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Redemption: A Birth Story

11 Sep

The Bunny has been successfully fed and she’s sleeping, Shmerson is out on an errand, and I finally got some sleep. I figured this is as good a time as I can get to type this all out. Let’s just hope I manage it in one sitting. Oh – and this may be long. Sorry! I just don’t know if I can split it up into a bunch of posts. I figured one long info dump would be better.

First let me start by saying it has been a challenging few days. My anxiety issues coupled with some breastfeeding challenges and an obscene lack of sleep made things kinda sucky. But some BF-safe meds and a good night’s sleep later, and things are looking up. I promise to write about this soon. I think it’s important to put the good, the bad and the ugly out there.

But first, the good.

Sept. 3rd (Tuesday)  was my due date, and we were supposed to go into L&D that morning. All speculation was that they would decide to induce me then and there, because of the GD. On Monday night, Shmerson’s birthday, I actually had 2-3 very strong contractions, so I had some hope that maybe things would get started on their own. But no dice. The result was a Monday night spent completely sleepless. I was boiling over with anticipation and anxiety. The terrible part was the frustration. I knew I had a hard few days ahead, and my body’s refusal to sleep was a huge source of frustration. It turned out to be the beginning of almost a week with no sleep at all.

So Tuesday morning we arrived at L&D. They checked me out and of course the Bunny rocked it as per usual. However, she was still way up and my cervix was closed. I have to say that it’s completely ironic that we spent as long as we did trying to keep that puppy long and closed. I guess it did too good a job listening to instructions.

So after the check up the Doc came in and told me that she hoped I packed a bag because we were not going home. By 2pm I was checked into L&D, and had a pessary inserted to dilate my cervix.

The next 22 hours were basically spent with on-and-off contractions, no sleep, and quite a bit of frustration. They had me on a fetal monitor for an hour on, then two hours off throughout that entire day and night and it was a nightmare to go through the contractions on my back, as mild as they were relatively. I began to hate that monitor, as reassuring as it was to hear the Bunny’s heartbeat that often. I also had a couple of emotional meltdowns during that time. All the waiting was taking a huge toll on me.

At around noon the doctor came in and did a check. I was about 2cm dilated, so he did a membrane sweep and decided to send me for an enema (yep! Fun!) and to a delivery room. The sweep and the other fun times certainly helped get the contractions moving, and they started coming on harder, though still not regularly.  At that point my doula came as well, since it was clear things were getting moving, at least partially.

By 3pm there wasn’t a lot of progress, and they decided it was time to start pito.cin, a drug that was meant to make the contractions more regular and effective. This was the first of what was to eventually become 6 (!) IV drips. I hated the idea of pitoci.n mostly because I knew it would mean having to be hooked up to the monitor continuously, and the only way I was handling contractions was by standing up. That was about the moment I resigned myself to the fact that I was doomed to labor on my back, and that there was definitely an epidural in my future.

By around 6pm I had dilated a bit more (I think about 3.5?), but not by much, and the doctor on call (Rosh Hashana was starting so everyone was in Holiday mode) decided it was time to break my water. I decided that it was time for an epidural, since I knew breaking my water would only make things hurt more.

This was also about the moment I had another freak out, because I was scared of what was to come. I cried quite a bit and somewhere between the nurse midwife, my doula, and Shmerson, they managed to calm me down.

This is also the point where everyone realized that I had a really bad UTI, so on top of the saline drip they added to prep for the epi,, I also got an bag full of antibiotics. That would be the second and third IV’s, if you’re counting along at home.

Getting the epidural was a nightmare, and without a doubt the worst part of the whole ordeal. The anesthesiologist on call was a complete douchnozzle, which was surprising since the staff at the hospital was generally so sweet. Anyway, after he kicked Shmerson and the doula out he spent more than 20 minutes trying to get the line in, and informed me that I have a “giant back”. I was hunched forward and he kept on yelling at me to be quiet and not move. By the time he was done, my upper back and neck had completely seized up. I wasn’t feeling the contractions anymore, but the pain was horrible.

To make matters worse, though I had been warned that the epi may cause a bout of low blood pressure, nobody said anything about the effect on the Bunny’s heart rate. It was only momentary, but right as my blood pressure dropped, the Bunny’s heart rate did too – and they had to put me on oxygen. She recovered within seconds but I was freaking out at this point. To make matters worse, they still hadn’t let Shmerson back in the room. I spent 15 minutes alone, terrified, and trying to fight the urge to nod off. There was a lot of crying that lasted at least an hour before I managed to recover somewhat.

