Friday, May 21, 2010

September 24, 2009

This entry is very plain speaking and describes the birth of my son and my feelings leading up to it.  If you'd rather not know nitty-gritty details about birth stuff (or my cervix), then you definitely won't want to read more.  If you choose not to read it, you certainly won't offend me.  :)

My due date was Monday, September 21, 2009.  Since I had decided that I was not going back to work, my last day was Friday, September 18.

Like most new mom's, my due date came and went.  I got some acupuncture, a pedicure and just tried to prepare.  On Wednesday, I suddenly got the urge to cook and freeze lots of food.  Had I been thinking a little more clearly, I would have realized that this was the "nesting" instinct that usually happens right before labor begins.  I'd been having contractions off and on for about a week but they had picked up a little bit on Wednesday, September 23rd.  I still didn't think labor was near and I was getting mighty uncomfortable.  My mucus plug had come out six weeks earlier so I was resigned to carry this baby forever.

My water broke around 5:30pm that night.  Boy was that something else!  I was sitting in D's leather recliner waiting for dinner to come out of the over and felt a huge rush of warmth.  I immediately yelled, "Help me get out of this chair!!!!"  D grabbed my hands and helped me up.  I ran to the bathroom and, sure enough, my water had broken.

I called my mom in Houston to give her the big news.   She said she'd be in Austin within 3 hours.  I told her not to drive in that night - she should wait until she was fresh in the morning.  She just said alright and we got off the phone.  I called my sis, Veronica, who lives in Austin and D called his folks to share the good news.

I called the birthing center to give them the heads up and they told me what to expect and when to come in.  The contractions picked up pretty quickly after that.  We ate dinner (stuffed shells with a big green salad) and watched Death at a Funeral while I sat on my exercise ball and tried to relax during the contractions.  I was having a hard time concentrating on the comedy.  I remember it being funny, I just don't remember laughing.

We went to bed about 9pm but my contractions were picking up and I couldn't sleep.  I got in the shower and let Donald sleep a bit (he'd need it!).  After an hour or so, I wanted him near me so I called to him.  He got up and got me a banana to eat and we talked about the birth.  We couldn't believe Dax was almost here!

By about 2:30 Thursday morning, I was having to work really hard to manage the contractions, they were coming right on top of each other, and I was feeling a touch panicky - this was my cue.  I had Donald call the birthing center to tell them that we were coming in.  

After this, Donald called my mom at home and got her answering machine.  Odd.  I told him to call my sister, Veronica.  Sure enough, my mom and sister, Meredith, had rightly ignored me and driven to Austin anyway.  I was so glad.  I suddenly wanted my family there so much.  
When we got to the birthing center at 3am, Lauren (the midwife on call) greeted us and let me pick a birthing room since they were all vacant.  After we got situated, I found out I was only 5cm dialated.  Bummer!  I just knew I was at least 7cm.  I wanted to use the tub so Lauren suggested we wait a little longer to make sure that my labor didn't stall once I got in.  In the meantime, I got into the shower and let the hot water run over me.  D was so wonderful.  When a contraction came, I would hold on to his shoulder and breathe and sway.  He held me and reassured me and made sure I knew I was doing alright.

I got in the tub around 6:30 am once I was 7 cm and the contractions were extremely strong.  Donald was having to help me through each one.  Lauren commented that we were almost there and we'd have our little guy in just a while.  We hadn't slept at all during the night and Donald was sitting by the tub, holding my hand during each contraction, then collapsing on the floor to get a few minutes rest.  I laid in the tub with cool wash cloths on my face and neck since I was feeling very nauseous.

Well, when I got in the tub, my contractions spaced out to 10+ minutes apart.  They were still very strong but I was actually getting to sleep in between.  I got back out of the tub around 8:00 am and I was still 7 cm (bummer!).  The baby was moving around a lot but he seemed wedged with his head sideways in my pelvis.  He wasn't putting enough pressure on the cervix to dilate it rest of the way.  Joan (the next midwife on call) was concerned that if he wasn't able to turn his head, I might not ever dilate enough.  After that it was a blur of squatting, lunges, walking, getting on my hands and knees, lying on my side, herbs, etc.  Nothing seemed to work and my cervix was starting to swell so Joan finally tried holding the lip of the cervix back while I pushed to see if we could get his head past the cervix.  This was easily the hardest part of the birth.  I can't describe how "not good" this felt.  Joan tried this many, many times but it just didn't seem to work.

I couldn't eat or drink because I was getting so sick and vomiting.  I started getting dehydrated, feeling very tired and was seriously doubting that we were going to be able to have this baby at the birthing center.  I felt like I'd been having transition contractions for 6 or 8 hours.  I ended up getting IV fluids and glucose and that seemed to put me back on track.

I was feeling better and was on yet another trip around the room when, around 2:30pm , I (finally!) felt an overwhelming urge to push.  The baby's head was still turned a little bit so Joan had me lie on my side on the bed.  Just over 20(!) minutes later, Dax Alan was born at 2:52pm on Thursday, September 24th.

A 21-hour labor and I only pushed for 20 minutes.  Crazy.  As a consequence, I wound up with a pretty nice 2nd degree tear and Dax's head was completely round before we left the birthing center.  Roswitha (another midwife-I just love her) popped her head in to say hello and was so surprised that his head didn't look molded at all.

I was so exhausted after the delivery that my arms couldn't even hold Dax but Donald and my mom and Veronica were there to cuddle him.  Meredith had to head back to Houston for a class just an hour before he was born.  :(   I was also able to nurse him right after delivery and he took to it immediately.

Through the whole thing, Donald talked me through each contraction and offered me constant support.  He reminded me about the relaxation techniques we practiced in class, helped me calm down and slow my breathing when I was having a hard time.  I couldn't have done it without him.  He told me I was a strong, powerful woman and that he was so proud of me.  This husband coached childbirth really IS what it's cracked up to be.

We left the birthing center around 10pm that night-just 7 hours after delivery.  The car ride home was surreal.  I rode next to Dax in the car.  I couldn't believe that this time yesterday, this little baby of ours was in my body.  We stopped once, just to make sure he was in the car seat correctly.  He was so tiny, we were terrified that he wasn't in there right.  We got home and almost immediately went to bed.  But Donald and I set the alarm for 1 hour.  We had to get up and check on him to make sure he was alright.  We also left a lamp on, "just in case."

I'm glad we decided on the birthing center and used The Bradley Method.  I'm fairly certain that I would have wound up with a Caesarean at a hospital since they usually require 1 cm/hr once you reach 4 cm.  Sitting at 7 cm for nearly 8 hours would be a no go.  The midwives and assistants were so kind and nurturing.  They always reassured me that I could do it, even when I became convinced that I couldn't.

It was a long, hard labor, but we got through it and we got little Dax and it was totally worth it.

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