Thursday, November 12, 2009

Henry's Arrival: The Birth Story

Note: It has taken me over 6 weeks to finish writing this. It is 11.13.09 and Henry is 6 weeks old now. I'd like to note that when you read this you'll notice the dark and almost negative tone. That's because it's how I felt when I started writing. It's how I felt the entire time at the hospital. It's part of the reason it took so long for me to write this. I've had to come to terms with my birth experience. I honestly felt like failure and was angry at myself, my body, the hospital and doctors. Nothing really bad happened, I just want you to understand that it was not at all what I expected which was a “normal, natural birth”. I can't explain why I feel/felt this way but I am told it's very common. Time heals all and I'm over the anger & confusion and am grateful, and a better woman, for having this experience.

Henry's Arrival:

On Monday, September 28th, 2009 I was asked to come to the hospital to begin a medicine called Cervidil to ripen my cervix for labor. I was ten days past my due date. After waiting anxiously all day we were finally told we could come to the hospital. It was 9:00 pm, 100% humidity and raining. I started off driving us but had to stop to go to the bathroom halfway on the way to the hospital. On top of being pregnant I pee when I am nervous. Alan drove the rest of the way to the hospital because I was too nervous driving in the dark and rain with my glasses on.

When we got to the hospital we were taken to our labor and delivery room and I was instructed to give a urine sample and then change into a hospital gown. Easy enough. Then the fun started. IV placement! I do pretty well with needles and pain so I wasn't nervous. The nurse was pretty good and the IV was in my arm within 10 minutes. They hooked me up whatever it is they use to hydrate you. Doctor 'A' came in and put the Cervidil in place and told me we'd start on Pitocin tomorrow morning around 9 am and to get a good night of sleep. The nurse asked me if I wanted something to help me sleep and I said yes and an Ambien was given to me.

We finished watching the Panther/Dallas game and then fell asleep. They brought a cot in for Alan to sleep in. The room was FREEZING!! Neither one of us slept well but then again, neither one of us expected to.

Let me just say right now that my labor and delivery room was a miserable, dimly lit, closet of a room and I hated it. It felt sick and wrong and the bed sucked.

The next morning around 9am they hooked me up to the contraction inducing drug, Pitocin. The nurse said they'd be in every half hour or so to increase the amount flowing into my IV. She also said that most women are in active labor 4 hours into the treatment. Alan was so excited and even clapped his hands saying, “Alright! Let's get this show on the road!” I was very excited at this point as well, not knowing what I was in for..

Around noon I started feeling little contractions. No big deal.

By 2pm the contractions were a bit more intense and long. That was about the time my Mom and Brother in Law arrived with lunch, tormenting me with their Cook Out smelling clothes and hair. They were kind enough to eat downstairs because at this point in my hungry state I probably would have jumped out of my bed, IV's and all and mauled them for a corn dog. I was starving, having not eaten since 6pm the previous day.

Labor is kind of boring and SLOW. I have never watched the clock more in my life. In fact I think it's fair to say that September 29th 2009 was one of the longest days I have ever experienced.

3pm – they came in and broke my water. Dilated to a '3'.

By 4pm I was in definite intense pain and I had asked for my first dose of pain relieving drugs, something to take the edge off. They gave me Stadol. I then had slurred conversations with my Mom and B.I.L. Stoned watching Tom and Jerry on the TV.

At some point I get an epidural. I cannot even remember the time or sequence of events because like I said, time stood still that day while in labor. I do remember it not being that bad just that it was a serious event that required a lot of concentration on not moving or jumping and that it took a lot longer to do than I thought it would. Like 20 minutes from start to finish. I guess I thought it would be like getting a shot.

All is not well. Because of the stress of being in labor and not progressing correctly my blood pressure sky rocketed. I wasn't dilating. Henry was starting to show signs of stress with his heart beat. Still only dilated to a 3. My pelvis is small. Everyone thinks that an ample hipped woman will just have babies fall out of her. Not so. It's all about the pelvis, apparently. Doctor talks to me about the possibility of a C-section. He gives me a while to process...

Nurses keep coming in my room to help me roll side to side. They check my blood pressure like 80 thousand times. I am getting majorly annoyed and tired of this whole event. I'm done. I'm out. I'm officially shutting down emotionally.

