Friday, September 16, 2011

A Birth Story, part two

After an hour long drive (in which I made Mark stop the car for every contraction that happened on the bumpy parts of the road) we finally got to the hospital. Pixie met us there and after a quick check, concluded that I hadn’t progressed much, I was a "stretchy 2" How a girl can have contractions for 12 hours, never more than 10min apart, and only be  a “stretchy2” is beyond my understanding! Especially for a 4th pregnancy!

I was exhausted. And for that reason Pixie prescribed a sleeping cocktail of morphine and vistaril. She said, “Let’s put you to sleep for a few hours and see what happens.” For the next four hours, I didn’t actually sleep but my body was very relaxed and heavy. My words were kinda slurred. It must be what people feel like when they’re high….except I could still feel every contraction!!! And it was during that drug-induced state, that I started feeling the contractions in my back, more than in my uterus.  My good ol’ nemesis, Back Labor, was rearing it’s ugly head. Mark could tell when it was time to apply counter pressure to my back by the slow, steady moan that sounded like clock-work every 5 minutes.
Then Kendra walked in the door. I cried because she had come. I didn’t really know how much I needed her there until she walked in the door. I couldn’t have asked and wouldn’t have expected it of anyone to drive 7 hours, leave her 6 kids (including 6 month old baby) 3 hrs away with her mother and just show up because she thought I needed it.

Kendra & Mark took turns applying counter pressure to my back-pain nonsense, the morphine wore off, and I was in the throes of contractions that were all too familiar. The ones no pregnant woman ever forgets. Time to get in the tub. The 108 degree water really helped me deal with the pain in my back. About 3:30 I was checked again. Almost a…..3. Aaauuug!!!!! I cried then. Really cried. Not just tears running down my cheeks, but out load crying. After a while of that, I was able to put it to words, “That was discouraging. Really hard to hear.” Kendra held me, Mark hugged me. They both tried to calm me.
Since I wasn’t technically progressing, Jenel, the midwife student, told me this was “not quite labor” yet. What?! Contractions every 3 min for hours, and they don’t call this labor?! So she gave me 3 options: Go home, continue like I’m currently doing, or spend the night using morphine to sleep and then augment labor in the morning.

Going home wasn’t an option in my mind. I couldn’t imagine how I would survive the hour drive home or the hour drive back! Though no one else was sure this was labor, I was sure. This is what my labors have all been. Long. Hard. Slow progress. So I went with option 2: staying was my choice. However, I wasn’t given any choice over how often or how long or how hard I would like to have the contractions. Interestingly, they kept coming. Quicker, longer, stronger. Within a couple hours, I think the staff was finally starting to believe I was actually going to have a baby.

And then I hit my limit. I was so tired they told me to open my eyes to walk to the bathroom. I didn’t know my eyes had been closed. The 108 degree tub, was no longer taking the edge off of anything. I tried a joke, in my last vain attempt at levity because the book said levity really helps. It didn’t really help the pain. But we did all laugh.

Pixie surprised me by saying I wasn’t having back labor. The woman never ceases to amaze! She said my baby was positioned well, the pain in my back wasn’t from bone on bone pressure. She said I had “Tight Butt Syndrome.” (I think that’s the only time in my life someone may have called me a tight-a**) Tight Butt Syndrome is when the muscles and ligaments of your butt actually try to hold the baby up and in, while the uterus is contracting to let the baby slide down and out. It’s involuntary, but very real. She repositioned me and taught Mark and Kendra where and how to massage during a contraction to release that tension. Lesson to Learn: if you drive 7 hours for a birth you better be willing to massage your friend’s posterior side. But it's a new lesson in humility for all parties involved!

Meanwhile, Kendra’s sweet baby girl, Tatum, was not taking a bottle for Kendra’s mom, Nana K. 3 hrs away. Feats of amazing tasks under pressure must run in that family, because Nana K loaded all 6 kids up and headed to Moline so Kendra could nurse her baby!

