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Little E–the birth story

January 11, 2010

Too much information, and the post is almost longer than my labor and delivery was, but here are the details…

I woke up last Sunday morning, January 3, my official due date, sure I would remain pregnant for at least another week which would feel like an eternity.  Sure enough, last Sunday feels like forever ago!  After yet another night of contractions that went nowhere, I decided to go to church since I was up and even made it to our new 9 a.m. schedule, although I had to endure all manner of comments like “Haven’t you popped yet?”  Obviously, no.  “He’ll come when he’s ready.”  What about me?  I’m ready now!  “Congratulations!!  You made it to your due date.”  That was one I really didn’t want to hear.  I did get a fabulous foot massage during Relief Society and aside from some of the comments, it was nice being at church just to feel the Spirit. 

So many people asked how I’m doing.  I tried to be nice, but I also just wanted to cry (and did several times, it was not my finest day.)  “I’m tired.  I’m sore.  I’ve started having contractions almost every night this entire week.  We stay up waiting to see if they’ll progress into anything, but they never get closer together than every 10 minutes. When we finally decide they’re probably not going anywhere and maybe we should get some sleep, it’s way too late to get a decent night’s sleep.  So now I’m just exhausted, and if I have to get up tomorrow and face housework, and laundry, and getting the boys up and doing something productive with all their energy, and making lunch one more time, I might just scream.  That’s how I’m doing.” 

I was also scared.  When I was pregnant with my first, I was scared because I had no idea what to expect.  Now I was scared because I knew exactly what I had to go through with an unmedicated delivery and prolonging the inevitable just made it worse in my mind.  I did ask for a blessing, and our home teacher came over right after church to assist DH in giving me one, which helped to bring some measure of peace.

By Sunday night, we were back to the familiar “count the contractions” game, although DH would hit his stopwatch every time I mentioned I was having one so I quit telling him, as I was convinced this night would end like all the rest.  I went to bed around midnight and DH followed shortly.  He could sense my frustrations and asked if I just wanted him to hold me for a  while.  I said yes and he continued to time contractions as he could feel me tense up with each one.  We never did turn off the lamp or even say prayer together, he just held his arms around me and I tried to drift off to sleep which was getting harder as contractions were actually starting to get a little stronger, but only marginally closer together. 

At 1:30 DH heard me say, “Oh!” 
“Another one?” 
“No, my water just broke.” 

DH can spring into action with little or no warning.  He jumped out of bed, got me a pile of towels, started putting clothes on, called our friends who were to come over and stay with the boys, woke up A to go let our friends in the front door, and seemed to be everywhere at once getting things ready to go, while I felt like I was moving in slow motion.  I sat on the edge of my bed on a towel and couldn’t figure out what I needed to do.  Anything I put on would just get wet as I was leaking fluid every time I moved.  I couldn’t seem to think clearly but finally managed to get my wet clothes off and put a short nightgown on with my robe over that and carried towels between my legs to catch the amniotic fluid which I now noticed was definitely not clear.  C was awake and we told him that E was coming and we had to go to the hospital.  Somehow DH got me to put my snowboots on and a coat and I sat in the car shaking while he scraped ice off the windows.  It was only about 13 degrees outside although I think I was shaking more from my physical state and anxiety than from the cold. 

We hit every light green on the 15-minute drive to the hospital and after having to sign and initial a few too many forms…I mean really, I’m leaking green amniotic fluid all over your wheelchair and you’re worried that I forgot to sign one form?…I was finally wheeled into a delivery room.  It was 2:05 a.m.

One nurse started prepping my room while another one got me hooked up to monitors and checked my cervix.  “Oh my word!  You’re at 9.5 and almost ready to deliver!”  They said I was their second–how did they express it, “Stop and drop?”–delivery that night.  They kept remarking on how composed I seemed.  Luckily my OB lives pretty close to the hospital and it seemed like no time at all had passed before he was there which was very reassuring.  I really like my doctor and I really like that he’s delivered all of my children and knows all my history.  He was talking about what a horrible day of clinic he had ahead of him.  It was like a day and a half’s worth of appointments due to the previous Friday holiday.  DH told him he could at least cancel my appointment and he said, “Oh great!  Now I’ll only have 32 patients instead of 33!”

He came to check my cervix, confirmed with me that I had been dilated to a 3 the previous Monday, and asked the nurse to come check me again.  Then he checked me again and all the while I’m thinking that it’s ok, just keep sticking your fingers inside me, I don’t mind a bit.  Apparently I was really only dilated to a 5, not a 9.5.  The nurse was embarrassed and wasn’t sure how she thought I was farther along than that.  Dr. N gave her a hard time, but we said it was probably a good thing that she got the doctor there quickly as I tend to have very fast deliveries anyway.

