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Guest Blog: A Birth Story (DD#3)

03/08/2012

Another guest blog post by The Biologist!

DD#3: Born Nov. 2011, Iowa. 9 lb 4 oz. 32 years old.

It sort of started on Saturday at 2am a week before my due date. I had a couple of hours of contractions. Though I could stay in bed for them, I couldn’t really sleep, but finally fell asleep after a couple of hours. I woke up still having contractions. They weren’t really super-painful, but they didn’t seem like painless Braxton-Hicks either. They were fairly regular, around 10 min apart while I ate breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen. It definitely felt better to be up and moving around during them than just sitting. I was pretty sure the baby wasn’t coming in the next hour, but I thought it seemed likely that the baby was coming that weekend, so I had DH call my parents and warn them that something might be happening that weekend and to be ‘on call’ for watching our girls.

After a few hours, I decided to take a shower in case I didn’t get a chance for a while. And the contractions pretty much stopped! I still had a few throughout the day, but not regularly at all which continued on Sunday. I was disappointed, to say the least. I had been feeling bigger, lots of pressure, having pelvic pain while walking and not being able to roll over in bed for several weeks, which was getting pretty old so I was ready to be done! I also had sort of started to get mentally ready for birthing… and then it just stalled.

I was pretty disappointed Sunday evening when it seemed like I was going to have to go to work the next day. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to work, yet I didn’t want to tell people I was in early labor and feel even more “watched”! Monday at work I gave two exams. I was not really happy to be there and definitely was grumpier than normal. I felt terrible, had no idea when this baby was finally going to be born (if ever – isn’t it funny how it feels like that sometime at the end?? As if there’s ever been a pregnant woman who stayed pregnant forever!). I even got a call from a friend and didn’t answer because I felt too down.

Luckily Tuesday I don’t teach any classes just office hours, but since it was the day before a break, I knew no students were coming in and so I just stayed home all day. Mid-way through the day, I suddenly had a complete change of attitude. I felt upbeat again. I started joking with DH again and I decided on the pattern I was going to use to make a new quilt for our bed and was really excited to get going. I decided it didn’t really matter when the baby came because the longer the baby waited, the more of the quilt I could get done beforehand! I cut a bunch of fabric and then went to my weekly appointment with my midwife at 3:30pm.

She said I was at 2 cm and about 50% effaced and ‘butter soft’. She said the heart rate sounded good and she thought (by just feeling) that the baby was probably ~ 7 3/4 pounds (note that weight). She said she couldn’t tell me when I was going to have the baby, but that once things got going she thought they’d go quickly. As she was leaving she said, “Let’s have the baby tonight.”

I had a good dinner at home, tucked the girls into bed, and went downstairs to sew. I slept just fine until something woke me up around 2:45am on Wednesday morning. Got up and painfully walked to the bathroom (my pelvis really responds to relaxin apparently, and it makes walking after sleeping on my side really painful). I was starting to drift off again when I had a pretty painful contraction. Followed fairly soon by another and another. I had downloaded a free app for timing contractions and after a few more contractions they were about 2.5 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute. I guess this is really it, I thought! We got up and called my mom to spend the rest of the night with the girls. I threw on a sweatshirt and brushed my teeth in between contractions (tough to do when they are that close together!). I was also listening to the hypobabies that I had liked so much for DD#2’s birth. It was helpful and distracting me a bit and helping me relax somewhat. (Though I did not practice it nearly as much as I had last time and I think it wasn’t as effective because of that.) The contractions were tough from the beginning and I found them easiest to get through if I was on hands and knees or at least leaning over resting on a counter.

Luckily we live very close to the hospital, because even the ~2 contractions I had to deal with on the drive were really bad! We got there and walked to the emergency room. Luckily as we were going to the birthing floor I had a contraction while we were stopped in the elevator so I got out of the chair and leaned over it.

We got to the room probably around 4:15am and the nurse started asking all the typical questions. It felt pretty calm and quiet there. DH told the nurse that I wanted to get in the tub right away. She got some things ready and had DH fill out the paperwork and she put the monitors on me with this big stretchy thing over them to keep them on while I was in the water. She said as long as she could get a good reading like that I wouldn’t have to lie down in bed, which I was really glad about. She then asked if I had been checked recently and I told her about my appointment 13 hours beforehand.

