Thursday, December 3, 2009

Birth story

Adam went home to eat and give his mother a chance to have a break from Katrina and come visit me. While I'm waiting for her and the lunch tray I ordered, I thought I would post some pictures and relate my version of things. Warning: this is a birth story, though I will avoid graphic details.

After waking up from my nap yesterday, my contractions finally settled into a regular, 9 minute apart pattern. I really wanted to get into the hospital before the main entrance closed at 9 so we wouldn't have to go in through the emergency room, but my contractions weren't quite close enough together. So, as Adam said, we watched Glee and he helped massage my back and push on pressure points. We ended up leaving before the show ended with my contractions at 4 minutes apart.

I was surprised how relaxing everything actually was once we got to the hospital. We talked and joked with the ER people while waiting for the L&D nurse to come down. I really enjoyed talking to the nurse who admitted me and took care of all of the paperwork and vitals and stuff. That took almost an hour. I was reclined and the contractions were mostly manageable but starting to get really difficult to deal with. I was admitted at 4 cm dilated. After maybe an hour of trying different positions I was pretty worn out. Nothing was working quite how I wanted. I was trying really hard to breathe and relax through contractions but my back was hurting sooo much and I couldn't get it to relax most of the time, which really make me feel out of control. The next time they checked I was at a 7 or 8. I asked them if this was my last chance for an epidural and they said probably, but the nurse encouraged me that I was "doing so well." That sounded like a big joke to me, because I was feeling absolutely horrible. In retrospect, I think the worst part was the feeling of having no control once the pain hit because all of my techniques fell flat. But I decided to keep going natural. I ended up back on the bed because of sheer exhaustion and because nothing much else was really working. They had me on a constant contraction and movement monitor (when they originally said I would only have to be monitored 15 minutes out of every hour--yeah, didn't happen that way). Oh, and I had to have an IV drip too, so I was connected to that. Four needle sticks later, the IV was in my forearm. That was not fun.

After that it really felt like torture. My attempt at coping was to breathe in through my nose while counting to five, and then exhale on a low "Ahhhh" while counting to 5. I was pretty bad at it. The nurse constantly was telling me to breathe more and slower. The next time I was checked, I was fully dilated but my water still needed to be broken. The doctor came in and all was set up for a baby. This was surreal because my contractions stayed at 3-5 minutes apart the whole time. Sometimes I would get one back to back but they never got super close like I was expecting. At this point I hated life and my decision to go natural so badly. They even offered an epidural, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to sit up long enough to get it, so I said no. I kept wanting to push but they wouldn't let me, however it was pretty involuntary on my part at this point. The doctor broke my water and that was also not fun. Everything is a bit fuzzy but I know I was writhing and yelling because I couldn't stop pushing and they were telling me to. Finally I yelled, "I can't stop pushing!" and they looked and sure enough there was the head. Two awful, awful pushes later, the baby came and was plopped up on my stomach.

It's taken me some time to recover emotionally from everything. I really expected natural childbirth to be empowering or something but instead I felt out of control and horrible. Immediately afterward I shook for almost an hour and couldn't hold the baby. I felt like a failure even though I accomplished my goal. Everything is much better now after, well, only 2.5 hours of sleep, but I still repeat what I told Adam right afterward--never again. I did it once, I know I can do it, and next time I will take the epidural!
Our room.
First look at the clean baby. Daniel Adam James!

My attempts to take pictures of him while he is in the bassinet don't work very well.

He's rather splotchy today. He also has quite the prominent nose. Since Adam and I both have beaky noses in our family, we know he came by it honestly!

I hope I don't come across too negative about the whole experience. There were so many wonderful things about it. Right now I'm in too much pain and discomfort still to really appreciate everything, plus I only slept for an hour and half after the delivery and then an hour nap this morning. I can't breathe and I'm waiting anxiously for the doctor to come write me an order for something to help, but she is apparently really busy. My cough is pretty bad and it of course hurts everywhere when I cough. The best thing right now is of course the baby. He's sweet and little and we love to hold and look at him. He's a bit cranky at times but also sleeps for long stretches, so Adam got to catch up on sleep this morning (I had to deal with too many nurses and stuff to sleep long). I am happily rocking in a rocking chair with his bassinet next to me, and I have a yummy meal that just arrived and a book to read while I eat. So life is good!
Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes. We can't use cell phones from our room, so all cell communication will have to go through Adam. But we have our computer here in the room so I'm not totally incommunicado. Can't wait to talk to all of you and to post some more pictures, hopefully clearer ones!


sb said...

Congratulations again! He's definitely a cute and sweet looking boy. I found it very interesting to read your birth story. I can't claim to have EVER wanted to go natural (because, well, I don't have any interest in subjecting myself to pain when I know there's an alternative), but I do understand the draw to the idea that it's supposedly more empowering and such. I'm sorry that you had a rough time of it, but you've made it through the battle and never have to do it that way again! (Unless you have a freakishly fast labor with the next one, I suppose... :)

Kamity said...

