Friday, January 27, 2012

Birth Story

I finally finished it! It's a bit lengthy and detailed because I didn't want to loose any of the story for Connor.  It was a hard, but so worth it in the end. Happy reading :)

The Birth of Connor James Tank

            On Saturday, January 14th, I felt tired and baby boy was awfully quiet all afternoon and into the evening, despite me trying to wake him up some. I thought, well, maybe he’s resting up to come on out soon, since I had dropped super low already, but figured it would still be a while until he would be here. Worried, of course, that he was being so quiet, I said that I just wanted him to be born healthy and it didn’t matter who delivered him (my OB was out of town and my midwife was not on call that weekend). I felt him a little just before bed and decided to go to bed early since I had been pretty tired that day, getting to bed about 9 pm. (Side note: I had also made my week busy to help time go by… groceries Sunday, shopping with Bobbi Monday, mani/pedi Tuesday, chiropractor and OB checkup Wednesday, acupuncture Thursday, and maybe hang with Jessi again Friday…. all of which I had to cancel.)
Well… I guess someone heard me because when I woke up to pee at 12:15 am Sunday, January 15th, I slowly realized my water broke. At first I thought maybe I hadn’t emptied my bladder all the way but when I kept dripping, I new it had to be that my water broke. Crap. Now what do I do. In my Bradley classes, I learned you don’t need to go in right away just because your water breaks and everything was clear.. but I hadn’t felt him more for about 30 minutes after I woke up (while I was trying to decide whether or not to call and if I should call Bobbi yet) and it made me nervous…. so I called Bobbi to give her the heads up that my water broke and we decided to go ahead and call to let the OB on call know that my water broke. They said to go ahead and head to the hospital. Part of me thought it was too early, but I still hadn’t felt little man move and wanted to know he was ok so I figured I would not rush, but get ready and just go. I updated Bobbi and then hopped in the shower. I finished packing my stuff and Bobbi came to get me. We loaded everything up in my car and headed to the hospital. Of course at this point, I finally felt him moving but the hospital was expecting us so we just went.
We checked in at the hospital, gave the nurses my birth plan and basket of goodies, and settled in to our room. My first nurse, Erica, was super nice and she hooked me up to the monitors to see where things were. It was great to hear baby boy’s heartbeat and know that everything was checking out well. I was a loose 1 cm and 50% effaced and baby boy was at a -2 station… so I knew I needed to do a lot of walking to get things going since my water broke and they’d be watching the clock. So we walked the halls for quite a while and I did a lot of moving around and pelvic rocks on my ball. My contractions seemed to be getting stronger and closer together but still relatively easy to get through.
Then 7 AM came around and I got a new nurse, Shelly. She seemed nice but I was sad that Erica was leaving. I got news that the midwife on call for Sunday would be in shortly to see how things were going. With all the changes, I could feel my labor slow a bit while I adjusted to the changes. I was worried about the midwife coming in since I didn’t know anything about her. She arrived around 7:30 and came in to see me. She immediately said that I needed to start Pitocin since they want you to be in active labor within an hour of your water breaking and it had been 7 hours since mine had broken and I had been walking and everything the whole time. I questioned this since I was feeling contractions and she wasn’t going to check me before starting Pitocin either since the risk of infection is higher after your water breaks. I was not convinced so she reluctantly checked me… and everything was still the same… I had made no progress since getting to the hospital 5 hours before. So now I was faced with the decision to either accept the Pitocin and pray I could handle the pain or refuse it and risk them trying to make me get a c-section if he wasn’t here within 24 hours of my water breaking. An epidural was not an option for me due to my scoliosis, despite the anesthesiologist coming in to tell me he could do it, no problem. But could he guarantee it wouldn’t just take on one side or give me more back pain or a spinal headache for two weeks? No thank you. And I REALLY didn’t want IV meds since those can affect the baby.
I very reluctantly agreed to the Pitocin. The midwife said they would start me on the lowest dose and recheck every 30 minutes and up the dose if necessary. I just wanted to cry. This was not supposed to go this way… I wanted an unmedicated labor. I wanted to let my body do its thing, but so far it didn’t seem like it was doing enough and I felt like I didn’t have much choice. So the Pitocin was started around 8 AM. It didn’t take long to feel the contractions intensify, but I still managed to breath and relax through them. My mom called around this time to see how things were going, and this is when I broke down and cried as I told her that I had to get Pitocin. I know my mom really wished she could have been there with me and she stayed on the phone through a couple contractions but I was not wanting to talk much in between so we hung up. It was frustrating to be hooked up to the IV and monitors, but I was thankful they didn’t make me stay in bed, I was still allowed to move around somewhat within reach of all the cords. After the first 30 minutes, they came in to up my Pitocin to the next dose. My contractions continued to get stronger and closer together and after the next 30 minutes, my dose was upped again. This is when things started getting really bad. My contractions were now coming on top of each other and were incredibly painful, leaving me no rest time in between, and I was now feeling them in my back too… great. I tried positions that are supposed to help with back labor, like hand and knees, but nothing worked. Not long after they had made the second increase, they came back in to lower it back to the previous level since I apparently was contracting like every minute, gee thanks. I really think it could have been left at the initial low dose since all I needed was a little jump start to get things going more actively for them, but what do I know.
