::: a warning, this is very long:::
As I wrote before, labor began at around 4 am Saturday May 2nd. By labor I mean real contractions, they were spaced apart and irregular, averaging around every 15 minutes. Some were quite painful, and others not so much. They went on all day with a few breaks of an hour or two. I tried to do things to keep them going but nothing seemed to affect them. I should have and would have hiked my neighbors steep driveway but my knees were awful that day, as if a huge dose of relaxin had been released, just walking and they felt at times to be popping out of socket.
I began timing in earnest that evening but they were still pretty randomly spaced. I got about three hours sleep and was woken at around 4 am again but with much harder contractions.
Sunday morning they were around 7-8 minutes apart and most were very intense and painful, as in I could not talk through them. This went and around 9 am they were really difficult to deal with and around 5 minutes apart. I was coping only with the yoga ball but it was getting hard even on that. I even used it in the shower and when that didn't help much I told Lu (who is roomie but she is so much more than that, her name is Lu so from now on I am just saying Lu. And yes Bleu and Lu, too funny) as soon as my laundry was dry we would head out.
I should explain here that heading out meant getting the two dogs, Bliss and Lu and I packed up with snacks and luggage and games and dog food because hospital is an hour away and we were not coming back until baby came. Bliss was to be allowed to room in with me but would be with Lu all day at a hotel with the dogs. I had found sitting on the yoga ball the only way to cope with them and was afraid of the drive without being able to be on the ball. I was also terrified of even getting downstairs at that point. I was at the point that I was afraid of being stuck upstairs because contractions had me frozen in pain at times so leaving suddenly became essential to me. I choose to do the driving but in my defense I felt it would be doable and I would focus less on the awful hour it would take to get there. I could pull over for contractions. So Lu got everything together and by 10 or so we left.
It WAS easier to handle them because I was sooo focused in safe driving. I had to slow a few times to get through contractions but I did OK. I called my doula on the way and she was meeting us at the hospital. We arrived and I took some of my stuff, kissed Bliss 10 times and went in. The doula arrived shortly after, met Lu and brought up the rest of my stuff.
I went straight to L&D and waited through a couple contractions for a nice janitor to get a nurse for me. They got me to a temp room and hooked me up to the monitor and got me a yoga ball. After about 10 minutes they let me know contractions were about every 3.5 minutes and said I was doing good. They had me get on the bed a bit after and checked my cervix for the first time.
I was only at 1 and my cervix was still completely posterior and the baby was high.
I was devastated to say the least.
They got me a room and I got undressed and the doula and nurse helped me try and focus and get through contractions. I went from ball to bed every 2 hours for a cervix check. I was starting to get back labor and it was really messing with my psychologically. I had awful back labor with Bliss and lost the plot during it and was afraid of that happening again.
At each check it was the exact same story but maybe a tiny bit thinner cervix. I asked the nurse to call my OB at this point. He was not on call at the hospital until the following day, his partner was the OB on call and when I met him after arriving I knew I didn't like him or trust him for a section. Even before we saw anything of what I may do he was trying to hint to me I would most likely need a section. I did not trust him to carry out the wishes/needs I had if indeed I did get a section and felt either way I would go to the next day to decide. So the nurse called my OB and let him know what was up, but he made no offer to come in that night so I felt more stuck.
At around 3:30 it was suggested I take a hot shower, the back labor was getting a bit more prevalent. I took a stool into this tiny shower and got in and just began to cry.
I missed Bliss,so much, and what was going through my mind in that shower was that I was optionally suffering a lot and being away from Bliss all so I had a chance to have a vaginal birth and that the longer I suffered the longer I was away from him and the longer until we ALL got to go home. Putting off the section until the following day because that was the day my OB was on call and so I could see if I ever fucking dilated meant 2 more nights after that before I would be allowed to discharge. What was the point????
At this point I called my doula and just wailed to her about it all and said I should just fucking section.
