Bailey’s Birth Story

4 Jan

The Birth Plan:

  • No epidural
  • Movement as unrestricted as possible
  • IV pain medication okay (had to have an IV due to testing positive for Group B Strep)
  • C-section only if complications arise that are life threatening
  • No episiotomy
  • Delayed cord clamping for at least 3 minutes
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth
  • Exclusive breast feeding

I was considered a high risk pregnancy due to high blood pressure (and a family history of it), and Lupus. I had an amazingly easy pregnancy, and my doctor reduced me to a medium risk pregnancy at 32 weeks, although I still went at least biweekly to appointments. I only gained 20 pounds, and my blood pressure was the best it had ever been. I credit my awesome blood pressure to my new eating habits, which was eating fresh fruits and veggies, and cutting back on all the pasta and tomato sauce. I was supposed to be taking Lovenox (a self-injection for blood clots) due to family history of blood clots, but I am scared shitless of needles and couldn’t do the injection myself, and couldn’t stand the idea of my boyfriend poking me with one, either. At 36 weeks I was tested for Group B Strep and it came back positive, so I was informed that I would need to have antibiotics during labor. Oh, I also had heart burn during my first trimester, which I soothed with ice cream sandwiches. And in my third trimester it came back with a vengeance, and I was given a prescription to alleviate it.

At my 38 week appointment I was 4cm dilated, but no signs of labor. Same at my 39 week appointment.  At my 40 week appointment I went in determined not to be strong-armed into going to get induced, but that’s exactly what I allowed to happen. I was 5cm dilated and 50% effaced, and the OB I saw told me I might as well avoid possible complications, or the baby getting too big before having to be induced anyway. I cried, but walked across the street to the hospital. I called my boyfriend and sounded brave. He and his mother took showers and made sure to get the final touches for the hospital bag and then headed my way.

Now, on to my birth story…

  • I was induced at 40 weeks and 2 days
  • I had an IV for Pitocin and antibiotics
  • I took IV pain medication to help lower my blood pressure
  • Total time in L&D: about 16 hours
  • Total time pushing: 45 minutes

As I said, I was going to be induced, and I was GBS positive, so I received an IV immediately. The nurse had a hard time getting it in because I couldn’t stop shaking. Again, I’m terrified of needles. The OB on duty finally gave up trying to talk to me while the nurse was getting the IV set up. They did a quick ultrasound to make sure baby girl was in position. Immediately they started the Pitocin and a round of antibiotics. I was admitted at 1:30pm on 2/21/2012. I had only eaten a bowl of cereal at 8 that morning, and asked if I could have something to eat. Listen ladies, if you’re told you need antibiotics during L&D, eat before you go into the hospital, because once they start that IV, you’re not getting anything but water and popcicles until that baby comes out. I was so mad! Also, since I was being induced, I had to have the fetal contraction monitors on me at all times. Hospital liability and other legal jargon about safety. My boyfriend and his mom arrived about 3, my water broke around 4, and it was at that point that the nurses informed me I wasn’t allowed to wear any type of underwear or pants. I so did not want to go commando.

Things were pretty uneventful for awhile. I started to feel the contractions at about 6 or 7, but they really just felt like the baby kicking. My SO and I practiced communicating when the contraction would come, as he could see the number on the monitor spike seconds before I felt it. Oh, before I forget, I had to have my blood pressure taken every 30 minutes by a machine. At one point the machine messed up and said my blood pressure was 258/17. My machine went nuts, and I could also hear the alarm at the nurse’s station, too. A woman doing a study on blood pressure in pregnant women came in and took my BP with her laptop, and it came out in a good, low range, and when my machine did it, it was a good deal higher (by at least 15 points), so needless to say, I held no faith with that wretched machine. Anyway, it was about 9 or so that the nurse asked if I wanted any pain medication. I said no, and she informed me that my blood pressure was rising, so they wanted me to consider it. I agreed to the IV medication, and ended up getting a blessed 45 minute nap out of the deal. Unfortunately, I woke up to the contractions being much stronger than they were before the nap. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart, and lasting about 1 minute. The fun was about to begin…..

At 11 there was a shift change, and I got a new nurse, who used to be a midwife, and a new OB team (this was a university hospital, so I had a few people peeking under the sheets), who all introduced themselves. The OB running the delivery I had actually met before, so I felt much better with her. She informed me that after almost 9 hours I’d only progressed to 6cm and 90% effaced. Ugh! The new nurse immediately started helping me find positions and exercises that would help me manage the pain of the contractions. This was difficult with the fetal and contraction monitors, but the nurse worked with me and found the spots when I changed position.

From here on out everything is a hazy memory. I know I sat on the yoga ball for a long time, and I sat on a bed pot for awhile, too. I started feeling the need to push, but since I was not dilated enough, my nurse said to only push if I needed to, and to not push hard. And yes, it does feel like you have to poop. I also had the compulsion to bite things. I almost bit my boyfriend’s arm, but was able to manage asking for something to bite on before it came to that. My boyfriend informed me the next day that I became very feral. I started growling, my eyes had a wild look to them, I was crawling on the bed, scratching at the sheets and “nesting” them. After that the OB’s confined me to the bed because they had to re-break my water and insert an internal monitor. At this point the pain became unbearable. The nurse told me I should take the second dose of the IV painkillers because my blood pressure was getting very high. I accepted, but it didn’t help with the pain at all. The contractions were lasting about 45 seconds each, with a 2 minute reprieve between. I started screaming through each contraction, and it started worrying everyone. My nurse kept reminding me to breathe, and the OB’s kept coming in to make sure there wasn’t some one torturing me. I remember feeling so exhausted and worrying I wouldn’t make it, but then I realized I was in transition, and to just work through each contraction. I knew I was getting close. The OB offered me the epidural, but I refused. Then they asked (I think they came back a short time later) and said they wanted to prep me for a c-section. I refused again, begging them not to force me to have one. I think it was out of desperation that they checked my dilation at this point. Miraculously I was at 10cm!

My room changed very quickly. The noises from the machine were turned off, the lights were turned off, except for the big crazy spotlight pointed between my legs. On the far side of the room there were people prepping the equipment and baby station, but I hardly noticed them. Everything suddenly came into focus for me. I was suddenly in harmony with my body, and the contractions didn’t hurt anymore. The OB asked me if I knew how to push, but just then a contraction came and I couldn’t give her an answer, but I started pushing. Those hours of trying not to push, but pushing anyway paid off. She exclaimed “oh, I guess you do know how to push!” During every contraction my boyfriend had to put something (I later found out a rolled up pillow case) into my mouth so I could bite down on it and not damage my teeth. Once the contraction was over he’d take it out and give me a drink of water. Yes, he’s an amazing man, and I’m grateful for him. I’m not sure how many times I pushed, but I was trying very hard. The OB didn’t rush me at all, and in fact told me there was no hurry if I didn’t have it in me to push more than once during a contraction. I did tear, and I felt it, but it didn’t hurt. The OB wasn’t concerned when I told her, either. At some point, she informed me that my baby was crowning. I stopped pushing and screamed at her “WHAT COLOR HAIR DOES SHE HAVE??!” Oh the poor woman was surprised by that question. I was suddenly aware of what I’d asked her to do when she leaned around my leg and looked at my vagina. “Oh, light brown” she said conversationally. I laugh at it now, but it seemed very important at the time.

A short time later, I gave the final push and could feel my daughter leave my body. Oh, the relief! My nurse had unbuttoned the shoulders of my hospital gown beforehand, and once my daughter was born, she flipped the front down and placed my baby on my chest. I was able to hold her for at least 5 minutes, while they waited for the placenta and the cord clamping. Once the cord was clamped and they were ready to fix me up, they took the baby across the room to clean her up. I made my boyfriend go with in case there was a problem. The OB was helped by her team getting me stitched up. I had a second degree tear, but I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even care that they were using needles on me. Once I was stitched up and my daughter was cleaned, they handed her to me and all the staff disappeared. Another nurse came in and helped me change into a fresh gown, a pair of mesh underwear with a pad, and a pair of socks, and she changed the sheets on the bed as well. She told me breakfast would be delivered in about 45 minutes, and I would be transferred to the maternity ward after I’d eaten.

My daughter, Bailey Louella, was born on 2/22/2012 at 5:37am. She weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces, and was 19 ¾ inches long. All through my pregnancy I called her My Little Impending Doom, not because she wasn’t loved, but because I knew she would change my life, my world. I realized as I held her and nursed her for the first time that she was no longer “impending”. She was just My Little Doom. At that moment I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than her.

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