Anyways… from here on out, I can summarize by saying that Pitocin is the devil and I was in hell. My contractions only slightly eased up after they lowered the dose back down and I felt like I could barely make it through each one. I tried every position I could think of and managed to find one that worked a little at first and that was to lean on someone, and that someone ended up being my nurse, Shelly. Bless her for holding me while I was putting so much pressure on her during those contractions. I was determined not to get any pain meds but I was slowly losing that determination with each contraction. I was no longer able to breath through them well and sometimes caught myself holding my breath, and I was beyond being able to relax any part of my body during the contractions, though I tried to at least in between. At this point, I really wished Ken was there as he is always able to get me to breath right and I just really wanted him there. The contractions were back to one on top of the other again. I felt a lot of pressure at the bottom of my abdomen and it was like the contractions never fully went away, leaving me cramping in between. I finally came to the conclusion that my back pain may not have been true back labor but that my back was just tensing up in response to the intense contractions I was having. I didn’t know how much longer I could take the pain but I felt like I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth to say I couldn’t do it anymore. I eventually did get the words out that I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to have something to get me through. Had this been a normal labor, I would have realized I was in transition and it was almost over, but at the time, I didn’t know if it was just the Pitocin and how much longer this would go on. The nurse said they could give me Nubain… which I knew nothing about but had heard of it before. She said they wouldn’t want to give me anything strong like Demerol since it would affect the baby so I thought, well then maybe Nubain isn’t supposed to have too much affect on the baby and agreed to go ahead and get it. Well, of course I would have to be checked first and I hadn’t been checked since before the Pitocin started. The midwife came in to check me and I was now 8 cm, 100% effaced, and baby was at 0 station… I was in transition and it was too late for meds. I was thankful that it was too late for meds and prayed it wouldn’t be much longer because I still felt like I was being tortured. I don’t know how much longer it was, or what time it was at this point but I don’t think it was that much longer before I was checked again and ready to go. Thank you God!
So now it’s time to get pushing and I’m so drained from the awful contractions that I know I’m not going to be able to attempt the pushing positions I wanted to try and just laid on my back… the one position I absolutely didn’t want to be in to push. They started taking the bottom portion of the bed off and get the stirrups ready when I said no stirrups. I wanted the freedom still to be in whatever angle or whatever I could to try to make room for my sacrum to move and give the baby room to get out. I ended up laying kind of diagonally on the bed with my left leg back but still on the bed and my right leg up and back (held by Bobbi… Thank you!), and thankfully this gave me enough leverage to lift my bottom slightly off the bed which was my goal. The pushing began and I was told that I was a good pusher and he would be here in no time. The first several pushes weren’t too bad and I was able to hold my breath long enough to get good pushes. The later ones I ended up not holding my breath long enough on all of them and screaming at the end of them instead, which didn’t help get him out any faster. I concentrated as much as I could to hold in the screams and a few contractions later, his head was out and I was told he had lots of dark hair, just as I thought he would. The burning was so intense and after all the pain I’d been having, I probably didn’t let my body chill and stretch long enough and I just wanted him out to I gave another push and out he came. What a relief! My baby boy was finally here! (12:54 PM) As soon as I saw him, I knew Ken and I were right in our feeling on his name around Christmas… he was definitely a Connor James. I got to cut the umbilical cord and hold him on my chest. He was absolutely amazing and worth those 5 hours of Pitocin hell. At least the baby part of my birth plan went how I wanted.
Now for the craziest part of the day… before leaving for the hospital, I had sent an email to Ken (who was out to sea) letting him know that my water had broken and we were heading in to the hospital. Well apparently after he got that email, he went to check on his ship card, which he hadn’t received yet, and lo and behold, it had come in and now he could go buy phone cards to call me from the ship. He called at 1:03 PM… just minutes after Connor was born and Bobbi put him on speaker for me. He had no idea he had been born… it was just perfect timing! And I hadn’t said Connor’s name aloud yet to make it official so it was great to get to do that with Ken on the phone. It was so amazing how it all happened and we made a few nurses cry. I asked him to call me later as everything was still kind of crazy and it was hard to hear him well. Bobbi then called my mom to let her know Connor had been born. At this point, the midwife checked to see if I tore and I did in two spots but on the inside (probably because I didn’t wait long enough before pushing his shoulders out, oh well). She was going to start stitching me up so I told mom I’d call her back. I went ahead and let them weigh Connor and check his breathing since they were mildly concerned with the way he was breathing at first, while I got stitched up (um, ouch!). Connor weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and was 20.5 inches long and he checked out perfectly.
The nurses eventually left us alone and I got to hold Connor and make our first attempts at breastfeeding. At that point the only pain I had was from the stitches so when asked if I wanted anything, I just took a Motrin. I drank my coconut water and pineapple juice mix to make sure I replenished my electrolytes and what not (even though I was still hooked up to the IV, grr, until the bag was empty). After it had been I think almost 2 hours, I decided I should get up to pee. Bobbi was still with me but I felt fine, so I sat on the edge of the bed, still felt fine, and got up to use the bathroom unassisted. While I was in there, a nurse came in and said something about me getting up by myself to use the bathroom. I told her I was fine and did the side of the bed test before getting up and then she said she was just used to the mom’s who’ve had epidurals/pain meds. I eventually found out that the anesthesiologist had come by shortly after Connor was born to check on me and told the nurses that I was “as tough as nails.” Haha, maybe… or just as stubborn as a bull! I guess I must have impressed a lot of people that day having gone through getting Pitocin without any pain meds, one of the nurses said I was a warrior. Believe me, if I didn’t have scoliosis, I would have signed up for that epidural, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did for me to not get any pain meds.
In the end, everything was worth it to be holding my beautiful, healthy baby boy. We had some visitors while in the hospital… some of my wonderful neighbors stopped by to see us, as did a few friends. I am so grateful to Bobbi for being there with me through my labor and to Jessi for being there for me throughout the rest of my hospital stay. I don’t think we would have gotten off to such a great start breastfeeding if it weren’t for her. Not to mention, she saved the day when it was time to go home and my car wouldn’t start for Bobbi so she had to come get me. I am truly blessed with amazing friends. And now Ken and I have been blessed with the most amazing little boy… I can’t wait for Ken to meet him!

