Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Birth Story

On June 4th, the very next day after my last posting, my water began leaking. At first I wasn't certain if that's what it was but as it continued throughout the day I became more confident that was what was happening. We waited and waited for contractions to come and nothing at all was happening. We decided not to call the doctor yet, as we didn't want to be "on the clock". Hospitals will tell you that you have to have a baby within 18-24 hours of your water breaking. So we kept waiting. We went on walks in our neighborhood, walked stairs, experimented with acupressure and nipple stimulation with the pump. Still I felt nothing except an occasional gush of water. We went to bed that night feeling a bit nervous, but we prayed about it and felt a peace about staying at home.

The next morning at 9 am when contractions still hadn't started I called the on-call doctor to see what she thought. Of course she wanted me to come in right away even though she thought I had just started leaking that morning. I still didn't want to go in to the hospital and decided to go get professional acupressure and a massage done instead. When I left the acupressure session, I had a missed call from the on-call doctor urging me to call her. When I did, she kept reinforcing the risk of infection and the need to "get labor going". She knew I wanted to go natural and said there were other options besides pitocin. I was still not happy about the options she gave me as I knew they would potentially have the same effect as pitocin. I asked about naturally inducing with a foley-catheter but she didn't agree to it due to the "infection risk"....I know I'm not a doctor, but wouldn't the risk be the same as the other options which also involved sticking things inside me?? Anyway, I kept waiting and we got all the bags ready to go and my family and Ross basically had to push me out the door at 4 pm (20 hours since my water began leaking).

Once at the hospital, they put me in a "temporary room" which became my "permanent room" as soon as they determined my water had indeed broken. So, there I the hospital and not happy about it at all. Still no contractions and I already felt pressured and controlled by nurses and doctors. The doctors decided I needed to be induced and I was given the option of a cervical gel called prepodil which is supposed to stimulate contractions and ripen the cervix. It was promptly inserted and I was told I would have to lay in bed for 2 hours with fetal monitors strapped on. Within an hour, small contractions began. So little I could barely feel them but I could see them on the monitoring screen. 2 hours passed and I was dying to get out of the bed and get moving, however the nurse informed us that Julian's heart rate was dropping every time I had a contraction. We asked if we could try sitting up to alter the position and see if that helped. She said that would only make things worse and made me stay on the bed longer. Every time the nurse came back to check on me we pleaded our case to be able to sit up right next to the bed while still strapped to the monitors. We just really felt that they needed to let us at least TRY something else besides laying there uncomfortably on the bed. Finally, she agreed, but made sure we knew it was not going to help anything. So we got a birth ball and got me set up next to the bed where all my attachments could still reach the machines. An hour later, lo and behold, Julian's heartrate was doing just fine with each contraction! The nurse commented that we were right about trying the new position and that baby liked it! Hooray, now we were given the go ahead to get off of the continuous monitors and walk around as we please.

Ross and I began walking the halls and timing the contractions. They would sneak up on me slowly and I would feel tightening in my lower back. At the peak of the contraction I was pretty uncomfortable but then it would start to subside and I could walk and talk and laugh again. This went on for a few hours. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart. Around 10 pm, my friend Jenny showed up to help us. At first, I thought she was there too early and that she would get bored....but things really started picking up then. My contractions were getting stronger and my moaning was getting louder. I was no longer able to walk during the contractions as they would stop me in my tracks and I had to hold on to the rails on the wall or lean back against the wall. But once it subsided I could walk and talk again. Contractions were about 3 minutes apart.

At some point, I went back into the room...I don't remember why probably to go to the bathroom or something but that's when things started getting ugly. I had to get hooked up to fluids which made it difficult to get around. Going to the bathroom was a 2 person job. I needed someone to hold the bag of fluid out of my way while I got my pants on and off. And at this point, contractions were coming faster and when they would catch me in a less than optimal position such as sitting on the toilet I was in major pain. I was doing my best to try to find positions that would relieve any of the pain.

There was a rail in the bathroom that I found to be a good height for me to hold onto while squatting. Then I got the bed in a position where I could get on my knees and lean forward. It also helped to hold onto Ross's shoulders like we were dancing (kind of) and have him hold me up while Jenny massaged my lower back. This was ultimately the best position. But after several contractions in each of these positions I was needing something different.

