Saturday, April 24, 2010

Alexander's Beautiful Birth

All last week I was into eating spicy foods and increasing my walking. Claire and I would walk about 2 miles everyday. She would walk about a mile, and ride the rest in the stroller...not all in a row. I really didn't want to have to be induced with this pregnancy like with Claire, so I started drinking lots of red raspberry leaf tea and using primrose oil which help the body get ready for labor, although they don't actually start contractions.

I've been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions the whole last trimester. As a matter of fact, I was having so many, I thought he was going to be early, but he was 3 days late! When I went up to Valpo for Holly's baby shower I thought that I maybe should bring the infant carseat in case he was born in Valpo! HA!

Well some of the foods I ate to "help" induce labor included eggplant, pineapple, spicy pad Thai, spicy tacos, jambayla, and buffalo wings that whole week. Surprisingly, none of this gave me heartburn. I must say I do feel very blessed that with both Claire and Alex's pregnancies, they were overall very easy, although I do have to say at the end, I was ready to be done. Especially with Alex's pregnancy I felt very tired/exhausted the last trimester. I can't even remember the last time I watched a show/movie/TV of any kind. After I put Claire to bed I usually take a shower and then go to bed...ok...maybe the computer has taken place of TV time for me. There is just nothing of interest on TV anymore. I am sick of reality shows and repeated plots.

So Sunday, before Alex was born we walked the big loop around our neighborhood which is 1 mile. I was actually having some contractions hard enough that I stopped walking about 4 times, but I'd been having those for a good 2 weeks where they would be so hard, I would have to stop. But these were a little more intense! So anyways, I decided to go to bed early that night because I had a feeling! Oh, but I did engage in another activity that evening that required Josh's participation. It's another one of those labor inducing tricks. And apparently it got the ball rolling.

Sure enough, I woke up at 4 am on Monday, April 19th with some really sharp and painful contractions. They were different than the BH because I could feel them wrapping around into my lower back. BUT, I thought they might be more practice ones, so I drank some water and went pee, and tried to go back to sleep, but they were coming about every 10 minutes. I decided to stay and rest in bed as long as possible...AKA...until Claire woke up! So she woke up about 7:30ish and at that point I was really starting to watch the clock because I felt like the contractions were getting intense. Josh leaves for work at this time. I didn't say anything to him. LOL. I felt kind of bad that he had to go all the way in but I didn't want to jinx myself, but I also didn't know how fast things would move along.

So Claire and I went downstairs. I heated her up some leftover pancakes for breakfast, one of her favorites, and tried to eat some myself, but I had NO appetite. Nothing sounded good. I just felt really sick to my stomach and felt like puking. I kept going to the bathroom because I was drinking a lot of water, which seemed to settle my stomach a little. I was trying to drink lots of water because I knew once I got to the hospital, they would cut me off. At this point I went to the bathroom again, and as I sat down, my water broke into the pot. How handy! With Claire it broke all over the bed, which was a mess. So I called the OB and they said to come on in to the OB floor, and they'd get a room ready for me. I also kept going to the bathroom to go #2, which is another sign you're in labor! So if you think that statement is gross, stop reading now. You've been warned...this is after all, about birth. ;)

I was actually having some trouble thinking and trying to organize things. It seemed like I had so much to do all of a sudden. I had to find one of my friends to watch Claire first off. Luckily, my friend Christy was going to be home all day! She has a 23 month old girl, Catrece, for Claire to play with, so that works out well! Then I had to call Josh's work and put in a message for him to come home. It was 8:30ish now. Then I called my mom and told her not to go to work. It was 7:30 her time and she goes to work at this time, so it was perfect!

Next up, I called my doula. I had hired Angie Barkwill, but she was at her full-time job. She doulas part time. So we decided to wait until I got to the hospital to call and give her an update and then we'd call the back-up doula.

Josh got home about 9, loaded the car with the hospital stuff, and we were off. We dropped off Claire at Christy's on the way to the hospital. I could feel "leaking" down my leg as we went back to the car. Yeah, my water was totally broken.

When we got to the hospital parking lot, Josh asked if he should park pretty far out so I could have contractions as we walked in. What a smart man! This totally worked, and I had to stop walking to have a contraction. HAHA! Then the little parking lot tram zipped over and the lady insisted we get in. She asked if we were here to have a baby, and I said yes. So then I heard her radio me a wheelchair as she drove us to the front door.

