Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Iris's birth story

(Iris sent this to me awhile ago and I forgot to post it. So here it is! It's a great story.)

Saturday January 24th, I was expressing my concerns to G about our induction, scheduled for January 31st, 2009. Expressing them the same way, I've been writing about them. G kept telling me to relax and not worry.

I took a nap and while I did that, G called Labor and Delivery at the hospital to ask them some for information to calm my fears. Questions like "What weight is considered is 'too big' to deliver natural?", "What if we don't want to be induced at 41 weeks? What are the risks?" The nurse's answers to G's questions didn't please him. They confirmed that I had valid reasons for being concerned. We both felt like they had turned their backs on us, as far as our desires for delivering when the baby was ready, not when they say he is. G told me that he would be attending the Dr's appointment with me! G decided to go with me to my last Dr's appointment to ask some questions and share some concerns about our scheduled induction for Saturday, January 31st. I was so pleased because I hated feeling like I was "fighting" the hospital and their policies, alone. G said to me, "I am taking you walking tomorrow and you better be ready because we are walking a whole lot."

Sunday, we woke up and went to church. When we were done we went to eat breakfast at a local cafe. From there, G took me to the mall and we walked the 1st and 2nd floors twice! The escalators were broken, so we had to use them as stairs. From there, we went to Best Buy and walked some more there. Just browsing the store. I remember feeling very tired and sore in all of the birthing "areas." I told G, that I was very tired. He asked me if I wanted to go home yet . I told him that I wanted to keep walking around Best Buy. We did.

When we got home, I took a 1 hour nap. When I woke up, G asked me "Are you ready to walk?" WHAT??? I was so tired from walking! We took Zero for a walk around the neighborhood. When we finally got home that night, my mucous plug had a tinge of blood in it. I quickly went to tell G. It was such a pleasure to know that we had progressed to another level. But still this MAY not be labor, so we remained calm and went about our night.

Sunday night (technically Monday, January 26th,) we went to bed pretty late. I want to say it was about midnight. I was awake in bed thinking about the appointment the next day. At about 1 am I started feeling the usual contractions. Every time I would get contractions, I would also get excited and think "THIS MIGHT BE IT!" In my mind, I started to time them. They were about 47 seconds long and sporadically apart.-sometimes 1 minute, sometimes 17 minutes apart. I stayed up on and off until about 5 am timing them. I tried to go back to sleep. A voice in my head told me "Get your rest just in case this is real." Of course, I didn't listen. I was in denial, but excited at the thought. I also wanted to wake G up from the excitement, but I wanted him to get his rest. I mean, what if I wasn't real again? I would waste his time. So, I didn't tell him.
When he finally woke up, Monday Jan 26th morning, I waited to tell him. I finally told him, "I am having the same contractions but they are more consistent. Should we prepare?" He asked me a few questions about how I was feeling and timed the contractions, they were still sporadic and not consistent enough so, we decided it wasn't time. So, we went about our day.

At my scheduled Dr's appointment, the NP checked and I was 2 cm dilated. She offered to open me up even more, but we said no. We want the baby to come when he is ready. We got home and I still had the same contractions. Light, nothing to pay attention to. This was typical. I was so tired of no progress!

I still had some things to take care of with Zero's vaccinations and check up, so we went to see the vet. Before we did that, G took Zero and I walking around the neighborhood.

At the same time we were walking Zero, we were timing these "contractions." They were not painful at all, but they were more consistent and coming in at about 4-5 minutes apart, sometimes they were 3 minutes apart. I kept telling him that I didn't believe this was labor because the consistent contractions were not painful at all, so how can THIS be labor? He said to me, "You MAY be in early labor, let's just get to the hospital." I didn't want to be there either early or with false labor. Plus, I was starting to feel giddy and excited. I know that adrenaline can stop labor altogether. So, I tried to remain calm and asked him to please let us wait. We got home and began to prepare some items for the hospital JUST IN CASE.

G asked me again, "Do you want to go to the hospital?" I said" no, I want to go take care of Zero's vaccinations and just go about our day. These feel the same as the other days. I don't want to get excited over a false labor." So we went to the vet.
When we were in the vet's examination room, I had a really strong contraction. It made me get all sweaty and red. It felt like someone stabbed me with a pencil in my gut and held it there. I thought, "THIS IS IT! OMG ! We're at the vet's! We need to leave, if I get another." So I waited for another one, and nothing came. They went back to being the way they were-Light and not so painful-Very similar to menstrual cramps. We went home. When we got home, the contractions were the same but sometimes I would get a really strong one (that stabbing pain). Once the contraction was over, I was ok and able to talk just fine. I still denied it.

