10 January 2014

A Birth Story

I know I've been MIA for a few weeks, so thanks for the patience while I adjust to life with two under 2 (The Husband went back to work a couple weeks ago, and it's been yet another adjustment).

I wrote my birth story within a few days after Minion was born, but just haven't had time to post it until now. Since he's been cluster feeding all day, BabyA has just passed out after refusing to nap, and The Princess is watching a movie featuring talking Golden Retrievers, I finally have a moment to use my actual computer!

 Monday, November 25. At this point, I've been waiting on a call from the hospital since 6 AM Thursday. I've gone for 2 last minute NSTs because my OB wants me monitored every 3 days. I've been told by the L&D ward that I'm first on the list and they'll call when they have a room.

I spent the afternoon at my parents' house, napping with BabyA on their couch and eating Del Taco for lunch (totally not low carb, but I wanted it!). We left around 5 PM, BabyA throwing a huge fit because she wanted to stay with Grandmama. I was less than a mile from my parents' when I got the call.

I called The Husband and told him to grab a few last minute things so we could go as soon as I got home. We dropped BabyA back off at my parents' with her bag, grabbed me some drive through chicken, and then headed for downtown and the hospital.

I was admitted around 7 PM, and had an awesome nurse. She asked about my birth plan, and went over every line with me. Since my birth plan was centered around natural spontaneous labor, some changes were made, but I have to give big props to the nursing staff because they were all very accommodating of my wishes.

My OBGYN happened to be the Kaiser OB on call that night, and he started me on Cervadil around 10:30 PM because my cervix was still very thick, I was only dilated to 1 centimeter, and Minion's head was very high. I settled in for the night since I knew they wouldn't start Pitocin for at least 12 hours, and the Cervadil probably wasn't going to kick me into labor since I'd only been having irregular contractions for the past few weeks.

I hate trying to sleep in the hospital. Between the monitors and cords everywhere, the beds like rocks, and the broken blood pressure monitor that kept inflating and then refusing to deflate (causing my arm to go numb every half hour), I really didn't get any restful sleep. Then there was the added bonus of my fluctuating glucose levels because I wasn't allowed to eat.

At 10:30 on Tuesday morning, they removed the Cervadil and waited on the new OB on call to see what to do next, since I was still only 5% effaced and dilated to 2 centimeters. The OB on call was great (I have to say I was mostly blessed with great staff). She had a gruff manner and was very forthright, but was also very knowledgeable and respectful of my wishes. She told them to let me eat, shower, and walk around unrestricted for a couple of hours before they started Pitocin.

After choking down a bland hospital lunch, I was started on a Pitocin drip. My contractions had been coming at 3 minutes apart for several hours at that point, but they weren't increasing much in intensity. The Pitocin started around 2 PM.

By 5 AM, I was exhausted, having contractions every minute or two, and still barely progressing. After a lot of prayer and a few texts with my best friend, I made the decision I didn't want to make. I requested an epidural.

I had a feeling that, similar to my lack of progression during my labor with BabyA, I was not responding well to the Pitocin and my body wasn't relaxing enough between contractions to dilate. I was right. The epidural was inserted around 6:30 AM. At that time, I was still only 3 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced. Within 4 hours, I dilated from 3 to complete and birthed Minion.

I was blessed to have the support of one of my dear friends and a member of my Mama Tribe acting as my doula. She was in and out over the days since she had her own nursling at home, but her support and encouragement were invaluable. I was especially grateful for her encouragement that helped me tune out the OBGYN and nurse who kept telling me to be quiet while I was pushing.

Minion was born at 10:28 AM on November 27, 2013. He weighed 9 lbs 13 oz and was 20.5 inches long (though we think they mismeasured because he was 21.5" at the pediatrician's office, and I doubt he grew an inch in 5 days). I had no tears and can't even describe the difference in my physical and mental health when compared with the aftermath of BabyA's birth.

Physically, I am still a bit tired, but not utterly exhausted. I'm getting around with very minimal pain, which is mostly in my abs and pelvic floor. My nipples are a bit sore, but not raw and bleeding like they were after BabyA.

Mentally, I feel like a different person. Really, I had somewhat similar labors and delivery. Both Pitocin induced, both with epidurals. Minion's birth actually sounds a lot more difficult on paper than BabyA's. Her labor was short: 12 hours from my admission in the hospital to her birth. BabyA was only 8 lbs 1 oz and 22 inches long.

The key difference was me. I felt cheated after BabyA's birth. I didn't feel supported or empowered to pursue the birth I wanted. I was not educated enough to deny an induction that was probably unnecessary. My wishes were never consulted with regards to intervention, and I really just felt completely powerless. For someone who is somewhat of a control freak, powerlessness is devastating.

During Minion's birth, I was confident that I had made the best decisions during my pregnancy for him and for myself. While I struggled with the question of induction, I believe I made the best choice I could make based on the information available. Maybe in a few years, another mom won't have my struggles because there will be better gestational diabetes-specific information with regards to insulin dependence in pregnancy.

Even though I didn't get the birth I planned for, I am not upset or depressed following Minion's birth. I feel empowered and strong because I knew the decisions I was making and I felt like I was supported in them.

Also, I don't feel quite as alone as I did in the weeks following BabyA's arrival. I struggled a lot with feeling overwhelmed and alone back then, and now I know that I have a wonderful support system in the form of my Mama Tribe. Plus, The Husband has really stepped up his game as far as doing things around the house while I sit and nurse Minion. Plus, I have wonderful "happy (placenta) pills" that are an entire post unto themselves. Maybe someday I'll post about how I had to basically steal my placenta from the hospital.

So tonight, as I'm enjoying a dinner that I didn't cook (thanks to some wonderful mamas in my local babywearing group) and hanging out with my newly expanded little family, I won't be mourning the birth that could have been. I'll be celebrating Minion's birth and enjoying my babymoon.

For anyone looking for a more empowered birth experience or the information to make the best decisions for you and your baby, I highly recommend the following websites:
Birth Without Fear
Evidence Based Birth
The Birthing Site
His first boobie snack

His first time being worn (in his legacy wrap) at 1day old so I could eat Thanksgiving dinner.
Santa brought him a stuffed Minion...how appropriate!

NYE...and our first night without The Husband

He's got such a personality already!

Their bond melts my heart daily