Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How It All Went Down: Winston Edition

Here are the details of Winston's birth. Warnings. One: This is awfully long. I can barely match my clothes on the amount of sleep I'm getting, let alone write a decent summary, so I didn't summarize. At all. Second: This probably isn't required reading for a few people, say, my dad, Adam or well, any guys. This post may or may not include words like "dilating", "effaced", "cervix" or worse. So all you menfolk just wait for the next post which will be back to sunshine, rainbows and pictures of little people.

So. I made it to 40 weeks with no big problems. I was actually feeling better at 39, 40 weeks than I was at around 36, 37. Back then I was googling "castor oil" and wondering if doctors took bribes. On June 9th, the day before my due date, Eleanor and I picked up my mom from the airport, hoping that my contractions might start on the ride home. Nope. Friday the 10th came and went with no action either. I still naively thought that I would surely have him before my next doctor's appointment the following Tuesday. Well, the weekend was lovely with my mom around, but not so much as a twinge. Maybe a few twinges of guilt when I had to get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and a snack, because my poor mother would get excited to hear doors and noises, thinking we were getting ready to head to the hospital. Tuesday's appointment found me barely dilated and not effaced at all. And can I just add for your gross out factor that it was the most painful check I have ever had? Well it was. The NP who I normally love did it and originally I was going to ask her to strip my membranes but chickened out once lobster-hands pronounced me completely unready. I like to think that I am pretty tough with pain, but this one had me in tears and shouting (well, not really shouting, but saying-out-loud which is something I never do at the doctor's) "Ouchouchouchouchouch!" I meekly inquired about their induction policies explaining that my mom was in town and our only babysitter for our daughter. Total fib by the way, I have awesome neighbors and a ward full of friends, but you know, they don't need to know that, and I really wanted my mom to meet the baby before she had to fly home. They told me to come back the following Tuesday, the day my mom flies home. Booo.

So that day I went home and mowed the lawn. What could it hurt, right? Turns out a lot of achy, already loose joints, that's what. And however proud I was of my hard work, it didn't create so much as a single contraction. Well, this story is already getting old. Long story shorter, Thursday morning I was up at 4 AM with Eleanor, she had a bad dream or something. Once she was back down, I couldn't get back to sleep, so the second the doctors office was open I called in to see what could be done. They had me come in for testing, which includes being monitored for about an hour, given a quick ultrasound to see if the amniotic fluid levels are good and then given another physical check. Unluckily for delivering, but lucky for health of the baby, everything was great. He was happy as a clam (huh huh) and had no intentions of leaving anytime soon. The doctor however was awesomely sympathetic and put me on the waiting list at the hospital. I went home to wait for a phone call. Later that day they told me I tentatively had a "spot" on Saturday at 1PM, only I had to call at noon to make sure they weren't full. Not exactly awesome news, but I guess it could be worse.

Saturday I called and as expected (my neighbor Lexie went through this whole rigmarole with her son 9 months earlier) they couldn't take me. So we beat feet for the lake, as it was the sunniest day we had had all week. After the lake we sent Clayton to a matinee while we finished projects and made dinner. Lexie texted me to say I should call the hospital again, even though I was supposed to wait for a call from them. By this point I felt like I was bothering the entire world with my "poor-me" bit. Millions of women have gone way longer than I have and I'm sure grandmothers everywhere have missed births, but did I mention: This was happening to meeeeeee. So against my "don't bother people" mentality I called again around 6 PM, and to my surprise, they said come on down!

Once they got me gowned up and checked our labor and delivery nurse gave me my IV. She had me take off my wedding ring so it wouldn't get dirty, which I thought was odd, I've never had that request before. How "dirty" could it get? Um, pretty freaking dirty. There was blood all over when she was done and it hurt like the dickens. She had to get a second kit and do it over. When I finally got brave enough to look down I saw that the freaking thing was jammed way too far under my skin. It was killing me. She knew it was off, but I think she was afraid of having to do it all over. When she asked how it was, I was afraid of having her start over as well so I asked if she could just pull it out a touch. She did, and while it wasn't perfect, it was better and stopped burning after an hour or so. So far so... well, so far ok. They started the pitocin drip and things started progressing. I hate how they ask you to rate your pain all the time. Um... I don't know, a two? A seven? Worse than a bee sting but better than being eaten by crocodiles?