The nurse came in and asked if I wanted something for pain. I said I didn't want Demerol or Gravol as they would not take it away and I would feel dopey to boot. I said I wanted an epidural but knew it was too early with my cervix. She said she would call the OB on call and ask.
I felt utterly defeated at this point. A day and a half of labor and at a 1. It was all so familiar except the spontaneous labor had given me false hope this time would be different. I was angry and upset. The nurse came back and said the OB had said OK to the epidural, that I had been laboring so long and needed rest. She also noticed that the shower had slowed my contractions and warned me the epidural could even stall me completely. I said fine, at least I could get some rest and Bliss could come over for the night and we could have some quality time together before the section the next day.
A side note here. I had found a nearby hotel for them all to be at during the days that had a pool and took pets. When I called after getting into my room they were not there. The place no longer took pets, the secondary place with a pool didn't either so they found another place with no pool and come to find out the TV's are so old they have no AV sockets so Bliss could not even hook up his Game Cube. I was sooooo upset at this but he had good spirits about it. I was happy about that but knew it would change when he had been there all day for possibly 2-3 more days.
So the anesthesiologist showed up before they even had my bed ready and I got the epidural. He had some trouble finding the epidural space in my spine so it took a while but the freeze shot was numbing the back part of my labor contractions so I was OK.
The epidural took about 20-30 minutes to really kick in and then my blood pressure dropped to 70/44. They forced an entire bag of ringers in with a pump, which froze my damn arm but my bp stayed low. They then gave me a shot of ephedrine which did nothing. About 1o minutes later after putting in a catheter I was given another bag of ringers and another shot of ephedrine. Still no change so they were about to turn off the epidural when my bp finally came back up.
Sheesh what a pain but I was no longer in pain. The OB came in then and it was noted that as soon as I got the epidural all contractions had stopped completely.
This is where everything really changed and where I give that on call OB I did not like and the Canadian health system a ton of credit. The doc said to me that because everything had completely stopped and it had been over half an hour that he was OK with trying me on a low dose of Pitocin if I wanted.
To clearly explain this I need to clarify things here. With Bliss I had a home-birth transfer to the hospital for no dilation and they refused to give Pitocin to help because they said they had no prior relationship with me to know my prenatal history (like the midwives excellent records were all lies?) and therefore could not risk giving it to me. READ THEY WERE COVERING THEIR ASSES IN CASE OF POTENTIAL LAWSUIT!! This is so much the US medical system, always the possible lawsuit precedes the patient care. Now, this time around I am well aware Pitocin is not even on the table because I have had a previous c/section and there is a risk of uterine rupture. I never asked because I had read the very latest study on uterine rupture and Pitocin that was recently done and is the current gold standard in all of North America and much of the world. Where is the study out of you ask??? It was out of Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada. I was an hour away from Halifax in a room when the on call OB looked at me as a patient, and looked at the current situation I was in and made the decision that it would be OK, and safe to try me on Pitocin because of the specific circumstances going on at that moment with his patient. I was floored, and impressed and said sure.
I still didn't think it would necessarily help but I was happy to be given the chance, once again, to get to my goal of VBAC.
So I was finally relaxing. I had called Bliss, he was having fast food and watching TV and bed jumping and doing OK. We planned to bring him over after 9 pm so he would be tired and go to bed soon and I though I would get a nap before then when I felt a contraction. I said hey! I had one, then realized they had just hooked up the Pitocin about 3 minutes before. So I though that was a good sign. I DID feel the contractions but they were manageable and I had a button for the epidural to hit if I ever needed extra. The OB said as long as he was getting good readings on the monitors we were OK but if he couldn't he may have to place an internal one so he could really keep track of my uterine pressure. It just went inside but not in the baby or anything. I said fine if that was necessary that was OK with me. He said we would watch and decide later.
They contractions were going for a couple hours, every 20-30 minutes or so the nurse would come in and up the dose. After 2 hours doc came in to check my cervix which was still at a 1 but some effacement had happened. Needless to say I was not hopeful, but I was not in much pain so all was OK. Two hours later the contractions are causing me to hit the extra meds button a couple times but still OK but I am checked and at 1 plus wiggle room. I am frustrated but the doc says it's enough to keep going with the Pitocin.
