Friday, May 15, 2009

hannah's birth story

hannah is probably the absolute most beautiful thing i have ever seen. aside from a bit of conehead that is going away, i think i am not biased when i say that. she is just a pretty girl in her mama's eyes.

monday was obviously a very rough day. (as the doctor pointed out, i now know what a "10" is on the 0-10 pain scale!) i had my first contraction at 4a and by 6a they were about 10 minutes apart. i got in the shower around 745a and my water broke at 830a, conveniently just as i had turned off the water but was still in the shower. so we went to the hospital; brian was very anxious that we were not going soon enough. it's a 20-minute drive and i remember brian was more stressed than i was at that point; i had to remind him where to get off the freeway and where to turn. by about 930a when we got there the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, 45-60 seconds long, and i was dilated to 4 centimeters. btw that 2-3 minutes apart is NOT from the end of one to the start of the next, oh no. that would be too much rest. the way you time a contraction is from the start of one to the start of the next. (i did not know this until our childbirth class.) so really only like 1-2 minutes rest. and you would not believe the words and noises that come out of your body during a contraction. they had told us the (private, thank heaven) birthing rooms were soundproof but according to mil, she could hear me screaming and swearing and moaning through each contraction.

in the incubator at the nursery with daddy (and mil behind him), waiting for mommy to come out of recovery

i transitioned around noon. i had previously wondered how women in labor magically knew when they were at 7+ centimeters and in transition. now i know. in my case it was because i got the shakes. this was either never mentioned in any of the pregnancy/labor/childbirth classes or books that i took/read or else it somehow slipped by me every single time. (i remember the part about shivering/shaking afterwards, because your body goes into shock somewhat - but not during.) my entire body started trembling violently and i had no idea what was happening. i asked the nurse if i was okay and she said oh yes, you have the adrenaline shakes. that means you're in transition. you're perfectly normal. huh.

by about 230p i was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to start pushing. they gave me fentanyl also at about 9 centimeters, an iv drug to take the edge off. i wanted to try to do the whole thing 100% natural but it just did not happen. the contractions still hurt like a mother after the fentanyl but were no longer pass-out pain is all. brian was such an awesome coach, i could not have done it without him. i pushed for about 2+ hrs and she was just not coming. "failure to progress" is what they called it. so they put a vacuum cup on her head to try to help. hence the conehead, and she also has some scabby scratches on the top of her head from the vacuum cup. they also had to catheterize me just before because i had not peed all day and a full bladder can hinder the vacuum apparently. that was about the worst thing ever, it hurt so bad. brian kept me focused on him but he said the look on my face broke his heart. he also said he could tell how much it hurt and that he did not realize until then how tough i was. (i generally have a relatively low pain tolerance.) apparently he has much more appreciation and respect for me now! i was begging the doctor not to catheterize me but they had to. then they also gave me two shots, one on either side, for the pudendal block. the doctor said to ease the pain as she came out on the vacuum, i guess it hurts more. i do remember at one point the vacuum popped off her head. i remember the doctor pulling hard as i was pushing too but nothing happened. she and i just failed to progress.

apparently life on the outside isn't all it's cracked up to be

i think i pushed about 30-45 minutes with the vacuum but she was just not coming so the doctor said they needed to get me in for an emergency cesarean. i was tired and the baby was tired and nothing was happening. her heart rate was dropping during contractions, not dangerously so thank the Lord, but her oxygen levels were dropping also and the doctor was concerned. i asked brian afterwards if he could even see anything when i was pushing (like the top of her head) and he said no. i was actually kind of relieved about the cesarean because i just wanted the whole thing done with at that point. so they wheeled me away to do a spinal block (faster than an epidural) while brian got suited up.

they poked my back for about 15 minutes but it was not taking, i was not getting any pain relief. i counted at least seven poke bruises on my spine yesterday. in the meantime i was having contractions and curled on my side, as much as i could be with a baby between my legs and the doctor is saying hold still so i can do this. what?! a man of course. (i also had to sign a consent form in the same position on the or table, while being poked and having a contraction. why can't you consent to things ahead of time?) they also tried to put in an epidural but it did not take either. after about 20 minutes i said, PLEASE can you just do general (which they don't like as much because it is more risk to the baby). but they did. they had to catheterize me again for the cesarean, but it was a different kind of catheter so did not hurt as bad as before THANK THE LORD. i said, can you PLEASE catheterize me after you put me under, and they said, i'm sorry but no, as soon as you are under we have to get the baby out.

