Monday, October 28, 2013

Olivia's Birth Story

I found the socks that I had bought and packed specifically for the hospital. They made me think of how perfect her birth was. (Well ... we had about 1.5 hours there where things were a little rocky). It was such an exciting day. After 9 months of anticipation, we were finally meeting our daughter. It's only been two weeks, but looking back on that day, and our hospital stay, is something I will cherish forever. I would have a million babies just for that experience.

WARNING: This post contains graphic content. Reader discretion is advised.

Also its super long. But its more for me and Dan. So do what you want with it.

Olivia's birth story actually starts the day before, on Monday. Dan and I had an appointment with our OB. Our OB had said that she thought Olivia would be early. Dan was out of town both 37 and 38 weeks. She didn't want to scare us, so she waited until after he was back to say she was surprised I made it that long. She was convinced Olivia was coming the following week. We came back for the 39 week appointment and she was convinced Olivia was coming that weekend.

When we showed up on Monday she seemed a little concerned. She never worried about anything, and never wanted us to worry - so this was a little odd. She checked the heartbeat and was fine with that. She asked me a handful of questions "you aren't in any pain?" "you aren't having any contractions?" "you aren't feeling any pressure?" No. She then told me to go home, eat something sugary, lie down and make sure Olivia kicked 10 times in one hour.

I made it to the car before bursting into tears. I just wanted her out. Out and in my arms and healthy. 

I went home. She kicked 11 times. Dan told me to just pretend that I didn't get all those kicks and go in just to have peace of mind. I didn't want it to be a whole big thing, so I decided to not call.

That night I was having some pressure in my stomach. They say pressure but no pain is just Braxton Hicks contractions - something people get as early as the second trimester. I actually googled "can a Braxton Hicks contraction last hours?" I don't know if I was technically in labor at that point, as I went to bed pretty early.

I woke up at 3:45 to my water breaking. Since my friends keep asking - it did not get on my sheets, haha. I'm not sure what exactly woke me up but I made it to the toilet in time. (I warned you about this post).

I was having very mild pressure in waves that I assumed were contractions. Since everyone says that first labor takes forever, I knew we had time.

I woke Dan up "my water broke, I'm going to hop in the shower." "Oh yay!"

I showered, dried my hair, had Dan repack the hospital bag (the original one wasn't big enough) - all while sitting down during contractions. They were starting to hurt at this point.

Dan downloaded an app to time them. They say to come in when you hit contractions 5 minutes apart or less, lasting 1 minute or longer, for an hour. Or when your water breaks. We decided to wait for the former.

I called my parents around 5am. They were heading back to Atlanta from Destin, and I knew they would rush out the door once they got the call. I didn't want them driving with no sleep.

Dan did dishes and some laundry. Typical useless tasks that he does before we head out on roadtrips. We kissed Koda goodbye and headed out the door around 630 am.

I didn't exactly think through how to get to the hospital when your water breaks. You are just leaking constantly -- and continue to do so until you have the baby. I had to switch out my sweat pant 'wear to the hospital' outfit for a dress and a towel between my legs.

When getting into the car, a school bus was turning around in our cul-de-sac. I think I flashed all the children trying to sit on that towel through a contraction. Great timing, school bus.

When we got to the hospital, the road was closed. Dan and I were laughing so hard that this has to be a nightmare for anyone in a huge hurry.

When we pulled in, and all of the "Mothers in Labor" parking spots were full - we should have known that it was going to be an interesting Tuesday.

To get to labor and delivery you have to walk down quite a few hallways and pass 3 other check-in desk areas. I don't know why they put it so far away. Add in the fact that it was 7am, the time they change over nurses, and I passed probably 50 people.

I had to waddle, with the towel in between my legs, underneath my dress, the entire way. I didn't want people stare so I told Dan to "act natural." We were laughing so hard at this point. I had to duck behind a corner for a contraction that I couldn't walk through. This was SO not the emergency drop off, wheel chair, delivery that Dan expected based on the movies he had seen.

