Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Childbirth

Be warned, I'm not shy with specifics.

After an epically long winter and a very uncomfortable pregnancy, I was more then ready to head to the hospital Saturday, June 1st, at approximately 11pm, when I suspected I may be leaking amniotic fluid. Because Maci was two weeks early, I felt long overdue at one day shy of 40 weeks and was ready to get the party started.

Let me back up just a bit first…

Technically, things started the previous Tuesday when I awoke to a noticeably lower baby (think bowling ball sitting on your lap) and mild, but irregular and uncomfortable contractions. They lasted the week and often made me wonder whether or not it was the real deal. It wasn't. Thursday I had my regular weekly checkup where I learned I was 2-3cm dilated, baby's head was "engaged," and that my doctor would be stripping my membranes before I left. Being new to this procedure, I can now tell you it was somewhat painful but over before I had time to protest. That night, we tried our hand at some home remedies: eating spicy food, walking, depositing prostaglandins (I'll let you look that up) … all to no avail. When a completely uneventful Friday rolled around, I started to lose hope that my body would put itself into labor. Then came Saturday morning and the arrival of my (I apologize but this is what they, not me, have lovingly labeled it) "bloody show." This immediately put me on high, hopeful alert until I learned this was just another mere sign towards impending labor, which at that point, could still be hours, days, or even a week away. Yay. So the remainder of the day passed by slowly and by night time, I was back to unpredictable contractions, uncomfortable pain and a pretty crabby mood, thus the giant-sized bowl of cookies n'cream I consumed while we sat down to watch The Impossible (which coincidentally, my friend Sara declared as so intense, it would put me into labor). The (incredible) movie ended and as we crawled into bed, I noticed I was now occupying some semi-droopy drawers. Not having remembered peeing my pants, I consulted the husband and decided I would ring the hospital, just to be on the safe side. They were unsure and suspicious I was leaking amniotic fluid so they advised us to leisurely make our way in. We phoned our friends to hang out at our house while Maci slept and took a little road trip to the hospital.

Three hours, one negative amniotic fluid test and a biophysical profile ultrasound later, we were sent home with the news that I was still only dilated 2-3cm, baby was okay and even though I was having contractions every four to six minutes, they weren't strong enough to cause any progression. Oh, and that I may be carrying a 10-pound baby, give or take a pound. (WAIT. What the… what?!) Disappointed and feeling a bit foolish, we headed home and crawled back into bed at 2:30am. Roughly an hour later I awoke from a very brief slumber to a very strong, very painful contraction. They say you'll know when "real" labor contractions start, as opposed to Braxton Hicks or preliminary contractions, and nothing could be more true. They are much, MUCH more intense and debilitating. You can't talk, you can't walk and you basically cease to function until they've passed. At least that's how it was for me for the next several hours. When my contractions immediately fell only three to four minutes apart, we made repeat phone calls to the hospital and our Maci-watching-friends, and again headed to the car. When we arrived, I was 100% certain we would be staying this time so Shawn grabbed our fully-packed bags from the car and we slowly made our way back up to the same room we occupied just a few hours prior. From here, things start to be a blur because it all happened so fast. In fact, we arrived at the hospital around 5am and Miss Ivy made her debut to the world at 10:04am. Time flew but so much happened that I will never forget…

…I will never forget saying yes to the epidural. I had a go-with-the-flow mentality pre-labor because I didn't have typical contractions with Maci and therefore I wasn't sure what labor would feel like and what I would be able to handle. Standing over the bed with my fists balled and Shawn's warm hands planted firmly on my lower back, I could make it through the contractions with some strong, slow breaths and a lot of mental focus, however, I doubted my endurance to be able to do it for countless hours and still actually give birth at the end of it all. For some reason, my babies like to come in the middle of the night so as with what happened with Maci, I was doing all this on virtually no sleep and for me, no sleep = no shot. So epidural it was. Glorious, gorgeous, gigantic-needle epidural. I was nervous at first because it didn't seem to be kicking in on my left side but after a quick bolster and some other technical, medical business I can't remember, I was back to being blissfully numb and blissfully annoyed with that damn blood pressure cuff as I tried to get a few moments of rest before the big show.

(Now there's one, HOT, Mama! Eat your heart out Kim Kardashian.)


…I will never forget the feeling of anxiety that washed over me when Shawn had to leave to go park the car. He had left it running outside the door for some time to help me get settled so eventually, he actually had to head back down and relocate it to the parking garage. To that end, I will never forget the feeling of calm that washed back over me upon his return. For some reason I felt more relaxed, more secure and more safe when he was there by my side keeping the nurse quiet while I had a contraction, making sure I was drinking apple juice to keep my blood sugar up, enveloping my icicle hands when they administered the epidural and overall just being my focal point of strength and love to get through it all.


…I will never forget almost completely losing it just before the arrival of Ivy. I don't remember the context behind the comment but Shawn innocently ended up quoting Mae Mo when he said, "No thank you" in just the tone and manner she always does and I felt tears prick my eyes before I could control it. It made me so nostalgic of her birth and her not being there that I just about lost it. Fortunately, I had other things to preoccupy my attention and was forced to pull it together in order to push out an 8lb. 13oz. bowling ball.


