Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Nicky's birth story: Chapter two

Well I left off when I got the internal monitor set on Nicky. Now I could hear his heartbeat all the time and didn't have to worry about moving around as much as long as I didn't pull the monitor out. Truly I ended up staying in bed most of the time though. When lying on my side I had horrible back pain with each contraction. When sitting on the birth ball leaning on the bed I had the back pain too. When sitting on the ball leaning back on Tom I had the pain in the tops of my legs, but he couldn't reach to rub them. So back into bed I went and ended up with my legs straight out in front of me and with the bed sitting up at around a 70 degree angle or so. Jennifer, my doula, was on one side and Tom was on the other. With each contraction I'd breathe and moan (mostly moaning by this time) and they'd rub the top of my leg with one hand and my shoulder with the other hand to help me stay relaxed as much as possible. Contractions were coming one minute apart or faster and probably lasting around 30-45 seconds most of the time. So about a 15-30 second break between them.

I kept laboring this way until about 4pm when the doctor came in to check me again. I was still at 3cm and 80%. Very disappointing. The nurse offered me pain meds in my IV but I turned them down (barely). I told myself to wait for two more contractions. Tom was replaced at some point by his mom and by my mom. Someone gave me a foot massage at some point too. Everyone was very supportive. All I remember was riding out the waves as much as possible and trying hard to relax and breathe. I wanted music with violins and listened to a lot of Vivaldi and Mozart, trying to ride off in my imagination with the violin music.

Right before 5pm or so I finally talked with Tom and Jennifer. I was concerned that I was tensing up my legs even though I was trying hard to relax them during contractions. I decided that taking a little pain med thru the IV just to take a bit of the edge off might allow me to relax my legs and change to a better position to help the baby move down. We wanted to try laboring on hands and knees for a while and I just couldn't imagine doing it with the pain I was in at that point. So we told the nurse we wanted pain meds and sent my mom and Tom's mom to wait in the waiting room. I figured they'd already seen me spill amniotic fluid everywhere, they sure didn't need to see me on my hands and knees in those wacky gowns with my heiny hanging out.

It was taking forever for the nurse to come in with the drugs. Finally a guy came in I hadn't seen before. I said "Please tell me your an anesthesiologist." He was. I asked him what he could tell me about pain meds via IV. He said "Nothing, I don't do that." Not the right answer. It was a good thing I couldn't move during a contraction or I might have beat him to death right there.

He said he'd been sent in by my OB to talk about setting up an epidural. Not to dose it if I didn't want to, but to have it ready in place in case I wanted it or in case we had to do a c-section quickly. I knew two things:
1. I was not happy about getting an epidural. I didn't want one. I was afraid of them.
2. I had a 50/50 chance in my mind of going c-section. A lot was riding on me getting the baby to drop by about 6:30 and that was approaching fast. Getting the epi started would save time and help me avoid having to have a general anestetic if we had to do things fast.

I talked with Tom and decided to go ahead and get the epi put in, but not hooked up to any pain meds that way. I'd wait for the IV pain meds first.

As soon as I gave the guy the ok he went out to get his stuff. I went to the bathroom. I stayed in there with Tom for a while laboring on the toilet where it felt a little better for some reason. Finally I had to get up and out there and they already were ready to do the epidural. The anesthesiologist was talking with my doula about epidurals in a fairly hostile way. Basically they were debating birthing philosophies. I was about to tell them that if they'd like to debate about this they could get the hell out of the room, but I was too stressed out and in pain to even talk. I was really scared, I didn't even realize how scared until I had to sit on the edge of the bed, lean over the table they have on wheels, and bend my spine out towards them. Keep in mind I only had about 15-30 seconds between contractions, and in this position my back was killing me through each one with no one to rub it.

I was lying my head on a pillow on the table and holding onto Tom's sides in front of me. Jennifer was on my right, rubbing my arm, and the nurse was on my left alternating between playing the hardass and telling me it was ok. I was crying, sobbing and shaking with fear. Not only was I allowing someone to do something I didn't want to me, they were behind me and I had to actively cooperate with them, holding very still through my pain and bend my back out to them, knowing it was going to hurt.

I logically know this was the right thing to do, and that it couldn't possibly hurt that badly since people have them all the time. ButI think there were several subconcious things going on in my mind that made me so scared. I know I had a spinal tap done on me when I was around 5 years old. I know it was very traumatic, although I have completely blocked it out of my concious memory. But also I was raped at the age of 17, from behind, and holding myself out so vunerably to a male stranger who was invading my body in a way, well I think it dredged that up too, particularly since I was dealing with so much pain at the time and probably very emotionally vunerable.

So anyway, they had to end up poking me 4 times to find the space. I sobbed like a broken-hearted terrified child the entire time. That was the worst part of the entire thing though and it was over pretty quickly. Everyone was really nice to me through it though and I'm sure I'll get one with my next child since I found out I have to have c-sections from now on.

