Thursday, April 12, 2012

Parenthood: Pregnancy and Chilbirth
Take #3

Well, I was hooked. Childbirth with Baby #2 had been a blast. A long, hard, painful, excrutiating blast and I wanted to do it again. I love babies. I love birthing babies. I love nursing babies. I love holding babies. And I wanted more babies.

By December of 1992 we had moved to North Carolina and I was ready to roll but my husband said that we had to conceive a house before we could conceive a baby. So we moved into our house August of 1993 and by September had conceived yet again. Perhaps it was the time of year or the sea bands that I wore or the fact that (unknown at the time) I was expecting a boy, but the nausea wasn't quite as bad this go round.

A friend was a Bradley childbirth instructor and my husband and I had a blast learning anything and everything related to birth. I had thoroughly impressed my midwife with my endurance during Baby #2's birth ("If you ever get ahold of a small, anterior baby you will shoot that thing across the room") and was gonna do it again. But we weren't living in Philly anymore so I had to find a new midwife/OB. There weren't any midwives that delivered at our local hospital so I opted for an MD who had apparently let a woman push for 4 hours (word on the street was that most MDs would only let you push for 2 and then cut you open).

My due date was June 5 but by early May I was pretty miserable. On top of the usual pregnancy stuff I had severe itching. Not just on my belly but on my arms and legs. It was so bad I couldn't sleep at night and I was clawing my skin off. My liver enzymes were normal so they ruled out interhepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and said I just needed to have the baby. Thank you.

On Tuesday, May 24, I was 3-4 cm dilated, 75% effaced, my cervix was aimed and ready to fire and the baby was at 0 station. My husband named my waddle the Zero Station Strut. On Wednesday I started having some very watery discharge. This had happened with Baby #2 and it had just been from the effacement. It wasn't a tremendous amount and nothing that concerned me. Later Wednesday evening I began to have regular contractions and we took the girls to a friend's house as we went home to see how things progressed. The contractions fizzled and so did my emotions.

Thursday brought things off and on. I kept thinking, "Gee, if I was 3-4 on Tuesday imagine what I might be now with all this activity." Now let it be known that my mother did not know she was in labor with me and ended up getting to the hospital 15 minutes before I was born. I couldn't help but think, and hope, that I was following the same pattern.

I made pancakes for supper because I figured if I was going to throw something up, they would be the least gross. After supper I had to go to the bathroom. Now here is the weird thing... and to this day I am not sure what happened. I sat down to pee and couldn't. All I got was this very bizarre pressure and burning sensation and, of course, I figured I was about to have the baby. It felt exactly like it did when Baby #2 was crowning.

I screamed to my husband, we grabbed the kids and threw them out the door (braking to a slow roll) at our friend's house on the way to the hospital. No, I had not called the doctor. Who had time to call the doctor? We got there and rolled back to triage. The nurse checked me. Laughed. Rolled her eyes and said with sarcasm and a huff, "She thinks she in labor." Well, if I wasn't in labor what the heck was I in, mind you? It was so bizarre. I was 2 cm dilated, 25% effaced and my cervix was posterior again. Huh? I've gone backwards? Now that's skill.

The doctor came down to check it out himself and noticed the watery discharge and discovered that it was not discharge at all, but amniotic fluid. I had been leaking for perhaps days. They gave me 2 options. Go home and come back at 6 in the morning to be induced or go ahead and do it now. I was worn out and emotional and decided that after all this I was most certainly NOT going to leave the hospital without a baby. So up we went to labor and delivery.

This was not the way I wanted things to go. I wanted a natural birth. All my life I had wanted to be good at something and had decided that maybe childbirth was it. This was not in the plan. God provided us with a wonderful labor and delivery nurse who understood my desires and worked with us. I got hooked up to all the bells and whistles and at about 10:30 p.m. had that first Pitocin contraction.

Holy cow! That stuff was bad. A contraction came... and then another one... and then another.... My nurse came in a few minutes later, looked at the monitor readouts and said, well, I see you are having nice contractions about 5 minutes apart. FIVE MINUTES! If they were 5 minutes apart then they were lasting for 4.5 of those minutes. When she heard this she checked me and I was already at 6 cm. I got a "whoa, you may be going fast" out of her as she ran to find the doctor who was playing a human pinball with 5 women in labor.

Somewhere along the way I started wanting an epidural because I couldn't take it anymore. Well, the Bradley class teaches about emotional signposts of labor and when you are at the "I can't take this anymore" stage you are in transition and almost ready to push. I got through that section growing fangs and breathing fire and headed on to the pushing. Memories of Baby #2 came flooding back and the thought of a 5 hour pushing extravaganza overwhelmed me. "Please don't tell me it's posterior," I begged. I heard the amused doc mumble under his breath, "It's posterior."

Well after 20 minutes of pushing one way and turning and pushing another the doctor told me to reach down and pull out my baby. Pull I did, and out came Baby #3 at 12:09 a.m. "It's a little boy!" I cried. "It's a BIG boy!" said the doctor. And yes, Baby #3 was a beautiful, healthy 8 lb. 7 oz. boy. And he was purple, like a large, squealing grape.

He pinked up nicely and I asked for something for cramps. Instead of the expected ibuprofen they gave me Stadol, which had me loosened up and loopy and saying all kinds of things to a friend across the state, who I called shortly after his birth.

I still wonder what it was that I was feeling when I went to pee that night and why on earth I went backwards in my progress. My Bradley instructor thought that perhaps he was spinning on my cervix (doesn't THAT sound nice!). My theory is that the leak in my amniotic sac took just enough pressure off my cervix for it to un-dilate a bit. Who knows?

My postpartum nurse was a real winner. She treated me like an idiot, even though this was my third child, and had me so upset that I was in tears by the time I went home later that day. I was determined not to have that experience again.

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