Monday, August 9, 2010

Birth Story

Also known as: A very interesting 22 hours.

We went into labor on Saturday night, the 24th, about 11:30, after a day of completing little tasks that had been bothering me and a date night to Texas Roadhouse. Chris humored me and had spent the morning hanging pictures in the baby's bedroom and reorganizing his clothing. We went out to dinner, because let's face it, watching someone hang pictures really wears a girl out. I laughingly order steak, saying that it would be the push (haha!) the little guy needed to make an appearance. Then we went to a movie. After getting home about ten, I blogged about our day, and we headed to bed.

As soon as I laid down I started experiencing mild cramps. I mentioned them to Chris because they felt completely different than the braxton hicks that had been common over the past two weeks. Chris wasn't impressed, (neither was I, they felt like a minor lower abdominal spasm and didn't even involve the entire uterus) and said to let him know if they got any worse. Fifteen minutes later they were worse. Much worse, now starting at my spine in my lower back and wrapping around to my stomach. After a few laps around the apartment complex and a shower they had only intensified and become more frequent. At 2:30 we called my mother because I still wasn't sure these were the real deal. She thought yes, and Chris jumped into high gear. I showered again (Because my hair was a mess and I thought I could fix it before we left. Ha.Ha.Ha.) and Chris rushed around grabbing finished packing the last minute things for our bags.

At this point we were four hours into labor, and contractions were about four minutes apart lasting a minute. I wasn't super ready to go to the hospital, but Chris was sticking to the 5-1-1 rule and was past ready to leave. So we did. The contractions continued to increase in frequency during the drive in, every three minutes, and the pain level was about a five on a scale of 1-10. It never got worse than a seven and a half during the entire process. Once at the hospital, we were checked in triage. Dilated to a three, completely effaced. Because we were over due and obviously in labor, they admitted us. Contractions at this point were 2-3 minutes apart and so intense I couldn't talk through them.  About 5:00 am my crazy but awesome for getting up so early Mom, two younger siblings and mother-in-law joined us just in time for the contractions to slow to every five to
seven minutes. Drat! So much for the six hour labor I had been planning. About 7:30am we were transferred to labor and delivery and finally got our room. Our nurse, Holly, was fantastic and very willing to work with us to achieve a natural labor. After getting settled, we tried EVERYTHING to speed things up. Walking, shower (wonderful lower back jets), yoga ball, changing positions...nothing worked. By 9:00am we were a five, and remained that way until 3:00pm. Talk about discouraging; getting checked every few hours only to be told the same thing! By 2:00pm I was done. Every time a contraction hit I had a feeling of utter despair. I felt that nothing was going to make this work, I couldn't take it anymore, and that something wasn't right. But through it all I was strangely rational, telling myself that this was transition. But if I was sane enough to tell myself this was transition, it couldn't have possibly been transition, right? Who knows, bottom line was we were exhausted.

In the zone...note the fantastic hair, so much for fixing before we left!
So, I broke and asked for a epidural. Not because of the pain, but because I was exhausted and a wreck emotionally. We had been in labor for sixteen hours and awake for a day and a half. Falling asleep between contractions and then being jolted awake by the next one was rough. Chris was in the same boat I was, physically and emotionally at his limit. He was great though, startling awake with every contraction to apply counter pressure or a heat pack to my back. (Otto was sunny side up and crooked. Ouch.) And for the record, the hospital staff never offered drugs or tried to talk us into changing our 'plan', it was completely my/our decision. I thought about the possibility of going home at this point. We could have--only dilated to a five, water hadn't broken, labor was slowing...but just couldn't. At this point I was ready to be done.

Getting an epidural was nothing, one small prick from the local and a few nervy sensations. And I won't was fantastic! No more real pain, just pressure, and I could still move my body. Not very well, but I could:) Everyone tells you that an epidural takes away all bodily control and can even slow labor down. But I think this is what I needed. Mentally I let go when it kicked in and immediately dilated to a seven and contractions picked back up to two and a half minutes apart. The on call OB came in and broke my water, which was clear; another major relief for us. Then after a few more visitors, we took a nap. A wonderful one hour nap.

At 6:15pm we were checked again and were complete! Woot, woot! But because of Otto's position, posterior, and because he was still high, we were told to 'labor down'. Sure, I'll lay here and do that, no problem. And then there was a shift change. Our nurse for second stage labor, Shanna, was AMAZING! So encouraging and had had a baby Otto's size who was also posterior. So she really knew what we were going through. After working (and yes, it really was work!) for an hour and a half, she told me to blow through the next contraction so the doctor would have time to get there. I got a little ugly and said, "Screw the doctor!" She laughed and told me to keep going:) The doctor made it in time and a few pushes later Otto was here! With a very short umbilical cord. I couldn't even see the baby until Chris cut the cord!
Awkward picture, but his cord really was that short!

Otto Man!
Beautiful and MAD little boy.
When the doctor delivered the placenta, he asked if I had had any bleeding over the last few days. I hadn't. He asked if there had been any blunt trauma to my stomach. Also no. Then my just had a baby brain got suspicious and I asked why. Apparently Otto had been surviving on a placenta that was aging quite a bit and had a 10% abruption. Eek! Thankfully he had no complications during labor and hadn't been deprived of oxygen during the process. God really knew what he was doing! Imagine if we had waited until our scheduled induction four days later. Later I (and Sarah) researched placental abruptions and found that the mother sometimes experiences a feeling of impending doom...maybe that was what I was feeling before we got the epidural?
8 pounds 11 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long
Not happy to have any form of clothing on:) Scored two 9's on his APGAR test because his hands were slow to pink up.
Next time I'll be more prepared for the emotional battle that labor brings on. I think that mentally I was trying to control or force the process along, which actually slowed everything down. Getting an epidural made me let go. Honestly I wouldn't change a thing about Otto's delivery if I had to do it over. In the future, i.e. next baby, I will definitely try to go natural again, but will know that plans change and that's okay. The goal is healthy baby and thankfully that is what we got!

Lots of hair, just like his Dad!
Right after he was born I told Chris he had to have the next one. Seriously, delivery was the most intense, slightly awful process that I have ever been through. But two hours later I was totally ready to do it again, the whole process...even the morning sickness. It was totally worth it. And I'd do it again tomorrow. Chris says he needs at least two years.


  1. Haha, Don't forget what happened after you had the Epadearle. You were like talking making converstation, it was funny! Heehe.

  2. That's true Michael, I was much nicer after, wasn't I? Sorry buddy!

  3. Awww I love this story! And when Sarah told me about the placenta, I got goosebumps and almost teary! That is amazing and Otto is a little miracle baby! I am so glad you had such an amazing birth experience, I hope my next one is similar!