Thursday, November 30, 2006

Childbirth 101

Seeing as how my little one is almost 2 weeks old and the pain of childbirth has (almost) left my memory, I wanted to write up a little something about my birth experience so I could always have a record of what it was like.

I didn't have a "normal" labor to begin with, as my little princess decided she wasn't in any hurry to make her entrance into the world and was a week past her due date. Between being the control freak that I am, not wanting to remain pregnant one moment longer, and the doctor's worries about my blood pressure, I scheduled an induction for Sunday November 19.

We (TJ and I) arrived at the hospital at 9 pm as scheduled and they had me undress and hop into bed to get the party started. (Here's where it gets graphic so if you don't want all the details, stop here).

They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and watched my blood pressure. Then after an hour or so, the doctor came in to examine my cervix and see how much I had dilated. I was about 2 centimeters. (For those who don't know, you need to be at 10 cm before you can push.) They inserted this paper thingy up by my cervix, which was supposed to get the labor going.

Did it ever!! I was crying from all the pain and all I could think was, "Lord let me hurry and get to four centimeters so I can get this epidural!" They say labor pains are supposed to come and go and you're supposed to be able to relax in between, but I swear mine just kept coming harder and faster. By this point, I wasn't dilated enough for an epidural, but I kept demanding drugs, so they gave me something to "take the edge off," which is code for "doesn't do much at all."

I was finally in so much pain that I started vomiting all over the place. TJ (God bless him) held the trash can and rubbed my back as I kept heaving up what was left of my dinner. In the middle of it all, I felt this huge gush of water. "TJ," I said between heaves, "I think my water broke."

So he leaves to go get the nurse and she confirms that yes, my water had broken. They moved me into another room. This one was much larger and had room for all my family members - my mom and dad were both there.

By this time, I'm having contractions on top of contractions and it hurts to even think. I try doing those breathing exercises they showed me in Lamaze class, but they aren't helping and all TJ's coaching is doing is getting on my nerves. Around 5 a.m., I tell him, "I need an epidural- NOW."

He runs to get the doctor and I pray to God that I'm dilated enough to get the shot that will ease all my pain. The doctor checks me and says that I'm 4 cm - the magic number.

I wait for the man with the drugs and count my blessings that the pain is almost over. They arrive and I hunch over per their instructions and wait for them to stick the needle in my back to numb me from the waist down. It's kind of ironic that a needle in my spine will get rid of the pain but at this point I'm ready to do whatever they ask to make this pain go away.

About five minutes after the epidural is inserted, my lower body goes completely numb. Under ordinary circumstances it would be weird, but now it just feels like heaven. I close my eyes and then try to get some sleep so I can have energy for the rest of my labor....

About an hour later, the nurse comes in and tells me I'm running a fever. They want me to take some Tylenol, my mom gets me a Popsicle, they discuss giving me antibiotics. After about an hour or so of this, my fever still hasn't gone down. Apparently, I had a slight infection and the longer the baby stayed in my womb, the greater the chance that she would have it too when she finally made her appearance.

The doctors confer and they decide to wait an extra hour and if I'm not ready to push they'll do a C-section. I'm slightly nervous, but at the same time, I want her to be healthy. I look at TJ and I can't read his face, I can't tell what he's thinking. My parents are on the other side of the room and I can tell they are nervous about this whole thing. My mom had two C-sections and my whole life she's been telling me how painful the recovery was.

The doctors come back and check me, and they determine that I haven't dilated enough for pushing to be possible in the next half hour so they make the call to go for a C-section. My parents are shuttled off to a waiting room, the nurses toss TJ some scrubs and tell him to get ready. The anesthelogists scurry into the room, giving me pain medication after medication. Someone hands me a cup with a dark liquid in it and tells me to drink it. "Take it like a shot," the nurse advises. I swallow some and it's so bitter I swear they just handed me some rum. Turns out it's some type of antacid so I don't vomit all over the table during the surgery.

They wheel me into the OR and flip me (literally) onto the table. I'm only supposed to be numb from my boobs down, but by this point the only thing I can move are the fingers on my left hand. I'm not complaining, 'cause the last thing I want to feel is them sawing me in half.

The docs all scrub up and assemble around the table where I'm laying. TJ suddenly appears at my head and I feel a huge sense of relief like I'm not going through this alone. "Are you okay?" he asks. I nod and close my eyes, praying to God that my little girl is healthy and I hear her cry.

After what seems like forever, I feel some tugging on my belly and some murmurs among the doctors. They all of a sudden I hear - "Waa!" A short cry, but a good cry nonetheless. I smile, knowing that my baby girl is ok. I turn my head to the side and see a slightly chubby, dark haired baby being wiped down. "Is that my baby?" I think to myself. "How weird. I'm a mommy now."

After she's all cleaned up, the nurses hand her to TJ and TJ holds her by my head. "She looks like you," I say. TJ just smiles at his baby girl. The docs sew me back up and I'm wheeled off to the recovery room....

Labor was tough and I never thought I'd experience pain like that. There are no words to describe it. But if I had to do it all over again, I would. (But DEFINITELY with an epidural)


Molls said...

tara, your detailed description about your labor has seriously made me dread childbirth. but the joy and pride that radiates from your descriptions of being a mom makes it clear that it's all worth it : )

missed you at the regina alum gathering. hope things are going well and maybe i'll see you soon!

The Frog Princess said...

Thanks so much for the link, not to mention your vote of confidence in my mothering abilities!