Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Labor & Delivery
I've been thinking a lot about the term Labor & Delivery. It might sound stupid, but it's so appropriate! I'd never thought about it before. Last Sunday night I had plenty of time to do just that... think about every single random thing I'd never thought of before while waiting for our baby to drop down and pop out.
This whole pregnancy has been weird and difficult and filled with all kinds of surprises. For the first time I found myself under doctor's orders NOT to exercise. With all the other babies I'd tried so hard to stay active and in shape, to not gain a ton of weight. Not like it helped any, but it was something I could do. This time I felt like a hot house flower. I couldn't even go for walks for fear of passing out and my pelvis popping open and Armageddon coming down upon us. So it was a long 9 months to say the least.
That's why once I hit 37 weeks and got my trusty email from BabyCenter (the psychic baby know everything website) telling me that my bun was done cooking and safe to come out, I started doing everything I could think of to get the ball rolling. The ball being me. I was huge and round and ready to burst for those of you who didn't get to laugh and shake your head at me in person as I expanded.
All my efforts of the week paid off. Sunday afternoon I was awakened from my nap by a rather large, ground moving contraction. I didn't think much of it until the next one came, and then the next one, and another. "Honey!" I yelled from the bedroom..."You might want to download that contraction timing app thingy!"
I figured since Maggie and Lydia both took a couple of days (with Maggie it was weeks) of nightly contractions to get things going there was no big rush. But then Dan informed me that these puppies were three minutes apart and a good 45 seconds to a minute long. We called the midwife.. she said come on in and away we went!
Flash forward at least five hours. Contractions are dying down, I'm dozing off, the baby hasn't dropped and if I hadn't been hooked up to about fifteen bags of antibiotics I would have gone home. However, I knew that if I went home I'd most likely cry all night and end up having the baby in the bathroom on accident, so we stayed. And they talked me into trying out a little drug called pitocin.
Now all my other babies have come relatively fast. I've never had time for drugs or choices of any kind. It was just get to where someone who knows what they are doing can catch this little person and clean them up for me! So this was all new. I'd been in labor off and on all night, they were offering me all these choices, the nurse hated my guts because I wouldn't just go ahead and have the stinking baby!! (Serious.. I could see it in her face every time she came in to drug me up) and I was so tired.
But here's where it gets exciting. I went ahead and told them to give me a half dose of pitocin but not an epidural because I have a thing about needles in my back. I'd rather feel every pain of labor (or so I thought) than have a needle jammed in my spine that may or may not deaden me from the waste down and leave me numb and twitching for life. (I know..drama.) I could tell they thought I was stupid for wanting half a dose, but I'm pretty good with drugs, I usually only need a half dose of what normal people take. And this was no different. I started having contractions again, but only when I laid down. And the baby hadn't dropped yet. So we started walking the halls, marching, doing squats. Everything I could think of that might make the little sucker drop. The contractions would stop then I'd lay back down and they'd start again. About 4 am I was so exhausted I was sleeping through the contractions and dreaming I was being speared by restless natives, or some such, until a rather large one hit me and woke me. Then I felt a *gush* "YES!!!" I hollered and woke Dan up "My water broke!"
Now it was a small gush, but I thought.. hey! Baby's head probably stopped it up and if I get up and move around the rest of the ten gallons I've been carrying around will fly out and we'll have a baby before sunrise! I sat up and edged off the bed.. GUSH! Another one! Still small, but exciting! We called the nurse, she got out her little tester papers and dipped it in the gush and said: "Uh.. yah... uh... I'm pretty sure that's amniotic fluid. Sure! Let's go ahead and call the midwife." who was sleeping in the other room.
Her hesitation and the fact that it was dark in the room when she read the results should have been a big flashing red light. The girl wanted me out of there after all.
Flash forward again, because after that all that happened it was just more of the same. Heavy contractions and then nothing for a long time. So so so annoying!!! By morning I was so fed up and exhausted I couldn't wait for a change of plans. I honestly would have gone home and had my baby in the bathroom on accident at this point except that everyone thought my water had broken so they didn't want to send me home. Things just weren't going the way they usually did for me. With all the other babies, once my water broke it was a like a NASCAR race. Lydia was two and a half hours, Maggie was an hour and a half. What was taking so long? And I didn't feel right. I just didn't feel like I was where they said I was.
Finally.. shift change. New nurse!! And bless her heart, after spending a few hours monitoring me she and I sat down and had a heart to heart. Sloppy Joe Nurse (I've changed names to protect the actual people) from the night before had just shoved the messy chucks from my water breaking under my bed. I got to looking at them. They were bright yellow... yellow?? Amniotic fluid is not yellow unless there is something really wrong. I pointed this out to Angel From Heaven Nurse and she agreed with me. My water hadn't broken. I just wet the bed.
Nice, I know. But Labor & Delivery is like that. It's messy and confusing and so, so gross. I can't beleive people do it with their kids watching. Talk about scarred for life. But I'm not here to judge. Back to the story...
So that's when the crew got together and decided it was time to get things going. For whatever reason they'd been hesitant to break my water the night before, they didn't even tell me what they were doing now. New midwife came in and pulled out the big long water breaker thingy and I was like.. "whoa! what is that?" "Oh," she replied matter of factly, "we're going to break your water."
