Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Welcome, Baby Charlotte! (Birth Story!)

Hi all!

I obviously haven't posted in a while, mainly because my few remaining brain cells were occupied by thinking about the impending birth, which happened on Friday!

We had a lot going on in the past two weeks, and every time I thought about going into labor everything in me said "not yet! no time!". But Daniel's birthday was on Thursday, we managed to have a small family party with cake that night, and that was the last thing I had planned for a few days. Thursday was also my official due date, and if I went too much longer my OB/midwife practice was going to start putting the pressure on to induce.

So I did something smart - I hired a doula to help during the birth. (A doula provides non-medical support to the mother during labor.) My doula is also a homebirth midwife, so she had loads of knowledge to share, but she only attended my birth in a doula capacity since she didn't have delivery privileges at my hospital. Anyway, she suggested castor oil to get labor going - she even calls it "midwives Pitocin"! And the midwife at my practice mentioned that if I wanted to use castor oil, she had heard that if you take an ounce or two and cook scrambled eggs with it, the protein in the eggs binds with the oil and limits the diarrhea effect while still stimulating contractions. Sold!

So Friday morning I cooked my eggs with one ounce of castor oil, plus some peppers and onions for good measure. And not too long after, I started feeling some painless contractions coming at about 8 - 10 minutes apart. I let my husband know, and he asked if he needed to come home yet. I told him no, nothing serious was happening yet, and he only works 30 minutes away - I figured when things got real, I'd get him to come home. I also texted the doula and let her know that something might be happening later that day, so not to make any crazy plans. Meanwhile I had roofers climbing all over our house, patching up a leak that had come up during a heavy rainstorm the previous week.

Around 1:00 I was starting to feel like it would be nice to not have to worry about the kids, since Tristan in particular kept trying to cuddle with me and when he put pressure on my belly, it made the contractions hurt more. I called my MIL, and she said she'd take the kids swimming! Then she asked the million dollar question - what time should she bring them back? Uh... I don't know! It could be THE DAY, after all, but I've had a history of false labors before - I just wasn't sure. So she said she'd just keep them, feed them dinner, and bring them home around bedtime whether we were there or not - if we were at the hospital, she'd just camp on the couch.

So once the kids were gone, I could feel the contractions take on more of a rhythm, but still they didn't really hurt. Jake kept checking with me, but I told him to just come home at the regular time (around 5). Funny, though - once he got home and the roofers were gone, suddenly the contractions started to mean business. Jake got a quick shower, and while he was in there I let the doula know that the contractions were starting to feel "real", like this was not going to peter out and leave me hanging.

After Jake got out of the shower, I got NAILED by a REAL contraction. I told him it was time to head to the hospital, which thankfully is a 10 - 15 minute drive from our house. The doula was about an hour away, so she'd join us at the hospital.

Jake parked the car, and I tried to walk to the entrance - I got about halfway and had to stop for a contraction, so a passer-by ran to grab us a wheelchair. Then as we headed in, one of the OBs who was just leaving spotted us, and said "Are you in labor? Don't go to the ER - follow me." and buzzed us into the maternity wing, telling them not to bother with triage - just to set me up in a labor room. Whew!

I was settled in, checked, (3 - 4 cm) by 7 PM and told to relax and do what I needed to do. My doula showed up after a bit and ran a bath in the jacuzzi tub, but I was being monitored and they were trying to start an IV, so I didn't get in. The IV blew out twice, so the nurses decided to call the phlebotomy team to place it - meanwhile my contractions were getting harder and harder to get through. I was standing and swaying, clutching Jake for all I was worth, when my water broke at the end of a contraction. Wow! My water had never broken like that before - it had always either broken while pushing or had to be broken to make labor progress.

After that I felt like I needed to be on my hands and knees. There was no logic that I remember, I just needed that position. The nurses wanted to put the monitors back on me, but I kept shaking my head because I'd have to lay down, so the awesome midwife in charge said "just get out the Doppler hand-held monitor". (Love those midwives.) During all this, Jake and my doula were helping, rubbing my back, holding me up, and making sure that I never felt alone.

It didn't feel much longer when I turned to the doula and told her I was going to need to push. That's when the phlebotomy team arrived! I growled "Tell them to BUG OFF." and got back to work - let me just say that a hands-and-knees delivery is MUCH easier than delivering on my back! Two very long pushes later, Charlotte was out and crying!

They passed her between my legs so I could see her, helped me roll over and rest, and got her snuggled onto my chest. Then I realized what time it was - just shy of 9 PM, meaning the really noticeable part of labor was less than 4 hours long! My shortest previous labor was 10 hours! She was 7lbs, 10 oz and 19 1/2 inches long (already 7 lbs 13 oz and 21 inches as of day 5), so the gestational diabetes didn't have a negative affect on her thanks to good sugar control. My doula told me that the last birth she attended was 36 hours, and births like mine spoiled her!

I'm feeling really great physically - I've never felt this good this soon after a birth. In fact, it's causing me some trouble, since I want to get up and do things, and then I realize later that I shouldn't be doing quite so much! The kids love Charlotte, and there's a constant rivalry about who gets to hold her. Even Tristan insists that he needs to hold "his baby", and cuddles and kisses her as much as he can.

I'm going to try to rest up during this week, since Jake has to go back to work on the 29th. After that I have to rely on Catherine and Daniel for my help, and while they're willing, I don't want to overload them.

Birth is so tiring.