Posts tagged Contractions

The Birth Story as Told by Mom

4

No turning back

I went to bed Thursday night feeling good, but really tired.  It was the only day since going back to work that I had stayed all the way until 5pm…go figure.  Around 12:30, I got up to go to the bathroom, and was hardly awake, when suddenly my legs were soaked and I realized this was not normal.  Suddenly I’m running the 10 feet to the bathroom yelling, “J, I think my water just broke!!!!”  I sat there in disbelief as I realized that, in fact, my water had broken and that meant there was no turning back now.  Justin came into the bathroom trying to wake up and comprehend what I was saying, and to process exactly what it meant.

We decided not to call our doctor because we knew that we would then be “on the clock” to deliver within 24 hours, but labor had not started at all at this point, and we didn’t want to risk being induced.  Justin called Tanya, our doula, and she agreed with our decision and told us to get as much rest as possible and to text her when contractions started, and to then call around 5am.

We went back to bed and contractions started within 30 minutes or so.  I told Justin to go to sleep, that I could easily handle these early contractions without any help, and I needed him to be as rested as possible in the coming hours.  This lasted probably an hour and then I really needed his help to get through each contraction.

As I was lying there, I was trying to relax every part of my body so that my uterus could take all the energy it needed in order to make the contractions effective.  I pictured my uterus as a piece of machinery that was gaining power with each contraction.  I envisioned it pulling all the energy inward from each of my limbs, which were totally limp.  With each contraction, a little bit more of my uterus would light up, and eventually the whole thing would light up, and that would be when I was ready to push.  This worked for a while, but eventually, lying down was no longer an option.

There were some really challenging contractions, and all I wanted to do was take a hot shower or bath to help me relax.  Unfortunately, our building has a sub-par hot water heater so Justin kept checking for me, but there was zero hot water, so I just had to wait until it kicked in again.  I was really emotional at this point, and kept crying in between contractions about how I wanted so badly to do this labor naturally, but I just wasn’t sure that I could actually do it.  Justin was amazing at keeping me focused on the present and telling me that not only could I do it, I was actually doing it, so just keep it up!  I could feel myself becoming more and more dependent on him with every contraction as the intensity picked up and my energy level was dropping.

Justin helped me sit up and that helped some, but it limited how much I could relax the rest of my body.  We tried sitting on the birthing ball (an exercise ball), leaning over it (NOT a good position for me), and anything else we could think of to help relieve some of the pain and allow me to relax.  Eventually, I ended up sitting on the toilet and that was the most comfortable I was for the next eight hours or so.

Yes I can!

Around 7am, Justin ran to Duane Reade for me to get some drinks and other things I needed.  At first, I was totally terrified to have him leave. He had been with me for every contraction and was so encouraging that the thought of him being gone even for a little bit was almost too much.  I really needed him to go to the store, though, so I decided to get into the shower and thank the Lord we had hot water.  As I stood in the shower, I rocked back and forth and started chanting, “Yes I can!!”  I realized that mentally, labor was getting away from me, and if I was serious about doing this med-free, I was going to have to gain control of my mind and work hard to focus.

While Justin was gone, I started throwing up during contractions, so as soon as he got back he called Tanya and told her this.  She said she was on her way over right away, since this was a change in my labor and indicated that things had stepped up.  When Tanya arrived and rang our doorbell I had just started a contraction and Justin started to head to the buzzer to let her in.  I think it’s a miracle that my nails didn’t dig into his arms to keep him with me until the contraction ended.  He had no more than opened the door for her when another one came and I was screaming from the bathroom for him to come back to me—I think he covered the length of our apartment in about 3 leaps to get to me!

Tanya and Justin talked for a minute and I remember hearing her say, “Oh she looks great, she’s really doing it, this is great” so that was encouraging.  I was really doubting myself because I didn’t think I was doing it “right.”  I told Tanya this and she was so sweet—she said of course I was doing it right, I’m having my baby and I’m doing exactly what I needed to do!

We had arranged for our dog Buddy to go to a dog sitter’s house while we had the baby, so once Tanya arrived, Justin was planning to take him.  While he was getting dressed to leave, Tanya asked me where Justin needed to go, and when I told her 27th street (we live on 196th), her face totally changed and she immediately went to tell Justin that Buddy was on his own because that was NOT an option at this point.  I must say, I was really relieved because I really didn’t want him to leave me.

