Thursday, October 15, 2009

He's HERE!!

October 5, 2009 11:11 a.m.
6.3 pounds and 20 inches long

Birth Story

Liam made his debut at 11:11 a.m. on Monday morning October 5, 2009. Although we knew that he would be born on Monday due to the induction, we never expected him to be born so quickly. He made his arrival in 4 hours!

Richard and I tried to go to bed around 9:00 Sunday night. It was nice to have our bags packed and everything in order. I was praying for weeks that we would be able to do that and thank God we were. It was stressful constantly looking over at a bag we packed for weeks wondering what else I could shove down in it at the last minute if my water broke, but thankfully the plan panned out.

We woke up around 4:00 a.m. and were both silent. It was like Christmas but with a twist. The fear of the unknown was a bit discerning but I wasn't at all scared. I had been dealing with stress for three weeks with pre-term labor and resting at home, so I was ready. The ride to the hospital was a bit surreal. We both didn't say much of anything. It was still dark and even the traffic lights weren't working. It was a surreal ride. We pulled into the ER, where we had to enter because even the hospital doors were locked until six, carried out our load of cameras, sleeping pallets, and pillows, got our admission papers and headed up to Labor and Delivery.

At 5:00 a.m. I was tagged and given room 204 which coincidentally was the same room I was put in at 35 weeks to stop my labor. The nurses were wonderful from the minute we stepped onto the floor. Kim was my nurse for the whole day, and oh how I had prayed for her. I asked the Lord for a nurse that was quiet in spirit and compassionate and boy did I get her. She was wonderful and calm and explained everything to me.

I was first handed the gown and told to change. Richard and I at that point were excited but anxious.

They hooked me to the fetal monitor, asked me a million general questions that were put into the computer, and the IV was put in. The purpose of the IV, especially if you are having an epidural or are induced is to get fluids into your body to keep you hydrated. I have to say the IV was no fun, but the cold drip felt great. Now that I look back I feel like the IV was worse than the epidural. After the IV was put in the pitocin was started. The drug that brings on contractions for induction. I was expecting immediate contractions and was nervous but was relieved to only feel subtle changes. Once my fluids were in and the pitocin was started we were nearing 7:00 a.m. Dr. McGuire was going to come in around 7:30 to break my water. As we waited Richard and I both watched the monitor with the Liam's heartbeat and my contractions. They were about every 7 minutes.

Around 7:30 a.m. the doctor came in, and boy was I so thankful to see Dr. McGuire. That was yet another plus about being induced. My doctor was right down the hall at her practice and could come in periodically and check in on me all throughout the day. She checked me immediately and to my surprise and hers I was already at 4cm and 100% effaced. She said the water sack was right at her finger tips. So immediately she broke my water. Again another experience that I was leery about, but it felt like nothing more than a regular pelvic exam. I'm thankful though because my water bag was close and some women have said getting their water broken was painful. I barley felt mine but immediately felt the warm gush that came out. Thankfully the nurse and Dr. McGuire knew exactly what they are doing and they let my water out slowly and changed towels immediately. I was worried I would gush all over the table, but was again surprised by the simple painlessness. As soon as my water broke Dr. McGuire put me on the epidural list.

The next thing I knew my contractions were immediately getting more and more intense. They were taking me by surprise and I remember Stephanie Wise coming in with a gift basket. I tried to conceal my pain and put a smile on my face but inside I was thinking if this is already so intense what is it going to really be like when I'm more dilated and where is that epidural guy. Richard never left my side and would tell me when the contractions were peaking and when I'd get a break. I remember Carrie telling me that at least you get breaks in between them but mine were coming so close I couldn't help but to wonder where my breaks were! The pain is hard to describe. The worst menstrual cramps you can imagine is not exactly what it feels like. It's a strange pain that no one can explain to you until you experience it yourself.

Finally the anesthesiologist showed himself. The whole epidural took about 30 minutes from the time they hook it up and get some questions answered. They run a test dose and then the real stuff is dripped in through the catheter. After about 15 minutes I was sat on the edge of the bed and told to stay really still. He gave me the first numbing shot and then placed the epidural catheter in. The first shot felt nothing more than a tiny bee sting and burned a bit, this was the numbing shot, and then after that I couldn't feel the epidural needle at all. The only sensation I felt was the catheter wire being pushed down into my back. I felt a weird sensation of something moving down my lower back. Once the tape was in place I laid down and PRAYED it would start working. My contractions were happening so rapidly that I was in another world. Kim checked me again and was surprised to see I was between 8 and 9 cm and she went ahead and called Dr. McGuire. She also told me we were going to start practice pushes and she set prepared the bed for labor. All the while my contractions intensified.

