Monday, February 16, 2009

Oscar's Birth Story. Part One.

I don't know how many "parts" to this story there will be. Could be three only, as we were in the hospital for three days leading up to his birth. Could be four or five parts, as there are many instances in between that deserve telling. Could be a few more as there are also a few moments days following his birth (while still in hospital) that need to be mentioned in order to do him (and me) justice. And may aid in healing and clearing for both mom and son.

It wasn't an easy ordeal. Oscar's actual birth and the following days were quite traumatic for both of us, and for Dad too, to see his wife in such pain - the physical pain of, well, labour, induction and delivery, forceps, episiotomy and hemorrhoids, as well as (and much more painful) the emotional pain of being separated from her child for what seemed like an eternity.

It was joyous though, I mean, my son was born. He made it! He's healthy. He's safe. He has 10 fingers and 10 toes (although his big toe is so HUGE I think it counts as two). And looking back, it was a beautiful experience, bringing a child into the world. A little being. A glorious creature (and such a gorgeous boy!)

So off we go with Oscar's Birth Story....

On February 3 we had an appointment at BC Women's for an ultrasound an monitoring as we were officially one week overdue.

First up was the monitoring. A fetal heart monitor was strapped to my belly to hear his heartbeat. It was all good. It was in the 130's. I had to click a button when I felt him move - they wanted to count the movements within a certain time frame (an hour I think). So that was all good as well. No problems, all was well. (Although Donald and I did find that the nurse who was working with us treated him like a moron. Trying to talk all "sporty" to him... comparing the uterus to a football, then something else to a baseball game, just ridiculous and rather insulting actually. She must be used to men/husbands/partners who aren't as involved or as knowledgeable maybe.).

Next up was the ultrasound. What they found with this was that the amniotic fluid was low. "Moderately" low. Enough to get another opinion and send us to admitting to chat with the OB on call.

I was more curious than nervous. I knew that if there was a panic, we were in the right place!

Off we went to admitting and were greeted by a fantastic nurse, Selena. (who factors into Oscar's birth much later...)

Now, Donald and I are HUGE on customer service and so the way Selena was attentive to us and popped her head out into the waiting room to tell us she was heading for lunch and that Dr. Rosengarden would be out after he finishes up with a c-section meant the world to two people who weren't quite sure what came next. We fell in love with her then and there!

Next up, Dr. Rosengarden came out and met us and off we went behind curtain #3. He explained that they weren't overly concerned with rushing an induction that very day because the fluid was only moderately low and that we could wait until our scheduled induction on Friday Feb 6 OR, we could be admitted the next day to start the induction. He checked my cervix and it was shut tight (I do believe it was because I could hear a woman labouring behind curtain #2.... but I digress.)

Donald and I took a few minutes to ourselves and opted for being admitted the following day, Wednesday Feb 4.

At this point Oscar was safer on the outside than the inside. And two additional days of stressing would be worse on all of us.

So we went home, repacked our hospital bag, ordered take out, snuggled down for the night knowing that it would be our last night at home as just us. At about 8:00pm Donald ran to Safeway to grab something. I was curled up on the couch reading.

And I had a contraction.

At first I didn't know what it was, but 15 minutes later another one came. And it hurt. And 15 minutes later another one came.

And it hurt bad.

I was going to call Donald to come home when he walked through the door. We waited and watched for about another hour before we admitted to ourselves that I was actually in labour. Finally! Labour started naturally! YAY!


YAY! It was starting! I might not need to be induced!

They got more frequent, stronger, and closer together. By the time they were 6 minutes apart, we were completely convinced we'd be in the hospital by midnight. So we got ready:

(All dressed and ready to go. One of the last pictures of me pregnant.)

And then they slowed down.

To 12 minutes apart. 15 minutes apart. 20 minutes apart. So we got undressed and crawled into bed. I managed to get snippets of 10 minutes of sleep in between contractions (it's pretty stressful just waiting for the next one!), and next thing you know it's morning and the hospital called and wanted us to come in for the induction.

So off we went, contractions speeding up again to about 10 minutes apart.

We got there at about 10am, were admitted and in our temporary room by 10:30am, consulted with the induction nurse, then the Resident, then my OB popped in to chat with me about what to expect that day.

I thought I'd have my little guy in my arms by the end of the day! Boy, was I wrong. I had researched induction and all the drugs they use and options there are... but I neglected to research what to expect on the physical side of things, and the time frame.

