Friday, August 14, 2009

Labor & Delivery

I know this is really late, but I have been slowly working on this for a while, between feeding/crying/sleeping sessions (the baby, not me) and I really want to get it down so that someday, when we don't remember the details of the day anymore, we will be able to come back and read about it. It is hard to find 10 minutes to string two thoughts together with a newborn, so excuse the random rambling style of the post.....

The night before I went into the hospital, I dreamed about Ryan. I've read that when you are pregnant, you dream about taking care of babies all the time, but I had only had one previous dream about him during the entire pregnancy at around 4 months or so. In that dream, I came home from work and realized I had left Ryan in his crib all day. The dream the night before I went into labor was much less traumatic, I was just changing his diaper, but I remember feeling really, really happy. That morning I told Van about the dream and wondered out loud if that was a sign that he was going to make his entrance into the world soon.

As Van stated on the blog the night we went to the hospital, we went in because my water broke. It didn't happen like you see in the movies, with the big gush spilling all over the floor. I had read previously that it might just be a "trickle down the leg", but I didn't even have that much. Needless to say I was really hesitant to go to the hospital. Adding to my hesitancy was a blog post I had read just one day before. It was about a woman who went to the hospital thinking her water had broken. After some lab tests at the hospital, the moisture was determined to be urine and the woman was sent home. How embarrassing!

We happened to be watching Juno on HBO that afternoon, which is the only reason I gave a second thought to the idea that my water may have broken, but it definitely wasn't a "Thundercats go!!!" moment.

At around 5pm, I still wasn't sure but Van insisted that I call the hospital. The nurse on the phone told us that there's no rush, but just come down sometime tonight and they'd do a test for amniotic fluid. Since there was no rush, and just in case we had to stay at the hospital, I decided to take a shower and fix my hair before leaving home. Unfortunately, we didn't think to eat before going to the hospital. It would be another 24 hours before we could eat next.

We didn't get to the hospital until 7:15 pm. They did a quick test and confirmed that it was amniotic fluid, and checked me in. I was told that from then on I was only allowed to have clear fluids and no food. I really regretted waiting to have dinner at that point. The nurse told me that since my water was broken, Ryan would need to be delivered within 24 hours to minimize the risk of infection to both me and him. Since I didn't really know when it had broken, although my guess was sometime around 2pm, they started me on an antibiotic drip in my IV sometime the next morning.

They hooked me up to monitors and found I was having contractions lasting for 1 minute, about 6 minutes apart, but I couldn't feel them. The nurse instructed us to go walk around the floor and wait for the contractions to become more intense. After several hours of walking around, the contractions got further apart, so I was told that I was going to have to start Pitocin to get the labor started. As you can see from Van's entry that night, they increased the dose pretty quickly and it didn't take long for me to be in some serious pain. I found that if I laid in the hospital bed the pain was much more intense so I spent most of my time laboring in a chair next to the bed.

The pain was so intense that it started causing me to throw up, so I was then told I wasn't allowed to have any fluid, just ice chips. After I got the epidural at around 8am, all I could think about was how thirsty I was. I absolutely cherished every ice chip I was allowed to have.

My epidural eased the pain for about a half an hour before I started noticing that on my right side the pain was coming back very intensely. I waited for a while before asking for the anesthesiologist to come back just to make sure that it wouldn't just start working again. Big mistake. The pain came back quickly and intensely and it seemed to take forever for the anesthesiologist to get there. When he finally returned, he moved the catheter that was delivering the drugs around in my back, which fixed the problem and I was able to sleep very soundly for about 2.5 hours. I woke up when the nurse came in around 11:45AM to check my blood pressure, and I started noticing pain again. I asked them to bring back the anesthesiologist right away. The nurse decided to check how far along I was before they called him, and found that I was 10 cm dilated and ready to start pushing. She said that was the reason I was starting to feel the pain again.

She called my OB, and found out my OB had a scheduled C-section at noon. This meant I was going to have to wait to start pushing until she was finished. I was disappointed, but also relieved to hear this. I had made it this far, and pushing was the final unknown, so I was really scared to start.

The pain became increasingly more intense and I was starting wonder if I was going to be able to take it. The nurse told me that if I pushed each time I had a contraction, it would decrease the pain. She didn't want me to really push, just enough so that I felt some relief. I thought it seemed strange, but I tried it and sure enough, when I pushed the contraction hurt less, and the harder I pushed, the less pain I felt. I kept up with these "little pushes" until the Dr. arrived a little after 1PM.

Since the nurse had told me he was "right there", I expected him to just pop right out the minute I had a really hard push. But it was around an hour later that the Dr. told me to reach down and pull him out. So that is what I did. I had no idea that she was going to have me do that and it was terrifying because he was really slippery, but it was amazing. Yes, I cried. Van and I just stared at him for the next 20 minutes or so while the Dr. finished up. It was a little scary for a while because I could hear the Dr. telling the nurse to go get some sort of medicine because she couldn't get the bleeding to stop.

The next couple of hours are kind of a blur. Van got to accompany Ryan to the nursery, and I was given the choice of whatever food I wanted from the cafeteria. I really didn't want anything but water, but I decided to get a grilled cheese sandwich. When it arrived, I was so dehydrated that when I took a bite of the sandwich, I wasn't able to swallow it. I ended up drinking several liters of water in the next couple of hours. I was drinking so much the nurse asked me to stop because she was worried about water poisoning.

Although it was long and painful, the whole experience was not nearly as bad as I had envisioned. In fact, the pain of delivery is much harder for me to remember than the horrible thirst I experienced. I even feel like I could do it all again, maybe even more than once. :)

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