Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bennett's Birth Story

Bennett Miles arrived August 28, 2011 at 11:25 am. He weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 and ¾ inches long. Here is the story of his arrival:

At my 37 week appointment, I was giddy with excitement. I was 2 cm dilated, 70% effaced (from 20% the week before), and baby had dropped to a 2 station (from a 3). He was measuring 7 lbs, 4 oz. I asked the doctor to look into his crystal ball about when the baby would be coming and he said it was probably only a 50/50 chance he’d arrive that week, but said there is probably a 90% chance we wouldn’t make it to 39 weeks—which was August 28th. In that case, he said bring on the vbac, things were looking VERY favorable. He had been a little iffy up to that point on encouraging me to go for the vbac, so that was the first time he was cheering me on.

The following week, at my 38 week appointment on August 23rd, the doctor declared that I was almost 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced. He thought I would be going into labor in the next day or so. That was fantastic news—I could have him on the 24th and both my kids would have birthdays on the 24th—Savannah in March, Bennett in August. He thought I was pretty much almost as far as I can be before its impossible to not be in active labor. Baby Bennett was actually measuring right at 8 lbs, 1 oz, but the nurse thought that was probably overestimating since his tummy seemed full and that was throwing the measurements off. The exam made me bleed so they hooked me up to do an NST and everything looked good, I was having some little contractions and was praying they would materialize into something more. I almost didn’t go into work since he made it seem like I’d be going into labor at any minute. If I was still pregnant on Friday, they wanted me back to do another check and NST before the weekend.

That night, I started having some serious contractions that were coming anywhere from 2 to 8 minutes apart, and then…..they just fizzled out and stopped. Talk about disappointed!

Wednesday came and went. Thursday came and went. Everyone at my office was shocked I kept showing up every morning based on my “diagnosis”. Friday came and back I went to the doctor.

Friday is one of his surgery days so I saw one of his nurse practitioners. She put me at 5 cm dilated, extremely thin cervix, and said she could feel the baby’s head. She asked, “How are you still pregnant?” I laughed…and felt like a freak. “Shouldn’t you explain that to me?” The NST was fine, but I had no contractions during it. Her guess was again, any minute now, but I wasn’t too hopefully, the doctor had said that on Tuesday! She instructed me to go home and lie down. I asked, “Shouldn’t you tell me to go walk or something? She said, “No, you’re so far along already you don’t need to try.”

(Being August and hot as hell, I couldn’t go for a walk outside because it would be miserable and I might die. We tried a couple times earlier in the month and I swore those off.)

Saturday came and went, I had been having contractions off and on all day. We went to eat buffalo wings—the goal was to chase him out with spicy food, it had seemed to be semi-working since I’d been going for wings pretty much weekly and was making good progress. My brother and sister-in-law had come to visit Savannah and us anyway. They had hoped to meet Bennett too, but that chance was looking slimmer and slimmer—to me anyway!

Saturday night, I was really tired—nothing new though, I was permanently exhausted this pregnancy. I decided to go to bed and “sleep while I can” instead of staying up with everyone to watch a movie. I thought it was only wishful thinking, but I guess something told my brain that was a good idea.

Sunday morning, I woke up around 3:30 am with contractions, not sure if the first one was what woke me up or if I had been having them for a while. Somehow after the first three, I knew it was probably go time. I started timing them, they were coming every 3-6 minutes and regardless of the side I laid on or standing up. I went to put my contacts in and brush my teeth. I woke Justin up at 4:40 am, by saying, “Honey, I think I’m in labor and I’m calling the doctor in ten minutes, but you should get up and start moving because we probably need to head to the hospital.” Of course, it took him a good minute to process all this, but then he got moving and dealt with the dogs while I finished packing up some things. I called the after hours line and the on call doc, whom I had never met, called me back right away. He said to "just come in in the next hour or so to see". Um, I’ve been walking around at least 5 cm dilated since Friday afternoon, I’ll come now. Besides, it would take a good twenty minutes to get there and my contractions were getting pretty intense. I was worried that I’d have a super fast labor. I know those stories about the unintentional home births or car births are not the norm, but seriously, I’m not emotionally prepared for that kind of thing.