I don’t regret getting the epi, as I think it did make laboring on my back bearable, but I wish I had known about all of that ahead of time. If you’re keeping count by the way – we’re up to drip #4.

But it was weird. On one hand I couldn’t feel anything from about the chest down. On the other, everything from the chest up hurt because my muscles had seized. The result was that I basically couldn’t move. At all. Just turning on my side became a task that required three people.

At this point they also started a diabetes protocol, which means drips #5 and 6 were hooked up, with sugar water and insulin to regulate my blood sugar levels. From that point on they checked it hourly and adjusted the drips as needed.

They broke my water, and found a bit of meconium. The doc wasn’t worried (that woman was completely chill, and had a great bedside manner), but of course I was. Cue another freak out.  About an hour after that, I was dilated to 4.5. But that’s where I got stuck. For about 2 hours. I was frustrated beyond belief. But Dr. Chill just gave me some sort of injection, and from that point on, things really began moving.

The funny thing about the epi was that I couldn’t feel the contractions, but as I was dilating more I did feel pressure where I was supposed to. That would prove to be crucial.

By midnight, I was almost fully dilated, and I was starting to feel the urge to push. But at the same time I was exhausted, and scared beyond comprehension. The midwives had just switched shifts, and when the new one came in and asked me something – I don’t even remember what – I cried and said that I didn’t care anymore, that they should decide for me.

Looking back on it now, I guess that was the “transition” part of labor they talk about. This is the one point where I think my doula did play a crucial role (honestly I was kind of disappointed with her – she was too passive, and a bit emotionally detached for most of the time). She looked me in the eye and told me that this was not the time to be passive. That I needed to take control of the situation just like I knew how to do. It was the push I needed.

And with that, I was ready to push.

The midwife was this tough Russian woman. I had had a stream of really sweet sensitive women take care of me in the 36 hours prior, so when she came in I was skeptical. It turns out she was exactly what I needed. A drill sergeant.

She taught me how to push and cheered me on in an amazing way. At one point she left the room and I started crying out “I want her here! I need her here!”

Shmerson, thinking I was talking about the Bunny, tried to calm me down and said “She’s on her way, she’ll be here soon.”.

I answered – “No! I mean the midwife! I push better when she’s around!”

I think out of everything, I was most scared of this stage of labor. And honestly, you find very few good descriptions of what this truly feels like, but what “they” say is true. It really is the easiest part.

As the pressure mounts, things become more and more painful. But pushing truly does make everything feel better. You finally feel like you’re doing something active. LIke you’re making things happen. Mind you, it wasn’t a walk in the park, and my seized up neck and back only made things harder, but I kept going, because I knew I had no choice. I knew that each push was getting me closer to my Bunny. I screamed and cried that I couldn’t do it anymore, but I pushed on. Literally.

I had also been scared of the crowning, and how much that would hurt. Again – it was a walk in the park. Here’s the thing they neglect to mention: Yeah – you feel a “ring of fire” and it hurts, but at that point, you could care less, because OMG that is your baby’s head coming out! And that is the most amazing thing in the world.

An hour and 15 minutes after I began pushing, the Bunny came into the world. There were a few scary seconds as the midwife suctioned her lungs, but then she let out a tiny little cry.

And I was in ecstasy. All I can remember is screaming out her name over and over and over again for what seemed like forever, It was joy and relief like I have never felt before in my life.

The midwife put her on my stomach while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. I couldn’t see her, but I had my hand on her, and that was amazing. Then she cut the cord and they took her away to get cleaned and weighed, and handed her off to Shmerson while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up. All in all the damage wasn’t huge – a couple of internal tears requiring a few stitches, but nothing big.

Bunny came out weighing 3.122 kgs. Her 1 min. APGAR was 9 and her 5 min. was 10. She was – and is – perfect. My perfect, rock star daughter.

Soon afterward we had some cuddle time and took pictures with her and the staff. Then they took her away to get her blood sugar monitored (it’s perfectly stable, BTW), and Shmerson went with her.

I spent two hours behind a recovery curtain not quite believing what just happened. Heck, it’s been almost a week and I still can’t quite believe it. Who knows when it will fully sink in.

But here’s the takeaway from the experience, that I really want to share with you:

My body came through. Three years of mistrust came to an end on the night of September 5th, when my body, despite 100 different challenges (and 6 IV drips!), pushed out my perfect and amazing daughter in a mere hour and 15 minutes.  My body did that. It gave me my daughter.