The next two hours before the next check was harder pain wise and when I was only at a 2. I was of the mind that a section was for sure but at least I now knew even Pitocin would not help. The doc and my doula were way happier than I that some progress was made. The doc decided to break my waters at this point. I wish I could say I felt release, but I felt nothing but the same contractions I had been. I was surprised, however, to see so much bloody fluid come out but the doc said it was fine and normal. With Bliss it was clear. After that I gushed with some contractions and not with others but truth be told I had been gushing with contractions on and off since I got to the hospital so who knows what was up. I was never concerned and neither was anyone else.
Bliss came over for bed at this point which made me soooo happy. The contractions were really starting to cause pain at this point even with hitting that button a lot, but having him there made me focus on him and get through them pretty easily for an hour. We chatted and the nurses brought the rollaway cot and made it up for him right next to my bed. He was tired but very excited. After going potty and doing our goodnight ritual he laid down and Lu hung out until he was asleep. My awesome doula had said she would sleep in the lounge and be on call for me or Bliss so Lu could go back to the hotel and get some sleep and be with the dogs. I was having a harder and harder time with contractions at this point and at the next check around midnight was at a 2 plus wiggle room. The contractions were not only in my cervix but now they were in my butt too and they hurt there. I was very very uncomfortable, like severe pain and then a funny bone feeling but in my butt, I was not happy. I was quickly getting frustrated at this point but then during that next 2 hours something shifted and the contractions became very very different.
I have read a lot about birth. Specifically a lot about natural and alternative birth. I was very traumatized by Bliss' birth. It took a year before I could even begin to process it and it was very very painful even then. One thing I have read about on my favorite (read super crunchy) sites was orgasmic birth. I do not think I ever believed it but I LOVED the sound of it. What had shifted is what I can only describe as that kind of contraction, an orgasmic one. It was deep, and vibrational, very very intense and slow like honey but in a languishing, rolling way, AND it was pleasurable. Yes I said pleasurable. I was shocked and dumbfounded but soooooooo happy. It took 2 before I realized it was that and I was trying to just enjoy them and thought I could finally catch a nap because these, I felt sure I could cat nap through. They also felt very very productive to me. I wanted to stay here in this happy space for a while. Bliss was sound asleep at my side, I was on Pitocin, all was OK and there was no pain, I wanted it to last a while.
After about 6 or so of these yummy contractions the nurse came in and turned up the Pitocin again from 79 to 80. They had been doing this all night but when she did it this time everything changed again. Suddenly all yumminess was gone and I was back to the butt contractions, but this time there was no cervical with it and the pain did not lessen in between contractions. Within 4 or 5 I was asking for the pit to be turned back to where it had been. The nurse said to try and cope with it a bit longer but the pain was unbearable. I was feeling like my sphincter was being ripped apart but there was no actual movement there. I was quickly becoming inconsolable and was begging at that point and crying myself a right pity party. The nurse said it was time for a cervix check and would do that first. She checked and said I was at a 3, but the doc had been doing them and frankly I believed her small hands and newness (she was new) made her call the docs 2 with wriggle room a 3. It was at this point I demanded it be turned down to 79 again, which she did, but it did not go back to yumminess. It did, after about 3-4 contractions, begin to include my cervix again in the pain part of the contractions which was very welcome at this point. When it was only butt it was just too too much. They brought the anesthesiologist back in at this point too and he gave me a bolus of a little more in my epidural and upped the click button dose but he warned me that epidurals do not ever take away pressure pain and nor do they usually ever take away butt pain. Great!!!
The last check had been at 2 am and I was exhausted and feeling pretty down, I began to wonder at this point when to say when, I really did not want to go through another c/section over exhausted and spent and it was looking like that was going to be the case. Every contraction at this point was excruciating and I was trying desperately to just get through them. The nurses kept asking me if I wanted my doula but I kept saying no, let her sleep. Pretty silly but I so wanted her available should Bliss need her and said to the nurses it wasn't like she could do counter pressure on my sphincter. I cried and breathed and just got through but by the time and hour had gone by I was pretty done.
