Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Birth Story

Because hey, everybody loves birth stories, and I never posted mine.

So here goes.

I was teaching at Pioneer Clubs on Thursday, May 15 and had been feeling pretty awful. But then I'd been feeling awful more nights than not, and we were needed, so we went. Coincidentally, I'd read up that morning on how to tell when your water breaks, so when my water broke (around 7:30), I was pretty sure that's what it was. But hey, plenty of time, so I finished out the teaching segment and M'Love and I left rather than staying for gym time. As we turned out of the church parking lot, we debated whether to go home or to the hospital. We had a bag in the car, but there was more stuff I wanted. So I said we'd go home quick. By the time we got to the main road, though, I'd changed my mind.

It hurt quite a bit, and the contractions weren't quite by the book--about a minute to a minute and a half long at most but very close together--sometimes less than a minute apart. I had worried about not knowing when I was in labor. Well, I was partially right. I can't distinguish labor from a stomach bug, except that the pain is less constant in labor. I know because I'd had a stomach bug a month before. Same pain, and we ended up in the hospital, IV and everything--but no contractions. And I'd had some feeling-off type stomach pain every evening for weeks before the fifteenth, because I remember it was worst on Thursday nights. But no one noticed, because the monitoring was in the mornings, and I never had anything then. I'd also been dilated enough to feel her head for over a week, and not realized that either. They hadn't been checking me at appointments, which was fine with me. They'd offered at the last one, but when I asked if it would really tell them anything, they admitted it wouldn't, so I declined the extra handling.

When we got to the hospital, they let us skip the incessant filling out of paperwork, and once I got a bed, I was at seven centimeters. I felt like I had to pee, but couldn't. The contractions were so close that they couldn't get my vitals. I wanted to move but was not allowed to. They wanted an internal monitor, but they refused it, and because of my size and I kept moving, the external monitors were flaky. I knew Firstborn was fine. M'Love said at one point there were nine people in the room, but I wasn't looking and didn't have my glasses on anyway. They made me stay on my back, and I made M'Love and the nurse get cold washcloths and put them under my lower back. They made me do the stirrup thing too. When I had to push people held my feet and thet helped some. I could feel Firstborn coming closer and then sliding back, but it hurt so much less when she slid back. The doctor (whom I had never met before) was talking about sucking her out, but was going to just do an episiotomy first (necessary to get the vacuum in place anyways). At this point I'm okay with anything and just want to finish this, of course.

The next push--as M'Love puts it, "as soon as he got the scissors out of the way"--I felt her head come out. I knew it was almost done, that it would be just one more push, so I kept pushing and out she flew. Apparently it looked seamless to M'Love, who later opined that he then knew why they called it catching. My palindromic baby was born at 10:01 PM.

I just kept saying, "My little girl! My little girl!" I had expected, I think, to recognize her somehow, but I did not. We had discussed cutting the cord on the way to the hospital, and my husband had expressed a desire to leave that sort of thing up to the professionals, but they handed him the scissors and told him what to do, and he did it. They kept trying to take her, but I wanted to hold her more. They were stitching me up (I had torn as well as being cut) and I told him it hurt worst than pushing her out. He told me he was using more "numb medicine," and I told him "Use as much numb medicine as you want." I tried to feed her but she wouldn't latch on. Then they took her. As we had arranged ahead of time, M'Love went with her because they wouldn't let me go. I did end up taking a short nap. I rung my bell and no one came, so I wandered out in my hospital gown, found someone, and told them to take me to my baby or I'd go find her myself. They took me. They had her under a heat lamp, and she was sleeping. Apparently doing well.

They kept us in the hospital three days because of some strep thing, and somehow during the hour I was in labor there they didn't quite manage to get as many antibiotics into me as they had wanted. The second night M'Love went home for a good night's sleep and a change of clothes (knew I needed to do more packing) so that he could help comfort Firstborn some of the time. She didn't look like the name we had picked out, but rather than changing it at the spur of the moment, we figured she would grow into whatever name we picked and stuck with it. The days in the hospital were not restful, and I only really managed one good feeding. I did manage to get a sensation of letdown, which they wouldn't have let me out without--don't think I've actually felt it since. (This despite the fact I'd been leaking for a month.) I think she was two or three months old before she really got the hang of breastfeeding.

I can't help but wonder if she would have nursed better if I'd gotten more chance to try that first time. I could have kept her warm enough. I also think maybe I could have gotten her out without getting cut open if I'd been allowed to move. It makes me want to avoid a hospital next time. But I don't know what other options I have around here. I am not sure about getting where I'm going--or if we have a midwife, her getting here--in time. It bothers me a little, but my husband doesn't really want to discuss it--something about the order of my horse and my cart. I have pointed out, though, that considering it will be even quicker next time, he doesn't want me hesitating because I don't want to go to the place I'll be giving birth, unless he wants his next offspring named LeSabre--or worse, F150.

And then I had four months of afterpains. Just had to throw that in there in case anyone's jealous of my two-and-a-half-hour labor. And then some more at six months for a little while. The doctor said something to the effect of yup, that's weird, guess it sucks to be you. And my episiotomy didn't heal right, but they didn't notice that.

Not once in the whole process did I consider not doing it again. Well, maybe once. When the afterpains came back again at six months post-partum. But I still rejected it.

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