I did feel rather silly being pushed up to the OB floor in a wheelchair, but I guess it makes the hospital volunteers feel like they are doing something? Anyways, they had me put on the gown. She checked me to see if I was dilated and did a test on the amniotic fluid to see if it was really the water. She said it smelled like it...apparently it smells like hay. Plus I was sitting on a chuck pad, and every time, I had a contraction, water would come out. (Last warning...this is a gooey gross birth story. ;) LOL!) It was about 10 am. I was at 4 cm already. She said I could get an epidural if I wanted one at this time. I wasn't even in any pain...the contractions were just "uncomfortable" even though they were sharp.

At my last OB appointment the previous Thursday, April 15th, I was at 1cm and 30% effaced. He said the cervix was very, very soft and felt kind of weird. Haha. All that primrose oil, but I didn't say anything because he didn't ask.

So at this time, I decided to just call the back-up doula to come on over. She was there within 10 minutes as she lives locally. Her name is Carla Abbott. She was awesome! More about her later!

The nurse came back and said that the amniotic fluid test was positive. So of course they would admit me and we'd be having a baby today!!! I was of course getting really excited! So she hooked me up to my IV because I had to have antibiotics since my 36-week Group B strep came back positive. This is something that 30% of women have. Lucky me. Oh, and only about 10% of the time does one have their water break before labor really starts...I'm 2 for 2 in that area as well. Maybe I should start playing the lotto?

They hooked me up to the monitors to see where my contractions were at. The baby was doing good, and the contractions were coming at 5-8 minutes apart. At this time, I decided Josh should go eat some lunch in the cafeteria or wherever before things got really intense. My mom was driving down, which would take about 3 hours, but Carla was there. So Josh left to do a couple quick errands, eat, and get my phone charger.

I couldn't eat anything really solid but throughout the labor I had some chicken broth, Jello, Popsicles, as well as all the water, ice chips, and Sprite I wanted. I'm not sure why they didn't care this time? With Claire it was only ice chips. Or maybe the doula just knew what to ask for me to have!

So for the next few hours, we walked figure-8s and circles around the loops on the OB floor alternating with being in the bed on the monitors for 30 minutes. So 30 minutes on, 30 off. They checked my cervix again, and I was at 5. The next time 6. It was like...perfect! It's supposed to be about 1 cm/hour. The walking totally helped. Carla suggest trying squats and lunges in the halls too.

Josh had of course come back by this time too, and he walked with us. They have nice rails on the walls at the hospital, so I did some squats on those and they felt really good! The next time I was checked, I was still at 6. She suggested starting some pit, but Carla asked if we could walk again. So we were allowed to walk about again for 30 minutes, but I was then still at 6. It was about 3ish (?).

My mom had picked up Claire from Christy's and brought Claire back to our house for a bit. Then I said to come on up and visit me on the floor. I was really happy to see Claire and it was a good distraction. I was still tolerating the contractions amazingly well. I was able to visit with Claire and hold/snuggle/nurse her for a bit. Claire was actually not that interested in nursing, but I've heard some gals say that their toddler nursing really helped move things along in labor. So I wanted to try it!

Claire had been promised the park by my mom. She quickly got bored and wanted to "GO TO THE PARK!" This was fine, as the nurse had started the pit by this time since I was still stuck at 6. Normally, there would not have been a concern, but the problem was the Group B Strep (GBS). They like to deliver as quickly as possible really after the membranes have ruptured, or within 12 hours with this, I was told. It can infect the fluid/baby/placenta or something? She started me at 1, then upped it to 2 about 20 minutes later. Then she upped it to 4 and that's all I needed. I was on the pit for the hour or so while Claire was there and that when labor got hard.

Like up until that point I was like...this is easy! :) But then since I was in the hospital, and I do tend to be a baby, I asked for an epidural. :) BUT I didn't get one. Carla talked me out of it by just saying, well, just as the anesthesiologist some questions when he comes in. So I felt like a bit of an ass making him come in there. He said that I couldn't get one between 4:30 and 6 since he would be in a C-section. It was about 4. I said, OK!

I felt really proud of myself not having broken down and gotten one at all by the way. Then my friend/neighbor Diane came. That was nice to have a fresh face/distraction there, too. See, we had planned that she would watch Claire at the hospital during the delivery, then if I felt up to it, Claire was allowed to watch the delivery. This however, did not happen. I decided I wanted to be able to yell/scream/etc. :) LOL!

So at this point, I had also been drinking lots and going to the bathroom lots...about every hour as encouraged by Carla. Josh had to help me at this time, though because I was starting to feel really shaky. It was really intense, but I was able to control them still pretty well. Now that I was on the pit, I had to stay on the monitors to make sure Alex was tolerating the pit, because some babies don't. Even though it was only a very very low dose, or what the nurse called a "wiff", we had to be sure.

