Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ford's Birth Story: Part 2

You can read the first installment of Ford's birth story here.

I can't believe I've waited until he's almost 8-months old to continue this story...better late than never!

FYI, this portion of Ford's birth story is going to be mostly about the girls' births, both of which helped shape my "plan" for baby number three's birth.

Sydney's and Lorelei's births were very similar to each other in the way that they began (the endings were a little different though--well, not THAT different since the end product in both cases was a baby daughter). With all three pregnancies I experienced very noticeable (but not painful) Braxton-Hicks contractions for the entire second half of the pregnancy. On January 26, 2010, Chet and I went to bed by 10:00 p.m., and around 11:30 p.m. I woke up with contractions that were definitely NOT Braxton-Hicks contractions. Chet and I timed the contractions for a little while, then called Labor and Delivery. They told us to come in so they could check me, so we packed our bags and headed to the hospital (35 miles away) and arrived about 2:00 a.m. Unfortunately I was not progressed enough for them to admit me (the contractions were pretty uncomfortable by this point), so they sent us "home." We decided against driving 35 miles back home, and instead checked into a hotel right across the street and tried to get some sleep until about 6:00 a.m. (that's when they told us to come back). We didn't get much sleep.

They admitted me at 6:00 a.m. and I immediately asked for an epidural. That was my plan all along, by the way: to get an epidural as soon as possible (and it worked like a dream).

Not much happened after this, until it was time for me to push. I pushed for just under two hours (not necessarily uncommon for a first baby), and Sydney Jo was born at 1:51 p.m. on January 27, 2010 (7 days early). She weighed 6 lbs, 11.4 oz, and was 19.25" long. 

Lorelei's entrance into this world began just like Sydney's: we went to bed on October 16th, 2011, and I woke up a couple of hours later with labor contractions. (A few weeks before Lorelei was born, I tested positive for GBS during one of my prenatal doctor visits, which just meant I needed to get to the hospital as soon as labor started in order to get an IV of penicillin--there would be no sending me home this time!)  So we grabbed our bags, transferred sleeping Sydney to the neighbor's house, and drove to the hospital.  Like last time, the contractions were pretty uncomfortable, and I planned to get an epidural ASAP.

Here's a small twist to the story, though.  A couple of weeks before Lorelei was born, I had a nasty cold.  So nasty, in fact, that I remember not caring if Lorelei was born three weeks late, as long as I had time to get well before I had to go through labor and delivery.  Thankfully, the cold was mostly gone when I went into labor.  Unfortunately, a hacking cough continued to linger.  I was coughing constantly, and it was annoying.  Extra annoying once I was in labor.

Anyway, back to the hospital.  The nurses got me started on the penicillin IV, and the anesthesiologist came around with my epidural.  But remember the hacking cough?  Yeah.  It made it hard, in addition to the contractions, to remain still while I was getting poked in the back with a giant needle.  And the anesthesiologist?  He was inexperienced, making the epidural experience quite scary.  So scary to me, a lady in labor, that I vowed to never get an epidural again (even though I knew it might be an empty threat).  I don't remember exactly why the experience was so awful, but it was awful enough to make Chet track down the head anesthesiologist and tell him that his guy did a terrible job and needed more practice.  If you know Chet, it take A LOT for him to do/say something like that.

Anyway.

The epidural began working quickly, and my dad showed up (at this point it was about 6:00 a.m. on October 17th).  He drove in the night before, because I called him earlier in the day and foreshadowed that Lorelei would be born in the next couple of days. It was fun to have an extra loved one around.  I'm not one of those people who can "relax" or sleep while in labor (even with an epidural), so it was nice to have an extra person to chat with.

At this point, the only thing I was worried about was pushing for two hours, like I did with Sydney.  Even though it was painless (thanks to the epidural), it was still exhausting.  I had high hopes that Lorelei would be born more quickly, and my nurse seemed to think she would be.

When it was time to start pushing, my lingering cough quit lingering, and decided instead to plant itself firmly in my lungs and make pushing a baby out nearly impossible.  My nurse quickly announced that I wasn't getting anywhere, and turned off my epidural to help "motivate" me.

Well.  Thanks.

I can't remember how long it took for the epidural to wear off, but it didn't seem like long.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I was completely unprepared for the pain.  I mean, I know that childbirth is painful, but keep in mind I only had Sydney's birth to compare it to, and I planned to have the exact same (pain-free) birth the second time around.  In addition to the pain and the resurrected cough, I also felt extremely woozy from all the medication (epidural and penicillin).  I was also extra weak, because I was already sleep deprived (remember, I only slept a couple of hours before heading to the hospital) and hadn't had anything to eat since dinner the night before.  It seemed like the perfect storm, childbirth style.

I was still clinging to the hope that Lorelei would be born more quickly, and that it was almost over, but...no.

After a lot of drama on my part, including telling the nurse that I was just fine letting the baby live in my uterus forever thankyouverymuch, and just OVER two hours of pushing, Lorelei Ann was born at 1:18 p.m. on October 17, 2011 (5 days early). She weighed 7 lbs, 7.4 oz, and was 19.75" long.

Whew.

Here's another admission: I felt so sick and exhausted after Lorelei was born, I didn't really want to hold her.  I just wanted to lay there and sleep; there was no surge of adrenaline or endorphins or ANYTHING after it was over, and it wasn't a good feeling.  Thankfully, I got over it pretty quickly, and all was well.  But after dissecting the whole experience in the days, weeks, and months that followed, here's what I came up with:

1. The next time I give birth, I do not want to be sick.
2. The next time I give birth, I do not want to test positive for GBS (no GBS=no penicillin IV).
3. The next time I give birth, I want to be mentally prepared to feel pain.
4. The next time I give birth, I do not want an epidural.

#1 and #2 are ridiculous, because I have no control over them.

#3 is a big, fat DUH.

#4 terrified me.

Make no mistake, I did not instantly convert into one of those brave women who desires to experience every twinge of childbirth.  I would choose a pain-free birth any day over another birth like Lorelei's, but the scary epidural experience and the woozy feeling I battled during Lorelei's labor made me want to at least consider having an unmediated birth the third time around.  However, I know myself pretty well, and I knew it would take A LOT for that to happen.  When we found out we were expecting Ford (surprise!), here's what I started doing to prepare for an unmedicated birth:

1. Praying
2. Worrying
3. Praying to stop worrying
4. Watching Ricki Lake's documentary "The Business of Being Born"
5. Reading the book "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth"
6. Picking the brains of every single doctor, nurse, friend, casual acquaintance (not really) about their birth experiences

Despite all my preparations, I wasn't convinced I could handle an unmedicated birth.  I WANTED to, but didn't think I had what it took.  Plus, it was very likely Chet wouldn't be present for Ford's birth, leaving me without a support system (NO ONE can replace a husband in the childbirth process).  I felt like the odds were stacked against me, and I knew I would likely cave once I was in labor, at the hospital, and presented the option of an epidural.

So...how did it all turn out?!

Stay tuned (Baby #3 just woke up from his nap)...

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