wonderfully made: Beau Andrew | a birth story

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Beau Andrew | a birth story

Here's the very long and detailed account of Beau Andrew's birth on September 8th, 2015 at 2:51pm:

Starting at 38 weeks, my doctor told me I was 3cm dilated. This was news to me as I fully expected to deliver late and figured I wouldn't even have early labor. Getting checked is really kind of a tease because after that, multiple people told me that I'd give birth 'any day now' and I got my hopes up, against my better judgment. If I learned one thing during this time, it was that the general public expects most mothers to deliver early. Not the case for me or for over 50% of first time moms! Ah well... dmariebuchanan@gmail.com Image Map

The last few weeks of pregnancy were rough. I couldn't eat, sleep, walk, or find any relief from the pain of carrying a 9+ lb baby. I was pretty level headed all through pregnancy but I had the most breakdowns during these last few weeks. I had some good sobfests! Poor Mark.

I saw my OB and had an ultrasound on Friday when I was 40 weeks and 2 days along. I had told Mark to guess baby's weight (since that was what they were checking on) and he said 8lbs 4oz. We were in front of the sonographer at this point and she asked me what I thought it would be. I said 8lbs 14oz. She said "whoa!" and was surprised that I would guess that high. She said that most moms are in denial that baby could be that big. Hey, I'm a realist. Anyway, after taking multiple measurements and averaging them together, she said that he was estimated at 9lbs even. The sonographer could not believe it and told me that it didn't look like I had a 9lb baby in there! 

We had a quick chat with the nurse practitioner who made the mistake of saying "I'll be surprised if you don't go into labor this weekend" (which got Mark's hopes up but I knew better), confirmed my tentative induction date of 9/9 (which I was only 80% sure I was going to accept if it came down to it) and we went on our way.

Fast forward a few days and a few sobfests and we're to Monday, Labor Day. I can't tell you how many people said I should go into labor on Labor Day...it had gotten old. I was really hoping to avoid it, actually! Mark and I had been trying to stay busy all weekend to get our mind off of things and we ended up going to an afternoon movie. I had been having contractions since my due date (September 2) but none were time-able or lasting at all. About 30 minutes from the end of the movie, I started feeling crampy and having consistent contractions. They weren't bad at all but I was about to tell Mark we should leave the movie (just because I was uncomfortable) when it ended. As soon as we got in the car I started timing the contractions. They were 8 minutes apart.

It was about 8:30pm now and Mark and I went back home. I got in bed and on the computer and continued to time contractions. I told Mark I was having some but neither of us expected them to turn into anything. Over the next two hours, I timed each and every little pain and they ended up coming every 4 minutes. After those two hours, I decided to call my OB at 10:30. 

The OB on call seemed to be doubtful since I wasn't in crazy pain but she said we should go ahead and go to the hospital since I had been dilated for a while. I walked into Mark's office, had him take off his headphones, and asked him if he was ready to go. He practically jumped away from the computer, said "are you serious?!" about 10 times, and ran around the house like a chicken with his head cut off. He didn't believe me! I said "Mark, I'm 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, what did you expect?!". He ended up dumping out his packed hospital bag and re-packing it just as we were walking out the door. Typical Mark! He was a nervous wreck. I, on the other hand, was super calm!

We got to the hospital around 11pm and got set up in a room. The nurse checked me and I was 4cm and 80% effaced and contractions had sped up to 2-3 minutes apart (but still completely bearable - just felt like menstrual cramps) and said "you're here to stay!". I was hooked up to an IV (ouch) and all the other monitors and we settled in. I labored and watched Shark Tank while Mark slept until just about 6am. I had decided that I was ready for the epidural because I wanted to get it before I was in too much pain and they were starting to discuss pitocin because I wasn't dilating and my contractions were sputtering out. 

At 6am a frenzied anesthesiologist came in and my nerves set in. She was rushed because she had to get to some C-section patients and it made me super nervous! My body was shaking uncontrollably even as the nurse tried to calm me down. Mark tried to step out of the room (his coworkers told him he wasn't allowed to stay in there - but I wasn't letting him leave!) and they started the process. I had heard that an epidural can take 30 minutes to put in, but she was only in our room for about 10 minutes! She had me do the typical leaning forward pose and talked me through the numbing shot and placed it. It just felt like a typical flu shot or something similar, just in my back. In my experience with a numbing shot like that, it usually takes a few minutes to start numbing, so after she placed that shot I relaxed a bit and sat up. Seconds later, I felt her place the epidural needle. It didn't hurt but it was a little bit of pressure and I could tell what it was. I froze because I wasn't in the right position but didn't want to move! She got on to me a bit but then said that I had a "beautiful epidural back" and it kicked in immediately with no issue. Yay! I was feeling good now.

