still. In order to encourage the baby down I sat on a birthing ball. Please take note of the shape of my bed in the picture, Mary informed me that this position was called the "Queen's Throne." Who knew a hospital bed could do that?
The birthing ball was wonderful. It was nice to not sit on a stiff bed. While my contractions started coming Aaron and I chatted with Mary and watched the Today show. I bounced ever so slightly on my birthing ball and snacked on ice chips. After an hour or so the contractions started getting harder. I started breathing through them and finding a focal point.

My doctor came in and checked me. I was at a 4.5. While he was checking me, my water broke. It startled me and I started laughing which was causing the water to come out faster than my doctor was expecting. The whole situation struck me as hilarious and I couldn't stop laughing. After the doctor left I was talking to Aaron and said, "Can you believe my water broke when he was checking me?" to which Aaron responded, "That's because he broke your water, did you not hear him tell you beforehand?" It made the situation a whole lot less funny and apparently I have selective hearing.

After my water was broken my contractions became really intense really fast. Each contraction I had crept one number higher on my "1-10 pain scale." Suddenly breathing methods and focal points were traded for phrases like "Holy hell" (pardon my french) and me desperately gripping Aaron's arm and rubbing my face as hard as I could into his shoulder. Logical thought in any form or fashion was out the window. Aaron was wonderful as he let me grip the living daylights out of his hand and as he stood calmly with me and pretended like my sailor like language was totally lady like. I reached a point where I said "Nothing is worth this, I want an epidural." About 4 minutes later the anesthesiologist was there ready to go. I didn't feel a thing, aside from the contractions that made me want to snap my fingers right off. Rebecca, the anesthesiologist, was amazing and somehow got things situated so I could still feel my lower legs and feet but I couldn't feel the contractions. Once the medicine settled, my body was able to truly relax for the first time in nine months. Every pregnancy ache and pain was gone and the mere comfort of it all made me tired.
My nurse had to take care of something and left Aaron and I for an hour or so. We were fine to hang out with just us in the room. Aaron updated my Mom, my ever wonderful blog doula, and we took stupid pictures like this one. This was Aaron's drink, since apple juice and ice chips were my jam, but you best believe I wanted to be drinking this instead.
Around 10:30am I started noticing that the baby's heart rate was dipping a little bit. My nurse was still gone, and I hit my nurse buttons a few times to have someone come in to check that things were okay. Since things went south in my labor with Grace when her heart rate was dipping, I wanted to make sure that these dips weren't leading us down the "emergency c-section" path like last time. Each nurse came in and adjusted my monitors and assured me that everything was fine. Around 11:30am my nurse Mary came back and she had me lay on my side. I wore an oxygen mask to help the baby when his heart rate did dip. I was checked and was a 9.5. At one point I laid on my left side and the baby's heart rate was not having that at all, so I switched back to my right. At noon my doctor came in. He has a monitor tracking device linked up to his phone so he was aware of the dips that were occuring. He checked me and I was at a 10 but still had a little "lip" and he figured 30 more minutes would do the trick. I was a little bummed since I hoped we'd be delivering right then, but was fine to wait. My doctor didn't immediately leave the room, but instead stayed and watched the heart rate monitors. I could see the gears turning in his head and he said, "Nevermind, let's deliver this baby now." At first I thought he was just trying to be nice for my benefit, and I said "Oh that's okay, you can go eat your lunch if you want." And he laughed and said "Well when the baby's heart rate is dipping like this, it's better to have them out than leave them in."