I love it when they just jump in and do things without telling you or asking you or preparing you. Like the night before when they came in and hung a bunch of new bags of crap on my IV pole. "What is that?" I asked. "Pain killers and stuff to knock you out." "No thanks," I said.. I know, and they don't know, that that stuff makes me vomit and I was having none of that. Still, they thought I was crazy. Why don't they trust that we know our own bodies? I am perfectly fine missing sleep and breathing through contractions. I'd rather do that than barf my way through contractions.
Once again.. back to the story. Nurse gets a little towel and midwife gets ready to burst the bubble. I started to say something along the lines of, we might need a bigger towel, but it was too late... and once again.. for the fourth time in my life I hear a chorus of: "WHOA! That's a lot of water!!!" I'm just thanking the Lord above that none of those four times was on the subway like in all my nightmares. And it was a lot of water, and I knew it was only the tip of the ice burg.
"We need a bigger towel" I finally got out just as *GUSH!!* the real water works started going. About three more huge gushes, people sticking their heads in to see all the water coming out of the girl who just won't give birth, and a quick sheet change, I sit back on the bed, ask them nicely to turn off the pitocin now, which they didn't want to do in case I stopped contracting again. But they agreed to cut it in half. Looking back now, I should have stuck to my guns and made them turn it off. Turns out I had been on twice the normal dose for a person being induced. Awesome huh? the one drug that doesn't effect me, or so we thought. I am guessing I was just so water logged it was like squishing a water bed around and wasn't doing much good at all. Except now with the water gone, they agreed to cut the dose in half and then everyone left.
That's right. EVERYONE LEFT! It was me and Dan all alone and the first big mother of all baby squeezing contractions hit. This was it.. he was coming. I felt him drop and about four big contractions on top of each other I knew it was time to push, only it was still just me and Dan. WTW? (as my kids say.. what the what?!) Where the freak was everyone? I kept telling them that things would go fast once they broke my water. They obviously didn't believe me, but who could blame them. I'd been hanging out there all night and all day like a regular person in labor, not Speedy Gonzales I'd been bragging myself up to be. The midwife actually went BACK TO HER OFFICE! I found that out later and seriously did a forehead slap. We called up Nurse Sent From Heaven and she took one look and rallied the troops. Finally! I had a room full of people and big lights and instruments of torture ready and waiting and here's where I really felt like I could do my thing and have a good delivery, only it was totally out of control.
I think that during a natural child birth with a fist baby you have no clue what you are doing. It's all shock and awe. With the second baby, I thought I knew what to do but I made mistakes. With the third baby.. it was awesome. It hurts, don't get me wrong, but you know where you are and what to do and if all is well, it's a great experience. This was just wrong. Everything was too intense. I couldn't get into my yoga moma pushing groove. Everything hurt too much, I couldn't focus, so I just fixed my mind on my baby and didn't stop pushing to breathe or anything until he was out. During the course of what seemed like at least a year, but was probably five minutes tops, my face and entire left side of my body went numb, I heard a very loud pop (my pelvis separating) and I was sure my baby had two heads when his shoulder got hung up and I had to push the little line backer out for a second time.
I was seriously disappointed in myself a few minutes later when I realized I was in so much pain that I didn't even think about the baby. I had no idea where he was or where I was or that he had trouble breathing. I tried to tell them something was wrong but they were busy cleaning things up, collecting cord blood, etc. etc. Finally, I caught my breath and was able to tell them my hips were separated and would they PLEASE TURN OFF THE BLOODY PITOCIN NOW! The answer? No. I needed two more bags to clamp down my uterus.
What the what?!
Anyway. Long story short. He was born an hour after they popped me. The midwife made it back just in time. And they really are good folks down there at Wake Med Cary. They did a good job. It was just the standard patient/caregiver relationship issues that got in the way. After all was said and done and Baby George was breathing well and I was finally in a position that I could stand and the pitocin was FINALLY turned off. All was right in the world. He was here safe and sound and that's all that matters.
I'm fairly certain that none of my other pregnancies or labors consisted of quite that much labor. And the deliveries have never been so bitter sweet. The whole idea of delivery is a beautiful one to me. Being delivered from pain and fear... I know there are many scriptures centered around the idea of letting Christ deliver us from the burdens of our life. I have to admit. There were many prayers said over the course of the 14 days it felt like I was in that hospital, both for L&D and recovery. And they were all answered with a sweet feeling of peace and a calming assurance that all would be well. And it was. That doesn't mean that it won't be painful or scary or go as you've planned, but all is well when we turn to the Lord and put our faith in him.
Some of you chuckle under your breath at the name George. But we named him after his father, Daniel George Holt. Who is the best husband and father I could have ever wished for. And he in turn is named after his father, George Wilson Holt. A finer man, and better example of love and kindness, I have never met. I can see where my sweet husband learned to be the good man he is. George is a good, strong, traditional name from a good family of good men and I hope that he can appreciate it and be proud of that as he grows into his name.
Dan chose Aaron as his middle name. I figured after bossing him around on the other three kids and their names I'd let him have this one with no argument. (You're welcome!) But it turned out to be an excellent choice. Aaron is often the younger brother in the scriptures. Teaching and supporting his siblings and those around him. A good example of strong faith and patience. I hope that our little George Aaron is patient and strong, although I'm sure he'll be a pest long before that :) That's what little brother's are for right?
And so we finish one segment of labor and delivery only to start on an entirely new one. One that happens daily. Working with my kids every day, whether teaching them or playing with them or disciplining them, it is all definitely labor. And each morning that starts anew when their happy little faces poke into mine and their arms wrap around me and ask me how my dreams were, I feel like I am delivered from the mistakes of the past and can start afresh. What a blessing :)