Saturday, December 31, 2011

David Alexander's Birth

He's here! He's here! Woo hoo! I'm so glad he has arrived (and that I'm not pregnant anymore). This post will be about his birth, and for the sake of any menfolk that read this, I'll try to share without completely oversharing. :)

My estimated due date was December 19th. It came and went, alas, without me going into labor. I'd been having the occasional contraction, though, which I'd never had with Amy, so I was hopeful it would be happening soon. I had an appointment with my OB on Tuesday the 20th. Remember that whole "there's protein in your urine so you're going on bedrest" thing? Yeah. Well, there was a TON of protein in my urine this time. My OB was worried enough that he wanted to send me straight to L&D to be induced. Well, I didn't really want to since I was NOT looking forward to another induction, so I, um, convinced him that my services were vitally important for Heather that afternoon and that we should hold off until later that evening. He was less than thrilled, but agreed. He set up the induction and told me the hospital would call sometime after 7pm whenever they were ready for me.

I spent the afternoon with Mom and Heather, and that evening Brett and I finished up collecting/packing for the hospital stay and Amy's stay with friends. We were a little surprised that we didn't get a call until almost 11pm, but I knew the hospital would be super busy. We dropped Amy off with the Walkers and checked into the hospital around midnight. It took them a while to get me admitted, especially since it took 4 different nurses 5 tries to get an IV in me. Around 1:15 AM, the resident came in and put in the Cervadil, which is a gel that helps the cervix to dilate and efface. I honestly was rather pessimistic about its use, since I had it in for 12 hours with Amy and it had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. But this time was different! By 4 AM I was having regular contractions. Around 8 AM after the shift change, my OB came and talked with me. He broke my water, and we decided that since everything was going so well they would remove the Cervadil and that I would be able to labor WITHOUT the use of Pitocin. I was so happy! The Pitocin was really hard on me with Amy, which is why I had eventually gotten an epidural. I wanted so badly to do without one this time. But I'm droning.

My contractions picked up pretty quickly, and I was dilating well. It seemed like things were going faster than anticipated, so around noon or so Brett called my mom to tell her to head up to the hospital. Mom had been there for Amy's birth, and I was looking forward to having her support again. Plus, Heather was going to come with her! I was excited to have my sister there as well.

I was doing well handling the contractions without medication. It started getting much more difficult when I was dilated to around a 7. They were coming closer together and were getting increasingly more intense. I started getting hopeful that I would be delivering soon. My nurse was very encouraging, and was very knowledgeable about natural childbirth. She spent a lot of time with me, rubbing my back, talking me through the more painful contractions when I started having trouble focusing through them, and just generally being amazing. I'm so grateful I had such a fantastic nurse. Brett was also amazing during this whole time. He said later that he hadn't realized how much more involved he would have to be with me "going natural" than he was with Amy's birth. I kept him busy! Especially the last couple of hours, when I was stuck at not QUITE dilated enough to deliver.

That was the hardest part. For about 2 1/2 hours, I was dilated to, like, a 9 1/2. Almost there, but not quite, and for some reason, my body just did not want to dilate that last little bit. We tried several times to start pushing with my OB stretching my cervix open the last bit, but it just was not working. And it hurt. A lot. I yelled at him.

My nurse realized eventually that he was sunny-side up (meaning he was face up--the "correct" position for delivery is with the baby facing back toward your spine). Because of his position, he wasn't putting enough pressure on that last lip of cervix to make it dilate. So, after a couple of hours, the nurse helped me to get up onto my hands and knees, a maneuver that often will encourage the baby to turn. Well, it worked! After maybe 20 minutes or so of being on all fours, David spun around. It was strange, because I definitely felt it, and suddenly WHAM! A TON of pressure. My doctor had actually left the room for something. But it was time to go. I remember shouting that whoa, I needed to push! The nurse sent Brett running for the doctor. Fortunately he got back in the room quickly, because David was born after only 3 minutes of pushing!

I managed to labor and deliver with no pain medication, and other than the initial dose of Cervadil, with no medical interventions. It got incredibly difficult, especially at the end, although I knew it would. I'm glad I had Brett to remind me how much I wanted a natural childbirth when the epidural started to look like a very attractive option. With his help and the help of my nurse, I made it! It was such a powerful experience. I understand now why people say that childbirth can be so empowering! I'm glad I had the experience, although to be perfectly honest, I very well may opt for an epidural next time.

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