April 12, 2010

my birth experience

(I started typing this Saturday, continued working on it yesterday, but of course I didn't finish it until today. Surprised? I'm sure you're not :o)

In honor of it being my due date and all, I thought I would share Ryann's birth story. Before I start, I promise to keep this as clean and free of TMI as possible. But keep in mind you are reading a birth story, and in reality almost everything about giving birth is just too much information. So deal with it, alright? Oh, and its long. Sorry 'bout that.

I touched on what led us to the hospital on March 28th, but here is the full picture. As you've gathered throughout my previous posts, my blood pressure has been an almost issue since about the 28th week of my pregnancy. I started seeing 'sparkles' or floaters as the doctors would prefer to call them apparently (I'll stick with sparkles). However every time my blood pressure was checked it wasn't something to get upset about. The Tuesday before I went into the hospital was definitely the worst it had been at a doctor's appointment.

Saturday evening (the 27th) we were having friends over to grill. Chris and I were sitting on the couch waiting for people to arrive, when all the sudden I was feeling nauseous and had a pretty bad headache. Then the floaters started. We have a blood pressure cuff so he checked mine... it was around 160/100, a little scary. I layed down for a few minutes and Chris checked my blood pressure again, it was only in the 130's over around 85 or 90 I think. So we went about our evening and I just planned on mentioning it at my next doctor's appointment. Sunday morning we headed off to Babies R Us to use our completion coupon and get the last of the items we felt we needed for Ryann's arrival. While we were wandering I started feeling pretty tired. On the car ride home the headache and nausea came back. Chris checked my blood pressure twice, and told me to call the doctor. It was 150/100. The doctor on call instructed us to head in to the hospital for some monitoring, and suggested I bring any items I might need because there was a small chance I would have to stay.

When we arrived at the hospital I was put in a Labor and Delivery triage room and hooked up to a blood pressure cuff and the fetal monitors. Ryann of course was doing just fine, but my blood pressure was at least 145/90 when I was sitting up. Laying down it would drop to 118/78, I thought that was promising for me going home, plus there was no protein in my urine. They drew some blood, and the labs looked pretty good as well. So the nurse said she was just going to report everything to the doctor and she would be back with the plan. 30 minutes later I was informed that since my baby was most likely done cooking, and they didn't want to risk my condition getting any worse, we were being admitted to the hospital and I would be having my baby the next day.

I panicked. I wasn't ready for Ryann to come out. I didn't want to be induced. I was worried I would end up having a c-section. My house was a mess. I didn't shower that morning. Chris kept telling me to look at the positive, we were going to meet our baby girl soon! And don't get me wrong, I was happy about that, I was thrilled! But I wasn't a fan of the scenario. I wanted to start labor naturally, and the excitement of realizing I was in labor and that the baby was coming. The control freak in me wanted everything on my terms of course. BUT, it wasn't my choice, so Chris went and grabbed us some food (neither of us had eaten since breakfast and it was 2:00 at this point) and our stuff and off we went to our Labor and Delivery room.

my last 'bump' picture taken at 38 weeks 2 days, the day Ryann was born

Around 5pm cervidil was placed in my cervix, in the hope that the following days induction would go a little bit quicker. Although the cervidil didn't start full on labor, I definitely began having contractions. Chris and I spent the evening just hanging out in the hospital watching some of the NCAA tournament and playing on our computers. At 8pm he went home to shower and grab a couple of other things we forgot. The nurse suggested that I take an Ambien so I could get some sleep before I needed all my energy. I however made the mistake of taking it before Chris returned. I think I took the pill at 8:45, and by the time he got back at 9:15 I was in a deep sleep.

I half woke up when Chris came back, but by that point I was so out of it that I just became upset. I hadn't eaten dinner, and I wasn't allowed to eat after midnight, so in my pill druken state I attempted to fork grapes out of a fruit bowl. Not so successfully :o). I can't really remember how the rest of the evening went, but I know I was crying while the nurse was in the room, and Chris just kept telling me to close my eyes and go to sleep. Eventually I must have, because the next time I woke up it was around 3am. From that point on I didn't really sleep.

