Friday, July 1, 2011

Jackson's Birth Story

Almost every week, I've brought up my anxiety circling around labor. I guess it's only fair to share Jackson's birth story with you, so you can understand a little more about why I'm so nervous about it happening again. I'll try not to exaggerate the details, and I'll also try to leave some of the gory details to your imagination. I mean, we all know where babies come out of, right? I also want to say that I know how lucky I am. I had a healthy baby, and a complication free labor and delivery. There are an awful lot of women out there that can't say the same thing. I don't want to minimize anything anyone else has experienced, all I know is what I went through.

My pregnancy with Jackson was easy-peasy. I mean, really. No morning sickness, minimal weight gain, no medications (except for thyroid stuff), or pre-term labor. I did have back problems, acid reflux and lots of braxton hicks, but that all seemed minimal compared to many other pregnant women. I should mention that my mom lived with us when I was pregnant. Oh, and I wasn't working. So, my days consisted of sleeping in until 10:00 and just hanging out, day dreaming about Jackson, planning and getting the house ready. We were finishing our basement (ourselves) the whole pregnancy, which kept me pretty busy. I did much of the work myself, like helping mud and tape the drywall, painting, and all of the tiling. My mom
helped did all of the laundry and all of the dishes, as well as a lot of the other housework. And I didn't have any other children to take care of, so it goes without saying that I had it pretty easy. I never really felt that OhMyGodICan'tDoThisOneMoreDay moment that so many pregnant women feel. I went to my 36 week appointment and my doctor checked me. I was closed up nice and tight, and Jackson had dropped. At 37 weeks I was dilated about a fingertip. At 38 weeks, when my doctor checked me, I was 1 cm. Knowing that I'm not that big, my doctor was slightly concerned with me not being able to push the baby out and didn't want him getting too big. So, while she was checking me she casually said "I'm just going to strip you here". That hurt pretty bad. Getting checked is already a somewhat painful process. Getting your membranes stripped really hurts. My response was "Wait! Won't that, like, make me have the baby?" She just kind of smiled and said "probably". Then she said "See you this weekend!" That was on the Thursday before Father's Day. Friday, I went and got a mani/pedi with another pregnant friend, due about a week after me. I didn't go into labor. Saturday morning, I went and got a massage. Still nothing. Then I got a text from that same friend due a week after me that her water had broken and she was going to the hospital. That's when I started getting a little jealous of her. I was due before her. My doctor had stripped my membrane. It was MY turn to have the baby! That day, I finished grouting the tile on the fireplace in the basement and did some touch up painting. Eric and I also went to a co-worker's house to check out his newly finished basement. For dinner I had something really spicy (I didn't know it was going to be spicy when I ordered it) and after dinner we walked around the outlet mall for a while. Realizing that I was no closer to having Jackson that day than I was a week ago, we went home and I took a bath and went to bed a little before midnight. I had been in bed about five minutes and started getting some rumbling in my stomach. You know the kind? Where you'd better get to the bathroom, and quick! Stupid spicy dinner! It was causing all kinds of cramping. About three minutes later, it happened again. Five minutes later? AGAIN! This is NO TIME to have the stomach flu! After about fifteen minutes of that I started thinking back to those birthing classes we took, and remembered hearing something about how sometimes your body will "clean itself out" at the onset of labor. So, I thought I should start timing them. I was getting these cramps about every 3-5 minutes. Eric still hadn't come to bed, but about 45 minutes of having contractions every 3-5 minutes, he finally came up. I told him that I thought I was maybe in labor. Or that I had the shits. One of those things was definitely happening. But being the good little rule follower that I am, I wanted to wait until I had contractions every 3-5 minutes for a solid hour before calling the doctor, just like "they say". I told Eric he could lay down and I'd just see what happens. The contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart, lasting about 3 minutes each. They were painful, but I was still able to joke around and walk around our bedroom. By the time the hour rolled around, I told Eric that we should probably at least call the doctor and see what she says. We called the office, and they called her. It was about 45 minutes later before she called us back, saying she was expecting to hear from us. By now I'm certain I am in labor and the contractions are still 3-5 minutes apart, lasting almost 3-5 minutes each. I was no longer finding the humor in things and couldn't have a conversation. The doctor told us to get to the hospital. So I went downstairs and told my mom to be ready, and that I was headed in. The car ride there was insane. We are only about 10-15 minutes away from the hospital, but I swear if there was a bump to be hit, Eric hit it. We checked into the emergency room when we got there, because it was after hours, and they sent us up to labor and delivery. I had to walk up there myself! In the movies they get the poor lady a wheel chair, but no, they just pointed towards the elevators and told us "second floor". When I got there, they immediately put me in a triage room. I changed into the hospital gown and laid down on the bed. This is the part of my labor that I remember as being the worst! They hooked me up to a monitor and a blood pressure machine, checked my cervix (I was at a 3) and continued to ask me question after question about my medical history. I answered questions for at least two hours while they monitored me. By now, I was really nauseous from the pain and my blood pressure was through the roof. They were making me lay completely flat on my back, which is the most uncomfortable position