Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Birthing Baby Number Four

As the time draws near for this sweet little boy to make his exit I thought I'd reflect a little on how I'm feeling about the whole process at this point in my pregnancy. My first two labor and deliveries were PERFECT. Each experience left me feeling like "I would do this 100 times if I could". I'll give you a brief summary of each....

Oliver {baby number one} born at 38 weeks exactly...

At 35 weeks I was told that I was 2 cm dilated and that he could potentially make an early entrance which I'm glad I had warning because I had fully expected to go two weeks late and wouldn't have been prepared. It was a Monday evening at about 6:30 or so, I was on the phone with Kaleb as he was driving home from work talking about what we would do that night. We decided to go to Red Robin for a burger and then walk the mall to you know encourage our boy to make his appearance. While I was on the phone with him I had my first contraction. I had been having braxton hicks for weeks and knew what that felt like but this one was different, it actually hurt pretty bad. I told Kaleb I had a contraction but it was probably nothing until I had another while on the phone with him. He hurried home and by the time he got there I had realized I was bleeding. Obviously I was in labor so I called my mom because I knew she'd still be at work and she was actually in a meeting with the director of the L&D/OB floor who started squealing when she heard it was me and that I was in labor. She said she'd have a room ready and waiting for me. I hopped in for a quick shower which my contractions had picked up to every 1-2 minutes already and I could barely get out by the end of it. At the time we lived one block from the hospital and decided to walk. It was pouring rain, Kaleb was holding the umbrella, and we had to stop every time I had a contraction but that was such a sweet memory! I love that he was born in the middle of a storm because we don't get those very often here. When I checked in about an hour and a half after contractions started she said I was at 6 cm and seemed like I would progress quickly. I totally panicked. I was not expecting to be there that night and didn't feel ready so I said I'd go ahead and get an epidural before it was too late. The contractions hurt so bad at this point that I didn't even feel the epidural being placed and once it was in and working I felt wonderful! At 2:45 am the nurse checked me and I was at a 10 so the doctor came in, broke my water, and Oliver was born at 3:16 am after 30 minutes of pushing. 7 lbs 3 oz and perfect!

Carter {baby number two} born at 37 weeks exactly...

I went in for a check up at exactly 36 weeks and told the doctor that the night before I hadn't been feeling very good and the only way to describe it was just that I felt "off". I wasn't having contractions but I knew I wasn't feeling like my normal self so he said he was willing to check me and see what was going on. Sure enough I was dilated to 4 and he said it sounded like my body was gearing up for labor. Six days later at 36 weeks 6 days I was feeling "off" again but not contracting. I called my mom and she was once again with the director of the OB floor (convenient) and they both agreed that I should come in "just in case" since we already knew I was dilated. I felt really stupid checking in and having to say "No I'm not contracting, I just don't feel good.". Everyone looked at me like "yah ok". She checked me when I got there and I was 5 cm so she sent me to walk for 30 minutes since I wasn't contracting to see if anything got started. We walked for 30 minutes which I did have one contraction but that was it. Kaleb kept saying "There's no way you're staying it took you a whole week to dilate 1 cm." I gave him dirty looks and told him that he was probably right. As soon as we got back to the room my doctor was there to check me and informed me that I was at 7 cm and there was no way he would send me home like that. I was totally shocked seeing that I had one contraction! He ordered pitocin and said that he had another patient in labor and he'd check on me in a few hours. I went ahead and got the epidural even though I wasn't in any pain because I had heard that pitocin contractions were no fun and I didn't want to feel any of that non sense. :) My body ended up never responding to the pit and at 5:30 am my doctor came in and broke my water. I was fully dilated by 6:40 am and he was born at 6:57 weighing in at 7 lbs even. 

and then there was my third birth experience...
Harper {baby number three} born at 38 weeks 5 days...

