Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Daisy's Birth Story

Happy Independence Day! To celebrate the day our nation declared independence, I'll tell you the story of how Daisy declared independence from my body. It was quite an adventure. Buckle your seat belts and get comfortable, because this is going to be a long post. I'll share some pictures of Daisy to break up the words, but she wasn't actually here during most of this story.

Born in the U.S.A.!
I'm including some gory details. Read at your own risk.

Earlier in the week, I had some pre-labor contractions. I was expecting contractions Friday night, but woke up Saturday morning having slept the whole night through. I was bummed.

Zane and I took a walk, and I laid around while he worked on fantasy football stuff. Around 11am, I started feeling contractions. They were pretty spaced-out, so I didn't get my hopes up. My friend texted me to have lunch, and I agreed thinking that my contractions would go away. 

Zane dropped me off at Chick Fila around noon. I saw several church friends, including one whose birthday was that day. She said, "Today's a great day to have a birthday!" I said, "Maybe she'll come today!" During the meal, I realized my contractions were coming pretty quickly. They were painful, but manageable, but I decided I ought to time them. They were coming four minutes apart. I decided it was probably time to go home. 

We called the midwife, Zoe. She said to come in, and we'd do an assessment to make a plan for the day. We dropped Rufio off at my parent's and headed to Sanford.

We arrived and checked my progress: 3cm. She then said, "I'm going to help you out." I started feeling this intense pain and wanted to move or get her to remove her hand. After about a minute, she stopped and said, "A t-shirt goes on best if it's centered on top of your head and not to the side of your head. I was adjusting your cervix to be straight with the baby's head." Ow! That hurt!

She told us to walk around for an hour and come back.

We went to the grocery store to pick up snacks. We were in it for the long haul. The baby was either coming Saturday or early Sunday morning. After the cervix adjustment, I couldn't walk very fast, so we meandered through the aisles wondering what kind of food we'd want to eat later on. I had to stop walking for every contraction and breathe through it. It was kind of embarrassing, and I was worried that people would be like, "What's that crazy pregnant lady doing here in labor?!" But no one seemed to pay much attention to me. 

We got back to the birth center at 4:00pm. I was GBS positive, so I had my first dose of antibiotics. I required antibiotics every four hours, so I hoped she would come in time for only two doses. Zane took one last picture of me all pregnant.

"Hurry before the next contraction." I thought I was smiling, haha.

Zoe checked Daisy's heart rate to get a good baseline, and it was already pretty high. She checked my progress, and I was 5cm. From there, I got in the tub. It was nice and warm and soothing, even though I was feeling serious pain every couple minutes.

Daisy was posterior, which means she was facing up, which means her back was on my back, which means I was doing back labor. Back labor is extra painful, because there's a lot of pressure on your lower back in addition to the pain of contractions. Zane pressed on my lower back during every contraction, which was very helpful.

In the tub, I did my deep breathing through contractions and discovered that exhaling with noise was helpful. I sang out a note on my exhale, and when the contraction slowed, I went back to deep breaths.

Zane said lots of encouraging things to me, but I thought it was annoying so I told him to "Shuuuuuut uuuuuuuup" during an exhale during a contraction. We labored in silence after that. He was very patient with me. He was just an amazing labor partner, and I seriously couldn't have done it without him.

She's so pensive. 

After a while, Zoe tried to get me to eat a banana, but I didn't want to eat. She made me take one bite, so I took the tiniest bite possible.

Zane said I was in the tub for an hour and a half. They got me out so Zoe could check Daisy's heart rate again. The next portion was transition. I laid on my left side on the bed with the heart rate monitor on my belly. Zane pushed on my back during every contraction. These were more painful than the previous ones.

God designed us so perfectly! Between contractions, my body released endorphines, which allowed me to relax and even fall asleep. I remember dreaming a couple times. I also spent the relaxed time quoting scripture to myself, thinking of epidurals, and planning to only adopt from now on. It was painful.

Soon, Lisa Ann, the birth assistant came. She rubbed essential oils on my wrists and belly. That actually helped a lot. She said calm, directive things to me like, "Sink into the bed. Deep breaths."

Then all of a sudden during a contraction my abdomen just went, "Ugh." My body started to push. It was so weird and out of my control. Somewhere in this time I heard Lisa Ann tell Zane that she thought the baby would be here by 8:00pm. That was really encouraging. Zoe also told me that they were going to transfer the baby when she was born, because her heart rate was tacky, and I was GBS positive. 

Then my water broke and there was meconium in the fluid - that's the baby's poop. Usually babies poop after they're born, but sometimes they poop in the womb, and it's dangerous if they breathe in the poop.

That's when Zoe said they were going to transfer me right away. She was very calm about it, and I was not about to argue. If she thought I should transfer, then okay! Besides, all I could think about was getting through the current contraction.

At one point I wanted to push, and Zoe told me not to, that my cervix wasn't ready. I said, "I can't!" And she said, "Yes you can. Breathe through it." They had me breathe like, "hoo hoo hoo hoo," which did give me the power to not push. Zane got in my face and showed me how to breathe. It was horrible to have his hot breath in my face. I thought I gently pushed him out of the way, but he said that I whacked him so hard he thought his nose was going to bleed.

I opened my eyes to several EMTs in the room. Zoe and Lisa Ann helped me put on a robe and walk to the stretcher. They wheeled me out, all the while I was having contractions that caused me to push. Zoe told me it was okay if I needed to push. That made me happy. It meant my cervix was good to go!

In the ambulance, a female EMT started an IV on my arm. Zoe sat on the other side of me. I remember wondering where Zane was. Zoe gave the EMT most of my information, but the EMT asked me my social. I spit it out as fast as I could before the next contraction. She asked my address. I gave her that, but when I got to my zip, I had to breathe and push.

