Monday, April 11, 2011

Birth Storey #2



I have been meaning to write about Claire's birth since I got home from the hospital on Sunday, but between gazing adoringly at my new daughter, breastfeeding/expressing milk, giving copious hugs to Amelia (my firstborn) and visiting with neighbors and friends, I have not had a lot of time on the computer. Over the past two days, I have become more proficient at breastfeeding, which in turn, has freed up my hands to type, feed myself and read stories to Amelia.



But I digress from the intention of this post: to share my birth storey. It all started, in my opinion, on Monday the 21st of March when Nathaniel and I drove to town to pick up my sister in law, Jill. I had booked an appointment with my doctor at 4pm that afternoon, not sure what to expect but I was pleased as pie when my doctor told me that my cervix had started dilating and that I would most likely give that weekend. Not so. I waited another 11 days before I experienced any substantial contractions. It was agonizing when that weekend passed and I didn't go into labor, not because I was tired of being pregnant, but because I knew that Nathaniel had a limited amount of time off and that he had to return to work on the 13th of April. I was against induction for a number of reasons and planned to avoid it at all costs but I was not opposed to alternative methods like acupressure, herbs, and rigorous exercise. I tried all of the above: I drank black and blue cohosh and raspberry leaf tea (which my friend kindly picked up for me in town), I went to boot camp, hiked, dug out garden beds, hauled my daughter up and down the stairs, had a lot of sex.
I woke up Friday morning at the crack of dawn so that Nathaniel and I would be able to make it to our biophysical profile appointment at an obstetrician. I was extremely opposed an induction and hoped a healthy BPP would buy me a couple more days to go into labor on my own. Thankfully the BPP results showed positive levels of amniotic fluids and no fetal distress and the OB told me that I was now 4 centimeters dilated. I didn't feel any pain or contractions and I asked the OB to sweep my membranes to help things along. She must have been very through, because within 15 minutes of the appointment I had to go pee and noticed some "bloody show". By 11am that afternoon I began to experience mild cramps in my back and legs. By the time we were on the road back home I decided I should start timing contractions, which at that point, were 8 minutes apart. By the time we got home my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart. I suggested we have lunch and then go to the park together to see if I was having false labor.




Not so. As my husband and daughter happily played on the swings and slide it became pretty clear that I was defiantly in active labor. I didn't want to go to town and unless I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that my contractions were going to get stronger and closer together. Much to my delight and increasing discomfort, they did. I had hoped that we could stay home until Amelia went to bed but around 5pm I knew that it was time drive back to town. I had a quick shower as Nate threw my stuff into the car. The drive was much more bearable than I had anticipated . We listened to some punk music, switch foot and counted hundreds of deer. Between contractions, we chatted excitedly and I had to remind my husband NOT to speed. We arrived in town around 6:10, and met up with our doula at star bucks.



I took the opportunity to buy some groceries (oranges, yogurt, grapes, and a delicious chocolate Danish). I had to laugh at the fact that I found myself, once again, having serious contractions, in a grocery store.

My doula suggested we take a walk at the local park to keep things moving along. I don't think she realized how far along I was, but I agreed nonetheless. Nathaniel inhaled down some food while my doula and I wandered around the park.



We were only there about 10 minutes when i said that I thought it was time to go to the hospital. We checked in and were riding the elevator up when my doula asked me what my plan was if I was only 5 or 6 centimeters dilated. I almost laughed, but I was concentrating so hard on the pain that I couldn't.



A lone nurse welcomed us and proceeded to gather the necessary information while I leaned on a shelf near a window and swayed. I was unable to answer questions at this point so Nathaniel did most of the talking. My doula pressed the heels of her hands into my back as my contraction came faster and faster until I barely had time to straighten up between them. We had been in the labor room for about 8 minutes when suddenly I felt a massive, unmistakable gush of water and found my body instantaneously and involuntarily pushing. Somehow I managed to moan "I'm pushing and I can't stop". It was a powerless, intense feeling. Up to that point I had been calm, collected and extremely in tune with my body, but once my body took over I felt like a deer in the headlights. All of a sudden the room filled with nurses as the nurse taking my information stood stunned with her clipboard in hand. I immediately started to peel my jeans and everyone kept trying to shuffled me towards the bed. It was craziness!