We turned on the tv and got to waiting, luckily there was a House marathon on tv that I was enjoying. Clayton tried to take a nap on the bizarre lounge chairs that all hospitals have that fold out to an inverted "V" shape. So cozy! Around 2 AM the contractions were coming regularly, every minute or two and within an hour they were pretty painful. My water broke on its own and then within a few minutes they got really really painful really really fast. I inquired about the epidural only to find that the anesthesiologist was helping with a C-section right then and would be a few minutes. Those "few minutes" turned into almost an hour and forty minutes. I was NOT prepared for that level of pain. I had blithely ignored all the hypno-birthing or Lamaze techniques during pregnancy as I was planning on having an awesome epidural. I ended up doing every lame thing I could remember from all the baby shows on TLC and from watching those labor videos that always have those horrible "hippie mammas". Don't get me wrong, I have lots of perfectly normal friends who go natural. I'm talking about the ones who chant through contractions buck naked with their birthing sensei or wizard or what-not while burning incense and summoning helper-spirits through glass beads placed around the room. Seeing as we didn't have any patchouli oil or guardian candles on hand, I did the best I could. In other words, I knew to breath out a bunch and maybe vocalize through each one or something. At one point I made Clayton turn off the tv as it was just too much. How people go natural is beyond me. How much worse can it get? Ugh.

Anyhow, the magical anesthesiologist arrives, Clayton goes off to find something distracting (needles and Clayton are on fighting terms) and I get my happy, happy, happy drugs. Oh, to feel the drugs slowly wash the pain away almost makes it worth going as far as I did. Almost. The contractions were getting easier and easier until I was comfortable enough to try and nap. Whether you ever have a baby or not, everyone should get an epidural at least once. I couldn't shut up about how good it felt. My L&D nurse was probably so sick of me waxing poetic about pain relief, but oh. It was so nice, I let Clayton turn the tv back on. After a short nap they woke me up saying the baby's heart rate was too low and they wanted me to move. They strapped on the oxygen mask and would "tickle" the baby's head. Each time she did his heart rate would go back up. At that point they said I was at a 10 and should try pushing. They got the on-call doctor from my doctor's office in there and I tried to push. They didn't have me push along with the contractions like they did when I had Eleanor, they just had me push and push and push. I hadn't pushed the epidural button, so it wasn't as strong as at first, but after a few minutes they said my pushing wasn't productive and they wanted to wait a half hour for the epidural to wear off a bit more. That is when I threw up. Charming. I was grateful to have only had ice chips in the last couple of hours. I think it was the overly plastic smell from the mask.

So we waited, and my previously numb legs were slowly waking up. Soon I had full sensation in my feet and legs. I could really feel the contractions but they were still blessedly muted. Thankfully after almost an hour Clayton asks the nurse how much longer, they had said 30 minutes after all. I was getting nervous that I was "feeling" way too much. Why get an epidural if you don't get to use it, right? The nurse calls the doctor and they tell her to have me try pushing a few more times to see how well it does before they come back. So I do, and I guess I passed as they got back in there. I should say so! I could completely tell that the baby's head was waaaay down and trying to come out. Oh, and it was hurting like crazy again. Long story short(er) the doctor comes in and I get to push. After a few minutes of burning like the fires of hell, the head made it's way out and everything after that is easy peasy by comparison.

They placed little man on some towels on me and I got to see our son. Love at first sight. There is nothing like that moment when you just get to think: "He's all ours! He's here, he's finally here!" He was also pretty darn cute, although totally covered in vernix- which made him look like a little ghost. He took a few seconds to wail but didn't make too much of a fuss. Then they took him over to the heat lamps for measuring and all of that stuff. I was tempted at that point to push the epidural button, they even told me I could and should at that point, but I didn't want to be completely numb again. I ripped along my previous episiotomy scar and tore kind of all over so they stitched me up. That truly smarted. Ugh, see- no boys should be reading this! But the nice part about not upping the epidural was that I could get up and walk right after. With Eleanor I pushed the button right after I delivered, and I couldn't even get into the wheelchair. It was nice to have my legs working this time.