Day after the birth in the hospital... after mommy got a shower :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

He's Here!

Most of you probably already know, but it's been a busy week so I haven't had much time for the internet....

Connor James was born on Sunday, January 15th at 12:54 pm weighing 7lbs 5oz and 20.5 inches long. He's perfect and we're so in love!

Will be working on my birth story and hopefully get it up soon :).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

38 Weeks

Another week down, 2ish more to go! My appointment today was uneventful. I saw the midwife in training. Everything seemed to be normal/on track, though I didn't get any actual numbers and I didn't ask. I assume if they don't tell me it's all good :). No internal exam so I don't know what kind of progress is going on down there with baby boy being so low and all... and although I'm curious, it's probably better I don't know so I can't get my hopes up. Plus my OB goes on vacation tomorrow for a week and I'm hoping baby will wait until he gets back to come, so we don't need an internal to accidentally get things going before then. I did find out I'm GBS negative... so no antibiotics needed during labor, woohoo!!! One less thing to worry about.

With Ken being gone now, I am trying to keep myself busy (thank you nesting!) and here's what I did last night and finished today... I sewed 2 baby blankets for the little man :). Don't get too excited when you see them... yes they are super cute, but no, I did not quilt them... I sewed 2 pieces of fabric together with blanket binding ;-). JoAnn Fabrics has awesome baby fabric, some of which is pre-quilted like the 2 I used for the front of the blankets. Super cute in way less time! And they are so soft!

So other than cleaning and doing some reorganizing.... I think my next project to attempt before the baby is here is to reteach myself how to knit and knit him a little hat :). Hopefully that turns out well!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

37 weeks... Full Term!

37 weeks

Well Baby Boy is officially considered full term today! Ken is back in Norfolk but we really enjoyed our extra time together and him being home for the holidays. We've got the car seat installed, my hospital bag is packed (except for last minute stuff), childbirth classes are done, bought a couple nursing bras, groceries are stocked, deep freezer is loaded with meals for after baby arrives, baby laundry done and nursery organized and ready to go (even the swing has been moved to the living room), and the bassinet is set up next to our bed.... ready when you are Baby Boy!