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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ben's Birth! Part 1

I've had both a traditional vaginal birth and a scheduled Cesarean delivery. Many women are under the impression that it's easier to breastfeed if you've had a natural birth and once you involve drugs and or an emergency / scheduled major surgery it becomes more difficult for the mother to breastfeed. This is probably typically true, however in my case it was the complete opposite. I'll share my experience with both births and how they each affected my nursing abilities.

No two birth stories are alike. If you are familiar with only the beautiful, happy miraculous tales and want to keep those pretty versions untainted then don't read this entry. This birth blog comes with a warning: It is not for the faint-hearted or those with sensitive stomachs. If you've eaten a meal you should treat this blog like swimming and wait 30 minutes before continuing.

Now, if you want the truth, if you can handle all the gory descriptions of a bloody birth then maybe my experience can enlighten or prepare you for what a birth gone bad is really all about. I had the worst birth. Ever! Okay maybe Bella's birth in Breaking Dawn was worse, but hers was fictional, mine was not! (Read the Twilight series, or watch the movie when it comes out November 2011). Back to reality, before Ben was born my visions of what having a baby was going to be like were far, very very far from reality. I have to describe the blissfully ignorant world I lived in prior to Ben's birth so that you can fully appreciate the shock I experienced when reality hit (it didn't help one bit that my husband Nick was just as unprepared and naive as I was).

Towards the end of pregnancy every normal woman is anxious and ready to not be pregnant anymore. I was overly excited to meet the little love creation my husband and I both wanted more than anything. Throughout the entire pregnancy we would talk to my belly, telling Ben how much we loved him and couldn't wait to look at him and hold him. Once I hit 40 weeks Nick began telling Ben to "come out already" and that I shouldn't be "so selfish." He went on to say, "You can't keep him in there forever...just try and push a little." I actually wrote in my journal, "I can't wait till you're born. I want to hear your little cry just so I can hear your voice." Yea, I know you're laughing at me, and I'm laughing too now. Oh the IRONY!

The day before I was scheduled to be induced my mother sat down with me and tried to convince me to make sure an Epidural was lined up in case I needed it and not try to do a natural birth. (Yes I was that naive and wanted to go natural - for those of you who are able to do a natural birth, more power to you!) My mother explained that she had very long, painful births with me and my brother and didn't want me to suffer too. She tried to tell me that if I wasn't in pain I could better appreciate and enjoy the birth experience and would be able to bond better with my baby. I responded with anger, "You think if I don't have an epidural I won't love my baby?!" I snapped back. I wanted to live in my happy bubble and felt she was trying to burst it with her epidural needles!

At 41 weeks and 2 days I was finally induced. I went to the hospital on a Tuesday night (after stuffing as much fettucini Alfredo from the Olive Garden into the little space my baby left for my stomach to expand - this is important you'll know why later). There were six or so OB's at my doctor's office and I favored two of them and planned my induction date according to when those two were on shift back to back. My favorite male doctor had cervidil placed inside me to "ripen my cervix" which means getting it ready for contractions - although his description made me think of green fruit. All night long my adrenaline and nerves kept me pumped. I thought within a few hours my son would be here. Every 30 minutes the band on my arm would squeeze and take my blood pressure, which is always naturally low and would sound off the alarm. After several hours, and this siren being the only action our room was getting, the nurse showed me how to reset the machine so that I wouldn't have to wait for her to do it for me.

The sun rose and baby was nowhere near on his way. My favorite male Doctor's shift had ended so my favorite female doctor hooked me up to an IV with Pitocin. This drug makes the body have contractions and contractions are suppose to push the baby out. I knew my dad was flying up but was completely surprised when my best friend walked through the door behind him. My dad could hardly recognize me I was so swollen, not just from the pregnancy, but with all the fluids from the drugs and IV. My face was the shape of a full moon, distorting my nose and smile. My small audience watched the spiked contractions come and go on the computer screen all day, but I couldn't feel them. I foolishly thought maybe I would be one of those super rare women who experiences zero pain during childbirth. Hehe. We waited and waited and by 6:00pm the nurse took me off the IV because I had no progress and told me to enjoy my "last meal" (I had been put on a liquid diet all day which I made my husband go on as well out of support to me :)  I can't remember if this was the night we ate pizza or steaks from Outback. After dinner the nurse told me that I needed to get some sleep (I hadn't slept Monday night and it was now Wednesday night) because I was going to have a baby the next day and I needed my rest. So, at 10:30 at night she offered me the worst thing in the world you could possibly give a woman in labor - not one, but TWO Ambien sleeping pills. I want to believe she honestly thought this would be helpful and wasn't the actual devil incarnate.

I fell asleep (passed out into a coma) about 30 minutes later and my parents and friend left me to get that much needed rest. Just before midnight my body decided, without Pitocin, that it was the right time to go into labor. I woke from the dead and thought my body was being torn in two. No, it was being torn in two while an unearthly, ungodly force rocked through my entire body, debilitating my capacity to focus on anything but the pain. I vaguely remember Nick trying to breathe with me. The pain faded as suddenly as it came and I went under...maybe from the relief and all the energy it took out of me, or maybe it was because I was drugged with sleeping pills! Seven minutes later I returned to consciousness by the pain that overtook me and left me struggling to breathe. Every five to seven minutes I'd wake to the worst pain imaginable, truly indescribable and pass out the second it ended.

At some point, minutes or hours later I do not know, Nick finally got a nurse to check me over. I remember her trying to make me "stay with her" (and with those words it occurred to me that I must be dying!) so that she could explain that I wasn't dilating yet, but she can offer me some steroid to help with the pain. Pain was the part that I understood. Pain? Yes, that word was probably the closest description to what was happening inside my body. I was so out of it I didn't realize I was in labor, or that I was even pregnant for that matter. Not until she told me that there is a risk to the baby and that it would have to be administered during a contraction. I didn't have the energy to focus or care about anything else she had to say at that point. I passed out and supposedly during my next contraction she gave me some steroid to ease the pain. I say "supposedly" because the pain was never eased and after hours and hours of going through this I finally gripped consciousness enough to make my demands. "Give me an epidural, cut the baby out of me, or kill me!" These were the only options I gave satan my nurse. She explained that an epidural at this point might slow the labor process or bring it to a halt and since I still hadn't begun to dilate I had to wait. If I had to wait I wasn't going to be able to do it awake so I closed my eyes, sought darkness and went back under. After the next contraction the doctor was in the room and I restated my demands. The doctor examined me internally but she still wouldn't give me an epidural. She never cut the baby out, and she obviously didn't kill me...

1 comment:

  1. Even though no two birthing stories are the same, I STILL think (after having three kids, one without an epidural) that pregnancy and childbirthing are the two most beautiful experiences that I have ever had the honor of being a part of. There are no words for the feelings that you have when you get to meet and hold your baby for the very first time.