I probably should have gone ahead and eaten some toast or something, but I elected to forego that little luxury. I wanted to go kiss Savannah, but I didn’t want to wake her up of course. I blew a kiss to her on the monitor, told her I loved her, and apologized for taking her “only child” status away that day. I was glad my brother and sister-in-law were there—perfect timing—because we didn’t have to take her with us to meet Justin’s parents at the hospital or wait for them to get to our house. I would have been FREAKING my freak.

My water had not broken yet, so as Justin was throwing our stuff in the truck, I asked him to grab some towels. I was shocked when he said, “Why?” Because my water hasn’t broken yet and we need the towels, just in case! “Oh. Good call.” Men.

We got to the hospital at 5:30 am. Contractions were getting very intense and coming quickly; and seriously, I was ready for the epidural. :-/. The nurse checked me; decided I was about 6.5 cm and having real contractions. They got a room ready, admitted me, and wheeled me over to my L&D room-- #7. I was hoping that was a good sign.

They asked me if I had a birth plan, and really, I did not. I said, “The only plan is to get this baby out safely and preferably-vaginally.”

At this point, I was so ridiculously uncomfortable -I was really rethinking the vbac plan. I was contracting hard while trying to initial the twenty lines on the vbac consent form I had to sign and almost chickened out due to the pain. I just didn't want to go through a hard day of labor and still end up with a c/s—like what had happened with Savannah. If I opted to go with a c/s, I'd have a baby by noon and could take it “easy” the rest of the day.

I decided to plow ahead, I had been hoping I’d go into labor on my own and I was getting what I wished for. We had to wait for my labs to come back and get through a bag and a half of fluids to get the epidural. I was having back labor and freaking that he was OP like his sister was. Justin ended up rubbing my back for an hour straight as the contractions were just coming and coming, but after getting the epidural at 7:30 and it kicking in by 8 am or so, I was feeling better. Muuuuch better. I declared that I wanted to marry the epidural. Poor Justin. ;-)

They checked me again and I was at 7 cm. I was pretty disappointed that those tough contractions hadn't done much more than that. The doctor who would be delivering Bennett came in at 8:30 and declared I was at a 9 and probably start pushing in half an hour. “OMG! I had hoped to get a nap in, I'd been up since 3:30 am!!!” Of course I was disappointed my OB wouldn’t be delivering me, but this guy seemed very nice and I was happy he didn’t question the vbac attempt. I had heard another doctor in this practice had given another patient a hard time about attempting a vbac, so I was a little worried about it.

At this point, I had a foot in my lungs and could feel that for sure. Below belly button, no feeling. Above belly button, ouch, ouch, ouch. I think Bennett was trying to get some leverage to push his way out. I put on some Zac Brown Band tunes to relax and lay on my sides—switching every 15 minutes or so. My L&D nurse, Sarah, was a freaking godsend. I don't think I could have done it without her. I was trying to zone out, get ready to do what I wanted, and was trying to put off the inevitable. Sarah convinced me to let her check me at about 9:40 and said it was go time. The doctor came in to give me a pep talk and I started pushing. He warned me he didn't want me pushing too long.

The first half hour of pushing was pretty worthless, I was too numb still, but about 10:30 things stared working out a lot better and I started making progress. Sarah put the oxygen mask on me and instead of freaking out like I did with Savannah, I took it in stride. For me, the pushing was tough in all honesty, and Sarah went to bat for me when the doctor came in to see how things were going. She insisted I was making enough progress and I was going to do it and he ended up agreeing. He did caution that they might need to use the vacuum at which I tried not to flip out about. Sarah was an amazing coach and so was Justin and soon enough, I could feel Bennett crowning. She asked if I wanted to see, but I declined. No need to see my lady bits about to be torn to shreds. Thankfully, the epidural was still holding good so I didn’t feel the “ring of fire” but the pressure was intense! Sarah called doctor and he came in, as did all the other necessary peeps, and I was like holy effing shit I've got this—this is really going to happen. It was very odd with my feet up in the stirrups and spread eagle for the world to see, but I guess this is childbirth for you! Pushed once, head was out, pushed again and then, the most relief I've ever felt in my life was happening and there was a baby placed on my stomach!!

