Monday, April 30, 2012

Watch out, you might get what you're after; Cool babies, strange but not a stranger

I'm not kidding when I say that compared to a C-section, vaginal birth is like a dance party.

And please forgive me if birth stories are not your cup of tea. I know I was never interested in them until I had a kid. And now I'm all, "So your mucal plug was the size of a golf ball??"

Honest to God, a couple people told me that. I never saw mine. No clue.

Also, this is very long. Because I want to record it all for myself, for India. You won't  hurt my feelings if you decide to wait and read another day, or just skip to the end where, you know (spoiler alert!), the baby comes out.

So.

I trudged home from work Wednesday the 18th, exhausted, crabby, and having spent the day feeling like I was being stabbed in the vagina from the inside. I took Tylenol before I went to sleep because I was all, fuck the stabbity stabbing. I need some sleep.

Water Breaks and Contractions Hurt Like Holy Hell
And then at 2 am I felt this little twinge. And then I started to leak. But not gush, like in the movies. I had time to wake Nick up and be all, "I think my water broke. It's like I'm peeing but I'm not peeing."

Naturally, I dragged him into the bathroom so I could demonstrate the not-peeing on the toilet. It just kept going and going.

I called my doula, who confirmed that it did indeed sound like my water bag had broken, and told me to call the midwife and then to get some sleep. I called the midwife, who said it sounded like there was meconium in the fluid, but not to worry, and to come to the hospital at 6 am. And sleep in the meantime.

Which was when the contractions started. They were much like my midwife had demonstrated. Except like 50 times more painful.

My doula had said that they'd start, and they'd be far apart, and not to pay attention to the clock. Approach each contraction as an opportunity to move the baby down. And then rest in between.

Basically, I was prepared to rest, watch a movie, read, what-have-you in between contractions.

Except that these motherfuckers started 3-5 minutes apart (yes, I'm a clock watcher) and they hurt so much that I was on my hands and knees on the bed, squatting on the side of the bed, leaning over and clutching the bed...

I was all, "Breathe, breathe, this is an opportunity..."

I finally texted my doula all, "These hurt like holy hell and there's no way I can do this for 24 hours." At which point she called and while we were chatting she was all, "Hmm. Sounds like it's going a bit faster than anticipated."

Honestly, I would recommend her to anyone. She's very even and calm and soothing, and she handles both Nick and me and our varied styles extremely well.

And It Doesn't Hurt Less Just Because You're at the Hospital, Until...
We got to the hospital a little after 6 am. The midwife (a very sweet, gentle one - not the hardcore one who I respect but fear) checked my cervix around 7 and I was not at all dilated. She pushed, and she said most people's will open if that happens. Me? Zero.

They had both India and me hooked up to monitors, and she was doing fine and I was contracting like all hell and yet no dilation.

This continued for another couple hours. The nurse was wonderful, doula, and Nick were all there the whole time and were wonderful. They would rub my back, breathe with me, remind me to relax my shoulders, breathe into it, etc.

And then, about 9, the anesthesiologist came in, I think as a routine visit in case I wound up needing anesthesia. She asked me what meds I was taking, allergies, etc. And then she said, "If you want an epidural, you just need to ask. There's no shame in it."

At which point I burst into tears and said, "YES PLEASE I WANT ONE RIGHT NOW I CANNOT DO THIS IT HURTS IT HURTS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CAN I HAVE ONE RIGHT NOW."

Nick reminded me that I'd worked so hard for all these months and was I sure? And since he wasn't within kicking range all I could say was "Please shut up, Nick."

The doula had suggested that I ask for the attending to perform the procedure, so I did. The resident left to get him, and the nurse said, "Actually, she is very good."

I looked at Nick and said, "GO GET HER BACK!" and, good man that he is, he sprinted.

Accio anesthesiologist!

Epidurals Are Magic And Then I Slept

As I dozed off (sleep! after days and days! finally!) Nick and the midwife had a little meeting. She was going to consult with the head of OB. Nick called family to tell them it looked like I'd be having another C-section.

My body kept contracting. India kept doing well. And my cervix, it turns out, decided to dilate. They would occasionally reposition me to help the baby work her way downward.