He looked at my monitor and asked if I felt like pushing.  I said, “No, should I?”  He said I could have through that last contraction, but I didn’t feel like pushing at all.  It didn’t even feel very strong.  He told me he’d be resting in the lounge around the corner and when things felt different to call him. 

I labored until about 3:20 and it really wasn’t that bad, as labors go. 🙂  I really wanted to go into labor on my own and test out the theory that induced labors using Pitocin will cause you to have stronger uterine contractions.  For my part, I will heartily agree with that.  I had Pitocin with my last two labors, and I think I was augmented with it when I had A, and this one seemed to be much easier as far as getting through the contractions went (although it was not a walk in the park–it’s still labor after all.)

My foot massage friend from church had also told me about some acupressure points on your lower back that help with labor pains.  I think DH and I accidentally discovered them when I was in labor with D and he was massaging my lower back.  So I read up on acupressure in labor and we purposely tried applying pressure to those points this time around.  I really think that helped as well, both with the pain management and in lessening the length and intensity of contractions.  Around 3:20 I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom.  It had been the same when I was in labor with D.  That short walk and gravity really helped move my labor along. 

 The nurse helped me get up and just told me not to push as we didn’t want a baby in the toilet.  I didn’t even make it to the toilet before I felt this overwhelming urge to push and I knew the baby was coming.  Fast. 

I may or may not have started panicking at this point and somehow DH and the nurse got me back into the bed, she checked me and indeed I was really ready to go this time.  She called for Dr. N and told me not to push.  That’s helpful advice.  Nobody came so she called out again, “Get Dr. N, I need help in here!”  The baby’s head was already crowning.  Suddenly, it seemed like the room was filled with people–the doctor, about three labor and delivery nurses, and nurses ready to suction the baby out really well because of the meconium in my fluid.  They had told me not to expect a cry when he was first delivered because of that.

I usually decline when asked if I’d like to watch delivery in the mirror, but it was there anyway this time at the perfect angle for me and I watched this little head coming out of myself.  It was very strange however, as though I wasn’t really watching my own body.  It was like, for a brief moment, I was detached from what was actually happening. 

The nurses were trying to get the doctor’s green surgical gown on while he was trying to get one hand out to catch E’s head.  My nurse was trying to get me to calm down and pant and slow down as E’s cord was over his shoulder and the doctor couldn’t tell if it was wrapped around his neck or not. 

Then the doctor was telling me I had to push so the shoulders would come out.  I don’t ever remember having to push for the shoulders before.  I push the head out and the rest of the baby kind of slides on out.  Not so with this kid.  The head came out on its own and then I had to push, which I was finding difficult.  With the other three, DH and a nurse each held one of my legs so I had something to push against.  DH was holding my hand this time and no one had my legs. 

Somehow I managed to concentrate and finish the job and Little E was born at 3:30 a.m., a scant two hours after my water first broke.  He weighed 6 lb. 10 oz., was 19 inches long, and has more blond hair than any of my others had. 

I remember the doctor remarking on how long the cord was, which he had DH cut.  The nurses took E to be suctioned out sufficiently and he finally finally began to cry and I started to relax a little except for the fact that I think I was partly went into shock from such a quick delivery and my body was shaking quite badly.  Heated blankets helped somewhat as the doctor finished up his work. 

I was so grateful that this baby wasn’t whisked off to the NICU (as D was) and I had a chance to hold him and cuddle him and feed him so soon after birth.  He latched right on to me and we had a wonderful time together. 

The next few days were interesting and not quite so calm, but those details will have to come later.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2010 1:39 pm

    Whew! It never ceases to amaze me what we, as women, are willing to go through to give birth. LOVE those fast labors. My fourth was almost exactly like this!

  2. January 11, 2010 1:59 pm

    My longest labor, first contraction to delivery, was 4 hours. And I’m a shaker too. 🙂

  3. Jen permalink
    January 11, 2010 2:12 pm

    I love this, K. Thanks for sharing. Birth is so amazing. Almost makes me want to get pregnant again. Almost.

  4. Crystal permalink
    January 11, 2010 3:56 pm

    Great story! Hope you are doing well!

  5. Grandma permalink
    January 11, 2010 4:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing the whole story! Thank you for being willing to go through so much to bring these wonderful children into our lives and hearts. Love you lots.

  6. Susan Harrington DeVogel permalink
    January 11, 2010 7:57 pm

    Thank you so much…. Love, Susan

  7. denise permalink
    January 11, 2010 8:06 pm

    remarkable story. Thanks for sharing. Amazing how fast your kids come. Hope things are going well. Wish I was closer so I could come pick up the big boys for an afternoon!

  8. January 12, 2010 9:41 pm

    I am so glad the labor went quickly. I don’t know how ladies make it through hours and hours of labor. I feel so lucky that mine have all come so “easily” and quickly. It is always such a relief when the baby is out. I am always amazed at how quickly you can go from pain, you don’t know if you can make it though, to joy.

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