Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Birth Stories: Baby Girl #3

Warning for my male readership: another birth story follows. Go away and read something else. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

I may be a slow learner (Baby #1 story here, Baby #2 story here), but by my third baby I had come to realize that giving birth is very seldom "by the book" or predictable. Babies have minds of their own. Hospitals have guidelines and regulations. Doctors have their own preferences. Nurses might be super supportive or horribly cranky. There are a lot of variables, is what I'm saying.

With Baby #3 I had another uneventful pregnancy. The doctors at my clinic love me because I rarely have anything for them to worry about. Baby was due February 23, 2007.

Now it just so happened that our area that particular February was very snowy and icy (which isn't always true for us). For instance, our church had to reschedule our annual Valentine Banquet because of snow. We held it the week after Valentine's Day. And once I went to a scheduled Dr appointment only to find that the office was closed "Because of snow", which annoyed me to no end because if I could get there, surely some of the doctors and nurses could, but I digress.

While at the aforementioned belated V-Day banquet, I had some scattered contractions. But that was nothing new because I had been having them for a few weeks. Nothing "solid", nothing that lasted. Just enough to make me occasionally uncomfortable.

The morning after the banquet (much snow still on the ground, remember), I had a Dr. appointment. Now, it hadn't actually occurred to me that I could refuse to be checked. So I was, accordingly, checked by the Dr. who declared me to be already almost 3 cm dilated, "soft" and, basically, ready. She decided that the best thing would be to induce on Friday morning (my actual due date) of that week.

I think she had good intentions for this: I was tired of being pregnant (duh), we had to make arrangements for our two older girls, there was always the danger of a massive snowstorm, etc. (I sometimes get the impression that doctors think subsequent babies just drop out of their mothers, though I have no idea where they get that idea. Mine don't!) But I should have said no.

Note I "should" have said no. Because I didn't. I agreed to it.

I spent the next couple of days regretting that choice and earnestly praying that I would go into labor naturally. (Prince Charming would probably call that a "hot pepper" prayer. Ask him about them sometime.) "Please, let the baby be ready, let everything happen the right way. Let labor start on its own..."

It didn't seem likely. I went to bed Thursday night, fully expecting to get up in the morning, take the girls to Gram and Granddad's house, and submit to Pitocin and whatever else the hospital staff might use to get labor going.

But God hears even seemingly silly prayers. I woke up Friday morning about 3, having regular contractions. I got up without disturbing Prince Charming (I figured he needed his rest), heated up my rice sock, and made myself comfy in the living room. I watched late night television, the early morning news shows and timed contractions. They were consistent and strong but nothing my rice sock and I couldn't handle. I ate a bowl of cereal (because I was hungry!) and drank some juice. I sat on the floor, laid on the couch, moved around the house quietly, and didn't bother to wake Prince Charming or call the hospital until about 7 A.M.

By the time we got the older two dropped off and got ourselves to the hospital (side note: no icy roads and very little traffic - another blessing since we live at least 30 minutes from the hospital. Just another one of God's provisions for us that day!) I was having very frequent contractions. There was some confusion at the triage desk because my file was in the "induction" category and I was clearly already in labor. Then two different triage nurses checked me but they disagreed on how dilated I was. That was discouraging, to say the least.

Once I was settled into a regular room (labor / delivery rooms, which are quite nice at our hospital) a doctor (not my usual one) checked me and declared me well on my way. (I can't remember the exact number)

A little while later the doctor came in again and asked if I wanted an epidural. Actually, I was handling the labor fairly well, though I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. I told her I was afraid I wouldn't be able to push when the time came. She assured me that I was dilated enough at this point that it probably wouldn't be a problem so (please don't judge!) I agreed to the epidural.

Now all you natural childbirth advocates are going to howl about this, but let me tell you my experience: this was the PERFECT epidural. I could still move my legs and feel what was going on. The only thing I couldn't feel was my contracting belly. I still praise that anesthesiologist (and God, again!) whenever I think about it.

My water broke around 11 A.M. (which I could also feel) and then, sometime around noon, my nurse announced she was going to take her lunch. (Let me just say that this nurse, while nice enough, was not going to win any "go getter" awards) That seemed fine to me at the time. Prince Charming was all the support I needed.

That lasted about 20 or 30 minutes (query: just how long a lunch does a L/D nurse get?!) when I started feeling a massive amount of pressure.

"I need a doctor," I told my skeptical husband. He tried to tell me that the nurse would be back soon but I insisted he get someone, NOW. He couldn't find my nurse (big surprise there) but he brought in another one. She went to check me and I expected to hear that I was 9 centimeters or something like that. Instead everything became a flurry of motion and I distinctly remember her going out into the hall, telling someone else to call a doctor because she could see a head.

They managed to get the room ready in record time. I was gripping Prince Charming's arm, thinking that if they didn't hurry up he would end up catching this baby his own self because I was ready to push and if I didn't push I would die. (OK, I probably wouldn't die, exactly, but it felt like the most urgent thing I have ever felt)

Two pushes later, at 1:31 p.m., Sweet Pea made her grand entrance. (Yes, if you're wondering, my wayward nurse made it just in time). The doctor later apologized for the confusion and told me my nurse should have checked me before going on lunch but I was already nursing Sweet Pea at that point and didn't really care any more.

Sweet Pea weighed in at 8 lbs. 3 ozs. (a full pound larger than Tigger had been!). She acted like she was starved and she nursed pretty much as soon as the nurses handed her to me, and every two hours after that for the next weeks (despite being "tongue tied", just like Polly. And yes, we refused to have her "clipped", and yes, that decision worked out just fine). She was alert for a few hours before finally taking a well-deserved nap.

And, not to brag or anything, but she was basically the perfect baby. With such a punctual arrival, how could she be anything but perfect? She was born exactly 31 minutes after the time the doctor had set for induction (1 p.m.)

This post is linked to the Labor Day Link Up over at Amy's Finer things.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.

Lisa said...

Love reading all the babies stories. I can't wait to hear about the next one ;)

Karabeth Baptist Homeschool said...

I'm like Lisa: I can't wait for story #4!

Vicky said...

Fantastic story! Loved it!

Amy said...

Wow! The day before Tyler was born I agreed to my 3rd induction after being so adamantly against it this time around. And I prayed and prayed and PRAYED to go into labor that night. But I didn't.

That was such a blessing that your epidural was light enough that you felt the need to push so strongly when your nurse was MIA. What would have happened if you hadn't been able to feel anything??

Can't wait for story #4!

Julie O'Dell Munroe said...

How have I not known about your blog? All kinds of fun stuff. It makes me wish I had gotten to know you better when we saw each other daily.

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