Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Colin Daniel - A Birth Story

I went to work on Monday, June 16th as normal. I had woken up that morning to get ready for work and had some bloody discharge around 6:40am. I told PB about it, and said that it could be nothing, but it could also be the "bloody show" that we had heard about, which meant that labor could be starting. I definitely felt contractions, but after our false alarm a week and a half ago, we decided not to start timing them until they got difficult. That afternoon got the best of me and I logged onto and started timing the contractions. I kept getting interrupted, but determined they were averaging 5-8 minutes apart. They didn't hurt yet, just made me feel out of breath, so I ignored them, finished up the day and tried not to think about it. On my way out of work, I went to my boss's office and showed her the work for the next day's training. I remember telling her, "in case I'm not here tomorrow, here's all the training materials I've been working on...". Little did I know that I wouldn't be in the next day - it was more of a joke...

That night PB and I went for our ritual walk around the nearby park - I was convinced if I walked enough I could walk this baby right out. When we got home, I realized I was exhausted, and fell asleep for a few hours. PB woke me up for dinner, which we ate around 9pm or so, and we hit the bed shortly after that...I was still pretty tired.

I woke up a few times to pee in the middle of the night, and around 4am or so I realized that I was covered in sweat. Didn't think too much of it, just did my thing and went back to bed. When I woke up again, it was about 5am or so. I was definitely still having contractions, but it was too early to wake up PB, and they weren't too bad - at this point I realized I wasn't a great judge of what were "real" contractions and what weren't. I figured there was no point in waking him up until I knew for sure, or it was time to get ready for work. So, I timed the contractions until 6:15am when the alarm went off, and then woke PB to tell him I was still having them. He snoozed as usual until about 6:35am or so, and then asked if I wanted to go to work that day. They were still not so bad that I didn't know if this was "it" or not, but realized I just wanted the day off. So I told him I wouldn't go in, and he decided to stay home as well. We both called in to work, and then PB went back to sleep. (He later told me his rational was that if this was "it" he'd need all the energy and sleep he could bank now). I got up and took a shower, having decided that it would feel fantastic and if we were going to the hospital later I'd at least be clean. I ate some breakfast in bed and watched tv while PB slept. Around 9 or 9:30 we both got up for a shower (my second of the day) - still felt great.

Right about that time they started getting a little tougher, and I'd just slowly count to ten, breathing deeply with each count, to get through the peak of the contraction. It went this way for a while, I layed in bed, totally focused on the contractions that were getting increasingly difficult, while PB cleaned up the house - dishes, laundry, general picking up... At one point we tried to play cribbage out on the porch, and that's when I talked to my mom, to tell her what was going on... I had to stop during each contraction, and PB would shuffle for me. I asked him during the game if he thought we were going to have a baby today, and he said probably, but he still wasn't sure. I asked him to give me a time he thought the BT would be born if he was born today, and PB guessed 11:11pm. We didn't finish the game. They were getting tougher and I decided I needed to just lay back down in bed and focus.

We were aiming to make our regular 39 week doctor's appointment that afternoon at 4:45pm, so we didn't have to go through the experience of being turned away from the hospital again. Well, around 1:30pm PB realized that he needed to call the doc - the tractors (contractions) had been consistently 5 minutes apart for a few hours. I still didn't realize what was going on, I was just focusing on each tractor as it happened. They told him to bring me in to the office right away, so he finished getting our bags together, loaded up the car with the boppy, body pillow, diaper bag, hosiptal bag and food that we wanted to bring to the hospital, and came back for me. It took a few tries for me to make it, I had to go to the bathroom, and I couldn't really walk during a contraction. But, we eventually made it into the car and we were off to the doctor's office - about a 20-25 minute ride away - depending on traffic. Contractions didn't stop or change in the car, and halfway there I told PB that no matter what the Doc said, we were going to the hospital, cause I couldn't make that car ride again.

When we got to the doctor's office we had a few minute wait, which was fine since I had to go to the bathroom again. Jaime, the tech/assistant we'd had our whole pregnancy, was ready with the doppler etc, but considering I was still having contractions, we skipped both. She said she could tell I was in pain, and we didn't need to do it. So I got undressed and waited for my doc to come in and check me. I was terrified she'd tell me that I was only 3 or 4 cm dilated. When she got in the room it was hard because I had to lay flat on my back - not a good position for laboring in!

She began the internal exam, which hurt, definitely more than what was uncomfortable before. All of a sudden we heard, "you're 7 cm dilated, 100% effaced, bulging bag of waters and the baby's head is at +1 station. You need to go to the hospital right away". As soon as I heard that I got tears in my eyes - it FINALLY hit me that this was it, that these contractions were real and that we were going to have a baby. I was so scared she was going to tell me that I was still at 2+ cm dilated and that I hadn't made any progress. The doc left the room, and as soon as I sat up from the examining table my water broke - what a weird feeling - it was this warm gush of water, and it made it that much more real in my head.