Next time, have a home birth…

Instead, she said we were going to the hospital because I was in a lot of labor at that point.  Suddenly, I was really scared at the prospect of going to the hospital and really having this baby.  It also didn’t help to think of getting into a cab and driving down the West Side Highway while contracting, but as Tanya explained, “Next time have a home birth, but right now, we’re going to the hospital”.

I think that was what I needed to hear—that we’re going and that we’ll take it one minute at a time, and at the end I would have my baby girl.  I had 2 contractions before we got to the front door of our building so I’m sure the people on the first floor thought some animal was dying in the lobby, but it was really just my moaning.

As we got into the cab, the driver looked totally terrified and started yelling “ambulancia, ambulancia!!” Tanya assured him that I was fine, this was not an emergency and he needed to get us to the hospital.  As we were driving, I was holding my head halfway out the window and Tanya was putting counter-pressure on my hips to relieve some of the tension and pressure.  This was by far the longest car ride of my life and ended with a trip down what I have labeled the road from hell—where potholes in NYC go to die!!  As we pulled up to the hospital I heard the driver (speaking Spanish), giving our credit card number to the dispatcher and he was saying, “Run the number, this woman is going to give birth in my car!!!”

As we got into the elevator at the hospital, someone had the nerve to get in with us and press for a stop at the 5th floor (we’re going to the 12th).  Even in my state of semi-awareness I wanted to tell them how annoying that was to me in that moment.  We also stopped at the 2nd floor so someone else could get on, but they took one look at me and decided it was not worth it!  Finally we got to the 12th floor and I was so relieved to be there—the final leg of the journey!

Been here before

The waiting room in triage was packed, but at this point I couldn’t open my eyes, I was just focused on each contraction as it came so I just kept doing my thing.  After about 20 minutes of waiting (and lots of contractions, and throwing up in front of a bunch of strangers), we were called back into triage.

As we went back, I felt myself getting really defensive because our hospital separates the laboring mother from her spouse to do a domestic violence screening (yes, WHILE she is in labor!).  The triage nurse started to tell us that we needed to be separated and at that point I was yelling, “He is NOT leaving me, there is no domestic violence, we have been here before!”  She was not fond of my behavior and said, “Well if you’ve been here before then you know how to put the gown on—last room on the right,” and walked off in a huff.

Once we got settled, Dr. Shulina came in to examine me and see our progress and this is where things went downhill for me, mentally.  She said I was at 4cm (I was expecting 7-8).  I wish I could say at this point that I was brave and courageous and kept my eyes on the prize, but I wasn’t and I didn’t.  I lost it.  I was sure she had made a mistake and was totally beside myself.  Justin was working so hard to keep me calm but I was truly in a state of panic.  Dr. Shulina had to really talk me down and get me to re-focus on what I was doing.  Contractions were really strong and I figured I had a good 8-12 hours to go and was convinced that I couldn’t do it—there was no way.  I told Justin I wanted the epidural and that I wanted it NOW.  I figured I would have it eventually, so there was no need to wait!  Again, I became really emotional, because I was so disappointed that we wouldn’t have the birth we both wanted so badly, but I was drowning in self-defeat by this time.

Justin was amazing—he just kept encouraging me to keep it up, that I was doing great, even though I kept telling him just the opposite.  Finally, Dr. Shulina decided that I was severely dehydrated because I was continuing to throw up all the water/Gatorade I was drinking, so I needed an IV.  She explained that my uterus was not relaxing between contractions because of the dehydration so in essence I wasn’t getting a break between contractions.  Although I wasn’t able to verbalize it, this made a big difference to me.  Knowing that something wasn’t working 100% the way it should made me think that maybe I could do this once my body was back to laboring the way it needed to.

The same nurse who greeted us at triage was responsible for getting my IV ready and in my arm, and she took her sweet time.  Even in my state of labor I knew this was taking a long time, and when she finally came in, it’s a miracle Justin didn’t smack her for not getting there sooner! Originally, I did NOT want an IV because I wanted to be free to walk around between contractions, but at this point I had no interest in walking, so I figured an IV couldn’t hurt.  The feeling of that cold liquid going into my arm was like pure adrenaline going into my body.

