Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Ivan's Birth Story

Time to tell Ivan's birth story. 
I started this post a couple of weeks ago, but I have decided that holding a baby is far more important than typing... and one handed typing is just not productive or fun~  so I've chosen hours of holding my baby over getting this story up.  Glad everyone is patient!  And hopefully the wait didn't raise expectations about how exciting it should be:)

Much about Ivan's birth was a little surprising, first being that John was there.  John and I have been separated for a while and things were not oh so peachy right before Ivan was born.  I think instinct takes over in labor though and you get yourself to a place you can be totally uninhibited.  For me that was John's house (that had been my house) and not a house I was a 'visitor' in (and not the hospital early on in labor). 

Let's start the evening of the 1st.  I was spending the evening at my friend, Kellee's house, with her and other friends who were here from out of town.  I was having the same 'Braxton Hicks' contractions that I'd been having for weeks but as the night went on I was feeling like my back was bothering me and feeling really constipated (a joy of pregnancy).  I was progressively getting more and more annoyed at Kellee's brother in law who kept wearing his snowy shoes all over the house and those of us with sock-feet were getting that horrible wet sock thing going on.  I maybe realized that my anger at the wet sock issue was irrationally over the top (the joy of pregnancy hormones) and I wanted to go take a bath and see if I felt better all the way around and could get some sleep.  It was a little after 11p.m. when I left there.
I said my goodbyes and headed back to my parents' house, where I'd been staying.  A quick bath had me feeling much better and I tried to go to bed.  It didn't work, I kind of wanted another bath, and really wanted my green jam pants.  I decided to head to John's.  On the way I had 2 contractions that were stronger than I'd had up to that point.  My thought train though was still along the lines of "it is not this baby's birthday yet, I'll get back in the tub at John's and contractions will stop, baby will get here in a week or 2". 
I arrived at John's at almost midnight and told him it was time to put his kids in bed.  I lit candles and got in the tub, on the way into the tub I had another contraction that felt more 'real'. He got his kids headed to bed then questioned if I really thought it might be baby time.  Still I had high hopes that the bath would stop the contractions so my answer was a mix of maybe and probably not.  We kind of tried to time contractions but it didn't really happen.
With the contractions I was having in the tub I'd lift my pelvis and rock back and forth in the water, it made them pretty painless (giving me more hope that they'd just stop).
Pretty soon I decided I needed to get out of the tub temporarily to go to the bathroom, it wasn't easy getting out of the water, and I had full intentions of getting back in. soon as I made it to the toilet I knew it really was this baby's birthday, as the contractions got much stronger and faster.  I called out to John and when he came to the door I told him he needed to call his mom or sister to come be with the kids because he was going to have to take me to the hospital.  He called his sister, Leda, and she came to get the 2 little girls.  John decided the older 2 and their cousin could stay home alone for a while. 
The things I remember during this time,   1~how nice and peaceful the candlelit bathroom was and how good the lavender oil smelled 2~that I was talking to the baby, telling him that if indeed he decided it was his birthday I'd roll with it but if he wanted to hang out and live in my uterus just a few more days that would be groovy too.
Then the nausea hit.  I'd forgotten how strong the nausea is during that stage of labor.  So I spent a few minutes throwing up in a towel, then doing it again.  (This is the point that the bathroom stopped smelling wonderful like lavender).
About this time the contractions got even more intense, John kept coming to check to see if I was ready to head to the hospital and I kept telling him I would be in just a minute.  I was thinking "as soon as there is a break in contractions I'll put clothes on and we'll go".  There weren't many breaks and I realized I couldn't get dressed on my own with the intensity of the contractions so again I yelled for John to come to me.  I told him I thought my water had broken, as soon as the words were out of my mouth there was a loud popping/gushing sound and I said "and I think it broke again" (yes, there is time to be humorous in labor).  (Luckily I was still on the toilet at that time).
All of this was happening quite fast as it was not even 1a.m. yet when John brought me my shoes, helped me get dressed and grabbed the bags I told him I wanted to take. 
Out to the truck and I realized I faced the problem that I knew sitting down would be unbearable.  So I knelt in the passenger seat facing back.  It was a good position for the pain.  I could still rock during the contractions (and grunt and groan and moan, which helped more than anything).  The drive to the hospital would be roughly 20 miles.
Kellee was going to be our doula and John called her as we were driving (I remember hoping she was sober enough to want to come to the hospital with us!)  She is awesome and called the hospital to let them know we were on our way and who our doctor was so they could call him in.  She and Julie (who happened to be there that weekend) headed to the hospital to meet us (what great friends!).
I quite liked the bumpy icy roads, they helped the pain, but once we were out to the highway and it was smoother the pain was a bit worse.
With all the moaning I was doing I was feeling pretty wimpy. I remember thinking that John was probably rolling his eyes at what a fuss I was making.  (I asked him later and the opposite is true.  He thinks I'm pretty tough.)  Also at that time I was feeling totally bummed because I was thinking to myself that there was no way I would be able to have an all natural birth this time because the pain was so very awful and we weren't even to the hospital yet.  Then just a minute or two later (when we were near the Auburn turn for those of you who know the area) I felt like I was going to have to push, when I shared this news with John he calmly said "don't push".  Good advise.  So I tried not to.  Then the next contraction hit.  My body took over and I couldn't not push.  By the time we were in Grover (just a few miles later) I realized the pushing was productive.  I put my hand in my pj pants and felt and indeed there was a head!
I told John the head was almost out (I think he thought I was just being dramatic about the pain)  He kept telling me that we were almost there.  When I finally looked up and out the window I felt like we were still oh so far away, just getting to Afton and the hospital is way over on the other side (which is really only a couple of miles, if that, but during labor, with a head already birthed, it felt oh soooo far away).
What felt like a long long time but was really only a few minutes we pulled up at the emergency entrance and John went in to tell them we were there.  In the quiet alone waiting for him to come back I wanted to just stay there in the peaceful quiet I wanted to just have the baby.  Out came a CNA with a wheel chair and John opened the door and the both of them encouraged me to get into said wheel chair.  This seemed insane to me since his head was already OUT!  They were saying I needed to get inside.  At that moment it felt like they were asking the impossible of me.  I was in the MIDDLE of birthing a baby and they wanted me to go this long far far distance from entrance of hospital to a room??!?  Seriously?  I just wanted them to leave me alone in the truck so I could finish giving birth.  I was pretty open about the fact that I couldn't do what they were asking so John lifted me out of the truck, my slip on shoes had long fallen off so I'm standing barefoot with a baby half out of me and the temperature was negative 14 degrees.  John wanted to get my shoes but I didn't want him to let go of me (I couldn't have stood on my own) so we skipped shoes.  Again they were wanting me in the wheel chair and again I'm telling them I can't sit, baby's head is already out.  Then I'm realizing that walking is my other option and that doesn't seem do-able so I try to lean/lay in the wheelchair, hand still holding baby's head and making sure I'm not sitting on him.  The CNA runs the wheelchair into the door a few times (that hurt) and finally John gets fed up with it and lifted the chair into the doorway.  We were there before my doctor so the doctor on call meets us in the hall and asks my due date, I keep repeating to everyone "his head is already out", the doctor asks again if I'm due (I bet John answered but I'm not sure).  Then the doctor starts saying things like "lets get you on the bed and check to see how far dilated you are"  AGAIN I keep saying "his head is already out".  Doctor not evidently not believing this says again, "we'll check and see if you are dilating yet".  Sheesh, ignore the mom much?