Once you get there, they wont let you eat anything. Luckily I had eaten a very early dinner and was starving by the time I got there (sarcasm). They say you can have juice or jello. They would get me some jello once I was moved from Triage into Labor and Delivery.

When they admitted me, I was almost 4 centimeters. The doctor told me that it would take at least 6 hours to get from a solid 4, to 10 centimeters (ready to push). But he said I could have an epidural any time I wanted one.

There seem to be mixed opinions on whether an epidural slows down labor progress, so I figured I would just wait until it hurt pretty bad and then ask. Also, I didn't like the idea of not being able to get up and down.

Dan and I played some Candy Crush and then started texting our friends. Today was the day! They moved me from a Triage room to Labor and Delivery. The nurse was a slight ditz. Almost stepping on my IV which would have ripped it out of my arm. 

Once we got there, things really started to hurt. I went from silence during contractions, to gripping the side of the bed, to biting on a washcloth to make it through. I told the nurse I wanted an epidural.

She looked at me and said, "I know this isn't what you want to hear, but you aren't even in active labor yet" (active meaning the 4-10 cm phase) "as far as pain, it's barely the beginning." I looked at Dan defeated. I always had what I thought was a high pain tolerance. Maybe I should wait longer? Dan said no. Just get the anesthesiologist, since it could take awhile for him to come in. Dan looked at the nurse, "she wants an epidural."

I was distraught. I couldn't even make it to 4 cm without getting an epidural. I thought for sure I would make it to 6 or so. So many people give birth without pain medicine - how could they do it?

The nurse told me that the doctor wanted to start me on pitocin to increase my contractions but that she told him she would wait for the epidural first. I could just see the conversation going down in my head. "This girl is a wuss. Please don't let me start pitocin without the epidural. I don't want to hear her complain even more."

By the time the anesthesiologist got there, I was saying over and over "I am all done." Its all I could get out and it meant "I cant do this. This hurts too bad. Get her out of me. Do whatever. I just can't do this." If we had taken Bradley classes, we would have known it was about time to push at this point. Unfortunately, we didn't know anything.

The pain didn't stop in between contractions. I was having horrible back labor - which meant pain constantly, plus a huge increase during contractions. I couldn't lean forward, because Olivia's heartrate monitor wouldn't work. I had to lay on my back which is the worst position for back labor.

The anesthesiologist had me lean hunched over (hard to do while pregnant, let alone while in pain) and stay incredibly still. Although in constant pain, a huge contraction was coming on, and I begged  for him to wait 30 more seconds.  He said very snarky, "hasn't anyone taught you how to breathe through contractions?" Shut the F up. How many times have you been in labor? What the H do you know? (All things that went through my head, but I think I ended up saying "Ehhhhhh.")

I ripped the blood pressure cuff off of me - which apparently was very frowned upon - but it was hot and cramping my style. Begging for 30 more seconds, both the nurse and the anesthesiologist told me that it was now or never and to suck it up. 

I would have appreciated a more supportive staff. 

He got the needle in and asked if it was centered. I couldn't speak. I didn't respond. He yelled again "IS IT CENTERED?" ..."its to the right" is all I could get out.

He re-did the needle. More centered, but still to the right. I couldn't speak. He didn't ask again. He just taped up my back.

"You'll feel relief in about 20 minutes."

Relief came. From the contractions. But not from the back labor. For about 2 more hours. 

The nurse said "it looks like you've been in a good deal of pain" wonder what gave her that clue? "let me check you to see if you've made any sort of progress."

"OH MY GOSH!" (this was said way too many times by our different nurses). "You are ready to push. You went from 4 to 10 in an hour and a half. No wonder you were in pain. Let me get the doctor."

At least I wasn't a wuss. 

I asked for the jello I was promised. "No you are about to push. I can't give you jello now."

Doctor came in. "Lets get this baby out in time for lunch!" This was at 12 noon.

