06 February 2006

Grace's Birthstory

Grace was due Sept. 1, 2003. I went in on the due date for the NST (non-stress test) and only had one or 2 contractions, but not strong.

I went in again on Sept. 4th for another checkup. I was 3cm dilated because of the strong regular BH contractions I'd been having for 2 weeks. I don't remember losing my mucus plug, so I think it came out slowly. The nurses hooked me up to the NST again, came in and checked after 20 minutes, looked at the printout sheet and had the doctor come in. He said, you're having real contractions, you're in labor. When you're done here (I was in the L&D unit for the NST), come back down to my office. (My doc's office is at the hospital... that's how it's done here).

So I go back down to his office, and it's 1pm. I tell him I feel absolutely nothing and I feel fine. He said that I was in labor and I'd be having the baby that day. I'm thinking "yeah right". So I said to him, "I'm going home to get my husband, my suitcase, and my best friend, and I'll be back before rush hour traffic starts."

I'd been told not to go to the hospital anyway until the contractions were about 5min. apart. Not good to go too early or you get too many interventions. So I go home. I call my husband "D" and best friend Amy and say, "The doctor says I'm in labor, I feel nothing, but I guess we should go in." So we meet at my house at 3pm. I call my parents to say pray for us since we're going in. I still feel NOTHING. To me it's just BH contractions.

Get back to the hospital around 5pm. They hook me up to the NST, contractions are 10min. apart. I feel NOTHING. I eat dinner, walk around the hospital with best friend ("D" went out to grocery store across the street). I still feel NOTHING. By this time, I'm like... "What am I doing here! I'm not in labor, it's a false alarm, I wanna go home!" How embarrassing to be there for NO REASON!

The nurses tell me that when the contractions get to be 5min. apart that they'll check me again. Around 8pm, the "BH contraxs" to me were 5 min. They check me... I'm 3cm dilated... and I feel NOTHING. They suggest to me that I go lay down and try to sleep. I decide to take a shower first. I throw up in the shower because I'm so nervous!! Maybe nervous because I really didn't think I needed to be there? But the shower was relaxing and I got to sleep around 9pm. "D" is napping on the sofa in the room. Amy is watching a movie on her laptop.

11:07pm, I feel SOMETHING! My first painful contraction. NOTE: This is when I consider my labor to begin. 11:15, a HUGE contraction, and my water breaks all over the bed. So glad not at home. I yell "My water broke!!" The lights go on, I jump off the bed and run to the toilet so I wouldn't be so wet. Well, I got to the toilet and realized the contractions were so strong that I couldn't walk. Talk about going 0 to 60 in 5 minutes! So they wheel me down to the labor suite. I lean on the bed during contractions, I kneel, I try everything but no relief. I ask for the birthing pool around 1am. All of my pain is centered on my tailbone at that point. I get into the pool, moaning LOUDLY (I'm sure the whole hospital heard me), and after 5 contractions realize that this isn't going to work. I can't seem to find a comfortable position without floating. If they'd checked my dilation first, they could've told me I was entering transition and that the pain relief would be less effective. At least getting in and out of the water got me distracted.

So I go lay on the big bed (nice birthing suite... only natural birthing suite in all of SE Asia... lucky me!). Amy reminds me that I'm going to lose my voice if I keep moaning so loud. She helped me get in control by breathing in through my nose and out by my mouth. My OB hears me from down the hall and comes in to push me into agreeing to Demerol. ( My mom had to take a valium with me!!) It calms me down enough to actually relax between contractions and focus on breathing during. It gave no pain relief. I'd been taught that laboring in bed was bad, but my tailbone was so bad that laying on my right side and the nurse midwife manipulating my tailbone during contractions helped more. Around 3am I muttered that it felt better to push during the contraction. Amy asked me to repeat it and then she announced to the nurses that I felt like pushing. They check me and I'm ready to push.

3:15am. So, they try to get me to push while laying on my side. That was stupid. I insist on getting out of the bed. The demerol had worn off and I was actually relaxed and excited to be pushing. I tried the birthing stool but I couldn't get low enough. It's also at this time that I see a roach on the floor... hey it's SE Asia, the hospital is clean, but they still can get in. I even thought it was funny at the moment... especially the doc taking off his slipper and chasing it!! I decide that the best position for pushing is squatting on the floor. "D" sits on the bed behind me while I'm leaning against him on the floor. Contractions slowed down to 3 to 5 minutes apart. Pushing felt great.... like I was getting something accomplished. Looking back, pushing was 100x better than the contractions.

I remember feeling that "ring of fire" as she was crowning... Amy said isn't this where you're not supposed to push to not tear? The doctor was like nah, just push, so instead of helping me out, I tore (another pissed off story I'll write at another time!). He had the nerve to tell her, "If you're gonna tear, you're gonna tear." What a load of crap. Anyway...

3:42am, there she/he is! Less than half an hour of pushing! They ask me if I want to hold it and I say no way... I'm too shaky from being in the squatting position for so long. I ask if it's a boy or girl. Doctor says, You tell me. And I see it's a girl! Welcome Grace Elizabeth!

I layed down on the bed and then held her and tried to nurse her. She was more interested in looking around. "D" stuck out his tongue and she even copied! I birthed the placenta, got 3 stitches, and was so tired! "D" fell asleep on the floor, I fell asleep on the bed. Amy ended up holding Grace for the next hour!! Around 7am I transferred back to my room.

And that's the story of Grace's birth. I'm still amazed that I felt NOTHING when I was supposedly in labor until my water broke. Turned out to be 4.5 hours of labor with half an hour of that pushing. Overall I'm very happy with the experience of her birth.

Fast foward 2.5 years, with hours of reading and education later, and now with a totally different view point. At the time I thought it was a great birth, and it was compared to how most women birth, but I can still see so many things that went wrong. #1 - I should've waited at home and gone to the hospital after my water broke. #2 - I should've walked to the L&D room and all over the place. #3 - I should've tried more positions in the birthing pool. #4 - I should have NEVER layed back down on that bed! #5 - I shouldn't have gotten Demerol because it made me in such a haze, Grace wouldn't nurse well, and I didn't seem to care what was going on other than I wanted a nap. #6 - I shouldn't have pushed through the pain to ge the baby out... should've not pushed and let her slip out so I wouldn't tear.

I really think that as a first time mom, I did well, but if I'd had a trained doula (labor assistant), not just a friend who'd never had a baby there, I would've been encouraged to try different things to manage the pain. I also would've known the risks involved with a narcotic (Demerol) and known to ask dilation to see how much longer it would've taken.

I also wish we'd declined the Vitamin K shot. I wish she'd roomed in with me instead of sending her off to the nursery so much. I really feel like there wasn't much bonding. I didn't even have a chance to change a diaper until we brought her home. The first few weeks were not good. I couldn't sit well due to the stitches, Grace wouldn't breastfeed correctly (until I get help), and I got mono. After she started eating well, it got better.

All of her birth was a learning experience, and I took a completely different route the next time...

Here's a current picture of Grace:



At 7:16 PM, Blogger Sib said...

Erin...just read the story of Grace's birth, and it's amazing! I didn't know you wanted to be a midwife. You would be great at it. :)
Thanks for your help with my blog!


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