Rose’s Birth Story: Part 2

27 Feb

If you already read Rose’s Birth Story: Part 1, you probably noticed a pattern: I’m complaining. A lot. I realized this, and the irony of it, after I’d published the post.

Who really actually thought that bringing a child into this world was supposed to be not all that painful? Not easy, but at least not excruciating? Well, I guess I did. I’m a big ‘ole dummy. But truly, as I said in Part 1, I didn’t really think much about labor at all. I just didn’t see a VBAC happening for me, so I failed to research. I feel sure a lot of women are in the same boat.

With that said, it sounds awfully honorable to be a person who never complained about a contraction, or who never begged for an epidural, or who never asked, “Can I have my repeat C-section now?” (Yep. Sorry. I did do that.) But I don’t want to beat myself up too much. Truth is, it was hard. And it hurt. A lot. I do wish I would have handled labor better, both emotionally and physically, and I hope I will next time.

But instead, you’re just going to get the true story about a baby. And that baby is me, a whiny baby. At least it’s a good true story!

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So, about that epidural. It was awesome, for a while. After all, I had had about 10 hours of progressing contractions with no relief, so I felt somewhat accomplished and proud. (Don’t get me wrong. There was no, “Oh, you can wait and just give me the epidural in a little while.” It was most certainly, “I want it as soon as I can have it, or sooner!” Still, I had to endure a lot before I got it.)

My mom and sister had arrived from Meridian around 8 p.m., and we were able to chat, talk over plans and recap the day. Drew actually got in a nice nap, and Nurse K stayed by my bedside for hours monitoring my contractions. Around 10 p.m., Dr. F, who was on call, came in and told me to relax; he didn’t believe baby would arrive before morning time. But just as I had decided I would try to get some sleep, I began to feel a little uncomfortable again.

It started as a dull backache, and I’d have to move from side to side. Then I developed the strangest and strongest indigestion which stayed with me until right before Rose was born, probably five hours later. Poor Drew was sleeping soundly, but I woke him up and asked him to try to help me get comfy.

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At some point I noticed a bit of feeling had returned to different spots on my legs. The epidural moves around if you move around, so this accounted for that, I was told, but it still bothered me. Plus, I was beginning to feel contractions again. They weren’t strong yet, but I felt them.

I called for Nurse K and, being the medical expert I am, told her my epidural was not working as well. I got the first of a few bolus doses, but they didn’t really do anything. As the contractions got worse and worse, I think I really began to bug Nurse K about the pain I was in. She explained that while the epidural can take away the pains of contractions, it cannot take away the pressure. This was confirmed to me by other nurses and two doctors.

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I guess they’re right, because they have degrees and such, but I still don’t understand. Because by around 1 a.m., my original contraction pain had returned, and eventually surpassed what it had been before the epidural. We’re talking crying out with pain with each one. Begging Jesus to help me. Begging Drew to do something. Begging Nurse K to stop the VBAC; I wanted my C-section after all. What a crazy experience! (Oh my gosh..I’m so glad this isn’t on video.)

The good news was by now I was complete: 10 centimeters, fully effaced and ready to push. Sounded like a plan to me. By now lots of people were in and out of the room bringing in tools, tables, etc. I thought, “Oh. I guess I really am going to have a baby this way.”

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I pushed for a little while, but unfortunately Nurse K informed me that Rose was still way too high up. I knew she was, because I could feel her feet in my ribs still. And the indigestion made it much worse. Having a baby (a long baby!) in your rib cage (my short rib cage!) and all the pressure it creates make curling into a ball to push extremely difficult.

So, an 30 awful minutes of utter agony began. I was made to sit completely upright in my bed for half an hour, to encourage the baby to move down with each contraction. This only meant that there would be more pressure and more pain, since my body was going to need to do some serious work. Also, the epidural would move some, and work “less” again. (This is where I should say, “Get over it and get a grip, Katie! You’re having a freakin’ baby..what did you expect?”)

Drew will attest that this part was not fun; he had long since removed his wedding rings because I was squeezing his fingers so hard. My mom later said, “Well I would have held your hand had I been there.” Drew said I would have broken her hand, and I don’t think he was joking.

