Monday, November 28, 2011

Beautiful Stranger: The Birth Story

Howdy Humble Readers...

This post has been a long time coming, and it's a ridiculously long story, so I apologize.  Because everything was so long and drawn out, it took me a long time to collect all my thoughts and memories.  And then, honestly, I was embarrassed that it took so bloody long to get this written, and I couldn't decide when to post it.  As Ginny's birthday approached, I decided that it was time.  If you make it all the way through this post, you deserve a gold star!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Beloved and I woke up at 6am, and just stayed in bed for twenty minutes or so, talking about what was coming and enjoying what we thought would be our last morning in bed without a baby in our lives.  We called the hospital at 6:30 to confirm that we were indeed on for that day, and oh, by the way, they wanted us there right away.  I woke up my Mom, who had arrived the evening before, and then we all dashed around trying to shower, eat, and get organized. 

We managed, miraculously, to get our poop in a group, and to the hospital by 7:20.  My Beloved dropped me off at the front doors, and then both he and Mom went to look for parking.  They ended up finding spots okay, but the pay parking meters were out of order.  The last thing we needed was for one of them to get towed or something.  They ended up having to go down to the bowels of the hospital to talk to someone in the security office while I headed up to the L&D unit by myself. 

When I got there, I was taken into a room that for all intents and purposes looked like a storage room with two beds in it.  No windows, and tons of 'extra' equipment, and just generally dismal.  The nurse told me that they couldn't have someone being induced 'taking up one of the good rooms for days and days'.  Fun stuff!

Dr. U arrived shortly after I got settled, and after a quick check (1cm dilated/30% effaced), he administered my FIRST dose of cervadil.  One of the perks of the day was that I was allowed to eat real food while we waited....

And waited...

And waited...

At the end of a day of unproductive cramping and boredom I was making hardly any progress.  Only 2cm and 70% effaced.  Dr. U administered another dose of cervadil, and we settle in for the night.  My Beloved and I played cards and then tried to get some sleep.  Mom went back to our place, and my Beloved sacked out on one of those super uncomfortable hospital recliners.  I didn't end up sleeping well at all, even though the nurse gave me a sleeping pill (which left a disgusting metallic taste in my mouth).

Friday, November 26, 2010
My mom came back in the morning, and after a third dose of cervadil it felt like maybe something was going on.  I started to contract every 5 minutes or so, and the contractions were lasting 30-45 seconds.  In the middle of the afternoon Dr. U stopped by for a check and I was STILL only 2cm and 70% effaced.  Ugh!  He stripped my membranes again.  Double ugh!!  And then he sent me home for the night. 

Talk about frustration!

We got home around 4pm and I took a nap.  By the time I woke up, the contractions had stopped completely.  We had a quiet evening, watched a movie, and Mom bought Chinese food.  I was totally worn out from the last two days and ended up falling asleep sitting up fairly early in the evening.  Amazingly I ended up getting the best night sleep I had in months. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We were back at the hospital at 8am, and this time I was given a 'good' room.  It had a window and everything... woohoo!  Dr. U checks me, and big surprise I was 2cm and 50% effaced.  The nurses hooked me up with my first (of many) iv... fluids and pitocin.  Dr. U broke my water and things got going pretty quickly.  By 8:30 the contractions are going like gangbusters, but I was still able very able to talk and joke around.  The nurses were increasing my pitocin every half hour and by 10:00 the contractions were becoming challenging, coming every 2 minutes.  It was around this time that I started experiencing some pretty intense pubic bone pain.  I was using my 'happy place' picture (taken from the top of Rockefeller Center, overlooking Central Park) for focus. 

I was allowed to have lunch, but that was my last real food for quite a while.  Right after lunch the nurses hooked me up to another IV... insulin, dextrose, and potassium.  I had tubing going into both hands, and it made much movement challenging.  The contractions felt really intense, but when the nurse checked me I was still only 2cm dilated. 

