Monday, October 14, 2013

A baby (boy) story -- laboring laboriously

Before we go on, I feel the need to explain my mindset behind labor this time around.

When I was pregnant with Charly, I firmly believe we went to the hospital too soon. I'd had regular contractions for weeks, and we kind of just arbitrarily decided to go in one night, even though I wasn't really in (too much) pain. The biggest negative result of this was that getting the epidural was just a BAD experience. They talked me into getting it right when we checked in, so I wasn't in terrible pain and I was VERY AWARE of the giant mega needle, of Dallin's nervousness, of the fact that I could feel that second prick even though I was only supposed to feel that numbed "pressure" feeling (which even freaked the nurse anesthetist out, which made me more freaked out), etc. And goodness, it just makes the whole thing worse when you aren't seeking relief from the horrible labor pain, you know?

The point is this: I wasn't going in prematurely again. Even though getting my epidural was rather traumatizing with Charly, I was still planning on getting one for Parker's birth. BUT I wanted to be begging for it before I got it -- just so that a mega-needle to the spine would seem like no big deal. Because of that, I wanted to labor as long as possible at home, because I knew those nurses would just want to get me all epidural-ed up the second I got into a hospital gown.

Make sense? Okay, so where were we? Ah yes, the "whoa" contraction.

The first thing I noticed about this "whoa" contraction was that it wasn't in my belly. It was in my hips. Very distinctly in my hips. And you guys -- it HURT. I couldn't keep quiet. I couldn't hold still. I started the timer, squirmed and said "oooooh" enough times to make Maddy curious, and endured my first, but certainly not last, minute of misery.

***side note: It was only after a week or so, after getting surprised looks when I told people I had felt the pain in my hips, that I realized that might not have been exactly normal. Some Google searches led me to discover that hip labor is certainly not normal, that it usually has to do with how the baby is positioned, and that most women find it more painful than contractions felt in the uterus. Awesome. side note over***

So how to describe this intense pain? It felt like the baby must have been laying sideways in my pelvis and then stretching out as much as he could. My hips seriously just had this achy, pushed to the limit feeling that didn't quite go away even once the contraction was technically over. On top of that, there was the achy pain like a really bad cramp, but in the wrong place. It was in-TENSE.

Since I had known that I was going to be laboring at home as much as I could, I had looked a bit into pain management techniques and different things I could do to go as long as possible without medical intervention. The ones that made the most sense to me were movement and vocalization. So after that first moment-of-hell pain, I got on my feet.

For the next several contractions, I did different things to help take my focus off the pain. I swayed, walked, stomped, stretched, bent, did some Zumba, etc., just to stay moving.

Okay, okay...I didn't do Zumba. But it would've been cool, right?

And guess what, guys -- it helped! All the moving actually helped! The theory behind it is that if you're just laying/sitting still, your focus is going to be on the pain and it's going to seem even worse. By moving, you can feel active and in charge, and you can focus your mentality on the progress you're making. Or...something.

And when there was an especially bad one, I made noise. Usually just a drawn out "oooh" or "aaaah" or something equally weird sounding. Sometimes I'd give myself a lovely pep talk that made me want to punch myself. Stuff like that. It all actually really helped too; I think the people that wrote my book would say it "gave me an outlet for my pain" or a "way to expel bad energy" or OMG I JUST REALIZED I READ A HIPPIE BOOK.

JK, I realized that a long time ago.

But anyway, these things must have worked, because I labored at home for about 3 hours. Maddy fell asleep. I watched some TV, moved and vocalized like a hippie, laid down occasionally (it wasn't very comfortable), ate a little bit, and really just tried to kill as much time as possible before putting things in motion to go to the hospital. And then, around 1:30, this happened:

and I thought to myself, "Yeah! Yeah, that IS enough!"

Why that thought didn't occur to me sooner, I have no idea.

So I went upstairs and told Dallin how brilliant he was.

We called our moms (mine was meeting us at the hospital, his was coming to stay with the girls) and my sister, who wanted to be at the hospital as well. My mom was like "Oh, call me if you get admitted!" and I was like, "Mom. Let's just assume that I'm getting admitted, mmmkay?"

The first contraction that Dallin was awake for...well, I think it freaked him out a little bit. Maybe it was because I was making weird noises and probably twitching or rain dancing or something by that time, but he was concerned about me and it was just about the sweetest thing ever.

Also, if I was rain dancing, it was working, because it started to rain. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

I asked Dallin to put some water in the bathtub for me to sit in while we waited for his mom to get there. Something about the heat sounded appealing at the time, but once the tub was full, I decided it didn't sound good after that was a nice waste of water. Maybe I just subconsciously wanted to waste water so I didn't feel so "one with the earth" anymore. It's also entirely possible that I was exercising my right to be a fickle laboring woman.