I was getting restless and was in a lot of pain. My legs were numb but my contractions weren't going away. I was so scared that I couldn't go through with labor without the epidural, but I was beginning to wonder if it was to late and if anything would help the pain. I remember gripping the side of the bed and blowing out air constantly. Trying to get in oxygen was not happening and the oxygen mask did not help. Nothing helped. The contractions were so close together that I couldn't describe the pain to anyone. It was the most intense thing I have ever felt or could ever imagine! I never yelled or said anything just tried to concentrate on blowing out air. It took all I had to remember to breathe and as much as I was trying to not think about it, the sudden urge to throw up keep creeping into my mind. I did later throw up a few times before the actual pushing, and that was yet another experience in itself. I'm not to good with meds and drugs.

Because the pain intensified. I began to wonder if the epidural was even in right but at this point I couldn't focus on anything other than the pain. I literally thought I'd rather die. At my breaking point I said "OH MY GOD THIS HURTS" and at that point Richard called the front desk and the nurse of anesthetist rushed in and gave me a huge dose of epidural by shooting it into my catheter drip. Apparently the epidural couldn't catch up to how quickly I had dilated but the extra dose immediately started to ease the pain. I went from a 10 in pain to maybe a 4 in the matter of 10 minutes. I was so thankful at that point but scared at the same time. My legs felt so heavy and lifeless, and I still had pushing ahead of me. I also had already thrown up a few times and I hadn't eaten since midnight the night before.

Once the epidural kicked in completely, we started practice pushes. It was so hard to tell if I was actually pushing because everything is completely numb. From the lower abdomen down everything is numb and heavy so you have to guess and assume your body remembers how to push without feeling that your actually doing it. Your mind has to take over. You have to decide that even though you feel nothing you have to assume you are pushing correctly. During these practice pushes everything was so calm. Kim the nurse Richard, mom, and I were the only ones in the room and that surprised me. I figured the pushing would bring in other nurses but it was nice to "practice" calmly.
I also continued to feel nauseated and tried to hold back the throw up.

Once I started crowing Dr. McGuire came in. She was surprised that I had progressed so fast, but I was thankful. We began the heavy pushing and in between I threw up another three times. I was so weak but after 45 minutes of pushing I remember Dr. McGuire telling me that she could get the vacuum to help me get Liam out but I decided that I had it in me to get this baby out on my own. I remember being in a fog. I kept my eyes closed through all of the pushing. Nurses did flood in when the actual baby was being born. I remember someone taking my left leg and Kim holding my right. Richard watched the whole delivery down with Dr. McGuire. I remember hearing "That's it" "Come on Babe" "He's right there" "Keep pushing". . . I looked around a few times and saw there were even more nurses in the room all with smiles on there faces. In between pushes I threw up and remember having to fight the urge through each push. It was quite the experience but again you are in another world. It's an out of body experience. You feel like your there but you feel like your not.

"Here he comes" was the last thing I really remember before the satisfaction of feeling his head come out. It was the greatest feeling of relief. I stopped pushing and then was told to push one more time and out he came screaming from the start. They put him right up on my belly and I remember saying "Hey baby"!! It was a surreal moment. Richard immediately cut the cord and kissed me with tear filled eyes. I love yous were exchanged and then they whisked Liam off to the warmer beside me. They cleaned him up and prepped him and he looked perfect.

While he was getting all the attention, I was getting cleaned up. I remember the doctor asking if I wanted to see my placenta and I kindly turned her down. I had an episiotomy and remember seeing her stitch me up and then remember being oh so thankful for the epidural. What I didn't expect was the intense pain that came while she pushed on my stomach. No one warned me about that. It was horrific. I actually remember moaning out load at that. She had to get all excess blood and any placenta out of my stomach. That was something I hadn't expecting nor want to remember.

After I was cleaned up, still in a fog mind you, they placed Liam on my chest all bundled up. They let him stay with me for an hour to nurse and bond and it was precious time for Richard and I. My mom left the room to go announce his arrival and we three bonded our new family! It was bitter sweet. After an hour they took him into the nursery and Richard went with him for his bath and tests. It was over, I had a baby! It is an empowering moment, but I was exhausted and had to remain chipper for the family that was coming in. It's a happy wonderful moment but it also surreal and exhausting.

Liam weighed 6 pounds and 3 ounces. I was surprised he was so small. He passed all his test with flying colors and the nurses were all commenting on how long he was 20 inches for his tiny weight. He was perfect and everyone thought so!

