Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Bean is Born

I've been meaning to get this down on "paper" for quite some time, so I figured it was a logical place to start.

Pregnancy: 10 long months to wonder, worry, ponder, and plan. I read everything I could get my hands on: books, magazines, Web sites, blogs, etc., etc. There is such a glut of "information" to sort through, to consider, and to assign weight. Every resource says something a little different. But, after all my reading about child birth options, two spoke to me: water birth and Hypnobirthing.

I was determined to have a natural birth, and that meant no unnecessary interventions, including induction. As my due date came and went, I became more and more anxious to, of course, meet that little girl who had been rolling and kicking inside of me, and to get the labor process started before I required any "help." I tried the usual: sex (was it good for you?), nipple stimulation (hope none of my dead relatives are watching!), spicy food (great for inducing heart burn but not much else), evening primrose oil inserted at bed time for two weeks (I think this one actually helped soften the cervix, but who really knows?) and so on. Finally, the day before I was supposed to go in for an initial "nudge" as my midwife described it, I told the Hubby, take me to the mall, and we're walking as long as I can stand (it was 95 degrees out and just as muggy, so a venue with AC was my only option). We walked and walked, spent money, walked some more.....nothing.

"Let's go get sushi he said, and I'll make you a wasabi cocktail."

At this point, what the hell.

I, of course, dutifully ordered only veggie and fully-cooked sushi rolls and dunked them in this paste he created of a whole lotta wasabi and a little soy sauce. Heartburn be damned, this baby is coming out tonight.

Went home. Nothing. Went to bed around 9:30. At 11:30 PM I woke up to pee (2 hours! That was a long stretch!) and realized I was a bit crampy. I sat down on the couch and told the Hubs, "Go back to bed - I'll wake you up if it's anything." He was already in the driveway, bag in hand, with the car running. I calmed him down and commenced my Hypnobirthing breathing techniques. As the cramps intensified (still no pain) I thought I'd sit in the hot tub for a while to relax. I sat in the tub and worked on breathing and visualization while he timed the cramps. I still was not convinced that these were contractions, because my belly did not feel "hard as a basketball" as I'd heard it described.

"Can we go to the hospital now?" he pleaded.

"Babe, relax, it's only been like 1/2 an hour."

"Actually, it's 2:30 AM [the time distortion techniques actually worked!], and these contractions are coming every 5 minutes. That's when we're supposed to go."

I called my midwife, and, listening to my description of the cramps, she seemed hesitant to have me come into be checked, but, given their frequency, said it was better to be safe. So we drove the 10 minutes to the hospital and the nurse came in to check me. "You seem pretty comfortable, so I suspect it's still pretty early...but let's take a peek.... Ok, you're at about 5 1/2 centimeters - let's get you into a room!"

I reminded her that I wanted a waterbirth, and she said she'd get the jacuzzi ready (early labor was in the jacuzzi, then I'd move to a tub in my room to give birth).

Turned out my labor progressed too quickly for the jacuzzi, but they started filling the tub in my room. So far I had been fairly comfortable - then they decided to strap on a monitor for a non-stress test (not sure if this is a mandatory test, but I didn't think to ask). Then my midwife was called away to another patient, and the nurse kept the NST going for the next hour. I couldn't roll on my side or move around to get comfortable, and that's when I got out of the Hypnobirthing "zone." I should have insisted that they remove the NST (which was not reporting any problems), but I was not thinking clearly. Hubby was great - rubbing my back, encouraging me to use the hypnobirthing techniques, etc. But I didn't fight hard enough to stay with my breathing....and that's when it started to HURT. "This isn't supposed to hurt," I remember thinking.

It was around this time that my mom arrived. I have never been so happy to see her! My younger sister came shortly afterward, and I remember not wanting her to come in - I was worried that seeing me like this would scare her from ever having kids! But everyone was saying, "You're doing great - you're not scary!" Looking back, I don't think I showed how much pain I was in... I remember Hubs telling everyone "Oh, yeah, she did wonderful - was calm and collected, relaxed the whole time, etc." WHAT? I was out of my mind!

Having my family there for support was wonderful. We had planned ahead of time that just my husband would be with me for the actual birth, so as it got closer mom and sis retired to the waiting room. But knowing that they were there and would come in as soon as the Bean arrived helped me more than I can describe.

The contractions continued to intensify. "I want to get in the tub." I stripped to a tank top and got into the warm, wonderful water. Relief! Then the midwife came back to check my dilation. I was fully dilated but my water hadn't broken yet. She explained that they needed to see my waters to make sure there was no meconium present - so - out of the tub. She offered to break my water but warned that the contractions would intensify. At this point, I just wanted it to be over, so I told her to go for it.

Big mistake. A.) There was meconium present, so waterbirth was out of the question and B.) "Intensify"? More like "breaking your water will cause each contraction to feel like your insides have been plopped into a food processor on PULSE." By now my inner dialog went something like this: Ask for some drugs. NO! You're almost there. It's too late anyway. I can't do this any more! Ask! Say it aloud! No! You have to do it. Breathe.

I never did ask for the meds... Just kept breathing and trying to relax, though I was in agony. I never screamed or swore (choking husband: YOU DID THIS TO ME!) like you see on the movies (has there EVER been a realistic portrayal of labor/birth?) - just kept praying for it to be over. Hubs rubbed and rubbed and rubbed my back and encouraged me the whole time. Definitely could not have done it without him.

The nurse suggested that I sit on the birthing ball... That glorious, bouncy, ridiculous-looking thing SAVED me. I rolled back and forth while Hubs rubbed my back and got some relief during the contractions. "Do you feel the urge to push?" the nurse asked." Not really. "Why don't you just try pushing anyway -- just see if it feels any different?" (She was fantastic - knew what I needed but knew how to suggest it without being intrusive.)

She was right. Now at least I felt I was doing SOMETHING. The pushing helped the pain a bit. After pushing on the ball for a while I moved up to the bed. (DAMN! I really wanted to be doing this in the water.) Pushing was exhausting. I think it lasted about an hour. I felt the nice warm olive oil my midwife poured on my bottom and she said "Reach down and feel your daughter's head." I know it's supposed to be this magical moment, where you cry and scream, "Oh my god, my baby!" but I reached down and thought, "Yeah, great, a head. Whatever. Let's get it O U T." A couple more pushes, and the midwife said to my Hubby, "Come down here and deliver your daughter!" And that he did!

He and the midwife brought her up to my chest - I'll always remember the feeling of the hot umbilical cord on my thighs - and there she was: the most perfect, beautiful, incredible thing I'd ever seen. My Bean.

No drugs so she was AWAKE, AWARE, and ready to nurse. She latched right on and hasn't stopped since.


Would I go the Hypnobirth route again? Absolutely. Only this time I'd insist that the NST time be limited unless there was a problem, and I'd bring my CDs, and I would STAY IN THE ZONE. Were it not for my slipping back into fear and stress, I would have had a relatively pain free delivery. Still, it was not bad: 9 hours, and only 5 were really gruelling. And the results? Worth a million, million labors.

1 comment:

NuttyMeatfruit said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this. Bean's story is funny and sweet; I feel like I was there, and that means a lot to me! Keep it up.