Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...but I pushed a baby out of my vagina!

As I contemplate the events of the past few years, and especially the event that happened almost 3 weeks, I am overwhelmed with emotion.  I still can't believe this happened to me.  I still can't believe I did it!

Since the birth of my daughter, I knew I would VBAC (well, shortly after her birth).  I sought out to learn everything I could about VBAC.  I found a provider who would support VBAC.  When we got pregnant, I was excited to learn our baby was due in April....Cesarean Awareness Month.

Because this pregnancy was VERY planned (I know the exact day I ovulated and the exact day I conceived).  I was nursing my daughter "still" and I knew I was pregnant at about 3 weeks (about 1 week before I missed a period).  I just felt different.  I was very excited, but didn't want to get my hopes up.  I had only had 5 periods since I got pregnant with my daughter over 3 years before.  I could've been wrong, but I didn't think so.

This pregnancy was completely different than my first, from the start.  For one, I was so nauseous for the first 13 weeks.  At first I was just nauseous.  Horribly nauseous.  Then, about 8 or 9 weeks, I started throwing up.  I threw up at the drop of a hat.  If I coughed, I'd vomit.  If I swallowed something wrong, I'd throw up.

I failed my 1 hour glucose test.  While I thought about refusing all glucose testing, I knew that because I am overweight, it'd constantly be an issue.  I wanted to prove people wrong.  I passed the 3 hour glucose test with flying colors.

I was doing 24 hour urine tests (to rule out pre-eclampsia) every trimester.  I was eating (and drinking) completely differently.  I exercised.  I felt great! I loved being pregnant.  I even told a couple people I wanted to be pregnant until 42 weeks.  I was in school and needed more time!

As my "due" date approached, I hired a doula.  I started taking evening primrose oil and drinking red raspberry leaf tea.  As the date got closer and closer, I began doing more and more things to help kick start labor.  I got a massage using aromatherapy and pressure points that are supposed to start labor.  Many people talked to the baby, asking him to come out.  I ate pineapple, Chinese food, Mexican food, and Italian food (eggplant & chicken parmesean).  We had sex.  I walked.  I did squats.  We used aromatherapy and pressure points.  I pumped.  I bounced on my exercise ball.  I went to a chiropractor.  I went to a chiropractor who specialized in needle-less acupuncture.  We had a date night, we had a date day.  I drank wine.  I listened to hypnosis.  I soaked in a bath.  I read non-birth books.  I TRIED to relax.  I took naps.

As I approached 42 weeks, we decided (my midwife and I) to schedule an induction.  My induction was scheduled for the day I would be 42 weeks.  My husband & I arrived at the hospital early.  Pitocin was started at around 8 am.  Because I was GBS positive, I needed antibiotics.  My midwife was not going to check me until I had my second dose of antibiotics (which would be around 3pm).  I was on the pitocin all day.  I was contracting about every 3 minutes, but they were not painful.  I managed.  At 3, I was 5 cm dilated.  So, we kept going.  Things got a little more intense around 6.  I texted my doula and told her we might need her.  She said she'd get some dinner and come to the hospital then.  Our families showed up around 6 (with our daughter) and things stopped.  My contractions really stopped, even though I was still on pitocin.  As a side note (and I really hope I don't offend anyone here, but this is my honest birth story)...I really didn't want anyone there.  I was worried about people "waiting" on my during my labor & birth.  Despite me saying it was okay for everyone to show up, I think it still made me anxious.  I got out of my groove.

Around 7 or so, my midwife checked me.  I was about 6 cm, but my midwife thought my cervix was more posterior than before.  We kept going with the pitocin.  I would be checked again around midnight.  At  midnight, I was checked and I was still 6 cm.  We decided to turn the pitocin off and rest.  I felt bad for calling my doula so soon.  Now, she was at the hospital and I wasn't even in labor.  She did encourage us to rest some.  I was very grateful for that.  I would've kept going and going without her encouragement to rest.

About 2 am or so, we turned the pitocin back on.  It really wasn't doing a whole lot this time.  I started having some contractions, but not like the day before.  I should say that I moved the whole time I was in labor.  I walked a lot.  I did some half-squats and half-lunges.  I did hands & knees.  I did pelvic tilts.  I bounced on the ball.  I took baths.  It was an amazing difference from being in bed for an entire labor!