Finally, at about 4 PM-ish, G said to me, "Look, if we are in early labor, you can go into real labor in a matter of minutes, seconds even...let's just go to the hospital, settle in (if needed) and if we go into false labor, we will just come home...no big deal." I finally gave in to his requests because I saw the look of concern in his face. We headed off to the hospital. I was still ok and a little upset that we were leaving so early. I pictured it differently. I pictured going when I was in the worst pain and spending only the last 1-2 hours there. This was too early. I was worried of dealing with sitting there and feeling anxious. I was worried about calling friends and family and saying "HEY WE'RE AT THE HOSPITAL WE THINK WE MAY BE IN LABOR!" and then coming home with nothing. I was done with feeling like I was not going to be able to have our baby within the "allowed" time. I felt pressured. When we got to the hospital, it was about 5 pm. I felt silly. I looked around and was smiling at the nurses...wondering "Do they think I am an idiot? I am not even in pain and checking in. They probably think I am an exaggerator."

They checked me in and took me to a labor exam room. In this room it would be determined if I was in labor or not. They put me in a hospital robe, asked 1001 questions, hooked me up to monitors and we just waited. When I was laying there, about 1 hour went by and nothing...everything was the same....then occasionally, I would get these painful contractions that made me moan a little. The look on the nurses faces were dry and not reacting to my contractions...I was sure they were going to send us home.

Laying there in the bed was causing the contractions to hurt more. I noticed that right away.

One of the midwives came in and checked my dilation, I was 4 centimeters. She said you can stay in the labor room. When they transferred me, it was about 7 pm (2 hours after arriving) I was actually able to transfer myself by walking to the labor room. I thought I wasn't going to be able to walk. I got up from the bed and pain from the contractions went away. It felt so good to walk!!!!! I realized that laying down made it worse-which is why we specifically requested, in our birth plan, to have a hep lock rather than an IV. This way I was free to walk around.
While I was walking in the birthing room, the contractions were not too bad. I was able to handle them. But then the nurse said, "I need to monitor the baby and we need to strap you to the monitors. You will need to lay down for 30 minutes." When I finally did lay down in this room, the contractions started coming in really strong! They felt like my stomach was going to explode. They felt like my bones were being pulled apart in different directions.

That's when I started to freak out. Gerardo and I had brought so many things to make this experience sweet and smooth. But he was not able to get to them. He tried to set up the music player for me with a bunch of songs he had collaborated into a mix for this special occasion and I wouldn't let him leave my side. When they allowed me to get up from the monitoring, I was fine and dealing well with the contractions. G and I learned about many different laboring positions in class.

My favorite that night was the "slow dance." The slow dance looks just like what it's called, a slow dance. We stood together in the dark room. The nurses left us alone. We were humming music and dancing really slow as my contractions were coming in and gradually getting stronger. When they peaked, I would release the strength in my legs that would normally support my entire body and rest my weight on his body as he held me through the contractions. I wanted to cry, but I held in my tears. It was more important to stay focused and breathe. This was a beautiful, beautiful moment. When were able to dance again, after the contractions left, I would look into his eyes and listen to his coaching. He would tell me to breathe rhythmically. Inhale and exhale. I followed his lead....Suddenly, during one of the most painful contractions, I felt a tiny burst of water on my leg. I asked him to check if the water had broken. It did, but it wasn't fully broken. It was a eensy weensy leak. A tiny splash on my leg....

I felt the the need to use the birthing ball and get into another position, on all fours with my head and arms resting on the ball. This felt really good and was really aiding in the pain. Suddenly the nurse walked in and said I needed to get on the monitors again for 30 minutes. Ugh! I hated laying down, it made the contractions hurt more! I got on the bed and was strapped to the monitors.

In class, we learned to moan with each contraction-Sing your baby out, it's called. At one point, Gerardo was telling me to prepare for each contraction and had a method to distract me each time: He hummed a tune and I hummed it with him, following his lead. Not any particular tune, just constant sounds to distract me from the pain. He asked me to blow raspberries (motorboats) with my lips, I did as he said....just watching him and trying to ride the massive pain waves. Just when I thought I had the worst contraction, they became even stronger. They felt like my insides were opening up and being held open by a metal stump (seriously.) I wanted so bad to get up from the bed and walk. I knew it would help, but they said they couldn't stop monitoring the baby. So I had to stay in bed. At one point the nurse said they may need to put me on an IV because my temperature was too high. I had a fever. I looked at G and said, "I've got to get this fever down." I closed my eyes and just breathed slowly. When I inhaled, I allowed the air to cool my chest and go all the way into the pit of my stomach. I imagined feeling so cold that I had goosebumps. When I opened my eyes, she checked my temperature again and it was normal again!

She let me walk some more.

In the last hour (about 9 pm) they put me back on the monitoring system. I was laying there moaning every minute for each 3-5 minute-long contraction.

