Friday, November 20, 2009

Lily Ruth's Birth Story

This story has been on my mind recently. I think it's due to how FAST she's growing, and how afraid I am that I'm going to forget or miss something! So here it is - borrowed from my myspace blog, and enhanced with more details...

As anyone who had any contact with me during my 3rd trimester knows, I expected Lily Ruth to arrive early. I expected this because my mama & I were both 1st babies, girls, and 6 weeks early. In order to stave off panic regarding premature delivery, I made peace with the idea that she could (would) come early, and was subsequently very impatient when she was not.

By the time 38 weeks rolled around, I had been to the hospital 3 times thinking I was in labor, but it was actually 1) dehydration from a sunburn that required I.V. fluids and a shot to stop the (not dangerous) contractions 2) HEARTBURN - terribly embarrassing, but I had never had it before, and was convinced that it was pre-eclampsia & 3) Braxton-Hicks that were the right distance apart to be true labor, but not nearly intense enough. Whatever.

Each of my weekly doctor visits at the end were more and more frustrating for me. I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions every day. I had had several days of such intense B-H that I had been POSITIVE that she was on her way. I was walking like crazy - at least twice a day - to keep her low and dropping as fast as possible. I had even tried castor oil twice and huge amounts of watermelon once. Both were disasterous in their own ways, but neither kick-started my labor.

When my forty-week visit rolled around, I was DONE with the discomfort of pregnancy, but still convinced that I was going 'all natural' unless Lily or I were in danger. I was also convinced that the doctor was going to tell me that I had progressed and that I was very close since I had had 2 long days of severe Braxton-Hicks that week and I was just sure that these had finally managed to progress my labor. Well, I had not progressed. I was still stuck at less than 1 cm - exactly where I had been for 2 weeks. That was kind of the final straw for both Don & I. Dr Mayo mentioned the possibility of induction, and offered to leave the room so we could discuss it. We had our decision in less than 30 seconds. We wanted our baby, and we wanted her a.s.a.p. We were actually disappointed that Dr Mayo wanted us to wait until the next day!

We were to report to the hospital at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, June 23. Dr Mayo was going to place a cervical medication, I would get my doses of I.V. antibiotics, and we could have dinner in our room and rest until time for Pitocin. Of course, because it was me, no amount of pre-planning and packing could get me there on time... we arrived at 4:45, and got settled in around 5. Dr Mayo was peeved at our tardiness, but pleased by the fact that I was in labor - all on my own! I had called my mama at work around 11 that morning to tell her that I thought I was in labor FOR REAL, but was so tired of being wrong on that score, that I had not dared to get my hopes up, and did not go into the hospital early.

The plan shifted. No cervical meds, but I.V. immediately, and no food. I was so ticked - I was STARVING, and we had stopped at Central Market for all manner of tasty goodies to nibble on. Oh well, at least Lily Ruth was on her way! My mom's friend Mary Earle came by and blessed us and the baby and our birthing experience - it was lovely, and I cried through the whole thing (stupid hormones). Then my mom got there and we settled in to wait... oh, and Don got to eat.

Eventually, my nurse came in to check me again, and at that point, the refrain of my labor experience was set. Each 'check' resulted in 'sorry sweetie, but you just aren't progressing'.

So we started with 'you aren't progressing, and you need to sleep. Do you want to take the sleeping pill your doctor prescribed? If you go into active labor, it will wake you up, and we'll re-assess then.' Yes, yes, I did want to sleep, so Ambien it was.

Then there was 'yep, this is active labor - I told you it would wake you up! But you're not progressing, and you still need to rest. Do you want the I.V. pain medication you doctor prescribed for you? We'll re-assess when your doctor gets her in the morning.' If we're going to wait that long, and I still can't eat, then yes, dope me up.

Next step was 'well, you're still not really progressing, let's start the Pitocin.' Closely followed by 'still not progressing, time to break your water'. At this point, my nurse convinces me that the Pitocin is going to make my labor ridiculously painful very quickly, and since (yep, you guessed it) I'm progressing so slowly, I should go for the epidural. Fine - I've caved in on the rest of it, might as well compromise all of my lofty ideals!

Since life is unfair, I looked like crap, and my anesthesiologist was HOT. Like I would have had a chance with him anyway :-P Just like everyone said, placing the epidural sucked, but life was good once it was in. I even managed to sleep through transition which is quite a feat! After that, it was up to my nurse. She was amazing. She moved me around like a puppet since I was numb. She managed to position and move me so that everything moved along ahead of schedule. They were expecting Lily to arrive mid-afternoon, but around 10, I just knew she was ready. I called my nurse in and she gave me a 'whatever, Crazy' look, but she agreed to check and what do you know - for the first time in weeks, I WAS RIGHT! Lily was beyond ready. My mom even had to call my dad & tell him to skip lunch or he was gonna miss it!

Since Dr Mayo was in surgery, I had to do 'practice pushes' to see if this was going to be a long haul or a short sprint. For once, these peasant hips and hyper-mobile joints served a purpose. I am a 'natural pusher'. I was told to hold off until Dr Mayo could get there. At that point, I also had the anesthesiologist turn down the epidural, because I couldn't feel anything, and I wanted to be present and participating in my daughter's birth. Well, Dr Mayo arrived, and apparently I am a champion pusher because Lily Ruth was born in 4 contraction cycles once I was allowed to actually push. My nurse recommended a mirror - it was gross, but I'm glad she did - I just had to order my dad not to look. I had a nurse (a new one - never found out her name...) holding one leg, my dad holding the other, my mama at my side, and my husband at my back (actually holding me, not just hanging out). It all happened so fast! It was like NASCAR in there with nurses and equipment coming seemingly from nowhere. Then just as quickly, they were gone, and I had a baby in my arms!

She arrived at 11:29 am on June 24, 2009. Weighed in at 7 lbs, 15 oz, and was 21 inches long.

I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I have a healthy, amazing daughter and I was surrounded by people who love me and a medical staff with incredible skill. We are very, very blessed... and very, very sleepy...

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