We hurried out to the car and I was able to call my mom on during the very short drive over to the hospital to tell her the news. It was 2:40. When we pulled up to the valet parking, PB grabbed all the bags and pillows and we headed inside. Once inside the lobby PB realized that we didn't grab the camera from the car - so he ran back out to grab it rather than going back down for it later. We took the elevator to the second floor, and got buzzed in to The Birthplace. This time I was in triage for less than 5 minutes - all they wanted to do was get my weight - and then we were off to room 2006.

We met Claire, our nurse once inside, and she gave me a gown and said that since my water broke after being examined, she was going to have to do another internal. Another contraction hit before I could change, so I leaned over the bed and breathed through it. She asked what type of pain management we wanted to use, and I said, "nothing". She replied, "great, I'll do my best to help you" and I felt much better. I got changed into the gown and on the bed for the internal. I was a bit shocked to find out that less than 15 minutes after the last exam that I was already at 8 cm - this was going to be fast!

Claire got the monitors hooked up to me, and put in the hep-lock. Everything was a bit of a blur. It was so hot in the room so PB kept blowing on my face - that helped. The contractions were so hard now that the water had broken. At some point Claire tried to get me to lay on my side, but the back of the bed was raised, which made it extremely uncomfortable, so I just tried to do my best. The contractions were now starting to come on top of each other - I don't remember getting a break at all. The baby was having some complications during the contractions, so Claire gave PB an oxygen mask to put over my mouth at the peak of the contraction - it seemed to help some.

The next thing I knew my doctor was in the room, my bed was raised and the doc asked me if I was ready to push. Ummmmm, no. Not yet. And that's exactly what I told her. I honestly didn't feel the need to push yet - and everything I'd learned in my Bradley classes told me that you push when it hurts not to push. I was certainly not at that point yet. My doc decided otherwise and told me we had to get the baby out now. There had been meconium in the water, so they were anxious to get him out as soon as possible. They lost the baby's heartbeat on the monitors, and kept moving those around to try to find it but could only pick up mine. It was time to get the baby out.

My feet were put up in the stirrups, PB on my right side and Claire on the left, to help me hold my legs back in the semi-squatting position. The doc told me to wait until the contractions were at the peak to push, and then she counted to ten for me. The first few pushes were very ineffective as I still wasn't at the point of feeling the need to push. About the third contraction though I got the hang of it. I was holding my knees back, holding my breath for the ten seconds while pushing, getting another breath and doing it all over again.

Finally someone said they could see the head, and that he had blonde hair. A nurse asked if we had a camera, so PB gave it to her. The memory card wasn't in it, but somewhere in the camera bag - PB was searching for it, but couldn't find it. I was trying to explain to him where it was, but another contraction was coming on, and I told him to leave it, that I needed him with me. After that one passed, he got the card, gave it to the nurse, and she somehow got it properly installed. She asked if I cared what she took pictures of and I said no, she could take pictures of anything and everything.

They asked if I wanted a mirror to see the head, and I said no, only because I had to keep my eyes shut in order to concentrate. I did reach down and feel the head though, which was pretty wild. PB was still blowing on my face and kept telling me I could do it, that I was doing great. I'm sure there were other people talking to me, but I only heard him.

Finally, the head was beginning to crown. My legs were shaking and I felt that I couldn't push any more. My doc told me one last push, that he had to come out now. So I gave it everything I had, and I finally felt his head come out. A quick pull from my doc and the rest of the body was delivered as well. I didn't want it to happen like that, but I also didn't realize how concerned they were with the baby. The doc told us she was cutting the cord because she needed to get him to the nursery nurses right away. She did show him to us, and PB and I looked at each other, both of us with tears in our eyes, and kissed.

PB went with the baby, who was very white and very small, and I had to focus on delivering the placenta. My hep-lock had been put in to give me pitocin to help deliver the placenta, but it fell out when Claire tried to flush it with water. It didn't matter because the placenta delivered spontaneously within 5 minutes or so. My doc then told me I had 2 first degree tears and quite a few papercut-type tears. She stitched up the two larger ones and then I got to focus on my baby.

He still hadn't cried, so the nurses were running all the bloodwork and tests they needed to do. PB was with him the whole time. Finally, I got to hear my baby cry for the first time. It was such a beautiful sound! They gave him to me to breastfeed, and then took him again to weigh him etc.

We had checked into the hospital at 3:07pm and Colin Daniel arrived at 4:03pm - less than one hour later.

4:03pm 6/17/08

6 pounds, 5 ounces

20 1/2 inches long

13 3/4 inch head diameter

Happy Birthday little one. We love you.

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