20 November 2007

The Story of Lochlan

So I finally wrote it. The birth story. It's not eloquent. It's pretty much exactly what happened, lol. This blog is so helpful, in that I have finally found a place where I can write down things like this and not worry about it getting lost. And it is really really long.

I woke up at 2:30 needing to pee, as usual. While awake I had a contraction that wasn't quite like any I'd had yet. Painful, long, letting me know it was there. It happened again while I was peeing. I went back to bed thinking a few things. I'm more comfortable there, can deal with contractions better there, and maybe I could go back to sleep.

Nope! I was denied on all three points. These were really too much to be able to sleep through, and laying in bed was starting to make me antsy. I headed downstairs to walk around but they were too much to walk through so I hung out with my birthing ball. After only two more contractions, I thought maybe I ought to time them or something. Usually when I was having all those braxton hicks, as soon as I would start timing them, they'd fizzle out. So the ball and I rolled up to the comp desk and I found the website I was looking for. I think it is called contraction master or something like that, and all you had to do was hit the space bar at the beginning and end of the contractions. The worst part was I absolutely couldn't focus on anything else so I was just sitting here feeling a bit like a dork hitting the space bar. And the contractions were consistantly coming two minutes apart and lasting roughly a minute long. Oh yeah, did I mention it hurt?

At this point I decided that this was it and the baby was coming. Yipee! It was also at this point that I realized how short of a time period two minutes is. I made it back upstairs where Caayn promptly woke up (more like shot up out of bed) and asked what was the situation. I wanted to try taking a shower, both to try and help with the pain and to smell all nice and pretty. I think I lasted about 3 contractions in there before I had to get out. There was a fair amount of pressure going on down there and I was worried that he might be right there or something. I sent Caayn to get Sully ready and then got ready myself.

The drive was quick. I called my mom, but she was asleep (uh, it was 2am her time, 3 ours)... We timed our walk across the street so I wouldn't get stuck halfway across when a contraction hit, lol. (Remember how I said 2 minutes seems like a short time?) We made it to the maternity floor pretty quick, and got checked into a room. It's such a strange feeling to have people swarm at you with various bits of equipment, like a pack of lions on their prey. It was decided that I was 3cm, which isn't enough to keep you at the hospital, except for the contractions I was having and the distance of our drive. They checked back in an hour, I was 4cm. I think I dilated about a centimeter an hour, since I was in labor for 8 hours and had started at a 2.

The pain was pretty bad. It was all back labor again and I hardly even felt the tightening in front. Back labor is such a strange pain. It's not sharp. It's like lightning coursing through a small area. Like licking a battery. Dull but very bright at the same time. Breath taking.

I took a shower there, if you could call it that. The stall was seriously like 2 feet by 2 feet with a small stool taking up half the area. I couldn't get the water hitting the right area or the stool in the right spot and every time I got up to adjust one or the other, I'd get a contraction. Eventually it ended up with me just having back to back contractions, not able to really do anything but cry, so I had to get out. At this point, I asked for an epidural. Yes, I really did want to do a natural childbirth, but that goal was secondary to my desire for a VBAC... and while I knew the risks that an epidural can pose to vaginal births, the benefits outweighed them.

There was a hidden plus side to me asking for the epidural. I didn't get it for a really long time. I think I should mention that I was making really awful sounds. Originally I had started out toning through contractions, which is where you make a low tone with your voice. After the shower, I was making much higher pitched sounds. Uhh, think almost screamy. And it was really silly too, because the whole time I was doing this, there was a small voice in the back of my head reminding me that I needed to be lower and yada yada... My midwife was the only one who could get me through a contraction more quietly, and I swear they were even a wee bit less painful. However, she didn't stay the whole time so I was sort of shit outta luck.

They had to give me an iv for saline or whatever before the epidural. Oh wait, before even that happened, some lab tech dude came in and drew some blood. Have you ever had blood drawn while contracting? Oh my freaking gosh, it was awful. And in fact I got my worst needle bruise from that.

Oops. Baby break.

Right, the iv. The gal giving me the iv was AWFUL at it. Caayn described it as if she were sewing something--she kept digging and pulling back and digging in again... she hit the bone once... Yowzers. I was pretty much crying hysterically from that; the pain she gave me was actually worse than the contractions. And after all that, they had to have someone else redo it on my other hand. Ugh. Pure hell. It took forever to stop crying after that. I got a shot of something or other, to help with the pain while waiting for the epidural. It made me really loopy. I *think* I still felt the contractions, but was really sleepy feeling in between. Time sort of blurs at this point.

