Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Norah's Birth Story

     I really loved reading other women's birth stories while I was pregnant. It helped me understand how every woman is different and I learned a lot about ways to birth, how to labor, and what medical interventions I did or did not want. I want to share Norah's birth story with anybody who wants to read it. I will be honest and open, so if you think you might not want to know the little details, maybe you shouldn't read it :) Also, my sister took some really great pictures of her birth and I will put in the tasteful/web appropriate ones that are very special!

     Norah's birth was no cake walk but I absolutely love that I brought her into this world myself, as a woman doing what my body was designed to do and as her mother, bringing her into my arms and finding out our little rice cake was a girl :) You might want to get comfortable, this is one lengthy post.

     Thursday, June 19th was a pretty relaxing day for me. Erin went to work in Sacramento. I had a lazy morning in our apartment. I took a belly shot of me (my last one). I met my mom for pedicures around 12:30. It was a really nice pedicure! I had been wanting to get one all week. After that, I went to 5 guys and got a hot dog with everything on it except pickles. This girl has never liked them and pregnancy did not change that. I also asked for jalapenos. Praise Jesus I NEVER had heartburn while I was pregnant. Then I went and grabbed a coffee from Peet's.
     Later, I met Erin in Sacramento and we drove together up to Roseville where we grabbed Thai food for dinner and then headed over to a family's home from our church and we had a meeting that ended about 9:30pm. We drove back to Dixon and crawled into bed at 11pm.

     At exactly 1:45am on Friday, my water broke. I woke up to warm water gushing and said "oh my god" and jumped (as good as a extra pregnant girl can jump/flop/roll) out of bed, then ran to the bathroom, which happens to be all of 7 feet from the bed. Erin was up right away and it was obvious that we knew what just happened. I think we laughed a little and were like, "Ok, now the sheets are all wet and the bathroom floor has puddles." We immediately washed the sheets and made the bed again. I put on a pad, only to have my water keep gushing every contraction for a while. I went through a lot of pads :) I called my mom first at 2 am and told her my water broke and I would keep her posted. Then I called my doula Michelle and told her the facts, "I was having contractions but they are irregular and not painful, just like a braxton hicks." By 2:45am, they were painful and there was no doubt this was the real deal!

     I remember reading a lot and people saying to go back to bed if you can. Ya right! I was so excited. I think I laid in the bed for all of 10 minutes and then got up. I took a shower and shaved my legs and washed my hair. The contractions were totally manageable. I texted my doula later, not sure what time and told her my contractions were about every 5 minutes. She said she was on her way!

     Erin and I had breakfast at about 2:30 am lol.  I sat on my ball and was able to be comfortable. Michelle arrived around 5 am and suggested we walk around the block. That was nice and we walked for about 15 minutes. When I had a contraction, we stopped and I tried not to look like a crazy bent over pregnant woman, but that's probably what I looked like. When we got back,we popped in a movie and sat in the living room. I tried getting on all fours and sticking my butt in the air but really sitting on my ball was most comfortable. We decided to head to the hospital about 7:30 am when my contractions were between 3 1/2 -4 minutes apart and consistently 1 minute long.

     We checked into the hospital at 8 am. I kid you not, it was the busiest day the birthing center has since they opened in November. They finally checked me and I was at 4 1/2 centimeters. Not bad! The baby's heart rate was dropping a little during contractions when they first started monitoring me and that concerned them (however, I think that is very common to have their heart rate drop a little and then pick back up after the contraction). Unfortunately, it concerned them enough to keep me hooked up to the monitors and they started a IV in my arm but didn't connect me to anything. I didn't want to be hooked up and wanted wireless monitoring, but oh well. Mind you, I was planning on having a natural birth with as little medical intervention as possible.

     I had to labor in the triage room for 5 hours! They did not have any labor suites open because there were so many women in labor. I sat on my ball for the few hours and would stand up and sway my hips during contractions. I kept having to go pee and would have to disconnect from the monitor and walk across the hall to the bathroom, since our room was so small and not a labor room. My water was still just gushing with contractions and I was constantly drinking water to stay hydrated. I did eat half of a granola bar sometime after 9 I think. It made me a little nauseous so I only ate half.  Sometimes during contractions I would lean across the bed and someone would hold my hands on the other side (my mom or Michelle) and Erin started applying pressure to my lower back at this point. They checked me again and I was 6 1/2 centimeters dilated. After 12:30pm, they finally said there was a room ready and we eventually made it to the labor suite.

