Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Del's Birth Story

Here are some quick stats first:
name: Del (Madeleine) Sarah
date: March 27, 2008
time: 1:36pm
weight: 9lbs 3 ¾oz
length: 20”
head: 37cm (significant because evidently this is 2cm larger than the average large baby's head!)

On a wed night I had a couple braxton hicks that felt different. I was woken up a couple times that night but they weren't coming stronger or faster. On Thursday morning I had my regularly scheduled midwife appt. She offered to check me. 4cm, 0 station, and 75% effaced. I asked about effacement because with Noah I checked into the hospital at 4cm and 100%. She said most woman don't efface completely after the first baby. So I could go anytime.
By Saturday I had severe tailbone pain and was having trouble finding a comfy position to do anything in. I called the midwife on call to explain and she said she thought the baby may have dropped more and that's why- not to worry.
On Tuesday I decided to go see my midwife because I was SOOO uncomfortable. She checked me again. 5cm. Great. The midwife said I wasn't in active labor but I could be- I was sooo ready. So I started wondering if there was anything holding me back emotionally or whatever from having this baby. I couldn't think of anything.
Wednesday was the same- more miserable- ouchy tailbone.
Wednesday night I didn't sleep much but I hadn't slept much at night for a week and assumed these would stop when it got light out like it had on previous nights. So I didn't wake Josh- I wanted him to be well rested. We were prepared to UC and I wanted him to be super ready.
I had a regularly scheduled midwife appt that morning and my mom was coming to hang out with Noah. I called and told her she should bring clothes for a couple nights... just in case.
I went into our bedroom around 6:30am and rocked through a contraction. I felt Josh get antsy/annoyed with me moving. When he woke up more he was on instant alert. He hadn't woken at all through the night- good to know.- especially because I had gone in to settle Noah a couple times in the night and was kind of annoyed the Josh hadn't:)
Anyway, I was moving and swaying through contractions. Called a friend (Kate- we had due date twins and she had had her baby about a week before). I told her I didn't want this baby anymore:) When I got off the phone I told Josh that I assumed when we went to the appt they would send us to the hospital and I wasn't sure I wanted to go. Josh suggested calling and canceling the appt and I should decide if I wanted to go to the hospital or not.
In the end I said I wanted to go. I called the midwife and waited for my mom to get to our house.
At the hospital the room with the jacuzzi (my main motivation for going to the hospital) was in use and we couldn't use that room. The midwife said she'd check me if I wanted her to but she would prefer to do minimal checks. I asked her to check and said I was prepared to only be 5cm still. I was 8cm and 100%! I was psyched. She said I could push anytime I felt like it and she got things ready. She was very concerned about invading our space so just said to call if we needed her but she didn't want to interrupt the flow. Unfortunately they had to have a couple people come in and do the questionnaire stuff. So first a nurse came in and said she had to draw blood and then they would hook up my i.v.
Me: why do I need an i.v.
Her: uhhh, well, we'll just put a little catheter in just in case because we're drawing blood anyway.
Me: A hep lock? I don't want one- it'll bother me.
Her: I'll check with Mary (the midwife)
It wasn't mentioned again.
A resident came in to have me sign a vaginal/csection birth release thing:/
She said they are doing a study where they draw blood to see if there's any toxic metals in the blood.
Her: We just get the blood from the cord
Me: Okay- how are you going to do that when it's still attached?
Her: Oh- we get it from the other end
Me: What end? Where the placenta is? That's staying attached.
Her: (looking confused) Umm, we just can take the blood after it's clamped.
Me: Oh- it won't be clamped.
Her: (more confused look)
Me: the placenta is staying attached to the baby
(Josh just came in and saw this and said the conversation was way longer than that)

Then she asked about hep B.
Me: Oh no, we're not going to do that.
Her: Okay- are you going to do any vaccines?
Me: No. (Start contraction)
Her: Can I ask why not? (is she serious??!)
Me: Ummm- we just think there are risks to getting vaccines and risks to getting whatever they are preventing and we'd prefer to take the “risk” of what the vaccines are preventing.
Her: Oh- okay (end contraction)

And then:
Her: Are you going to take anything for the pain?
Me: I'm 8cm- what are they going to do?