Jimmy showed up at some point with coffee for himself and Caayn. I think this was after the epidural. Let me back track. At 7 cms, the midwife announced my bag of water was bulging and that she wanted to rupture it. I refused to let them do that until after I had the epidural because I knew that things were going to go really fast and get more painful once they did that. (I also suspect that they were sort of annoyed that I refused then and was sort of being a pain in the rear, but oh well, I was the one in labor, not them!) So, because I made a big deal about it, I got the epidural. I kind of think they were going to not give me one, since everyone knew I was trying for a natural childbirth... Guy came in, it took two tries to get it just right. It was difficult to not move (or scream) during the contractions but at the same time focusing so hard on not doing that almost made it hurt less. My midwife was on hand directly after the epidural was in to break my water. There was meconium in it, just like with Sully.

The iv drug was still in effect so I was kind of goofy feeling. Caayn and Sully and Jimmy hung around. I can't remember what we all talked about, but there was laughter which was good. There was no laughter during my labor with Sully. A nurse came in to check me and as she goes to do that she says, "Oh! The baby is right there!" I thought that was really funny. We're all chitchatting and whatnot and here the baby is getting ready to come out. Jimmy hung out with Sully in the other room so that Caayn could be with me (thank goodness too, because if he hadn't shown up, Caayn would have had to wait in the other room with Sully!).

So I've got the midwife and two nurses (I think, maybe 3) and Caayn all around the bed. I was getting really giddy feeling, knowing it was time, knowing I was GOING TO DO IT! It really was all capitals in my head. It took a few pushes to figure out how to push the right way, since I was seriously numbed up. They did the mirror thing so I could see him, although the nurse holding the mirror (I think she was the Evil IV Nurse) was really bad at it and I barely got a glimpse. Caayn remembered my complaint from the last labor, when they would tell me to push and no one would count... he did a fantastic job of counting it out and reminding me that I could do it. I got to see when his head was out--totally mind boggling because I didn't even know his head had been pushed out! And while they were suctioning him, his one shoulder popped out, and then whoop, he slid right out. It was SO strange to feel and see my belly go from rounded with child, to a glob of jelly. The feeling was such a relief too. I got to see him right there, and while Caayn had intended on cutting the cord, with the meconium present, they had to move things too quickly to allow for that. Caayn said I was a little creepy during the whole pushing phase, because I was grinning... But ya know what? I was totally allowed to grin. I was DOING IT. I was pushing my baby out just like I knew I could. And you want to know the best part? Lochlan was facing crooked too. He wasn't complete brow presentation like Sully was, but he wasn't facing the right way. And I DID IT. HA! HAHAHA! That was so darn satisifying to know.

The afterbirth wasn't bad, barely even a wee push. Oh, somewhere in the pushing, I had an episiotomy. Here's where I give a lot of details that I wasn't really aware of in the 30 minutes of pushing. Lochlan's heart was dropping a lot during each contraction, badly enough that if I hadn't pushed him out when I had, they were going to do an emergency c-section. Hence the episiotomy. Apparently what had caused the fuss was the umbilical cord was very short. Like seriously short. So each time I pushed him further out, he was pulling more and more on the placenta. I got to see the placenta, which was kind of cool. It was gross looking though--the meconium had been in there long enough to make the placenta get funky on one part.

He didn't get to cry because of the meconium. (Oh, and if anyone has been wondering what the heck that is, it is stool that has been gathering in the baby for awhile and is their first poop. It's pretty yucky stuff. They usually do this outside the womb. When in happens inside, there is a risk of them aspirating it, which can cause bad respiratory problems.) They had to spend a bit of time suctioning and pumping to make sure everything was out first. His first sounds were these super cute little mewling sounds... I, of course, thought it sounded an awful lot like a little puppy. His apgar scores were very low, 3 at one minute after birth, 5 at five minutes and 8 at ten minutes. (Apgar goes up to 10, though I think most babies get 9s.) Apgar scores are based on several things, can't remember all of them (think there are 5) but I know some are skin color, crying, movement...

I had to stay in that bed forever though, which was annoying. The epidural took a long time to wear off, even though they pulled it out after the birth. I remember being annoyed that my one leg was sticking out and wanted to move it but absolutely couldn't. My toes would move a bit, but that was it. I tried picking it up with both arms and moving it... even that didn't work. It gave me the giggles though.

So that is the long winded story of Lochlan's coming into the world. 8 hours of labor exactly, from 2:30 am to 10:30 am. 30 minutes of pushing. Absolutely perfect.
I still can't believe it. And the most amazing part is how much I loved him when I saw him. I didn't have that with Sully. Everything about his birth shocked and jarred me. I couldn't grasp it. When they tried to show him to me for the first time, I turned my head away. I had to work at bonding with him and coming to know him. The first time I held him was awkward, I didn't feel that connection. But this time was so different. I was THERE. In the moment. I DID IT, and there he was. It's only been a week, but I still can't get enough of him. I try to see Sully in there, because everyone says they look alike... and I try to remember what Sully looked like... but its like grasping at mist. Lochlan is his own person and thats who I see. He is really darn cute. And he is so much different than Sully was. From what I remember.

