Monday, February 1, 2016

Birth Day Story

It's that time of year - birthday party for our sweet little Pookie. Hard to believe that 3 years has passed since that joyous event in our lives. Although, upon reflecting on the experience, the labor to get there was hardly joyous ... it was WORK! I, like most mother, would say it's the hardest thing I've ever done. And to think that I'm nearing the day when I'll do it again. It's definitely worth it and I am actually excited for the trials of labor and delivery once again. However, when I think back to what I "survived" as a first-time mom, I have to give myself a little credit and a pat on the back. I'm amazing! In fact, all women everywhere who have sacrificed their bodies to give life to another (regardless of how the delivery went or what kinds of drugs may or may not have been used during that time) are AMAZING! Every life is a miracle and every mother who gives that life deserves some serious credit. 

Anyway, there's this tradition in my family where my mom tells me the story of the night I was born on the eve of my birthday. She has done this for over 30 years. I recently had a birthday and still my mother called me (at my request) to tell me my "birth day story." My siblings don't care about this tradition anymore - they're too old. But for me, as long as both my mother and I are living, she will call and tell me my story. It changes every year though the core story is the same; each year I get a little more detail and more of the gory details of labor, etc. This is one of my favorite traditions. So, I've carried it on with my daughter, Pookie. I'm sure I will pass it on to this next baby as well. I cherish that mother/daughter bond.

Since Pookie is only 3 years old, she gets a super shortened version of the story. Her story, like my own, will get more detailed over time as long as she wants me to keep telling the story. You, my readers, will get most of the story. I'll try to spare the boring and gory parts, but I hope you enjoy little Pookie's birth story. 

About 10 weeks before my due date, I was put on bed rest due to some complications with my kidney. It was functioning okay, but because I have a kidney disease, the doctor took extra precaution. I was in excruciating pain and the baby would kick and kick, aggravating my condition even worse. When I went on bed rest, I had to lie on my left side the majority of the time, making it nearly impossible to use a laptop or do other things to pass the time. I read books and got into silly games like Words With Friends and I took up pinning to boards on Pinterest. Previously I had been so busy at work that I didn't have time for such things. On bed rest, that's all I had time for ... a lot of nothing. Sometimes people would come and visit me, but for the most part I watched a lot of Netflix and read books and slept. 

Anyway, I started to have contractions about 5 weeks before my due date, even on bed rest. I was so ready for that baby to come out, I was antsy. I was not about to get induced or have any sort of medical assistance in the delivery if I could help it, though. After several conversations with Husband the naturopath, we were determined to deliver as naturally as possible. We even enlisted the help of a friend who was a doula. As the weeks went by, the contractions increased. About one week before my due date, the contractions started coming hard and long. I was up all day and all night in pain and contracting. The doula came over and even spent the night at our house while I labored. She termed what I was experiencing "prodromal labor." When I went to see our midwife, she confirmed it. Basically, a lot of pain - more than just Braxton Hicks - but not a lot of action. Finally, I started the "real" labor contractions and ended up going to the hospital, prepared to labor. 

When I got to the hospital, the contractions continued. I was dilated to 3.5 cm and completely effaced. But my blood pressure skyrocketed. If I remember correctly, it was 160 over 95 ... not good. I had never (and have never since) had blood pressure issues. They wouldn't let me walk or get on the birthing ball or anything because they were concerned it would make my blood pressure worse. Because of my kidney situation, they did tests for preeclamsia and I was resigned to just rest. And the contractions stopped. Just like that. Not even one more contraction. They sent me home to rest and wait. 

Two days went by without a single contraction. I tried not to even think about the baby or delivery or anything. I still had to rest - even more now since I had this blood pressure issue - but I tried to occupy my time with worthwhile projects to keep my mind off the previous days of "labor." 

The next morning I woke up and couldn't feel the baby moving. Usually she was a regular wiggle worm - hence, the excruciating kidney pain! But this day she hardly moved at all and when I did the kick count (which I rarely had to do), she didn't get 10 in an hour. I called the doctor/midwives office and they sent me to the hospital for tests. The baby was fine. She was just chillin' in there I guess. What a relief. So I went home determined to be patient.

My husband and I ate some Mexian food and started a movie in the Blu Ray player. The opening credits hadn't even ended when I felt a "pop" and water started gushing all over. Clearly my bag of waters had broken. It was a good thing we had fake leather couches and tile, because the water kept on coming. Still, I had no contractions. I called my doula (who we had sent home days earlier after the incident at the hospital) and she came over to render extra support. I didn't want to rush to the hospital without contractions because I was not about to be put on pitocin. I had heard horror stories of women who weren't ready for labor who went on pitocin and the contractions were a million times worse because they came too hard and too frequently than the body was ready for. I'm sure it is fine for lots of women out there, but I did not want to add any extra drama to my delivery unless it was absolutely necessary. 

After only an hour or so, the contractions started coming hard and fast. Still I waited to go to the hospital. About 6 hours after my waters broke, my husband drove me and our doula to the hospital. We were admitted right away (they don't send you home if your water has broken). The hospital I delivered in was wonderful. I have been in my share of hospitals, but this one was top notch. The staff was more than accommodating and I felt right at home. They provided a labor tub (they don't let you do a water delivery at the hospital, but they will let you labor in the water), which was a lifesaver. I was in so much pain. I had back labor because little Pookie's head was turned the wrong way. What I didn't know then that I know now is that I also had 2 herniated discs and a cracked sacrum, making the back labor even worse. I didn't want drugs, but at the same time, I didn't want to feel the pain. My husband and the doula were great at helping me breathe through the pain and focus on relaxing. In the hot water, I was able to really relax. Crazy as it sounds, I did relax even with the hard, long contractions that kept coming. 

Finally, I felt like I needed to push. Up to this point I hadn't been checked for dilation except for when I first came to the hospital. But, they had to check now to see if I could push. They had called the midwife, but she wasn't there yet. Sure enough, I was at a 10. The labor (from the time my waters broke to the time I was ready to push) went by in less than 12 hours. I was tired and weak, but I was so excited to get that baby out! The midwife arrived just in time and I started to push.

After only 20 minutes (which seemed like 20 hours) of pushing, out came a beautiful baby girl! She had quite a bit of hair and it was ginger - red, just like her daddy! The sweet little miracle of a baby was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She was tiny - only six pounds and less than 20 inches long. She was perfect, though. Her eyes were big and bright. Going the natural route, we opted out of the vitamin K and antibiotics for the baby. I didn't have an IV the entire time I was in the hospital. I didn't have strep B and needed no medication for the labor. The baby didn't need any extras either. So, what was left was just the two of us, bonding together. She breastfed right away and was a good eater. We had delayed the cord clamping so we could get as much of her blood into her body as possible to boost her nutrients from the start. Good thing we did or she would have been even smaller than six pounds! 

We went home from the hospital the next day. We have both been doing well since. I don't know what the ideal "natural" childbirth looks like, but I'm very happy with my experience. I am so glad for all the support my wonderful husband gave during the pregnancy and the delivery. He was my rock! And it turns out, his natural advice worked. The delivery went smoothly, all things considered, and both baby Pookie and I recovered within a couple days and were healthy and happy. 

So there you have it - the story of how my marriage to the naturopath became parenthood with the naturopath! 

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