I had the IV in my arm for only 5-10 minutes when suddenly the room was full of nurses and doctors.  They were telling me that they couldn’t keep Brooklyn’s heart beat on the monitor and they needed me to turn onto my side.  I told them I couldn’t but the resident looked at me and said, “Your baby is in trouble—get on your side.”  Suddenly, what she was saying clicked in my mind and I rolled to my side and they started me on an oxygen mask.  Again, I really started to panic because I didn’t know what was going on but all of these people in our room made me think something was REALLY wrong.

I HAVE TO PUSH!

They did another exam to check my progress and just as the resident announced, “She’s fully plus two, go get Shulina,” I had the most unbelievable urge to push.  Dr. Shulina came right in and they started to move me into a delivery room (we had been in triage for about 30-40 minutes at this point).  As they’re moving my bed, my arm was lifted into the air because my IV was still attached to the wall.  A nurse told me to keep my arms inside the bed and Justin kindly reminded her that it was because my arm was attached to an IV which was still in our triage room!

As we were moving into the delivery room I told Shulina, “I HAVE TO PUSH”, and she responded with the calmest voice, “So push!”  That was a great comfort to me—I had been in a panic mode in triage and Shulina made it clear that this was the most natural thing in the world, so if I wanted to push then it’s time to push and that was fine with her! 

Once we got settled into the delivery room, Shulina started talking to me about how to push, and preparing me for the “ring of fire.”  I had read a LOT of labor stories and knew a lot about the stages of labor, so I was prepared for this, but I still found that I was scared.  Many of my friends had pushed for several hours and I told her I couldn’t do this for 3 hours!  Again, she was totally calm and said, “You won’t—you’ll be done very soon!”  She probably couldn’t have really known that, but at that moment I needed to hear it, and it helped change my attitude to an attitude of “Yes, I can do this—my body is designed for it!”

With the next contraction, I had the most satisfying feeling of pushing.  Finally, instead of trying to relax into contractions, and allowing my body to take over, I could do something in response to the urges.  I was mostly on my back but sitting up to push when again, Brooklyn’s heart rate was not steady enough for Shulina’s liking, so she had me lay on my right side.  Again, Justin was AMAZING.  My entire upper body was supported completely by him, and from my hips down I was on the bed on my side.  Between contractions I just wanted to bury my face in his chest and hold his hand because it was such a comfortable and safe place.  With each push it was amazing that I could feel Brooklyn moving through my body, and I knew I was so close to meeting her.

As she was starting to crown, Dr. Shulina took my hand so I could touch her head and I remember yelling, “I don’t want to touch her; I want her OUT!” It sounds bad, but what I really meant was that I didn’t want just the top of her head; I wanted to hold my baby girl!

The most beautiful sound

Finally, she was there, screaming bloody murder, and it was the most beautiful sound!  The cord was around her neck once, which was why her heart rate was dropping (it was being compressed), but once she was out everything was perfect!

When they handed her to me I couldn’t believe how tiny she was.  I also couldn’t believe that I had gone from 4 cm to holding my daughter in an hour and fifteen minutes (maybe less)!!  They took her away a few minutes later to get her foot prints and do the eye ointment, foot prick etc, and while I HATED being separated from her, it was a beautiful sight to see Justin over there with her with his hand covering almost her whole upper body.  Finally the nurse brought her back and Tanya helped us get started on breast feeding.

By far, this was the hardest most emotional experience of my life, but it was also an intensely empowering experience.  I felt like if Justin and I could handle this, we had a good start into parenthood.  I have never needed another human being the way I needed Justin during those 12 hours, and seeing the way he took care of me took our relationship to an even deeper level.  He was my rock– emotionally, physically and mentally throughout this labor.  I am so deeply thankful that we got the labor we wanted and that we did it together—Praise the Lord!

Share this post

34 Weeks and Hanging in There

0

Well, we’re 34 weeks along and things are really starting to heat up. We had another trip to the hospital last week because you apparently decided to rebel against our grounding you. Late Tuesday night, mommy started feeling more painful and intense contractions. She waited a couple of hours, trying to fall asleep and hoping they would subside, but they didn’t. So around 3:30 a.m. she woke me up out of a dead sleep by saying, “We need to go to the hospital.”