The next events were all trivial now that I look back. My epidural didn't wear off in my legs for 6 hours because of the high extra dose they shot me with at 9 cm. Because I couldn't feel my legs, I couldn't get up and move around or go to the bathroom. I did try to go the bathroom but fainted while sitting on the toliet. I was to weak but thankfully my wonderful husband was holding me up and carried me back to bed. Later I had to get a catheder to drain my urine and then attempted the bathroom trip again before bed. It was a success but again after labor and throwing up and being numb I was exhausted and weak beyond my expectation. I kept thinking of other friends who were up moving and showering two hours later. That wasn't my case at all.

We sent Liam to the nursery each night and tried to rest as much as possible. The nurses come in every three hours for pain meds and to check your vitals so sleep for mom isn't happening. Richard however loved his mattress we brought, which I recommend, and was out cold! :) He did however help me to the bathroom, changed my pads, and gave me meds. He is the greatest husband. Nothing phased him whatsoever. He was wonderful. All our friends came to visit followed by a few visitor on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. It's nice to feel loved but overwhelming at the same time when you don't feel up to par. I remember having a few breakdowns. Some of many to come. Hormones are raging.

We were sent home on Wednesday. Liam was circumsized, poked, prodded, and tested. He passed everything with flying colors. We were so thankful for a healthy baby, and on Wednesday afternoon we packed up and headed home. Thankfully my mom and Donna didn't leave our side. They came in cleaned up everything had dinner and didn't let me lift a finger. I highly recommended recruiting help! You are just physically exhausted!

My story didn't end there. Five days later after feeling good and starting to get my strength back, I had excessive bleeding. Bleeding that scared me beyond words. I was put on a medication that jump started contractions. Their purpose was to make me contract to push out any left over placenta or blood that was causing the bleeding. It was terribly painful and I had to be on intense pain killers to get through the pain. I passed the remaining clots and felt surly that it was over. Two weeks later it came back again and after a trip to the ER more blood tests run and worry beyond words, I finally am able to say I am feeling better and passed the icky stuff. My ultrasounds were clear of blood and Dr. McGuire felt confident that I was over the bad stuff. My blood tests were perfect and now I am just recovering day by day and getting used to life with a newborn. I'm so thankful the Lord was with me through everything and is still with me! There were some dark moments I have to admit, but Satan didn't get the best of me. I am also oh so thankful for my parents and Richard's parents who took care of me stayed the night and did everything for me. I couldn't have done it without them.

So that's my labor and delivery story from start to finish. I must say when I think back to how worried I was about labor I can laugh. Labor was so simple compared to the issues I had the weeks before and the weeks after. The labor was the easy part.

I can't lie, this is so difficult being a new mom. No sleep and trying to balance my life keeping up with the house and trying to feel remotely normal is hard. I have been told by everyone that the first 6 weeks is hell. So I'm trudging through it! I am so however in love with my Liam! :) He is beyond the greatest gift!


Jessica Polston said...

Thank you so much for posting that. What a wonderful story. I teared up several times! We love you, Richo and Liam so very much and are always here if you need ANYTHING! Love you friend!!

Amanda Marie said...

I cried too, Jess! I wish I could've told you more to prepare yourself but everyone has a different experience. When they were helping my stomach contract to get out the placenta, it really wasn't painful. I think with Theona, my epidural just had me really numb all over and with Kaden, pushing him out with no pain meds was worse compared to getting the placenta out. So it's hard for me to gauge how it really feels I guess.

Everyone says the time flies by so quickly and you'll miss every stage when it's over. I don't necessarily agree with that. I would trade Theona's colicky stage for Kaden's first 7 weeks any day. He has been such a great baby from the very beginning.

But it does go by quickly! So hopefully you'll feel 100% very soon! You have a very handsome boy to keep you company while you heal. =)

Krista said...

Wow, Rachel. I had no idea it was so rough for you. I mean, I knew it was rough, but I didn't realize how much. You are amazing. :) I'll admit I was jealous of your 4 hour labor (compared to the 16 hour average for first time moms) but now I'm hoping for a long, steady, epidural-has-time-to-kick-in labor! :P Thank you for sharing your story. It is so good to read about what really happens. And thanks, too, for sending me the list of things to keep in mind. It has already been very helpful. I'm looking forward to sharing my story with you very soon!

robertandhannah said...

Wow, Rachel... I loved reading your birth story! I'm so proud of you, and happy for you guys. You're right, the pain is pretty much indescribable... but you pretty much hit the nail on the head when you said it's an out of body experience. It's so worth it though.