After the epidural was set, they started me on a low dose of pitocin since I had expressed that I didn't really want pitocin. My OB came in at 10:30 and I had dilated to 6cm. She broke my water (weirdest feeling but didn't hurt at all! Mark said it sounded weird too, haha!) She said she would come back after lunch. Not much happened after that but at about 11:30 I had to page my nurse because I was feeling some crazy pressure and knew that meant I was close! She came in to check me and I was 9.5cm dilated! She told me she would call my OB and we would wait just a bit. About 30 minutes passed and I couldn't take the pressure and called my nurse again. My OB hadn't come by yet but she said we could try pushing a bit, at least to relieve some pressure. 

Things went slowly from there. Contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes and I was pushing with every contraction. Not much was happening though! My OB came by about 12:30 and warned me that since baby was measuring big, she was not going to use forceps or a vacuum and if I couldn't push him out, we were going straight to C-section. (This gave me some serious motivation later on!) 

I pushed for 2 hours with only slight progress. My only real pain was from a cramp I was feeling, well, in my left butt cheek (not sure how else to describe it). It was so uncomfortable and probably related to the fact that my body was pretty sleep-deprived and exhausted at this point. I could see the frustration in the nurses faces and the mood in the room changed at the 2 hour mark. My OB came back in and Mark and I both thought she was going to give me the bad news of going to the OR. Fortunately, she brought in some energy and a few other motivating nurses and we kept pushing, more successfully, this time! 

I kept my eyes closed in order to focus for most of the pushing stage and was surprised when the nurses started setting up for delivery. I had no idea I was that close! I guess I figured they would have said something to indicate how soon he would be born. There were suddenly about 12 people in my room (something I thought I would be self-conscious about but turns out I didn't care one bit) and I could feel the frenzy in the room. I just kept praying and 'talking' to the baby and willing him to come out as I continued to push every 1-2 minutes. Next thing I know, I felt a bigger burst of pressure and heard a wail! His head was out! He had the cord just looped over one shoulder so we paused for that and then I delivered the rest of him. He had a healthy cry and my OB said he was a chunky boy! I kind of zoned out on everything else at that point and Mark and I both broke down and cried along with the baby. They laid him on my chest, wiped him down, and Mark cut the cord after we let it finish pulsing, about 3 minutes later. His cry turned to snorts and then he was silent and just looked into my eyes. He had the darkest but sharpest blue eyes I've ever seen! He had arrived!

They took him over to the cart a few minutes later while I got repaired. I ended up with a third degree tear but of course felt nothing (thankfully). Beau scored an 8 and then a 9 on his APGAR test and Mark watched him get 'serviced' (I'm not sure what all they did over there) before they brought him back for skin to skin time. Everyone in the room anxiously awaited the announcement of his weight and even the nursery nurse couldn't believe that he was 9lbs 7oz! He was also 22 1/4" long and the computer prompted "are you sure?" when they tried to input the information. He is our big boy!

My family had been waiting since 12:30 so we had them come in and they got to hold him and we announced his name, finally! I breastfed after they left and then Mark and Beau went off to the nursery for Beau's bath and other things. It was at that time that the nurses started getting me ready to transfer over to the post partum wing and I ended up passing out in a wheelchair (twice) as they were wheeling me to the bathroom. They gave up and took me back to bed, where I passed out again! I joke, but I'm kind of serious when I say that it was the best sleep I'd had in awhile! I recovered with some fluids and a couple of hours later (and after a visit from Mark's parents), we were moved to the post partum wing.

Overall, I felt like my labor was pretty easy. I took it one step at a time in order to not overwhelm myself and the process was calm and not bad at all. My nurses were great, the epidural was great, and even the 2.5 hours of pushing wasn't bad (even though I definitely felt the after-effects in the days to come).  Welcoming our son was such a great experience!

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