The room was already prepped and ready to go. There was just my doctor, my nurse, Aaron and the pediatric nurse in the room. I remembered how oddly crowded with hospital personnel my room seemed to be when I had Grace and this time around I soaked in how quiet things were with so few people there. After a few pushes on my part, it was clear that the baby was getting stuck in my pelvis. As his heart rate dipped, the doctor was pretty eager to get the little man out. After more pushing, more dips, more attempts to get the baby's heart rate back up, my doctor got the vacuum out. I could see him using the vacuum to maneuver the baby's head through my pelvis and after a quick episiotomy and one last push, the baby was out. His cord was wrapped once around his neck which was the cause of his heart rate dipping. My eyes filled with tears and the moments before they laid him on my chest felt like hours. I could see his little hands and feet and desperately wanted to look at his face. They laid him on my chest and I fell in love. He was finally here, my little boy. He seemed so brand new yet so familiar to me.
They took him for a few routine things, a quick relief of his bladder while on the warming table, and his measurements. We all took bets on what his weight was. The doctor and nurses both commented that he was a "big boy" but I wagered low and said he would be 7lbs 11oz, Aaron guessed 8lbs 3 ounces. He was 8lbs 7oz, 20 and 1/8 inches long.
I was stitched up quickly and they brought the baby back to me to do skin to skin. Both the nurses and the doctor left to give our little family some quiet time to be together. It was by far my favorite part of the whole experience. It was just the three of us, all other tests would be done later, his bath would be later but right then it was just us in the moment savoring the arrival of our sweet boy. He screamed and cried for a majority of the time and Aaron and I looked at each other and laughed, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" Once his lungs were a little more clear, he calmed down.

He was here. And we could finally announce his name: Christian Clark

July 3rd was an incredible day. It was a birth experience that went 110% better than I ever expected. Despite having the cord around his neck he made a quick, safe, and easy arrival and I was so happy to have been in such good hands with the doctors and nurses. My boy had made his debut, and life was very very good.


The Coons Family said...

I loved this. I was cracking up at the breaking your water experience. Hilarious. Christian is so so cute and I love his name. I can't wait to hear how you came about naming him.

Ashby said...

What a great birth story! I absolutely loved it! And I totally know what you mean after your water breaks. That's how it was with Emma's birth. It was so so so painful! Loved seeing all those pictures we hadn't seen yet. I can't believe it's been two weeks already!

Karen said...

I'm so glad it went so great! I can't wait to meet your little man! By the way, the way you write is so awesome. I'm always crying or dying laughing by the end of your posts. :)We're so happy for you guys!

Shannon said...

that picture of you two meeting for the first time was so tender. i teared up watching you watch him. the love!

i felt like you told christian's story so calmly, but holy smokes, kara! his cord wrapped around his neck, the dreaded vacuum, and an episiotomy??? that is some intense stuff!!

i hope you are recovering well and taking in every itty bitty goodness of mr. c. i bet grace is loving being a big sister! big hugs being sent your way!! mwa!

Erin Field said...

I loved this post as well. Your posts are always a joy to read.
Congrats on the new baby boy. I hope your transition has gone well these last two weeks.

Diana said...

I love the water breaking part, that's so funny and I think it makes it even funnnier that you didn't hear him tell you he was going to break your water. LOVED reading this, can't wait for me and I love your name pick, you guys are good namers! I wish I could come see him for real but from pictures he looks absolutely adorable!

Rachel N said...

Can I just say that no one should be allowed to look that beautiful while in labor? So, so happy for you all!!!

CarrieM said...

My OB had always broken my water for me (whether I had been induced, or gone into labor naturally). For Jack (#4), he arrived to break my water and deliver him (it was time). He approached the end of the bed with his little crochet hook, and my water spontaneously broke, in his face! I think I did laugh for a second, but Jack was coming then, and I hadn't gotten to the hospital in time for the epidural to work, so that was the end of the funniness. Congrats, I love a good birth story.

Jodie said...

What a great story! He is adorable! Can't wait to meet him!!

Rachel said...

Seriously hilarious about your water breaking experience. Funnily enough, I can totally see you cracking up at that and then being all bummed to know he told you he was going to do it and you just didn't hear. Awesome. I'm so glad you had such a better experience this time around, and I'm so happy that Christian is here safe and healthy and that you are healthy too. Thanks for sharing your story - it definitely showed how sacred these experiences are.