I tell Alan I don't want to do this anymore and that I can't. I can't have a C-section, it isn't what I wanted, I'm scared shitless and I don't want to do it. I beg him to take me home. When that doesn't work I kick him out of the room and cry to my Momma about it.

Yes, I know I'm a baby...and I was very, very scared at the prospect of being cut up. Remember, I'm a control freak and the thought of having a cesarean had never ever crossed my mind my entire pregnancy. I was not prepared for this! Do-over!!

I cried hysterically for quite a while, apologizing to nurses and the doctor over and over again as they entered my room one after the other.

They started getting me ready for surgery. The anesthesiologist comes in to give me the scoop on the meds they'll be giving me and asks me about any allergies or reactions I've had to medicines. I remember her telling me that when they numb me I'll feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest and that I'll be breathing fine, it will just be a sensation. Great. So now on top of being freaked out about being cut open I'm now freaked out about not being able to breathe.

I cry some more. I'm exhausted and very volatile. This whole event is going wrong in my mind and I'm having to accept an ending that I didn't already anticipate. I'm learning a hard lesson in life at a vulnerable moment.

I kiss my Mom goodbye and Alan goodbye and they roll me off to the operating room. I close my eyes and don't open them until an hour later when they're telling me to open them up and look at my little boy. I was scared to look or see anything.

When I got to the operating room it was a scramble of people, all women, except for my doctor. Everyone was hustling and bustling, things were being put on me, strapped on me, pumped into my IV, people talking to was confusing.

I am just trying to concentrate on breathing. I'm laying flat on my back and my nose holes have completely shut. As in swollen shut. Nice. I remember feeling sorry for the nurses or whoever standing by because I'm sure my breath smells horrible and I'm breathing heavy on all of them. I apologize and they laugh.

They start putting more medicine in my IV and doing “can you feel this?” checks on my abdomen. When I get all nice and numb they start cutting. I can feel pressure and my eyes squint further shut as if I can block it all out, the noises, the chaos, by closing my eyes. My idiot of a doctor is humming along cheerfully to the music on the radio which is irritating me very much but at least I have something else to concentrate on.

I'm jerked awake by pain and I am panicking. “I can feel that!”, a burning deep inside towards my back. It's nothing severe but it freaks me out because I don't know what they're doing and if I should expect more pain. They tell me a little pain is normal but if it gets to be too much to let them know again.

I feel enormous pressure and yanking and then a high, shrill cry. I think I say, “that's my baby?!? I can hear him!” and I still have not opened my eyes. I know they're taking him over to suction his mouth and do all his vitals. They're telling me he's healthy and his cry tells me that, too. Good Lord it's high and clear!

Queen's “Best Friend” is playing on the radio. I remember thinking what a nice song to remember the birth of my son by.

Then I hear my husband tell me to open my eyes and I do. There he is! He looks nothing like I thought he would. He looks like my brother and he's tiny! All through my pregnancy and labor they've told me to expect a big baby. He's 6Lbs, 13 ozs and 21 inches. He's perfect though and handsome. It's all surreal. I have no idea the magnitude of what has happened, that I just brought another human being into the world....I just can't think about it.

They're still working on me and Alan has to go...they need to bathe Henry and do the rest of the routine. I'm starting to relax knowing that it's almost all over.

When they leave they put something in my IV to make me “more comfortable”. I'm told it's a morphine derivative and suddenly I feel very warm, fuzzy and content.

They wheel me off to recovery where I'm in for tons of poking, prodding, more medicine, questions and a blur of compassionate nurses.

4 days later and lots of yummy hospital food later (seriously, it was yummy, not being sarcastic at all) we go home. And thus, the adventures of Sir Henry begin.


Jenn said...

Im not sure I should have read this. Then again, from most people I have only heard good things about the l & d rooms over there so maybe it was the weather and maybe you got stuck with like the last room. :( Sorry it was dark and dreary. And Im sorry it wasn't the experience that you anticipated and wanted, but Im so glad that you and baby Henry came out on the other side of everything A-OK. And my is he a handsome little man! At least, should you decide to have more children you will know more of what to expect etc, and at least its over with an awesome reward!
I am almost anticipating a c-section though and won't be suprised by one, in fact I almost prefer one at this point so I feel some element of control and am wondering if the baby is going to stay all breach and circus freak bent up. I am quite concerned this kid will not fit through my pelvis either. I can totally picture Dr. A humming as he cuts someone open which is kind of creepy and kind of EXACTLY like him from what I can tell office visit wise.

