Birth Story DD #1

The impending birth of our third daughter has got me reminiscing about the births of our first two. I thought I would share each of the birth stories on the off chance that anyone would actually be interested besides my family.

When my husband and I decided we were ready for our first child, my cycles were really irregular as I was coming off of the pill. Sometime in early February, I had a very light period; I even commented to my husband that if I didn’t know better I might think it was implantation bleeding. I didn’t think much of it a few weeks later when I spent a whole weekend sleeping or went home from work early because I was feeling really dizzy and lightheaded.

I would sometimes just take a pregnancy test because it was impossible to tell anything from my cycles. I came home from work one day and decided to go ahead and take one. My husband was on the phone with his grandfather. Well, a few minutes later I came out of the bathroom really jittery and asked my husband to get off the phone immediately. He was a little annoyed at first, but then he was shocked and delighted to find out my reason why. We had a positive. Of course, then we felt compelled to take a second test just in case the first one was wrong…another positive.

Since we had no idea how far along I could be, my ob/gyn office went ahead and set an appointment up for us. We only made it for one obstetrician visit before my insurance through work changed, and I was forced to find a different provider. The doctor we switched to was very nice, but the organization of her office was very strange. There were four doctors on her floor, but they each saw only their patients for office visits. After office hours, though, they rotated who was on-call. I was told that I would only have my doctor deliver my baby if I went into labor during office hours or when she was on-call.

Because the doctor delivered patients during office hours, I learned that she was always running late for her scheduled appointments. I started making my appointment the last one of the day whenever possible. Then I would call her nurse to find out what time I should really come in; it was usually at least two hours later than scheduled. This kept me from missing work just to sit around in her waiting room. I started having more misgivings when I tried to discuss a birth plan with her, and she kind of dismissed me by saying, “When it comes down to the health of your baby, I’ll do what I have to do.”

My pregnancy progressed normally. I never threw up, but I did have bouts of nausea. I realized it was related to taking my prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach. I was very tired the whole pregnancy. I craved tomato sauce. Almost every day I would stop by Fazoli’s for baked spaghetti or lasagna or Skyline Chili for spaghetti or a 3-way chili with a large sweet tea. I was diagnosed with mild thrombocytopenia; and I had regular blood draws to check my platelet count. If my count was too low and I needed a c-section, then they would have to put me under general anesthesia instead of using an epidural.

We took Lamaze classes through the hospital. After seeing the needle and catheter line involved with an epidural, I pretty much knew that I did not want one if at all possible. The classes were nice enough; I practiced the techniques at home.

On Tuesday, November 19, 2002 I had a check-up. The baby was at zero station (in other words sitting right on top of my cervix), but my cervix had not thinned or dilated at all. The doctor said it would at least be another week. But we were eating dinner at a restaurant, and I started having some unusual cramping. We quickly headed home. The contractions were very irregular, though, in length and spacing. I tried to rest on the couch, and my husband called a buddy of his. Well, this psychotic Siamese cat we had was apparently agitated by our our agitation and decided that it would be a great idea to jump up and bite me on the face. I started screaming for my husband to get off the phone and get the damn cat away from me.

The contractions started slowing down, and I felt like I might be able to get to sleep around one in the morning. I went ahead and left a message for my boss saying that I probably would not be in until late the next day. I woke up early and tried to eat some soup, but I didn’t have much appetite. I went to take a shower, but when I stripped down I had a lot of bloody show. So I woke up hubby and we headed for the hospital after consulting with my doctor.

At the hospital, the nurses put me in a temporary room and hooked me up to contraction and blood pressure monitors. I hadn’t been feeling any contractions, but the machine was registering consistent ones. The blood pressure monitor kept going off because my blood pressure was slightly lower than the monitor’s alarm was set for. A nurse decided she was going to give me an internal check and without any warning or gentleness just stuck her fingers in to find out I was dilated a few centimeters.

I was moved to a labor/delivery room. My husband went to get all of our stuff out of the car and call our parents, while I informed my boss that I would not be coming back to work for awhile. Then I just layed there and watch television for a few hours. I started feeling the contractions, but they weren’t too bad. On doctor’s order an IV line was inserted, and I was restricted from getting out of bed. A nurse told me that my doctor was sending one of her associates to break my water to speed up my labor. I didn’t think too much about it, although I didn’t really like the doctor who came. He kept making derogatory comments about me not wanting any drugs.

