Friday, January 4, 2008

The story

So I thought I'd have put up my version of the story of Shiloh's birth by now. We ended up being discharged much earlier than planned. Normally I'm bored in the hospital waiting to go home. This time they sent us home when she was 37 hours old I think? I think that it's 36 hours mandatory hospital stay or something.... they must have needed the room. And let me tell you - they could HAVE it! We were right outside the nurses station and all I heard them talk about both nights is about how it was unfair that Shiloh wasn't named Rochester's 1st baby of the year, and that Strong cheated by planning a c-section at that time of night.

News flash : the woman who pushed out the 9 lb 1 oz new years baby does not care to lose sleep over you being upset at losing the yearly contest. However..... the hospital did make up for it by sending me an awesome gift basket for having their first baby of the year..... included were the 3 most delicious truffles I have ever eaten in my life. No - I did not share with Jake. I thought about it for a second.... then decided they were mine. Now that I'm thinking back on it... I don't know if I even told him there were truffles in there.. he was at work..... LOL!

Our day started at 5:15 am when the alarm went off. I was instructed to call the hospital at 5:30 to be sure they were ready for my 7 am induction. As it beeped I was devastated to wake up and discover I was still pregnant and had not gone into labor in the middle of the night. I called RGH who told me to wait and call back at 7:30 as they were short on rooms. So I call at 7:20 to have a woman say to me that she doesn't understand why I would be told to call then, they don't discharge patients before 11 am, call then. OOOO-kay.. now on top of my nervousness I've lost exceptionally valuable sleeping hours (my kids went to my parents' house the night before = perfectly quiet sleep).

I decide to sleep in and get a call back at 8:15 saying that my doctor wants me to come in, to have a non-stress test done to be sure that baby is OK and can handle waiting if necessary to be induced. I want to cry, but then thought maybe my DR. is trying to play around the rules of the hospital and get me in a room since I'd be there anyway - turns out I was right.

But the real problem wasn't lack of rooms so much as lack of staff. Many nurses called in sick that day and they couldn't do an elective induction as there were "real" labors happening. I was at the top of the list of elective inductions since I was the most overdue patient. We were told we'd be called later that night to come back in.

We thought for sure it wasn't going to happen on the 31st and decided to go home and rearrange the furniture in our bedroom since I had really wanted it set up differently with the bed for Shiloh and Jake hadn't had time previously. By "we" I mean him of course, I wasn't moving furniture. But I did clean a bathroom, do some laundry, and sweep the floors by the time the phone ran really early at 2:30. I answer the phone to hear "Would you like to have a baby now?"

This is the point in which the story becomes not as clear for me to remember. I always remember births very very differently than Jake. Maybe because I'm remembering them through the filter of pain? Not sure. I want to stop for a second to honor my husband, who knowing how nervous I was on the way there reached over to hold my hand and thank me for the physical sacrifice of bearing our children, through pregnancy and delivery. He said he couldn't even imagine what it meant to bear that, plus care for the family during that time, and care for a new baby + current family while recovering from delivery. He told me that he was always amazed at my strength and how well I handle it all - I'm not sure who he was talking about.... but I liked that he thought it was me ;-)

As we were getting checked in, and Jake was getting my things, I started crying when the nurse was asking me questions about if I was excited and ready. I apologized and told her I had been very emotional lately, hadn't slept in weeks, and still felt a little scared to be induced. She was a very sweet woman, I wish she could've stayed until Shiloh was born. But when she left she had already been there for over 12 hours and I couldn't really blame her.

My friend Sarah came to help support us during labor, which was great. Both Jacob and I felt like her presence being there, help, and suggestions were wonderful to us both! Jake said "I don't have a clue what would be helpful or not, even from what I've read. To have someone who's been through it give me ideas how to help you was good." I have to say, there were a number of times where Sarah said little encouraging things that really and truly made me think "Ok, I can get through this" I told Jacob that it was absolutely awesome to feel surrounded by support, and people who wanted to help me through it, encouraging me along the way. I hope I didn't scare her away because I really want her to come to my next birth!!! Note to pregnant women - I would highly recommend having an experienced woman be there to help coach you and your husband, it was very positive. Sarah is very calm, helpful, and encouraging - so you want someone with that personality.

