Thursday, April 26, 2012

Labor and Delivery

First of all, thank you for your patience with me.  This post is long overdue, but I'm just going to write about the labor and delivery in this post, and more will come later.  Ok, here it goes.

Reader beware:  Content has not been rated.  You may think I've gone too far and said to much, and I probably have.  I'm giving you all the details of this event.  But having a baby completely abolishes your care for G-rated material.  Modesty is no longer in my vocabulary, and I apologize for any "vivid" pictures I've painted in your mind. I only hope that one day you can forget them! Unfortunately you can't unread something, so proceed with caution...

It was Friday April 13th.  I was in no mood to make supper so, we made a quick trip to town for some Runza.  Little did I know, it would be our last meal together without a baby.  On the way home, it was about 8:00, I started having a few contractions. Very mild and somewhat random, so I didn't get too excited...we'd been through this once already.  We got home and got ready for bed and they were still coming fairly regularly.  I was certainly anxious to have this baby in our arms, so I got up and tried walking, hoping that it would bring on stronger and more consistent contractions.  These contractions were different from the ones of the last experience.  These were rather inconsistent.  One would be 5 min, the next would be 7, then 4, then 6...  I was assuming it was false labor.  But they continued all night, and never got more painful or unbearable.  I did more walking, and lots and lots of thinking.  I never fell asleep though.  At about 3:30 we decided we should go in and get checked.  So we packed up our things and left the house at 4. The nice thing about going into labor in the night, is that you don't have to fight traffic!  There was no one on the road. James and I enjoyed a nice conversation on the way to the hospital and tried to prepare ourselves for what may be ahead.

This was at 4:30 when we checked in.  This was the temporary room,
and obviously spirits were high! 
We arrived at the hospital at 4:30 AM.  We checked in and we were placed in a temporary room until they knew for sure that I was in labor.  She checked to see how dilated I was, and told us that I was about 4 1/2 cm dilated and still 80% effaced.  She said she could feel my water bulging as well.  We were instructed to walk for an hour, and then they'd check me again.  It was 5:00 then, and I only made it to 5:30.  Within that 1/2 hour the contractions became extremely intense, far worse than I'd experienced.  They were much closer together, too.  I felt like I didn't have much recovery time before the next one started up again.  My mom and sister, Ashton, arrived just in time to see me give up on walking.  So back to the room we went and I was checked once more.  I was almost at 6 cm.  At this point, they decided to move me to a labor/delivery/recovery room.  The contractions had become painful enough that I already felt kind of foggy.  I remember someone...not sure who...took my arm and escorted me to the new room.  On the way I vaguely remember feeling drips of water on my toes.  I found it rather strange at first, and then I did that math.  My water broke! Thankfully I had enough sense to enlighten the others about my discovery.

My account of the events that followed may not be completely accurate.  Please do not hold me liable for anything written that is false information, haha.  As I sit here, there is no one to remind me of the order of events or the details.  I honestly can't recall everything that happened, I felt like I was in a daze.  Almost like I'm trying to remember the details of a dream... It's hard.

I know I had a few more contractions in the new room, and I do remember asking my nurse how soon I could have something for pain.  She smiled at me and said I could have something now, if I wanted.  That was the greatest thing I could have heard at that point!  Now, generally I'm a wimp.  I don't like pain, and I don't tolerate it very well.  But that, my friend, was not pain.  It was, for lack of a better word, hell.  (Now, for all of you women that have experienced childbirth, the "natural way," I GREATLY applaud you.  You are my hero. But modern medicine is a Godsend!)  A few minutes later, she either gave me a shot or something through the IV... I know those were the options, but I don't know which one she did.  haha This is bad.  Anywho, how wonderful! It made me sleepy, but the best part was that it allowed me to sleep! Because if you remember, I hadn't slept at all that night and now we were starting a new day.  Sleep was essential.  I conked out for an hour and a half. It was much needed sleep and much appreciated! I have no idea what time this was...