So then I sat in the rocking chair a bit, on the birth ball, and in the bed. I really liked the rocking chair. The birth ball was too small. I am 6'1" and we have a big birth ball or exercise ball at home, but I didn't feel like bringing it. The rocking chair was nice because I had full back support and was able to keep my feet flat on the floor and rock really hard with the harder contractions.

Carla was awesome. She was rubbing my shoulders/back and doing pressure points on my hands which really helped. She was also telling me like the contraction is at the peak, it's going away, you can do it, you're almost there, etc, along with other encouraging words.

Then, she suggest to get down and do some cat stretches/let my belly hang down. She had a bag full of doula tricks like music/etc. and a foam squishy mat I got down on. That felt really good to stretch out like that!

Ok, so then I felt a ton of pressure like I had to poop big time. I said I wanted to go to the toilet one more time. I did and had a couple super duper intense contractions. I like "KNEW" I was in transition at this point. Josh was in the bathroom with me and that good old IV also took me awhile to get back to the bed because I kept having super hard contractions.

When I sat down on the bed, I could feel the "ring of fire"! I was like "HE'S COMING OUT!" They were like, no, you were just at 6. I was like "HE COMING OUT! I CAN FEEL IT!" I was screaming for my mom to get there...she barely made it! LOL! Diane called her in the parking lot and she ran in with Claire, passed Claire off to Diane in the hall, and made it in just in time!

But then things got crazy and I know I got a little out of control at this point, but it went from like just me and Carla and Josh to like 42 people. They were getting the bed broken down. But long story short...I went from 6-10 in about 10 minutes. The doctor checked me and said I was fully ready to push and she could see baby's head!

I only pushed 4 times! It was less than 10 minutes of pushing! And he was born. The placenta was born really fast too! Josh cut the cord! It was amazing! Alex was born at 5:36 PM on Monday, April 19th, 2010! All natural...minus the pit!

Oh, but one thing I wanted to add...I said if I had to have pit this time, I might get an epidural, since pit is not natural, may as well get the epidural if contractions are abnormally strong. At about the point right after I talked to the doctor about getting the epidural, Angie stopped in to see me too, and said "Don't be afraid of the pit!" So that's what I realized...I had been afraid of the pit!

But I did it! And I am stinking proud! :) Alexander Gabriel Starr was 22 1/2 inches long and weighed 9.14.6 oz. BIG BOY!

Claire and Diane were able to come in right away and see baby brother! They of course, put Alex on my chest right away...before the cord was cut, even! I tried nursing him right away, too of course. His APGAR scores were 8 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes. They let me hold him for about 15? minutes before doing the weighing/measuring/diapering. They had to do eye drops because of the GBS. I wanted the Vitamin K shot too, because of the blood clotting gene issue that runs in our family, but we didn't do the HEP-B in the hospital. We also chose not to circumcise him. If you follow me on Facebook and have read some of the stuff I post on there, you'll know why!

Josh held Alex. Then Claire held her! She was in love! Meanwhile, I did require some stitches...but not nearly as many as with Claire. Basically, I had started to tear up towards my urethrae, so she did a very tiny episiotomy down at an angle. So I needed 3 stitches up, and 6 down. I was actually very glad that she did an episiotomy rather than using a vacuum like my other OB had done with Claire. I'd rather have the injury than my baby! But he had a really big head (14.25 inches!) so I'm glad she did the episoiotmy rather than letting me tear up and having issues there!

I felt great though all evening. I had to stay in the labor/delivery room to recover. I was in there about 2 hours. Carla stayed with me while I nursed and even timed his nursings! He nursed really good...about 20 minutes on each side. The craziness had disappeared by this time!

My mom took Claire home for bed since she didn't have a nap that day! Diane went to pick up Culvers for dinner for Josh and I...yummo! :) And of course, I was able to eat right away. And I WAS HUNGRY! That was hard work.

So then they took Alex to the nursery to give him a bath/get him dressed. Josh and Carla went with to take pictures while I was able to take the 2nd best shower of my life (the first being the one after Claire was born!) They had of course taken my IV off right after delivery pretty much.

I had to pee once then she took my IV needle out and I showered. I hate hospital showers...and most hotels. They are not made for someone who is 6'1" like me. I can't imagine my brothers who are taller than me trying to bend their knees in a shower like that to get their head under the shower head! NONETHELESS...great shower!!! Carla waited until we were settled in our room before leaving. She was awesome!

