Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birth Story - If you're so inclined

As my due date drew closer and closer, I kept getting more and more anxious! We thought for sure she would come early! I made my final trip to the grocery store about 3 days before my due date.

At 5:30am on August 28th (Ashley's due date), we were laying in bed and I felt somewhat of a small gush. I knew it felt different, so I got up to check it out. I thought it was my water breaking, and was actually worried that as I got out of bed that I would leak all over the floor! Luckily that didn't happen, but there was quite a bit of clear fluid that had leaked out. I cleaned up and changed and told Cuong what had happened. I told him that he had better stay home from work because that definitely wasn't normal!

I didn't feel any contractions start, so I tried walking around our bedroom and eventually headed downstairs to try walking around down there. I grabbed some toast to eat and then called Labor & Delivery. They ask you to call so they can let you know if one hospital is too busy and you need to go to another one. I spoke to the Triage nurse and told her what had happened. She told me to take my time, take a shower, eat something and that I have up to six hours to come to the hospital. I did what she said. Cuong and I took a walk up to the park to try to get contractions started, took a shower and then had some more toast to eat.

We headed to the hospital a little later and check in at the Labor & Delivery Triage center. They brought me into an observation room and hooked me up to a monitor to check the baby's heart rate and for contractions. I was having inconsistent, non-painful contractions and Ashley's heart rate was perfect.

A Midwife came in to verify that my water had actually broken and told me that I should have come in right away when my water broke. I told her that the nurse told me I had up to 6 hours to come in and she said, "No, we want you to be in ACTIVE labor by 6 hours!" Hmph, so much for listening to what the nurse said! At this point, I was about 1 1/2 cm dilated.

Since I wasn't having consistent contractions, they recommended that I be admitted into a Delivery room and started on Pitocin (12pm). I really didn't want to have to get Pitocin while I was in labor, but I knew that it needed to be done since my water had broken and they like to get the baby out within 24 hours after that. So I got a huge, nasty IV put into my and and they started me on some fluids and Pitocin.

After your water breaks, you're more susceptible to infection, so they try not to check you for dilation as often. Three hours after they started me on Pitocin I was only 2 cm dilated (3pm).

Normally people would be up out of bed, walking around to try to entice labor to become more active, but since my water had broken, I was still leaking a little bit of fluid whenever I would get out of bed. I figured it wouldn't be a pretty sight to have the leaky girl out in the hallways!

Three hours later she checked me again and I was only at 3cm (6pm). She told me that she was going to insert an internal fetal monitor instead of using the one that was strapped onto my belly. That way they would be able to see the baby's heart beat and the contractions better and know whether or not they needed to up my dosage of Pitocin. After inserting the internal monitor, the Midwife told me that since it was a "foreign" object, it might actually increase the timing and pain of the contractions. The L&D nurse told me that I could get the epidural at that point if I wanted it. I told her I would think about it since I was only 3cm dilated. It just seemed too early to me to get it. About a 1/2 hour later, I told Cuong to get the nurse because I needed the epidural! It was amazing how fast the hard contractions came on! The nurse had to give me a bag of fluids before I was able to get the epidural, but she paged for them to come down when I was ready. The doctor came in and administered the epidural and it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! Phew! It was definitely a relief to get! (7pm)

At about 9pm, the Midwife checked me again and I was only at 4cm. At this point, I was starting to get worried. I was progressing only 1cm per 3 hours! I really didn't even want to think about having to have a C-Section! Luckily the Midwife said that you're considered in "active" labor when you reach 4cm and she was anticipating that things would move more quickly now.

After getting the epidural, things were great. I just had to keep my eye on the clock and make sure I turned to the other side about every 45 minutes to keep the medicine from only flowing to one side of my body. Like clockwork, after another three hours, the Midwife checked me again and I was at 8cm! Woah!! Now that was fast! (approx Midnight) It made me feel much better though to know that I was progressing and ALMOST there!

I started to feel more pressure as Ashley was moving further down. The nurse was monitoring the contractions and Ashley's heart rate and saw that every time I had a contraction her heart rate was dipping. To counteract that, they had me breathe with an oxygen mask on. Thankfully that helped and her heart rate remained fairly steady throughout the contractions.

A little while later the Midwife came in and checked me again. I was at 10cm, but she wanted me to "labor down" a little bit and allow Ashley to move further down the birth canal so I wouldn't have to push as long. She estimated that I would be ready to push in about an hour. She said that first time moms generally push for anywhere between one to four hours.

About a half hour later I told Cuong and the nurse that I felt like I was ready to push. The nurse checked and said that the baby had definitely made her way down. She went to go get the Midwife to deliver the baby....but she was delivering ANOTHER baby right at that moment and wouldn't be able to come in. She said that I could go ahead and start pushing. She must have figured that it still would be a while.
The nurse came back in and said that I could start pushing with each contraction. So I had Cuong on one side of me and the nurse on the other to help hold my legs. After pushing for a while, I think the nurse was starting to get nervous because Ashley's head was getting closer and closer! After I had pushed for about 40 minutes, she paged for the OBGYN who was on call. He came in and about 10 minutes later, Ashley made her debut.

She came out with her eyes wide open and ready to greet the world with a good loud cry!
She weighed 7lbs, 6 oz. and was 19 inches long.
While she was under the baby warmer she reached up and grabbed onto Cuong's finger with a good strong grip! She was so alert and beautiful!

More to come later....