After she left the midwife came in and asked if I would mind if some student nurses came to the birth. She was clear she wanted to give everyone a job- it wasn't helpful to have people standing around staring at a birthing woman. I agreed that they could come.
In walks their professor and 2 students.
Their professor is our last landlady.
She's very high strung- that's why we moved from her apartment when Noah was 5 weeks old.
She recognizes me. And is nice. Sort of.
Then she directs the students to the machine and explains that they'll mostly be looking at the machine. *roll eyes*
When they leave the room I hear the landlady tell the students she can't be in the room with me- for apparently obvious reasons- but the students can be. Thank goodness!

Contractions have slowed down but I'm still rocking through them. Underwear-less I want to be on the side of the room where Josh is (opposite the door) and don't want to be in bed at all (apparently upsetting one of the interns). When the midwife comes in to see how we're doing I tell her about the landlady and the silly intern. She kind of rolls her eyes and says we just have to educate them. She evidently can't stand our x-landlady either and tries really hard to not take it out on her students:)
I asked if I could eat something- I was starving (I'd only had about 6 edamame that morning for breakfast). The midwife said she wasn't worried about my pancreas and I could have whatever (!!!) I wanted. She also said she didn't think I ever had gd- I disagree but that's okay. So I ordered pizza, oj, and a cookie. And was “allowed” to EAT during labor. It was fantastic and sooo yummy.
Standing/swaying/on my knees etc. on the far side of the bed moving through contractions Mary asks if one of the students can hang out with us to see what this is like.
I don't mind- and I'm all about exposing people to normal births.
I hear Mary tell her she should come and watch- you won't often see a woman on the floor rocking through contractions and I'm doing everything right. My nurse and the student nurse were saying that they were amazed how well I was doing. The student nurse asked if I had taken birth classes (Bradley last time, hypnobabies this time). The nurse said I should teach a class. (Side note: In hindsight Josh says my class would be: it's really easy in the beginning and then when you start pushing you just scream really loud... I don't know why the laboring part was so easy this time- maybe because I spent so much of it at home- I think the tools I learned to relax through hypnobabies helped too but I didn't listen to any of the cds once at the hospital- I didn't think I could be still and I wasn't confident about my “center switch”).
The student nurse hung out for an hour or so and was really nice. I ended up asking her to leave though because I was getting too chatty and the contractions were not coming.
Finally I was getting sick of everything and asked Mary to check and maybe break my water. (With Noah it was broken at 4cm and that really got things moving- this time I wanted to keep in in tact as long as possible- just to see what would happen). There was questionable leaking already so she said she'd check. I was 9cm (thankfully at the time I didn't really register that I had only progressed a cm in 4 hours). She said that there was a little bit of a bag left and offered to break it. I was more than happy to let her- I was done. I asked if I was in transition- why hadn't I felt “done” earlier. She said she doesn't read text books (I love my midwife:))
She said there was a little bit of a lip but it wasn't stopping anything from happening. She asked me to push with the next contraction and she would move the lip at the same time. We did that a couple times.
I was standing by the bed and sometimes lowering myself but not squatting.
Mary said there was some meconium so she had a ped stand outside the door and then gave everyone in the room a job- the 2 nursing students, a nurse, and the resident.
I kept pushing and pushing but it seemed not to be doing anything.
It was cool looking behind me and seeing the midwife- she was rubbing her hands together and getting all excited:) In between pushing the midwife said she just wanted to orient me to the room- so she told me where everyone was standing and what their role in the birth was. I thought that was so neat that she thought to do that.
Then she wanted me to push with the contractions. I told her I wanted to look at the monitor to make sure I was pushing at the *right* time. She said the monitor was silly and I knew better than it did so to push when I wanted. I didn't really want to... I told her I was done. (after the fact Josh said he's not sure what he would have done at home if I refused to push- which is kind of what I was doing). The midwife really pushed (no pun intended) me to push. She *made* me squat and was pushing on a spot on my back telling me to push into her finger. She also had her finger inside to move things out of the way. She was really encouraging. I was screaming like a tribal woman or something.
(in between pushes)
Me: I'm scaring everyone!
Everyone: No, no- you're doing great- no one is scared.
Me: The people in the hallway- I'm scaring them
Everyone: No, you're not- you're doing exactly what you should do.