I said, "123---"  (fake zip code for this blog post)
She said, "123--what?" Kind of annoyed.

I remember thinking, "Come on, lady! Give me a break! I'm having a baby here!!" When the contraction stopped I gave her the last two digits.

In what seemed like two minutes, we were at the hospital. It's literally across the street from the birth center. Zane and Lisa Ann were standing outside waiting for me when the stretcher came out of the ambulance. They wheeled me into labor and delivery and I remember having a contraction in the hallway and yelling through the pain. I looked over and saw some people who weren't medical staff and thought, "Oh gosh, I'm probably scaring them."

In the delivery room, they helped me to the bed, which was soft and comfortable. It was 7:25pm. I heard Zoe tell several people along the way that I was fully dilated. That news made me so happy.

The doctor and nurses in the delivery room were all super happy. They introduced themselves to Zane, Zoe and Lisa Ann. They were making jokes about getting drinks after this. They kept saying, "Wow, she's amazing! She needs to give people lessons on how to have a baby!" I felt like a rock star.

I remember Zane saying, "She's a natural. I know she hasn't been practicing."

They laughed at that. I remember thinking, "He's so corny." But all I was able to do was breathe. Their light-hearted chit chat made me feel at ease, because it meant everything was okay.

They told me that my potassium was very low (2.7) and that I'd be put on a potassium drip and something else for my dehydration. I had been sweating a lot. I got a calf cramp at one point, and Zane massaged it out for me. I guess I should have eaten the whole banana!

At this point, I started the pushing process. Zane held my left left, Lisa held my right leg, and Zoe supported my back. The doctor sat in front of me and helped stretch my perineum to make way for Daisy. After the first push, Zane said he could see her head. I heard people say, "Look at that hair!"

The doctor told me to push for 10 seconds straight, because I was only pushing for about six. Everytime a contraction came, I leaned forward and flexed every muscle in my body and focused pushing. The doctor counted to 10, I'd take a breath, and we'd do it again for three times in a row. Then I laid back and rested. The resting part was painful, because I think I could feel her coming back inside of me. But I took my long deep breaths and prayed to God that the next push would get her out.

They had me reach down and feel her head, but it felt like jelly, all squishy and weird. It wasn't motivating enough for me. I thought, "This will take forever!!"

The doctor told me they were going to give me a catheter because my bladder was blocking the way. I said, "No." She said, "Do you want to try to pee on a bed pan?" I said, "Okay." I squatted over a bedpan, but the only thing I felt like I needed to do was push, so I pushed over the pan, but no pee or baby came out.

The doctor asked if I wanted a mirror. In my original birth plan, I had wanted a mirror, but I said, "I keep closing my eyes during pushing, so I don't know how I could look."

After a few more sessions of pushing, the doctor had them set up a mirror and a spotlight (gross, I know) for me. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, "That's my face...and that's my...what?!" There was definitely a head, but it didn't seem possible that it could ever get through the space.

Finally the pain of resting and feeling her come back inside was too intense. I started to push for longer than 10 seconds at a time. Then I didn't want to lay back anymore. They said, "Okay rest now." And I shook my head and kept pushing. I couldn't push for 10 full seconds, so I just did several shorter intense pushes and then, boom! Out came her head!

The doctor said, "Give me another push for her body." I pushed again and she plopped onto the table. I looked down and thought, "Woah! That's a big baby!" She was born at 8:41pm.

I laid back down and caught my breath. I saw Zane cut her cord, and then they placed her on my chest and cleaned her up. I said, "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Hi little baby!"

Before having a baby, I thought I would cry when they put her on my chest, but I didn't cry. I felt very matter-of-fact, "This is my baby. I am her mother. This is how it should be."

They took her away from me to get weighed, and the respitory specialist made sure there was no meconium in her lungs. It felt like a long time, so I said, "Can I have my baby back?" They gave her back.

Zane got a good angle. Most of the other pictures I look awful, but this is tolerable for internet posting.

I delivered the placenta pretty quickly, which was a huge relief, and they massaged my belly to get my uterus to start going back down, which hurt. I tore a little, so they stitched me up. All the time, I held my baby and talked to everyone. I could now participate in the chit chat.

The doctor showed us the placenta and how it worked. It was so nasty, but pretty cool too. I asked her why they were saying I was so good at delivering a baby. She said that I was screaming a little when they brought me in, but once I started pushing I was very focused and calm. 

Then I started shaking uncontrollably. No one seemed fazed by it. I said, "Is this normal?" The doctor was like, "Yeah, it's just your hormones." It happened several times throughout the first night. 

I did skin-to-skin with Daisy for two hours straight. She breastfed sometime after the first hour. She checked out my breast for a while before she finally decided to latch on. But once she latched, she seemed to know exactly what to do. I think it was the skin-to-skin that made it so initially easy. 

My family and Zane's family saw us that night. I was on an after-delivery high. Everything was awesome. I loved the doctors, midwives, nurses, Zane, our family. I was so excited to share Daisy with them. 

I stayed on the potassium drip all night. We had to stay in the hospital for 48 hours to observe Daisy, since she was exposed to the GBS during delivery. She was fine though. I'm glad we got transferred, because I was so weak the first couple days, I could hardly get out of bed. My body was completely rocked. Every muscle hurt, and my lady parts - whew!!! My tailbone was the worst. It's still hurting days later. But we had such great care. The nurses were wonderful and so encouraging. The first nurse that first night was my hero. She helped me so much. 

We had several visitors on Sunday and Monday, which helped pass the time, but Monday during the day I was restless to get home. Monday night we were discharged, and came home to begin a whole new set of adventures. 

And that's the story of how Daisy came into the world!

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