Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Labor of Love, Part 2

Okay, i am back to finish what i started...

i went to the hospital feeling peace and assurance that things would work out well for me and the baby and that my body and mind would be able to handle the labor. i know at the hospital they wouldn't want me to eat while in labor, so i ate a protein bar on the way to give me energy for the work of labor. we called the back up doula, deb, and told her my water had broken and that we were going to the hospital. she said she would start coming when i was dilated to a 4. they checked me as soon as i got to the hospital and i was already dilated to a 4 so deb came. in the meantime, kyle and i started to set up the labor room with all the stuff we'd brought from home.
when deb got to the hospital, she looked at my birth plan (i hadn't bothered showing it to her the day before because i didn't think i'd ever see her again since she was only on call for the weekend and it would be too good to be true if i had the baby a week early). we discussed the way i wanted the labor to go. one of the most important to me was to not be hooked up to machines the whole time so i opted for monitoring the baby's heart rate and my contractions every 1/2 hour instead of all the time. when monitoring was not happening, i walked the halls of the hospital. i would talk with kyle and with deb as a walked in between contractions. when i had contractions, i would stop talking and hold onto the railing in the hall. i would stand there and breathe deeply until the contractions passed. then i would continue walking and talking, going back to the hospital room on the 1/2 hour to be monitored. when i walked the halls, i would have very regular contractions about every 3-4 minutes, but as soon as i got back to the hospital room and had to sit on the bed to be monitored, the contractions would almost completely disappear. it would usually take about 10-15 minutes for a contraction to come when i sat down. i couldn't wait to get up and get moving again so the contractions would come again (because i could sense that the labor would take so much longer if i didn't keep moving). after about 4 hours of walking the halls and coming back for monitoring, my contractions started getting much more intense and i didn't feel like i could walk the halls anymore. i felt like i needed to do something different.
this is when kyle and i started to do the "labor dance." let me explain :)... when we first got to the hospital, deb was trying to give us pointers for kyle to help me when the labor pain got intense. she talked about massage techniques and other more basic things that i had heard before. she then told us about the "labor dance," which is both the husband and wife standing up with their arms around each other, swaying back and forth in one place. kyle and i immediately said we did not think this would be possible for us. deb was a little confused, so we explain that kyle was very afraid to help me when the labor pain got bad because of my tendancy to refuse help when in pain and even to get angry if people tried to help me when i was in pain. kyle's biggest worry before the labor was that i would be in pain and that he would not be able to be of any help because i would refuse his he p and even get angry at him. well deb said that said something to the effect that it would be great if i would let know help me through the pain if it seemed alright when the severe pain came. so she asked if she could remind us later about the "labor dance" to see if i would try it and i agreed that she could ask but told her i wasn't sure if i would try it. so, when the intense pain came, she asked if we wanted to try it and i agreed to. well, i can testify that the "labor dance" works and that it is magical and miraculous, at least in my case. it was amazing because as we swayed back and forth and i held onto kyle and rested my head on his shoulder, when the contractions came, there was almost no detectable pain whatsoever. i don't know how that is possible when the pain was more intense than ever up to this point, but i suppose that that's why people do the "labor dance." from that point onward throughout the rest of the labor, i was much more open to kyle's help even though i was in pain. i was not upset with him for helping me or touching me but welcomed the comfort he provided. this was a huge relief for him!
as good as the labor dance was, it couldn't last forever (maybe about an hour). the contractions continued to get stronger and stronger after this. i asked to try a yoga/exercise ball that the midwives had available at the hospital. i sat on the ball for about an hour or two (time does not exist when in labor zone). even though i was sitting on the ball, i was not sitting still. i was rotating my hips in circles and moving my hips back and forth, etc. as i did this, i couldn't help but imagine making room for my baby to drop further down. i tried to imagine relaxing my whole body during contractions and just letting her drop. kyle also massage my aching back with a tennis back while i did this. i think by this time, i was making soft groaning sounds. i didn't plan to do this, it just happened as a way to deal with the pain.