you could possibly be in when in that kind of pain. I was pissed. Everything I read was saying that contractions are really painful, but that you'll get a break between them. Yeah, they'll hurt for a minute or so, but then you'll get a couple minutes to catch your breath. That wasn't happening. I was getting no break. They were coming on top of each other. Finally after about 2 hours, they admitted me. It was about 4:00 in the morning. They got me in the room, gave me an IV and took some blood. They checked me again, and I was still at a 3. That's when I got really pissed! I kept saying that "I can't do this for hours and hours", and "I'm not getting a break!" My doctor went ahead and okayed the epidural over the phone, since it was clear I was in active labor. We just had to wait for me to go through a whole bag of saline through my IV first, and wait on the blood work to come back okay. The anesthesiologist, nurse, Eric and I were all just sitting there, prepped and ready for my epidural, waiting for the phone call that the epidural was a go. I don't know how long that took, but it seemed like forever. (It was probably a few minutes) Then the phone call came and within seconds life was good again. For those of you who have never had an epidural and are in any way nervous about it, all I can say is don't be! It's amazing! It didn't hurt at all (not compared to the kind of pain I was in before hand anyway). There was a slight popping feeling in my back, then warmth shooting down my legs. And then it was like the heavens opened up and God (or the anesthesiologist) shone down on me. I literally felt no more pain! Within a few seconds I got really dizzy and nauseous. I told the anesthesiologist and he immediately put something in my IV and it stopped right away. I also started shaking all over. Like shivering. The nurse said it was totally normal, and it was from the labor, not the epidural. The only other weird side effect I had was that it made my face really itchy. Like, crazy drug addict itchy. The nurse gave me a wet wash cloth to scratch with, instead of my fingernails so I wouldn't scratch myself. By now, it was probably about 4:30. My blood pressure had gone back down again (because I wasn't freaking out anymore), and I was able to sit up in the bed. The nurse put the catheter in me (which I also couldn't feel at all) and checked my cervix. I WAS FULLY DILATED! She let the catheter do it's job and then took it back out and called my doctor, telling her to get to the hospital. About that time I felt something warm and wet downstairs. I told the nurse and my water had broken. She was a little less than excited when she checked though. Apparently Jackson had his meconium inside me. (That's the baby's first poop, for those of you that don't know) I guess this can be dangerous, because the baby can aspirate it. By now, my mom was in the room with us. The nurse had me do a "practice push" while we were waiting for the doctor. I got about one second into my first "practice push" and the nurse told me not to practice after all. We will just wait for the doctor. So we sat there and waited. For about a half hour. Around 5:00 a.m. the doctor came in the room and I started pushing. During the pushing process, I couldn't feel a thing. (I mean, I did just get my epidural an hour before) I actually felt like, every time I pushed, it tickled a little bit. Like, the kind of tickle you feel when your leg falls asleep and starts waking up again. My doctor said that I'm the only person that's ever said that pushing a baby out "tickles", but I thought it did. I also couldn't feel any pressure and had no idea when I was having a contraction and it was time to push. They had to tell me when to push. At first my mom and Eric were each holding a leg, but then the nurse was wanting me to open up my pelvis a little more so she had me hold my own legs (bottoms of my feet together, grabbing my ankles and pulling them toward me). Not the most flatter thing in the world, but apparently it was working. This new position also meant that my mom and Eric no longer had a job and were strictly spectators. I didn't care in the moment, but I guess looking back, it might have been a little awkward. And I had a very strict "no peeking, stay by my head" rule with Eric. So his job was to tell me when I was getting another contraction. Apparently, Jackson's heart rate dropped some during this time, because they made me wear an oxygen mask. Every time I had a contraction, I would push three times, for 10 seconds each, and then we would all sit around and laugh and joke, waiting for that contraction to pass and another one to start. I finally asked my doctor if I was allowed to push more than three times per contractions. She laughed at me and told me I could push as long as I wanted. A little before 5:30 a.m., I had my next contraction, I
pushed, and Jackson literally dove out of me. Both of his hands beside his head, dove out. They put him on my chest, all covered in poop and screaming his head off. The doctor didn't even get to suction the meconium out before he took a huge breath and screamed. The first thing the doctor said was that he was small. Much smaller than she thought he would be. After quickly wiping him off, the nurses immediately took him to the nursery to check him out. That worried me a bit, since I was told the baby would stay in the room, as long as everything was okay. The doctor reassured me that she was only having him go to the nursery because he was so small. Eric went with Jackson and my mom stayed with me, while the doctor delivered the other stuff that comes out when you have a baby and stitched me up. I was getting stitched up for over an hour. Apparently the combination of a fast labor and the fact that both of Jackson's hands were on the sides of his head, caused a lot of damage. Towards the end of the stitching, my epidural was wearing off and I started feeling her stitching. That wasn't a great feeling, but it was bearable knowing that the hard part was over. About the time the doctor was finished with me, Jackson was getting wheeled back into the room in his little bassinet. He weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces and was 18 inches long. He was perfectly healthy, regardless of his size.

