Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Birth Story of Milo

I've had a difficult time wanting to write this story - or knowing HOW to write it. I don't even know WHEN the "birth" story started. I felt like I'd been in labor for at least a week before Milo was born, and by the time I knew for certain that it was the "real deal," it felt like a bad joke. That said, everything went well once things really began to happen, and I shouldn't have any complaints. I had a list of things that I wanted in my birth:

a healthy baby
a natural birth (no IV or drugs)
my doctor
to make it to the hospital in good time (not too early or too late)
I got all of those things!

I've gone back and forth about what to include in this birth story, and I've decided to error on the side of telling too much, rather than to pick and choose what to include. So this will be long (it's already long!),but it felt long at the time, so maybe it's appropriate. Today I'm going to post the preliminary stuff, and then later, I'll post the actual BIRTH story. :) Feel free to skip all of it if you want to. :)

With this being my 5th baby, I felt a lot of braxton hicks contractions - starting back in November, and getting progressively worse until in March I was going a little nuts. After 36 weeks, the contractions got a lot stronger, more often, and more regular. On Friday, April 3rd, the contractions were strong and 3 minutes apart. I felt awful - nauseous, light headed, sick . . . after agonizing about what to do, John and I decided to go to the hospital to find out what was going on. It didn't seem too likely that I was in active labor, but with contractions that close together, we didn't want to risk having the baby in the car or something.

Greg came up to stay with our kids,and we arrived at the hospital around 11:30 pm. Once I was in bed and hooked up to the monitors, the contractions slowed down in both frequency and intensity. After an hours' observation, the nurse said we could go home, or walk around, shower, etc. to try to get things to pick up again. We were tired, so we went home, fully expecting to be back soon. (My cervix hadn't dilated during that hour, but it had gotten much softer, so our nurse was optimistic that we'd be back in the next day or two at most. Although I know these things are unpredictable,I held onto the hope that she was right.)

She wasn't. I continued to have fairly regular and strong contractions (up to my due date), but they didn't progress.

The next Wednesday (April 8th) was my due date, and I had my 40 week appointment that morning. My doctor was leaving for spring break with her family early in the morning on the 10th, so I knew I had less than 48 hours to have my baby if I wanted her there. And I did. I'm generally opposed to induction, and I really like to just let things happen, but the previous weeks' fake-outs/practice and the desire to have the baby before my doctor left won out, so I asked her to strip my membranes. The theory is that if your body is ready,stripping the membranes can help start labor - that's what happened with Ruby, so I was hopeful that it would once again get things moving. If my body was not ready to have the baby, stripping the membranes wouldn't do anything.It seemed like a safe move.

I came home from my appointment and took Ruby and Jonah on a nice long walk. During our walk, the contractions were really intense, and 5 minutes apart. We came home for a break, and the contractions slowed down and got weaker. We walked to the school to get Maxwell. Once again, the contractions kicked in. And once again, after we got home,they slowed way down.

After lunch, Ruby and I went out to walk, AGAIN. This time the contractions were quite painful,and at least 5 minutes apart - many coming closer together. The wind was blowing, it was cold, and I was tired, so we came home - only to have things slow down again!

That afternoon, I helped the kids practice piano and do their reading. We walked to piano lessons and back a couple of times (with strong contractions each time). We made popcorn balls. I sewed four burp cloths and made dinner. Finally,around 6 pm, my contractions seemed to stay strong when I was not walking, but by this point, it seemed like a cruel joke.

After dinner, I sat down and read a book while John put the kids to bed, I took a shower, and then watched a movie with John. The entire time I was wondering if I should be paying attention to the contractions, or if it was another false alarm. At 10 pm, we started to get ready for bed, and debated whether or not to call Greg. Eventually, I gave him a call. I explained that I wasn't too optimistic, but there was a chance that labor would get serious that night and we'd need him to watch the kids. I asked if he'd rather spend the night, or just come up in the unlikely chance that John and I decided to go to the hospital. Greg said he'd just come up and spend the night. Shortly after I got off the phone with Greg, my contractions became more painful, and I started to feel sick. By the time Greg arrived, I'd decided that we'd better go to the hospital. I gathered my things together, and we'd set out - just like we had almost a week earlier.

When we got to the hospital (at about 11:30 pm), they quickly got us into a room (my reputation for quick births preceded us because a nurse we'd had before was working). Our doctor was called, and she told them to do a 20 minute test strip, to let me move around after that, and that she would be over soon. When she arrived, she had the nurse set the room up so they'd be ready when I was. Ruby, Jonah, and Maxwell were all born less than 2 hours after we arrived at the hospital, and my doctor seemed confident that this labor would follow the pattern set by my last two births. On the other hand, I was worried that we'd spend the night with everyone waiting and waiting for me to have the baby, and that he wouldn't be born for HOURS.

At about 12:45, I asked to be checked because the contractions were very strong. I'm always hesitant to be checked because the news can either be encouraging, or very depressing. Luckily, I had progressed to a 7, so I was encouraged, although still not confident that things would move quickly. My doctor and a nursing student stayed in the room with John and I after that. It was nice to have people to visit with between contractions, although it was kind of strange to have everyone quiet down while I was having a contraction. A little while later, I began to feel pressure (not quite an urge to push, but close to it) during contractions. After a few contractions like that, I asked to be checked again, and was found to be complete. The urge to push was still not overwhelming, and I was worn out emotionally, if not physically, so I asked my doctor to break my bag of waters to speed things up a little. After a few more contractions, she broke my water, and said I could push whenever I felt like it. I pushed on the next contraction, but it was so weak no one could tell I'd done it! Argh!

I pushed harder on the next contraction, and the next,and the next, and I started to wonder what was going on! The last 3 babies had all been born in just a couple of pushes, and I couldn't figure out what was taking so long.It turns out that Milo wasn't in the right position,so as I pushed, he was rotating into position before he could be born. (I wonder if breaking the bag of water made him drop down before he rotated all the way. If so, it was my own fault that I had to push so much longer.) The pushing was really hard and really scary. I always forget how painful and scary pushing is for me.

It's so strange to be the one in labor. No one else can feel what you're feeling, and even though John and my doctor are there, I feel pretty alone.Birthing my baby is something I have to do - no one can do it for me, and besides the baby, everyone else is mostly spectating. This time, the difference between the experience that the others had was markedly different from what I was experiencing. I managed to not scream out loud, so the nurses, my doctor, and even John thought that I was doing really well. I LOOKED calm, in control, and focused as I pushed. What I remember is totally different. I was scared silly, in a ton of pain, and felt like I was freaking out. It just hurt too badly to open my mouth to yell or scream or cry or even to open my eyes to see the birth (I always plan to watch the birth, and I've never been able to keep my eyes open). I remember thinking of how much it hurt, and how long it was taking, and just wanting it to be over and for him to be OUT. It felt more like chaos than calm to me.

Eventually, my pushing and his rotating did their job,and Milo was born! John helped to catch, and I managed to open my eyes to see my baby (and to ask for my camera so I could get a picture of John holding our newborn).

Once the cord stopped pulsing, John cut it, and I got a chance to hold our baby. He was hungry! Milo was basically born rooting. :) He was quickly cleaned up and weighed
(we were all a little shocked at his size - my biggest baby), and then I got to hold and feed him while the doctor finished taking care of me.
Milo hardly cried at all, which worried me, but his color was good and no one else was concerned. He was born at 1:17 am. Great timing. Just as my doctor finished with me, she headed over to another hospital to deliver another baby. :)
To read Jenny's blog and see beautiful pictures of Milo click HERE.

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