I was a little nervous I was turning the students off of natural birth.
At one point I said: “t-shirt off now”- and that was the end of clothes. I was HOT. At times I felt some relief and would think the head was finally coming but it would just be the midwife's finger coming out. The midwife told the resident to be ready to catch the baby because she was going to support my perineum and really didn't want me to tear. When the baby's head FINALLY coming she told me to feel for it and that I should try to catch the baby.
I was saying: ring of fire- I feel the ring.
I had intended to try not to push but I was sooo DONE that I was pushing whenever I could. Last time I remember feeling weird about touching the baby's head- it was like touching your bits with a whole room of people watching. This time it was really motivating (I think partly because the baby was further down). The midwife encouraged me to keep holding her head and to grab her. At some point I let go though because I needed to brace myself on the edge of the bed again. Finally the baby came out and the midwife was yelling at the resident: let go- I'm talking to you, you, YOU- let go of the baby!
Then the midwife gave me the baby between my legs and guided me to turn around and sit down because she was worried that I was too weak to be standing.
It was such a relief to get this person out. And lots of thoughts of not doing this again for a VERY long time. I sat in bed and the midwife said something about “he”.
Me: Oh- it's a boy?
Her: I don't know- check.
(someone else goes to check)
Her: let Sarah check.
Me:... it's a girl- we made a girl!
I couldn't believe it. I wanted a boy because then Noah would have a brother but I really wanted a girl also because I'm a girl and I think girls are pretty cool. I searched the room for Josh and found him standing at the foot of the bed, tucked out of the way from all the personnel in the room. He was all teary but then I was back in the moment of holding our baby. I was kind of sad that there was so much physical distance between us but there were so many people in the room and he was trying to stay out of the way.
The midwife said I would need a stitch. I was near begging for a shot of something before she stitched. She insisted that it would be fine- one stitch- it tore a little where my 2nd degree tear from Noah was. She put analgesic on it and it really wasn't bad at all when she stitched. She was feeling bad that I tore at all but I didn't care. We got out the placenta and she was very protective of the connection between the baby and the placenta for me.
Josh and I started discussing names. I think Sadie was definitely out- she didn't look like a Sadie. She kind of looked like Lydia but neither of us loved that name. Finally we settled on Del (short for Madeleine Sarah). (I keep telling people when they ask her name “Del short for Madeleine”- I'm trying to just say “Del” when people ask). So we kept playing with the name Del and decided we just needed to commit.

They weighed her. When the midwife saw that she was 9.3 she didn't feel so bad about the tear:)
We wanted to go home asap. I wanted to call my mom and have her come asap too. So Josh went to call my mom. I asked if we needed to go to a postpartum room. They said we didn't if we were just going home.
They tested Del's sugar. It was 25. She was already nursing so the midwife asked that they test again in ½ an hour. She was baffled by why it was low- she thought maybe the oj. She said that if it wasn't over 40...well, over 35, she was going to call in a pediatric team because she didn't want to mess around. (some medical background: I was born with a condition called nesidioblastosis- my pancreas produced too much sugar. Evidently it's hereditary/chromosomal but no one else in my family has it so we weren't too worried- until Del's sugar was low.)
½ hour later it was 36. The midwife still wasn't too too happy so she asked us to stay the night. Naturally we were very okay with doing that given Del's sugar.
My mom came and brought Noah. Noah was very into the baby. He was also very into mommy milk. I let him nurse (him: yum!) but have since decided that I don't want to tandem. After an hour or so my mom and Noah went home and would come back later.