At one point, my water broke! I was sure this time. I was a warm gush in between my legs. I pushed the button for the nurse, because she had left the room for a minute and told her. She came in and checked. I was 6-7 centimeters dilated. She got on the phone and called for the doctor. This time, the contractions were coming in stronggggggggggggggggg and I felt pressure below. The pains were so strong coming from the inside and flowing out, that I couldn't have simple thoughts. I could no longer hear my own voice telling me everything will be ok. I couldn't make out reality from what was going on in my head. I remember not even wanting to make eye contact with ANYONE. I couldn't look at any one object, I had to steer my view in different directions to see a new object every few seconds. I felt like I was going insane. But I still knew it was important to follow what G was telling me to do.
A few minutes later, I felt a strong urge to push! It was about 9:30 pm. The urge was a burning, heavy feeling down there. Worse than having to go poop! Felt like my birth canal was full of hot weight that overfilled my capacity and needed to come through IMMEDIATELY!

I felt like pushing so I yelled out and almost cried.... "I NEED TO PUSH!" G told the nurse. She said, "I am going to check you, don't push yet. We're going to check you ok?" I remember responding in a whiny voice "OK! OK! OK! OK! OK! You're going to check me, OK! OK! OK! Check me..OK OK OK" I think I was trying to fill in the time-gap between her sentence and the next step. She checked me and said, you are 9.5 but let me get another nurse to verify. The pain was so strong that I couldn't even feel annoyed by that. I was dazed, weak and limp.... I just continued to drown in these waves of pain. G kept reminding me to breathe, by looking into my eyes and breathing in my face. Good thing because I was holding in my breath from the pain. Finally, the next nurse came, she said..."She's ready!" The midwife came in, with 2 more nurses and they all got ready to help us deliver.
The pains were NOTHING at this point. Weird that they left me so suddently. The insanity I felt, turned into strength. I wanted the baby to be here and arrive healthy. I didn't care about my pains anymore. I was determined...to push...(now only if I knew how to do this, really.)

They put me in the classic pushing position and when a contraction came, they asked me to PUSH! In the first push, I inhaled and then, at the push, I let out a big GRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNT! The nurse looked at me in the eyes and said, "Iris, you need to NOT let out the air when you push. Hold your breath." We waited for another contraction to come "Inhale......Hold for the count and push 1-2-3-4-5-6-7...*GRUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNT!*"

Once again, nurse said to me "Iris, if you don't hold your breath, your pushes are wasted energy. Hold your breath and don't let it out. When you grunt you are letting the air out" I remember waiting for the next contraction anxiously, now they weren't coming FAST ENOUGH! I had to wait for them in order to push!??? No, have them come NOW!! The next contraction came and they had me push. G was supporting my back and holding my leg up. I was holding my other leg up. I pushed and felt NOTHING coming down there. :( it was so disheartening. I felt like I was giving it my all and there was nothing happening. Thoughts of "I can't do this! We will be here for hours! I'm tired" ran through my head :( When the next contraction came, I wanted to lie and say I don't feel anything....let's just skip this :(
I asked the nurse, "Do you think it would be better if I squatted?" She said "No, then we can't see the baby or catch him." I wanted to squat. I felt that the gravity would really help in getting the baby out.

I leaned back, looked up and asked God (and my mother in heaven) to give me the strength to do this. I had no ENERGY. NONE.
The contraction got strong and we got into position to push, I PUUUUUUUUUUUUSHED, and held my breath, pushed from my upper abs, and then OUCH!!!!!!!!! There was pressure down there....OW OW OW! He was crowning, they said.
G let out a gleeful, "I see him, baby he's almost here, you can do this! You're doing so good!"

As we waited for the next contraction, G told me the baby's heart rate had gone down. I remembered that their heart rate goes down as they pass through the canal. I knew that I had to get him out of there. As the nurse wheeled the hospital crib made of clear plastic, to our bed, I could see my reflection. I could see his head! They asked me to touch. I could feel it! It was mushy. Not like I imagined. I was determined again to get him out. He needed me.
G said "ok you need to hold your breath and push! Then he counted PUSH! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!" Out came his head, along with that, the rest of his body!

I don't remember about the few moments after the birth....just that they asked G to get his camera for pictures. They passed the baby to me, with the umbilical cord attached as we requested them not to cut it until it stopped pulsing.

The pains were gone.

How can this be?.....

He was here....I was weakened by all of the work, but wanted to see him...

They passed him on to me. I could no longer hold my tears. I had no control of them anymore.

He melted me and I love him.

I was able to see them bathing him. I was anxious to see him again.

G was great. He never left his sight...He walked around with them as they took care of getting him ready.

They brought him back to us.....

We can't stop staring at him!

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