My midwife came and checked me about 3 am.  I was till 6 cm.  We said we'd check again about 6.  At 6 am, I was still 6 cm.  At that point, I told my doula I was bored.  I was ready to do something.  If it had been the week before, I would have just gone home, but I was 42 weeks and 1 day pregnant at this point.  I was so ready to have a baby in my arms.

So, about 5 am, my midwife broke my water. (I thought it was 6, but my doula said 5, but it was just 1 hour) Just like with Addison, my contractions became very intense.  I got back in the tub.  I got out.  I sat on the ball.  I begged for pain medication.  I did get one dose of Nubain.  Around 6:30am, I started BEGGING for an epidural.  It was incredibly intense.  I started just saying I thought I wanted an epidural.  After every contraction, I would beg a little more.  My husband and doula knew I really didn't want one, so they really just ignored me!

Shortly after 7am, my midwife and day nurse came in.  I had an urge to push.  I couldn't help it.  My midwife checked me then and said I was 9cm, completely effaced, and plus one station.  I knew I would never believe my VBAC would be possible until I passed the point where I was in my last birth.  I knew that getting past a zero station would be the hurdle I needed to cross.  I couldn't NOT push at this point, so I just pushed and pushed.  And pushed.  I pushed in the tub.  At some point in the tub, my husband said he had to go for a walk to stretch his legs.  I thought it was odd, as he NEVER had said that during the previous 24 hours.  He had been right there, with me or very nearby.  I briefly thought, people are here.  Then, I MADE myself quit thinking about that.  I willed that thought out of my mind.  I kept pushing.  I pushed on hands & knees.  Unfortunately, the most comfortable pushing position was on my back.  It felt like I had constant sacral pressure and it helped with back pain so much.

Everything is so clear.  I remember pushing.  I remember being aware.  I love that.  I hope I remember it forever.  I asked for a mirror to watch.  I really think it helped.  So I watched.  At some point, I asked my midwife about the ring of fire.  She said I should be feeling it at the moment.  I said it wasn't that bad then.  Then, with the next contraction, well, THAT WAS THE RING OF FIRE!!! Wow!  But, for some reason, it actually felt good.  Yes, it hurt like crazy.  But, 2 things happened at that moment, at the moment I felt that extreme burning, fiery sensation.  Physically, it took so much of the pain off of my back.  Just not having the back pain was a welcome relief.  More importantly, that ring of fire felt good because it was a very emotional and psychological turning point in my labor.  I knew this baby was coming out of my vagina.  I knew there was no turning back.

After FIVE hours of pushing, my beautiful baby boy was born!  My midwife made sure his head & shoulders were out, then my husband caught our little baby and placed him on my belly.  Sweet relief!  It was an instant high!  I can not even begin to explain how incredibly amazing I felt.  He had a short cord, so I couldn't really see him (he only made it to my belly).  Once the cord was done pulsing, my midwife cut the cord so I could finally see my little boy.  He was (and still is) so beautiful.

Unfortunately, I had some bleeding after this baby (I had severe postpartum hemorrhage after Addison).  We did skin to skin until I felt dizzy.  My placenta was just not coming out.  At some point, I asked (okay, maybe I told him) to take his shirt off.  He and baby C did skin to skin while my midwife called the on-call physician.  As they encouraged me to push (I kept saying my push button was not working any more!) my placenta out, my boys got to bond.  I was feeling incredibly dizzy, but still very jealous of their bonding time.  Eventually, my stubborn placenta came out.

The next few hours I spent trying to sit up, getting dizzy, laying down, riding the incredibly embarrassing lift machine to the bathroom (oh, and I was completely naked!), trying to pee, riding the machine back to bed, eating dinner, sleeping, just trying to feel better.  After about 4 hours, I felt much better.  I walked to bathroom with only a little bit of help from my husband.

It took a few days to not feel the pounding in my head when I stood up.  From experience, I know this happens when I bleed a little bit.

It also took a few days to not cry everytime I thought about what I had done.  I was so amazed at myself and what my body could do.  I realize VBAC isn't for everyone and not everyone who wants to VBAC gets a VBAC.  I am amazed at what I accomplished, at my determination, my strength.  I am amazed at what I can do when I put my mind to it!