The doc came in at that point to see what was up, he had obviously been told I was at the end of my rope. He suggested he do a check and then we decide if we should stop the Pitocin and let me get some rest or not. I said fine and again he did a check. While checking he sort of stopped and then dug deeper looking perplexed and I asked if I had gone back to a 1. He laughed and said no, I was at a 10 and fully dilated with just a teeny tiny lip on one side. I gasped, the nurses gasped, we were all totally shocked. From a 3 to a 10 in an hour. Apparently butt pain is good, who knew.
The nurses hurried to ready the room and wake the doula and I began breathing through contractions with renewed hope. I remember distinctly fearing a long pushing session though because if I went through all of this only to push unproductively and swell up and end up with a section anyway I would be PISSED to say the least.
The contractions changed the minute I breathed better and felt hope, they were still butt pain, and cervix pain, but they were also rolling and I felt the baby coming into the canal. I was at a 10 but the baby was still pretty high. I began very silent breathing through these contractions trying with all my might to let my body do all the work and me do absolutely nothing. It is what I had always read and wanted to do. It was very hard but with the knowledge of being at 10 I was really able to. After about 6 of those super intense contractions, maybe 5, I told the nurse what they were like and she looked at me and said it was time to try pushing. I was shocked again and said NO WAY?!? but she said yes. No all this time I was on my side because of the epidural, and apparently the baby's heart rate went up on my left side so I was on my right. The next contraction I did a testing push, not really an inward pre-breath just tried pushing hard. It hurt a lot but the nurse said she thought it moved the baby down more and with the next one to actually take the inward breath, push with all my might, and then another breath and push in the same contraction. So still on my side, with the next one that is what I did and I pushed hard, twice, and it hurt like hell and scared me a fair bit. My fear was of backing away from the pain, I didn't want to do that. I also had the catheter in still and wanted it out, it hurt when I pushed hard. The nurse said she saw the head and I would not be pushing long and of course, I did not believe her. My doula had arrived and was filming and lending awesome support and laughing at how drastically things had changed, and Bliss was peacefully asleep on the cot beside me.
The nurse suggested I move onto my back, saying I could now, but I have always been one who felt back deliveries was counter-intuitive. I looked at my doula and she knew exactly what I was thinking but the nurse said it could give more traction and she could hold my leg to push against. During the earlier part of the day before the epidural every time I went on my back for a check the pain was excruciating so I was afraid if I felt that again it would set the running-away-from-pain- ball rolling. She assured me they would move me back super fast if it even started, so they rolled me onto my back and with the next contraction I took the breath and pushed against their holding, hard, and then again, and then she laughed and said that the next contraction I could NOT push through, but had to breathe through because the baby was coming NOW and the doc was down the hall.
WOW!! Shocked does not begin to explain my feelings, I was numb and thrilled, and shocked, and a jumble of emotions all rolled into one. One thing I want to say here that was also neat is that the room was really quiet. I was not screaming or yelling through any late contractions and only grunting a little through the pushes so far. Watching the movie since the birth it is something that strikes me as so awesome, the lights were low and all was calm feeling. In my c/s it was a surgery room which is a ton of beeps and yuckiness. They had removed the catheter finally, what a relief, and taken off the contraction monitor from my belly and all was really quiet.
So I breathed and puffed through the next contraction and then the doc came in and dropped the end of the table and put my legs in braces I could push against and told me I could push away with the next one. I was asking all sorts of questions and stuff at this point about optimal pushing and would I feel instant relief after the head came out etc. The doc was funny and said yes but don't forget the shoulders, and I said I wanted to do both head and shoulders with one contraction if possible, head one breath shoulders the next. He thought that sounded great. So with the next contraction I took the breath and pushed hard and the head was burning and coming, and I didn't get it out as I started to panic inside and I took another breath and pushed again, but not as great of a push. The doc said it was great and the head was partially out but not past forehead or anything. They asked if I wanted to feel and I said no but felt anyways but all I felt was labia. As I waited for the next contraction the baby slowly slipped back inside and I was bummed but they said it was fine and normal.