Next, I remember contractions starting back up a little. I was pretty positive and felt rested, but the medication quickly was unable to help take care of the contractions.  I think she gave me some more, but told me that it works best the first time and may not do much with stronger contractions.  They came on really strong at this point.  So many times I wanted to just cave in and bawl my eyes out.  It was the worst thing I've ever experienced.  I believe that at this point, I told James that we couldn't do this again.  :)  It was a weak moment.  I was very vulnerable and desperate and I think I would have told anyone anything.   It's just a good thing there was no one around! Although it was terrible, there was no screaming or cursing, like in all the movies.  It was really pretty calm, but intense.  --  The nurse offered the jacuzzi tub to help with relaxation. I thought that it sounded pretty awesome, so I agreed.  It took a few minutes for the tub to fill, and then I got in.  I'm not positive but I think I only lasted 3-5 contractions in the tub before we called the nurse in and told her we decided we wanted an epidural.  We'd been open to the idea, but I really didn't know if I'd need it... Well I did.  So she called the anesthesiologist.  I knew in my mind that it would take a while for him to be able to get there and then a little while before it would kick in.  I knew that I could try to fight through another 1/2 hour of these contractions, but I didn't want to wait 1/2 hour and then decide I can't take it and then have to wait another 1/2 hour for the epidural to actually work.  I felt completely exhausted and desperately longed for a break.  So after maybe 10 minutes in the tub, I was back out.  Hospital gown back on, and back to the bed for me.  My mind was more at ease, knowing that relief was on it's way.  More strong contractions and finally the doctor came in to give the epidural.  Now, the anesthesiologist is a funny guy.  He tells you mid-contraction to hold still or it won't work.  HA!  He's a comedian at night. I remember thinking in my head with a very sarcastic tone, "Yeah right buddy.  Why don't we swap places and see if you ever try to tell a laboring woman that again!"  Once again, I was miserable and do not take responsibility for my thoughts in those long hours.  Somehow I managed to stay still long enough for him. Now they make you sign a paper before they give you an epidural, stating risks and liability.  I saw this paper after the delivery and my signature made me laugh out loud.  It looked as awful as I felt!  haha.  And once again, I have no idea what time this was, close to lunchtime maybe.  I'm going to let you in on a little secret, epidurals help, but it's not happy faces either!  Childbirth is still childbirth. You can still feel pain. I think I had a little bit of relief, maybe a 1/2 hour before I had dilated to 10cm.  This gave James enough time to run for a quick lunch, and yogurt apparently.  I told him I wanted some... haha.