He mentioned that he had a record number of patients in labor and was going to wait a minute for the epidural to fully kick in and he would be back.

This is when things get a little blurry. It was like a time warp in there. People would say "be back in 5." Dan and I would watch the clock and it would be an hour later.

Eventually the doctor came back in and I told him I couldn't feel anything. Not even pressure. He wanted to tone down the epidural to let me feel the contractions somewhat and he would be back in 20 minutes.

An hour and a half later another doctor comes in. She checks me. "This baby is SO low. We have to get her out of you! I'll be right back."

Eventually toning down the epidural meant full on pain again. But only in my left side. The right was numb as can be. I had a "button" I could press for more meds. Eventually a nurse made me press the button. And then again.

My main nurse came back. "Your doctor has another patient who's baby is SO LOW - she's going to trump you and then your doctor will be in once he delivers her." Okay... "Let me check you, just in case." 

"OH MY GOSH. Your baby is SO LOW. You are going to trump her! I'll be right back with your doctor." Another hour or so later.

Dan and I are incredibly confused, but both very, very happy that the epidural is working. And that I pushed that button.

The anesthesiologist's comment about breathing through contractions gave us the idea to google labor. We hadn't taken any classes - so Dan found a few pain management techniques online. We no longer needed those. "Maybe we should have taken a class?" "Ehh thats why we have google." 

I had him google "how to push." I figured we might as well get some tips while we waited. 

Eventually around 530 pm the doctor came back in. "So much for delivering her before lunch, huh?" I said. He said he would stop making promises.

I should have gotten the jello.

He told us that he normally delivers 10 babies per month. On October 15, 2013, I was his 7th delivery out of 8 for the day. No wonder things were crazy. And it was Tuesday. Makes sense.

After an hour of pushing, at 6:39pm sweet Olivia made her way into the world. She took a few minutes to let out a good cry, which was so scary. Dan ran over to take pictures of her. We debated what color hair she has, and started the 24 hour conversation about what to name her. 

When we saw her, we both thought she looked like an Olivia. But I also had another name that I fell in love with, and wasn't so quick to give it up. Eventually, Olivia was just perfect.

My parents came in around 7:30 to love on her.

My mom took a few pictures that I just love. Dan and I both look so exhausted, and thats my favorite part. Neither of us felt tired at that moment. So I love that in memories we were so alert and excited to meet our baby girl. But that the photos show how tiring it was to get to that point. 

All day I kept saying that I wanted Chick-fil-a. Not including the 1.5-2 hours of bad pain, the hunger was the worst part of the day. The hunger completely went away once she was born. 

At 9:40 we realized that Chick-fil-a closed at 10. I sent Dan running out for it. HURRY BEFORE THEY CLOSE!

They told me that an epidural takes 1 - 2 hours to wear off. They assumed I would be in the "family care room" by 8:30, once I was able to walk. The left side wore off at a normal pace, but I still couldn't move my right side. My mom so kindly asked "Do you think its going to be permanent?!?!" Unhelpful. And no.

Around midnight they had to take me via wheelchair because I still couldn't move my right side. I guess the epidural really wasn't centered at all. It took around 6 hours for me to be able to walk. 

We joke that Olivia is the opposite baby. They said she would have no hair - she had a full head of hair. We were told she would be here early - she didn't come. The doctor mentioned an induction date - my water broke within 12 hours. I was told I would need pitocin because I was going to progress slowly - I progressed incredibly fast. I was told I would have her by lunch, lunch went by and so did dinner. The nurse started to transition another nurse because I 'wouldn't have her before 7pm,' she came at 6:39. 

Besides the 1.5 hours prior to the epidural (which was my fault for not getting it early enough)  I was in hardly any pain, and Dan and I were laughing through the entire experience. The pushing was exciting because we kept debating what color hair she would have, how big she would be, what she would look like, etc. Her birth was absolutely perfect. For anyone dreading labor, know that it can be a wonderful experience. I honestly look forward to it again one day. ...One day in the distant future. :)

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