Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm a slacker

I admit it. I even slack on my slacking. Here's the thing, there's just so much to do during my "free time" that I simply can't keep up. I'm actually reading a novel. And you know how that can get--I'll just finish this page...uh, section...uh, chapter...and then I'll do the dishes (or, thank you cards :)) and all of a sudden, I'm halfway through the next chapter. So I chose not to even pick it up today. But having neglected my email and blogs and whatnot, I think I'm running short on time now anyway. So we'll just see how far we get.

I am going to just stick to the birth story in this post, and probably post later today (I hope) on family updates and that long forgotten subject I was so fond of before Israel...discipline, specifically of the toddler variety.

So, last time, I left myself laboring on the bed.

It was as I was staring at the mattress during or between a contraction that I had some, well, not very natural birthy thoughts. I thought...maybe I could just ask for a c-section...and, I bet the fact that I really feel like asking for drugs right now means that it's too late to get them anyway. I am pretty sure I kept these thoughts to myself. I never really wanted the drugs, because I kept telling myself that it's not as bad as it could possibly get. I'd only want drugs if it got the worst it was going to get...but I knew I didn't want drugs, period. Does any of that even make sense? The c-section on the other hand? Well, now that I've witnessed Tom's post-op discomfort from arthroscopic hip surgery, I'm pretty sure major abdominal surgery recovery is way more than I want to endure, pain-wise. But I was so concerned (that is, ahem, frightened) about a repeat of the pain I'd had from recovering from the episiotomy I'd had when Eve was born (and rightly so) that I genuinely thought I'd rather have a c-section. At least, that's what the irrational, emotional side of me wanted. The rational side who wrote my birth plan and went in to natural birth with eye's wide open, of course said, no, which is why I remained silent.

I took a potty break and had to endure a double peaking contraction with no one putting counter pressure on my back. That was kind of a tough one.

When I came back out I switched to the birth ball.


and labored there until I started to feel pushy...not full blown pushing, just a little at the peak of each contraction. At that point, there was enough pressure, that I had to stand up off the ball during contractions.

In between I would relax...totally. Good thing Ashia was behind me. :)


grrr...hated those straps.

Here's an interesting can see the shape of the baby on the lower left (your right) of my belly. Weird.


Transition was kind of, well, a blur. I don't remember anything really distinct about it. I had a general feeling of being sick...but not really intense, not like I was going to throw up at any moment or anything. And then I was sort of all of a sudden feeling that pushy at the peak feeling I mentioned.

Here's my awesome doctor checking up on me. He did chastise me a teensy bit for not coming in over the possibly broken water concern, but that just meant no checking, which was fine. He came in once early in order to officially admit me, but after I was on the ball, and then when I was feeling pushy. I'm pretty sure that's a picture of that second visit, he stayed. Everything seemed to happen quickly. That's really a good thing as far as I'm concerned.


So the first and only time I was checked was by my doc and at the point where I felt like pushing. All I had to do was roll forward on the forcing me back into the bed or anything awful like that.

My water broke as I was being checked. The doc told me not to push for the next few contractions because I was a very...I think he used the word floppy...9...but the very next contraction after my water broke was so intense, and I had such an overwhelming urge to push, that through the next two contractions I kind of screamed (more than kind of, I think) "I'm trying not to push! I can't help it!" at which point I would groan trying not to push but pushing anyway. After the second contraction like that, the doctor told me to relax and not worry about it and just push when I felt like it.

What a relief!

So, Kim saw that I wasn't comfortable during contractions on the ball, and since I was pushing they kind of asked what I wanted to do. I was pretty out of it, as far as conversation goes, so I just repeated that I didn't care as long as I didn't have to lay down.

Kim asked the doc if it was okay if I labored on the birth stool, and he was cool with it (isn't that awesome?! I told you!) as long as I turned around so he had room to get to me. So, between contractions, I turned and was switched, and at this point had a new nurse named Patti--who was totally great for all the reasons Mary was not. She was just what I needed, quiet and patient and encouraging.

I don't think I pushed very long, I think it was very few contractions, but the specifics like how many pushing contractions I had, or how many were on the birth stool are fuzzy.

