Friday, July 1, 2011

Ethan's Birth Story Part 2

We arrived at the hospital around 12:30am.  I was very nervous that the nurse would tell me I was insane, those contractions I was having weren't even contractions, and send me home.  She checked me immediately, and told me that I was thinning out and at 1.5 cm.  We were so excited to hear that there had been progress!  However, in my own naive thoughts, I couldn't understand how my body was only progressed that far.  Everything I read and tried to understand made me believe that contractions as close together as I was having would have be at at least a good 4cm.  

Shortly after arriving:
My sister was really really excited.

 Things started to get more intense and rough after about an hour.  Jason did everything he possibly could to make me comfortable, and my Mom would calmly talk me through each contraction and remind me to breathe properly.  It was a lot harder than I expected to breathe through a contraction and relax.
Around 4am, my nurse came back to check my progress.  My contraction pattern was looking better, even though it wasn't ideal.  I could definitely tell they were intensifying, and getting closer together.  I was hoping this meant a lot of progress, but my nurse had to break the news that I was still only at 1.5cm.  She decided to start my IV for my antibiotic (I tested positive for that carrying that stinking GBS) and see where we were going to go from there.  She mentioned pitocin, and I began to cry.  I really didn't want pitocin, especially after I had been laboring for so long on my own.  My nurse and I talked more about my risks of an irregular heart rhythm due to pain, and she encouraged me to take the pitocin to speed labor up.  I told her that as long as I wasn't in distress or Ethan wasn't in distress I didn't want any interventions.  She understood, but reminded me that as soon as my heart went into distress, I would likely lose my option for vaginal delivery.  I hated the pressure to speed things up, but I also knew that my heart was likely incapable of letting me labor for too long.  She and I decided to give my body three more hours to progress on its own and make the decision about pitocin then.

By 6:45 am, I was still at 1.5, which meant I had to make a decision.  I was feeling tired, hurting, but so afraid of taking pitocin.  I knew that with pitocin that I would likely need an epidural since I had been laboring for so long already, but my fears of a c-section outweighed my plans.  I agreed to the pitocin, but became very emotional and upset about it.  I told my Mom that I felt like I didn't even try before giving in to interventions.  She reminded me that I had been laboring for nearly 24 hours already, and that pushing myself to try that long was enough.  It wasn't about me, or my plan, it was about getting Ethan delivered in the safest way possible.  My heart distress would be too much for him, and we needed to avoid that.

Within an hour of pitocin, I was done.  Completely done.  Pitocin is seriously no joke.  My contractions compared to pitocin contractions just cannot compare.  It got ugly quickly...

There was a shift change, so I got two new nurses.  I absolutely loved one of them, the other one drove me insane.  She had wonderful intentions, but she made me nuts.  She was trying to talk me through breathing, which was helpful until it became redundant.  I'm one to be left alone during a painful time.  You can hold my hand, you can talk quietly, but I need to do my thing.  I was having to force myself into a zone to cope that took me completely out of my element.  Her voice was driving me insane.  Standing up, leaning and swaying against Jason through contractions seemed to be the most comfortable, and helped for a little while.  

 My OB appeared and took one look at me and said, "I know you don't want to do this, but I really think you need to talk to the anesthesiologist. " I began to cry again and tell him how afraid I was of an epidural, and he again encouraged me to just talk to the anesthesiologist.  He said that it wasn't a prison, it was 100% my decision, but I really needed to think about my options.

My anesthesiologist was the nicest man I could ever meet.  He answered all my questions, he addressed all my fears.  He told me that my fears and concerns regarding the intervention were absolutely legitimate, and I wasn't stupid for feeling afraid.  We talked for a long time, and I felt comfortable enough with him to trust him.  We decided to go for it.

My mental state was breaking down quickly, and as I sat on the edge of the bed, I asked Jason to stand in front of me and allow me to lean against him.  I needed his comfort to calm me down, and as soon as he started to rub my head I began to feel some peace.

My annoying nurse pushed him out of the way and said, "No honey, you're going to hold onto me because he will pass out at this."  I was furious, but way to weak to argue.  I needed Jason, not her.  She started her annoying/soothing voice, and was insisted that I relax my body.  I tell her I'm trying, and she tells me I'm not succeeding.  My back is prepped and ready for the administration, and I begin to have another horrible contraction.  I tell the anesthesiologist that I was having a contract and did not feel that I could be still enough for him to administer yet, and to please let me cope through the contraction before beginning.  My nurse says, "Oh no, we're not waiting on that, you're going to relax, and you're going to do this now."  Oh heck no.  I again demand he wait, and thank goodness he listened to me instead of that nurse.  He told me to just let him know when I was ready, and waited.  I was so relieved to have him listen instead of pushing me to do something I wasn't ready for.

After the epidural, things started to move a lot faster and I felt a lot better.  About an hour after my epidural kicked in, I realized that I couldn't feel Ethan move anymore.  I was extremely sad about this for a few minutes, because I had let those last few movements slip away without realizing it.  Shortly after, he kicked me in the ribs a few good times.  It was like he knew that I was starting to miss it, and gave me one last "hey" from the inside.  As much as I have hated the rib kicks, those were so incredibly sweet.
 By 1:45 pm, I was at a good 8-9cm, with the slightest anterior lip keeping us from being 100% complete.  Rather than pushing right away, my "good" nurse said she was going to allow Ethan to labor down and do his own thing.  There was no reason that we should begin pushing just because I was completely dilated, and we would let him take himself as far down as possible and only push a few times.  I was thankful for this, instead of feeling forced to wear myself out just for the sake of a shorter labor.  I napped during this time, hoping to get some energy built up before pushing.  My Dad came back to visit, and I told him that as long as he was comfortable, I didn't mind him staying.  My sister and I both had to be delivered by c-section, and he had been talking about how he has never seen a birth besides a c-section.  We gave him the job of videotaping from the side, and it is such a precious video.