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But he was a great birth coach! Every time I forgot to breathe correctly, he would correct me. I wanted to snap at him each time, but I don’t think I ever did. Oh, but did I want to. He also cheered me on and never seemed freaked out about the labor thing. Way to go, Drew! We both agree this experience was far better than the scary one we had with baby #1.

I always said after Jane Darby was born that having to be manually dilated (I’ll spare you the details, but you can guess) was the worst pain I’ve ever had. Now I laugh at that. Bwah ha ha. That was a piece of cake compared to this other.

After 30 minutes of sitting upright, sweet baby Rose had dropped properly. Good girl! I still felt her feet in my ribs, but apparently some part of her was in the right place. Thus we began to push again.

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You hear of women who push 3-4 times and baby is out. Not the case for me. I don’t know exactly, but I think I pushed an hour to and hour and a half. I wasn’t very good at it, and by now I’d been at this labor thing—with no food or water mind you—for nearly 17 hours. I followed instructions and got better as I went along, but eventually I just went to some other place in my mind.

I remember I just lay silently; I had no more strength to complain or yell with each contraction. I just lay there and took it and wondered if I was dying. That sounds so silly, but you really do get delirious. I thought about how I was having a VBAC, and how they are risky, and how no one really knows that they’ve gone terribly wrong until they’ve already gone terribly wrong. I wondered if my pain was not normal; I wondered if things would not end well.

But all the while Rose did so well on the monitor; I looked at it regularly. I had to. With Jane Darby her heart rate plummeted so quickly and so severely, and I was so scared of that same scenario. Didn’t happen, though.

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The pushing took a long time, and it was my least favorite part of labor, but it was working. For me, things were more and more tiring and more painful. In a sudden instant, I quickly told Drew to hand me the throw-up bin, and he did just in time. Then I threw up and threw up and threw up! I think because of my pain. I don’t even know what I threw up, but it was something from deep within. Immediately all that pressure in my ribs left me, so that was nice.

This told Nurse K it was go time, apparently, because she and several nurses ran to get Dr. F. She later told me that vomiting during labor is a sure sign the baby is about to come. Plus, baby was crowning. They pulled Dr. F out of another delivery, which he didn’t seem too excited about, but that wasn’t my fault!

Dr. F got a few things ready, and then with one push baby Rose was here! It is the strangest thing to be able to feel a baby exit your body cavity. You all the sudden feel so deflated. I’ll leave it at that 🙂

Drew got to cut the cord, and when they gave her to me I remember she felt so cool and squishy, and was purple. I asked if her color was okay, and they said it was perfect. Who knew? It didn’t take her long to pink up.

She was born at 4:49 a.m. weighing 7 lbs., 7 oz., and measuring 20 3/4 inches long, on February 7, 2014. And like her sister, she came on a Friday and had lots of hair!

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I’m pleasantly pleased with my body for steadily contracting and progressing, albeit slower than I’d liked, on its own. I didn’t have to have pitocin this time (hated it with Jane Darby), have my water broken or be manually dilated. My body did everything itself; we just sat around, medicated me a bit, worked hard and waited.

I now know there are so many things I could have done to help labor along, and while I will likely still never entertain the idea of all-natural labor, I definitely would consider now more than before, because I can see how it would have certain benefits. (Obviously. It’s natural, after all.)

After all was said and done, even though going through labor was extremely trying and extremely painful, it was definitely more of a physical challenge than an emotional challenge. I’ll take the physical challenge from Rose’s birth over the emotional challenge from Jane Darby’s any day.

Six months from now, I won’t grieve my VBAC experience. I’ll still be excited and shocked that it happened for me. I won’t find myself down thinking about how my poor little baby spent the first three weeks of her life in NICU, or ask “what if” over and over again. It won’t take me close to a year to shake the trauma of this experience. I was over it as soon as Rose was born! For that, I’m very thankful. God knew what He was doing.

And so… now I can say I had a VBAC. And that my doctor was right all along. “This baby likely won’t come early. Your water likely won’t break prematurely. This baby likely will be just fine. A VBAC is a great option for you.” Wow! Hard to believe I joined the VBAC club, and it’s a nice club to be in.

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