Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Emily Marie Messinger

We went into the hospital at 6pm for a scheduled induction. I'd been having regular contractions all weekend but things were progressing slow and my doctor was leaving town in two days. Since I'm a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) neither I nor Dr. Anderson wanted anyone else doing the delivery. They started me on 2cc's of pitocin around 8pm and after 30 minutes of mild contractions upped it to 4cc's. Anderson came in and checked me and I hadn't progressed, so the nurse went ahead and doubled it to 8cc's.

My friends Danielle and Beth had arrived at this point to be labor support and it was a good thing because the contractions were becoming intense. I was taking deep breaths to manage the pain and gripping Danielle's hand tightly. It also helped if I pressed a finger between my eyes. It made it easier for me to relax my face and not give myself a migraine. Anderson came in and checked me again and announced I had dilated a half centimeter. As infinitesimal as that sounds I was thrilled. My last labor lasted 40 hours so half a centimeter / hour is great! This also meant the induction was working and we'd have a baby at the end of all this pain. Since, everything seemed to be going smoothly and slowly Doctor Anderson left to get some sleep.

After, he left the pain became really miserable. I was starting to feel nervous between the contractions. It was difficult to relax when I spent the entire time wondering how I would get through the next one. The contractions must have been right next to my diaphragm because it was difficult to get a deep breath and I was battling hyperventilating. I knew I was only about 3 cm but I was ready to try laboring in the jacuzzi. I thought they'd tell me to wait but the nurse was all for the idea so I went and put on a bathing suit (which took me about 15 minutes of awkward wiggling around the various cords and freezing as contractions came and went). The nurse commented on how many pregnant woman would love to look like me in a bathing suit which was really thoughtful of her and made me smile. Mostly I wasn't concerned about how I looked, I just wanted to get to the water as fast as possible. So I waddled down the hall not letting my iv and various dangling cords slow me as I made a beeline to their “relaxation” zone.

I felt relief the minute my feet entered the hot water. As I immersed myself my pain was immediately halved. The contractions were the same distance and length according to the monitor but I wasn't feeling them nearly as much. I laid back and relaxed, dozing a bit between contractions and then sitting up and gripping Jake's hand to breeeeeeeaath during them.

It really irritated me at first, that the “relaxation” room had a broken clock on the wall. Purposefully broken, I later found out. I had no idea what time it was. Just that it was late. I wanted to know how long I'd been in labor. I wanted to believe it had been a long time. Eventually the annoyance passed though, and looking back I'm grateful I didn't have a way to keep track of time as it allowed me to get lost in the business of birthing my little girl.

Seeing how well my two doulas were taking care of me, Jake chose this moment to go take a nap. He was exhausted and very honestly confessed it was difficult for him to see me in so much pain. I was pretty jealous that he could go lie down in a dark room and get some rest.

We began having difficulties with the monitors shortly after I got in the water. We'd been having problems with them before in the bed but the water seemed to make them worse. As many had informed me throughout my pregnancy, my stomach was a perfect basketball shape but unfortunately my lovely pregnant shape wasn't complying with the flat surface of the monitors. Early in labor I was able to hold the monitors in a way that they would pick up the baby between contractions but as things intensified I stopped caring about placing the monitor. So the nurse started coming in ever 15 minutes or so and adjusting the monitor to watch the baby during a contraction or two.

It occurred to me how stupid all these machines were. They made me uncomfortable and every time I wanted to change positions it was a major pain in the rear moving all the cords and tubes around and finding new plugs in the wall. Just so they could not work. Yet, the hospital insisted, since I was a VBAC, that I be "continuously monitored". I think I said a couple of times that it was ridiculous. I remember the doulas and I laughing about the “machine that goes BING”, since it was "continuously beeping" at us to let us know it wasn't working (Monty Python).

I took a short nap at one point and woke up shaking all over. The nurse was nervous about my shaking and napping and was beginning to talk about upping my pitocin which really annoyed me. I knew I was progressing. I could tell my body was doing the good work and it ticked me off that she was passing judgement. At this point, I began puking uncontrollably (thank you Danielle for being quick with a bag) which reassured the nurse that I was indeed in enough pain and she then left.

After this things are a little fuzzier for me as the contractions were very intense. I felt a lot of pain/pressure down low and complained that “my cervix hurts” :(:(. Everyone else seemed to think that was a great thing. Moving my hips around and even bouncing a little in the water seemed to help quite a bit. As funny as it sounds, I remember thinking of the contraction as a big gas bubble that I was trying to get out and that actually helped me quite a bit. I'm not sure why. Maybe the idea of pushing out a gas bubble is a lot less terrifying then a child. I liked rolling my head and shoulders too. It seemed the more I moved my body the less I focused on the pain and the water was great for this.