Finally they were able to get my jeans off and the head was crowning. I remember looking up at Nathaniel with a look of panic on my face and then said, "oh no we are not getting any pictures"! Within seconds, one the nurses had grabbed our camera, and was clicking away from every angle. I pushed once and Claire's head emerged. I then took a few seconds to collect myself before I pushed the rest of her out. I REALLY wanted to avoid tearing if I could and I reached down to slowly try and ease baby out with my second push. I appreciated that no one yelled push or tried to coach me in any way. Thankfully, I only sustained a few superficial tears ,most likely caused by the fact that Claire was born was sideways with her fist tucked up by her face. The poor little thing came out quite bruised and purple but wailed away as they rubbed her down and covered her with a blanket. I couldn't believe how fast the pushing stage had gone.







Later my doula and I laughed about the fact that there had been no time for the nurses to check my dilation, hook me up to the IV or the fetal heart monitor. My doctor said that he left some rubber in the parking lot trying to get to my birth in time. He didn't actually deliver my baby, but witnessed one of the nurses do it. Afterwards, he gave me a few stitches, which made me cry. I HATE the freezing part. It is such a sharp, yucky pain. I would give birth over having to get stitches any day. Thankfully my stitches have not bothered me in the slightest and are now almost all gone. I stayed at the hospital for 24 hours, primarily because my doctor wanted to make sure that Claire didn't have jaundice and because we live so far out of town. The first night was a little rough because I had a catheter and an IV, but around 4am in the morning I convinced the nurses to take them out and then I was able to get some sleep. Over the next day or so I enjoyed having food brought to me, gazing adoringly at my new daughter and learning how to breastfeed again.
It is really nice to be home now, in my own space, with my family. I feel so much more confident, capable and relaxed this time around. I hardly feel like my life has been altered at all. If anything it feels richer, more fulfilling and fun :0) Claire is sleeping really well and has learned how to nurse much more quickly than Amelia ever did. My dear husband has been incredibly helpful, encouraging and downright wonderful. I can't help but fall in love with him when I see him being an amazing father and husband. Sometimes I almost feel like I am on vacation since I have hardly touched the dishes or done any housecleaning. We have been pulling soup and Sheppard's pie out of the freezer that we made up before Claire was born. I have still experienced emotional highs and lows and some days I feel incredibly weepy. I cry for all sorts of reasons, but primarily because I miss not being able to play with Amelia and meet her needs and I once did. Sometimes I cry because I feel so tired I could collapse standing up, and other times I cry because I am so thankful and blessed that I can hardly contain myself.

4 comments:

Caroline said...

What a beautiful birth story Jocelyn! Justin was born with his fist at his face as well!

I too remember those thoughts about wishing you could play with your first like you once did. It'll happen again. I would take little moments with Justin when Ashleigh was first born. She and I'd get out of bed and then Chris and I would switch kids for a half hour or so. Justin and I would take a shower or go play on the swings.

Congratulations again! So happy for you all ;0)

Jana said...

Thank you for sharing your story so candidly. You took me right back to my experience and those first wonderful, yet so very emotional days of post partum.
Much love to you all!

lululily said...

Congratulations again, Jocelyn. I'm not surprised it went so quickly - you are a true natural at this. I wish I could have been there (especially to share some time at Starbucks while you laboured!). I can't wait to read about this next phase in your adventures!

Lynn

The Stiffs said...

Such a lovely story!! I'm so glad things went well and that you could have the natural labour you were hoping for. Peace to you and yours as you continue to settle in...