Did I mention I had hit my limit? I had. I was done. I asked for an epidural. With faces too happy, they said, “Let’s check you, maybe you’re at an 8!” I said, “I don’t want to be checked, I want an epidural!” I said it very emphatically. And I was thinking, “There is no way I’m an 8!” I wasn’t. I was a 5.  But folks, this 5 meant I was *finally* in labor according to some textbook somewhere!

Then I begged for an epidural. Begged.  “Please, please, please…” I would have got on my knees, if I had any strength left to roll myself off the labor ball and onto the floor. Which I did not. I was done. Later, I told Mark we were just an hour off-kilter from one another. I wanted the epidural an hour before he believed me.

Then Mr. Dr. Epidural arrived, and the show really got on the road! What’s funny is Mr. Dr. Epidural was apparently waiting in the hall because I wasn’t fully clothed. A couple people handed me a gown, and I’m thinking….”He’s a real doctor, right? He does epidurals all day…he’s not gonna see anything on me he hasn’t seen before.” And I was in a lot of pain, which makes me not want to do what people are telling me to do. So I put the gown on the ground, and told him to please come in and I was very happy to see him!

 As Mr. Dr. Epridural was putting the 8” catheter into the very small area surrounding my spinal column, right before the moment everyone in the room said, “Don’t move, Jody.  Seriously.  Don’t.  Move.” I had a contraction and my water broke. So I mentioned it, “My water just broke.” They said, “Don’t! Move!”
Kinda makes you feel like you might get paralyzed or something….


Ginger said...

You and Gretchen - modesty goes right out the window when you're in labor. LOL!!
I have no desire whatsoever to labor the way Mr. Bradley apparently thinks it must be done (naked, that is).
But you didn't read that book, so nevermind. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ginger, you think I'm not modest in labor? You have to get sort of naked for the baby to be born. I never plan to be just sort of happens. Clothes are so constrictive in transition.

Anonymous said...

You leave me hanging in suspense. Please tell me there are only 3 "parts" to this story. And where's the "real" labor pic?


Val said...

I hate, hate, hate their stupid qualifications for REALLY being in labor. According to them I'm rarely in labor for more than 15 minutes before it's time to push. Give a girl a little encouragement why dontcha? :)

Jody said...

About modesty in labor...I think Gretchen was totally modest in labor. She was wearing a tank top through the whole thing!

As for me, I like to see/feel my belly during labor, so I went with the sports bra.In the hospital I was being monitored every 30 min,I was in and out of a bathtub for 7 hours, and people were massaging my butt. A gown got in the way of all of that.

But who am I supposed to be modest for during labor? I see myself naked everyday. I surely don't live modest for modesty's sake.

Mark's seen it all. And anyone else whom I feel comfortable enough to invite to birth should realize they're about to see parts of me they've never seen before. Isn't how and where the baby comes out part of the miracle of birth?
If I invited Claire and then told her, "don't look down there" she'd miss the best part!

As for the Epi Doc, if anything in me thought I was putting the Doc in an awkward position, I might not have dropped the gown. He could have averted his eyes for the 5 steps it took to get around to my backside, if this was an issue for him. But seriously, he's a Doc. His job is to know every inch of the body. I didn't think I was jeopardizing his integrity or mine.

Ginger said...

Gretchen just told me that you replied to me. I had no idea.
Oh my, I miscommunicated. I was not saying anything bad about being immodest in labor, I just found it very entertaining that you felt the same way Gretchen did in Vivian's labor. I thot it was hilarious that you both did the same thing. I don't remember what Gretchen was wearing in Amelia's birth. But her story of ripping the gown off before birthing Vivian has stuck with me, b/c it's so foreign to me to feel that way. But I've never been strapped down to anything or told to lay down to give birth; apparently being constricted like that makes you feel pretty trapped according to Gretchen. I can get that.
When my sister gave birth to Eli and Maya was there, at the very end, I told her: Come down here, you really gotta see this! It's amazing!
All my big girls were at Julia's birth. Maya cut the cord and Elena plans to this time. I love that they can experience this. One of the blessings of having a big family. :)