they had to strap my legs down, i guess so i wouldn't go flopping everywhere in the middle of a contraction while i was under anesthesia. that was VERY scary, especially when i had a contraction before the anesthesia kicked in. no one told me they strap your legs down. none of the books mention this. they don't talk about it in the childbirth classes. the worst part was, brian could not be there with me under general anesthesia, so i was alone with all those nurses and doctors the whole time i was in the operating room, and all i wanted was him.

she has this crinkly lower lip just like her daddy's, and sometimes likes to squinch it sideways when she sleeps

they also had to intubate me with the general anesthesia so my voice is scratchy and my throat hurts even four days later. brian calls it sexy voice, even though the last thing i feel these days is sexy. i think they put me under about 545p (i know they wheeled me into the or about 5p) and hannah was born at 6p on the dot. 8 pounds 0 ounces, and 20 inches long. brian saw her pretty much as soon as she got out, they cut her cord and then took her away to get a bath and such while they stitched me up. she is all red and wailing in those first pictures he took. he said she just wanted her mom and to feed. i started coming around about 7p and i think they brought her to me around 730p and she just went to town breastfeeding. i remember the first thing i asked was if she was okay, and the nurses told me she was fine, healthy and beautiful. i remember the next thing i asked was if she was still a girl; the ultrasound tech had been almost 100% positive on her sex but that almost had bothered us ever since. we had all these girl things, and a pink and purple nursery, a girl name (we could not agree on a boy name), and we couldn't agree on whether to circumsize or not. what if she was a boy?

so that is where we are right now, we got home yesterday afternoon after three days (including labor) in the hospital. i have not slept much of course and my abdomen hurts of course, to be expected when they cut it open to remove an 8 pound baby, but still. she has her days and nights reversed right now so sleeps too much during the day and feeds too much at night. i guess most babies are like that at first. she also has so far lost too much weight, 14 ounces in 4 days which is definitely more than the maximum 7% body weight loss that they prefer to see, so we have to supplement with formula for the next few days until my milk comes in and she is getting enough nutrition from me. otherwise she would have to be admitted and apart from us. fortunately that is the only thing "wrong" with her. her bilirubin levels are great, no jaundice, and all her scores and vitals have otherwise been fabulous.

all strapped in and ready to go home, swimming in her sleeper

we are so in love with her. i never thought i could be so happy about being "replaced" in my husband's heart, but i am just over the moon that brian is so starry-eyed over her. i never thought i could so love this little person who is making such demands on my time, energy, and body. and i never realized how much i could trust and appreciate the man who got me through this whole thing - pregnancy, labor, delivery, who is taking such good care of me right now as i'm recovering not only from a (mostly) regular birth but also from major abdominal surgery. i never thought i could love brian more than i did before this experience. he saw me go through things, say and do things that a husband should not have to see and hear and experience from his wife, and i should be ashamed and embarrassed, and i'm not. he's my husband and he loves me. i can't imagine having done this whole thing with anyone else, and i wouldn't want to.

cross-posted at baby stenz


Buckeroomama said...


...and so the amazing journey into parenthood begins. :)

Kelly said...

wow, that really was an "ordeal". I wish you a speedy recovery!!
She is so pretty.
Get some rest!!

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations!!!! She is so pretty. What a story too. My first daughter was stuck,but tehy used forceps and it all worked out. Sorry you had to go through all of that. But you got your sweet little prize in the end.
Enjoy and get some rest when you can. Can't wait to see more pictures soon.

Sarah @ said...

Oh, congratulations again! What a story; I'm glad that in the end, both you and she were healthy =) She is such a beautiful little baby, too! I can't wait to hear more, but in the meantime, REST UP! (and sneak in some baby kisses) (awwwwwwwwww)

Tabitha said...

oh my goodness, what a story! I'm soooo glad you guys are okay, you must have been so exhausted! But you both pulled through and you have a healthy, beautiful little girl. Again - congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Oh my she is so beautiful! I am sorry the birthing process was so difficult, but everything turned out with the birth of beautiful Hannah.

One breastfeeding tip, it takes 4-5 weeks for your milk production to really set, so give her your breast every 2-3 hours, and she will do great. I had the same thing with the boys and I just fed them more and my milk will kicked in. Now go give her a big kiss for me!