Lochlan isn't much of a noise maker, unless there is something wrong. He likes to sleep, he likes to have his soft blanket against his cheek. He does NOT like a dirty diaper. He likes to sleep in bed with us rather than swaddled and in his pack n play. He can fart in the most amazing variety of sounds, time lengths, and stinks. Oh, and he has the softest hair ever. Achilles doesn't feel so silky now that I have something even softer to feel!

That's about it. We're working our way into a schedule... one part of the schedule calls for a 4 hour period of wakefulness in the night, either from midnight to 4am or 3am to 7am. Why, I don't know.

And I'm confused about the breastfeeding thing. It seems to be all wonky or something. In the day time, it satisfies his hunger. But then at night time, he will eat for like 2 hours and just get so mad and frustrated, which leads to caving into a bottle of formula. I almost gave up breastfeeding out of frustration--I couldn't get him to latch correctly and didn't have the slightest idea how to contact a lactation consultant... I was SO raw and bleeding that it was very miserable... I think the formula might have messed with my supply or something. So I don't know. I'm trying as hard as I can to keep up on it though, it's something I'd really like to do. It's going to be a struggle for me, I can tell. Already I am going back to my normal style of eating. In that I don't. Typically for me I will eat some sort of snacky-meal thing (pop-tarts or a bowl of cereal or a sandwich, etc) once or twice in the day time, and then dinner. And thats it. So I'm trying harder to eat so that my milk keeps up.

Oh!! We go to pick up Athena on Saturday. I am so so so excited. It's going to be a sort of icky trip, I think. We have to leave our house either at 4 or 5am to make it to her house by noon or 1pm. We can spend up to two hours there before it starts pushing us back to god-awful hours of home arrival. The smart thing to do would be to rent a hotel room, but I have no clue if we'll be doing that or not. Probably not. We're known more for our pushing straight through road trips, lol. I suspect there will be a LOT of coffee and other caffeine beverages.

Thats about it. I'm going to go read the sleepy time books for Sully so he can take a nap. This is when I get to cuddle up close with him and feel his big kid body, big and solid and warm while we read. I can't believe how big he has grown in just 2 years. From Lochlan's size to where he is now. What a boy!

I didn't send this when I was done, so its now many hours later than that previous paragraph. I remembered stuff to add.

Later in the day after Lochlan was born, a nurse came in and warned me that he was "very jittery" and that when she tested his blood sugar level, it was a bit low. I warned her that I was also on an antidepressant, and the information for the drug warns that if taken during the third trimester it can cause withdrawals in the baby... and jitters is a symptom of that. (This was one of the situations where the benefit of me being on it was better than me being off of it.) We never did see any of the jitters she was talking about. Just thought that was an interesting bit that I didn't want to forget.


Patience-please said...

Yikes! Try not to give up on the breast feeding. There must be some online group for support and advice??? (It's been 31 years since I did it.. and I can't remember breakfast!)
Isn't it amazing what pregnacy and birth does to our bodies? Isn't it amazing that we survive it all???
Saturday seems sooooo soooooon to get your pup; I'm worried for you. You can't even be close to being recovered from that labor and delivery. Can you give yourself a little bit more down time?
in awe-

Karen said...

You did it. Happy Thanksgiving.

Momma Phoenix said...

Thank you both!

Definitely not giving up, I really want to make it work, and it seems like it is. Each day gets better. Women's bodies are definitely amazing--my tummy is already almost gone, and its only been a week and change. I didn't expect that!

Surprisingly, I do feel able to make the drive. (If I weren't, I'd have Caayn make the trip by himself.) We definitely could put off getting her, but I'd rather get the trip over and done with so that we don't tempt the weather gods more than we have. We've been lucky with how little snow we've gotten so far, and I'd be afraid of there being too much snow in December.

Patience-please said...

Ha! My tummy isn't all the way gone, and it's been 31 years!!!!! You are a strong, brave soul, and I am so impressed with your maturity. I forgot about the snow, (I LIKE to forget about cold and snow). I could NEVER live up there. Well, in July and August, but that's about it.

Leigh said...

Oh, such a powerful and amazing birth story! I am so glad you shared this. Your stregnth, intuition, and ability to go with the flow of your baby and body is incredible. Wow, mama.
He sounds like a dreamy baby. :)

Phoenix said...

Hey you had him. Yea you. Seriously he's beautiful. They both are in fact, I'd never been to your fliker page.

Lochlan is one of my favorite names. Lochlan Emery, I love it. COngrats.