Somewhere around noon, as they were shifting me, they saw the bloody show. 

And when the midwife came back in to check, she said, "I can't really feel..." I was sure she was going to say "any dilation" but instead she said, "much cervix. You're almost fully dilated."

Which made me burst into tears. My body works like it's supposed to after all. And I've spent the last three years thinking I was totally defective. Fuck you very much, OB.

So they said to hang out until I felt a tremendous urge to poop. Then I'd start pushing. This took another hour or so. I was worried I wouldn't recognize it.

Hahahaha.

And Then With Much Encouragement, Behold, I Squoze a Baby Out of My Vagina
Suddenly I was all, "Oh! I feel it!" This was right about 3 pm.

And then they all sprung into action. I was all worried I would poop. They told me I probably wouldn't but not to worry. If I did, I wouldn't know.

Oh, I did. And I knew.

Somehow, I had always envisioned women depositing a large turd on the table. I don't know why. But then my friend Jane said her husband said it was like a Play-Doh factory, if you remember extruding your Play Doh.

Nick started making fun of me, at which point they directed him up by my head. But then he settled down, and they assigned him leg holding duty. First they had me on my side. They'd have me take a breath and let it out, then take a breath and push for 10. The nurse was counting.

And then they asked if I'd like to try being on my back. Neither of these would have seemed like optimal pushing positions prior to this little exercise. But you have these contractions and then you just, well, push.

So there we all were: the midwife, the doula, the husband, the nurse, and me. All up close and personal. They were doing warm compresses, they were supporting my perineum, they were discreetly wiping away the poop. That just kept coming and coming and coming.

I know it did. Nick unnecessarily confirmed this fact.

You know how when people tell you you're doing a good job, it just makes you want to try harder? This is what was going on. They were complimenting my pushing abilities. Clearly Lisa, you are very fit and have great abs! Such fantastic pushing!

(Fortunately nobody was like, clearly you have a lot of huge poops!)

And then after a while her head was almost out, and my vagina cheerleading squad got all excited, and they were all, a few more pushes! and then it was out...and the midwife asked Nick if he'd like to catch the baby...

Personally, I was about to suggest that they leave it to a professional, but he was really excited about it.

So Nick caught the baby. And they put her on my belly, all gunky and red and what the hell just happened? She was there. Right there. My baby!

They left the cord connected until it turned white, so she could get all the blood, oxygen, whatever else from it. And then they offered for Nick to cut it, which he was also all thrilled about. They put her up to nurse.

I'm telling you, although my doula contends that I could have, and I just made a choice - the right choice for me - I don't believe I could've done it without the epidural. I have never, seriously never, been in pain like that.

But I will also say that as soon as it was over, I genuinely felt the urge to be all yee-haw yippeee naked backflips down the hallway! when it was over. I mean, if I had been able to move my legs.

Honestly and truly one of the best days of my entire life.

48 comments:

  1. I am unspeakably happy for you - for your whole family, because you get to have a beautiful girl to go along with your wonderful J, but also because all of your hard work this pregnancy meant that you got to do it your way.

    Giant, squeezy hugs.

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    1. Thank you, lovey! I was so pleasantly surprised and delighted at how it worked out! And she is a dear.

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  2. Yayyy!! Epidurals are the shizz. So happy you had a great birth experience. Love to you and Nick and Jordan and India!

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    1. Yah, they are, they really are. You were so right. Love to all of you!

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  3. so, so happy for you! and miss india. as you know, i had the epi, but my IRL BFF had her first crotch parasite on friday, and she did it. without. an epi. all by herself. i may disown her as said BFF in light of this. but she had an adorbs little boy with a full head of hair, so i guess i forgive her. but back to you- so, so proud! i'm genuinely happy that you got to go VBAC! also, don't make plans for next ('13) august; we are coming to visit, woot!

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    1. I have to say, I'm in awe of anyone who does it unmedicated. I can get fillings without novacaine, but that's laughable compared to contractions. And August 2013! Yeah!

