Monday, September 14, 2015

Birth Story~ Annabel Clare

early bird :-D

Birth story= Lame with a side of terrible.

Well..... despite the beautiful fact that this very, very sweet baby girl came out of all of it, this, friends, was not a good birth story. I wish I could say it was, but... not so much.  It was more like lame. With a side of terrible.  When my Mom asked me how it went a few minutes post-birth, I said, “It was really hard (thinking:/horrible).” It wasn't just your typical natural-this-hurts-birth. It was mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining bad. Call me Happy Hallie.

Fair Warning! This is a birth story...! If you don’t like words about position, pain, and vocabulary related to birth stories, you can click away or just skip this one for now!;)

On Wednesday night around 9:30 pm, I started having mild contractions. I was watching the last episode of the 4th season of my current binge-pick, Parenthood.  Anders tried jumping on my lap and I yelled “Stephen!” I think he thought I was going to say, “Come get Anders…” but instead I yelled, “I just had two contractions!" I was thinking to myself: And I think they were real deal! Oh no. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming. With my last birth, I went into labor two after my before my for-real due date. Was I really going to go two days early this time? Don’t get me wrong for a minute. I was as ready as ready could be. The kids were getting on my every last nerve, and my hormones were making me a raging irritable, hot mess, and I was tired of being pregnant. Not to mention the end of August weather had been hot, hot.  God knew. It was time. I prayed to St. Therese, one of my favorite saints and a powerful intercessor: “Please I pray that this is it, bring this baby, God… come on baby! I’m ready!”

I had had my membranes stripped that morning at my Doctor’s appointment. When I first got to my appointment Wednesday morning, they said, “What are you doing here?”


And I said, “Well… I’m 39 and 5 days.  My due date is Friday. And today is the only day my doctor is in this office. Why wouldn’t I be here?” The response in the front desk of the office was so evasive of the actual situation at hand, I became upset. Unfortunately, getting upset made my blood pressure soar right as they were taking it, and that is always a very... um,  bad sign when you are about to go into labor.  This resulted in doctor’s order that the nurses take my blood pressure three more times (all of which came back normal), and 20 minutes of monitoring the baby’s blood pressure/heart rate. Lesson learned: Do not answer the nurse when she asks you why you are upset. Rehashing the situation as she takes your blood pressure will cause your heart to race in anger and that is a very bad and not-recommended-at-all idea!!! But she stripped my membranes, checked me and said I was between 2-3 cm, and sent me home to wait. Of course, not before giving me a very long and convincing speech about being induced the next day.

I went home exhausted and discouraged. And although I thought it had been a bad day, unfortunately I didn’t know how bad it could really get, yet. Call me Optimism Incarnate please. I didn’t know I would be licking my wounds come middle-of-the-night thirty.  When the contractions started coming on strong about every 10 minutes that evening, we decided to not waste any time. I called my parents, my doctor, and my neighbor friends to let them know what we had mutually decided: We were headed to the hospital! Just like with Anders, we didn’t want to wait until 5 minutes apart, because Madeleine had come so quickly when she was born at home (contractions were every 5, 7, and 10 minutes apart and 45 minutes later, she showed up!) and we didn’t like the idea of taking chances, because our instincts to go early with Anders also proved correct.

So, we finished packing and getting everything we needed. Once we got there to triage, around 11pm, however, the contractions stayed at 10 minutes apart, and… I stayed at 3 cm.  There was a lady on call in triage who was not dressed in nurse clothes, and called herself a nurse midwife. She was wearing baggy, out-of-style black and white clothes, and no make-up with several patches of red, dry skin on her face.  After staring me down apathetically multiple times and making the atmosphere horribly awkward, the no-makeup nurse midwife checked me and then mumbled some things I couldn't understand. She checked me around 2am, mumbled incoherent speech, then stared at me. For a very long time. Then, finally she said, "Well? What do you want to do?" I said, "Um. I don't know. I think maybe we should wait?" Ok... she looked at me again and then disappeared to check email and do whatever on her computer at her desk.  After more awkward waiting (theme!), she checked me at around 3:30 in the morning, and I still hadn’t progressed. Guess what? She wasn’t happy about that at all… and let’s just say Optimism was not her special talent.  By 4:30am, she came back, stared at me without saying anything, again, and this time didn't ask my opinion. She had finally made her decision. "I think you need to go home."  I was mad.