At this point I said I needed olive oil, it felt too non-lubricated down there, which isn't true but one nurse said a nurse at another hospital swears by it and we had this very surreal mini conversation. I asked the doc if I just had to push through the pain at this point (duh) and he calmly assured me yes. In the movie I am patting my chest in this sweet and silly self-soothing way at this point. So with the next contraction I took a deep breath and pushed hard hard hard, and it hurt hurt hurt,and just when I thought I would have to take a breath which I felt would make me not get it done the doc said the head was out to the nose and that gave me all I needed and I pushed with the last of that first breath the last bit as hard as I could and out popped the head. And yes YES yes it was a relief. I then took another fast breath and pushed again and out came the shoulders and then the baby was placed right on my chest, instantly. And by the by I do not think the shoulders were as tough as the head, at least in this instance, but I also think the joy of the head being out helped a ton!!!
So she was on my chest, covered in vernix with some blood and mucus but not much. I was rubbing her and she was mewing and the nurse asked what she was and I said I didn't know yet and she said I had to look and tried, in a funny way, to lift her leg to peek. The doc said shoot he had forgotten to look to and I just had to. So I said no a few more times and then peeked and again, was shocked. Looking back I think I had to have glimpsed so briefly it was stored in my subconscious right when she was placed on me because I think I waited more in a putting off confirming what I thought I just saw. I was sooo sure it was a boy, and there ARE parts of me that are terrified of a girl. It has to do mostly with teenage years but still. So I rubbed in her vernix, the doc sweetly waited for the cord to stop pulsing and I asked the doula to cut the cord. They placed a blanket over her to keep her warm but I did all the rubbing in of that magic cream. She was soooo alert instantly, just like Bliss, and she looks so so much like him, BUT she is tiny people. I mean to me she is just tiny. 7 lbs 3.8 ounces. That is 2.5 pounds smaller than Bliss and it was sooo shocking.
Are we seeing a theme? The birth that shocked my world.
So after a bit I let them weigh her but she was gone for like 10-15 seconds and then back on me. While she was gone I rubbed her vernix into me too, my chest and face and lips, it is truly amazing stuff and smells soooooooo good. I wish I could make people get that, it is amazing! She was spitting up some mucus but nothing bad and they suctioned her with the bulb syringe a few times and I pulled some out too. She also snorted a lot and grunted but it wasn't a breathing trouble snort or grunt, just likely a little mucus somewhere. She sounded adorable doing it. And her mouth, instantly rooting like a baby bird. I think she may remind me of a little bird but I am not sure yet. Bliss has always been my bug, my ladybug specifically, but that came about after a few weeks so we shall see. I saw a Little Bear two days ago called Pillow Hill where three lil baby birds that were brown with clusters of white triangles on their chests came to Little Bear's window that totally reminded me of her. Now I just need to find out what kind of birds they were (they were baby Robin's). She next latched on perfectly to my breast and sucked for about 3 minutes like a champ. Then she stopped and pooped all over the blanket, but I had them save me the blanket. The blanket stayed out a few days but I just sealed it in a ziplock hoping to save some scent. I swear it smells like it has been doused with the finest perfume in the world. Now I am even more irked our brand new food saver is one of the things "lost" (read stolen) in the move out here.
