Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Welcome to the World - My Birth Story!

This is not really a yoga post.  Well, it might be, depending on how you look at it. But I thought that this blog was the most appropriate place to write down my birth story.  If you're not into reading birth stories with all the details, then you might not want to read this post.

Last Tuesday, the 13th, following my yoga practice, I went to my 40 weeks OB appointment (technically, 39 weeks 6 days).  My OB performed a cervix check.  I was disappointed to hear that I was only 1 "tight" centimeter dilated, even though everything that I had read said that that meant very little.  The thinking part of my brain said that if it meant little, why would the doctors insist on doing the check.  After telling me this news, my doctor began to outline what the next two weeks might look like.  She asked how anxious I was "to get the baby out."  I reiterated my desire to avoid induction if at all possible. She basically told me that if I was still pregnant at the next week's appointment an induction would have to be scheduled for the following week at the latest, if not sooner, if the baby's health was in question.

So, I with all of this "information" I went to my last day of work quite deflated.  Of course, I was prepared to do whatever needed to be done for the health of my baby, but I also had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted my birth experience to be like.  Induction was definitely not on the list of things I wanted. 

August 14 was my projected due date.  I decided to make the most of my first day of maternity leave and walked to the nail place, got a pedicure, and picked up some things at Whole Foods.  Around 2PM, I started to feel something like contractions.  I had been having Braxton Hicks for a few weeks, and suspected it was more of the same.  I went about tidying up the house and finishing some last minute errands.  When the husband came home, I told him that I thought that I was maybe having contractions, but not to get too excited, it was probably more practice.

Nonetheless, my own excitement was mounting, and I began timing the contractions. By bedtime, they were definitely regularly spaced and gradually getting closer together.  The excitement kept me awake long after my husband fell asleep, so I continued timing.  Around 2, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, so I suggested we go to the hospital.

At the hospital, they checked my cervix again, it was only dilated to 3 cm.  They suggested I walk the halls a bit to get things going.   For a while, my husband, my doula and I walked the halls.  We went back in.  I was still at 3 cm.  The doctor said that I would have to go home and would probably be back within the week.

I went back home tired and more deflated and went to bed.  Around 5AM, I got up to use the restroom and lost my mucus plug.  There was quite a lot of mucus and blood.  The next day, I felt exhausted. The "contractions" were continuing and I was feeling increasing pressure in my pelvis.  But I decided I wasn't timing contractions anymore.  It was just too disappointing and confusing.  So, I basically stayed in the bedroom all day and napped off and on. My husband was concerned about me and brought me some sherbert, but otherwise, I had no appetite.  I chalked it up to mild depression from the disappointment.

Around 5PM I began to wonder if the contractions might not be real and might not merit another look.  But I didn't want to get into rush hour traffic (this is really how my brain works) and decided to continue ignoring them. I took a shower and went back to napping.  But I couldn't really rest, the pressure in my pelvis was getting really intense.  I felt like I had to pee, but when I would go to the bathroom, I would only pee a little bit.  I was continuing to bleed quite a bit and thought that eventually, that in itself might merit some attention.  But, I went back to bed.

Finally, at about 8PM, I went back to the bathroom, and a huge gush of water came out.  My water had broken. Suddenly, the urgency of the situation became apparent to me.  I called for my husband to help me dress - until then, I hadn't realized how incapacitated I was from the contractions.  He helped me and then got our things out to the car.  We both started to wonder if the baby wouldn't be born in the car!

Thankfully, the hospital I delivered at is only about a 15 minute drive from our apartment.  My husband dropped me at the hospital door and I made my way to triage while he parked the car.  I'm not sure why I didn't wait for him.  I must have been quite the sight to anyone who was wondering the halls of the hospital.  I could barely get a few feet before I had to stop and lean against something and let the contraction pass.

As I was checking in, the husband joined me at triage. The attending physician checked me in and took my vitals.  Then she did a cervix check.  I was at "9-10" cm.  Holy cow!  They had to rush me into Labor and Delivery as I was clearly ready to begin pushing.  My doula joined us as we headed to L & D.  Because I was "low risk" and desired a natural unmedicated childbirth (NUCB) - not that I would've had a choice at that point!  - I was allowed to use the Birthing Suite, which was one of my wishes.

In the birthing suite, I was attended by a midwife and an MD intern as well as a nurse, in addition of course to my husband and doula.  The midwife asked if I felt like pushing when I was having contractions.  I told her that I was pushing, despite myself.  I was no longer in control of my body.  She said great and encouraged me to keep going.  I pushed for about an hour and a half on my hands and knees with a brief break at about an hour on my left side.  As each contraction hit me, I would breathe through it and count the breaths, reminding myself that none lasted more than 11 breaths (aha!  there's the yoga!).  I told myself to go with the contractions, that I was not in control, that the only way out was through, and allowed myself to moan and roar through each one. 

Finally, at 10:25 one push was directly followed by an involuntary second push.  To me, it felt like my little baby girl shot right out on that second push.  The midwife wiped her off and helped me onto my back.  She placed my beautiful baby on my belly.  My husband and I just marveled at her for the next half hour or so as the hospital staff cleaned me up.  We let the cord pulse before my husband cut it (which I couldn't believe he did!  We didn't have plans for him to do it, but when the midwife offered, he just went for it).

A week later, as I look back on this and write down my impressions, I'm still filled with such joy at the entire experience.  Shortly before my due date, my best friend said to me, "I hope that you're not one of those people who is going to say that it was a 'beautiful' experience."  I'm not.  It wasn't beautiful.  It was much more complex than that.  It was a powerful, awesome, awe-inspiring experience and definitely one of the most amazing things that I have ever accomplished in my life.

Here's our beautiful baby girl on her first day: