Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Birth Story

Boy, I sure have put this off a little, haven't I? Oh well.

This is a journal post, hence the details people who aren't me probably aren't interested in.

First let me say I have never been quite so (disappointingly) wrong as I was about when this baby would come. This pregnancy was rather different than my other three. Morning sickness wasn't bad at all, but other things were much worse. Around the fourth month I got my first taste of depression. It was a very difficult two or three months. I was very worried it wouldn't go away or at least that I would end up with severe post-partum depression. For the last two months the depression abated but I felt far more physically uncomfortable than ever, even though my weight gain and everything else was the same as my other pregnancies. I felt just like the pregnant women in movies who seem to exaggerate every movement and always walk with their hand on their lower back etc.

I finally understand those women who say they just don't do pregnancy very well (or that they hate it). And admire women who keep having kids when their pregnancies are like this one.

So the baby was supposed to come in the first two weeks of December according to my doctor. I KNEW I wouldn't go past the first week. Frankly I was surprised I made it through the Thanksgiving weekend. Then I kept being pregnant. Over and over. I kept waking up still pregnant.

The Birth

At my last visit to the doctor on the 9th he said the baby would surely come during the course of the week, but if it didn't that I should check in at the hospital on the 16th and wait for labor. Boy did that sound fun. Also, just before this a pregnant woman had died of H1N1 in our hospital which had thrown everything in disarray. Even my doctor, who used to be the director of the maternity ward, recommended not having the baby there. There were no visitors allowed and Greg would definitely not be able to be present at the birth. The doctor called his friend, the director of the maternity ward in the hospital in Kolbuszowa, the small town where David was born, and got permission for me to go there and have a "family birth".

By prearrangement our neighbors offered to come take care of the kids while we went to the hospital until Greg's parents could get here (they live 5 hours away). Then his parents declared they would come on Saturday the 12th whether I was in labor or not. The baby didn't come so they did. They cooked and played with kids, and we all waited together. When the 16th came and I wasn't in labor at all, (well, technically I was in the first stage of labor, but I wasn't having regular contractions yet) I was supposed to go to the hospital. We put it off, but decided the next day, the 17th that we would go. After a nap I ate some chicken soup and we headed off through the severe cold to Kolbuszowa. By the time we got there it was about 5pm. (the 20 minute drive took more like an hour because of the weather)

The doctor checked me and said that I was at almost 5 cm and the only thing missing was the contractions. After some agonizing I decided to stay in the hospital rather than take the dangerous trip back home, possibly to just turn around again within a few hours. While I was answering questions for the paperwork I started having contractions. Hooray!

They put us in this room, the "family birth" room.

Oh my enormousness

By 6pm or so I was hooked up to a monitor and my contractions were strong and very regular, although not remotely painful yet. I was thinking that this would be like with David's birth, which would mean that the baby would come within 2 or 3 hours. I was looking forward to a quick birth (as all the nurses kept promising me, since it was my fourth) and then a goodish night's rest.

Around 7:30 they started me on an oxytocin drip. When Greg asked what it was for she said, "To make it hurt more." Thanks! Glad that pain is the goal. Instead my contractions got weaker and nothing else was happening, either. From time to time the contractions hurt, sometimes pretty badly, but then they would stop hurting again.

I wanted to sleep. That bed was so obnoxious It was very tall and you had to climb over the metal railing. It was extremely difficult to get in and out of at my size and tiredness level. Also, my contractions were just strong enough that I couldn't sleep through them, and they were worse when I laid down.

We waited all night. We took turns resting on the bed and I paced and sat on an exercise ball and eventually cried. I didn't love it. I remembered that in Provo with Evie I had been induced as well and nothing happened so they almost had to do a c-section. Apparently I don't respond well to oxytocin.

At 7am a new nurse came in. She assured me, "We're going to have this baby!" She gave me something to "soften my cervix" which made me hot and dizzy. Two hours later we were getting a little closer but I needed another shot of the same thing.

I was tired. I was hungry. It hurt a lot.

Finally they realized that my cervix would never be ready and prepped the bed and everything. The birthing bed had some kneeling setup and the midwife had me kneel through some contractions. It was significantly less painful but I was too tired to hold myself up in that position and said I wanted to lay down again. They thought I was weird but I laid down and it was time to push. On the second or third contraction they said, "Push, push, push. . . " as usual, then they looked a little surprised and said, "Breathe! Breathe!" Right in the middle of the contraction.

I really wanted to push, and breathing was nearly impossible but I managed somehow. They informed me that he had started to come out with his hand on his cheek. Oops! Before the next contraction they had fixed the problem (let's not think too much about that) and a couple more contractions and he was out! (9:40am)

I'm very glad I hadn't been on my knees because I don't think things would have worked out as well, since they might not have noticed his hand etc.

I was, of course, tired and relieved. I held that extremely warm and soft and PURPLE baby for a few minutes before they took him off to find out how enormous he was (9 lb. 23.5 inches). His purpleness was the only thing keeping him from scoring 10 on the apgar. Good boy.

Over the course of the next few hours I felt better than I had in months. I have always felt well after giving birth but I have never felt so much better than before the birth. It was lovely.

The next two days in the hospital were quite nice, minus the missing my family. I felt fantastic, and even got my legs back. My own legs. Spencer only took a full three hour session of work (hard work) to figure out how to nurse and did quite well after that.

Dear Greg braved the weather once a day to bring me delicious food made by his parents and sister. It was like heaven eating that food. Hospital food consisted of three slices of bread plus either a pat of butter, a chunk of pate, a slice of ham or a blob of jam given morning and evening, and for dinner at noon soup and a rather nasty meal.

I was so excited to go home. Here Spencer and I are in front of the hospital. It was recently painted, as it used to all be like the dirty cement you see on the awning.

The drive home was beautiful.

Being home was (and is) even more so.


Erin said...

Wow, what a birth story! And he was really big. I'm glad it all went well in the end, and I'm kind of praying that my labor and delivery are like my others and unlike your last one...

L.T. Elliot said...

That is a big baby! Why was he purple? (If you don't mind my asking.) I'm so glad you're home and happy and well. Congratulations on that darling little dude and I'm really happy that you're feeling so much better!

Annette Lyon said...

Glad everyone is home and happy and well. I love reading birth stories. And I'm glad my birthing rooms were a bit . . . cozier. :)

MelancholySmile said...

I'm so sorry you had to deal with depression {and other unpleasantness} during your pregnancy! Hearing that makes me wish I lived close by {minus the cold!} so we could have commiserated over a bag of chocolates. Misery loves company and whatnot, you know?

Your bundle of joy is ADORABLE. I can't believe how big he is!! I still think that giving birth in those Polish hospitals looks incredibly brave, but you survived like a champ. I totally identify with feeling fabulous afterwards-- isn't it great to see your ankles again? Or eat and feel your stomach fill up down where it's supposed to, not smashed into your ribcage? Yeah, it's always wonderful to have that marathon behind you. :)

Great post, and enjoy your little cutie. :)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm so very happy for you and your family and also so glad you can have your baby in a Polish hospital with gecko colored paint on the walls and be totally content. :)

Love your purple baby and your birth story. I'm glad you're not pregnant anymore and enjoying the relief of that.

Here's wishing you a multitude of naps and warm baby snuggles.

Moody said...

I love birth stories! Wow, that was some fancy room you had at the hospital! We American moms would freak out if we were given a room like that! Where's our tub? Our lovely wallpaper and cozy pictures on the wall? What, no tv? We're pretty spoiled here! And as a mother of 4, I can say, just when you think you've got it all figured out here comes #4!

Kazzy said...

I have missed you!

What a trooper you are. Wow. I am so glad he is safe and healthy and you are mending well too. I hope you like the four kids thing. For me it has been the perfect number. Not that you are done...

Alison Wonderland said...

Wow, what a cozy little delivery room.

I love your hospital stories, it's like being in the 50s.

I'm glad all turned out well (as it usually does, cozy room or not).

Kimberly said...

Wow, what an ordeal! So glad for the happy conclusion. Being finally home and feeling more like you than you have in months is such an incredible feeling, isn't it? I kind of think part of the reason pregnancy is so uncomfortable is so that we embrace the sleepless nights and whatnot more readily. At least I know I'd rather be woken up at 3am than be the size of a small elephant again...


Carolyn V. said...

What a cute little guy! I'm so glad everything worked out well. =)

gramalee said...

Purple is a nice color when compared to Smurf blue. I remember feeling I could swing from the chandeliers (yes the hospitals in Utah have chandeliers, you know :D) after the first child but not so much with the others. Big gravity change! Can't wait to see #4, #3, #2 and #1. xo

Jenn K said...

I loved reading about your birth. Each one has been very different with my kids. I agree that the older I get (who knew being pregnant at 29 would feel so different from 23) made my third pregnancy really uncomfortable. Dare I ask if you will have more?

Melanie J said...

Remind me never to live in a former Communist state. I'm so glad it all went well in the end!

Erin said...

I'm so glad you got to have a "family room" and that Greg managed to bring you some good food. You really look great in your full pregnancy glory! Too bad you don't feel great! I remember on my last baby, the doctor said "just a few more pushes and you won't be pregnant anymore!" That was THE best encouragement at that moment.

Anne said...

Wow! I hope you have forgotten what it is like to have a baby in the states! That room looks like a prison cell! And makes me feel like I was in a penthouse suite for my births! I'm so glad Spencer finally came out with out serious damage to you or him! Love you and wish I were there to have helped!

What the Hecklinger?! said...

I'm so sorry you had to stay so long waiting for the little guy to come! And I always sort of love hanging out in the hospital, but I'm not so sure I would feel the same way in the "family room." You are made of strong stuff, Miss Lisa Lee P!

JustRandi said...

I love this story, and am completely captivated by the pictures of the hospital. What an experience!!

I'm so glad everything went well!!

Heidi Ashworth said...

I'm glad the depression hasn't come back! Yay! And you did not look enormous at all--especially for a fourth baby.

Melissa Bastow said...

Ok, I don't know how I missed this post. What is wrong with me?!

I was cringing at the sight of your hospital room. I don't think I'm a germaphobe until I see stuff like that and realize that it just looks.....germy. Was it germy? I guess the tile walls would at least be easy to hose off? But it certainly doesn't look comfortable.

I'm so glad you felt better after the birth. Usually that's when I'm feeling like total utter crap, which reminds me that it wasn't that bad to be pregnant even though I'm one of those "don't do pregnancy well" type of people.

He was such a cute newborn. Even though he was purple.

p.s. What do you want for that blog makeover I promised a month ago....?