Thursday, January 3, 2013

12/21/12 (our birth story)

After my 39 week appointment on December 19th, I came home a bit dejected and bummed that I wasn't going to be in labor any time soon.
No signs, no action.

I lazily spent the day catching up on blogs, watching bad daytime TV, and drinking tea.
By bedtime, I was running a pretty high fever and couldn't get warm enough.
By midnight, I was growing concerned over the baby's decreased movements (in spite of drinking cold Gatorade and laying on my left side) and my worsening fever.
By two in the morning, we were being escorted to the Labor & Delivery floor at Chester County Hospital...
"I'm not in labor, just sick," I assured the triage nurse.

Upon being hooked up to the fetal monitor, it was soon determined that the baby's heartbeat was irregular and I probably had the flu.
By the following morning, our doctors and Maternal Fetal Medicine concurred that the best thing for baby was to induce labor.
"Let's just get the baby out..." is what the doctor calmly said.

It's going to be okay. This may end up in a C-section...the baby is okay...these arrhythmias usually sort themselves out after's going to be okay.

After spending the night in triage, I asked the nurse if I could brush my teeth and wash my face before the induction process began.
Instead, she brought me warm towels and toiletries and offered to let me was exactly what I needed to feel normal and in control, even if just for a few minutes.

At 10am, my OB inserted the Cervadil, which was unquestionably the most painful part of the entire process.
I squeezed the nurse's hand, cried like a baby, may have even uttered "what the FUCK?!" a few times...
I wasn't off to the prettiest or most composed start.
She explained that the Cervadil would be effective for twelve hours and sometimes a second dose is necessary.
"So, we pretty much just wait for twelve hours, maybe I'll dilate, maybe I'll start having contractions?"
Yeah, pretty much that.
So much for, "Head to the hospital when contractions are about seven minutes apart...Your second baby will go much faster!"

Luckily, my body started cooperating after only a few hours and I began experiencing very intense contractions only two minutes apart.
I sent Bill home to eat something and shower.
When he returned about an hour later, I was pleading with the nurse for pain relief.
At this point, my blood work revealed my platelets were even lower and certainly too low for an epidural.
With steady and strong contractions, a high fever, and flu-like symptoms, I began to worry completely freak out about facing labor naturally, especially feeling so ill.
Bill rubbed my lower back during every single contraction, every two minutes for hours. And hours.
He was so calm and focused and all I wanted was to be tough and get through it.
See what a badass I am??
Except, I wasn't.
Meekly, with every contraction, I'd beg, "Please help..."
Labor is no joke. I forgot how painful it is. (yes, I am stating the obvious...we all know labor is hard, but is really, REALLY hard)
My dad stopped by with Max during the brief reprieve I had from pain thanks to a nice shot of Stadol.
I think I was offended by the fact that Bill had a burrito and may have sent him out of the room to eat it, but maybe I was just high.

"mom had a baby and Bill had a burr-ITO! mom had a baby and Bill had a burr-ITO," Max would later sing/taunt on Christmas morning...

After the stadol and two doses of morphine wore off, the anethstesiologist arrived to administer my epidural.
I had only dilated 1 centimeter after twelve hours of  very intense contractions and the doctors felt the benefit of having the epidural outweighed the risks associated with low platelets.

The epidural finally afforded me (and Bill) some much needed rest and relief.
It had been a day and a half since we arrived at the hospital (to get monitored, not have a baby...or so we thought) and we were both considerably worn out. 
Several hours later, I woke up feeling a completely different kind of pressure and contractions again.
The nurse checked me and I was 8 centimeters.
In a matter of minutes, I was complete and feeling a very strong urge to push.
Bill woke up and was by my side...our baby was almost here.
Another nurse came in and told us to hold off, as the doctor was finishing another delivery.
"Maybe twenty minutes," she said.
"Um, no." I shook my head. "Don't you guys have back-up?"
Our nurse, Danielle, confidently assured me we could keep going, she could see the head, and she had done this before.
There was no stopping me and I pushed with every contraction.
I could feel everything...I hadn't experienced this with the birth of my son.
I heard the music behind my bed (so thankful to have my ipod to drown out the screams from next door), I heard Bill and Danielle encouraging my every push, my every breath...
Mostly, I just remember following my body and doing what made sense, what felt right.
Every push, every breath was nothing but purposeful and all I knew was I had to make every ounce of energy count.
Surprisingly, there was no drama, no f bombs, no grunting or screaming...Bill didn't go pale or woozy, I didn't lose my cool even when I started imagining the worst.
The doctor came in and I knew we were close.
"Do you know what you're having?" the doctor asked.
"No." we answered.
"Dad, are you going to call it?"
I remember she handed Bill the clamp to cut the cord and instructed him to place it behind my pillow.
I remember we said, "Maeve if it's a girl, William, I think, if it's a boy."
Two more pushes and our baby was here.
Screaming and screaming and SCREAMING with all her might, our baby was here.
"It's a girl!"
I laughed and cried and reached for her tiny, slimy body.
Shaking, I was afraid to look at her...I was afraid after all we'd been through that something must be wrong.
"Is she okay?"
"She's perfect, she's fine."

12/21/12...doomsday my ass

 She is perfect, she is fine.

As for the aforementioned Ipod, here is the playlist:
High & Dry- Radiohead
Sweet Disposition- Temper Trap
Laredo- Band of Horses
Someone Great- LCD Soundsystem
Home- Edward Sharpe
Falling Slowly- Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Blue Ridge Mountains- Fleet Foxes
Strange Overtones- David Byrne
Sunshower- Dr. Buzzard (I'm fairly certain she was born during this song...the playlist was on shuffle)
All Eyes on You- Diego Garcia
For Emma- Bon Iver
Lovely Day- Bill Withers
Skinny Love- Bon Iver
Be Thankful for What You've Got- William DeVaughan
Undertow- Warpaint
The Blowers Daughter- Damien Rice
Nothing to Hide- Diego Garcia
All My Friends- LCD Soundsystem
Home- LCD Soundsystem
You Were Never There- Diego Garcia
Mellow Mood- Bunny Wailer
Moth's Wings- Passion Pit
(Nice Dream)- Radiohead
the Seed- the Roots
More Than This- Roxy Music
This Must Be the Place- Talking Heads


Jill said...

Oh my goodness! I'm sorry it was so hard (an understatement--I can't begin to imagine--) --but what perfect, beautiful little girl! Congratulations! And yes, you most assuredly should learn to knit something pink for sweet Maeve! Congratulations again! My best wishes to you!

Kathleen Shannon said...

What a powerful and amazing story! I'm so glad you shared it here. I'm finding myself looking for that other shoe to drop – it's kind of nice to hear that this fear isn't completely unfounded or abnormal.

Congrats to you and your beautiful family.


Kim said...

Awww thanks for taking the time to read & comment, Kathleen.