The nurse came in at 5am to remove the Cervidil. I was then allowed 35 whole minutes to shower and be up and moving around before the fun began. That shower, even though it was in a small cramped hospital shower, was seriously one of the best ones I've had. I turned the water on extremely hot and just stood there and enjoyed my last few moments of solitude (and dignity :o). All too soon I was back in bed hooked up to an IV full of pitocin. It didn't take long for contractions to begin. They weren't all that bad to start with (of course). I was uncomfortable, but not in any serious pain. Between 7am and 8am both my mom and Chris's mom joined us, and the four of us just hung out for awhile.

all hooked up to the meds, ready for the fun to begin!

It was around 9:30 when the real fun began... that is when they broke my water. I'm pretty sure that was almost the worst experience of the entire labor process for me. I absolutely couldn't stand the disgusting feeling of all that water (ok TMI I know) and after that the contractions went from uncomfortable to I wanted to throw things across the room I was in so much pain. When they broke my water I was only 2 cm dilated and I think about 50% effaced. I only lasted until about 11:45 before I decided to throw in the towel and asked for an epidural. The nurse checked me again and I had made it to 4cm and between 60-70% effaced.

obviously thrilled that Chris was taking my picture mid labor... this was pre-epidural...

Before my labor began, I was somewhat hoping that I would go without an epidural. I wasn't completely opposed, but I had a few reasons I didn't want one. For starters, my mother didn't receive any meds for both mine and my sisters births, so I thought I needed to be tough just like my mommy. (Granted she said both of her labors were only about 3 hours long...) Also, I am terrified of needles, an epidural scared the crap out of me. Lastly, I had been told that there were lots of soreness and that I wouldn't be able to get up and move around right away if I had an epidural.

I'm so glad I put those reasons aside and got the epidural. The actual experience of getting the epidural wasn't an enjoyable one, but it wasn't near as bad as I had expected. The initial shot to numb the area stung, but wasn't all that bad. The rest of the epidural wasn't painful, but it was definitely hard to sit through, especially when I would get a contraction and the stupid blood pressure cuff would go off and squeeze the crap out of my arm. Really the scariest part of the epidural was the fact that shortly after it was administered my blood pressure dropped from 145/92 to 80/60. I didn't know it at the time, I just knew that all the sudden I felt like I was going to vomit, and I got pretty light headed. Chris of course knew what was going on, I was just oblivious. The nurse pumped me full of some drugs that eventually leveled out the blood pressure and I started to feel better. 15 minutes later I was in heaven. I no longer was in pain, instead I took a nap and ate the best popsicle I've ever had. :o) Seriously, if you find the Jolly Rancher popsicles try one, they are so good.

The next four hours were rather calm and pretty boring. Basically I alternated between napping, and listening to my crazy sister's random stories. Around 2:30 the nurse checked me again... she said I was a generous 5cm, and probably 80% effaced or so. I felt like that progress was pretty slow, but she reassured me that the hardest part for me was going to be making it past 4cm and getting my cervix to thin out. So I had accomplished one part of the goal. At 4:30 I started feeling some pressure, and I could also feel some of the contractions again. No they definitely weren't painful like before, but I figured if I was feeling them something must have been going on. The nurse came back and checked me yet another time, 6 cm and 90% effaced. I felt a little defeated, I mean I was making progress, but I felt like it was going to be hours and hours before Ryann was going to make her appearance.

Just an hour later, the type of pressure I was feeling began to change again. Chris was holding my hands, encouraging me to tell the nurse. I was paranoid that I would have made any more progress, and I was just crazy thinking that I was even close to needing to push. It was probably another 20 minutes before the pressure was so intense that I really couldn't ignore it. I gave in to Chris's prompting and told the nurse what I was feeling. She checked me, and sure enough her face lit up and she said it was time to have a baby. I just couldn't believe it, I was instantly overwhelmed with excitement, happiness, and a little bit of fear of course.

