Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lauren's birth story (long)

A trip down memory lane. This is from a long email I wrote last year with Lauren's birth story:

Here is the story of our April Fools Day Baby:

My due date was 3/26 and I'd been getting so many "did you have the baby yet?" emails and phone calls that I decided to start a blog andkeep updating it with news. On Friday night, 3/31, I posted at 11:13 that I was still feeling the same (not in labor)and going to bed. Just after midnight I woke up with a contraction. I wasn't sure if it was what I thought or not, so I took a bath. At the birthing class,they told us that if the contractions still happened while in thebath, they were real. And they did. I woke up my husband, and they were every 4-5 minutes apart. He couldn't find any kind of watch with a second hand (ggrrr, I was irritated at him for not having this ready!) so he had to count how long they lasted and we weren't really sure if his"one one thousands" were accurate.

We called labor and delivery and they said to come on in. We got our stuff together, he walked the dog one last time and put him in his kennel, then I posted that we were off to the hospital, and left in the pouring rain and drove there. It was a challenge trying to fit the birth ball in the backseat of my little car. I didn't want to bring the stupid thing, but Ryan was insistent from how it helped the women in the birthing class videos. (We ended up not using it-it was a big waste of time and space!)

We got to the UCLA ER and strangely, the person at the intake counter was NOT around. No one was there. We had to find a cleaning person scrubbing a toilet to go and find the employee, who was probably on break nearby. Anyway, after what was probably a 5 minute delay but felt much longer, we got checked in. I was of course very irritable b/c when the intake person DID come back, she asked me questions like"why are you here?" and things that were pretty obvious to me! And Labor & Delivery was expecting me upstairs anyway, but b/c it was so late at night we had to go through ER first.

Anyway, I got wheeled up and taken to a room where they checked my vitals, had me change into a gown, get in bed, and measured how dilated I was. I was at 4 cm so they said I could get the epidural whenever I wanted it. At first I was going to hold out longer and see if I could handle a natural birth or at least more of it than the hour and half I'd had, but then I sortof heard my friend's husband's voice in my head reminding me "if you're going to bother to get it, get it RIGHT AWAY". (This friend was in labor for 36 hours with a 10 pound child and only got the epidural for the last few hours! Apparantly she was also yelling at the husband and understandably cranky!) . And I'm glad I did!

I had to wait a little while to get wheeled to another room where the anesthesiologist was to come. The nurse tried to put in an IV and draw some blood but could not find a vein. Two nurses tried twice on each hand & arm before finally giving up and deciding to let the anesthesiologist do it. (My hands today are so bruised I look like a boxer!) She found one and did the epidural, which did NOT hurt at all going in, and they also hooked me up to a monitor that took my blood pressure every 15 minutes. I felt no pain getting the epi and INSTANT relief when it was in, except for the catheter that they put in. That I could feel slightly and it was a little bit uncomfortable. One of the nurse-midwives checked me and I was told to try to get some rest. After that, I was able to sleep for 15 minutes at a time until the blood pressure monitor went off and woke me up each time. Imagine a loud machine that grabs your arm and pulls it straight in the air and squeezes it hard, making beep sounds as it does. No one could sleep through that!

Then at 7:00 when the shift change came, they checked me and although I was having very regular, close contractions, I was not as dilated as they wanted, so they gave me pitocin. I was worried about this because I'd read that pitocin causes very painful contractions, but the epidural did its job and I continued to not feel a thing. After a few hours, they broke the bag of water and then moved me in to the delivery room where my nurse-midwife, a regular nurse, and a medical resident were. They were debating whether to call in a NICU trauma team or not because they thought there was a little bit of meconium in the amniotic fluid. However, the entire time, my blood pressure and the baby's were fine so they decided it was only "trace" and was probably okay. (After she was born, they did not see any at all, but neonatal specialists had to check her out anyway just in case).

At this point, I had an almost uncontrollable urge to pee, but couldn't because of the catheter (which I guess was doing its job). I had to rock side to side, it was the only thing that helped. Then I felt like pushing, but they checked and my cervix was only 9 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. They had me breathe out really hard through the contractions so I wouldn't push. Finally I was begging them, "please, please check me again" and it was 10 cm and I was allowed to push. Pushing was SUCH a relief. It wasn't bad, I pushed for about 2 hours. At the end, it burned a lot when the baby's head was coming out. They lowered a mirror so I could see, but they forgot to adjust it, so all I could see for awhile were my legs! I kept trying to tell them and they finally noticed in time to adjust it so I could see the head right before she was born. I kept forgetting how to do the breathing they wanted me to do and I was blowing out when I should have been holding my breath, at first, but I finally got the hang of it.

At a certain push, her head came out and then I thought that would be the last push, but they stopped me so they could make sure no cord was around her neck. Then I had one more big push while they rotated her shoulders out. Then she was born! They put her on my chest right away and I delivered the placenta within a few minutes. She didn't cry at first so she only got a 7 for her initial APGAR score. They told me I was very lucky because I did not need an episiotomy nor any stitches. She latched on and started nursing right away, then they took her over to get weighed, etc. and my parents came in to see her.

The nurse brought me a tray of food and I scarfed down the spaghetti. That was about the hungriest I've ever been. Then she nursed again and we went to the recovery room.

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