I might say this...if you are having a hospital birth and want it to be as natural as your research and HIRE A DOULA! They drop your chance of a C-Section by 50%. Not only that, I get a great scrapbook and pictures from her at her next post-partum visit. I'm not sure if they all do the scrapbook/birthstory thing, but mine does. ;) I would actually love to pay for a doula for a baby gift for any of my friends or family having babies...IF I had the money!!!

So then we moved our stuff to my room where I would sleep with Alex that night. Josh went home in case Claire woke up, it wouldn't just be my mom if she freaked out or something!

Alex slept great! They came to check my vitals hourly until midnight. They took Alex for a weight check again at midnight and since he was sleeping, they did his hearing check as well, which he passed. They have to be asleep for the 30 minute hearing screen.

They brought him back at one. I woke him up to nurse him. Then we slept soundly until they came to get my blood right at 5. I tried to nurse Alex, but he was too sleepy. I was able to fall back asleep until 6:30, when he was then ready to eat. So was I so I ordered breakfast and started the day. The peds dr. came right at 7 and checked him while I ate my hospital breakfast! :)

I was able to check out that same day. My mom came with Claire about 8. How I had missed my little girly! I was so glad that we were able to check out and go home. We did have to wait for the doctor to make her rounds and discharge me. Alex was discharged before me! The ped dr. is the same one I have for Claire. She said she has no problem discharging babies to 2nd time moms even with something like GBS, which we don't have to worry about at this point anyways!

I talked with my Dr. for a bit. I had actually been hoping for Dr. J but got Dr. N and turned out really liking her, despite having only met her one time! Maybe cause she's a woman? Who knows. We were all home by 2pm. It was so nice to have the afternoon at home to settle in and get adjusted. I hate hospitals!!!!!

My mom was with us from Sunday-Thursday to help cook/clean/take care of my babies! Alex is off to a great start nursing. Josh, Claire, and I took him on Friday, April 23rd to get his PKU test and a weight check. He lost exactly 10% or 1 pound which is normal. We go in for our first peds appt. tomorrow.

So that's Alex's beautiful birth story! I can walk/sit fine, unlike with Claire. I FEEL GREAT! I'm a little tired of course, but that's due to the night wakings, and not lack of sleep.

Honestly, Alex's birth was really very healing for me. With Claire, things didn't go how I wanted and I felt very out of control. I credit Carla for keeping me in control and helping me. Josh was great and was totally there for me, too, but Carla is a woman who has been at several other births and knew exactly what to do/say in order to support me how I needed. I mean, she was anticipating my needs before I asked. I asked for a sip of water, and she offered me the chap stick too! :)

I don't want to say Claire's birth wasn't beautiful, because it was too, I am just going to be forever pissed that the doctor used a vacuum on her poor little baby head because I think it made nursing hard for us. I couldn't hold her on that side. She would just cry.

I can't belive that I have 2 babies now. It seems like just yesterday I was peeing on stick finding out I was prego with Claire!

My milk supply is great. Alex pooped about 5 times before we left the hospital and has been having beautiful yellow breastfed stools for a good 3 days already. He is so happy. He is such an easy baby! He sleeps great. I've been waking him up to nurse him! I'm not sure what kind of sleep patterns will hold in the future, but I do thank the Lord for giving me a good sleeper with him so I can catch some sleep to recover myself.

I guess I couldn't have asked for things to go any better than they did. Everything just fell into place and worked out perfectly! I didn't lose any sleep having a baby in the middle of the night like with Claire, and nobody had their schedules messed up to help us out that day!


Patty said...

So happy for you Maria!! I am thrilled that you got thebirth you wanted and that Alex is cooperating in the sleep dept...

Scribbles and Splatters said...

What a great birth story! Welcome to the world Alex :)

Baby Keenen Blog said...

Maria - thank you so much for posting Alex's birth story. Anticipating baby #1 has been thrilling and nerve racking at the same time - it's comforting to read stories like this!

aribaby said...

Congratulations again! I love the name, Gabriel is our boy name if we ever get a boy! So glad you got to have your natural birth.

Kelly said...

Congrats! I'm so glad you are so happy with your birth!

I totally agree that having a doula is super important! I had the same one for both of my births and she was amazing! and like yours, (esp. at my 2nd birth) I felt like she kept me in control and eased all the fears I had from my first birth.

I'm 2 for 2 too. My water broke spontaneously w/ both kids. :)

Cate said...

Wonderful birth story! So triumphant and shows you can have things your way in a hospital if you try. I like your plug for using a doula, because it's really everything you say.

Kristel said...

I'm so, so happy that everything went so well for you. Wow, no epidural and he was over 9 lbs, I'm really impressed!! Not that I've had that experience yet, but I can't imagine it being pain-free! =) Congratulatiosn again!