after being on the ball, i decided i wanted to get up and walk the halls again. this was not successful because my labor was very intense by this time. i couldn't even make it to the next room without feeling like i was going to double over in pain. but somehow i made it back to my room. kyle was starting to get worried about the pain i was in and was trying to think of a way to relieve it. i had wanted to have a room with a tub so i could have to option of delivering the baby in water, but there were no more tub rooms available when i got to the hospital, so at this point, kyle thought that a warm shower might help me deal with the pain. i was feeling indecisive about what i wanted so he said he was going to get the shower ready for me. while he did this, i told the deb that i wanted to get down on my hands and knees on my yoga mat. this made me feel pretty tired, so i stayed on my knees and supported the rest of my body with the exercise ball under my arms and chest. by this time i was probably rhythmically groaning and humming during the basically continuous contractions. i got up to go throw up when the pain made me feel sick. by this time, kyle had given up on having me take a shower because i was where i wanted to be. then i went back to the ball and continued what i was doing. after a while, i threw up again but this time i think it was in a cup. then i went into child's pose (with my bum back on my heels, my forehead to the floor in front of me and my arms extended in front of me). within minutes after assuming this position, i felt the urge to push. i told deb and she said she wanted me to resist the urge to push because she needed to find the midwife so she could come look at me. besides having the first check for my dilation, i had opted on my birthplan to only be checked for dilation when it was medically necessary. because of this, the midwife was very suprised that i was already feeling the urge to push and doubted that i was ready to push a baby out. my labor had started at 2:00 am and it was then about 9:00 am. 7 hours is on average a short labor. but she came to check. she wanted to see how ditated i was since it hadn't been checked since i got to the hospital but she wanted to have me on the bed to check it. because of the pain i was in and the extremely strong urge i had to push, it was completely impossible for me to get up off the ground. so kyle and deb had to literally pick me up off the ground to get me to the standing position and walk me over to the bed. as i was walking with their assistance it was very difficult and pretty much impossible to hold back the urge to push but i did the best i could (although i'm pretty sure i did push a little). finally i was on the bed and the midwife checked to see how dilated i was. i don't remember the medical lingo she used, but she informed us all that i was pushing the baby out and that she could see her head. well i could have told her that! so at this point, i'm trying my best not to continue pushing until i get the go ahead. then the midwife asks me if i want to deliver on the bed or if i want to get back on the floor to push out the baby. well, at this point i was in too much pain and just wanted to push the baby out. my mind was not working well enough to determine where to push but just to push. in my birth plan, i said i wanted to push the baby out in whatever position seemed right to me at the time i felt the need to push. anyone reading this would probably gather that it seemed like a good idea to my body to push the baby out while i was on the floor but that i was forced to get on the bed. in hindsight, i don't know why that midwife didn't let me stay on the floor and check my dilation there. on the bed, i kept on pushing. the midwife wanted my legs to me bent so my knees would be way up by my chest and my feet up by my butt. but by the time she positioned me to check my dilation, my legs were straight out and the pain prevented me from being able to bend them back the way the nurses and widwife wanted me to do. by this time i had pushed out the baby's head but the her shoulders were stuck. they tried a couple different maneuvers to get the shoulders unstuck, but nothing worked until their third attempt. it was at this time that they were able to get my legs bent where they wanted them and i was able to push the baby out, shoulders and all. after she was out, the pediatric spedialists needed to check to make sure she hadn't aspirated the maconium she had passed soon after the labor started, so the umbilical cord was cut. i was worried that baby wasn't okay because i didn't hear her crying. kyle was over by the peds and i didn't know what was going on. deb, my fabulous doula could sense that i was worried so she assured me that everything was okay with the baby. as soon as they were sure baby was okay, they handed her over to the mama (yours truly) for some bonding time skin to skin. savannah was nursing within 5 minutes and she has been a joy to be around since those first moments we had together.
the labor was awesome. i am so glad that a natural labor was possible for me and my baby and sweet husband. it believe it was 100% miraculous! i moved more that 7.5 hours during labor than i had been able to for weeks, due to a pinched nerve. i had absolutely no siatic nerve pain while in labor. i only had labor pain, which seems like enough :) this experience brought our whole family closer together. it even gave me more appreciation for my sweet millie, who was born by means of an epidural and inducement. going through the pain and stages of labor increased my appreciation for the body and the miracle it is and the miracles it is capable of bringing to pass.

1 comment:

alecia said...

You are so cool. I learned so much!