When you’re not ready for it, that’s probably one of the worst ways to wake up. I mean, if it were a few weeks later and we knew you were about to come, then I’d be more ready for it. But at 33 weeks, we had gone to bed just like any other night, expecting to wake up like normal.

We called the doctor and she said to come to the hospital right away. I admit that during those few minutes of calling for a car and throwing a few clothes in a bag, I was thinking, “is this it?”. We got to the hospital and they put her in triage where she’s already been twice before. They performed some tests, hooked her up to the fetal monitor, and gave her a couple of IVs and basically said our doctor would be in between 8 and 9 to let us know where things stood and whether we could go home or whether she would have to be admitted to labor and delivery.

Finally, the doctor came in around 8:30 and said she was about one centimeter dilated and that they would need to admit her for 24-48 hours and give her some medicine to slow the contractions, as well as some steroids for you to help your lungs develop. I guess that disqualifies you from professional sports in the future.

We then had to wait a couple of hours more for a bed to come available, so the doctor told me to go out and get mommy some breakfast since she hadn’t slept all night. I went to Starbucks for coffee and a diner for breakfast and brought it back and we ate in the little room in triage. Finally, a room opened up and we were taken down the hall.

At first, she had her own room, and was able to pick out the bed closest to the window, where she at least had a good view of the Upper West Side.

The view from our hospital room (day)

The view from our hospital room (night)

They put her back on the fetal monitor and she had to take the medicine every six hours. At that time, with mommy in good hands and sleeping, I went home to take care of Buddy and get things taken care of at home for a couple hours. Her contractions weren’t getting better, so they switched the dose to every four hours. I came back and brought dinner and at that time, she had a roommate who was in for a scheduled c-section. It was pretty awkward walking in with food from our favorite Thai restaurant and eating it while this other girl was in early labor awaiting a c-section and unable to eat or drink anything. But it was delicious. I stayed there with her for a few hours until she was ready to go to sleep for the night and then I went home to sleep since I couldn’t sleep there.

The next morning, I got up and went back to the hospital, and shortly after that, we found out that they were letting her go home because the contractions weren’t getting any worse and weren’t causing her to dilate any more. We were very relieved. By that time, the first roommate was gone and there was a second who was on full hospital bed rest and only 23 weeks along. She was pretty young and by herself, so we definitely felt bad for her, but we were ready to go home for a few more weeks.

Mommy is still on bed rest for two more weeks until we reach 36 and you’re considered full term. She still has to take the meds every four hours day and night, and has strict orders to come back to the hospital if things get any worse. We have a little system through the night where she sets her alarm for 2 a.m. and I set mine for 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. so she doesn’t forget to take her pill. It’s pretty annoying that we can’t just sleep through the night, but I guess it’s getting us ready for when you are born and we have to feed and change you at all hours.

In the past couple of days, the contractions seem to have slowed down a little bit, so that’s a good thing. They’re still a little more intense than they used to be though. Mom is getting really bored and restless from being confined to the bed or couch non-stop, and I certainly can’t blame her. I’m trying to do my best to take care of her, cook for her, clean the apartment, and keep her occupied. Yesterday, she was lamenting the fact that she hasn’t even changed out of sweatpants the past three weeks, and I tried to point out that she had in fact changed into a hospital gown for a couple days, but that didn’t seem to help. We just need to make it through the next two weeks and then she can go out and do whatever she wants because if she goes into labor then, you’ll be full term.

While mommy's on bed rest, Buddy watches the Westminster Dog Show

We had another doctor appointment today and she checked the cervix and everything looks great. She said to keep taking the meds until next Sunday (week 35), and stay on bed rest until the following Sunday (Feb. 27), which will be week 36, but otherwise, she was very optimistic about you making it to full term! She said you might be a little on the smaller side, but that’s certainly nothing to worry about. You’re healthy and that’s the biggest thing. Last week when they checked, you were about 4 pounds, 11 ounces, so you will probably put on at least another pound before you’re born.