When they tested Del's sugar again it was 76. The midwife was happy to let her not be tested again until morning. I cleaned up in the bathroom a bit and then the nurse suggested we bathe Del and then move to a postpartum room. I had recently read information about not bathing a new baby and told the nurse I'd like to only wash her hair- and I'd like to do it. They were thankfully okay with that. I think it helped that Del's skin was clean. It was soo cool this time rubbing in vernix and feeling all her softness.

Finally around 5 we moved to a postpartum room. Between birth and moving to the postpartum room Del had passed meconium 4 times! The nurse from the labor part (it's all on the same floor) said she wouldn't be our nurse anymore but our nurse would come check on us soon.... At 7:15 I finally buzzed the nurses station and asked when a nurse was going to check on us and we'd like some dinner. Kathleen is evidently our nurse and will be down shortly.
At 8 Kim (not Kathleen) comes with a tray and explains that the cafeteria is closed but here's a sandwich. Argh! I ask about getting a peri bottle (it had been left in the birth room). The peri bottle never came...
We ate and got all settled and went to sleep around 9. Josh was exhausted- but felt bad for being so tired when he wasn't up with me the night before.
At midnight it was like a comedy nurse act that busted into our room announcing they needed vitals and to take the baby to the nursery to weigh her. Why midnight- I don't know why- but all the babies get wheeled to the nursery at midnight at this hospital to be weighed. I asked if I could go too- I was hoping they would be speedier if I went with her. They suggested Josh go instead- I had just had a baby and should rest. I was annoyed because I knew I was in better shape than Josh but couldn't be bothered to argue further. I opted to take an ibuprofin because the afterpains were waking me up. They asked how my legs were feeling. I didn't know why at first until they asked if I had had an epidural. They also asked if I was using the anaglesic, witch hazel pads, and the peri bottle. I explained that it was left in the birth room. They look shocked and one goes off to get replacements. At this point what's the point though- I've been doing fine without for hours...
Anyway Josh left with Del to go get weighed.
I hear the nurse in the nursery: Is this your first baby?.... (presumably Josh responded- he's rather quiet)...Oh, second, well- when you change a diaper...
I was thinking- you are KIDDING!!! You're giving this man diapering lessons (never mind his experience) at midnight!?!? I hear a baby crying. Not sure if it's Del but I can't relax. So I get out of bed. Find pj's and traipse down to the nursery where I see the nurse is re-diapering Del. Then we go back to our room with instructions to call them when we wake up sometime after 3am so they can do vitals again. Oh- so at midnight Del was 8lbs 14oz- evidently that will happen when you poop a million times:)
Things are rather uneventful- thankfully- for the rest of the night.
Anyone who does come to see us suggests we bathe Del. I explain that we washed her hair- does she look dirty? No one seems to think she looks dirty but everyone seems to think she needs a bath. I promise everyone that we will bathe her when we go home *roll eyes* Everyone is concerned about the placenta. The nursery nurse gives Josh a plastic biohazard bag to put it in “so it won't dry out”- ummm, that's the point. She apparently asked if we were doing this for religious reasons- I told Josh: Yes, the religion of crunchy... Another nurse says we will probably have to carry this thing around with us for 2 weeks! We just thank her for the information (lotus birth placentas usually fall off before the cord would have). At this point the cord is already much smaller than it originally was. Oh- I did ask one of the comedy nurses (I'm just calling them that because it was a pair of them and they were both bumbling around and seemed a little ridiculous) what we needed to do to arrange breakfast because we had somehow been looked over for dinner.
Nurse: well, when was the baby born
Me: 1:30 but we didn't come over here until around 5
Nurse: Oh, well that's why- you missed ordering your food- you do that in the morning (smile smile)
Hmm- so everyone at this hospital evidently typically gives birth by 7am and then moves to the postpartum side and orders their food... if only I had known- silly me!
Around 6am the woman comes to get Del for a hearing test. I ask to go. The woman is fine with me going but suggests Josh stay in our room because the testing room is small. When we get to the testing room she says- I see you're doing a lotus birth. I'm impressed and pleased she knows what it's called. She explains that she's a doula and does reiki too. I told her people seem freaked out about the placenta. She's very reassuring. It was a nice breath of fresh air.
Around 7am our new nurse comes. She's a weird mix of nice and not nice. I was very clear that our plan was to leave asap. I said that Del needed her sugar tested, we needed the doctor to check us, and we needed to fill out whatever discharge papers were needed. We were also going to wait until Del was 24 hours old to get the PKU done. She said we'd have to wait for the doctor for the discharge papers- I should just relax. Argh- I would- if we were home!
She checks Del's sugar level- it's 60 something so they aren't worried. She tells me around 10 that the doctor called and will be in shortly. At 11:30 I buzz the nurse's station.
Me: Do you know when the doctor will be here?
Nurse: No I don't. Click.
Nice. At 1:30 I go to the nurse's station and ask the nurse there if there's any way to contact the doctor- we'd like to leave. That nurse calls the doctor and reports that she'll be here soon.
Soon- like 3 hours soon? Argh.
I tell Josh that I want them to come and do the PKU- he suggests waiting until after the doctor comes to check us out.
The doctor came around 1:40 and was awesome (she's the midwife's backup and I really like her- despite her delay in coming to see us). She got a nurse to come and do the PKU. Someone from vital records came to give us a temp birth certificate (although she tried to give us “Keagan's” at first:)). I asked if we needed to do anything else or if we could go. The vital records lady said if the doctor had checked us out then we are okay to go.
So I walked purposefully towards the nurse's station and (unfortunately) our nurse was sitting filling out paperwork. I asked if we could go.
Nurse: oh no- we have to finish the discharge papers and then there's a shift change.