After much debate and some acrobatics with all my IVs, I was allowed to get up to try different positions for comfort.  I tried standing, swaying, bending over the bed, and sitting on the birthing ball, but I still had a lot of pubic bone pain.  By 1:30 I was ready for my epidural (I never claimed to be a hero).  They placed an internal monitor, and the anesthesiologist arrived shortly after 2pm.  He had some trouble getting me stuck properly (took 3 tries) but eventually I got some relief. 

Once the epi was doing it's thing, I tried to get some sleep, but the pain in my pubic bone came back very quickly.  I wasn't feeling the contractions themselves, but Ginny was pressing hard against my pubic bone with every contraction.   

Finally, when Dr, U checked me at 5:00pm I am making some progress.  I was 5cm and 100% effaced!!  Yay!  Sadly, the pain in my pubic bone was so strong that I was ready to quit.  I was still only at -3 station.  Dr. U asked me to try to tough it out for another couple of hours.  They top up my epi and I agree, but by 6pm I could no longer talk because of the pain in my pubic bone.   My Beloved grabbed some dinner (which I made him eat in the hallway because the smell made me nauseous) and then I demanded that he brush his teeth.  The nurses found that incredibly amusing. 

At 7:00pm Dr. U came back and checked me.  No surprise,  no progress was made.  As an aside, one of the nurses mentioned that I had some scar tissue or something on my cervix (wha?? no one has ever said anything about that before) that could be causing some of the problems, but it was mostly determined that Ginny was just in a bad position.  After a few minutes conversation, we decided that it would be a c-section.  Immediately, the nurses stopped the pitocin and my contractions stopped. 

From there, everything felt like it moved at hyper speed.  My Beloved donned his too small blue coverall outfit, and before I knew it, I was being rolled off the L&D ward and down to surgery.  Beloved had to wait outside the surgical suite while they got me situated, which ended up taking a ridiculously long time.  It turns out that the epidural wasn't in really solidly, and as they helped me shift from the bed to the surgical table the stupid thing came right out.  There was a great deal of rushing around at that point, because they needed to get me frozen again right quick.  It was a different anesthesiologist, and he managed to get me hooked up to a spinal in record time

Shortly after, my Beloved was able to come in, and they were draping the blue cloth everywhere and I was strapped down (what a freaky feeling!).  The sensations of the incision were so strange.  I could feel it, and I remember wincing, but there was no pain.  It felt like they were digging around inside me for quite awhile, and it turns out that Ginny's head was jammed up against my hip bone (to the point that her left ear was completely flat, no ridges at all for a couple of days after birth) and her shoulders were stuck sideways in my pelvic bone.  They had to use forceps to get her unstuck. 

At 8:42pm, Dr. U (who was being assisted by Dr. B), told my Beloved he could stand up if he wanted to see her being born.  As they pulled her out, my first question wasn't 'boy or girl?', but 'is there hair?'.  Again, that made all the nurses laugh, but after all the wretched heartburn I had, I wanted there to be some serious hair! 

I saw her briefly as they took her to the bassinet to check her out.  I could see her red squirminess and instantly I started to bawl.  And just as they brought her over to me, all wrapped up, the song playing in the room changed to Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger"... so amazingly fitting!  I got to give her a kiss and spend a few brief minutes staring at her before they whisked her and my Beloved away to the Special Care nursery (to check her blood sugar levels) and they closed me up. That process was just as weird as when they cut into me... tugging and pulling, but no pain. 

I had to go to recovery for about an hour or so afterward, and it was after 11pm before I finally got taken back up to L&D.  I was given a different room again, and foremost on my mind was to see my wee sweet girl... and get something to eat!  I was starving! 

I had just taken a bite of the piece of toast they had given me when they wheeled in the most precious thing I had ever seen.  She was red and squalling, her dark hair sticking up in every which direction.  I honestly don't remember holding her for the first time... but just knowing that she was finally here was so incredibly overpowering.  I bawled and bawled. 

The next few days were amazingly fun (watching my Beloved change his first stinky diaper) and brutally gut wrenching (breastfeeding did not start well, and the nurses were really no help.  They all told me different things and they all contradicted each other).  Kind of like the last 365.  And I imagine just like every day that will come on this journey. 

If you made it this far, you are a super star!  Thanks for reading!

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