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    2. huzzah! and congrats again! i too can go sans novacaine, but the epidural saved my damn sanity! kudos!

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  4. Happy tears! Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. So wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Laura! So happy to share - thank you for rejoicing with me!

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  5. Oh, Lisa, I'm so happy for you!

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  6. yay!!!!!!!!!!!!! so so glad to hear it. have been waiting anxiously for the fully story. also, wow, you look stunning in that photo.

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story! What an amazing, beautiful experience. Like I told you, the only thought that kept going through my head afterwards was, Oh my God, I did it!! I did it!! I'm sure you felt the same way, because it's such an amazingly empowering feat. And as I told you, yes, epidurals are amazing. And like you, I also pooed like there was no tomorrow. And this was after refusing the standard (for Mexico, at least) enema and promising that I had just gone to the bathroom and it wouldn't be an issue. I'm sure they were silently cursing me at each clean-up. ANYWAY! Congratulations, Wonder Woman! I'm so happy for you and thrilled that you got to do this your way.

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    1. Oh and I also totally cried when they told me I was almost fully dilated. I had faith in myself when so many people said I should just schedule another c-section, and I was RIGHT! HA!

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    2. Yes - I did it I did it I did it!!! Wow - nobody offered me an enema (I think maybe they don't do that here anymore?). I love how you had to promise you'd just gone to the bathroom. Seriously! I won't inconvenience you with pooping! It sounds like it's almost inevitable to poop - I mean, the baby is just shoving everything out of you on the way out. It's just part of it.

      And my doula said that just about everyone is emotional about the VBAC - I wonder if a lot of people cry. It's so scary to be in it and wondering...and such a relief when you realize that yes, it's going to work!

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    3. Yeah, a lot of things were "standard" at my hospital, like enemas, pitocin drips, episiotomies, etc. And don't get me started about what they automatically subject newborns to! I think they thought I was a megabitch for refusing all that. But I just wanted things done my way, and knew that when you're dealing with a 70% c-section rate, you've got to be firm about how you want things done. Happily it all worked out!

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  8. I'm all teary eyed now, and a little freaked about all the poop... wondering if I was pooping a lot and just didn't notice...
    Happy, happy, happy you had such a great birthing experience!

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    1. You know, if you were and you didn't know, I think it's exactly how it should be - they should just deal with it and not make you worry about it.

      And thank you! So great!

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  9. I was waiting all week for this story!!! Way to go Lisa. And you really can make me laugh out loud. I don't know that I pooed but I vomited for hours and hours, like 22 of the 29 hours of labor! The nurse said more than once "where is all this coming from?" I remember feeling embarrassed. Now, it's just funny.Would have rather pooed I think.
    So happy for your little family and anxious to hear how big brother is adapting. Congrats again on everything going right and all your hard work and determination and AND Welcome Baby Girl!

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    1. I hate hearing that you vomited for so many hours. That's just horrendous. Nothing to be embarrassed about - just painful and awful. I hate puking more than anything. I'd rather poop on the dining room table, quite frankly.

      I will post soon about Jordan - he is struggling! Thank you, Lynn! Hugs to you!

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  10. "Naturally, I dragged him into the bathroom so I could demonstrate the not-peeing on the toilet. It just kept going and going. "
    i so love you guys and i so wish this was a reality show because i would be DVRing it and forcing my husband to laugh along with me!
    i really would have loved to see some video of Nick's reaction to the above and possibly of his incessant poop joking too.
    i'm so happy for you with the epidural. you would have had a happy baby either way, isn't it nice to not have traumatic pain as a part of that memory? anyway... so glad for you all. love this story. can't wait to hear more!

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    1. Oh, Jen, you know that anything unpleasant that I'm dealing with, Nick has to be dragged into as well. I love that you find us so entertaining! And my Jordan birth memories are all so very traumatic - it's a joy to have this one be so positive in contrast.

      I must tell you that actually, they kind of gave me a tour of the afterbirth. I found it fascinating. Nick said he was paying attention to the girl and didn't see it coming out, and he wasn't bothered by it, but wasn't as riveted as I was.

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  11. also, not sure about Nick but my husband said the poop was nothing compared to the horror that is afterbirth. so there's that.