Around 4:45, we decided to do a few practice pushes, and they went really well.  After a couple of small pushes, my nurse asked me if I wanted to touch his head.  I did, and immediately began to sob.  It was extremely surreal to know that he was literally RIGHT there, and ready to make his entrance.  I was ready to see him.  Jason watched him crown, and immediately became emotional.  This resulted in me becoming emotional, and I told him he couldn't make me cry while pushing.  2 minutes later, I had to tell my Mom the same thing.  She took some of the most precious pictures I will ever have to look at to remember this moment.

My OB arrived, and I told him that I had been waiting on his butt and to hurry up.  He laughed and offered to make me labor for a few more hours while he went to have dinner, and I told him I would deliver Ethan with or without him.  After a push or two, he said it was time to get the show on the road.

My heart rate was accelerating, and Ethan's was decreasing.  He told me that his head was extremely large and would require forceps.  I was not excited about this at all, especially when I saw that they looked like golf clubs.  Good grief!  I pushed a few more times, and my OB looked at me and said he was going to have to do an episiotomy.  I told him no, and he looked at me like I was insane.  If there were three things in this labor I didn't want, it was pitocin, an epidural, and an episiotomy.  I had already had 2 of the 3, but I was terrified of the cutting.  I felt as if my body would release what it needed to in order to deliver, and that the episiotomy may help or may be bigger of a cut than I needed.  He looked at me and told me I was going to tear, and I told him I really didn't care.

He tells me the situation regarding my heart rate and Ethan's heart rate, and says that I have one contraction to deliver.  If I don't deliver within that contraction, he would be forced to do an episiotomy to get him out quickly.  That's all it took.  Within that one contraction, I pushed with everything I had and delivered the sweetest boy I have ever laid eyes on.
 My OB was right.  I definitely tore, in multiple places, but thankfully I found out later they weren't very deep.  I didn't care.  He was HERE.  I could hear him cry.  I could see his face.  I have felt like that the moment Ethan would be laid on my chest would be the moment I felt that we were finally past the heart problems, past the fears of losing him in the womb, and that we had made it TOGETHER.  It was the one moment that I have been hoping for and waiting for to feel closure of that horrible chapter in our lives.  He laid him on my chest, and that moment was exactly what I had hoped it would be.  Instant relief, and instant peace.  Of everything we have been through together, his very first moment in the world was mine, and I knew that things were finally ok.  I have no idea what was going on around me with anyone else in the room.  For just a few seconds, it was just me and my sweet baby, crying together.  I wouldn't trade that moment for anything.  I wouldn't change anything about such a long labor or difficult pregnancy, because that moment was completely worth it all.

Official time of birth was 5:25pm.  After he and I had a moment, he was taken to the other side of the room to be weighed, measured, and checked for complications.  He scored a 9/9 on the APGAR, and was given back to me quickly.
 Jason and I loved on him for a few, and my Mom and Dad both took a TON of pictures for us.

 The Orlando family with my fantastic OB.

Ethan's official weight. 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces, and 20.5 inches long.
We got the opportunity to nurse immediately, and that boy is a champ! He latched instantly, and ate for half an hour.  We opted for Kangaroo Care instead of sending him to be warmed under heat lamps, and it was a wonderful few moments with Jason and I as a family of three.  Once he finished nursing and was able to be warmed just by blanket, it was time wait for a room and allow the rest of the family to come back for a glimpse.

This is getting insanely long, so I'll give you the rundown of our hospital stay soon!


Brittney said...

:( Sorry you had a very pushy nurse. Chris had to leave and go to the waiting room when I got my epi b/c some hospitals are now seeing it as a surgical procedure, so I'm sad Jason got pushed out of the way even though he was allowed to be in there. But way to be strong and get through some of the difficult decisions you had to make. Your mom sounds like an awesome support system!

Jess said...

I kind of wanted to smack that nurse while reading this.

I'm so glad your family was such a support. They sounded awesome. And, I think it's so sweet that your dad wanted to see the birth.

Mrs. Lukie said...

BOO on that nurse!

Such a beautiful family of 3!

Erika and Jason said...

I totally would have smacked that nurse for you. Jeesh! Ethan is so wonderful, those pictures are amazing. I can't wait to have this experience (no matter which way it goes)...hopefully in a few weeks:-)

Stephanie said...

Wow- good for you for going as long as you did! I was in early labor for five days so by the time I got to the hospital I was BEGGING for the epidural! He is adorable!! Just stopping by from the Saturday morning scene linky :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVED reading your story, Paige! You're so awesome for getting it up so fast! I hope to have mine up soon too...but it is SO LONG! LOL!

So happy for you and your family. Congrats on your perfect little baby!

Jax said...

So I totally lost it at that photo of you holding him and crying... Holy moly girl.. I wish I could hug you right now! You are so strong and I admire you standing up for what you wanted to happen in your labor, but also having the strength to make a decision that was best for Ethan's entrance to this world. You seemed to have the coolest head after laboring for that long! You're my hero...and little Ethan is too. What an adorable little guy and what a crowd of supporters he has in your family, friends, and blog friends! Sending love and hugs from Tulsa to you and your new little family!

Laura and Ryan said...

Oh my goodness it's like i held my breath through the whole story and let it out when he was put in your arms! He is absolutely perfect and you are such a champ!!