What a healthy-looking kid! Yay!

I don't blame you for feeling disappointed. Pain is not fun, and it's got to be frustrating when things don't work out the way you want them to. <3

I keep thinking about going natural with my next kid, but I really, REALLY don't do the pain thing. I'll probably end up feeling a lot like you. I don't think I'm dedicated enough to nix the meds.

Evenspor said...

Yay! My son's birthday is today too. Congratulations! I wish for you a speedy recovery.

Elise said...

Wow! Those pictures sure make me baby hungry! What a darling, darling baby. I'm not just saying that, either. All of your kids are/are going to be very cute.

I loved your honesty when you told your birth story. I have been going back and forth about going natural with this one, and it is nice to hear your account. Maybe I'll have to ask you more about it sometime when you're not so completely exhausted! Anyway, GOOD JOB and you sure are wonderful! If I still lived in Virginia, I'd totally drive up to some see him. . .when you're ready, of course.

Momza said...

Congrats! I am so proud of you for having a natural birth! It was best for the baby! You made a great choice!

Chris, Jessica, Mackenzie, & Alison said...

Congrats! I honestly don't think there is any perfect way to have a matter what you do epidural or natural there are always pluses and minuses. And unfortuantly the minus to natural birth is pain. I had the shakes too with Mackenzie but they said that was adrenalin (sp?). When moms talk about feeling empowered...I think that happens about a month later when you start to feel like a human again. My advice: Enjoy every minute with your little man and be okay with the fact that the next two to three months will be a rather imperfect blurr. It will get better and the post pardom amnesia will start to set in. Remember that this and the next few months are nothing in the scheme of things. And luckely the kiddos don't remember it ;) You're and awesome mom and woman!

Amber said...

He is so adorable. It's fun to see those cute blue touches (especially with all the pink around our house). Way to be for sticking with your plan to not have an epidural even though it sounds like it was the hardest thing you've ever done. I'm interested to see if your feelings about doing it again change in time. (I've often thought about going natural, but haven't done it--and stories like yours fuel my desire to not do it if I don't have to :) )
Congratulations--your body did just what it was designed to do. My mom had me natural and she said the doctors telling you not to push is a joke--you CAN'T not push! I hope you have a speedy recovery. Take lots of pictures. You'll blink and he'll change. Sleep whenever you can!

Cindy said...

He's gorgeous! Congrats. By the way you are not being negative at all, it's called being realistic. I am VERY impressed that you stuck to your guns and delivered naturally.

Jeff & Chels & Brooklynn said...

So I already emailed you, but that was before I read the story. WOW! It makes me feel better to hear your thoughts on natural birth so now I know I definitely don't want to do it. At least you will save some money right? :) You are amazing. I am so proud of you and happy for you for surviving that. And now you have a beautiful baby! Congrats again!

lsj said...

Any mother who loves labor is a strange person! It will only seem wonderful when you are a long ways away from it and probably not even then. :)
Keep up the blogging! We love to hear everything that is going on.

Sarah GM said...


Jolena said...

Congratulations! He's so handsome! I loved reading your story. I'm really impressed that you did it natural and I'm glad you wrote it all out now when you really remember it. I agree with whoever said you're not being negative, just realistic. I think that's perfectly okay, and that you are great! Love you lots and I fully plan to figure out how to get out there to visit sometime and see your adorable munchkins!

Kelly Jones said...

Yipeeee! I am so very happy for you Tori! What a beautiful son you have....and what a beautiful new nephew I have. We love you all so very much! Congratulations and I hope you get some rest. By the way...I totally "feel your pain" on the natural birth idea! No fun! Be well! Love ya tons and tons and give that cute little boy of yours a kiss on the head from his Auntie Kelly!

Jessica said...

CONGRATS!!!! He is absolutely handsome! I am sorry that you labor was so hard, we will be thinking of you and I hope you feel better soon! You have a beautiful family! and way to go for doing it natural... though it was hard!

Tasha's Life said...

Yay! He's here. Way to go on the natural birth. I'm not sure I can do that!!! I so wish I could be there. Thanks for blogging so I can get a picture in my mind and see pictures as well. I love you so much and am so proud of you!!!!!

Betsy said...

Natural birth was the best way with me. It was excrucating, but for me once the birth was over it was over and I could get on with life and enjoying my children.

Tiffany said...

Congratulations Tori! I'm proud of you for the natural thing. I may not be popular when I say this, but it really is the best for your child. I had Jaden naturally, though I do understand the pull for an epidural. My sense of empowerment comes from feeling stronger than other women. I keep trying to not think about it that way, but it always comes back. It made me laugh when they asked me if I needed pain meds for the afterbirth pains. After labor, those were nothing. I shook too afterward, but they let my IV go full blast after birth and it was cold.
I am so happy for you, and I hope that you feel better soon.