The doctor was patient and quiet, and the baby's heart rate stayed great the whole time, unlike Eve, which at the time I thought meant we were golden.

I now know I never got to the really painful crowning part of pushing with Eve. They vacuumed her out as she was just beginning to crown. My memories of pushing with Eve is that it was a welcome relief after the intense, right-on-top-of-another contractions of transition.

This time around, I was really surprised by the pain. It was so much worse than I expected, and seemed to last so much longer. I guess I was expecting it only to be painful right before the head came all the way out. I was wrong. It hurt from the moment the baby started to crown and only felt better after the head was out. I know I said, "I don't know why I liked this part so much before." and, "This really hurts" and other such exclamations of surprise.

Kim made sure I touched the baby's head once just as he was beginning to crown. It was an important thing to me as I was planning for the birth, but when I was right there in it, I really didn't want to do it. Not so much because I didn't want to touch his head, but because it was a lot more comfortable to simply leave my hands where they were, bracing me and keeping me upright. Kim was firm though. :)

After I got his head more than half out, I had to keep pushing to get his chin out, at which point things got...less smooth.

The doctor was, again, very patient, but very firm in his instructions to me. The cord was very tight around Israel's neck, and the doc couldn't unloop it because it was too short. So, he cut the cord while baby was still mostly inside, and then he had me push, I think when I wasn't having a contraction, in order to get the baby all the way out. Israel paused kind of at his middle, and then slid out into the doctor's arms.

Did I mention that the doctor was on the floor in front of me? Yeah, he spread out some pads and pulled his table over and sat on the floor in front of the stool.


That shot is during crowning.

So, there's baby in the doc's lap, and he's suctioning baby and trying to stimulate him and I notice a few things:

Israel looks huge and his body is blue and his head is purple. And, he's really floppy.

I was feeling really great about how all of labor and delivery went, and kind of waiting to see what would happen, but I think I knew right away I wasn't going to have the baby handed to me. I think part of it was I couldn't just have him set on me, I was sitting upright completely, not reclining, and no where to recline to. This went through my head as I recalled my conversation with the doctor in which he said unless the baby was in really rough shape, and not at all responsive, he would give mom the baby and do what needed doing right there. But after half a minute or so during which I encouraged Israel, the doc struggled to stand up with the rolling cart beside him and the baby in his arms.

Israel was whisked away to the crash cart just as Eve had been, except Eve had been pink and crying.

You already know that the end of the story is a healthy little boy, but it was pretty scary at the time. I knew that if this doc took the baby, it was serious.

Tom says it took Israel 5 minutes to begin breathing on his own. So I figure it was at least 7 minutes from the time his cord was cut.


It was pretty awful as they transferred me to the bed to not hear my baby cry. I kept waiting for it, but it never came. And I did start to flip out and cry. It never really entered my mind that he wouldn't live, but I was pretty concerned that he would have brain damage, and just really upset that I couldn't hold him and bond with him and see him.

Tom, on the other hand, as he watched them bag him so his little chest would inflate and deflate, kept expecting the doc to turn to him and say, "I'm sorry." Poor Tom. No wonder he tells me he doesn't want to be in the labor and delivery room. And no wonder he says I have a lot of work to do to convince him to have another. I'll leave that in God's hands, because it will be quite a while before I'm ready for another anyway, and God can change Tom's heart and mind--I really don't have that kind of power.

After about 10 minutes they felt Israel was stable enough to move to the nursery, Tom held him up to me so I could see him and touch his face. It was so hard to just lay there as they took him away.


In my preparation for birth, and in all my prayers for specifics of the birth to go well, I did always ask that Israel come safely and healthy, but it never really entered my mind that his situation could be worse than Eve's. I just assumed he'd be okay, and with his heart rate so good the whole time (even after the cord was cut) I couldn't imagine there'd be anything that would keep him from being in my arms right away. I suppose that will be a big topic of my preparation and prayers for number 3 (if that happens).

In the end, he was safe and healthy. Both my doctor and the baby's doctor told me that all his stats were great, blood oxygen level and heart rate included, he just wouldn't breath.

I think that's more than enough for one post. Stay tuned for post-baby details.