September 27, 2010

My Marathon

In the beginning of this pregnancy, Jason and I started to take Bradley classes and during the classes, the teacher frequently referred to giving birth as a "marathon".  Well, here's the course of My Marathon.

Before I begin, I'm going to give you some basic guidelines to help you understand what I went through.

Medical Interventions:
Breaking someone's water = harder contractions because there's no cushion between mom's pelvis and baby's head.
Pitocin = a synthetic hormone that causes contractions to be more intense and more frequent.
Epidural = last time I had an epidural it didn't work correctly.  When you think epidural, you assume there's no pain, this is not true, it takes away about 60% of the pain you're experiencing.

The race began at exactly 43 weeks pregnant, 5:30 in the morning when I woke up with contractions that I could not sleep through.  I rolled over and told Jason I didn't think he'd be going to work that morning.  I don't know for sure what he was thinking but part of me thought, 'he doesn't believe me' since I was so far overdue.  Not only was I exactly 43 weeks but it was poor Abby's last day of daycare.

So, I labored at home from 5:30 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m. (10.5 hours).  I was curious as to how far along I was but since the hospital was all the way in Hudson Wisconsin, our midwife said she'd be willing to check my progress at the birthing center before we headed to Wisconsin.  She checked me and I was dilated to 4 cm's.  My first thought was "seriously?  I'm only 4 cm's??"  But, my next thought was that I was glad we didn't make the treck all the way to WI.  We then went home and at around 6:30, I just couldn't take it anymore and we decided to go to WI.  We called the midwife and the midwife had actually gotten violently sick within the 2 hours we'd seen her so she sent a doula to help with the birth.  So, painfully at 7:00 pm I contracted every 3-4 minutes through rush-hour traffic all the way to Hudson Wisconsin, (yes, I was was literally yelling at some points during this drive.)

We finally arrived at the hospital were a nurse checked us into a room.  Unfortunately, the birthing rooms were all full so we had to be in a room with no birthing tub.  Luckily, we were only in the room for about 1/2 an hour before someone left the birthing room and I could get into the tub. They then checked me and I was STILL at 4 cm's  (I've now been in labor for 14.5 hours.) 

After seeing the Doctor and contracting for a few more hours, the doctor offered to break my water.  He said I could make the decision and he was alright with either decision but breaking my water would speed things up a bit.  I was hesitant because I knew the above statistics about breaking my water so I denied his offer.  Later on during the evening, I had progressed to about 5 cm's after a few more hours and I decided things needed to be sped up a bit so I requested that the doctor break my water.  The only reason I agreed to this was because Jason was being an amazing coach and the doula was really helpful so I knew, with their help, I could get through the stronger and more painful contractions.

My labor from 5 to 9 cm's felt really long but Jason informs me it was about 1 cm, every couple of hours.  During this time, I was in and out of the tub about 3 times and it was into the early hours of the morning.  Personally, I had no concept of the time and all three of us (Jason, Me and the doula) had had no sleep.  I started falling asleep in between contractions and the doula actually told Jason to go to the bathroom and get a snooze in to regenerate.  I didn't even notice he was gone for very long but he said it was 45 minutes. BUT, because they were both so helpful, I finally got to 9 cm's. 

For several hours I stayed at 9 cm's.  The nursing staff had switched out the overnight nurses to the day nurses.  The new nurse was another enormous help.  Her name was Theresa and before she was a nurse, she was a home delivery midwife and had helped birth over 400 babies.  She was AMAZING!  She was so caring and so helpful and never left our side.  I had frustratingly been at 9 cm's for several hours during the night and when she came into the room, I asked her if she would help me get from 9-10 cm's.  She said she'd do everything she could to help.  And boy she had a lot of tricks up her sleeve and we tried everything.  Unfortunately, none of them really worked.  I was so exhausted from not sleeping and now laboring for 30 hours that the doctor and the nurse were concerned about "Maternal Exhaustion" which would cause me to not be able to push once my body got to 10 cm's.  So, they urged me to have pitocin.  I still had not had any pain medication and I was very hesitant but Jason and the Doula assured me they'd be there for me to take it one contraction at a time.  I agreed to do the pitocin, the doctor thought it would just help my body to get pushed to the 10 cm's that I needed.  It was awful.  Several times I told Jason I couldn't handle it anymore but he was always there to reassure me that he knew I could. 