So anyway, the epidural was in. Finally my nurse says let's get in your pain meds. The anesthesiologist was shocked I hadn't had them already! Looking back, actually it would have been good to have had those first, but aw well. I laid down on my left side because I was afraid to lie on my back, and they wanted me lying down when I got the meds. It only took about 15 seconds to kick in and man was that nice! It was like a warm blanket came over me, between me and the pain. I still felt the contraction coming, felt it hit, but I was totally able to relax and breathe through it with no issue. It was like the contractions I had on Wednesday. Much easier to handle! I felt like I could try other positions. My doula and Tom were ready for a break since their poor hands were killing them from all the massaging. Jennifer left to get a quick bite to eat before she fainted from hunger. Tom was looking forward to grabbing a bite too I think, but right then my OB came in to check me.

I was still 3cm and 80%. Damn. If the doctor had to give him a station it would be a -4, he wasn't even engaged yet.

Tom, the OB and I had a quick conversation about our options. The baby's heartbeat was still good, and I was doing ok right now on the Staidol (pain med). The Staidol would last about one hour. I didn't think one hour was going to make that much difference since I hadn't progressed at all since that morning. I decided to go ahead with a c-section while the baby was still healthy and I was still healthy. I knew the baby was facing the wrong way since I was having back labor, and with the size he was estimated at I just think he couldn't come down any farther. I wanted him out and healthy.

Things started happening really fast then. I hope Tom will write up a birth story from his point of view soon since I was fairly loopy from the medicine. I remember signing something and then having Tom sign too since I was out of it from the meds. Then they brought in a hair net for us both to wear and some outfit for Tom to put on. They unhooked my monitors, told Tom to wait in the room for a minute and started wheeling me to the operating room. It was just a few doors away, on the Labor and Delivery floor and everything. I gabbed with everyone around me. Told them all about Nicky being my miracle baby after 11 years of trying. Told them a lot of stuff, commented about how bright the room was, etc. I was feeling very good on that Staidol stuff!

They had me get off the bed and onto the operating table. I have no idea how I did it, but I did! It was very hard and flat and only about 2 feet wide. They tilted it to the left and then put my head lower than my feet. There were places straight out from my sides to put my arms, but they didn't strap me down. I felt them doing things to me, like draping my tummy, rubbing stuff on it and stuff. They kept asking me what I could feel and asking me questions. Getting the epidural just right I guess.

I started wondering where Tom was! I kind of said "Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom" quietly over and over until the lady by my head asked me what I needed. I said, "I need my husband Tom. Please don't let them start cutting on me until he's here." They sent someone to get him and I immediately relaxed. They had him bring in his Afrin nosespray because I had gotten my mother in law's cold and had a stuffy nose. Well you would not believe how much worse a stuffy nose can get when you're upside-down!! That helped some, but mostly having Tom there was wonderful! I felt them doing stuff and they were talking, I looked into Tom's eyes and kept my right hand on his face and said, "Talk to me, I don't want to hear them." So he talked. He told me he'd called our doula, told everyone in the waiting room what was going on, and said lots of mushy, lovey things that made me feel much better.

I felt pressure like everyone mentions, but I mostly felt like they were emptying my whole body and arranging my parts on my chest and stomach. Finally it felt like they pulled a TV out of me and set it on my chest. Soon I heard a suction thing and a little fussing from my BABY! They pulled down the drape a bit and held up my baby so I could see him. He was so beautiful! They cut the cord and I sent Tom around to go with the baby on the other side of the drape to watch him get cleaned up a bit. I stayed there (like I was going to move right?) and just cried from happiness that my son was born and healthy.

A lady came around the drape with my little pink son all bundled up. I got to talk to him, touch his little face and kiss him. I saw Tom holding him and they said they were going to take Nicky to the nursery to weigh him and assess him. I told Tom to go with Nicky and to send my mother to me in the recovery room, but to stay with Nicky no matter what.

They were putting me back together, much like the scarecrow getting re-stuffed in the Wizard of Oz movie I imagine. I heard the OB say "Ok, the uterus looks good." So I asked, "How are those ovaries looking?" I heard him say "What?" "How are the ovaries? Are they ready to go again?" He said, "You've had too much medicine." LOL. I think most women aren't asking about their fertility for the next baby while having their c-section finished up. (By the way, later on I asked again and he said they look great!)

They finished me up, covered me in lots of warm blankets and rolled me to a new room. Somehow all our stuff was in this new room, but it was not the same room I'd left. Weird feeling. I met my night nurse and talked to the anesthesiologist. He wanted me on my cpap machine (for my sleep apnea) or on oxygen for 24 hours. He reminded me about the side effect of one of the pain meds we'd agreed on having in my epidural. I think it was called Deramorph or something, and it makes you itchy, especially your nose. I figured I could handle that. And promptly crashed out to sleep.

I'll write more later. Heck I'm not even to the part about Nicky! He's still in the special care nursery today, but hopefully is coming home on Friday! He's an angel! And I have some pictures for you finally!!

Here they are:
Nicky, the brand new baby:
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Nicky's first bath:
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Nicky's first hair wash:
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I'll have more with the next installment!


Anonymous said...

So it's 3 am, I have insomnia, and I come here. Now I am crying like a baby! He is so incredibly beautiful, and so are you Angela! I can't wait to hold him and tell him how loved he is!
ps- I TOLD you that once you get past the spine part the epi is a beautiful thing- but I am so proud of you for going so long without it. You are a braver woman than me!