Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ben's Birth Story

Ben's latest accomplishment is acquiring Hand-Foot-Mouth disease from the coxsackie virus. We went to Denny's for breakfast this morning, and on the way home, I noticed the blisters on his palms. Eeew. He's acting perfectly fine (other than a bout of cuddliness), so I'm not too worried. I had to call daycare and let them know, though.

The biggest event in my life right now is the impending birth of my sister's first baby, a son named Gage. She's being induced as we speak. Her due date was the day before Thanksgiving, but her protein levels are too high, and they're all worried about pre-eclampsia. So it seems like Gage will be born this weekend. We'll be going to Oshkosh tomorrow to see the new mother and child.

Pop, Gush, Hello Baby

My due date was Feb. 7, 2006. By Christmas, however, I was measuring at 38 weeks. The Friday after Christmas, my best friend Mary commented that I had "dropped." Chester and I had a long weekend due to the New Year, and on Monday, we went out for breakfast. That morning, I noticed a bit of what must have been my mucus plug on the toilet paper. I took a nap when we got home. Around 1, Chester crawled into bed with me and we watched tv. Around 2, Pop, Gush. I ran to the bathroom as my water broke. A deluge. 35 weeks.

Since I was so early, we had to go to the hospital right away, only six minutes away. I started contracting about ten minutes after getting there. The next two hours were a bit of a blur. I got into the cute gown. It was horrible back labor. I didn't really feel a break in the contractions. Luckily, the anesthesiologist only lived five minutes away, so once I asked for an epidural, he was there within thirty minutes.

It took about five pokes to get the epidural in place because where it seemed like the space should be wasn't there, but slightly to the left. After I was settled down with the epi, life was grand. I "labored" comfortably, receiving visitors, talking, laughing, rather woozy... feeling fine. Chester finished cross-stitching a "Hang in There" kitty picture he had been working on since September. As soon as the last stitch was in place, I was almost 10 cm. They gave me some pitocin because I was stuck with a bit of cervix left and wasn't progressing. That's when I got really uncomfortable. I was sitting up on the edge of the bed. I felt a lot of pressure. Very uncomfortable, like all the bones in my pelvic area were being compressed under a steamroller. The pitocin let me feel my contractions, and they weren't that fun at all.

I pushed for about forty-five minutes. Because I hadn't had a very long labor, none of the normal, cleansing things happened naturally. Besides the pain and discomfort, the only thing I was focusing on was how much I was pooping with each push. It was so damn embarrassing. My instinct was to grunt and holler, but my OB kept telling me to hush and to just breathe. I hated him so much for that.

I told him I couldn't push anymore. It was too difficult, and I wasn't making enough progress. So he stopped having me push for a few minutes. We just sat there and waited. It didn't take too long before I HAD to push. It became imperative in my body and mind that pushing was the only thing I could do to stop the pain.

Eventually, Ben was born. He was put on my belly while they cut the cord, and then they took him to weigh, measure and dry him off. I felt bad because instead of focusing on Ben, all I could think of immediately after he came out was that I was still in pain. They took Ben to the NICU for oxygen since he was technically a preemie, even though he weighed in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. He was born at 10:18 that evening. Jan. 2, 2006.

After the afterbirth came, the doc gave me three stitches since I had ripped while pushing. Then I had to wait for the epidural to wear off. It was midnight before Chester was allowed to wheel me down to the NICU to see Ben. He had an IV, but they let me hold him for a little bit, and I attempted to nurse him. He got one good suck before he fell back asleep.

Physically, it took a couple of days for me to stop feeling like my crotch had run into a brick wall at 80 mph. They gave me vicodin and ibuprofen alternately. Ben was out of the NICU by morning, and he stayed in my room. After we were discharged on Wednesday, he ended up having to be back in the NICU on Friday for a couple of nights, but that's another post.

Knowing what it was like now, I think that for the next baby, I'd like to try natural childbirth for a longer period of time. Pushing sucked, and I think that it might have been a bit easier if I had been acclimated to the pain a bit more. I'm such a wuss, though, and I don't think I'll ever tolerate pain well enough.