I felt like she didn’t seem very caring… Correction: I told Stephen she was the worst nurse midwife ever and how did she have the balls to call herself a midwife anyway? She was uncaring and very aloof. So as she made her pronouncement, I actually fought back a bit. Despite the risk to my blood pressure, I spoke up: "Listen, I’m going to go home, and then labor is going to speed back up, and then this labor is going to be like Frances- the baby will be here by 8am,” I predicted to her in my second moment of my-heart-is-racing for the day/night. Through the whole thing, it was like she was just making a grand attempt at ignoring silly, pathetic loser me who was trying to make a big show of nothing at the doorstep of my child's grand entrance.  Stephen sat in a chair uncomfortably trying to sleep... for five hours.  I was just sitting there, listening to various episodes of the Sorta Awesome podcast, trying to get my mind off things. The negative tension-drama I didn’t ask for and the awkward and palpable sense of helplessness you could cut with a knife. And as I had told her, I also had a suspicion that the minute we left the hospital, my contractions would speed up, and we would have to turn around and come back.

My suspicions were correct. We went home at about 4:30am, and sure enough, were only there until about 6:30am. My parents were on the pull-out to be there for the kids in the morning and we went to bed. Sidenote: when we got home, we noticed the cats were on the porch, and although my parents had them closed in, they didn’t realize the screen on the back porch had fallen out of the door, and our cats had run away. Side note again: we found Sneaky but not Yo-Yo, later that night so he disappeared for a second time. We later found him eating the food we left for him on the back steps, thank you, Lord. Tired and discouraged? Check.

Meanwhile, my contractions had sped up to 5 minutes apart, and they were very painful this time.  So we bid farewell again to my parents, and bid hello again to the not-so-nice nurse who was STILL on call in triage, unfortunately. (bitter);) She checked and I was 5cm. Booyah, mean nurse midwife lady who likes to make people sleep in chairs for five hours.

It was around 7am. This time, although we were quickly admitted to a very nice labor and delivery room with two solid walls of windows, and a bed/couch (good thing now that it's morning thirty!), this is when my labor when from lame to lame with a side of terrible. I set forth my birth plan and despite getting a few kickbacks from the new not-so-nice nurses (many serious and bitter-sounding mutterings under their breath: “She’s being reactive”… yes I CAN hear you! Did you think I couldn’t?!), I was allowed my wishes… freedom of movement and no intervention… or so I so brilliantly thought!

For about an hour, I had contractions, and I could feel the head descending.  Things kept tapering off. Slowing down. Contractions would come between every five and seven minutes. They checked me and I was a big eight. I had already gone through transition and the contractions were bringing her head out. They could feel the head and the bag of waters was right there. Did I want them to rupture the membranes, they asked? No! I said. According to my plan, no intervention!  A few minutes later, they check me again and I must hsvr been a big 9 because they told me I was ready to push.  I turn to Stephen: Maybe they should rupture my membranes? No, he said, it will be easier if they don’t!  Right! Onward! And slowly they came...

...verrrrrry slowly, however.

Again, the nurse started pleading with me. “If we rupture your bag of waters it can really speed up the process”! As she pushed on my tummy, “Am I pressing too hard?” No…… I said.  I was torn. Honestly. Finally, after more pleading on red-haired nurse’s part, (she asked about fifty times, no lie) I conceded, and said: “Ok- do whatever you think best.”  The doctor again reiterated why it might be a very good idea to rupture the membranes.  Finally I said “Ok, you can do it!”  They used a hook, but it didn’t hurt at all. The contractions- guess what?!- didn’t hurt much worse, but they also didn’t speed up all that much at all, that I could tell. Still once every five, once every seven minutes. Except now they were pushing contractions. I had the urge to push and bear down with every contraction. It hurt- a lot. There was a cervical lip again like with Frances, and for a minute they thought she was sunny side up, because the pushing was taking forever, and it was so, so painful for me.  Although I tried pushing on my knees, the doctor and nurse (and two nurses-in-training and two assistants) were helping me to get in position (on my back, they insisted multiple times), and I kept wanting to stand, move, go to the bathroom, get on my haunches. The back-laboring was putting all the gravity on- you guessed it- my back! And the gravity wasn’t working with the contractions, but rather- I felt, against it. I felt weird, but I knew and kept imagining that if I had a doula (or midwife) there with me, it wouldn’t be awkward at all.  So I kept insisting they let me walk around. And walk around I did…

And I ended up pushing for close to two hours. Not. Fun. I didn’t just try walking. I tried everything (squatting, kneeling, praying, asking Stephen to keep texting my Mom to “keep praying!”, birthing ball, dim lights, and even tried to turn on my iPod, but Spotify kept crashing). All of the memories of my past push-them-out-with-one-push (well, with Anders and Madeleine) made me realize I have been spoiled! This is hell! Hats off to all who have had a hard time with pushing! At one point, I was so fed up with pushing and all of the “kind advice” the nurses were testily offering me, I said, “I think I need some space!” Did I mention there were a lot of- at least six or more-  people in the room, and I was pacing from the bathroom to the bed? I later apologized to the nurse for that one, and she said “I fault no one for what they say and do when they are in labor!” That’s a very good thing, because it was almost pathetic how indecent my labor was from beginning to end. It was downright awkward, that since I tried kneeling on the bed, how many times I stuck bare buns in the air for all to view. The red-haired nurse kept pulling my gown back to monitor the baby, and I kept pulling it down, and that was making me mad. Thankfully she ended up being really cool, although during labor I wasn’t feeling it.  Stop monitoring me lady and let me walk around in peace, I kept thinking.  The tone in the room was not peaceful. Sadly, I felt. But after all was said and done, she was very cool. ;) More on that in a minute.