     This part of the labor is kind of hard to remember all the details. I was in full on active labor and had to close my eyes and really concentrate during contractions. My mom and sister were there in the labor room, I remember them sitting on the couch and talking and they would take turns holding my hands while Erin or Michelle pushed on my back. I would get up to use the bathroom and then cry out that I was having a contraction and Erin was always right there waiting to help me through it.

Erin looks exhausted too. I could tell my sister was starting to take pictures but I seriously didn't open my eyes for 3 hours. It was easier for me to keep them closed and concentrate.

     There came a point where I was just exhausted and Michelle recommended I lay on the bed and try to sleep during contractions. I didn't want to at first because I knew I would be really uncomfortable but sure enough, I fell asleep during every contraction for over an hour and would wake up when one came, grab onto someones arms and Erin would push on my back. When it would pass, I would lay down and fall asleep! My contractions slowed back down to 5 minutes apart but I was still progressing. They checked me and I was at 8 1/2.

      I then moved to my knees and leaned over the back of the bed and labored for awhile. I was now at 9 centimeters. This was the one time I asked for something for the pain. It went something like, "Is there anything you can give me now? Just anything right now?" He he. The answer was gently no and that was that. I didn't cry or beg, I was going to have to keep going. In my mind I had wanted to ask for a while but I never said it out loud until this point. I started second guessing my ability to continue because I hadn't even started pushing yet and that scared me. I kept saying, "I don't know. I don't know." My sweet husband just kept holding my hand. I know it put him in a hard place to stand there and watch me say that and be in pain.

      Then I started involuntarily pushing and they told me not to and to try and breathe through the urge. I kept saying how I needed to poop haha. It seriously is the exact same feeling. I tried not to push but at the same time I really tried to poop. I didn't even care who would see or that I was still in the bed, that's what I wanted to do! Don't worry, I didn't :) Next thing I know, I was at 10 centimeters and it was time to push.
Michelle fanned me for hours. She is a really sweet and awesome doula.

     I turned around and started to push the baby down. This was hard but not the hardest part :) They brought over a mirror and I was able to start seeing the baby's head come down more and more. I started pushing on my back but I didn't like that. I ended up turning onto my left side and holding my legs up myself and leaning forward. Eventually, the head started to crown and I started screaming. Like full on wild animal screams every time a contraction came and I would push. I could tell I was going to tear, I said it out loud how I knew it and it hurt but everyone said, "It's the ring of fire. It's going to hurt." Well, it hurts!

     Eventually, I pushed the head came out, and the cord was wrapped around her neck once. Her hand was also at her head as she was born. Ouch. I stopped pushing so the midwife could move the cord and a few more pushes and her body came out. I pulled her up onto my chest and said, "It's a girl!" I loved that we were able to see for ourselves that it was a baby girl. I didn't wait 9 months for someone else to tell me! I looked at her and said, "Hello Norah." Erin thought it was a girl as I was pulling her towards me, but then the cord was between her legs and he second guessed for second :)

Norah Amelia Rice was born at 5:11 pm Friday, June 20, 2014 weighing 7 lbs 14oz and 21" long

     Erin cut the cord after it was done pulsating. We weren't sure he would want to do it, but they handed him the scissors and he just did it like it was no big deal. I did skin to skin for a long time and then passed her off to Erin, who also did skin to skin for a while. My labor was 15 1/2 hours and I pushed for 1 hour.

     Right after the cord cutting, they focused on me. I had a lot of bleeding. They gave me 2 different pitocin treatments, a shot in my leg and one through an IV. Good thing I already had the IV started just in case.  I immediately had more cramps/contractions that hurt. Then, they had to empty my bladder and put a catheter in me for only a minute. I pushed out the placenta and we kept it. We plan on planting it at our new house. I had 3rd degree tearing and needed stitches in my rectal sphincter muscle. That required a different doctor to come and do that repair. Ouch. I could definitely feel some of the stitches and kept asking for more lidocain. I wanted a natural birth but I'm not a martyr:)

    After an hour, I was all ready to go! I feel very blessed to have the support of my husband and family and my doula. They really helped me get through it all.
And yes, I would do it again :)

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