With the pitocin, my body eventually decided to start pushing for itself even though I was not at 10 cm's.  Because this was happening, my cervix started to swell and it could have been torn if the baby were to come out through a hole that was too small.  NOW not only was I having, strong, frequent, intense contractions but I was being told to tell my body NOT to do what it wanted to do and STOP the pushing.  That's damn near impossible.  For about 4 hours I dealt with the pitocin pain and I still hadn't gotten to 10 cm's.  I hadn't slept for 34 hours and the doctor said he recommended that I sleep and to do that I could do 1 of 2 things, get an epidural or have a narcotic sleeping pill.  The thought was that the pitocin would continue to work while I slept and when I woke up I would be at 10 cm's and ready to push.  So, I was either going to be knocked out with the narcotic and expected to push before it wore off or I could have an epidural which could be turned off when I was expected to push.  So, I opted for the epidural. 

I really didn't want to do either of these options but I had been in labor for 34 hours and sleeping for a few minutes between contractions and eventually on pitocin with no relief between for the past several hours.  There had to be an end in sight.  I slept for 2 hours and the doctor came back to check me.  He didn't say anything to me and had the nurse double check me.  The nurse had a confused look on her face and said to the doctor, "I think she's only 5 cm's now." The doctor agreed.  I was at a loss ... how could I have gone from 9 cm's (SOOOO CLOSE) to regressing almost 50%.  ALL that hard work, ALL what I had endured had digressed in 2 short hours.  How is that possible?  The doctor explained that this happens to less than 2% of people who have epidurals.  Go figure, I fall into that category of people.  At this point, I gave up.  I was bound for a C-section.  The doctor allowed me to chose the elective C-section or I could keep going but he warned me I could just end up at 9 again and still not pushing and eventually so exhausted that I would have had a C-section anyways.  It was an extremely difficult decision to accept but I knew I had to have a C-section.

Fortunately, I was able to be more involved in the decision making of the C-section, I didn't have my arms strapped down to the table, I was able to converse with the doctor and have someone tell me what was going on, someone was always by my side to talk to me and hold my hand and Jason was there as long as possible.  There was also someone with me in recovery to make sure I was okay. 

And finally I could see the finish line.  I made it back to the postpartum room before Jason and Andrew but when he brought him in, I was so happy to be done and see my boys.  He was born at 7:31 pm on Saturday September 18th.  10 lbs 7 oz.  Average baby head is 13 inches, his head was 15 inches.  The nurse said if I had delivered him normally, I would have needed 11 cm's dilation.

It was quite the marathon.  But I am so happy to have been able to do it.  All three of us survived a long and torturous delivery.  I am so proud of Jason and I couldn't have asked for a better coach and dad.  Several of the nurses commented that they had never seen a dad be so involved and supportive.

I am also proud of myself.  Not only was I in labor for a long time, but I did about 34 of my 36 hours of labor pain medication free.  I stood my ground when everyone said I was crazy, I believed in myself when people tried to tear my down and when I was tempted by intervention.  With this birth I feel I justified my last birth in knowing that I did everything in my power even though the end result was similar.  This was not a failure in my eyes but an opportunity for my to grow.  I learned a lot about my limits mentally, physically and emotionally and now all is good.  All is good. 

~Mama Beal

September 15, 2010

Baby Boy Beal Bump (BBBB) :)

There are no words to describe how pregnant I feel.  That being said, a pictures worth 1,000 words.

September 13, 2010

Have a little faith

I trust the doctors, I trust the midwife, I trust myself and most of all, I have faith in God.  Some things must be left up to him.

~Mama Beal

September 8, 2010

Today is the Beginning of the End

So yesterday I had an appointment with the midwife and she said that I HAVE to be in labor by Friday and no later.  She said if I haven't gone into labor by Friday, I will have to go back to Hudson and they will give me pitocin to try to get me into labor.  Once I'm in labor at the hospital, it then becomes a hospital birth with the midwives present.  So, even though this sounds like bad news, it's also good news because we know he will be born by the weekend. 