Finally, around 9:15, they encouraged me to try a bar over the bed. I draped myself over it and stayed for one contraction, but it hurt. They told me to try my back again, this time in a “cannonball” position with my legs up high on either side. I did.  And…. ironically enough, since I had been so opposed to being on my back the entire delivery, it worked. Her head was coming out. Oh, my did it hurt. The “ring of fire” was truly that: It felt like her head was HUGE. Pushing the body out, I just kept saying “It hurts so bad!” And "Aaaah!" screaming. But by that point, I was so, so glad her head was out I didn’t care at all. ;) I disconnected my thoughts from my body and pushed through intense pain until she was born.

Despite the fact that she got stuck, my doctor especially was awesome and dedicated in all of it… she far exceeded all of our expectations by being there for the entire duration of my time in Labor and Delivery, helping me and encouraging me and giving me lots of pointers!!!  Would I do natural birth again, though? Yes and maybe with a real midwife as well next time... if there is a next time.;)

{What I learned: A few takeaways... first of all, assume nothing. All you think you know will be proven wrong in your fifth delivery, Tacy. This birth was epically bad. God doesn’t give us more than we are able to handle and capable of enduring, and he prepares us for every trial and suffering we undergo, but that does’t make it easy or in the least bit simple. Having four deliveries previous to this one definitely prepared me for the worst, but I wasn’t expecting the worst! You just never know.}

She was finally born at 9:27am on Thursday, September 3rd... two days early. She weighed in at 6lbs, 10 oz’s, and our second smallest after Molly (five days early).  Delivering the placenta wasn’t bad at all this time, and I didn’t tear so that is SO good… but I had membrane left in my cervix that the doctors and nurses needed to get out for prevention of infection, and that was process was terribly painful. I also had clots that needed to come out of the vaginal canal right after birth, and having the nurse pressing on my abdomen felt more like hell and unlike any past experience. I announced not too long after she was born (after saying she was beautiful a million times) that I’m not having another baby for at least 5 years!!!!! ;)

As we walked to our overnight room, the red-haired nurse who incessantly wanted to monitor my baby, shared with me that she had two babies- three and five months old, and she had  a third baby who died in delivery. Oh. I thought.  No. words. I didn’t hear the rest of the story, but you know? Knowing just a little bit more about someone can change our opinion of them in a flash-second. You just never know.

Overall, our experience in the hospital was good, and yes, I would say I'd do it again. (Really~ I would, in a heartbeat!;)) All of our nurses except the one in triage were good, prompt, helpful, and encouraging. We had a really amazing lactation consultant who was very professional and helpful. All of our kids came to meet the baby in the afternoon with my parents, and Stephen’s parents and our priest father Carter came to visit. Our sweet friend and Godparents of Annabel- The Hinsons- brought us gourmet treats from one of our favorite coffee shops downtown. They visited with us and it was such a bright, happy visit!
so worth it

She is so incredibly beautiful. We are so proud and so blessed to call her our baby! We all feel spoiled by how sweet and good she has been so far!  It has not been without its challenges -- she actually went 7 hours without nursing at all the first day and all the lactation consultation fell on us. I was pumping, feeding her by syringe, and the whole nine yards that first day. But to borrow a cliche- she has nursed like a champ - ever since.


Corinne said...

This is probably something you'd prefer to read at a slightly later date - unless you want to continue your annoyance/anger towards the nurses now. =P
(also, warning: scroll quickly past the first picture if you don't want to see a candid shot of a water birth - which didn't include a swimsuit. ;) )


I'm so happy for your family and for your lovely baby girl!

Tacy said...

Thanks for that. I could not believe the overwhelming pressure I received during my birth regarding this issue.

Gina Fensterer said...

Congratulations on her birth!! I hope you'll be able to put the difficultness of it behind you one day, though I know how hard that is. I'm still carrying baggage around from my really, really, hard births.

Tacy said...

Thanks, Gina! And I hope your upcoming labor (and delivery!) goes well, too. Prayers!

Reconciled To You said...

Love the name. Glad you are both ok. What a story ... Prayers for healing (all around)