Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Birth Story

My son's birth day started early in the morning. My doctor decided to induce labor since I was not dilating on my own, we were running a few days past the due date, and it was obvious that I was having a big baby. 6am Monday morning, December 12. We took a couple of "before" photos to make sure we remembered my hugeness (and all my stretch marks) and then drove to the hospital. My doctor had 3 other inductions scheduled that morning as well. (The doula who taught my birthing class informed us that Richmond doctors have a high rate of inductions for some reason--control freaks??). The nurses were incredibly friendly and excellent at dispelling my worries about having an induction. I did too much reading over the weekend and started to worry, but I kept reminding myself of my doctor's confidence. She made it sound like it was fairly routine and so did the nurses.

So the pitocin started at 7am. I had had no significant contractions leading up to this day, but the monitors actually detected some minor ones before the pitocin even started. A couple of hours went by with not much action. I felt contractions but was able to breathe through them. Btw, since both my and DH's families are in other states, we were all by ourselves! No doula, no mothers, just us, which actually turned out kinda nice, to have this experience all to ourselves. My doc came in and decided to break my water to help move things along. By this time, we had a shift change from night nurses to day nurses and I'm pretty sure that every single nurse on staff that day made it a point to look at my belly and assure me that I was having a big baby. Thanks for scaring the crap out of me!

Soon after my water broke, the contractions increased in both frequency and intensity. I barely had a minute to relax between them! I'm not sure how long I endured them, but by 10:30 or 11am, I decided I had experienced enough contractions and wanted to relax. Epidural to the rescue! The thought of getting stabbed in the spine terrified me, but I could not handle those contractions at that frequency-plus they weren't helping me to dilate anyways, so why continue to suffer? Luckily the anesthesiologist was already on the floor administering another epidural when I asked for him. Yay for no long wait!

While having these frequent, intense contractions, I had to bend over while seated on the bed. One of the 2 nurses tending to me let me lean on her and invited me to squeeze if I needed to in order to stay still. It was a little weird to get so friendly, but I did what I had to do. Let me also remind you of my hugeness-I did gain the maximum (recommended?) 35 lbs and it was pretty much all in my belly-I also carried very low, so 1) sitting upright at all was highly uncomfortable, and 2) bending over while sitting was pretty painful. Add to this my contractions, and well, it was pretty awful! Fortunately, it did not take too long (great doctor found my spine quickly!), and sweet numbing (as well as cold) relief was on its way down to my pelvis and legs.

I don't remember much about the next few hours besides alot of flipping from side to side to redistribute the medicine and at some point being told that the 3 other women had their babies. Again, thanks nurses! Finally, by 6:30pm, I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing.

I had just hit "the happy button" before the doc came in and checked me(btw, isn't it cool that they give you the button to dose yourself?), so I wasn't feeling much, but I told them I had a little sensation because they said if I was completely numb, the anesthesiologist would have to come back and basically undo my epidural. Uh, no thanks! So DH was given the task of holding up my left leg while a nurse held up the right. Not much happened for a while because I couldn't really feel enough to push well. Then we had a shift change back to the night nurses that I had met at 6am! Basically, that means I had a cheering section because remember, I was the only mommy left! Oh yes, DH also had a 2nd job-- to give me a puke bucket if needed and to give me fresh cold compresses between rounds of pushing. He did a great job-he even raised the bed when I did puke to keep me from choking on my own vomit. Thanks honey! The nurses commented that every time I heaved, the baby moved further down-they were actually scared he was going to flop out! Don't ask me why I puked- it was a combination of the pushing, the pain, the heat, just everything. I spent 2.5 hours pushing. Didn't they say 30 minutes to an hour in birthing class?? I did get to feel baby's fuzzy head a couple of times which was so weird! I did not use a mirror-feeling was plenty experience for me. I just remember toward the end that they kept telling me to push, with no breaks between their 1-10 counts which was a little rough. Eventually, I was able to feel the baby stretch out along my left side and he had a foot in my ribs which made curling upwards to push that much more difficult. I had regained quite a bit of feeling in my pelvis and abdomen, so I was no longer pain-free! I remember my doctor yelling at me to get mad and push harder! Finally, everybody was yelling "push! Push! Push!" Then I felt this massive fiery sensation through my pelvis and a flop on my belly. I barely had a chance to open my eyes and glimpse a foot on top of me before they whisked him away to get a cry response. Well, he definitely let them know that he did not want to be away from his momma! In all the confusion, I still had to remind DH to go take some pictures! They cleaned and weighed while DH snapped the first pictures of our new baby. A nurse yelled out that I had a 10 pound baby (9lb, 7.3oz to be exact). Somebody else commented on how broad his chest was. Another nurse chimed that the newborn diapers weren't going to fit. Okay already! I got it! I just had a big, loud baby! Now give him to me! I desperately wanted to hold him right away, but I had to lay there and watch (at least they never took him out of the room). I swear that baby looked at me from his incubator and he stopped crying. He turned his head backward toward me, and we just stared at each other. He was across the room, so I don't know how he knew it was me, but somehow he did. I lay there feeling like a character out of a Twilight Zone episode with a bright light overhead and a doctor and nurse between my legs, discussing my "injuries" as if I couldn't hear them! The whole thing at that point was very surreal. I was a little out of it because I was so exhausted, but I heard every word, all while locking eyes with my baby and telling him that it was okay. FI-NA-LLY, they brought him to me and let me nurse. My baby Michael had the chubbiest cheeks! And he just stared quietly at me and I at him with the biggest smile ever and tears rolling down my cheeks.


  1. Congratulations on your sweet baby and your new blog! What a great birth story, and I'm so glad everything is going well. My oldest son was due on Dec. 12th, I went into labor on the 14th, but he didn't come until the 16th. It was a L-O-N-G labor, to say the least.

    1. Thanks Catherine! There's no way I could have labored for that long! I don't know how you did it!