ARRRGGHHH! It's now 3pm. I wait until 3:20 and go back to the nurse's station. The nurse there says that they have a shift overlap type meeting to go over patients' status info- she would go get someone.
FINALLY a nurse comes and gives us paperwork and tries to give us our “free” diaper bag from enfamil. I said we'd leave it as a kind of protest.
Nurse: well it's a breastfeeding support bag (points to big BREASTFEEDING printed on the tag)
Me: Yep, but I think it's from Enfamil (points to enfamil logo on bag)
Nurse: (chuckled non commitally)
Josh pick up all our bags, I snuggle with Del and we head for the door.
Nurse: wait- let me give you a copy of your discharge paper.

Okay- sure.
We leave our room. As we pass the nurse's station a nurse looks shocked and asks about a car seat.
It's in the car.
It's a convertible.
They can come and see it if they want to.
Then we can't find the exit door. Someone directs us to the door. I'm feeling a little sore walking so fast but I want them to be confident in our discharge.
Outside of the maternity unit we slow down.
We make our way to the hospitals exit.

At home Noah is happy to see us but even more happy to see this baby that we've brought home. By the time we got home I was sooo sick of carrying around the placenta with Del and her cord was REALLY dry. Josh boiled scissors and we cut it. Then we let Noah hold the baby.
He was thrilled.
For the rest of the day it was hard to get her away from him.

Right before his bedtime I was nursing Del and it took a lot to convince him that milk in his cup was a sufficient substitute.
I was a little concerned yesterday because Del ate at 3 (before we left from the hospital) and then not again until 9pm (and slept pretty much the whole time in between).
Then she slept until 11:30 and nursed constantly until 1:30am. At that point we were both frustrated (I think she wasn't feeling up to continuing to nurse lying down). So I got up with her for about ½ an hour. She didn't wake up again to eat until this morning aroun7am (with some encouragement). I'm a little nervous but trying to see this as a good thing- and remind myself that she's a big girl and has plenty of reserves.

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