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Ella Gray's Birth Story

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Ella Gray's Birth Story

Post  freedak on Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:48 pm

I debated for a long time whether or not I should post my birth story. I think I should--I need to remember it, and I think it's good to process the whole experience. So...here goes!

With all the buzz around inducing me, the doctors gave me until my official due date, Oct. 30, to go into labor on my own. If I hadn't, I would have been induced on the 30th. I did finally go into labor on the 26th after a round of trying natural induction methods at home (mental note: breast pump worked only AT NIGHT!) I started having contractions at 11pm, and they continued regularly through the night. They weren't especially painful at that time, but they were strong enough that I couldn't sleep. I encouraged Chris to sleep while he could, but he was just so excited! We practiced being on the birth ball, which ended up being my favorite position. The following morning, we decided to go to the hospital when my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and about 1 minute long.

When we arrived (6:30? 7:00?), I was sure that I would be about 6 cm when checked. I mean, I had already been laboring for 8 hours! Nope. 3 cm. I figured it was no big deal, I just had to keep dilating on my own, right? Ugh. I dilated SO SLOWLY! Michele met us at the hospital to act as our doula shortly after I checked in. I walked...and walked...and walked...and I barely dilated any more. Meanwhile, the contractions were getting pretty painful. I moaned through them and had to look Chris or Michele directly in the eye for focus.

When I got past 4 cm, I decided to get into the tub. From that point on, my labor was just a cycle of getting in the tub, getting out of the tub...in the tub, out of the tub...in the tub, out of the tub...you get the idea! My contractions were more tolerable when I was in the tub, but I knew it was probably slowing down my labor. To top everything off, Chris was wearing a digital watch that I STARED at while in the tub. I kept telling myself that normal labor lasts about 12 hours, so I waited for that 12 hour mark. That time came and went, with me no closer to delivering.

I finally dilated to 6 cm (after many more hours of laboring), but I kind of just got stuck there. It seemed like my body just didn't want to dilate any further! Also, by this point, I was freakin' exhausted. My body was tired and my mind was tired. I kept feeling like I must be going through transition because I just felt like I couldn't do it any more. I just needed to rest! So at 18 hours of labor, I asked for anything other than an epidural. I got an IV medication called Nubain, and it allowed me to sleep for 2 hours. I was sure that if I just got a little bit of sleep, I could certainly get through the rest of labor. I woke up, the doctor checked me, and I was still 6 cm. And I was still exhausted. He broke my water to try to speed things up (looking back, I wish I had said no), and the fluid was filled with "lots of thick meconium." At this point, I knew I wasn't getting my slimy baby moment--they would have to put her directly under the warmer and asess her breathing. I came to terms with that, and got excited that things should be speeding up.

Well, the contractions got more painful, but labor certainly didn't "speed up." I got so out of sorts that I finally asked for the epidural. Ahh...what sweet relief it was! I slept for 4 hours and woke up feeling pretty great and dilated to 9.5 cm! The doctors let me labor down for a while, and then I began to push. And push. And push. I pushed for almost 4 hours! Little Ella refused to descend beyond 0 station. At this point, the doctor realized she was posterior (oh--that's what the back labor was all about!) and turned her around with forceps. I pushed some more. She didn't descend. He tried using the vacuum. She still didn't descend. You could see the look of disappointment on his face; he really wanted to give me a vaginal birth, but things weren't going well. Her heart rate kept dropping dramatically during pushing and then skyrocketing afterward. It was so scary to hear it on the monitor!

In the end, we decided to do a cesarean. I was disappointed, but I knew it was necessary. I also knew it must be karma-- I've done so much bad-mouthing of cesareans in the past. After the doctor gave me more drugs for the surgery, I pretty much passed out. I was so very tired! I remember I was so terrified that I would feel them cutting me. When I was pushing, I could feel half my body, so I was sure the epidural was placed incorrectly and I would feel the knife on my right side. While I was lying on the table, I asked Chris if they had started yet. The anesthesiologist laughed and said they were almost done! Chris later told me it was funny because my body was bouncing all over the table. Apparently the doctor had a hard time getting her out, even with a section! Her head was literally STUCK in my pelvis. He had to tug and tug to get her free!

I remember hearing the doctor announce the time of birth: 12:47 pm. Chris brought her to me, and I thought she was so beautiful! I remember that it surprised me--I just knew she would be all malformed after all that pushing. Yes, she did have a conehead, but she was still gorgeous.

I don't remember a lot after this. I guess they wheeled me back to the room and I slept. I think I kept asking Chris to go check on her, but he was reluctant. He went a couple of times, but I think he really wanted to stay with me. At some point Chris' mom came into the room, but I'm not sure when. A couple of hours later, a nurse wheeled Ella into the room. Again, I don't remember much, and that's the part that saddens me the most. I don't really remember the first time I held her. I know I put her to my breast and she latched on immediately, but it seems like a dream; nothing's really clear in my memory about that moment. One thing I remember so clearly, though, happened before Ella was brought to me. When Regina came into my room, we both broke into tears and were overcome with emotion. I'll NEVER forget that! It was really incredible!

I think my birth experience was important for several reasons, the biggest one being to teach me to be less judgemental. Before giving birth, I was extremely elitist and, well, annoying about natural childbirth. I looked down my nose at those who used epidurals and got c-sections. Even though I wish my birth had gone differently and I will definitely try for a natural birth again next time, I understand more now. I understand that things can't always go as you plan them, and birth is different for each person. Each person's experience is their own, and it's theirs to remember and treasure.

Now it must be time for me to stop typing because my beautiful daughter is crying for her mommy! I may not remember the first time I held her, but I'll have thousands more times to make memories.

freedak

Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2009-01-17

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