They started the pitocin I *think* around 5:30... but the contractions were not only irregular.. but I hardly felt them. At around 9 - 9:30 pm my doctor checked me and I had not progressed at all - she said maybe another 1/2 cm. She wanted to break my water and I did not like that idea, she said it was up to me and I said "that's when it labor starts and gets painful!!" She laughed at me. My water was broken and sure enough, labor came on in full force. At one point the nurse had been holding increasing the pitocin as my contractions were regular enough and she was concerned they were occasionally getting too close together. Shiloh was holding up fine, but she said it wasn't good for me - I AGREED!

Jake and Sarah tried to help me in different positions when able, when the nurse left the room - nothing seemed to really help.. I kind of liked standing but felt like I needed to sit because I thought her head was going to pop out from the gravity - even though there's no such luck. The nurse only wanted me in the bed, semi-reclined because that was the only way they could pick up Shiloh's heartbeat. If you have ever been in labor and have semi-reclined or laid on your back you know how awful it is to labor like that. Yuck.

Fortunately my labor was very short - 3 hours before pushing.. I guess that means my water was broken at 9. But I started to realize I was past the point of being able to relax my pelvic floor during the contractions. I know Jake and Sarah helped me with some ideas... but what I don't remember. I asked for the same type of epidural I had with Liam, they call it a walking epidural. You're not totally numb, which is great. It's a small dose of medicine to take the edge off. I was fortunate with both Liam and Shiloh to have a good anesthesiologist who did give just enough medication, he says they sort of water it down, to not totally numb you as with a traditional epidural so you can feel your contractions still and push effectively.

Sure enough, just like Liam it took the edge off. I could relax and by the time he finished putting some tape on my back I told my doctor that if it wasn't time to push it would be soon. I was right, 9 cm. A few minutes later and it was baby time. They turned on the TV in the room because the ball was going down. I glimpsed it briefly.... gotta say, I didn't really care.

With my first few pushes with Shiloh my doctor used her hand to turn her because she was sunny side up. Yes, it's exactly what you think. I didn't know they could turn babies that way... like a door knob.

After that I was instructed when I could and couldn't push. I did NOT understand why they were having me stop or only do little pushes. They may have told me.. I don't understand the English language very well when delivering a baby. But it turns out that she was sticking her hand out and they were trying to push it back in. They were unsuccessful, so I delivered her hand/arm with her head. And finally, they let me push her the rest of the way out. I thought it took an hour... turns out it only took 8 minutes as she was born at 12:08 am. Fortunately I was able to understand "stop stop stop" while pushing and follow the instructions, it prevented any tearing in delivering the baby they insisted would be under 8 pounds :-)

And that's how I remember it... I'll let you know if Jake says that's accurate ;-) I will say that I remember a couple of times horrified that I was squeezing poor, pregnant Sarah's hand and would try to transfer all the squishing through the other hand to Jake. She never left my side and it was great to have my husband on one side and a friend on the other, not a stranger.

I also remember crying and shaking and saying I couldn't do it, multiple times. Sarah and Jake both encouraged me I could and was. I don't know if I thought I could opt out at that point or what!

Someone asked me today if Shiloh came out crying. I don't remember. I remembered being shocked that she had so much hair and that she was still covered with lots of vernix at 8 days post due. I also remembered thinking she was exactly as big as I said and at least 9 (to find out a few minutes later she was 9, 1!!)

Jake and Sarah helped me breath through the rest, all the cleaning up and the checking.. I don't know what they do but honestly, after having a 9 + lb baby no one should be allowed to check internally for anything! Oh, and the squeezing of my stomach to prevent hemorrhaging... augh, awful! They helped through that too.

