Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everett's Birth Story, Part Two

Check out Everett's Birth Story Part One if you haven't yet before reading on...

Sure enough, at nearly exactly the same time I woke up to my water breaking with Austin, I woke up around 4:00 a.m. to terrible contractions. They were not mild anymore, they were the kind that rip through your hips and abs like a meat grinder, and had me shooting out of bed.

I woke up Ben to tell him how I was feeling as I paced our bedroom deep breathing. At that moment my water started breaking, not a gush, like with Austin, but it was definitely breaking.

I called the on call number for my OB practice and immediately started to freak out when they told me none of the doctors in my practice were on call. What?! How could this happen?? Well, on very rare occasions (and I knew this was the case, my practice kept me well informed on this) if all of the doctors in my practice have the weekend off, there are a group of fill in doctors on call to cover for them. It only happens a handful of times a year, and this was one of them.

Admittingly, I lost my shit at this point. I told Ben that if they wouldn't let me VBAC, I would walk out of the hospital. "I'll do it! I'll just leave!" Yeah, not sure where I was going to go...

Anyway, when the doctor on call called me back, she was very nice, told me of course they'd be okay with a VBAC if that was the birth plan, and to come in to the hospital and get checked out and we'd review things.

Ben woke up my mom to let her know what was happening, and I gobbled down a bowl of Rice Chex and a Snickers I had set aside for when I went into labor (seriously) and we headed out.

The 20 minute or so drive to the hospital was nice on the empty early Sunday morning highway, except for every few minutes when i would have a huge, painful contraction. It made me happy that my body was obviously laboring on it's own, which is a great thing for qualifying for a VBAC, but my goodness, did it hurt.

When we arrived, we quickly got into triage (oh, and the parking garage was closed for cleaning, so Ben had to park nearly a half mile away and hoof it into the hospital with all my stuff after dropping me off), and met the on call doctor. She was nice, told me I was three centimeters after checking me... and then told me she was off at 7:00 and another doctor would be in shortly. WHAT?!?

"I'm sure she's fine with you VBACing," she said.

"She damn well better be," I thought as I scowled in disgust.

The new doctor arrived not twenty minutes later, and it was like God knew what he was doing when he had her on call that day. She was awesome. She told me her criteria for a VBAC (progressing mainly on your own, but could have a small dose of pitocin, went into labor on your own, baby reacting well, and no pressure in my scar area). She was very reassuring and made me feel great about things.

We got into labor and delivery, met our nurses (there were several, and this gave me anxiety that I didn't have just one, and I had a minor breakdown about this until our assigned nurse came back to be with just us), and I received an epidural that went SO much better than my very painful one with Austin. The needle hardly hurt at all, and brought immediate relief.

Ben and I took naps on and off, and I was checked again after a couple hours, where they found I was making no progress, and the baby's heart rate was starting to drop. My doctor told me, "I have a three strikes rule for VBACs, I can't be as liberal with letting baby go through possible trauma in these situations, this is strike one."

The one picture I took during labor, Ben napping
They had me turn to my left side, put me on oxygen, turned off the pitocin, and then the baby came back around with an improved heart rate. With this, the pitocin was gradually started again with a small dose, and all was looking good again.

After a couple hours, I started to get really intense contractions that I could feel, even through the epidural, all over my left side. It was awful. I was on my side, gripping the bed rail, while Ben stood next to me, and I tried to breath. The contractions felt like they were ongoing, with no break.

This went on for over an hour, and from what I know of labor, it was clear I was going through transition. Sure enough, when my doctor came back to check me, she said words that were music to my ears, "you're at ten (centimeters), lets get ready to push!"

I was so relieved to hear this, I had gone from three to ten centimeters in just a couple of hours, and had a chance to deliver my baby vaginally!

Pushing started, and was harder than I thought it would be. I pushed and pushed for nearly an hour, making little progress. The doctor and nurse were determined to help me push this baby out though, and, which I appreciated, so they tried putting a mirror up to motivate me, but it only weirded me out. They also had me do extra pushes during each contraction, still not a lot of progress, after every push, the baby's head would creep back up, and I was getting exhausted from all the work, and had to put back on oxygen between each round of pushes.

In total, I ended up pushing for two and a half hours. The next day my back, shoulders, arms and leg muscles all hurt from the effort of those pushes. I compared pushing, to swimming a bunch of laps, a full body workout!

I was feeling so defeated and very tired at this point in labor. Then, the doctor decided to not have me lay back down between pushes, but keep my legs up in between contractions, and that made all the difference. Progress, finally!

It was at this point my OB came in and sat with me, and told me she would be there through the end of my labor unless something else urgent came up, and told me the second best words I heard all day (besides that I had a healthy child), "you're going to deliver this baby vaginally, it's going to happen."

I burst into happy tears.

From here things are a blur, I remember my doctor saying to know it was getting close when she put on her mask and shoe covers. Since we didn't know the gender, she told us she would lift the baby's leg after she placed it on my chest for Ben to announce the gender.

