Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Moment of Quiet

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed the quiet, peacefulness of my house. The last month has been one of the most chaotic, challenging times of my life. Right now the dog is sleeping, the baby is snoring and the husband is playing hockey--leaving me a minute to reflect and write about the last step of the pregnancy journey. Most of the time I am trying to sleep in every extra second, but last night I got a total of six hours sleep and that makes all the difference in the world.

When we last left off, I was headed to the hospital for an induction. There was no reason to think that the induction wouldn't work. I was dilated and effaced before I got there, but even the last step had to be a bit more complicated. Originally, we were supposed to be at the hospital at 6am, but they called at 5am to tell us that they weren't ready for us. We tried to go back to sleep for awhile, but it's like Christmas morning and the excitement prevents you from closing your eyes. Around 8am they called and said they were ready for us. We said we'd be there in an hour as we still hadn't eaten breakfast. The advice from our doula was to eat as big of meal as possible beforehand as I wouldn't know when I'd get my next meal.

Even though I wanted a natural childbirth, I wasn't planning to do it without the help of some medication. I was striving to be "relaxed but present" as this might be the only time I experience childbirth. About an hour and a half after being checked into the hospital, they started the Pitocin--which should start the labor going. I was a bit locked into bed as they were doing full-fledged monitoring on me as the blood pressure was still a risk.

After a couple of hours, the doctor came in and broke my water. I didn't think that was too bad until I went and sat on a birthing ball. Let's just say there was a lot of gushing over the next couple of hours--not a feeling I am in any hurry to repeat again. About three hours into the labor, the real contractions began. It was at this point we had our doula come in. I have no doubt that if we had tried to do this on our own, we would have had a very different experience.

The doula offered a lot of different options for managing the pain. At this point I still hadn't taken any pain medications. We were working through it with massage, positions and breathing. We even tried the shower--some people love being in water, but that one wasn't for me. I finally had to add some pain meds to the mix. I can honestly say that labor pain is unlike anything else I have ever experienced. OUCH! I was making progress, but it was slowing down. I was at 7cm and it was almost 730pm. I had been at this for nine hours at this point.

It was also time for the epidural. I waited as long as I could, but the pain was unbearable. The relief from the epidural was almost instantaneous, but it did nothing for my labor. I then started to second guess the pain meds, wondering if I should have held off? Every hour we would check my cervix and no more progress, we even napped for a bit. Finally about midnight, the nurse and the doula came to me and said that we needed to consider a c-section. As near as the nurse could tell, the baby's head wasn't in a position to go through the birth canal. The doula felt that she had used all her tricks to change position. It was also at this point that we realized that my epidural had pulled out and my pain levels were almost at a10 level again. It didn't take much convincing on my part to have the doctor be called in for the c-section.

I was disappointed that I wouldn't have the natural childbirth, but I was grateful to have experienced as much of it that I did. I know I gave it my best shot and the time had come to do what was best for baby. The c-section is a weird experience as they give you a spinal tap, so that you can't feel it but are awake through it. It's just bizarre to have people cutting you up while you are fully conscious. At 140am, our little defenseman was born. We heard him before we saw him as his cry was loud and clear as he came out.

We got what we asked for--a healthy baby boy who weighed 8 pounds, three ounces and was 20 inches long. All ten fingers and ten toes were present and accounted for. It was great having the doula at this point, she was capturing all of it on film while Clay tended to the baby, and she made sure that I was doing okay. It was at this point that the drugs and the hormones just make you shake, and you just can't stop for the next couple of hours.

Once I was sewn up, I was off to recovery and finally able to bring my baby to my chest. He was able to latch on right away. Now I know everyone is wondering where my teary, he's finally here moment was. I didn't have it during the delivery. And, I didn't have it for the next four days.

I finally cried when we were in the elevator going home. After many years of struggling, I was finally going home with a baby--our time had come to be parents.