Another thing we have been worried about is not being able to deliver in the  birthing center, which is one of the main reasons we switched to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. That has been our hope and goal all along since we’re going natural, but our doula told us that only about 30 percent of people who want to actually end up getting in. We were supposed to take a birthing center class yesterday that’s a prerequisite for getting in, but since mom’s on bed rest, we couldn’t go. She even called the doctor on Saturday to ask if she could make an exception for her bed rest so we could go, but she said absolutely not. But today, our doctor said that if she makes it to 37 weeks (they don’t accept anyone before 37), she will get us in and won’t tell them that we didn’t take the class. So that’s what we’re shooting for now – 37 weeks, which will be March 6, one day after my mom (your grandma)’s birthday.

Mommy’s dad (your pappy) is coming to visit and help out this week from Tuesday to Saturday, so we’re thankful for that. His help and his company will be very much appreciated…she’s probably getting tired of just seeing me and nobody else every day. I’m going to Chicago on Wednesday for some work meetings, but I’m just making it a day trip instead of the three days that it was supposed to be. I’m thankful that my boss is understanding enough to let me participate in the other two days by conference call.

We are trying to remain positive about everything and just pray that God has everything under control. I think today’s appointment really helped for some good news. If anything, this whole situation has really reminded us that it’s not in our control, no matter how good she eats or how much we prepare. Sure, we can do things to prepare ourselves, but your birth is truly a miracle of life that is fully in God’s hands.

The contractions seem to build up and then die down (compared to previously, when they were just sort of uncomfortable). In finding the positive side of it, mommy says this could help when she’s in real labor, since this time has allowed her to practice her breathing techniques and feel what it’s like when the contractions are coming (obviously on a much lighter scale right now).

She’s really doing a great job of handling it all and preparing for motherhood. I think you’re pretty lucky because you get to be born to a great mom who really loves you and has worked really hard to give birth to you fully healthy and fully developed.

Should be only a few more weeks!

Keep growing!

Love,

Dad

32 Weeks and You’re a Blonde (maybe)

0

Week 32 on bed rest

Well you’re 32 weeks along now and what a week it has been. We went to our scheduled doctor’s appointment on Monday and mommy mentioned that she had been feeling some contractions. The doctor checked her out and said that everything seemed okay, but if they continued or got worse by 24 hours later, to come in to Labor & Delivery. I had to fly to Chicago that next day for work, while mom stayed home from work, and sure enough, the contractions continued, so she went in to the hospital on Wednesday.

The doctors put her on an IV and monitored the contractions. She was there all afternoon and they determined that the contractions weren’t actually causing anything to happen, so she was put on three weeks of bed rest and sent home with

Your room (half of our room)...crib on the left, mommy's chair, and changing table on the right

instructions that if they got any worse she should come back in right away. Fortunately, her friend Amber was gracious enough to go to the hospital and come stay with her while I was stuck in Chicago for a couple extra days due to anther big NYC snowstorm. And Amber’s fiance Chris was gracious enough to come get Buddy and watch him for a couple of days until I got home.

I got home on Friday and worked from home while helping out mommy. I have now officially become “Mr. Mom” for the next few weeks. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of Buddy…you name it, I’m doing it while she’s on bed rest. The last thing we need is for her to think she’s okay enough to do something and then the contractions get worse and we have to go back to the hospital for pre-term labor or hospital bed rest. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait until you’re born…but I want you to be fully developed when you’re ready to come out. So give it another 4-5 weeks and then you’re free to come out!

On Thursday, when mommy went back in for a check-up, they did an ultrasound and said that you are perfectly healthy and progressing perfectly. You weighed three pounds, 10 ounces, which was right on target, and they also pointed our your hair (the white stuff in the bottom right of the picture). Looks like you’re a blonde!

32 Weeks

It has only been about four days of mommy’s bed rest so far and she’s already starting to go crazy from just sitting/laying around all day. Yesterday, I went out and bought a Blu-ray player (because our old DVD player stopped working a few months ago) and we signed up for Netflix (because DirecTV is terrible when it comes to ordering movies on demand). So she’ll have plenty of movies to watch in the coming weeks.

We have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow to get everything checked out again, and my work is letting me work from home for at least the next couple days so I can be here to help out mommy. Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and your grandparents are officially opening a new church in Tipp City (where I grew up). It should be exciting for them.

We’re not expecting your for at least another month, so keep on growing and developing until you’re ready to meet the world!

Love,

Dad

Go to Top