ANYWAYS - you did it! And you did great! They are all used to women bawling their eyes out. you werent the first and wont be the last Im sure. You did a great job and still are! :)Thanks for sharing the story!

katandkarl said...

dude - i am sorry the birth wasn't anything like you envisioned/imagined, but happy that you are talking about it/processing it! sir henry is wonderful and lucky to have such a strong and wonderful mama!

Shannon said...

I seriously teared up reading this because it brought back so many of the exact memories I had when going through that. I was definitely in a panic state when I found out I'd have to be cut open and so badly wanted to fast forward through it and just be done. I remember them saying "can you feel this" too. I HATED that part because I kept thinking, "Technically, yes, I can feel the slightest sensation of that and if that's the case, I will feel the cutting!" I had them pump me so full of stuff it was crazy. And I remember the dr.s talking amongst themselves and I was listening to the conversations. My chest fealt SO heavy and I was SURE that if I didn't concentrate, I would stop breathing without realizing it. And the pressure of them getting the baby out and moving things around was VERY oncomfortable. I totally understand how you were feeling! I'm a control freak too and not being in control of my own body scared the crap out of me. I also remember, when the days passed at home, I fealt so jipped, like I got screwed out of a birthing experience. I fealt like a failure to myself because after 12 hours of Pitocin and my water being broken, my body didn't react like it was supposed to. And I fealt like I'd failed the baby (not that it mattered to him whatsoever how he got out!) I was so jealous of those that didn't have to go through all that scary crap and actually got to lie back and hold the baby afterwards, instead of watching Daddy walk off with him while they removed all of the rest of the womb and stuff. Also, not being able to see everyone ELSE'S reactions to seeing the baby for the first time because I was still being sewn up behind the closed doors down the hall from everyone. But you know what... it was all worth it. And I'm STILL scared knowing that I will go through it a third time. I KNOW that each time could be different and that's what scares me. However, in all honesty, the second time around was MUCH easier. After the shock of hearing I'd have to have another c-section, I had PLENTY of time to get used to the idea of it, so it was no surprise when the day came. I was still scared of being cut open again, but everything went much smoother and the benefit of doing it that way was that I could actually prepare and wear makeup and still look pretty afterwards for pictures, instead of having to go through all the pushing and sweating. It was also nice that I didn't have to go through the "can you feel this?" because with a planned c-section they do things differently. Anyway, you did absolutely brilliantly and you guys have a BEAUTIFUL baby. And with the passing time, you will forget the realism of the bad parts (mostly) and that makes it a lot better. I hope that when it's time to have your next kiddo, you will be able to attemp a VBAC but if you don't, you will be MUCH more mentally prepared.

Anwesha said...

I had been waiting for it so long,I am glad you still were planning to post this.I think it was the best thing to wake up to and read.It was like being there,which believe me I would have wanted to,if I had been there.It must have been a truly different experience, we ,the others,always wait for the part with the baby,and sometimes forget the ordeal the mother goes through to get there.I am not freaked out still,may be because I have lots of time for this adventure,but I am very excited at how you said ' bringing a new human being into this world'.It must be a truly surreal experience,never quite sinking enough.
Thank you so much for sharing.<3

emotional diva said...

i loved waking up this am and seeing this in my inbox. you are so amazing. i am so sorry that your l&d wasn't what you wanted. mine with lady o wasn't either. lady n was easy as pie...after 11 days late the little gooberbutt!

i hope all is well in your house. and i think it's funny that you say he looks like your brother. hahaha

joyfully gray said...

What a story - thank you for sharing it. I have read about other women that have c-sections that also need time to process their experiences. I wish it had been more of the story that you wanted it to be ... but am also glad that you have written about it, processed it and are grateful for the experience ... because you are right, it has made you a stronger woman.

And on a much lighter note ... my hospital food was ALSO DELICIOUS. Seriously, really good.

alicia said...

you know, i don't think ANY woman has a labor like she expects. too many different things can happen (HELLO, THREE DAY CONTRACTIONS?!). you pulled through, and were awesome - and got the little prize that is henry.

also - agreed on the hospital food. i wonder if they cater?