Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to lose sleep and make new people

I've read a lot of birth stories lately, and by comparison mine seems pretty plain. I woke up Friday morning two weeks ago, and cuddled with E, like we'd been doing all week. Then I stood up to go to the bathroom, and I felt a little "gush" of fluid, which could have been normal (have I mentioned pregnancy is extremely sexy?) but seemed a little different than normal. A quick investigation revealed some spotting in the fluid, which could have meant a few things. I called John to let him know I thought my water had broken, then called the doctor's office, then called my Mom. By the time the doctor's office called me back I had also lost my mucous plug, and the nurse told me to head to the hospital. I took a shower, got Eleanor breakfast, dressed and ready to go, and waited for my Mom. Who kept calling and telling me to lay down. John decided to meet me at the hospital, just in case this was the real thing. (I was still unsure, despite the mild contractions that were going on at this point.) Mom finally got to the house and off we headed to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital John was waiting by the maternity door for us. Mom took E to a nearby park to wait and see whether the hospital was going to keep me or not. At this point I hadn't eaten since around 10 pm the night before, and was starving since it was after 10 am. Mom promised me a big lunch if they sent me home. At the registration desk we were told the nurse had never called (which wasn't true) and that we were going to have to wait for a room. The receptionist was probably the only person I encountered at the hospital that wasn't wonderful, but boy, was she NOT wonderful. The nurse had called in over an hour before we arrived, but the receptionist didn't bother to actually check. We found that out later. Moving on, however, we finally got into a room. There they checked my cervix. LOTS of people checked my cervix. Repeatedly. Had I not later given birth later, I still would have been sore. They did an initial test to see if my water had actually broken, and then another more reliable test because the first test was negative but not conclusive. The second test, called a "fern" test, was positive, so the staff decided to do a short ultrasound to see how much fluid I'd lost. The ultrasound showed the baby in a breech position, and they scrambled the c-section team and called my OB back to let her know. She was there within 15 minutes, and did another ultrasound which showed that the baby had flipped again, and was head-down. We discussed options and agreed with the doctor that the best option was to augment my labor so that we had a better chance of avoiding a c-section, although nothing was set in stone. 1 out of 300 babies flips like this, and they can flip at any point, even through the last stages of early labor. Luckily, B decided to stay head down!

The nurses started the pitocin at around 2 ish(?) and I did pretty well. I lasted longer through the contraction before getting the nubane and eventual epidural. John was awesome, helping me through contractions and shutting the hell up when I needed him to. I effaced quickly, but didn't dilate much to start. I was 75% effaced but only 2 cm dilated after a few hours. I had Popsicles and ice chips, but nothing else. Labor stops your digestive system, and despite my readiness to gnaw on a chair from hunger, I remembered what happened with E during the pushing stage: I almost threw up.

By late Friday night I had started dilating in earnest. I went slowly from 2 to 3, but then shot to 5 and then 8 and then "Where's the doctor?" Just before she arrived the anesthesiologist came in to give me a little extra meds in the epidural. He was a weird one. Up until that point I'd been able to move my legs and had been doing great. When he increased the meds I lost all feeling, which made pushing difficult. The nurses ended up taking a sheet and tying knots in each end and doing a "tug of war" with me during the pushing to help me use the correct muscles. They ended up pulling muscles in my back, but by gum, I got that baby out! I could see her head in the mirror ( I got brave and looked in the mirror this time!) for about an hour, and was able to watch her come out. During one of my cervical checks the amniotic sack burst completely, and there was meconium in the fluid. When B finally emerged the staff swooped in and rubbed her clean while placing her on my chest. (John got a naughty picture of this part. We were both surprised when we saw it.) For all her antics in the womb, she's been awesome since birth. She isn't as demanding as her sister was, and cries far less. We can even lay her down! And she'll sleep!

There is so much here that I'm forgetting. Like how much she looked like her sister at birth, or how Saturday night there was an explosion in the hospital's steam room and the pipes banged all night and none of us got any sleep. There were the nurses who were great, and Loud Nurse who was really nice but insisted on giving me my going home instructions at 3 am. Loudly. Or how, on the way home I told John how great I was feeling, and how hopeful and OK, and 24 hours later was a sobbing, anxiety ridden mess. It's hard to believe it's been over two weeks, which hasn't been helped by the fact that E brought home a cold and shared it with me. But this post is already holy-shit long, so that stuff will have to wait. We're all doing a lot better, and I have been making it out of the house a lot more, which helps. We're starting to get back on a routine, which will include taking pictures and putting them up, I hope. It's still intense sleep-deprivation, so I can make no promises, but you should start seeing me around a bit more often again. Hooray for the babies!


HollyLynne said...

Mirror. MIRROR. Gah, the things people don't tell you. MIRRORS!!!!!

I can't wait to see more pictures of your beautiful baby B :)

Anonymous said...

If insomnia is wreaking havoc in your life and in spite of your consistent efforts you are unable to sleep at night, you should soon approach a doctor. After a thorough examination, your physician may prescribe sleep inducing medicines such as ambien or sonata. However these medicines should never be taken without a proper prescription from a doctor as they tend to yield side-effects which at times can be serious.

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