What I did not realize despite my extensive reading is that speeding up the labor like that can throw off your natural pain control rhythms. Instead of gradually building, the contractions started coming at me too fast to handle. I finally agreed to a shot of demurol to relieve some of the pain. The medicine made me feel really punch-drunk for awhile. But it started wearing off just as I went into transition. I started feeling the pain again but my head was so cloudy that I couldn’t breathe my way through it. It was about this time that my doctor finally appeared, six hours or so after I had been admitted to the hospital.

About an hour later, I felt like I had to have a bowel movement. We quickly realized that that was not what my body was ready to do. Within minutes a whole slew of people were running around getting trays of equipment, turning on bright lights, and gathering around my nether region while my legs were positioned in the air. Then the doctor was yelling at me to push. Whenever a contraction started voices were barking at me “Push! Don’t let noise escape your mouth!” and a ton of other orders. At one point, I said, “I can’t…” meaning that I can’t do all the things everyone keeps yelling at me to do. My doctor thought I meant that I can’t have the baby. I knew the baby was coming one way or another, so I got kind of annoyed when she started the whole “you can have this baby” lecture.

Finally, the baby crowned and the doctor spent the few minutes between contractions to point out its long crown hair to my husband and the rest of the crowd of nurses assembled. Then the baby was finally out. They told me it was a girl, but that she had swallowed some blood. They immediately took her over to a table and stuck a vacuum tube down her throat. She was fine within minutes, though, and they wiped her down and put a diaper on her. It took them about an hour to sew me up, though, and they gave me another shot of demurol. They didn’t give me my baby until they were done.

Our baby girl was born at 10:40 PM on November 20, 2002. She weighed exactly six pounds. I looked like death. I was even paler than usual and had bruises on my face and shoulders from bad pushing and the scars from the cat biting me. Even though I had not eaten all day, the hospital didn’t have anything for me but a few graham crackers that tasted like cardboard and juice because I had missed dinner by several hours. I was very weak, and the night nurse who escorted me to the bathroom four hours later told me not to get out of bed by myself yet. I also developed a low fever.

By the time the baby was bathed and my husband left to go home for a few hours, the nurse took the baby to the nursery because she knew the pediatrician would be in early. Around 7:30 an orderly came in with my breakfast and set it across the room. Within the next hour, they rolled in my baby, the pediatrician stopped by, and the photographer came in to do photos. My husband was not back, and under orders from the night nurse, I called for help. The day nurse apparently decided that I was being a baby and barely helped me with many sighs of disgust, and then she made some parting comment about how I would eventually have to do things for myself. Thankfully, my doctor appeared and started helping me get the baby ready for her photo.

There was another issue, though, my new baby only wanted to sleep. I think it was due to the drugs I had during labor and after delivery. Because she only wanted to sleep, she didn’t really feel like nursing much. When she would try to nurse, there seemed to be a problem. There was a really nice night nurse who helped get the baby’s suck straightened out. However, the hosptal had this policy that if a baby was at six pounds or under then they had to nurse every two hours. So every two hours they would harass me and the baby trying to wake her up to nurse.

Oh, and the city shut off the hot water to the hospital to do road work. So after the first afternoon, there was not hot water to take a shower or do sitz baths. The day nurse continued to have her horrid attitude. I learned the hard way that after you deliver they will not give you pain medication unless you request it every single time. I also learned that you really need to take your next dose before your previous dose completely wears off, so you have to keep track of when you are due for more and request it 30 minutes before you need it.

I was very happy when it was time to take my new baby home, even though she was slightly jaundiced and would have to be monitored by our pediatrician. I don’t think I realized until looking back everything that was unnecessarily “wrong” about my delivery and hospital stay. Thankfully, things went much smoother the second time around.

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One Comment on “Birth Story DD #1”

  1. Laura Witten Says:

    Wow – that was not a good experience! Mine was much better, but I was still made to feel incompetent due to the fact that DS wouldn’t “latch on” properly and they kept wanting to give him formula. My thoughts are – whatever did people due when they had babies at home and there weren’t nurses trying to push them into things the mom isn’t comfortable with? Luckily, I persisted and successfully nursed for 11 months, and it was a gradual weaning lead by the baby himself. I hope I’m that lucky next time around.

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