Because I was moving so much the monitors didn't pick up contractions for several minutes. The nurse came in and seeing how few contractions I'd been having (according to the machine that goes BING) and seeing how relaxed and peaceful I was, decided I wasn't progressing. Every time that nurse was in the room I felt tense because I knew she was watching me to see how much pain I was in but I was very effectively managing a lot of pain. An annoyed part of my mind I thought that maybe I should scream a few times to reassure her. In her defense though, she'd very generously bent hospital policy by letting me stay in the water for almost 7 hours with monitors that didn't work.

She wanted to up my pitocin but I told her to check me first. She relented to attempting to check me in the water, no way was I getting out, and to her delighted surprise discovered I was almost 7cm and "paper thin". She hurried out to ready the delivery room and Jake hurried back into the labor room.

I decided since this baby was coming one way or another I could either help her get here faster or prolong the pain. So with the following contractions I did everything I could to make them as intense as possible. I believe it was three or four contractions after the nurse left that I suddenly felt a head coming out. I freaked out and started yelling “she's coming out! she's coming out!”. This was a problem since our antiquated hospital refuses to let a woman deliver in the water. 

I started yelling for a wheel chair (which made everyone smile since it was already parked right in front of me). Excruciatingly I got out of the water and into the chair where they rolled me back to the delivery room yelling “Don't push! Don't push!” and “BREATH hee hee whoooooo, BREATH hee hee whooooo.” I breathed with them but I can't promise I didn't push ;) 

I could feel the crown of her head bulging against my hand as I attempted to BREATH hee hee whoooo. My water popped against my hand and I felt her head bulging. I was half terrified half thrilled.

I'm still not sure how I got into the hospital bed but I managed. I am pretty confident though that I was screaming my head off and the nurse was finally reassured the pitocin was working.

A barefoot Doctor Anderson ran in and pulled on his gloves. I was lying on my side still trying to hold her head in. He rolled me onto my back and yanked me to the end of the table. It might have seemed a harsh way to handle a laboring woman but I was incapable of moving and grateful he was willing to do the work. He yelled “Move your hand I can't see what I'm doing!”. I yelled “I can't! She'll come out!”. Then Jake who was standing next to him with his own pair of gloves on yelled “No she won't” and I suddenly felt safe. If Jake told me she wasn't going to fly out and hit the wall then I believed him.

I moved my hand and everyone began yelling “PUSH”. Talk about sending a laboring woman mixed signals. I cried out as she crowned, sure all the intense pain I was feeling meant I was tearing. I found out later that I'd pushed so well her shoulder had come out as well. One final great heave and I gave a shout of joy as she slid into Jake's hands.

At 5:03am, Tuesday May 8th, 2012 Jake handed her teeny squirming form to me and I laid her on my chest. I was somewhere between laughing and crying as I took her in my arms. The placenta came out in another contraction or two but I didn't really notice. However, once it was out I began to frantically ask Dr. Anderson if I'd tore. 

I tore pretty bad last time and with all the pain I'd felt while she crowned I was convinced I had torn again. Grumpily, he said he hadn't had a chance to check. Once he took a quick look around “things” though he reassured me that I hadn't. Not even a bit! I'm convinced it was a combination of the warm water, pushing her out “slow”, and the evening primrose oil I'd been taking for two weeks.

I was on an incredible high as I watched her nurse. My first labor had left me feeling totally conquered by pain, but this one left me feeling powerful, womanly and beautiful. I'd embraced the labor and worked with my body. It was an amazing experience.

Jake looked at me right after I'd delivered land told me I was beautiful. The love in his eyes was overwhelming. Several times he's told me how in awe he is of me and amazed at how well I did. It means more than I can say that he appreciates and recognizes what I've gone through to deliver his children.

Danielle told me she'd never attended a more peaceful birth and Anderson said he'd never seen a healthier looking baby. All around it was everything I'd hoped for.

We decided on Emily Marie for her name. She weighed at 6lbs 9oz and measured 19 inches long. She is so delicate and beautiful. I am so grateful that our first memory together is such a joyful one.

1 comment:

The Byrd Family said...

I loved reading all about it! We're actually expecting in December, and I'm planning to try a birthing center birth, so I loved reading about your experience going natural. Sounds like I better plan on being in the water!

So happy for you and your family!