I'm glad I went into it blind in that respect.

Really glad.

At noon, Dr. Yin (Resident) came in and inserted the cervidil.

Not a pleasant experience. AT ALL. It's a wafer-like thing with a string. It felt like she was wrapping the string around my cervix for crying out loud - and she may have been (according to the pic?) - whatever she was doing was really uncomfortable (only to find out later that it doesn't have to be so - or not nearly as bad anyway).

And then the waiting game started.

And the waiting game was over very very quickly as contractions started very soon following. At first slowly, only a few an hour, but they were so incredibly painful. I couldn't even open my eyes. Donald turning the pages of the newspaper was driving me over the edge. And then a friend popped in and when I asked for quiet and she started whispering (hello.. quiet means QUIET to a woman in labour, lol!!!), THAT was driving me over the edge. I think Donald must have motioned for her to shhhhh until the contraction was over, because then he was describing to her what I had been going through with each contraction so far. By now it was about 5:00pm. I laid there for another few hours until a FANTASTIC new nurse, Michelle, came on.

Delightful gal. We both just loved her. She was born to do this. She gave us options to move around, walk the halls, use the birthing ball, do whatever I wanted to ease the pain. My OB popped in again before she left for the day offering me drugs to ease the pain.

I turned them down.

Until I didn't.

So off Donald and I went, roaming the halls, listening to all the women either in labour or actually giving birth.

Totally freaky.

Walking around brought on more contractions. Fast and Furious. Ouch Ouch Ouch. We went back to our room and tried out the birthing ball. Michelle popped in to see if I wanted any meds to ease the pain, and once again I declined.

Until I didn't.

So the only thing that seemed to help at this point was leaning over the ball and rocking/swaying my hips a bit.

Until that didn't help any more. Until the contractions were every 3 minutes. Until it felt like my lower body was being ripped in half.

By now it was 9pm. Cervidil had been in for 9 hours. I was in so much pain my knees were buckling. We called for Michelle and she called for Dr. Yin who checked my cervix. I was dilated! YAY!


All that pain and I was only 1 cm. Oh my God.

I felt like a failure. A total failure. I mean, if I was screaming for morphine at 1 cm and I still had NINE to go... what does that say about my pain threshold? That I'm a wimp? And here I thought I always had a high threshold for pain? WTF? I seriously felt like a failure.

Until Michelle, bless her, explained induction to me. That contractions were being forced on me, on my body. That the pain of inductions was 3 times that of natural labour (don't get pissed off now, I'm not minimizing natural labour, just telling it like it is, medically, as it was told to me).

When she explained the process and what the cervidil was doing to my body and at the force it was happening, I was back to being myself and got over the failure bit. I felt more like a trooper for lasting that long without drugs. But that was short lived as I realized it was unnecessary and I might be in this pain for another 39 hours. The next contraction felt like the end of my life so I hollared for Michelle and was administered a shot of morphine and gravol and slept for a few hours. (BTW? Getting a needle in the butt was funny in a painful way. I felt like a cartoon strip. Go figure.)

That was pretty much Day 1. Donald and I survived Day 1 of induction. Thanks in a great part to our nurse, Michelle. And our patience with each other and his encouragement of me.

I've never had to lean on someone so much in my life. To be able to just let go and not worry about judgement as I got cranky (turning pages of newspaper!!), was completely new to me. To totally let go and just be how I needed to be, let the organic process happen with my emotions, have someone as patient and strong as Donald to hold me up when I felt like I was falling... is the ultimate of unconditional love. We could have moved mountains that day, I swear. Nobody else mattered. It was just me and him bringing our baby into this world.


(Read Part 2)


Mom (Lulu) said...

Wonderful descriptive post - I flinched reading the painful parts. Makes me glad I had a C-section. You are lucky to have a great husband! Looking forward to part 2 of the birth.

Lily-Pie's Mom said...

Yes...after reading that I'm not feeling too bad about "missing out" on labour. :-0

Very interesting to read about your journey...looking forward to the rest.

doglove said...

The miracle of birth notwithstanding, I think this has definitely cemented the fact that at age 39 (almost 40), there will be no babies for me. My goodness, what a painful ordeal for you!

I think this will rank right up there with the "dark and stormy night" story you wanted for Oscar. Or at the very least, an "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!" story when he becomes a 14 year old turd. *grins*

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