We get to the room, I stand and take my pants off with one hand, hold baby's head with the other as I walk to the bed.  I lean on the bed and put one leg up, the look on John's face and the doctor's sudden urgency make me realize that indeed they didn't really believe before that moment that yes, the head was OUT!

One small push and the baby was out.  (now 1:16 a.m.) I leaned up to look at him and touch is feet while the doctor clamped and cut the cord.  The baby was still and quiet, which scared me.  The doctor rushed him to the corner where he and the nurses tended to him.  I kept asking if he was ok and if I could have him.  The answer I got from the doctor was "NO!!".  That scared me too, not knowing if my baby was ok.  It seemed like a long time of me asking the same thing before one of the nurses started giving me the play by play.  She said he was fine, that his respiration wasn't great and they needed to get him breathing better but that he would be fine.  She told us that his temperature was low but that he would be fine.  About this time the doctor says its time to check on me.  He comes over, tells me I've torn just a little bit, turns around and vomits.  Really.  Vomits.  One of the nurses is holding a towel for him.  He says at this time to me "It isn't you, I've been sick since ten".  Really?!?!?!  Why are you in here with my minutes old baby?! 
The nurses encourage him to leave, telling him that they'll be able to handle everything just fine until Dr. Morgan gets there.  He leaves, the nurses apologize for him saying he has a horrible flu and has been sick for hours.  Nice, great.  Sheesh.  (but a comical bit in the story, no?)
Finally they hand me my baby, my beautiful (but bruised) baby.  I get to look at him, cry, feed him for the first time, tell him I've waited so very long for him, how happy I am to meet him.  Bliss.

So there it is, for the most part.  My doctor got there (messy hair and in pjs), checked on us, gave me a couple of stitches and went to the next room to deliver another baby.  I got up and showered while the nurses brought in everything to weigh and measure baby, John took pictures.  John had called my parents and they were on their way.  Kellee and Julie came in to see us (Kel was awfully disappointed to have missed helping me birth Ivan, she was all prepared with oils and ready to rub my feet and my back~I invited her to do those things anyway:)
To get Ivan's temperature up I held him skin to skin for about a half hour. My parents came in for a few minutes then everyone went home and we were moved to a recovery room.  I spent the rest of the night (morning) cuddling Ivan, feeding him,  and just staring at him.  Amazed he's really here.

Ivan Stanley~ 7 pounds 9 ounces~ 20.5 inches long.  January 2, 2011~1:16 a.m.