After a few minutes they left us alone to enjoy our little guy. We had decided by that point that his name was going to be Winston and not the runner up name of Desmond. I had originally planned on Winston Manning or Desmond Thomas Rex. Clayton suggested Thomas Rex for Winston and I was terribly pleased. Thomas is for my father and Rex is his dad. Seeing as Winston was born at 6:30 AM Sunday on Father's Day, it seemed perfect. And we can call him T-Rex if we ever feel like it. That's fun, right? After nearly two hours in that same room (You know you're not in Utah when a delivery room isn't needed soon. With Eleanor they couldn't get us out of there fast enough.) they finally sent us to the recovery room and took him off to be properly washed and immunized. Clayton went home for a nap and I did my best to nap as well before they brought him back.

Clayton came back with my mom and Eleanor. "Oh! A baby." she says. Eleanor was carrying a balloon and she tried to hand it to him saying "Here doo doh." Like it was no big deal. She was more interested in all of the neato things in the room, like the curtain that slides around and the leftovers of my lunch. My mom got to spend the night in the hospital Sunday night so Clayton could be at home with Eleanor and so she could have some time with Winston. Boy was it nice having her there. We chose to check out late Monday evening when Clayton was done with his class. Normally I think people who check out early are nutso, but Clayton had to take my mother to the airport shuttle at 3 AM that morning and we didn't want to harass a neighbor to watch Eleanor for 30 minutes in the middle of the night. Also, checking out bright and early Tuesday morning sounded equally lame. Tuesday happened I suppose, I don't remember much of it except that we had to take W to his first doctor's appointment. Wednesday Kathy, Clayton's mom, came and she was a miracle those first few days. Just as Eleanor would be getting up, baby and I would just be getting back to sleep. E loved the extra attention as well.

I'll be honest, recovery sucked. Ripped stitches and general weepiness are not high on my list. There were a few days where all I wanted was another epidural. I can say that now as I am feeling much better and I haven't used a pain pill or cried once today! Go me! Was this diatribe a bit too long? Yep. Is anyone still reading? Gosh, I hope not. I need another few weeks before the hormones wear off enough to write coherently. Let's all look forward to that! And the moral of the story is that little Win was worth every second of all of it.


Shauna said...

I love birth stories to an absurd degree. I get super giddy when I see a friend has written a really long report on their birth, so yay for you making my day! You were amazing, and good to know that epidurals are the way to go. Love your description of the hippy-crazies and their natural births. Did you see the Tina Fey SNL skit about that? So, so funny. (except also a little dirty, and I'm not a good enough person to care). Anyway, thanks for the report. Been thinking about you guys a lot, but never want to call and pester, in fear of interupting a nap or a meal or whatever. Winston is the cutest, officially. Can't wait to meet hime!

leigh said...

I love birth stories too and could talk about the all day! What a lot of horrible things you had to deal with! And I had the weepies this time too - it's terrible. I'm sorry you had such a hard time but it's nice to know that you'll hardly remember how bad it was in a year. Good job on the baby and I love his name.

The Jessee Journal said...

I love the graphic details. Seriously. I have a sick love for birth stories so thanks for sharing, blood, gore, ripping and more ;) Amazing how we can go through all that and still want to have more children isn't it?! I don't know how those women do it that have their kids less than a year apart -- for me the memory hasn't worn off at that point;)

Betsy said...

Hi Marianne,

Yes, I read every word. The post baby hormones are hard. I had them with my first. The minuted Jay walked in the door from work, I would burst into tears. I was on guard and prepared with my second, I didn't want to do that again. I am glad you are enjoying a baby boy. I've sure had fun with mine.

Charlotte said...

Yikes, Marianne, that was a rough birth. In case you want to know my opinion, it's impossible to give birth without an epidural unless pitocin is not involved. And you make it to the hospital too late to get one, which is what I did on my third. Ouch, but not as ouch as your experience.

On a happier note: he's darling! Love his facial expressions!

On a different topic: we're moving back to MI! Kalamazoo this time. So maybe we'll see you some day soon!

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