Monday, October 12, 2015

Matthew's Birth - Part 3

If you haven't read the previous parts click here for part 1.
Attempting to finish the blanket
between contractions (earlier in the day)

We knew that we needed to keep labor going but I was too weak to actively work at it and was mentally and emotionally drained so much that I could only cry at the thought of starting pitocin (which would make the contractions strong and close together). At this point they began suggesting an epidural. I did not want an epidural, not because I think it is wrong, but I so wanted to go without drugs and I was afraid of the potential side effects and the possibility of not being fully mentally there at the birth (because of the drugs). As they talked with me, my mom, Carolynn, the and the nurse encouraged me to consider it because we needed to start the pitocin but they told me that I was the one who had to choose. Jon told me that it had to be my decision and that he would support me no matter what I chose. I decided to have the doctor check me and that if I was close we would try without but that if I wasn't we would do the epidural. I was so drained I couldn't even cope with the pain of being checked and that sealed my decision to get the epidural since I was only 5cm or so. I wanted the epidural started before the pitocin.

Jon was right there with me through the epidural placement
The doctor ordered the epidural and they were ready surprisingly quickly. The anesthesia team were very kind and understanding. They were very gentle and told me to let them know if I felt any pain. I did end up getting extra local anesthetic because I could feel their pokes. Even with the epidural the contractions were still painful but easily handled and I could actually feel most of my legs (especially the left one). I was really happy about that because I really didn't want total lack of feeling and hoped that when it came time to push I would be able to feel it. Once the epidural was in place they started pitocin and we all prepared for bed so that we could get some rest before the end. It was about 10:30pm when we began sleeping.

The layette I knitted for him
(The blanket matches the pattern)
I woke up around 1:00 or so and the nurse explained that they would need to do a urine catheter soon. I asked for the chance to try to go without it so she ordered a portable “commode”. I was also beginning to feel the contractions quite painfully in my left hip so I tried switching sides and getting extra epidural medicine. She said to try pushing the button as many times as I needed it and that after three times if it wasn't enough we could call in the anesthesiologists to give me more. After three times it wasn't enough so we did alert them. Somewhere during those three button pushes I felt like I was having some pressure during contractions (possible baby pressure) so we called in the doctors to check me. At 2:00am they checked me and said I was still 5cm, not quite 6cm. How depressing! I didn't worry about it too much though because my mom has a history of going quite suddenly from 6cm to 10cm! We decided to place a peanut ball between my legs to encourage things along and to up the pitocin dose some more and everyone went back to sleep. Around 2:45 I suddenly began to feel intense pressure, my contractions became super close and I began essentially hyperventilating so my mom called in the nurse right away and I told her I felt like he was coming! She called in the doctor and the doctor found that I was fully dilated!

Mom knitting a hat for him earlier
They sweetly told me (which I really appreciate) that I could let the uterus do some of the work of pushing him for now or I could go ahead and push with the contractions. I wanted to push. At this point the urge to push wasn't crazy but his pressure was enough to make me want to push. I felt so much more control while pushing. I had no idea what to do though! I had read books but couldn't really remember what to do. Wonderfully, someone gave me a tip each contraction until I felt like I was doing it right. Some of them were “hold your breath while pushing”, “pull your legs back”, “tuck your chin and pull in your belly button”, etc. I am amazed at how clearly I heard each person that talked even though I was so focused! Jon was right by my left hand and was a wonderful cheerleader!

The first moment I held him
As the pushing urge increased and Matthew moved down the canal it became evident that his hand was up by his head. His hand was actually born first and in between two contractions I was able to reach down and feel it. I began feeling constant pressure and it became quite painful due to his hand down there (I felt very specific and intense burning where his hand was). They encouraged me to rest between pushes (that was super hard) and Jon had to remind me and demonstrate for me to breath deeply because it hurt so bad I was breathing super fast. It was only because of his help that I was able to even attempt to breath deeply through the pain. The second to last contraction before he was born I was almost able to get him out, I could feel it! But not quite. The next contraction I was able to push enough to get his head out and his body slid right out too. The relief in that moment was inexplicable. A moment later they told me “he's right there” and that brought me to the reality that I had just birthed a baby! I looked down and there was his head on my belly! They quickly began unwinding his cord (it was wrapped around his neck a total of 3 times) and I brought him to my chest. I didn't know what to do, he was lying so still.

(to be continued.....)

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