I had dilated to 10 and could tell because with each contraction I started feeling all sorts of pressure on my pelvis.  Pushing time was coming! The nurse said she could feel his head already.  This gave me a boost of motivation.  I felt more rested and ready to take on this last scene.  I started pushing laying down, and that felt pretty good...but there's something about it feeling good that means you're not getting anywhere.  :(  So the nurse instructed me to try my hand hands and knees for a while.  That was not comfortable at all.  But I was making progress so I was encouraged to stay there.  At this point, pushing helped each contraction pass. Unfortunately, the baby's heart rate would drop after every contraction that I pushed.  So I had to sit every other contraction out and just try to breath through it.  This gave the baby time to get his heart rate back up.  Man alive, it's a terrible feeling, wanting to push, but not being able to! This went on for a while...I have no idea how long. I had made enough progress, that it was time to call in the doctor.  (Now a side note: It was a Saturday, meaning I got the on-call doctor, not MY doctor.  Thankfully, the on-call doctor was a sweet gal named Dr. Haake.  She did a marvelous job and I couldn't have been happier with her.) At this point I started using the bar thing to assist in pushing.  This uses gravity to my advantage helping the baby advance down farther.  The doctor came in and started coaching me through each push.  3 sets of 10 second pushes with each contraction.  Pushing is a three steps forward, two steps back type of process. You make a lot of progress with a push and then when you stop, that little head backs up.  In that moment, I felt good.  Don't get me wrong, it hurt like the dickens, but I felt really strong.  I believe that I owe that to the epidural.  It took the intensity of the contractions so that I could really focus on the task at hand.  It gave me the strength to really finish strong.  Funny story that happened at this point:  James had been up by my head for the majority of the pushing.  We had talked weeks before and it seemed like he just wanted to be at my head and not have to be "involved" down below.  Well, after a really successful push, the doctor exclaimed, "We see the head!" James took the cue and said to my mom, "Do you want to be up here with Megan?"  My mom replied, "No, that's okay, you can." His response, "No, I want to watch."  :)  I couldn't smile on the outside, but on the inside I giggled.  Suddenly this was real, and a miraculous event was about to occur.  A few contractions later, the I heard those words that to this day make me tear up thinking about it.  "One more good push, and you'll have your baby in your arms."  Oh man. Time stopped.  I knew that a new life was about to enter this world.  There's no words that can describe that feeling in that moment.  The anxiousness is overwhelming, but you realize how much you have to be thankful for.  I felt so broken before the Lord in that moment.  He was about to perform a miracle and I felt his smile.  This was the moment that we'd waited for, 9 months of the unknown was about to become known.  Love was about to be born.

I gave everything I had in those last 30 seconds. I heard her say, "We have the head, one push for the shoulders." This part of the story, to be continued.......

Daddy cutting the cord!
Skipping ahead past baby details... (I'm trying hard to increase the suspense by referring to him as "baby" I'm aware that you all know his name and probably every other detail about him, but for now, let's pretend that I have left you hanging. Thanks..)  After the baby was born, the placenta was delivered and then the joy of the room was quickly hushed.  Apparently I had suffered a cervical tear, (for those of you that don't know, it's a tear inside.)  I've read now that they are rather uncommon and usually only occur with the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor, or a very fast delivery.  Which I didn't have any of those things, so I don't know what exactly caused mine.  I was enjoying a new life in my arms when I was quickly "made aware" that there was an emergency.  Of course, they didn't tell me that.  I felt it.  The doctor literally used to hands to pry my open.  They placed some sort of tool in my to "hold" me open so that the doctor could get inside to see what was going on.  It was all kind of surreal. Every time I looked down I saw her pull out another rag drenched in blood.  I don't think I knew enough of what was going on to actually panic, but I could tell my the new mood of the room that things had changed.  I can say that this was almost the most painful thing of the entire process.  I was so frustrated, because my baby was here, and I wasn't supposed to hurt anymore! It should be over! The bloody rags began to pile up and I actually had to hand my baby off because I hurt so bad.  With each move of her hand, it made me let out a cry. I was almost out of breath at times because of the sharp pain.  She started to stitch up the tear...and I could feel everything.  I could feel her threading it through and pulling tight.  Ouch.  The doctor had been so gentle through the whole delivery, but now my comfort was the least of her cares.  (I wouldn't have had it any other way, she had a job to do, and she did it.)  Anyways, finally I was stitched up and the bleeding had stopped.  Later I was informed that my blood count had fallen, obviously, and they'd put me on iron pills to help recover.  It's crazy to think about how fast the situation can turn into an emergency.  I'm very grateful for the skills of the doctor and nurses to help lead me to a quick recovery. It could have been much worse and really serious if they wouldn't have worked as fast and precisely as they did.

One thought that's occurred to me: When Eve experienced the first labor of the entire universe, I bet all she could think about was, "Man, I really regret that bite of fruit." What a curse we have on us!

I haven't mentioned much about my coaches.  My mom was with me every minute.  She helped me remember that I needed to breathe.  Yeah, sometimes I forgot and would hold my breath, not the greatest idea.  After giving birth, you realize how much you are truly loved by your mom.  She went through that for you.  It was great having her there, she understood what I was going through and could truly support me.  She helped answer questions from the nurses when I felt like I would punch anyone that tried talking to me.  She ran the cameras after the birth, to make sure we had the event well documented. I was so grateful that she was there.
My other coach was my best friend.  James was so crucial to my success.  He dealt with the details when I wasn't able to.  He's been such a helpmate and I couldn't have imagined trying to do it without him.  Some of the moments I can recall the best are when he took my face during a rough contraction and stared me dead in the eyes and gave me the assurance that I desperately needed. I'll never forget those moments.  They are tender memories, having made it that far together and knowing that our future was about to change.  He was strong for me. I know he would have taken my pain in a heartbeat if given the chance.  He's such a blessing. Experiencing this with him has only made my love for him grow more and more.

What a day, growing on the farm...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

At this rate, won't he just drop out?

Just when you thought you had me figured out, I go and write 2 posts back-to-back! Don't be too impressed, I don't have much to say...

I really just wanted to give a short quick update.  I had my appointment yesterday and I'm now dilated to 4 cm and still 80% effaced.  At this rate, if I just hold off a couple of weeks, I'll dilate to 10 without even needing to go to the hospital! Just kidding!!! I'm very excited that I've progressed this far already!  The doctor said she thinks Chick will be an "average size."  About 7 1/2 lbs, she thought.  It was nice to hear that I probably don't have a 9-pounder in there! :)  

But I thought that yesterday was going to be the day to have a baby.  With the storms coming through this week, apparently it put every pregnant woman in labor, but me.  I saw 4 different babies on my facebook that were all born yesterday.  Surely, I'd go too? Not the case... We'll see what happens. Trying to be patient!

Doing my best to keep everyone posted, now that we're so close! Keep us in your prayers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Locked and Loaded!

Where has the time gone?  We're at 38 weeks, only 2 left! Wow, it is incredible how fast this pregnancy has gone.  We are now going to weekly appointments to check progress.  Two weeks ago I was dilated to 2 1/2 cm and 75% effaced.  Last week I hit 3 cm, and 80% effaced.  That means that I'm basically already done with the first progression of early labor. Once I start having regular contractions or my water breaks, I'll be going into the hospital to have this baby.  :)

Speaking of having this baby, Saturday night we had some friends over and didn't get to bed until almost 12:00.  I woke up to use the restroom at 12:30 and when I laid back down, I realized that I was having a few contractions.  This was pretty common, but something felt different with these.  I waited a little while and had a few more.  I had never had that many at one time. So I got up to walk around and see if they would go away, meaning they were fake.  I walked for about 45 minutes and started timing each contraction.  They were five minutes apart on the dot! Now keep in mind that we were told to leave for the hospital when they are 5 minutes apart.  After having these for about an hour I went to the computer and printed off my "Hospital List."  And then I went into panic mode.  James had slept the first hour or so, but had woke up to my rummaging around trying to pack the bags.  I told him how consistent and close the contractions were, and we decided he should probably go shower and pack his bag.  The contractions began to get stronger and stronger.  At first it was almost hard to tell when they started and ended, but by 2:30 they were much stronger and were easy to tell apart.  My sister, Ashton was staying the night at our house, and I just about woke her up 3 times.  But decided I'd wait until the last minute, so she could get as much sleep as possible.  I was ready to walk out the door a few times, but James stopped me.  We had everything packed and ready to go by 2:45, but James told me to lay down for a little bit and try to rest.  He realized that I didn't even have an hour's worth of sleep in my system and that if this was for real, it'd be a long night and day ahead of us.  I gave in and tried to lay down.  Each contraction seemed to get a little bit stronger and my mind was racing! I was positive that it would be impossible for me to fall asleep now.  I kept telling James that I didn't want to have the baby in the car!! It's a 30 minute drive to the hospital, but this is my first rodeo and I just don't know what to expect. With each contraction, I grew more positive that we'd be having a baby in the next 24 hours.  An Easter baby! I thought to myself that it was going to be the most memorable Easter of my life, and probably the most painful as well! But how fitting would that have been?! Easter is all about the resurrection; it's about new life.  It would have been too perfect to have a baby on Easter Sunday.
Adorable tractor diaper cake! So sad I had to take it apart,
but we got plenty of pictures! :)
Well obviously I'm still pregnant.  So to finish the story... James kept giving me time restrictions.  First it was, "let's wait until 3:30, then we'll see where you're at."  3:30 came and the contractions were stronger than they'd been, but they were still tolerable.  So we decided to wait until 4:00 to see where we're at.  I felt so unsure.  I think I asked God a million times to break my water so we'd have some clarification and know it's really time.  I'm a little bit embarrassed to say that was my first prayer on Easter.  We really are such selfish beings, aren't we?  Anyways, by 4:00 the contractions were starting to get pretty rough.  I started to have to focus during them and make sure that my body stayed relaxed, and didn't tighten up.  I started breathing through them a little more and was getting good at acknowledging when one was coming on, or one was slowing down.  I'd been laying down for over an hour, so my sleep deprivation started to kick in.  I started feeling more relaxed in between the contractions and I started to use the few minutes in between to rest.  At about 4:15 I told myself, "Okay, two more and it's time."  One finished and I quickly fell asleep right after it.  I woke up a few minutes later to the next one, and fell asleep after it finished.  I had one more and I glanced at the clock and it said 4:30.  By then I was just wanting to sleep through them, so I closed my eyes again.  Next thing I knew, James' alarm went off at 6:00.  The contractions had either completely stopped or just slowed down enough for me to sleep through them.  I was really grateful that we didn't end up making a trip to Grand Island.  I went to church yesterday and to two family Easters.  James and I left early last night so we could come home and catch up on our sleep.  We hit our pillows at 6:30 p.m. and slept very soundly all night long.  I feel much more rested this morning! I'm glad that we had this little eye-opening experience.  I think we were able to get most of the nerves out and now we have a much better idea of what to expect.  I'll be able to recognize contractions much easier and know what they'll feel like.  I also think that we have a better sense of when we really need to leave for the hospital. We feel much more prepared!  I have my weekly appointment on Wednesday and I'm very anxious to see if all of those contractions helped me progress even more! But who knows, maybe we won't even make it until Wednesday! :)

We were able to take maternity pictures last week.  I had a lot of fun and I'm excited to see how they turn out.  We got a couple back to get a sneak peak, and they look great! We shot for about 2 hours and it was a nice day.  It was a little breezy, but we managed.  I was just very happy we were able to get them in before the baby's arrival. This was the third date we tried to shoot.  The first two didn't work out for various reasons, and I was thinking that they just wouldn't happen! But sometimes I'm too much of a Negative Nancy... I'll be sure to post the rest as we get them!

So I also told you that I'd be posting babymoon pictures... Well, if you know me at all, you won't be surprised to hear that I didn't get any pictures taken.  :S  We did have a wonderful time though! We went to the lodge and really just relaxed.  We did a little bit downtown, but for the most part we just enjoyed doing "nothing" together haha.  It's always much easier to do that when you're not at home.  I'm really glad we decided to go; it was so much fun.  It will be interesting when it's not just the two of us any longer.

I was planning on posting nursery photos as well, but I've decided to hold off and wait a little longer.  The nursery is basically completed, just need to find a shade for the window and a small table to put a lamp on.  We also need to get the doors put back on, since they were taken off to paint and re-carpet.  The other thing is that my vinyl wall decor isn't finished yet.  And it just won't be the same if I show the nursery to you now without them.  They might not be done until after the baby comes, but then you'll also be able to see his name on the wall.  So, you must wait a little longer to see the finished product! :)

I mentioned last post that my church was throwing me a baby shower.  It was a lot of fun! I had a good laugh when I read the sign-in sheet at the shower.  My mom wrote, "We can't wait for our little baby Chick to hatch!"   :)  He really should have been an Easter baby, huh?  We received so many generous gifts and we are truly blessed! Chick got some really cute "farm" things, and I know he's going to love them! We are pretty much set on baby items, and I feel a huge relief! We purchased the last of the essentials, but now we're ready for the best gift of all to arrive!  (Chick)

Chick and I with the shower hostesses! 
So last week was April 1st, meaning the infamous April Fools Day.  I woke up on my own, before the alarm and I laid in bed for a while.  I realized that it was April 1st, and I thought, "I should play a joke!"  Well before my brain even processed it, I shook James and said, "My water just broke!"  (Now, keep in mind that at this time, I wasn't having regular contractions and we were not very prepared. haha)  For some reason I felt that I needed to completely scare him to death by playing this awful prank.  His eyes got big and he responded, "Are you serious?!"  (This is where I was a good wife.)  Instead of having the water bottle next to my bed ready to dump out, or peeing myself to make this joke go any further... I simply just waited a few seconds and said, "April fools." in a very sheepish tone.  He didn't laugh. Apparently it was funnier to me than it was to him.  I wouldn't have any idea why... HA! That really wasn't very nice.  I could have given him a heart attack...  I suppose he could have faked one and I would have deserved it.  :)

We toured the hospital 2 weeks ago.  Just one more thing to help us be more prepared for the big day.  The hospital is so so nice.  The LDRP rooms are so big and cozy.  Another nice thing is the entire 2nd floor is just for deliveries, so there won't be any unnecessary traffic going through the halls or past our rooms.  It also has a good sized waiting room for any family that might be waiting there.

Some of you may know that I was trying to finish my semester of classes a month early to give me a little cushion to prepare for the baby.  Well my goal was to finish by the April 1st, and I finished March 29th! I was very excited! It's allowed me to get the finishing touches of the house ready for baby.  One of my classes isn't actually an online class, they record the lectures for me and I watch them the next day.  So I'm still having to finish that class, but it was impossible to finish before the end of the semester.  Other than that, I'm done! And it's wonderful! I'm needing to go in this week to figure out my schedule for next semester.  I'm a little bit nervous because I will have a baby to plan around and it'd be awesome to do the same thing I did this semester, but it kind of sounded like it might not work.  I might be going back to campus for classes, spending more money on gas, and trying to work out babysitters... We'll see what life brings.

When I walk into a room I get the same questions every time.  "How are you feeling?"  "Still haven't had that baby?"  "How close are you?"  I certainly don't mind answering these questions, it's just funny. Lately my response is "A little less than 2 weeks to go, but it may be sooner than that. Things have started progressing, so we'll see.  I'm feeling about as good as I can, considering the situation.  I'm retaining a lot of water though, so that's been a little bit uncomfortable.  But I really can't complain."  That is the latest issue.  Swelling.  I look and feel like a big balloon.  I've put on almost 10 lbs of water weight in the last couple weeks.  haha.  I'm not able to fit into actual shoes anymore, so about three weeks ago I went and bought a pair of soft flip flops, and those are the only things that have touched my feet since!  They look like I've had them for a year because I've worn them so much already.  I think I'm ready to be my old self again.  (After a few months of extreme work outs, of course haha)  I've started to take interest in the old wives' tales about things to do or eat to induce labor.  haha I guess I'm feeling desperate!  We know that nothing will fully prepare us physically, emotionally, or mentally, but we feel as ready as we'll ever be to have this baby in our arms!  We're getting very anxious! And I'm hoping that this is the last post without pictures of our dear baby Chick.  He will, by then, have a new name and I can stop calling him that.  Oh what joy! :)

Chicks coming soon, growing on the farm...