I started bawling tears of joy, so much different from the tears I cried when they pulled S out through my stomach. It had to be the most amazing thing I've ever felt in my life. Justin started crying too. They cleaned him off and whisked him over to the baby warmer get all his stats. At this point, I noticed the doctor sewing me up. “Did I tear?” I asked cautiously. He said, “Oh no, I made a very tiny cut so you wouldn’t.” I probably would have cared any other time, but in the moment, I didn’t. I’m the silly one without the birth plan, remember? J Everyone thought I was a rockstar, I know I felt like one, and even the doctor himself said he hadn't had a successful vbac like this in awhile. I’m very glad he kept that little tidbit of information to himself until then.

I high fived Justin. I was incredibly proud of myself. They brought Bennett back over and left us alone so we could breastfeed and bond. He latched on right away and has been a boob man ever since. Justin went and got Savannah from the waiting room and introduced the two of them. After about 45 minutes, they took him to the nursery. They kept the monitoring devices on me and turns out my pulse was racing for quite awhile afterwards. It was hovering around 110, but shooting up into the 120s/130s quite frequently and even getting as high as 150. I thought it was just adrenaline, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. They decided to keep me in L&D and took my blood to see if I was having any problems. My blood work came back perfectly normal, so they thought it was safe to get me cleaned up and help me to the bathroom. After all, it had been about two hours and I’d been able to feel my legs and move them completely for the past hour or so.

Well, that didn’t go so well. As soon as I got stood up, I felt dizzy, so I sat on the edge of the bed for about three minutes. I was feeling better, so Justin and a new nurse helped me to the bathroom. I thought that was going well, but after sitting on the toilet, I ended up passing out. Justin said I started shaking as well and he was worried I was having a seizure or something. I came to with the nurse waving gauze soaked in rubbing alcohol under my nose and two other nurses in the tiny bathroom with the three of us. They got me in the wheelchair and took me back to bed. I instantly felt better, I felt like I had gotten a power nap in! Regardless, they hooked me back up to all the monitors—pulse and blood pressure—and left me again.

They did let my family come in and that was nice, but it was pushing three hours since I had seen Bennett. His bath and tests obviously should be done by then! I asked a few times and was finally told it was “policy” that they couldn’t bring him to me. What? I guess I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. Finally, after pleading my case and insisting there were multiple people there to hold him and I would not until I was cleared—they brought him back.

Finally, my pulse started to level out in the high 90s, and I made it to the bathroom with some help—and no fainting--and they discharged us to my postpartum room—at 7 pm that night. The worst pain I was in was due to the awesome hemorrhoids that cropped up more so than anything else. There was nothing else that a few ice packs couldn’t fix.

The following day, I felt amazing. I cannot stress or put in to any other words how great I felt, especially in comparison to the c/s last time. It was so nice to be literally bouncing around the room and be self-sufficient. Last time, poor Justin had to take care of both Savannah and I for the first couple days and this time, I know he was relieved that I felt so good. Anyway, this time my nurses were all fantastic, I have no complaints about them.

I was scared of a vbac pretty much the entire pregnancy, but once I did my homework; I was glad it was an option. Of course now, I do not regret my decision one bit---it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My entire experience was night and day from round one. If childbirth were guaranteed to be as amazing and as relatively uncomplicated always, I'd pop out 15 more. ;-)

I'll post nursery photos and baby photos as soon as I can, hopefully tomorrow!

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