I started having contractions really early on with Harper. I was checked into L&D at 34 weeks for preterm labor but discharged after only dilating to 2 cm. Even with contractions I stayed at 2 cm, he even checked me at my 38 week appointment (which was a Wednesday) and informed me that I was still only 2 cm. I definitely cried after that appointment because I was contracting all.the.time!! I'd have hours of steady uncomfortable contractions and then they'd just stop. A few days later, the following Saturday, we went for a walk where I started having contractions. I had them all thru dinner and the entire walk home. I got home and started timing them and they were 2-4 minutes apart. I called my mom because they were the ones that were going to take the kids and she agreed I should go in to see if anything was happening. I got there around 9:30 pm and was 5 cm dilated. The nurse said "You're definitely staying! I'll call your doctor!" and asked me to walk to halls for 30 minutes while she got everything ready. Once I got back she said she had spoken with my doc and he insisted that I was 5 cm in the office on Wednesday and wanted to send me home. I was almost in tears and told her that if my water were to break at home I probably wouldn't make it back. She understood and told me to walk for another hour while she talked to him again. Thankfully she talked him into letting me stay, so after that I hopped in the jacuzzi tub to relax, and then hung out for the rest of the night only dilating to 6 before my contractions stopped completely. My doctor didn't want to come in because I was his only patient at the hospital that night so finally at 8:50 am he came in and started threatening me with a c-section (unnecessarily). He broke my water and started pitocin at about 8:55 am. The nurse asked if I wanted the epidural but we both agreed that I should wait to make progress before doing that just in case it slowed stuff down. Within minutes I was writhing in pain and contracting every minute. I felt like I had hardly any breaks in between and told the nurse I needed something right away. She called the anesthesiologist and started prepping the room for delivery since she knew I'd go fast. Within five minutes I told her that I wasn't sure if I was pushing or just tensing up from the pain (which I was trying REALLY hard not to do since I know that makes it more painful but I really couldn't help it). She checked me and said i was 7 cm and couldn't give me permission to push since the doctor wasn't there. At that moment the anesthesiologist walked in and I heard her say "Oh no, it's too late for that." I totally started to panic but had another contraction coming on and couldn't pay attention to anything else and with that same contraction I just knew I had to push. Kaleb had stepped out since he thought I was getting an epidural but they called him right back in as I was hoisting my leg up and screaming and yelling...not kidding. Talk about embarrassing but I could not help it nor did I care in the moment. They pulled the on call doctor from the hallway and he delivered her without any gloves on because he didn't have time. He barely got a gown on. She was born at 9:17 am weighing in at 6 lbs 15 oz.

When I first found out I was pregnant with Sawyer my first thought was "Oh crap! I have to give birth to this baby! I'm not ready to go through that again!". I know that my labor with Harper was really only 20 minutes long but it was the most chaotic, intense, and painful 20 minutes of my life. I've never felt so out of control of my body. I intensely fear the same scenario this time around, although this time I have a much better doctor and I know now to deny pitocin unless it's medically necessary. My first two births were totally pain free (I'm not kidding) and it was amazing but there were a couple of things that I noticed were different after Harper's pain med free birth. I felt like I bonded with Harper so much better. Not that I didn't love or bond with the boys but with Harper it was very different. I also noticed that the normal after birth cramping that you get when nursing was much less severe after Harper's birth than it was with the boys. It was pretty bad after Oliver and even worse after Carter and I remember being mentally prepared for it after Harp but I never got them very bad. I still had the postpartum contractions but they were very mild!

My initial response to what this time around will be like is "I can do it all natural" but as soon as I say it out loud or think about it for very long I start to panic. I have this internal freak out and I get really fearful. I've talked it over with Kaleb quite a bit and he knows exactly how I'm feeling. We've gone over how he can help me through it and I plan on having a worship music playlist to listen through for encouragement. I know that God designed our bodies to do this and to endure it and the end result is always worth it but it is the curse of the fall! I mean come on people, the pain of child birth is a result of sin entering into the world and corrupting everything. That's intense! And makes a whole lot of sense once you experience it, just sayin! I think one way I make myself feel better about the "pain med free" route is convincing myself that the pitocin was what made my last experience so terrible and without it I can push through. I'm also not going into this expecting it to be low pain/pain free which I'm sure will make a huge difference. I don't think there's a right or a wrong way to birth a baby. I look at it as personal preference. My experience with an epidural was amazing, my friend had a c-section and that was totally right for her and she did amazing, and I've also known people who give birth all natural and have an amazing experience as well. Do what feels right for you and your baby. I'm not going to hate myself if I give into an epidural. I know the end result of holding my new baby boy will be worth whatever I have to do to get to that point and I don't think having pain meds is wrong in any way. This might be my last baby so I'm just going to soak up every moment that I can of the entire experience and enjoy it to the fullest. I can't wait to kiss his little chubby cheeks!

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