Friday, January 27, 2006
Obligatory Montessori Birth Story
Our Amazing Birth
With apologies to those who have read this already...
Ok. So I went into labor (as in contractions every 2-5 minutes--can't talk during a contraction labor, not "oh, maybe that was a contraction" labor) at 11:30pm DECEMBER 29TH!
You can see where I'm going with this, right?
Well, since I planned to do this cold-turkey, I figured there was no screaming hurry to get medical attention. I waited until 7am, then I called the birthing center and let them know I was in labor, and we decided I'd work on it at home for an hour or so more, and then come in when the office opened, for our already scheduled 41-week prenatal visit (!)
So at about 8:30am, they checked me for dilation (2cm) and watched my contractions on the monitor. Long story short: congratulations, you're in labor. now go on home and get that cervix to 4cm so we can admit you.
We went home. It was about 11am. Slept (sort of) between contractions until about 4:30pm. Went back. It was now 5:15 or so. Cervix check: 2cm. You have got to be kidding me, right?
It was suggested that I go walk around the mall for a couple of hours and get the old cervix open. Surely a couple-three hours on my feet would have us good and born by morning. I labored in the Montgomery Mall for three hours until 8:30. Cervix check: 2.5cm. No dice. Go home and try to get some sleep. Right.
6:00am and we're back. Surely after 10 hours of mooing like a cow every 4 minutes or so, we are almost ready to push, right? Cervix check: a tight 3 cm, and the cervix is now getting thicker (as in swelling from baby mashing her little head on it...) not thinner. We sit on the fetal monitor again for a while--baby is happy as a little clam in there, kicking around, mashing her head on my poor swollen cervix, looking for a way out. I'm pretty tired and dehydrated, so they hook me up to a bottle of lactated ringers and let me labor in the birthing center for a while--even though I'm still too tight to be officially admitted.
At 7am, I exhaust the shift of my first on-call midwife.
Midwife #2, sends me home again at 10:30am to rest (!) and sit in a hot bath until the afternoon, when I can come back and she'll break my bulging water bag for me--the only thing that seems to be progressing out of my body at this point. I am about to lose my mind, but I go. I have now been in labor for 36 hours.
I come back in at about 1:30pm, now December 31st, nearly 4 cm--close enough. Midwife #2 is reaching for the amnio-hook when my water breaks on its own at 2:00. Now we can get this show on the road. The baby will be out in a couple of hours. Contractions are good and strong, baby is doing fine. I am trying to suck back coca cola between contractions to stay out of IV fluidland.
4:30, time for a cervix check--I must be in transition now, because the pain is experiencing me, rather than the other way around, and I feel like I'm going to puke.
4 cm. Incredible.
I am now sobbing that I can't do it anymore, Midwife #2 says do it for another hour and you can get in the Jacuzzi tub for a while to rest. Well, OK, what's another hour anyway?
5:30pm. 4 cm. Very disappointing. I go into the Jacuzzi tub anyway, just for a little pain relief. Midwife #2 reaches in and determines that the baby's angle of engagement (head mashing angle) is unfavorable, and that that is slowing us down. She has me sit in the Jacuzzi tub on my hands and knees like a frog to try to move the baby to a more forward position. I can barely sip my coke anymore, My poor husband is splashing water on my back, wondering what new circle of hell is this, and I am sitting with my face about 3 inches from a big warm tub of water and thinking I could put myself out of my misery with one big underwater breath...
The contractions are getting farther apart, which is not good, but I don't care, because I'm getting a little break--they're around 6 or 7 minutes apart now. Baby is still happy as a lark, thumping around like no sweat. Midwife #2 and husband haul me out of the tub at 6:30pm, and hook me up to another bottle of lactated ringers. Cervix check: 4.5 cm, but a little less swollen. Position is better.
Of course, at this pace, in this age of modern medicine, we are never going to make it to 10 without some intervention. Midwife #2 says I can try for another hour before they send me to the hospital. I tell her to go ahead and get the ball rolling. She says my best shot at a vaginal delivery is to have an epidural and rest a little. I would settle for a sharp blow to the head at this point. Sign me up.
We are at the hospital by 8:30, the epidural is in place by 9:30, and for the first time in 46 hours, I can speak in sentences! Nobody can shut me up. Even while I'm on oxygen and my third bottle of lactated ringers solution (I came in dehydrated, with a fever, and baby starting to depress a little).
I watch my painless contractions go by on the monitor and think "Oh, that was a good one. Glad I didn't have to breathe through that!" For a few hours until about 12:30, when all the happy new year business is done, and my father and father-in-law are through sneaking champagne into the labor and delivery room. On call midwife #3, checks my cervix, 7 centimeters. Not tremendous progress, but a dramatic improvement for me! She anticipates that the baby will be out by around 1:30 or 2:00am, January 1.
At 1:30, I'm still 7.5 centimeters, and still a little swollen, but going down pretty well. Midwife #3 rescinds her prediction about time of birth and tells my parents they'll give me a bag of pitocin for one last try before sending me down for a c-section.
Well The Diva must have heard that, because she took the opportunity to move right on down until about 3:30am, when my epidural wore off. Welcome back to hell! Did you miss us?
I called for the nurse, who checked me out--9.5cm! getting there! She called for more juice for the epidural. Another massive contraction. "Hey, um, I think I have to push!"
Another check. 10 cm! Done! The L and D nurse is running around, yelling "Don't push yet!" She goes to wake up Midwife #3. She comes in bleary-eyed and settles in for the pushing part. She asks if I need them to tell me when to push, or if I can feel it. The L and D nurse explains that my epidural is conveniently out of juice and that I can feel EVERYTHING. I cannot, of course, explain this myself, because, once again, I can only make mooing sounds.
For my part, I am DONE! When the midwife says push, I resolve never to breathe again until this kid is OUT! In fact, it took 4 pushes. She was out at 3:56. Amazing. A whopping 52 hours of labor. No tears, No stitches. Thank God for great and small favors.
Even though we didn't make it all the way, frontier-woman style, I couldn't be more glad I used the midwives at the birthing center. No doctor in his right mind, on new year's eve at that, would have let me go on so long. I would have had a c-section by midnight on the 30th, and not spoiled everyone's party, and STILL would have been able to squeeze some sympathy for my 24 grueling hours of labor!
Naturally, she's worth every minute, and I'd do it all again for the first moment I saw her.