…I will never forget the actual delivery and declaration of our second daughter. Not knowing the sex of your impending child is like no other experience out there. In my opinion, it's the single greatest and honest surprise left in the world and I'm so happy we decided to go that route again. I had sneaking suspicions we were having another girl up until the end of my pregnancy when said baby started to turn into an effing pistol and my thoughts started to sway towards boy because let's face it, no baby girl would treat their mother that way! And ironically, as with Maci, we were all set on a girl name but spent the majority of our time in the hospital trying to decide on a boys name (which in both cases, we never actually arrived at one). 


…I will never forget seeing Ivy for the first time. She looked like a swollen Maci Mae! Two contractions of three, 10-second pushes was all it took. (I was uber motivated after having heard a nurse say something along the lines of, "the baby is not liking the contractions" which is nurse speak for, the baby's heart rate is dropping.) And even though I harshly cried NO when they asked if I wanted to reach down and feel her as she was coming out, I could not wait to see, hold and snuggle her, when all was said and done and delivered of course. I remember asking if she had hair and remember feeling shocked when they said she had a chin dimple. The husband has the greatest cheek dimples but neither of us has the proverbial chin dimple so I was completely surprised to hear Ivy did. (Since her birth, we've discovered she has a left cheek dimple but have yet to see a right so maybe that's the one that relocated to her chin. :)


 …I will never forget the doctor leading us all in singing "Happy Birthday" to our baby girl just after she was born. They had to take two shots at it to get it started just right but at the end is when we announced her name and the tears started to flow. Luckily, because we had a camera this time, we have the whole thing recorded. We had heard this particular doctor liked to do this little ritual for each baby he delivers and I remember feeling cynical about the whole thing at first, like it was a little cheesy or corny thing to do. I now remember it as one of my fondest memories of Ivy's birth.


…I will never forget Maci meeting her sister for the first time. Grandma and Papa ended up at our house shortly after 6:30am that morning to relieve our friends from Maci-watching-duty and brought her to visit that night around 6:30pm. Daddy met her outside the door and when he walked her in and she saw me, she had the greatest grin on her face. I was SO excited to see her and see her reaction to Miss Ivy. She was delighted, wanted to touch her but didn't want to give her kisses just yet, and declared her cute and agreed she should come home with us. The meeting of the sisters was really amazing and went about as well as one could expect and it made me feel optimistic for their future friendship.


…I will never forget the surreal-ness of it all. I waited for what seemed like an eternity to give birth to this baby and it was all over in a blink of an eye. As with Maci, the doctor ended up breaking my bag of waters, I went from 5cm to 10cm in an hour and again, started to fear my epidural was wearing off when in actuality, the pressure and mild pain was just a sign it was time to start pushing. (In fact, it was Shawn who took a look, confirmed my hunch, and notified the nurse it was time to get ready.) I remember the doctor at one point saying something a little less then encouraging when it came to my pushing and immediately feeling myself going on the defense and pushing harder and stronger then I ever thought I could. The doctor then changed his tune and Ivy was delivered seconds later. I think that doctor knew what he was doing. :) To the contrary, I remember all the nurses being so encouraging; declaring how hard and impressive it was for me to sit through the epidural when my contractions were so intense and so frequent, or announcing to others that it only took a couple pushes to deliver such a large baby, or being impressed at how easily Ivy latched and nursed immediately and for over an hour!


I now know what made this pregnancy so very uncomfortable – Miss Ivy Dae was a whole 2lb. 10oz. larger then Miss Maci Mae! I guess it helps when you make it full term and deliver on your exact due date. Speaking of which, I always assumed I would go early again, because I did with Maci, so it was another valuable lesson learned; I can't control mother nature any more then I can control the weather so I need to just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. And now that it's over and my body is on it's way back, I can. 

6 comments:

  1. Wow. I hope you print this out and save it somewhere in case the blog world disappears. I hope when others read this they picture what I did: how much you and Shawn love each other.

    love,
    me

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    1. Thank you. That's all I got… ;)

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  2. Thank you, Kali, for making my tear up again! I just keep putting myself in your position and then when you were talking about Maci coming to meet her little sister, I lost it! I should have waited to read this until AFTER mine is born. Oh well, I'm so glad that Ivy is here for you and hope you are enjoying her immensely! I sure hope my second one is a better at breastfeeding than the first one. I have a small hope since I've heard from several moms that it's comes easier to both parties the second time around.

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    1. I'm super sappy lately so it's apparently seeping into my writing. My apologies … stupid hormones! It is pretty crazy the second time around though, so MUCH more involved! I wish you much luck as I'm sure you and your family will do amazing! As for the breastfeeding … I would say it's easier this time around although I didn't have too many difficulties with Maci. It reminds me of another blog I read though, if you haven't heard of it, you should check it out and search for previous breastfeeding posts she's written; her first son was a horrible experience and her second has been the complete opposite: http://www.bowerpowerblog.com.

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  3. I will check it out! I'm pretty sure Lexi was tongue-tied, but there was no one around to help with that sort of thing in Alabama.

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  4. Just read a few of her posts...There is hope!!

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