And THEN, I made a fabulous discovery. I discovered that the footboard on our bed was at my hip height, and if I leaned over it it put a good amount of pressure on my hips. That pressure along with some deep breaths got me through while we were waiting, and while I was doing all that strange stuff, Dallin threw the last minute stuff into our bag and got the car loaded.

And then Dallin's mom got there, and it was time to go. I waited for a break, headed downstairs, asked Dallin why in the heck he was taking a picture of me...

(I call it: Attractiveness Defined)

and waddled through the rain to the car. We were on our way!

Monday, October 7, 2013

A baby (boy) story - the Preamble

This pregnancy, I was very much into birth stories. Like, in a "I-found-a-podcast-called-'Pregtastic'-(seriously)-and-half-of-the-episodes-were-birth-stories-and-I-listened-to-a-ton-of-them-and-loved-them-thank-you-very-much" kind of way. I guess I've always enjoyed a good birth story, but for some reason it was like, extra interesting/entertaining when I was facing the prospect of giving birth to our little baby boy.

And now that I have his story to tell, by Jove, I'm going to tell it. That's right - birth story comin- atcha. If you're one of those people who really doesn't enjoy reading these things, I bid you adieu.

Let me start out by saying: At the end of my pregnancy, I was moderately uncomfortable on a regular basis. Back pain, pelvic pressure, back pain, leg pain, back pain, regular braxton hicks, sweating like something that sweats a lot, peeing like something that pees a lot, OMG BACK PAIN, mild swelling, etc. Please don't get me wrong - I actually really enjoy being pregnant. I love feeling all the little kicks and squirms, the cravings that totally justify getting yourself whatever you want when you want it, the fact that it somehow takes away my headaches and my acne, the nesting urges that somehow give you surges of energy, etc. I'm also really not the type to schedule an induction (let them cook, I say), but I was kinda, a little bit, done with being pregnant.

So I was determined to have this baby AFTER 10 PM on September 5th, but BEFORE 10 AM on September 8th. Reasoning:
  • This was early, but not TOO early (my due date was the 10th). 
  • Any time before the night of the 5th wouldn't really give me time to finish all the shopping/projects/cleaning I just HAD to do before baby came (you know, like hobble around to 4-5 different stores looking for the perfect something to hang as part of the nursery wall collage. Those kind of "necessities.")
  • The first ASU football game was on September 5, and since I was pretty sure I'd be missing a game somewhere along the line, I really wanted to go. #GoDevils
  • I didn't so much want to risk my baby born on the 11th. I mean, sorry, but hey...if I'm getting to choose.... right? Am I right? 
  • It was a weekend, and really, that's just more convenient for everyone. It's common courtesy.
And whaddaya know -- in spite of being dilated to a 3 since 37 weeks, and having frequent contractions for at least that long, and every once in a while having some serious pressure that made me SURE that my water was going to break -- we hung in there.

And so it was that when the ASU game ended late on Thursday the 5th, operation "Initiate Labor" began. Since it was pretty late that night, all I could really do was walk up the stairs to the top of the stadium, and make the long walk back to the car instead of insisting on a ride (no small feat).

Friday morning came, and I was feeling good, just having the fairly regular braxton hicks I'd been having for a while. I talked my mom and sister into mall walking with me. We spent the next couple hours walking all over the dang mall, and while I had a few pretty good contractions -- and left with a new shirt to help me celebrate the pending disappearance of my belly -- the biggest thing gained from the trip was sore feet. 

So I came home and, determined to keep things going, cleaned like a mad woman. Maddy went to Grandma's and Charly went down for a nap, and I seriously just cleaned like crazy. Dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping, putting the baby swing together, general picking up and putting away, dusting, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning bathrooms, etc. I will say that the activity that took me from "I really hope this happens" to "I really think this is happening" was mopping. We have this steam mop thing that you push like a vacuum, and I think something about that motion really kicked things into gear.

Dallin came home to a clean house and a determined wife. We ate dinner, and headed to another mall and walked around for another hour or so. Towards the end of that walk, I realized that my contractions were starting to get rather painful, like to the point that I had to stop walking. I started timing them. They were pretty consistent at about 4 minutes. I was determined, though, to hold off on going to the hospital until I was really in pain. And while I was pretty uncomfortable at that point, I wasn't really in serious pain.

We picked Maddy up and got home around 9:30. I sent Dallin to bed knowing that he wouldn't get a full night's rest and he should get all the sleep he could. Maddy had snuck in a nap on our way home and was wide awake, so I hung out with her downstairs and waited for things to get bad. I turned on "So You Think You Can Dance" and laid down on the couch, hoping maybe I'd drift off too and spend at least part of my labor asleep (SPOILER ALERT: that didn't happen).

And it was there, on our couch, around 10:30, a few minutes after my sweet 3-year-old snuggled up to me, that I had my first "whoa" contraction. And dude -- WHOA.