Sunday, August 31, 2014

Patrick's Birth Story

He's here! Baby Patrick arrived at 2:02pm on August 26, 2014. At birth he was 9lbs 2 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long. He was quickly approaching 41 weeks when we realized we had waited as long as we could for me to go into labor naturally, because we were a little worried about his size. Given that my first child was 8lbs 7 ounces, we both guessed he would end up being just a few ounces bigger than our first, but we didn't want to chance a rough delivery and possible c-section if he ended up being too large for me to deliver. 

I was extremely disappointed when I finally decided it was time to induce because going into labor naturally was something I was really looking forward to this time around. I had also been having contractions every 8-12 min for three days before my induction date. Though they were stronger than the braxton hicks I had been having for weeks, they were not overwhelmingly painful and they still failed to amount to anything. 

I had also tried every (safe) method that has been said to kick start labor...accupuncture, prenatal massage, reflexology, evening primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea, pineapple, eggplant, curry, using my breast pump, loads of walking and running, nearly everything I have read or been told will get it going (with the exception of castor oil- which can have horrible consequences if your cervix isn't ready). Nothing ended up working, in fact when I went in the morning of Aug 25 for my last check-up, I had made little progress from the week before (and the week before that). The only positive was that my cervix was a bit softer but still longer than my doctor would have liked, though he also felt it was time to induce. 

Mid-morning after my appointment I started having regular back pain along with contractions and though my water didn't break, I had other symptoms that told me labor was coming soon. We rested most of the day, took a two hour nap from 10pm-12, and left for the hospital just shortly after 12:30am. When we got there, me and baby were placed on a monitor in L&D and I was given the smallest dose of cytotec to prep my cervix. Things took off from there and I had contractions between 8-3 minutes apart all the way up until 5am when they started my pictocin and I officially went into labor. By then I was already 4.5 cm from laboring on my own with the cytotec.

I was really worried that I would need the epidural quickly once they started my pitocin. Because my first labor was induced I remember the contractions being unbearable, and the epidural I had at 6cm stopped my labor and brought me within minutes of a c-section (which I did avoid, but still it way too close for comfort ). I didn't want to get that close again, so I turned on my pandora radio, put my headphones in my ears and hummed my way through the pain. Though I was uncomfortable, the pain wasn't unbearable like I remembered it. I could feel each contraction rise up, peak, and gradually fall back to a resting state. In some ways I was actually enjoying the experience, it was physically difficult and I was sweating and having to control my effort. In a way it almost felt like a hard workout or a difficult race. 

Things really didn't get difficult with the pitocin like I remembered they did with my first, the contractions were manageable, or at least I learned to manage them. I ended up laboring on my own (ok, my husband held my hand through the late stages!!) all they way until I was 10cm in about 4 hrs. It was quick and I didn't start to have any difficulty managing the contractions until I was well past 8 cm dilated.

Once I hit 10cm, I continued to tell my nurse I needed to go to the bathroom. She checked me and told me the news that I was fully dilated. The pressure I was dealing started to become unbearable, and my body started to make me push during each contraction. It was horrible and I couldn't fight it or stop it. The contractions eventually turned into horrible gut wrenching pressure and my humming turned into moaning as I grabbed the bed rails to steady myself during each push. The nurses set me up properly to push and I did for about 20-30 minutes, until the head nurse came in to check my progress, and gave me some pretty bad news. Even though I was getting to sensation to push, my baby was being protected by an additional bag of water called a forebag, that failed to break when my water broke (on its own) at 6 cm. this was one of the reasons that my baby was still up way too high and not dropping. And the horribly bad news- it was probably going to take 2-3 hours of pushing to get him to drop low enough for me to push him out. 

I was horribly devastated because I was exhausted at this point not to mention that I had not slept all night (with the exception of a 2 hr nap before midnight) and the pressure and push sensation were more than I could handle for another 2-3 hours. I was once again worried that I would et to the very end and have no energy to push him out, resulting in a c-section. In a matter of minutes I went from thinking things were about over, to feeling completely hopeless.

Minutes later my doctor came in, he had been in surgery for 2 hours, which I knew, and told me that if I got an epidural, I could sleep for 2 hours, and they would wake me up when he dropped, and I could push him out. By now, I was all the way at 10cm on my own, so there was no way my labor would be prolonged or stop if I got the epidural, which was my worry going in. So I agreed and was given an epidural minutes later, which seemed to take the edge off almost immediatly. I feel asleep quickly, waking every 20-30 minutes or so by a family member or a nurse checking on me. I started to feel my energy return with each 20-30 min stretch.
Two-three hours later I awoke and felt ready. I had woke up about an hour before and threw up, which I know for me is my body's signal that he had dropped low enough for me to push. My doctor came in and told me it was time. A little numb from the epidural, but refreshed from the big nap I had just taken, I was able to push him out without any trouble in just 5 pushes. It was absolutely a perfect birth experience for me and baby. Within hours of Patrick's birth my daughter had me up and we walked the halls of L&D in search of a snickers bar and a diet coke (for me of course). 

He was bigger than we all expected at 9lbs and 2 ounces, but all in all it was a much better labor/delivery experience than my first (18 hours of labor), and no c-section which was my biggest fears with a big baby and an induction. Everyone had their ideas of a perfect labor, some prefer home births and others prefer to go completely unmedicated. Regardless, my experience was perfect for me, and would have me up and running (not literally) very quickly. I  could not have asked for a better experience this time around!

Welcome to the world, Patrick!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Week 40

Here I am just a couple days shy of 40 weeks pregnant and just...waiting. Honestly I never thought we would actually get this far.

Three weeks ago we had a sonogram to estimate the babies size and they told us he probably weighed 7lbs 3 ounces. Because my first baby was large we started to get worried, and came up with a plan to induce early, possibly in the middle of week 39.

Four days later I went in for my next appointment and was told we had already made so much progress that we may not even make it that far. We went home, and I continued to be as active as before thinking that I would just continue to make progress. I was confident that by the time I hit the middle of August our baby would be on his way out anyway.

Monday the 10th I went in and hadn't made much progress from the week before but was still looking good, so I opted to wait another week versus possibly inducing on Aug 15. I was 100% sure that by then I would be so ready that our induction process would be quick and easy (versus the one with Maddy that was long and painful). I was also extremely confident going into my Aug 18th appointment...only to be told that I had made no progress from the week before. 

Zero. Zilch. NONE.

My doctor started talking about having to bring me in the night before to "prep me" and starting the drip in the morning. Then reality hit and I realized my body was not ready. My baby was not ready. I was not going to have this child tomorrow. I was not going to have this baby this week AT ALL.

Because the thought of going through my first labor experience terrified me more than delivering a large child, I decided to wait until the 25th. Possibly at that point he may still be a good size for me to deliver him naturally, and possibly not. There is really no telling as estimating size using a sonogram is really just a guess anyways.

So here I am...waiting. My babies face still clearly etched in my mind from my last sonogram, and I am growing increasingly impatient. I am power walking like a made women and still running when my pelvic floor allows it.

Pregnancy is not a race, but it is a marathon. And as Houston mentioned to me yesterday, "your kick was never really very good."

...Doing my best to rally...