Thus begins the hydrotherapy phase. I got in the shower and Ross sprayed hot water on my lower back. It felt wonderful. I am still in the worst pain of my life, but it did provide some relief as I was crying and starting to feel like I couldn't continue any longer. Contractions were 1 minute apart and lasting 1 minute.

When the hydrotherapy wasn't helping any more we decided to change positions but before we could find another one another contraction came and then another and another. I am not clothed at this point...having been in the shower just prior. Somehow my pants were missing too. And then I ended up on the floor. Things are starting to get hazy now. I am now in a different reality. And what do you know, it was time for another "check". yippee. Everyone thought I had to be getting close to transition. Even the nurse had the delivery table out and ready to go. But everyone's faces dropped to the ground when we found out I was only at 6cm dilated. Each contraction was bringing me to the ground in pain and there was hardly any time in between to rest. I had been laboring for about 14 hours and it was probably 9 am or so (remember I got to the hospital at 4 pm the evening prior).

I'll try to zip thru the next 10 hours...
Drugs were given...epidural was given...I was able to rest for awhile...and finally after 6 more hours, it was time to push!

After about a half hour, the nurse informed me that she has seen someone push for 4 hours before and not to worry about how long it was taking. Haha, little did she know that her shift would end before I ever delivered. Julian took 4 hours to make his way all the way down. Seriously, every contraction he would move millimeters if even that. And just when I thought I couldn't take it any longer, out he came. All the pain I was in just melted away as they put him in my arms. He was slimy and purply-colored. His face was red and blotchy and his skin was so wrinkly, but nonetheless, perfect. His little lips were curled up and his cry sounded like "hoo-aa, hoo-aa". The sweetest noise I had ever heard. Soon after being placed on my chest, he found his thumb and stopped crying. Absolutely precious. The whole hospital experience still haunts us, and even though we didn't have the drug-free birth that we had hoped for, we feel like having a vaginal delivery was a success. And certainly our ultimate goal was a healthy boy, so we were so blessed. Julian was a trooper and did so great the whole labor and delivery!

Julian Ross Barry-born on June 6th at 8:18pm, 7 lbs 10 oz, 20 1/2 inches long, sweet, cuddly, new, precious, wonderful. Praise the Lord!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The 40-week update

Here I am, 40 weeks pregnant and still waiting for our little guy. I have to say the past 9 months have flown by! About a week ago people started asking me more increasingly, "Now when is your due date again?" and sending me emails and texts asking "Have you had the baby yet?" So far, I'm ok with all that and I know everyone is just excited for us and to meet the baby. It's not going to change the fact that no matter what I know his due date is June 5th and have that day looming over my head. It's crazy how I just assumed for some reason all throughout pregnancy that I would have him early and maybe even miss the last week of school. But that day has come and gone and here I am.

Although I know that cervix dilation is really a non-predictive measure, I still eagerly jump up on the doctor's table each week to hear what, if any, changes have taken place since the week prior. As of this Wednesday I was still about 1 cm dilated...which like I said, really means nothing as some women can linger at 3 cm for weeks and some women go from 1 to 10 within hours. My cervix is approximately 50% thinned out and baby Julian's head is engaged in my pelvis. It's crazy to think that my doctor has been able to touch his head!

I still have not had any true labor contractions and to date no lower back pain. In the evenings it seems I am feeling more pressure down there and Braxton Hicks contractions come more frequently. For that reason, every evening lately I've been thinking...tonight could be the night! And I wouldn't be surprised if I wake up having true labor contractions...but every morning I wake up feeling normal and another day pursues.

Ross and I are extremely excited. We've read our Bradley workbook, packed our bags, and gone over a plethora of different scenarios of what we think it might be like when it really does happen. We like acting out different birthing positions and coming up with hypothetical texts that we can send to people announcing that we're in labor. We're silly like that.

There is a lot of uncertainty about WHEN baby will arrive, but other than that, I feel ready. Not that I feel like I'm equipped to be the perfect mom or that I'll even know how to do anything "right". But what I do know is that I'm well supported by friends, family, and most of all my loving husband and that is one fact that I know with all my heart. Ross has been the ultimate husband to me and already has shown how awesome of a daddy he is going to be. I have grown even more and more in love with Ross over the past 9+ months. It's amazing how this pregnancy has brought out even more shining qualities in him when he was already so wonderful.

Enough for now...I have to get ready for a date with my hubby.