Friday, November 16, 2012

comfort measures (34 weeks) and a belated birth story

At this morning's check-up, my OB informed me that I will probably not have the option of an epidural during labor due to my increasingly low platelet count.
sigh
What's a girl to do?
gentlemen, be forewarned...the following paragraph is probably TMI ...such is life in the third trimester. 
Head to the spa for a painful bikini wax, that's what. (maybe that sounds like punishment, but at this stage in the game, it's actually a necessary "indulgence")
Bikini wax in the third trimester (while the nether regions are extra sensitive due to all that pressure), drug-free childbirth...pshaw...I got this.  
I'll say it again:
Being a woman is awesome.


I'm all about comfort measures this last month+ of pregnancy...if I can't have pain relief during childbirth, I'm just going to make damn sure I feel as comfortable and good about myself in the weeks leading up to the big day.

So...
A maternity massage may be in my near future.
I finally broke down and bought an inexpensive cute pair of size 8 shoes to see me through.
I also purchased some new PJs and undies...I deserve to be comfortable.
Why has it taken me eight months to figure this part out?

As for the drug-free childbirth? Well, I almost nailed that once before, though not intentionally.
I don't think I've ever touched on my experience with Max's birth here.
For those interested, this is my attempt at his birth story:


Max born 12/4/04 6lbs 8 oz 20 in.
Mostly (and regrettably), it's a blur.
The night before our son was born, Jeff and I had dinner in town and walked all over West Chester for the Olde Fashioned  Christmas parade (one of my favorite West Chester traditions). I remember how freezing, freezing cold it was and I could barely zip up my puffy green jacket.
At 39 weeks pregnant, this was the week before my due date.
Hazel, our boxer, would not leave my side all night long...it was like she could not snuggle up close enough and she kept trying to burrow her head in my non-existent lap. I think she sensed that something big was about to happen.
Dogs are keen like that, right?
We went to bed and I woke up around 3am with mild cramps.
Since I had already lost my mucous plug on Thanksgiving (and miraculously, still had an appetite after that little horror show) and was a few centimeters dilated at my checkup earlier that week, I was pretty certain labor was starting.
Rather than wake Jeff, I showered and got dressed...it didn't take long for contractions to become regular and uncomfortable.
I wouldn't feel this calm again until seven frantic hours later.
By 7am we were on our way to Bryn Mawr hospital.
En route, my contractions were strong enough to take my breath away and make it difficult to speak.
"Maybe we should come up with some girl names," was pretty much the only thing I said during the 45 minute drive.
That and, "Call the hospital and tell them I want an epidural. Fuuuuuck. NOW."
as if it works that way...as if the anesthesiologist is just waiting in the parking lot with his needle and his drugs, ready to just pop that sucker in your spine...
The next few hours are where things get fuzzy because I was progressing very quickly and the pain was incredibly intense.
Way bigger than me, way bigger than anything I was prepared for.
Bigger than broken bones or horrendous mountain bike races or four hour tattoo sessions...bigger than anything I could have imagined.
All I remember is gripping the rails of the bed, writhing in pain, wishing each contraction away, begging and praying for even just a little relief.
I was given oxygen and told to lie on my left side because my blood pressure was dropping and the baby's heart rate was declining.
In spite of my wishes and pleas to have an epidural, I didn't actually receive it until I was 9cm dilated.
I'm still not sure why it took so long because there wasn't much action on the labor & delivery floor that night. All I know is the nurse kept assuring me she would page the anesthesiologist, "just hang in there a little longer..."
Like, how much longer? I think I would have handled the pain better if they had just said, "Sorry, but you're going to do this naturally."
The proverbial dangling carrot ("he'll be here soon, I paged him again...") was awful.
So, yeah...9 cm.
Although I had made it through transition drug-free, I didn't realize the hardest part was behind me.
I didn't have the presence of mind at that point to realize I was nearly ready to push, that I was nearly complete.
The epidural gave me almost immediate relief, but I was so wiped out and scared and mentally depleted.
When it was finally time to push, I couldn't feel a thing (because my epidural was administered so close to me becoming fully dilated and effaced) and I was too tired to focus.
Eventually, the doctor used vacuum suction to assist in the delivery of our baby because his heart rate kept falling. It was as if my body just stalled out after all that hard work, which only made me feel more frustrated and disappointed in myself.
Minutes later, with the doctor's intervention, the baby was born.
Our son was placed on my chest; squirming, slimy, pink, and perfect.
I will never forget those tiny seconds upon holding him in my arms when he was alert enough for our eyes to lock.
Max had arrived.
All the craziness and pain and intensity and fear and everything that mattered so much leading up to that moment didn't matter at all anymore.


(wow...it only took me seven nearly eight years to write his birth story)






1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is a great story Kim. Thanks for sharing. After that, your next one will be easy peasy!