There were a couple of points in which I was laboring and praying that God showed me some really neat things. 1 was when a song "carried to the table" was playing. For some reason I had a vision of Christ on the cross - realizing that the phrase of bearing the "penalty of my sins" isn't a good picture. He labored, on the cross, for me... enduring suffering and pain for love. It was the most real, connected moment I've ever had in understanding just a teeny, tiny portion of what Christ labored through out of love for me as I was laboring out of love for my child.

The other was at one point praying before the anesthesiologist arrived, telling the Lord I was trying to remain strong but felt so weak. That I needed strength to go on for hours and for what I would have to endure afterwards if this was going to be like the last 2 labors, and very clearly hearing "I will bless you through this labor and delivery, you are almost done and will feel well."

And guess what - He keeps his promises. I was nearly done and I do feel great. The best after having a baby that I can remember!

I suppose I could keep going on, but if anyone has even made it this far I am amazed. I want to say that after it was all done and I was sure I made a fool of myself during the whole process Jacob really blessed me afterwards praising me over and over telling me how proud of me that he was and that he loves me. That he is so blessed that I am his wife and willing to have our children. That he thought I did amazingly well and that it seemed to be the best labor and delivery yet. He just kept going on and on... saying that I show such amazing determination, strength, and staying collected during such an intense demanding time... making me proud to be his wife, proud to have his children.

So that is all for now. Since I can't imagine anyone really reading this far ;-) Shiloh had a doctor's check up today and that's a whole different blog. But we are well and resting and enjoying getting to know each other.


Tara said...

I'm so impressed that you have this typed up already. I loved reading it! I'm so glad that things went well for you!! She DOES have so much hair! Did your other kids have that much?

Shea was 9 lb, 1 oz, too. :-) Go us. Hope you guys have a nice weekend with your family! Enjoy all those newborn snuggles.

brietta said...

I love reading birth stories. There's so much joy in new life! (Though I have to confess that they also always brings back a host of memories-- like when my midwife turned my 10lb Bronwyn since she, too, was posterior-- that I'd rather not remember!)

I've no doubt you did tremendously. And such a short labor! Am I allowed to be a teensy bit jealous? I mean, my last labor (with Jack) I was stuck at 8cm with piggy-back contractions for 3 hours. That doesn't include all the other centimeters! :)

Congratulations again. You made a huge sacrifice and now a baby girl is in the world. Awesome, isn't it?

danica said...

I read it all the way through -- you bet I did! I'm so very impressed that you were able to write it all down so soon, and I'm so glad. I loved reading it!

It sounds like you had a great, great experience. I am so very thankful for that. I was really praying for you.

You look fabulous, by the way. And so do all of your little kiddos. How very sweet. I love seeing pictures of older siblings with fresh, new babies. Brings back memories of when Mom would have a baby, and we would all just be so enamored. I remember folding the laundry after a new baby, and being so thrilled by the tiny socks and onesies, remember gathering around to watch Mom change their clothes -- oh, those tiny legs and soft wrinkly feet!

Yes, babies are amazing. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the ways they bless our lives -- ways we so often fail to take into account when deciding on how many to have. Ways we never could possibly know in our finite wisdom until they enter our lives and fill our hearts. Ways you and I won't know for several decades, when our babes are grown and are ushering in the Kingdom in their generation.

You're so very blessed.

Tell Jake congratulations for me, and that I'm so proud of him for being a great coach and husband. Way to go!

Abigail said...

I know that you don't know me, but you came up in a converastion that Brietta and I were having (she's my sister in law), so I feel like I know you a bit.

I just wanted to say congratulations on a beatiful little girl. I loved reading the birth story. You were awesome. I can't imagine being induced. I think that I would be incredibly nervous just knowing that labor was going to start at an assigned time!

Great job and enjoy those little ones!

Abby Daniels