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  12. LOVE THIS LOVE THIS LOVE THIS!
    I'm so thrilled you had the experience you wanted. It is awesome, isn't it?!

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    1. Thank you, Dana! It is awesome. That's exactly the word for it. Wow.

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  13. Congratulations! Such a wonderful (and funny) story. I had a c-section 2 years ago (breech baby). We're gearing up for baby #2 (although just starting the process) and I've been thinking about whether I want to do a repeat C (the pain I know) or try for a vbac (the pain I don't, but supposedly less so?). I'm pretty sure about the vbac route, and this post makes me feel even more so. I want to be a rock star, too!

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    1. What I find extraordinary is how easy the postpartum is. I was kind of sore, but not that excruciating, scared to get out of bed because your abs hurt so much sore. And I've been up and about ever since. It's night and day and just shocking how much easier it all is.

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  14. So happy for you guys! I love birth stories, and I'm so glad you got the vbac you wanted!

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    1. Thank you, Tia! I hope you have the birth you want as well.

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  15. The joy on your face in that photo is priceless. I had an epi with Ben but it ended in a C section when he flatly refused to come out and dissapeared back up inside me lol. I pooped too but it wasnt forever poop it was just poop in front of a room full of interns that had just walked in unannounced. I wasnt happy about them being there staring at my vajayjay so I turned to my OB and said " It costs 9.50 to go to the movies so pass the fucken hat around will you. Tell them to get the fuck out of here because I never gave them permission to be in here!" After an arguement with the hospital specialist my OB herded the lot of them out of the room and told them to sod off lol.

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    1. So, that makes me mad. They really shouldn't have been parading all those interns through your room without your permission, and you should not have had to get involved in getting them out. It's stressful enough without feeling like a science experiment. Grrrr.

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  16. Congratulations! I'm with you on the epidural. An absolute godsend! And, see, Miss India did just fine. Wonderful story, and I'm so glad you got your VBAC!

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    1. Thank you so much! And yes, wow. It was so painful and I was all clenchy and stressed...and then suddenly it was like soft music and rainbows and puppy kisses and I got to nap. Magic. And yes, she did just fine. She's a strong little thing!

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  17. Thank you for telling us all about it. Although I'm so sorry you had bad pain, it sounds like most of the process was positive and that's the important part. And, yes, the epi sounds like the right choice for you. Yay you for doing it your way and succeeding at having your VBAC.
    I'm looking forward to stories about India at home and Jordan meeting India, and many very funny stories about how you're all coping.
    You look so happy in that photo and Nick looks absolutely in awe of you!

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    1. I was shocked at how very painful it was, but I had wanted to experience labor, and I felt like I really did. The epi was the right choice for me, for sure. I was scared that the midwife and my doula were going to be disappointed in me, but they weren't. And they all agreed that it went exactly the right way.

      So sweet of you to be looking forward to Jordan India stories! I've got them!

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  18. Yeah, so happy for you! Great story!!

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  19. I was totally waiting for this story too! So glad everything went well, and yeah you look radiant in that photo. I want to kick Nick for making fun of you during the poo though - definitely one of those things that is supposed to be laughed about after the fact!

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    1. Thank you! You know, I did not even care. I was astounded at how much I didn't care. I wouldn't ever have thought I'd be all, here, hold my leg while I stretch it as far apart from the other one as I possible can and try to shove whatever I possible can out of both orifices. With an audience. I seriously had no moment of shame.

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  20. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you.

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  21. Congratulations on India! I love her name.

    Epidurals are beautiful and amazeballs. I only wish mine hadn't run out while I was pushing, because my vaginal birth and aftermath was most definitely not a dance party.

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  22. Brilliant, brilliant birth story. I'm so happy that you had a wonderful experience (epidural and all) and I love that you don't hold back telling the story, even about the poo. The idea of a water birth intrigues me, but I really can't past the poo.

    Congratulations and welcome Baby India!

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  23. Picture it: I gave myself an enema in between contractions while I was in labour, at the hospital, all giant, barely able to reach around. just thought you should know...

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