Fair warning: This post will be long and may include some less than flowery descriptions of the disgustingly beautiful process that is childbirth. It also may seem disorganized as it is being written stream of consciousness style.
Another side note: I originally intended for her birth story to be a single post. However, it is not something I’m capable of telling in few words since I want a thoroughly detailed account recorded. Something I can share with her when she is older. So, it will be told in more than one post… here is part two.
So after being hooked up for… I don't know how long…. I was then taken by wheelchair to a new room. My labor and delivery room.
The place was spacious! A large bed, a couch, an entertainment center with a television. A large bathroom with a big shower that had 5 massaging showerheads and a whirlpool tub.
I had to be hooked up to the monitor again, but was told that as long as things were looking ok, I could be unhooked for periods of time so I could walk around, use the shower, etc. But I had to have an IV.
They said I had to have a three way hook up. They used two of them for fluids/insulin to maintain my blood glucose level (due to the gestational diabetes). They said the last one was open in case I requested pain medication or an epidural. They reminded me that I had the option to request them since my OB had ordered them to be available, should I choose to take them.
My goal was to deliver naturally. No drugs.
I think the most painful thing I experienced that day was the IV being put into my wrist. Ugh. They didn't go in the back of my hand, they went at the side of my wrist. (I have small veins, apparently) It went on my left side. The nurse that was doing it saw I was having a contraction when she was ready to plunge it in. She asked if I wanted her to wait until it was over or go for it. By now, they were coming every couple minutes.
I said go for it.
Oh. My. Gawd. Did that hurt! She stuck it in and wiggled it around. I felt warm liquid on my hand and fingers. (I was turned away – not wanting to witness it at all.) And she says something about knowing it was Halloween but not meaning to make it bloody.
Blood gushed out and was not too pleasant. Then the stupid thing kept having issues, making the IV machine beep.
They wiggled it around to pull it back. OUCH! And discussed redoing it in the other arm OH MY GOD NO! Thankfully, they got it to be ok, eventually, after the alarm went off several times with the slightest twitch of my hand.
I tried to remember the labor positions from class. What did I want to try? What would alleviate this pressure?
I tried walking around in my room, but the IV pole was annoying as all hell. So, I just kinda paced back and forth near it.
I didn't try the shower. Or really much of anything.
One of the things I wanted to avoid was spending too much of my labor on my back. I asked for a birthing ball. I had this urge to lean over and rock, but was having trouble finding something at the right height to support me.
I went to the bathroom a few times and mainly stood and swayed. Then I started to feel some downward pressure.
… by this time I'd gone through a few nurses due to shift changes, on-call people, etc.
I was checked again… dilation moving right along.
Oh yeah, and my finger had to be pricked once an hour to test my blood sugar. I was advised to bring my own poker along, because the hospital ones hurt like hell, I guess. Well, I did bring mine, but they required MUCH more blood than my test strips, so my fingers would be milked and milked… sometimes I had to poke twice. The poking sensation was dulled by my contractions, but the squeezing to milk out the blood was quite uncomfortable.
Then came the time to discuss having my water broke. This was the plan that my OB and I had when we discussed the induction. The nurse stated it would help speed things up, but the contractions would intensify because Rissa's head would be banging into my cervix directly instead of the cushion provided by my bag of waters. Although, they said the bag could break at any moment because it was ballooning out a bit.
I was also fast approaching 7 centimeters, which meant no more epidural option.
I asked for a little more time then agreed to having my water broke. It was broke by the stand by doctor at the hospital. My OB was not on call that weekend. The OB that was on call was stuck at another hospital and couldn't leave yet.
The birthing ball is finally brought to me as they prepare to break my water…. so I never got to use it.
The doctor uses a little instrument to tear the bag and I feel the gush.
The nurse helps clean it up and asks another person to contact the NICU to have a respiratory person come for the delivery because the water is stained with meconium.
Rissa wasn't able to hold her first stool until after delivery!
I got worried and hoped she hadn't swallowed any or breathed any into her lungs. I knew of babies that had to stay in the NICU because they pooed and it made them sick.
I figured it was best, afterall, that my water was artificially broke (the only unnatural part of my labor and delivery!) otherwise it's hard to say how much longer she would have been in that.
The nurse reassures me that my baby is ok, they will just need someone to take a closer look and give her assistance if needed right away.
