Thursday, March 03, 2011

AAO 2-21-11

Despite concerns that I might be pregnant forever, our baby boy arrived on February 21st at 4:08 PM. He was (is) a little guy, weighing in at 6lb3oz and 19 inches.

On Sunday the 20th (at 40w5d), we decided to visit the art museum, thinking that walking around a bit might help things along. I had lost my mucus plug the Friday before, but there were no other signs of labor at this point. I was huge, swollen and cranky. I was scheduled for an induction on Feb 25th, and was feeling so fearful of what an induction might bring and hoping hoping hoping for a vaginal delivery.

Around bedtime on Sunday night, I started dripping a little fluid. I went to bed, and felt two stronger drips while laying down. Contractions started around midnight, and I woke my husband up around 1 am. After talking with my ob, we decided to head to the hospital to see if my water had broke (there was no dramatic gush on our couch, in our bed, or in the car, as my husband feared).

I arrived in triage around 2 am, where the nurse determined that I was indeed leaking amniotic fluid. I was admitted and they wheeled me to the birthing suite, where we would remain until baby joined us. At this point I think I was 2-3 cm dilated, easily breathing through some mild contractions. They felt like menstrual cramps and were felt mostly in my lower back. The nurse gave me a little pitocin to move things along. I was scared that it would ramp things up uncontrollably, but it was such a slow drip that I didn't notice anything like that.

I started having more regular contractions and politely enquired re:epidural around 8 am. The doctor wanted a more defined contraction pattern and more dilation. I worked through contractions until 5 cm dilated, at which point things were starting to ramp up a bit. The ob broke the amniotic sac to release the rest of the fluid.

At this point they administered the epidural. I felt some odd pinching sensations and muscle twitchiness as the catheter was going in, but it truly wasn't that painful. Certainly nothing compared to the contractions I was having.

Once the epidural kicked in I felt fantastic - warm, calm and totally pain free. It was heaven. I made sure that friends and family knew it was game time:

Around 7 cm or so they decided baby was sunny side up - which explained why I was feeling a lot of pain in my back. I started to notice that I could feel some of the contractions on my right side, and wondered if the epidural was wearing off a little. This scared me... I started to get the chills.

A resident on duty came in to see me and had my lay in this "spider man" position - sort of on my stomach/side, right leg up and left leg down - in an effort to turn baby so that his head was facing toward my back. As you can see I'm starting to feel rather miserable:

At some point I was 10 cm dilated, but at zero position - meaning the baby wasn't far enough down the birth canal yet. They wanted me to wait a bit longer to see if he progressed.

Happily there are no photos of the next stage, where I got the shakes accompanied by painful, intense contractions. In the progression from 5cm to 10, the contractions had changed - they now felt like extreme pressure and pain in my rectal area. I started to whimper with each passing wave, and my incredibly calm and reassuring husband started pressing on my lower back to try and ease the pain. I'm truly not sure how long this phase lasted, maybe an hour?

Finally I couldn't take it any more and had my husband tell the nurse I had to start pushing. Pushing actually felt good (better than trying to breathe through a contraction, anyway). I pushed, and pushed, and pushed... I know there was a point about 30 minutes in where I was exhausted and feeling totally demoralized - is all this pushing doing anything??? I'm tired.

I kept going, my husband holding my right leg and a first year nursing student (his first day on the labor and delivery floor) on my left. At some point, they broke down the bed and my ob appears in hazmat gear - face shield, knee high booties, the works. I can start to feel what I think is the baby's head further down along the canal, and work to push against the pressure. I get a surge of energy everyone in the room cheers when the top of baby's head becomes visible.

It's all a blur after that, I pushed for an hour and 5 minutes total. Once the head was out, baby's body slid out immediately after. I tore pretty badly in the process, but thankfully was still a little numb down there so as to blunt the pain a bit. There was meconium in the amnoitic fluid, so my husband wasn't able to cut the cord. They whisked baby away immediately and started to make sure he was ok. Once I heard him cry I relaxed a bit and delivered the placenta. Then I tried not to crawl out of my skin when the ob started to stitch me up - OUCH.

Finally they brought him over to me - such a cute little guy. He was really calm in those first few moments. I'm feeling really good at this point, chatting with the doctors and nurses and trying to get a good look at the new addition.

Afterwards we were moved from labor and delivery to the post-natal ward, where we would remain for the next two days. Both sets of parents arrived to meet the baby, it was all so surreal.

I feel so lucky that everything went the way it did and that the baby is healthy and happy. My husband was seriously like a superhero - anticipating my needs and staying calm the entire time. I'm sure none of this was easy to watch!

We've been home now for about a week, enjoying this quiet time where it's just us. I have lots to say about what we've learned in that time, and what we're trying to figure out. Next time...


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