Feb 4, 2010

For posterity's sake.

Three years ago this evening, I was bloated and a just a couple hours away from my first contraction with our firstborn. I was exhausted. I was laying on the couch telling Dan there was no way I was hauling my bloated, exhausted self to a friend's Superbowl party.

And so it begins . . .

1. This is Char's birth story. It''s not graphic but if that's not your cup of tea, move right along.

2. If you haven't delivered a baby before and think that you might in your future, please don't take my first time labor as an example of what will happen. It won't. Or maybe it will. But it's not that bad. Or actually, it may be. Just, uh, don't hate me for keeping it real, yo'.

3. Also, don't hate me for using the phrase "keepin' it real, yo." hee


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Just kidding, it wasn't that epic. (barely)

It was a Sunday night, at 11:30 p.m., 10 days "overdue" I felt my first contraction. The first of hundreds (my mathmetician husband could probably tell you about how many I had) every 5 - 10 minutes for the next 36 hours.

You'll note I refer to 36 hours a lot throughout this rambling saga. I'm not prideful of that number, I don't wear it like a badge or anything, it's just a number. But a memorable one at that. ;)

As directed by our friendly doc, at about 2:00 a.m., I drove the quick 5 block route to the hospital. For those that don't know, my husband is legally blind, no driver's license. Yes, he can see me. No, he cannot see things like slow moving grannies or fast moving kids on bikes when they happen to be hiding behind one of his floating blind spots. Hence, the lack of license and why I drove. Okay, moving on... Husband, and bags in tow, I'd taken a shower, "done" my hair, and had a huge smile on my face.

Sent home, 5 hours later, the smile had disappeared. Contractions? check. Quick, regular contractions? check, check. Quick, regular, painful, contractions? check, check, check. Problem? That pesky little necessity of dilation. Dilation? Zero.

"Come back when they are more intense." I could have killed that nurse even though I knew she had nothing to do with anything that needed to be done with getting me to dilate - ha! At the time I was mad, seething mad, now I know it was for the best because being sent home was the right thing to avoid some likely interventions that would have more than likely changed the course of our delivery. I went home to labor, alone with my husband, for an additional 12 hours. Between bathtub, bed, exercise ball, rinse and repeat, I cried, moaned, tried (futively) to sleep, answered a Judge's phone call on one of my civil cases while pretending not to be contracting (uh, not cool), and labored. And labored. And labored.

At some point Monday evening, exhausted, we returned to the hospital. Friends drove us this time. Gone were the smiles, the "done" hair, the giddyness. In its place was fear, contractions only slightly "more intense" (but nonetheless "more intense"), and the aforementioned exhaustion. I had now been awake for much more than 20 hours. Dan had been by my side the entire time, with pages of notes detailing contractions - seriously folks, he wrote down every contraction for two days - yes we were nutty from sleep deprivation.

So we're back at the hospital. Contractions? check. Stronger, regualar contractions? check, check. Dilation? "maybe a 2."

I sobbed. Sunk into the bed. Why wasn't my body changing? What was happening? Fearing the worst, I simply removed myself from the situation. No, I didn't hike my laboring hefty nightgowned body out of the room, but I mentally removed myself. Dan answered questions, told me what to do, accepted and denied nurse's suggestions, snuck me food behind nurses' backs, and kept in contact with our great doctor. I went off to la la land and really didn't become "present" again until delivery.

Approximately 14 hours later (about 36 hours from my first contraction and now 12 days "overdue"), Charlotte Ila was born. I won't go into all the details of the last 14 hours at the hospital because quite frankly, I don't remember most of what happened and what I do remember is very, very fuzzy. But here's a few tidbits:

Stadol & Ambien Cocktail - I did not want narcotics during labor and delivery because I do not react well to drugs (Tylenol PM makes me loopy) and knew that it would make me crazy. But, in my exhausted state, I relented to the nurse's suggestion in order to help me get some sleep. But, since I was still having the nasty contractions and wasn't dilated far enough for an epidural, there was no sleep. I just felt like someone put a roofie in my drink. Seriously, I will never take those drugs again.

Pitocin - Again, I wasn't thrilled at being given this drug because I'd read about Pitocin actually slowing labor's progress. And my labor was certainly going slow enough. But, alas, my smartypants self was wrong again. I needed Pitocin. No doubt. Needed it. Needed it. Needed it. Our doctor (did I mention he was awesome - the wonderful, careful, "last thing we want here is a c-section" doctor) monitored that Pit very closely (or so I was later told).

Epidural - Ahh the relief, finally! 5 hours before delivery I got just enough, but not too much Epi, to allow a couple of hours of sleep, so that I could have the energy to push. It was a gift that my pre-labor and delivery self didn't know I would need. It saved us from surgery because it allowed me to regain a little strength. It was turned off in time for me to actually feel pushing. It did its job.

And finally, baby monitoring - There was some scary moments with Char's heartbeat that I did not realize were scary until later (so maybe that little narcotic cocktail was helpful afterall - ha!) as her beats in utero were getting slower and slower. Although off my radar, Dan was very aware. I had not wanted internal monitoring but at our hospital it's almost a given. And, as everything else, it was necessary. With labor that long, Charlotte was starting to get worn out. The monitor got us all moving and helped Dan motivate me to push the little gal out. Like push.her.out.right.now. Without frightening me, he encouraged me to be strong. 4 pushes, and she was in my arms.

Well, 36 hours and 4 pushes. :)


This was long and rambling, but I'm glad I wrote it out.

I had so many preconceived notions of how I wanted Char's labor to go. But I got a reality check really early on that I wasn't in charge. :) Our son's labor was completly different and that chapter, when I write it, will be considerably shorter. 36 hours versus 6 hours. But each experience was awesome. Whether we have our babies in a bathtub, delivery room, or on a surgical table - the matter of birth doesn't really matter in the end - it's miraculous in any form.

Yes, 36 hours was long. But, as sappy as it is true, I would've done another 36 to hold her then and now.


Kylee said...

happy birthday char!!!

sarah979c said...

That's a great story... so makes me NOT want to get pregnant again! Just kidding... I hope Char has a great birthday with everyone coming to see her!