It didn't seem like too long before I felt the increased intensity of my contractions. I could no longer hear the music I had playing next to me. (My own playlist that I made Brian put together.) I remember keeping my eyes closed a lot and staring at the ceiling. Often I'd grip the side rails of the bed as I breathed through each contraction.
I no longer felt like talking to anyone.
The nurses would ask how I rated my pain (they did this throughout and at the beginning asked what I wouldn't want it to go over. I said I didn't want my pain to be over an 8 on a 1-10 scale.) I can't say it was pleasant, but it was not NEARLY as painful as I had anticipated.
I was doing fine. I remember a nurse commenting on how well I was handling my contractions and managing my pain.
I kept telling myself (silently) “Your body is made to do this. You are made to do this.”
Brian was nearby and attentive the whole time, but there wasn't much I could think to ask of him. I squeezed his hand at few times and he'd give me water.
I needed to move. I was on my back for awhile, then they repositioned the bed to put me in a seated position.
I wanted to move and get the pressure off my back, but I didn't know where or how.
The nurse asked if I wanted to use the squat bar. I said sure.
I couldn't quite lean/scoot forward enough to lean into the bar. She suggested I get on my knees. I had no idea how I was supposed to manage that.
It was the weirdest feeling to want/need to move but not know how to accomplish such a feat. My contractions were coming faster and harder. She checked me each time I said I felt pressure like a bowel movement (I was asked to let them know this before I started feeling it). Honestly, I'm pretty sure I had one as my body prepared for Rissa's exit. (Hey, I warned you! And it's a common occurrence during childbirth.)
I started to chant/moan “owowow” and that mantra seemed to help. Once I said “fuck” as the nurse was trying to ask me a question.
Although, I'm sure they've heard worse!
With each check of my cervix (which is uncomfortable, in case you were wondering!) we were moving closer and closer to 10cm and 100% effaced. That's where my body needed to be in order to start the next phase: delivery.
I was informed that the on call OB would be there in about 45 minutes.
Somehow the nurse asked and I was able to communicate that I was having a lot of pressure on my back. She felt my belly and Rissa was facing sunny side up – no wonder I had back labor! Sure, all this time she was head down, facing my back for ultrasounds…. ready to come out. I was helped to roll onto my side. The nurse pushed around at my belly and Brian helped hold up my leg. This was to help encourage Rissa to roll. And she must have at some point.
I was having urges to push and felt a lot of pressure. The nurse asked me not to… I had no idea how not to! My body just wanted to! She checked me again… 10cm.
It's Go Time!
Things went very fast after that. As I look back, the whole thing seemed to go fast and some of my memory is blurred. (Selective amnesia?)
I was allowed to push as my body felt the urge. I was still on my side and gripped the siderail with all my might. Some of those urges were so strong I thought I was going to pass out as my body shook and I bared down.
The on call OB from my OB's office still wasn't there. They said the hospital's doctor would come back in.
I could feel Rissa pressing against me, and my body just took over. She was starting to crown. They asked me not to push so the doctor could finish putting on his gown and gloves.
That is one of the hardest things I've ever done – trying NOT to push when my body so desperately wants to!
What seemed like mere seconds later, I could feel this odd wet, bony sensation and out she came.
Her cry was a relief to hear!
Since she had pooped already, she wasn't put onto my chest right away. She was whisked over to the side in the room and checked out while I was stitched up. No episiotomy here, just a 2nd degree natural tear. Probably because she came so fast! While they checked her over, she peed right away too! Brian put on her first diaper and then she was put on my chest. She wasn't searching for food yet, so I just cuddled her.
I only had her for a short time before the nurse took her away again because she was concerned with how her breathing sounded. But, she ended up being alright. She was given back all wrapped up in a blanket. I asked the nurse how long I had been pushing.
She said I pushed through about 4 contractions.
This child came out fast!
She was born at 2:31pm on Halloween. My little pumpkin!
Now, I honestly can't remember if Rissa's first feeding was before or after we left the delivery room. I do remember a nurse helping to position and latch her. Rissa didn't seem to need much encouragement. Throughout the hospital stay a few nurses commented on what a good nurser she was – thank goodness!
After we were moved to the postpartum floor and to the room that would be ours for the next two days, then the visitors could come it. Brian's parents were looking for us as I was wheeled past on the way to our room. They were the first ones to see her. Shortly after they left, my parents arrived. (They had a 3 hour drive.) Then Brian's brothers, sisters-in-law, and nephews came to meet Rissa.
Let me tell ya, it was a fabulously exhausting day. But one of my favorites of all time.