After the midwife checked me, she found out I was dilated 1 cm and she could stretch me to 3 cm which meant she could strip my membranes.  Not comfortable but another opportunity to get the labor process started.  After she did the procedure, I started having contractions at 2:10 every 10 minutes for several hours.  They were REALLY weak contractions but they lasted through the night but didn't change in intensity.  If that didn't put me into labor, the next step is to take Castor oil.  What the heck does this mean?!  Well, here's what I do.  I was told to eat a "hearty meal" 1 hour before I take the crazy concoction.  Here is the "recipe" for a castor oil induction, the midwife said in her entire practice, she's only had 2 people who this did NOT work at all for. 

1 cup crushed ice
6 oz citrus juice
1 pinch of baking soda
1 banana
4 oz of castor oil
1 shot of vodka (optional)

Drink with a straw so it doesn't coat your teeth and inside of mouth with the oil.  Also eat with saltines or crackers. 

Well, this was supposed to start at 9:20 and that's what time it is so hopefully this is the last post until baby Beal is born.  Wish me luck that I don't get the shit's without any contractions or baby at the end.  (that would be the ultimate frustration.)


September 6, 2010

It's Labor Day ...

And so far, I'm NOT laboring.  I am REALLY trying though.  I'm putting in the effort. 

Several long walks and sitting on the Yoga ball etc, and still no baby.  We went to Hudson WI the other day to see a physician for a BioPhysical exam and a Non-Stress Test for the baby.  Everything seemed to be fine and in order.  The physicians recommendations were to "just wait".  So that's exactly what we're doing.  If we haven't had the baby by next week on Monday, we will go back to Hudson for another BioPhysical and Non-Stress Test. 

As we wait, I've taken a few pictures of proof that we are ready for Baby Beal 2's arrival. 

Here's our bags, all packed and ready to go to the birthing center.  They've been packed for weeks, probably a month.  The Baby's bag is already in the car along with the baby car seat which makes our small Subaru look like a clown car.  No more of us driving our friends around, they're going to have to drive us if we go anywhere.

Here's the Yoga Ball I've been sitting/bouncing on recently.  Sometimes I have contractions and this helps to relieve some of the pain.

Presents have been bought by Abby for the new baby and even the baby bought Abby a present (but she doesn't know that yet.)

And here's the very eager big sister WAITING ... PATIENTLY for her little brother to show up.  She can't wait to meet him.  Every morning she wakes me up and gives me a hug and kiss and the next thing she does is shakes my belly and says "baby come out!"  If anything, this has given us the opportunity to show Abby what it means to be "patient".

September 1, 2010

"Waiting is the Hardest Part"

Like the Tom Petty song says, "Waiting is the Hardest Part."  That's for sure.

I'm sick of being pregnant.  Sick of having to go to the bathroom every 3 hours at night.  Sick of not having any clothes to wear.  Sick of the hip pain.  Sick of working hard to try and make something happen.  Sick of the comments from strangers.  Sick of thinking about it.  Sick of people asking "so, when do you think the baby will come?"  Sick of waiting!!!

I don't know why I have to wait so long but ... if I have to wait, I have no choice.  I keep telling myself, "at least I'm not having a C-section."  Because if I were still at Waconia, they would be pushing me to have the C-section at this point.  Being at Morning Star Women's Health Center it just isn't an option.

So, because I'm sick of being pregnant, Thursday we're having a Bar-B-Que just to get my mind off "being pregnant".  Every weekend Jason and I have been kind of  ... putting things off and not doing much because we're never sure if something is going to happen and when nothing happens ... we've just wasted another weekend of missing out on fun stuff with our friends/family.  So ... if I go into labor during an event, so be it.  :)

So tomorrow I will officially be 1 week overdue.  They say, on average, women will go over due 1 week and 1 day.  So Friday I'm scheduled to go see a doctor in Hudson WI that the Midwives at MorningStar trust to make sure baby and I are able to continue to be "overdue".  The midwives are very reassuring that they've never had anyone go overdue more than 2 weeks.

Wish me luck, I would have posted a picture but ... seriously, nothing has changed besides I've gotten bigger and crankier. :p

~Mama Beal