Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kate: A Birth Story, Part II

I'm telling my birth story this week. Read Part I here.

The next several hours are a blur.  I remember walking over to the hospital, giving my entire health history to a nurse, getting a saline lock (ouch), putting on a hospital gown, and finally seeing Jay (they don't let husbands back during the health history in case they're abusive nut jobs).  

{Calling Mom to give her the update shortly after being admitted}

One of the things I loved about working with Amy was that she allowed things to progress on their own and didn't preemptively put me on pitocin.  As long as I wasn't taking any drugs, I didn't have to be hooked up to the IV pole and the baby only had to be monitored for 15 minutes every hour or so, so Jay and I spent some time walking the halls.  I also used a birthing ball and the rocking chair in my room to help ease the pain.  I found the rocking soothing as the contractions came with increasing intensity, locking my muscles from my chest to my knees.

{on the birthing ball}

Labor and delivery was really hopping that day, and due to a couple complicated births, we didn't see the nurse or the midwife for a few hours.  When the nurses started making rounds again (we were only supposed to have one but ended up seeing three during the day shift), I started asking for Amy.  I was in some pain, and I wanted to know if my labor had progressed enough that I could get an epidural.  

When she finally came in around 4:30 pm, she talked me through my epidural fears (I'm not too afraid of needles; I am afraid of not feeling or being in control of my body) and checked my cervix.  "You're dilated to a four," she said.  "You're in active labor, and I think now would be a great time to get an epidural.  I know a two to a four doesn't sound like a lot of progress, but it is, and the rest will go much faster."  Relieved, I asked to get the ball rolling on the epidural.  Since I wasn't connected to an IV and had been drinking my own water (and eating my own snacks, too, that I guiltily hid every time a nurse walked in even though the midwife was okay with it), I had to wait for the epidural until they pumped a liter or two of fluid in me through IV.  

As I waited for the nurse, Jay tried to distract me with another round of Stone Age.  After several turns, I became increasingly distracted and unable to focus.  When Jay reminded me, yet again, that it was my turn, I snapped.  "I can't focus on anything!" I said.  "I can't even... can't even think!  It's all I can do to get through these contractions!"  I rolled onto my side, curled into the fetal position, and gripped the bedrail, my knuckles white and my breathing heavy.  I don't know how long I lay like that; it felt like forever but was probably about 30 minutes.  

{7 lbs 11 oz)

Finally (finally!) the nurse came in and hooked me up to the IV.  Amy came back in around 20 minutes later and stopped short.  "You don't have your epidural yet?"  And just then, the anesthesiologist wheeled her cart into the room.  "I'll be back in a few minutes," Amy said.  I looked at the clock: it was 6:00--an hour and a half after I was supposed to get the IV.  

I had been nervous about the epidural, but I was so worn out from pain and 16 hours of labor that I didn't really care anymore.  Jay sat near the bed and held onto my foot as I buried my face in the nurse's shoulder while I got the injections.  "Uncomfortable" is not a strong enough word to describe the experience--it was a different kind of pain than I'd ever felt before--an intense pressure radiating from my back to my hips.  I breathed as deeply as I could and hung on, knowing it would be worth it.

{Asleep the next morning}

And it was.  I would finally be able to sleep for the first time since 2:30 that morning.  But first, Amy returned and checked me again, passing the anesthesiologist on her way in.  "Six," she said, surprised.  "You went from a four to a six in an hour and a half."  She told me to get some rest, and I gratefully, finally, took a nap.

1 comment:

  1. Yet, you look gorgeous through the whole process. Seriously, like photos could be in a book or magazine about birth.