Thursday, 19 April 2012
Hi Momaroos! This is Eugenia from the Xanga Team. Mandi asked me to share my birth story with Momaroo. After several years of reading your wonderfully sweet and touching birth stories, I'm so honored to have a chance to share mine with you! Like with a lot of birth stories, ours may be a little TMI for some and definitely pretty long in length (just a warning). Thank you in advance for reading, and please keep sharing your personal birth stories with us here!
Thursday, Dec 15 (10 days before my due date) about 6:30p.m.
The entire work day was incredibly productive. I crossed off a ton of items on my to do list and cleaned up a bunch of things on my desk. Thinking back now, maybe I subconsciously knew this would be my last time at the office for a while. On the way out the door I joked with Marc, "I'll see you tomorrow, hopefully!"
Then I headed to the bathroom for the 15th time that day and that's when the unexpected happened -my water broke!
I learned from birthing class that less than 10% of women experience their water breaking naturally. What do you think the percentage of having your water break naturally in the bathroom, while you're standing up right by the toilet and not getting a drop of amniotic fluid on yourself or your clothes is? Talk about perfect timing!
At first I thought, 'Whoa, what is this liquid on the floor? It wasn't there a second ago.' And then as I pulled up my underwear I felt a gush of fluid soak the pad. I sat back down on the toilet and more amniotic fluid gushed out. So in total there were 3 big gushes of fluid and then for hours to come I experienced little gushes. I learned that even after your water breaks your body still produces amniotic fluid to coat the baby. Pretty cool!
As I learned in birthing class I jotted down T.A.C.O (time, amount, color and odor) of the fluid and then headed out. Luke was officially coming out much sooner than his due date!
Thursday, Dec 15 6:40p.m.
I called my husband Ethan and my parents and told them what happened. Because I wasn't experiencing any contractions or discomfort I took the subway home (just a quick 20 min ride) and insisted that we keep the dinner plans we made with our good friends Jason and Janet. After all, who knew how long it would take before I would be in active labor and prohibited from eating real food. I wanted to eat a hearty meal and enjoy our last evening without child with our friends.
8p.m. to 1a.m.
After dinner at Amy Ruth's we went back to our apartment and the guys set up the glider that arrived the day before for Luke's room while I finished doing some things around the apartment.
I still wasn't experiencing any contractions and could feel Luke moving around normally. I really wanted to be home until contractions started on their own, and everything I read said it could take up to 24 hours for contractions to start after your water breaks.
Until 11p.m. I continued working on things around the apartment, getting ready for the hospital and spending time with our friends. At this point my mom and my friend Janet, who are both nurses, convinced me to call our doctor to let her know about my water breaking. To be honest I really didn't want to call because I knew the doctor was going to tell us to come in immediately, increasingly the likelihood of induction. But when two trusted health professionals are telling you that you should call your doctor...well you call your doctor.
And just like I expected the doctor on call told me to come to the hospital to get checked out. I asked her what was the max amount of time I could take to go in and she said she'd give me another two hours.
That meant it was crunch time! I immediately started working on some high priority tasks for work and emailed my coworkers. Two hours flew by!
1a.m. to 5a.m.
Ethan looked so tired so I told him to take a nap and that I'd wake him up in 30 minutes to go to the hospital. The apartment was in order, bags packed and work for the most part was squared away as much as possible. I still felt no contractions but was getting pretty tired so I decided to put my feet up for a little while and sat down on the couch to rest. I must have immediately fallen asleep because the next thing I know I hear my phone ringing and see that it's 5a.m. So out of it, I don't pick up and just close my eyes when about a minute later my phone buzzes and I see someone left a voicemail.
Then I snap back to reality and realize it's the OB on call asking us where the heck we are. I wake Ethan up, get ready and leave the apartment for the last time as a family of two.
Friday, Dec. 16 5:38a.m.
At this point I'm still not feeling any discomfort and feel the baby moving normally, so we decide to take the subway to the hospital. We're both feeling surprisingly calm and excited, which is totally different from what I was imagining. We were both prepared to make the trip to the hospital when my contractions were in full swing and only 4-5 minutes apart, via taxi of course. We planned to set up stations around the apartment for laboring and practiced pain management techniques, massage, breathing exercises and purchased a birthing ball. In the end we used very little of what we learned, read and practiced.
We get out at Columbus Circle and take a minute to look at the beautiful lights and snap a quick photo. On the way we grab food and water for Ethan, and then check in at Labor and Delivery and sit for a bit in the waiting room. We notice there's a woman sitting across from us breathing super hard and looking very uncomfortable. She's quickly processed and sent into the triage area. We're finally called back about 15 minutes later and after a quick exam it's confirmed my water broke.
We're set up in our L&D room and meet the nurse that will be attending to us and also my regular OB, Dr. Lieu, who is luckily the OB on call that day. Dr. Lieu is a bit concerned that I still don't feel any strong contractions since it's been nearly 12 hours since my water broke, so she says she'll let us wait it out for 3 more hours to see if labor will start on its own and if nothing happens we'll need to administer pitocin.