Lu had been called by my doula as soon as I was told to start pushing in case it was long or I was screaming and Bliss woke up and was scared. So at this point I woke Bliss up. He had slept through the entire thing but I sooo felt his presence. He can be a little long to wake but as soon as I said the baby is here he sat right up. Now for reference I was told I was at a 10 at 3 am and Soul was born at 3:22 am so things really did move fast. I told Bliss he had a baby sister and he said it was OK because he had told me before that he could be outnumbered 5 to 1 (he counts the dogs) but the next baby HAD to be a boy. I laughed and told him we shall see but if I ever have another baby I cannot make it a boy on purpose. Anyhow he gave me some kisses, and Lu came in at this point. She says all she saw was blood and did not think the baby was born yet and she HATED seeing the blood but was happy and surprised too. Bliss asked to go to the hotel at this point which set me crying of course but he said he wanted to go play. He was very overwhelmed I could tell but Lu later told me it was that he said the baby smelled. See, he saw the slime and vernix, but smelled the blood of the room and thought it was the baby and he really didn't like the smell. We did lots of kisses, a couple pictures and he and Lu left.
Anyhow after another blanket and I asked the doc if I tore, he said as soon as the placenta passed he would check. I had a contraction a couple minutes later and he showed me the placenta. It was in great shape. This baby showed absolutely zero signs of being postdates, because she was not. PEOPLE PLEASE LISTEN, if 40 is average, just as many have to go over as under!!
Anyhow off the soapbox now, so the doc said the placenta was great but interesting fact the cord was side attached with is more rare. I am confused why the two 20 week scans didn't show this but glad on hindsight. So doc checked and then chuckled and said I had bragging rights, he said I had a tiny skid mark and that was it. And may I say the tiny stinging at the first pee 5 minutes later proved that to me. Before the pee they had taken out the epidural and after the pee they got me ready to be moved to the maternal and child wing right down across the hall.
Another side note here, they put me in a double room with a full third bed like the other two so Bliss had a place to sleep that night too. They were really so very wonderful with respect to my relationship with Bliss. I was and still am ever so moved about that.
Soul had nursed again for about 10 minutes before we were moved and after we got to the room she nursed for a solid hour. She is a good feeder with a great latch. It is also so nice to be old hat at breast feeding this time, I made things so very hard on myself at the start with Bliss. I truly believe being so relaxed about nursing made it go so much smoother from the start.
So after that hour feed I kept trying to nap but inevitably someone would come in. The sweet volunteer woman with the We Love To Read bag with books and a hat in it, the nurse, the L&D patient advocate nurse I had met with weeks ago to go over my wishes, she had been crying about the birth she was so happy. And of course I loved telling her the whole story, I had not seen her since Friday. Then a fantastic lactation consultant, who knew I was fine but was friends with the advocate nurse and wanted to chat which was fun, but again I needed sleep. Then the pediatric doctor to check her out, she was fine, good as gold but she DID tell me to watch for pee since I said it was so far assumed it was mixed with meconium. We now know better. And then the food service people came by and I told them NO and refused the tray. I wanted sleep!! Then I refused 2 more nurse checks and each of these things came about 5 minutes after falling asleep. Ugh! Then around 9 am my OB came by, shocked and sooooo excited, and of course we talked about it all. He too was shocked and had really thought after the call he got the evening before that he would be doing a c/section that day. He also hadn't even heard what the baby was so I told him a girl and we chatted about the whole thing, and his partner who was the OB who helped me deliver and then he told me as soon as I wanted to leave I could since it was such a normal vaginal delivery.
So I called Lu again and she was driving around looking for a new hotel with more for Bliss. So I had her ask Bliss if he would like to sleep in the room like he was told earlier or go home that day, and he said home so that was that. I really felt he would be so much less overwhelmed at home so I told my nurse I would be leaving by noon. Lu was taking Bliss for a birth gift, he had already gotten 2 from Soul and asked why another but I explained he got to pick one out from me to him on his new sister's birth day. So after that they came by and we loaded up after the car seat check and we left. Before we went home, however, I had Lu run by Walmart after I called them because the had our BBQ in and had only gotten 2 and one was already sold. So Lu ran in, shaking her head at me, and got the BBQ and I had to help the 2 yes two employees load it in the van because neither could figure it out,
Anyhow we then drove home and went upstairs to rest but by that time I was just wired and still in shock so I sent out the announcement. The rest you know so that is the story.