My labor was fast and furious. 5 1/2 hours from my first contraction until Jackson was born. I don't know if fast and furious is "better" than a slow and long labor. I have nothing to compare it to. But I know that it was super intense, and I had very little time to prepare for it, as far as mentally knowing I'm in labor. I don't know if you can ever totally mentally prepare for labor. I completely freaked, making my blood pressure get ridiculously high and my body tense up so much that I was actually keeping myself from dilating like I should. I was so wrapped up in thinking that I was going to be in so much pain, without a break, for hours on end (like the horror stories everyone always tells you about). I'm hoping this time, with the knowledge that I probably
won't have one of those crazy long labors, I'll be able to relax a little more, keep my blood pressure down, and let my body have the baby like it should. I'm also not going to wait the full hour before calling the doctor this time!

Oh, and my friend that went into labor Saturday morning? Poor thing still didn't have her baby until several hours after me! And no. We weren't at the same hospital. That would have been too cool!


  1. i always love to read birth stories! thanks for sharing yours :) if you feel comfortable, it may really help you to have a doula this time. she'll help you stay calm, manage the pain and relax. just a thought ! praying for a safe, easy delivery for you!

  2. Thanks! I've thought about a doula. Or just investing in a club that Eric and hit me over the head with once the pain starts ;) My biggest hope is that I don't freak out this time, like last time. I think knowing what to expect is certainly in my favor, as is knowing that my labor will probably be rather quick. And, in all honesty, I'm actually becoming LESS anxious about labor the closer I get to the big day. I'm starting to really be uncomfortable and just wanting the baby out, so labor is seeming like a good option!