And it’s been feeding her and protecting her ever since.

If that’s not redemption, I don’t know what is.

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45 Responses to “Redemption: A Birth Story”

  1. Kathy September 11, 2013 at 13:16 #

    It is beyond amazing what our body can do. Thanks for sharing !

  2. Heather September 11, 2013 at 13:38 #

    Wow what a long process, in more ways than one. Bunny sure is special. Good luck with the breast feeding – the beginning is hard, just get help. I am still going at 14 months which is a miracle!

  3. JourneyGirl September 11, 2013 at 13:55 #

    Congratulations again, I hope that you are recovering well and Bunny is thriving. There is really nothing like the pure unadulterated joy at having your baby finally in your arms, thinking about my two boys’ birth days brings tears to my eyes. Welcome to motherhood, so tough, so amazing, so rewarding!! All the best.

  4. Courtney September 11, 2013 at 13:55 #

    Beautiful, Mo! “It was joy and relief like I have never felt before in my life.”. I’m so glad! I’m so glad that this was such a positive experience for you. Few birth stories put me in tears (what is wrong with me?!?!) but yours truly did. I am just so thrilled for you! Beyond thrilled, really!

  5. ozifrog September 11, 2013 at 14:04 #

    Too too perfect, Mo. I knew you’d be ok, and you’re right that the parts you fear the most are, in fact, the easiest. And transition feels so weird until you name it, and then you just go ok, breathe, let’s do this. I am so glad you are on the other side. The sinking in takes a while. I’d say it wasn’t til jman was three months old I had my head around it, and the connection and redefinition of your self as mother takes a bit longer. Yay you.

  6. missohkay September 11, 2013 at 14:05 #

    So many tears of joy for you reading this post. I am so proud of you and your rockin’ bod for coming through at long last.

  7. SRB September 11, 2013 at 14:09 #

    Your daughter. Wow! You beautiful, brave, badass woman – you did an amazing job of bringing her into this world. Thank you for sharing this. XO XO XO

  8. Christina Williams September 11, 2013 at 14:19 #

    “It was joy and relief like I have never felt before in my life.” – that sums meeting your baby up so completely! While you say bunny was a rock star through it all, don’t forget that you were too! You went through so much to get bunny earth-side and came out the other side, victorious! While it might not have been the birth you wanted, it is no doubt a powerful, amazing birth story. Like Courtney, very few make me cry, but I am in tears over yours!

    And hang in there with the BFing. The 1st month is generally hell, but there will be this magic moment where things finally click for all parties.

  9. Kathryn September 11, 2013 at 15:11 #

    So awesome! Loved all of this! So happy for the three of you!! And breast feeding is freaking AWFUL (for me it was anyway) for the first 5 weeks. After that, things got so much better and now it’s my favorite thing! Before, I would scream and cuss and cry and sob and all that jazz from the pain (that was my issue). You just do whatever you need to do for you, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for ANY decision you make! You’re already such an amazingly tough resilient awesome mom!

  10. Amy September 11, 2013 at 15:23 #

    Happy tears for you, Mo. Could not be more thrilled for your long, long, long awaited redemption.

  11. lydiaseeks September 11, 2013 at 15:32 #

    This is so sweet! Redemption has got to feel nice after all that you and your body have been through. Bunny is lucky to have you!

  12. Connie September 11, 2013 at 15:41 #

    Sweet, sweet, sweet 🙂

  13. Kate @ Infertile First Mom September 11, 2013 at 16:08 #

    What an amazing birth story! You, your body, and your precious baby girl did everything perfectly. Now you have your redemption, and most importantly, your daughter. I’m so stinkin happy for you!

  14. steph50 September 11, 2013 at 16:21 #

    Beautiful story! You did it!!! I’m so proud of you!! Xoxo

  15. Karin September 11, 2013 at 16:27 #

    Beautiful. And perfect. Like both of you.

  16. slese1014 September 11, 2013 at 17:12 #

    I cried as I read this…so beautiful and the happy ending you fought so hard for. I couldn’t be happier for you and I can’t stop smiling at knowing you and Bunny are doing well! Hugs lady!!!

  17. Liv September 11, 2013 at 17:21 #

    Dear Mo

    Struggling with trauma-related anxiety and panic issues and being 22 weeks pregnant it has been incredibly encouraging, moving and empowering for me to read your birth story. The last few lines brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much and congratulations to rock star mom of rock star Bunny.

  18. L September 11, 2013 at 17:57 #

    In tears! So happy for you.

