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January 12, 2012

Annabelle's Birth Story {Part 2}

The car ride over wasn't pleasant but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had worried about. You hear horror stories about how awful it is, so i was planning for the worst. But the drive over was timed perfectly. No traffic and my contractions were still about 5-6 minutes apart lasting about 60 seconds long. They were becoming more intense, but i was able to get myself through the first 30 seconds, I knew i'd survive. Focus and breathing helped a lot. Distractions made the feeling of the contractions much worse. 

We arrived in one piece. And I made way through the back door entrance, Larry started to unload the car. We had two bags full of stuff for us and the baby, and tons of food in case this was gonna be for the long haul. I don't know how many trips Larry took, but he was a trooper. 
We got settled in upstairs in the farthest room and I tried to stay upbeat. The contractions were coming and i was breathing and gripping my way through them. They still weren't overly intense and I was still able to focus my way through the waves that would come on.

Laura wanted to check me before we did anything else. I agreed to this as I knew this would only be one of the few times I was checked (as to avoid infection since my bag of waters was broken) and because I was curious where I was. 

Again you hear horror stories about how women think they are near the end, get to the hospital and are told they are 3 cm. So i was gripping myself for some bad news and then the cervadil and a long night ahead of us.

I always think, hope for the best but prepare yourself for the worst... and in most cases this works well for me. 

So, Laura checks me... and she is pleasantly surprised. "You are about 5cm, I can stretch you to 6cm... you are in active labor! I don't think we have a need for the cervadil!" I was also 100% effaced at this time.

PRAISE THE LORD! HALLELUJAH! That moment was very encouraging for me. I felt that without too much strain, pain or effort I had made it to the halfway mark. I had prepared myself for 3-4cm, so this was much happier news and I was renewed with a burst of energy. This was about 8:15pm. 

Shortly after this, my doula Claudia arrived and checked in on us. Because i was able to fall asleep between contractions, Laura decided to let Larry and I have the room to ourselves. He needed rest as did I, and sometimes with too many eyes on one thing - well its like watching a pot of water boil and can prolong things. So i continued to labor for the next few hours... the intensity of my contractions increased, and it became harder to just breathe or focus my way through the contractions. I found that a low deep moan helped me breathe my way through the waves of pressure. I also found that a slow hand rub sometimes helped but sometimes didn't. In fact, I told my husband to just hold my hand or apply pressure in one spot versus the rubbing. He took all direction and instruction like a champ and continued to be so supportive.

At about 12:15am, Claudia and Laura had prepared the jacuzzi tub for me to labor in. Unfortunately, the water wasn't super warm initially, but when we filled it again mid way through, it was nice and steamy.  However, as much as I love the idea of soaking in a nice hot tub, the reality is, I usually don't stay in there long. So after about an hour, I was ready to go back to the bedroom. 

Throughout this time, the hardest part was getting to and from the bathroom or changing positions. While it is often necessary to change positions to help the baby transcend further down, adjusting to the new sensations that position brought on during a contraction was not easy. Timing movement was also not easy because movement brought on faster contractions. But with the help of Larry, Laura and Claudia who were so encouraging and supportive in just the right way I was able to transition as comfortably as possible. 

As my contractions intensified, Laura checked me again at 1:30 AM. With her very tender hands, she checked me and I was about 8cm, 100% effaced and baby was still in 0 station. I also had some anterior lip, so both Claudia and Laura suggested i labor on the birth ball or labor on all fours. I really really really did not want to do this because laboring like this intensified the pressure throughout a contraction but i knew it would speed labor along. I may have moaned once or twice that i didn't want to switch into that position, all the while making my way into that position with the help of Larry, Laura and Claudia. I stayed in that position for 15 minutes or so and then returned to side lying on my right side.

At 2:40 am I was checked again. The anterior lip was hanging around and baby was still in 0 station. Again, I moved into an all four forward position. 

In trying to describe the feeling of the most intense pressure I ever felt in my life... all I can say is that it is an indescribable and uncontrollable wave of pressure that washed over me. It was towards the end of each contraction that my body would convulse b/c i had this urge to push but this pressure along my front abdomen would stop me.  In essence I was fighting the urge, and my body and mind were fighting each other. When describing this feeling, Laura stated that it was the anterior lip that was causing that feeling so laboring on all fours was essential. I tried to stay on all fours, legs spread wide and just fall head first into the contractions. It was hard. It was intense. I was in a haze. It all became blurry. And there were moments, I was not sure I could do it. 

The moments where I doubted my own ability are crystal clear in my mind today. At the same time I doubted if i could do what i was already doing, I remembered that my Bradley chart stated in TRANSITION STAGE was when you may have doubts. Realizing this, I knew I was close to the end so i kept on keeping on. 

At about 3:40 am, as I was side lying on my right side holding my left leg up in the air by my knee, I began to push. 

At about 3:54 am, i reverted back to a hands and knees position and tried a few pushes in that position. All my movements were suggested to me by either Laura or Claudia or both. In efforts to ease any discomfort or pain, they both encouraged me to focus my grunts/groans/moans, to try different positions and guided my motions. Their presence was essential in making things move along. 

That position was not as comfortable, so i returned to my side lying position. 

At 4:04 am, I began to push "effectively". In essence, I was able to focus my strength in my bottom and actually make progress in pushing the baby out. 

At 4:20 am, our baby began crowning. The feeling of having a baby's head in your bottom is the weirdest most amazing feeling. I didn't want to close my leg in fear i'd smush something, which I guess i couldn't do b/c Laura and Claudia encouraged me to rest. I tried but it was during this time I was really becoming exhausted. 

It was at this point, a thought crossed my mind. "Larry better like whatever this baby's gender is because he may not be getting any more after this one!"

During the actual second stage of labor, the pushing stage - the animal instinct takes over. Even when I was asked to resist the urge to push, it was difficult to do so. To minimize tearing, Claudia and Laura were guiding me through this stage. And even with the knowledge that as i was pushing, the baby would come out and then go back in, and then with the next push come out further and then retract back in... the feeling of defeat when that happened was very distinct in my mind. When i first felt the baby retract back in after all that pushing, I could have cried. I kept thinking "noooooo don't go back in!!!" But the next push, the baby just came back to where she left off and my pushing efforts resumed from there. It's amazing what your body is capable of. And as I continued to push, which I think in essence was only a few real contractions that went by the urge became harder to control. 

Laura and Claudia are both telling me to control my pushes, to slow down. Larry is next to me telling me that I can do this and that I have control. All the while, I'm not feeling in control and I say out loud that I can't control my urge to push. This is met with "we don't want you to tear" and my very loud response was "I DON'T CARE!!!" and i succumbed to the need to push. I was only able to control it when i knew they needed to check for the cord and even then it was too hard to not push. I used small grunts/pushes to try and control things. I felt that i was unable to control myself, but was later told that I actually did a great job controlling my pushes! After another push or two, i was then encouraged to continue pushing as the baby's head was on the way out... 

Stay Tuned for Part 3 of Annabelle's Birth Story.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, reading these stories by you and other new moms is so helpful to me, though I admit that they make me really doubt my ability to actually give birth to a child. I don't handle any type of pain or discomfort well at all, and I usually need relaxants to even get through a standard OBGYN appointment. I guess it's something I need to discuss with my doctor.


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