Everything happened so quickly. My mom, Anita and Lorin gave me a kiss and a hug and wished me good luck. They broke apart the bed to make it ready for delivery, a giant light came out of the ceiling, two more nurses joined the room. I'm sure several other things happened but that is all I can remember. I was just saying "oh my gosh" over and over again.

I started pushing at 6:04pm. It was crazy, the room was so much calmer than what I thought it would be. Thanks to the epidural I really felt nothing but a little bit of pressure. The pushing was pretty easy. I was able to talk to Chris between the contractions. I honestly couldn't believe how easy it was, I couldn't believe that I was actually giving birth to my daughter. (And yes, I do feel guilty about that, I know so many women spend hours pushing and don't have it quite so easy) 18 minutes later, at 6:22pm, little miss Ryann Elizabeth entered the world at 6lbs 4oz and 18.5 inches long.

meeting my daughter for the first time

When they placed Ryann on my stomach she was just staring back at me with big wide eyes. She never really cried (which thankfully is a trend that has continued!), but just kept staring, like she was trying to figure out who everyone was and take it all in. We just looked at each other for probably a minute or two, I was trying to soak it all in, I was looking at my daughter.

A nurse then took Ryann across the room to be cleaned up and weighed, during which time I also began the clean up process, and thankfully was unhooked from probably 8 of the 10 different monitors and tubes I was hooked up to. The doctor assessed my damage... I am going to thank Ryann's small size for the fact that I had only 2 not even 1st degree tears that required no stitches. I didn't go looking, but I never saw them or noticed them, my body handled the delivery like a star.

It wasn't long before my daughter was returned to my arms, her little body all swaddled like a burrito. From then on we have been taking it day by day, hour by hour, just enjoying the precious little life that we have been given the privilege of taking care of. My roller coaster of hormones has made some of the days tougher than others, but overall our little family is happy and healthy and really enjoying every moment.


Megan said...

What a great story! I'm so glad everything went well for you, and I'm glad I got to see you and lil Ryann for a quick visit. This kind of stuff seriously makes my heart smile!
Megan Plumb

yeah but not really said...

Thanks for posting, I'm 26 weeks and starting to try to not panic about the labor process. Hopefully mine goes as smoothly!

Mrs. D said...

What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing this & I am so glad everything went so smoothly for the execption of you BP issues! Ryann is beautiful :)

Take care!!

Nikki said...

Beautiful story! And it came at the perfect time for me because I just read one where the chick broke her tailbone and I was ready to go team c-section!

I too was surprised during my nephew's delivery how calm things were. We were all listening to Justin Timerlake and the nurses were singing. No screaming or drama. And amazed at how those beds come apart. It's like cirque du soleil!

Jenn said...

I wanted to let you know I gave you a blog award! Go to: http://bridgetownbabymomma.blogspot.com/ to get it!

Melissa said...

Such a beautiful story Ashley...it almost brought a tear to my eye! I'm glad your experience was great, and even if it wasn't, you wouldn't care cause you get to hold the little bundle of joy in your arms afterwards. It takes all the pain away. You are doing a great job as new parents, keep up the good work!!!

Kenzie said...

i love that you get all sentimental then throw in a little ashley joke.. "...then my daughter was returned to my arms swaddled like a little burrito" hahah!

MurphySlayer said...

I didn't have high blood pressure, but I did have gestational diabetes with my first, which meant that they induced so that the baby wouldn't be too big. She was a whopping 6 lb, 1 oz, so I feel your pain in the teeny weeny clothing department! But it was a total of 37 hours of labor, finally gave in and got the epidural, and was so glad, too! It was so peaceful! Our second came like a bat out of hell! She was 3 days before my due date, my water just broke at home at 7am, I suddenly had contractions 4 minutes apart, and we rushed to the hospital. They didn't even have time to get my bloodwork back to give me an epidural before she was born at 9:13am. Believe me--BE GLAD you got the epidural. All I remember is screaming involunatarily at the pain and saying to God, "I KNOW you're not gonna make me have this baby with no epidural!!!" But it happened. I love the blog, it's such an awesome way to document all of this! Save as much as you can on a disk or something for your little girl to read through when she gets older, I bet she'll absolutely love it!