Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day--Reminiscing about Labor...

I saw this meme on Missy's blog and thought I'd play along! (I'll have pictures from the Cheese Festival later...) It's funny thinking about the day I had my daughter. It seems like it was so long ago, yet the memories are so vivid, it's like it just happened. I'm long-winded, especially when it comes to talking about labor and delivery. Happy reading!

How long were your labors?

Well, let's see. That's sort of a matter of opinion. I would say 13 hours, including push time, but there were a few things going on beforehand that I didn't recognize as labor symptoms.

I had an OB appointment on Wednesday, May 11th, 2005. I hadn't been feeling well, kind of nauseous and achy, and even though I wasn't due for almost three more weeks, the doctor said that if I didn't have the baby over the weekend, she wanted me to call on Monday, because she wanted to induce. I had an excessive amount of amniotic fluid and in her words, "Even though it's early, we're going to have to get your baby out in the next few days. There's just no more room for it to grow." She then told me that I was dilated to 2cm and if I did some extra walking, it might trigger labor to start. I asked her what I could do about the pain in my back and she suggested a massage from my husband. I went back to work and took a half hour walk on my lunch break. Nada.

That night, my husband and I went shopping for a few last minute baby things and went for a walk. Still nothing, though the Braxton-Hicks (or so I thought) contractions were becoming more frequent. But my back was hurting even more.

I went to work on Thursday and made it about 5-6 hours. I just didn't feel well and my back really, really, hurt. I laid around that afternoon, picked at my dinner and went for a walk with my husband. It took about 45 minutes to walk around the block, and by that time, I was crying. I just wanted to lay down, so when we finally made it home, I took a shower and slept like a stone for probably 7 hours.

I got up for work the next morning--it was Friday...

How did you know you were in labor?

I got up for work and I was making my lunch--it was just after 6am and my husband was literally walking out the door. I asked him to please wait, because I really didn't feel so well. All of a sudden, I felt like I was going to throw up and a rush of water ran down my legs. My water broke. And all I thought was, "That stupid nurse lied to me in childbirth class! She said that if my water even broke, it would just be a little trickle!" I pressed my legs together and made my way upstairs to get changed so we could leave for the hospital. My back hurt so bad, I thought I was going to faint.

Where did you deliver?

I delivered at a local hospital. A Solucient Top 100 Hospital in the Nation for the past 4 years. Best hospital experience of my life so far--it really was fantastic, though of course, that probably also has something to with the fact that I was excited to see the kid I'd been toting around in my belly.

Drugs?

I tried hard to go all natural, but early on, it was obvious my contractions weren't strong enough and they started Pitocin. That got the contractions moving, but the only problem was that it turned out all the back pain I'd been having since Wednesday was back labor, and I didn't know it. I'd technically been in labor for 48 hours. After my water broke, I went eight and a half hours with no pain meds. Then I caved in and got a shot--Stadol, I think it's called--and was able to rest for about an hour. The doctor and nurse knew I wanted to go natural, but they actually recommended an epidural because I was so exhausted from trying to manage the pain and they agreed that I needed to save my energy to push. I was only dilated to 4-5 cm at that point, so I finally agreed to it.

The anesthesiologist was hilarious. When he found out that at that point, it had been almost 10 hours, he stood there, open mouthed and asked incredulously, "Are you joking? Women still try to go all natural? Wow! Do you mind if I tell the other anesthesiologists? You've gotta be one tough chick!" We had a good laugh as he jammed the needle into my back. They kept the epidural light because my doctor knew how badly I wanted to go natural. I still felt all my contractions and knew when I needed to push and could feel everything when I pushed, but the intense pain in my back had blessedly eased to a manageable level.

C-Section?

Dangerously close. I was in the final stages and pushing when I felt something go very wrong and the doctor started screaming at me to stop. Yeah...there's something very large coming out of a very small space, but just stop. Uh-huh. But I did stop, because I could just tell something wasn't right. My daughter (though we didn't know it was a girl at the time), defiant little bugger that she is, had turned her head sideways and was stuck. She refused to move. The doctor tried to rotate her manually, but no luck. I was almost hysterical at that point, and the doctor had to use a drill sergeant tone of voice with me to keep me calm. I was in no frame of mind to make a decision--I was busy screaming, "Just get it out, get it out, GET IT OUT!!" The doc and my husband briefly discussed trying to push the baby back in and doing an emergency c-section, but the doc really wanted to avoid it because of the risk to both of us. All of a sudden, there was an entourage of people marching into the room and I was trying to close my knees. I didn't want all those people in there! It had been just me, my husband, the doctor and nurse. Now, there were two more nurses, the anesthesiologist, a neonatologist and pediatrician, and I forget who else. I'm usually very together, but I was completely unhinged at that point. I was still yelling, "GET IT OUT! I don't care what you have to do! GET IT OUT!"

In the end, we skipped the c-section (and all those strangers left my room, other than the neonatologist, who wanted to examine the baby immediately after delivery) and I had the mother of all episiotomies. Out came the scissors--and half a dozen cuts (that I think ultimately required 14 stitches)--and finally, blessedly, out came the baby.

Who delivered?

I was so lucky to have my own doctor deliver. My original OB moved to California when I was almost seven months pregnant and he referred me to a new practice with three doctors. I honestly didn't like her very much at first, but we totally bonded during the delivery. I think it had something to do with her expression of amazement while I was pushing..."Holy crap, Martha. How much amniotic fluid do you have in there?" She really made me laugh and that made the process so much easier. Afterward, she was there for me when my heart went haywire...when I had post partum depression...and when I had two cancer scares in three months. I now recommend her to everyone I know.

Ah memories. If you want to play along, head over to Rocks in My Dryer and leave a link!

No comments: