Belly picture of the day:
Today's friend of the show:
Authors Gretchen Arnold and Jill Johnson were guests on show number 23! One of my favorite shows!
click to listen to show #23
Featured Story of the day:
Jennifer's birth of Lauren:
It was February and as any expectant mom, I was anxious to finish my pregnancy and bring our new baby into the world. We didn't know whether to expect a boy or a girl. Being in my last month, I was getting ultrasounds and stress tests because the size of my baby appeared to be small for its gestational age. The baby's original due date was Valentine's Day. February 3 was a regular day. A few nights before we had eaten at a Mexican restaurant and I got so sick. I thought maybe I was going into labor. I did not want to make a trip into the hospital unless I KNEW I was in labor. With my first child I was induced, and I had an epidural so I really didn't know if I would recognize true labor. I started to feel ill in the evening and kept having Braxton Hicks contractions. I had been getting them for weeks so it was nothing new. I started to time my contractions at around 8:00 p.m. and they were two minutes apart and lasted about two minutes. I was uncomfortable but nothing more. I had a small amount of diarrhea earlier around dinnertime and figured I was just feeling stomach discomfort from that. I was 38 weeks along at this point and didn't even have my bag ready for the hospital. This is really unlike me since I'm a pretty organized person. I guess I just figured since my first baby was a few days past my due date (and he still didn't come on his own) that I had plenty of time.
I kept taking baths and showers that day and night to ease the discomfort. I must've taken four or five and finally just left the water in the tub and kept getting in every once in awhile. Brent (my husband) was working on the computer finishing up work on one of his masters' degree classes and would occasionally ask how I was feeling. I put our son, Evan, to bed for the evening about 8:00 p.m. and started to really wonder if I was in labor. I called my neighbor, a good friend of mine who is a nurse, and asked her if she thought I was in labor. She had some suggestions to try to see if it was real. I drank some water, took another bath, walked (or rather paced) the house. My contractions didn't change in time apart or length but they got stronger and much more uncomfortable. By 11:00 p.m. I felt I was really in labor and I called the hospital. I was told I should come in to be checked. We took Evan to my neighbor's house and I got my stuff and we left for the hospital. I arrived about midnight.
I was in quite a lot of pain during the contractions and could barely talk through them. I told Brent to leave all my stuff in the van until we knew I'd be staying. Once we got to the room, I changed into a gown and was checked. I was dilated to 2cm and was completely effaced. I knew I was effaced already; I had been for well over a week. I was only dilated to two though which I felt was discouraging. I was feeling this much pain and only at two. I was told I'd have to be further to receive the intrathecal. I had requested this form of pain relief earlier in the birth plan I'd given to the hospital and to the doctor. There are two doctors that deliver babies at my doctor's office. Unfortunately, my doctor wasn't on call. The other doctor has a reputation for being late to deliveries; I was disappointed that she would be handling my care. She was alerted that I was admitted and how I was progressing. I really wasn't worried about anything at this point. I figured I'd soon be getting some pain relief and then I'd be feeling better.
I started to feel overwhelmed by the pain and requested to be checked, and then given the intrathecal. Then the nurse told me that I couldn't have it. She said that I would be able to have it if it were during daytime hours. Unfortunately, at this time of night there were no anesthesiologists that could administer it. I became very upset and started shaking violently. I could barely speak. The pain was getting very intense. I asked what other options I had. She checked me and said I couldn't have anything yet because it would affect the baby. I cannot remember exactly what I'd progressed to at that point. Everything from here on was a blur. Even though all of my belongings were in the van I didn't want Brent to leave my side. We figured we had hours to go before we'd need them. I'd wanted him to video tape part of the birth so I could view it later, and we had a camera in the bag so we could get the first minutes after birth on film as well.
The nurse asked me if I'd like to take a shower to "ease the pain" or if I wanted to listen to music. I opted for neither and kept requesting "real" pain relief. I did not intend to do this "natural." I just don't have the tolerance for pain. As the contractions grew stronger and harder, I'd scream through them (something I swore I'd never do) and just cry. It just felt like it was too much to bear. The pain was so intense. My contractions never changed, always about two minutes long and two minutes apart. It seemed like I didn't get a break from one to the next. We thought I'd be doing this for hours and I didn't know how I'd make it. The main nurse in charge over me just didn't seem too sympathetic to the situation. When she set me up on an IV drip, she blew out all the veins in my hand but one (this means that if the IV catheter isn't slid correctly into the vein, the vein collapses and the clotting process begins. After that, another vein has to be used). I was bleeding and I must say that was painful as well. She told me if she blew the last one she didn't know what she was going to do. She ended up getting one in the other hand instead. I guess to her it was just another day at work. The second nurse was better though. I guess they finally got tired of hearing my screams because they called the anesthesiologist at home and he said he'd be right in. I was relieved to hear this. I was feeling another contraction but felt I had to urinate so I buzzed the nurse for her help. She was helping me out of bed when I went into another contraction. I grabbed her arm and squeezed as hard as I could and screamed. I was pushing and didn't even realize it. She checked me and yelled to the other nurse "She's Crowning! Bring a cart!" I had not been checked for a while and so they were not expecting it. I progressed completely in less than a half hour and was pushing the head out. This, I guess, would account for the extreme pain.
She told me to go ahead and push it through if I could. I did, and then she stopped me telling me to wait because the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck many times. I waited until she unwrapped the cord and pushed again to push out the baby's body. The cord was wrapped around four times. There was no immediate cry from the baby and they seemed concerned. This concern lasted less than a whole minute probably, but I remember thinking "Oh my God, there is something wrong, all this work and all these months and the baby is not going to make it." I asked, "Is he okay?" and Brent said, "I'm not sure if it's a he." The nurse said the baby was fine AND the baby was a girl. I was very surprised to have a baby girl. I'd just assumed we'd have another boy (although if truth be told I really wanted a girl.) She wrapped her up and gave her to me. Just about that time the anesthesiologist stuck his head in and said, "Is this the woman who requested the pain relief? I guess I'm too late if that's her baby I hear." I just held her in my arms for the first few minutes. The doctor, true to form, made it in time to help deliver the afterbirth.
Our baby was fine. She had a full head of dark hair and a large mole that looked like a birthmark on her shoulder. She was just beautiful! Brent finally went to the van and brought in the camera and my stuff. It was about 2:00 a.m. in the morning when I called my mother in Pennsylvania to tell her I had a new baby girl on my lap. I was bleeding more than the doctor was comfortable with so I was given Pitocin in hopes that it would slow down. I didn't want the drug because it had made me so ill when I was given it during my first labor of my son. I started to get nauseous from it. I nursed Lauren for the first time when she was just minutes old and she did very well. When it was time for Lauren to go to the nursery, Brent went with her and I tried to shower. I took a very hot shower and it left me feeling a little tired. I was wheeled upstairs to my room. I told the nurse I was feeling light-headed and the next I knew everything blurred and I passed out. I could hear her yelling for help from the floor nurse. I can't really remember much for maybe the next hour or so. I was finally given something for the pain of the cramping the Pitocin brought on.
The baby was in the nursery under the lamps and I believe I was sleeping. After that, Lauren was in my room the entire stay. Brent went home to get our son and to rest while waiting for my parents to arrive. We only stayed in the hospital for a day and came home the following morning. Our baby was small, only 6Ibs. 9oz. but she was perfect.
All in all, my experience wasn't how I'd planned it but some things you just don't have control over. I'd planned everything out in a birth plan, but the labor and delivery part of the plan wasn't followed at all. If I'd known that we'd only be there two hours before her arrival I could've dealt better with the pain. Looking back I wouldn't change anything except I'd have taken my belongings into the hospital right away so we'd have more than just my memory to recall the event. To have a perfect little angel like Lauren, I'd have gone through anything and I'd do it again without a hesitation.