Monday, January 14, 2013

Birth Story

Our lives changed when AC was born. So it would only be fitting to start the blog with his birth story.

Pregnancy and even up until I delivered were surreal for me. Logically I knew what was happening and I really wanted my baby, but "internally" it was all still surreal. I would think to myself "Is there really a baby in there?" Preparing for birth, I wanted a natural birth at a hospital. Natural birth intrigued me, but I still wanted the "safety" of a hospital. I read lots of natural birth stories, read Ina May, went to pain management birth classes. I thought that birth pain was mostly in the head and I was mentally strong enough to do it.

However, I also tried my best to be informed about all the interventions and medical forms of pain relief. Reading about many different birth experiences also helped and although ideally I wanted as little intervention as possible I also went in without many expectations. My main  goal was to have a healthy baby, my second (but also important) goal was to avoid a C-Section.

My due date was 19 September 2012. I had an appointment scheduled with my OB on my due date, she said the baby was doing fine but wanted to get things started the next morning and told us be to be at the hospital around 6am. Leaving the doctor's office that afternoon, both of us thinking this is it, it didn't feel right. That evening I decided not to go to the hospital the next morning. I called the midwife on duty the next day and waited.

And waited.

The OB called me on Tuesday, she was concerned (actually not happy at all I didn't pitch, she actually asked if I had my baby already). We went in the next day at 10:00am, with our hospital bags. I was previously clashing with the OB, especially about wanting to go into labour on my own. That morning I decided that I had to trust her and let go with the process. At the hospital the midwife did an ECG on the baby, he was fine. The OB did an ultrasound and said my amniotic fluid was low and she wanted to start the labour. So we went ahead. At around 11:00am I had my waters broken. It was not very painful, it felt like a scratch with a toothbrush inside my cervix. I also got a drip with Pitocin. I wasn't too happy with that because I was scared it would lead to a C-Section. Jon and I walked the hospital up and down. The contractions started lightly about 30min later. I had to be monitored every 30min. I remember about an our after induction, that I feel the contractions, they were pretty strong for my (maybe a 6/10), I was disappointed that the midwife described them as small ones.

The the pain took over, although it's true that you forget the pain, I remember what I was thinking. My biggest surprise was that I had no break between contractions. I don't know if that was because of the Pitocin and my body not going through labour naturally. The pain was constant that intensified regularly. I remember thinking that that the only siblings AC will have will be adopted ones. The yoga ball, EJ giving me a back massage did nothing to help. I could only manage the pain through walking. I was also very vocal, I wouldn't call it screaming more like loud straining. (On a side note I noticed I was more vocal the entire pregnancy, I would grunt and sigh more freely, it was like my voice box just opened up.) I think it was 1 pm that I asked for an epidural, I was about 6cm dialated. I had to wait for the doctor, they gave me pethidine in the mean time, I didn't really care at that point. It did help, but made me woozy and I had to lie down in the delivery room.

The anethetist came. I got a walking epidural. It worked perfectly, it was night and day. Amusingly, he described my birth now as "civilised". I think he left at around 3pm. The midwife coached me before hand and said that when I push I must hold my breath and push for a count of 5 take another breath and push for 5 counts again. She would tell me when to push. When it came time to push that did not work for me. What worked was to actually breath out while pushing. I couldn't breath out for two counts of 5 so I did three counts of three. I think because I started pushing incorrectly the OB did a 1st degree episiotomy and used a vacuum to get LO out.

I remember fondly when the doctor said that she sees a head of blonde wet hair :). EJ was at my shoulder and he could see the head come out. When LO came out, they put him on my stomach and he felt warm and heavy. It was the most incredible, magical and wonderful experience. I was instantly in love. I remember saying that I could give birth everyday.

Ultimately, having AC was all that mattered. I don't feel bad about getting the epidural and having the other interventions. What I learned from labour is to be informed, trust your intuition but also trust whoever is in labour with you (be it a midwife, doctor) and to also be opened minded.

If we have another baby I would have an epidural. The only thing I would do differently next time is to push differently and discuss it with the OB next time.