I begin to feel my first real contractions but they're still pretty weak, maybe a 3 or 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. I try and sit on the birthing ball to try and open up my hips. Ethan goes out to get me some ice and notices that the woman across from us in the waiting room is now being wheeled down the hall with her baby in her arms. She delivered so quickly! We laugh and hope that our experience won't turn out like that one episode of 'Friends' when Rachel's last to give birth.
I'm still only experiencing mild contractions and show no signs of increased dilation so a pitocin drip is started. Dr. Lieu says I should experience stronger contractions shortly. Several hours go by and the contractions are still fairly weak, and I'm not feeling uncomfortable, which is not what I was expecting. I know this sounds crazy but I wanted to experience the pain of a real contraction.
I'm checked again and only 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Dr. Lieu strips the membranes and increases the pitocin. Immediately I start to feel stronger contractions and a bit uncomfortable. This excites me, and I begin to use some of the breathing techniques I learned in birthing class! I think 'Yay! Progress!'
However, unexpectedly my blood pressure starts shooting up (160/90, 168/90) about an hour later at 2p.m. Dr. Lieu gives me an hour to see if my blood pressure will come down on its own and lowers the pitocin, but after several more high readings she says it's dangerous for me and the baby to have blood pressure this high and orders on epidural. I was totally shocked and unprepared to receive an epidural and was disappointed by this news. Our nurse jokes that I'm the first person to react that way about an epidural.
As the epidural is being administered, I'm surprised to find myself in pain. When I'm asked to curl my back like a cat something is extremely uncomfortable (it may have been from the catheter) and causes me to shake. I wasn't able to pinpoint the pain but it was the most painful thing I end up going through while in L&D, which really is nothing because 15 minutes later the epidural goes into effect. My blood pressure drops back to down to normal immediately and for the remainder of the day I feel nothing (now I know why people love epidurals!).
After the epidural, the pitocin level is increased to the maximum recommended amount since the baby's heart rate is steady and has shown no signs of distress. We're told to rest and just wait and see if my body opens up to 10 centimeters. We send out an email update and ask for prayers.
I'm checked and now dilated to 5 cm. I ended up taking a quick nap and Ethan watches a movie on his laptop (we are both completely relaxed and even start to get a bit bored).
Dr. Lieu comes back to check me and I'm still only 5 cm and 80% effaced. This is when the c word is mentioned. *sigh* Dr. Lieu says she'll give me another two hours to see if I'll open up more but if not she recommends having a c section as the baby's head is really coning out since the contractions are pushing on him so hard and I'm not dilating. We pray and try to relax. We both agree that no matter what the outcome we want a healthy baby and aren't going to stress out about having a c section if that's what it comes down to. We joke how the whole process is so different from what we both imagined and how it's all a little anti-climatic.
Dr. Lieu checks on me again and sure enough there's no progress and the baby's head is really bulging into a cone shape. She confirms we're going to have an emergency c section and we both agree that we're ready to meet our son. The only time I feel sad about having a c section is when I call my mom to share the news with her. I'm surprised that I get a little emotional as I'm talking with her but realize it's because I can hear the worry in her voice about the surgery and recovery time without her help (since Luke was born much earlier than expected my parents couldn't reschedule their trip to NYC). I assure her we're going to be ok and she says a quick prayer for us.
I'm wheeled into the OR and Ethan is left behind to pack up the room and then suit up for the surgery. The surgical team preps me for the c section and then the anesthesiologist checks to see if I'm sufficiently numbed by poking at my side. To his surprise I can feel the pricks in my mid section, so he gives me more drugs and asks again. I can still feel the pricks so they have to redo the line in my back. This was a bit scary as my legs were numbed and I couldn't support myself sitting up. I almost fell off the surgical table! Thankfully they get the line reinserted and drug me up again and this time when they check I don't feel anything.
Ethan comes into the OR and the team starts their work on getting Luke out. I only feel some pressure as they work on me. Then at 9:37p.m. I hear Luke cry and totally get emotional. Our son is finally here! Luke weighs in at 8.4 lbs and 20.5 inches.
Dr. Lieu is surprised by how big Luke is and says she's glad he came 9 days early or he would have been a lot bigger. Ethan takes some pictures and gets to spend some time with Luke. The doctor confirms Luke is healthy (although sporting a conehead) and given an Apgar score of 9. I'm so incredibly relieved and my heart swells with thanksgiving and joy.
Our new journey as a family of 3 had begun!
Looking back on my birthing experience I realized there were two factors we didn't foresee that totally changed the birthing process we had planned and hoped for. First was the high blood pressure I suddenly experienced and second was my water breaking before contractions started.
However, we got over our disappointment pretty quickly and actually feel we had a positive c section experience. My recovery was fairly quick and easy, and I was up and moving right away (I really appreciated the nurses at the hospital that pushed me to get up and out of bed). I was prescribed percocet and ended up breaking all the pills in half because I didn't feel like I needed to take the whole pill to manage the pain. The incision healed very nicely and now the scar is pretty small.
While we realize things weren't ideal and would have loved to have had a more natural birth, we're so thankful for the relative ease of the birthing process and fast recovery as I know this isn't the case for everyone.
Whenever we look back on Luke's birth we're taken back to the newness and amazement of it all and can't believe how fast 4 months has flown by!
Thank you Momaroos for reading my story! Here are some gratuitous baby pictures below .