Minutes later, Ben was telling me, "The baby's coming! It's coming out!" The guy who always said he'd stay "north of the border," was watching his child be born in anticipation. And in a whirlwind, suddenly a baby was on my chest, a screaming, white covered, red little human, and they said, "Tell her what it is Dad!" But he didn't have to tell me, it was plain as day staring back and me, and we both said loudly, "It's a...BOY!!"

Again I was a blubbering mess of happy tears as I helped wipe off my son with a flannel blanket while he laid on my chest. I remarked how he looked like Austin, and my heart felt so full. Two boys, less than two years a part, that I hope will be life long friends.

They weighed, measured and did Everett's apgar tests, and returned him to my chest. It felt so great to get to hold my baby right after birth, instead of waiting to get to the recovery room like with a c-section.

Six weeks into Everett's life, and my heart is still so full. I am more tired than I ever knew possible with a night owl newborn, and a toddler who gets up by 8:00 every day (and I know how lucky we are to have him sleep that late), but I love these boys so much.

Austin and Everett meeting for the first time, and Austin showing us that Everett has a nose (right after he ripped his hat off)
Austin has finally started taking to Everett, talking to him when he cries, checking on him in the stroller during walks, and Cooper is very protective over him as well.

Cooper guarding the door, and his littlest brother
I know that motherhood changed me to the core the moment Austin was born, and I now know that all the cliches are true about your other children, your heart grows and you realize you can love even more than you thought possible before.

 Everett Lance
Six Weeks Old

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Everett's Birth Story, Part One

If the way you come into the world is a pre-courser for the life you will lead, then maybe Everett will be our calm child, who peppers in a little spice here and there. I doubt it with he and his brother around to influence each other, and get into trouble, but his birth was such a wonderful experience, that just may be.

People seem to all be surprised when I say giving birth to him was a "wonderful experience." When asked how delivery went, I usually reply, "awesome!" and most people say, "I've never heard anyone describe giving birth that way!" But it was, it was an amazing experience to VBAC, and hold my baby immediately after he was born, and it all started a few days before...

I went to the doctor for my 38 week appointment on Wednesday, July 30. I was anxious to see how things were going, as I hadn't been checked yet, but again had the feeling of a head about to fall out from between my legs.

During my exam and belly measurement, the doctor told me didn't feel any baby at the top of my belly, meaning the baby could be breech (like Austin was), or had dropped already.

I was anxious as he got prepared to check me, would there be two little feet, or a bum, on my cervix instead of a head? Would another c-section be on the horizon? I knew that if the baby was breech, I would have to have a c-section that coming Friday at 39 weeks.

As he checked me (this is the first of many TMI moments, FYI, don't read on if you are squeamish) he said, "Whoa! You are most certainly not breech. You're 2 cm already and 75% effaced. You're ready to go now."

Then, he took his hand and moved my baby's head just to show me how in position I was, and I yelled, "Are you moving it's head?!"

"Yup, that's how ready you are to go. I'll be shocked if you don't have a baby by the end of this weekend. Get things ready, you could go into labor at any time."

I left the appointment thrilled, but nervous, my mom was not arriving until Saturday night to be there to watch Austin when the baby arrived.

To intensify things, I started getting some pretty strong contractions as a result of getting checked at my appointment earlier that day. Ben and I were on our way to have dinner with friends in DC as a last night out with friends celebration of sorts, and I was having to do deep breathing to control the pain the whole ride there.

With all this going on, during the drive I got my mom, and Delta airlines on the phone, and switched her flight to arrive the next day (thank you to Delta for doing this with no penalty when they heard the situation!)

We have great friends in the area who had already told us they would watch Austin and Cooper should I go into labor before her arrival, but nearly all of them were out of town that Thursday and Friday, and I was nervous to be running around arranging things if I was in active labor.

My labor pains subsided that night, we had a great dinner out. I worked that Thursday and Friday from home, just in case anything happened, but didn't feel a drop of contractions, or any other signs of labor, and my frustration was mounting.  What happened to having a baby by the weekend?!?

Saturday morning I went for a mani/pedi I had scheduled weeks ahead of time, partially to relax and enjoy some me time before baby, and partially in hopes that a good foot massage would set me into labor.

I got home with fresh nails and ready to take on the day.

Baby Ready Fingers and Toes
I felt bad that my mom had arrived early, but was also thankful she was there to bond with Austin before they would be alone together, and get to know his schedule.

And it's a good thing she did, it wasn't a few hours after being home from my nail appointment, that my plug fell out when I used the bathroom, and mild contractions began.

After about an hour, they subsided, and I tried not to get my hopes up. My plug fell out a week before I had Austin, so I knew it could still be awhile.

We wrapped up the day with a long walk, dinner and I went to take a relaxing bath, where my contractions picked up again. They were now coming every five minutes or so, but again, faded away. I went to bed that night wondering if we would make it through the night without heading into the hospital...

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