Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Henry's birth story Part I...

This is a little late, but I finally want to share Henry's birth story. If you can remember, I was basically running for president of the united states of natural births. We had a very well-researched birth plan, and I was totally committed to doing everything I could to have a birth with as little medical interventions as possible.

Well, pretty much the only part of our birth planned that ended up being useful was the correct spelling of our names. The 20 copies of our birth plan that we printed out may as well have been used to soak up amniotic fluid from our hospital room floor. I refused to be induced and went 10 days past my due date to let myself go into labor naturally. At 10 days, my doctor pretty much gave Henry an eviction notice and scheduled my induction.

The morning of the induction, I am pretty sure that I lost my mucus plus. And while we were waiting outside Labor & Delivery to be taken back (for TWO hours), I started having contractions. The contractions were nothing new, but it was super uncomfortable to be going through labor in a plastic chair. But all of this was was overshadowed by the sheer thrill I got when a mom and teenage daughter showed up and they were BOTH PREGNANT. It was like all my teen mom dreams came true.

Once we finally made it into our room, our amazing nurse got down to business. Within five minutes I was enjoying my enema, and spent the following hour in the bathroom. Unless you want to risk pooping during labor, you want the enema. It's no big deal, just do it. At one point Thomas was asking me some very trivial question through the bathroom door, and I yelled back "why don't you ask me this later, when I'm not shitting my brains out."

There was no time before they hooked me up to an IV and started the pitocin aka devil juice. The doctor also broke my water at the same time. Pitocin makes your uterus contract and can speed up labor. But because these contractions are being produced through a synthetic drug instead of your own hormones, they are a million times worse than regular contractions. They come fast and hard, and it was only about 15 minutes in that my resolve to not have an epidural began to wane.

The only thing that kept me from getting an epidural sooner was knowing that I would be confined to the bed once I got it, and I still wasn't 100% sure that the enema was completely "done." Finally, I could take no more and ordered an epidural. I should have asked for it sooner because having horrendous contractions while someone shoves needles and tubes in your spine is not something I would recommend. I was surprised by how uncomfortable the epidural was. I am not afraid of needles, but I could feel everything being put into my spine and the pressure was kind of scary. Plus, some nerve was being activated because I kept getting these lighting bolt pain surges in my left hip. But when it was all over, the relief was amazing. It felt like a warm tingly sensation that started in my pelvis and just kept getting higher and higher as time went on. I could still wiggle my toes, but other than that I was pretty much paralyzed.

The epidural not only physically relaxed me, but I was also like half drunk from it. I remember telling our nurse that she should go take a lunch break and call her family, because I was fiiiiiiiine. For the next couple of hours I let the medicine do it's job and I basically just napped on and off. I cranked up some soothing spa music I had downloaded, turned down the lights, and drifted off to sleep while Henry continued to descend down the birth canal.

It was very surprising how quickly things progressed. Every time they checked me, I had dilated another 2-3 cm. This actually kind of freaked me out because I felt like it was happening so fast and that I wasn't quite prepared to actually do this birth thing. Despite the hundreds of hours I spent googling birth questions, I was still inevitably unprepared. Then they told me it was time to push, and I couldn't believe it.

Stayed tuned for Part II. Things get real in Part II. Lots of talk about gross birth stuff that I know you're dying to hear. In the meantime, here are some pictures from that day.

On the way to the hospital at 5am...
So glad we got there on time to wait around for another two hours...


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