Then she asked if I wanted to be checked now. I was sort of surprised (and happy) about her asking – I wouldn’t have needed to be checked if I didn’t want to. But I did want to know a baseline number, to sort of have an idea of how long this might take! As she was checking me she says “You may not be able to get in the tub after all!” I was shocked – what? Then she told us that I was at 8cm! I said I still really wanted to get in the tub and she told DH he could go start the water if he wanted, but that she had to go call the doctor and get ready for the birth!

From here things are sort of blurry. Eventually I got in the tub, even though it wasn’t really full enough, and I was still listening to my hypnobabies. At some point I looked up from the water and saw my midwife sitting next to DH outside the tub in her scrubs. I think I smiled at her and said ‘hi’. Not too long after that after a contraction I said that I thought I felt a little pushy. She said that I looked like I was pushing a little on that contraction. She asked if I wanted to be checked. She was able to check me without me getting out of the tub and said I was completely dilated and with a very bulging bag of waters.

Here’s where it turned a little strange. I felt like I had to push, but it wasn’t as strong as I remembered with DD#2. I wanted to push on the toilet, but my midwife thought things would go too fast, so she didn’t want me to do that. I got out of the tub and pushed for a while on my hands and knees on the bed. I didn’t feel very effective though, it was frustrating. Then my midwife suggested maybe going to the toilet. After that, I moved back to the bed and tried a couple different ways of pushing and my water broke. The fluid was yellow instead of clear, so that worried me a little bit. They said the baby’s heart rate was still good though, so tried to not be too concerned and kept trying to push. When I said that I just didn’t feel like I was able to do anything, my midwife decided she should check the baby’s position.

She said the baby’s head was a little turned and she wanted me to grab my left leg behind me knee and pull back and push really hard on the next contraction as she reached in and turned the baby’s head. I said very sarcastically and loudly, “Oh, that’s going to feel pleasant!” But I did what she said (and it actually didn’t hurt) but as soon as she did that I could feel the pressure and burning like the baby was crowning and I remember thinking “oh, this better be the baby crowning because this hurts!” And then I opened my eyes and looked down and the head was coming out! She told me to stop, they did their little suctioning thing and I briefly thought: ‘yay! the tough part’s over!’ because for my other two kids (8lb 5 oz and 8lb 3 oz), once their heads were out, the body just seemed to slide out effortlessly… but not this time! Not as bad as the 36 cm head, but the body wasn’t effortless (because she was 9 lb? Because of her position somehow? I’m not sure), though it went very quickly and soon my midwife was putting her on my chest, I was seeing she was a girl, and we were telling everyone her name!

She was crying, but stopped pretty quickly after being put on my chest and being covered with blankets, etc. Then she peed on me – just like her oldest sister! She was beautiful, of course! She was born at 5:40am – which meant that start to finish my labor was ~2 hours and 40 min, and I was in the hospital for only ~90 min before she was born! My midwife later said that if the baby’s head hadn’t been slightly mal-positioned she didn’t think she would have made it in time!! And she said that eventually the contractions would have turned her, she just sped things along.

My midwife waited a long time to clamp the cord, just like I wanted, and I actually got to watch DH cut it this time (it had happened quicker the other two times and I was too enthralled with the babies to notice, I think). Then later than I expected, she said the placenta had detached and I pushed that out. I had bled a little too much the last time and needed an IV of pitocin after the birth and I was slightly worried about that this time. But things looked fine this time, I just got the standard one shot of pitocin in the leg.

Soon after that the nurse asked if she could weigh the baby and give her a bath, but we wanted to enjoy her longer and she had latched on quickly and was nursing great, so we asked to put it off. Eventually they weighed her and she was 9lb 4 oz! (I guess she grew a lot in the 15 hours since my midwife had thought she was under 8 lb!) Unfortunately that was a little “large for gestational age” so they had to check her blood sugar lots of times before we left the hospital, and she did have to have a little bit of formula right away after they weighed her, but through a tiny tube right by my nipple as she was breastfeeding, so we didn’t have to worry about nipple confusion.

I showered before we left for the recovery room while DH called parents, etc. DD#3 was here!!

My recovery was even easier than last time, when I thought I recovered quickly! I was on such a high after DD#3’s birth – I was happy it had gone quickly, glad my midwife had been there and had known to turn her, I was excited that she was huge and I had been able to birth her without drugs and that I had not torn at all! And I felt great!

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