  19. pjsarecomfyn September 11, 2013 at 18:04 #

    Wooohoooo!!!! I knew you could do it! Billions of congratulations to you and shmerson!

  20. marwil September 11, 2013 at 19:03 #

    Such a powerful story. You are a rock star, just like your daughter. Tears of joy for you and your family.
    Also, this gives me hope that all can go well in the end.

  21. alissa s September 11, 2013 at 19:16 #

    Oh sweetie. This is a lovely story and had me in all smiles as I read the ending. I am so happy for you.

  22. Christy September 11, 2013 at 19:33 #

    I’m crying for you. This is so wonderful and I am so happy for you!

  23. Louisa September 11, 2013 at 19:52 #

    Oh man what a wonderful birth. The lack of sleep both before during and right after is a killer. I still look at the pictures of me holding my son after giving birth and think ” wow I’m so tired I look like a different person!”

  24. newmom September 11, 2013 at 20:03 #

    My anxiety is at an all time high right now and reading a happy story is just what I needed! I am so happy for you :). BF ing is hard work, and frankly so is pumping. You can do it though!

  25. Fertility Doll September 11, 2013 at 20:39 #

    Beautiful and gives me hope – thank you x

  26. Yael September 11, 2013 at 21:07 #

    so happy for you! beautiful name!!

  27. SM September 11, 2013 at 21:19 #

    This is such a beautiful story! I’m so so glad that your daughter is now safe in your arms.

  28. nelipotting September 11, 2013 at 21:54 #

    Crying my eyes out over here! So very happy for you!!!

  29. psychsarah September 11, 2013 at 22:23 #

    My eyes of full of joyful tears. Congratulations. Redemption is yours. Bunny is yours. It’s so kind of you to share your joy with all of us who have been cheering for you.

  30. RelaxedNoMore September 11, 2013 at 22:40 #

    What a ride! You did great! I also had back labor (and had labor induced) – it sucks big time. Glad that douchenozzle (awesome word!) of an anesthesiologist at least gave you a working epi. I can’t believe he sent Shmerson out of the room!

    Congratulations again!

  31. Jesica September 11, 2013 at 23:01 #

    Really amazing to hear that birth was a redemption for you! That makes me so happy!

  32. Keisha September 11, 2013 at 23:22 #

    Beautiful.

  33. Daryl September 12, 2013 at 01:05 #

    Oh, Mo, I teared up reading this. I’m so happy your Bunny is here, safe and sound, and you did that! You’re both pretty amazing.

  34. Kimberly September 12, 2013 at 03:21 #

    Congratulations!!!!!!

  35. tracyturn34 September 12, 2013 at 04:32 #

    I’m so happy for you, Mo! You deserve so much joy! Hooray that your dream is coming true!

  36. Lise September 12, 2013 at 04:46 #

    So happy that your body did this so well!

    I can just second what others say about breastfeeding, it’s really hard the first month. Do whatever is best for you!

  37. Ctrl+Alt+Mum September 12, 2013 at 05:53 #

    Wonderful blog post and amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing! Best wishes to you, Shmerson and Bunny.

  38. Babycrazykiwi September 12, 2013 at 11:17 #

    Congrats!! This post brought a wee tear to my eye. So sweet 🙂

  39. jjiraffe September 12, 2013 at 16:51 #

    Wow! What an experience…

    I love the conclusion. Your body most definitely did come through. I remember thinking the same thing after the twins were born: relieved and proud of what my broken body had done.

  40. someday-soon September 12, 2013 at 21:09 #

    So very happy for you!!! Welcome to the world little bunny =)

  41. nonsequiturchica September 13, 2013 at 17:27 #

    So happy for you Mo!

  42. TeeJay September 13, 2013 at 17:57 #

    I’m emotionally overwhelmed for you. This is one of the best things I have read in a very long time. You have your B5, safe and sound. I’m so very happy for you…”happy” isn’t even a strong enough word, really. I’m so glad everything went as well as it did and that your body didn’t let you down. You did an amazing job…she is absolutely beautiful and I love her name. You deserve every bit of happiness and joy that she will bring into your life. You will be amazed at how much she adds to your world. And believe me, the time flies so soak up every bit of her that you can. I’m sure you’ve heard it 100 times but it’s the TRUTH. She will grow and change every day and she will amaze you. Motherhood is the best and I’m so happy you are here now. Congratulations, Mo.

  43. Kate December 23, 2013 at 03:08 #

    Reading this after so long following your blog was amazing. You are an amazing women and one I think if when I need some strength.

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