Saturday, September 26, 2015

Beanie Girl's Grand Entrance

The last picture of me pregnant - 3 days before Beanie Girl's birthday

I get a lot of questions about how the birth went. 

Questions like:

"Surely your labor was short because of all of that fitness stuff, right?" 
 "Surely your tolerance for pain must be immense since you can get through 200lb back squats, right?"
"Surely your water would break on the gym floor during some massive squat or deadlift, right?"

Well, here's the skinny on that.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:30pm on August 17th. And no, my water didn't break in the gym. (In fact, I'd been afraid that I would be one of those women who couldn't tell when her water broke. I can be kinda obtuse that way, and I've never had a kid before. All I knew was that "It doesn't happen like it does in the movies." Gee.. that's helpful. (Not.) That should have been the LEAST of my worries.) It actually had the good timing to (nearly audibly) 'pop' while I was on the toilet in the bathroom. Imagine that! Clean up made easy.

 I'd been in early labor for nearly 3-4 days and the slow progression was exhausting to say the least. For 2 weeks, the doctors were waiting for "any time now", so I had to cancel my appointments an hour away from my chosen hospital. It's amazing how long 14 days seems when you're told 'any time now'... It felt like an ETERNITY!

So I did everything I could to (safely) expedite the process. I tried hiking (logged at least 3 miles/day), pineapple, curry, spicy foods, bedroom antics, and I began taking Evening Primrose Oil. I was almost desperate enough to start Castor Oil (yes, that's a 'thing' when it comes to kick starting labor!!!) but nothing was getting labor going, until my nutritionist reminded me suggested that activity was my 'norm'. While it was priming my body, it was keeping The Bean far too comfortable. So she wisely suggested doing "nothing" and "actually rest". Three words I'm not as familiar with these days as I should be.

Turns out that's exactly what helped kick start the 'eviction' process. Go figure!

I still wasn't having contractions by the time we made it to the hospital, about 1/2 an hour later. My blood pressure was elevated, for the first time all pregnancy. That's never a good sign. They kept monitoring me and The Bean during labor and beyond.  (I'll tell you, I hated that constant blood pressure cuff more than the contractions. )

I asked for a birthing ball, and they gave me the run down of what to expect and asked what my plan was.  They were more than satisfied with my answer of "Whatever gets everyone out safely."
I was along for the ride, and trusted that my medical team (and my body) knew what to do.

  When the contractions kicked in almost an hour later, they didn't waste time and ramped up quickly coming hard and fast. I'd messaged a few friends to help bring My Sailor some food, and The Lady in Grey (mother of 4 and la maze trained coach) arrived. And it's perfect that she was the one who showed up.

You see, the labor and delivery ward was FULL that night, and for some reason, the monitor The Bean and I were hooked up to wasn't reading my contractions. So while the nurses went about their other duties, believing I wasn't REALLY in active labor yet, The Lady in Grey was able to track them down when, ya know, contractions were 2 minutes LONG and 15 seconds APART (though the big catalyst involved me throwing up everywhere... something NO ONE warned me about. Birthing is NOT a pretty process.) Within an hour and a half or so, I was 6.5cm dilated, and couldn't stop shaking with each set of contractions. The vomitting kept creeping up as well -though I had next to nothing in my stomach. (Labor killed my appetite.)

 That's when it was epidural time. They brought someone else in for me since the scheduled guy was doing a c section and, with climbing blood pressure, vomiting, shaking, the risk of me going into seizures was getting higher as the clock ticked onward. I'm still not sure how I held still for the needle... but the guy did a great job!

I was really nervous about getting stuck in the spine. I'd worked in OBGYN enough to hear a million horror stories of epidurals gone wrong. Maybe that fear helped me stay a bit more frozen in place for him, but I'm glad to report that I am not one of those horror stories.

I later learned that I'd been nearly breaking my husband's hand squeezing through the contractions... apparently it was turning purple. (I was just wondering why he wasn't squeezing back!) I had absolutely no concept of how hard I was squeezing. To his credit, My Sailor never complained. In fact, he just said I could squeeze his hand has hard as I needed to. So that's exactly what I did.

The epidural slowed down labor considerably. It then took about 7 more hours to get ready to meet her. The Lady in Grey went home. My Sailor got some sleep, and I channel surfed for what seemed like forever as the night wore on. Still able to feel a dull ache for each contraction, at least the vomiting and shaking had stopped. (A great side effect to epidural anesthetic for me is that it lowers  blood pressure. As long as it was in, my blood pressure normalized, giving everyone a sigh of  relief.)

  When my doc came in to check on me, she let me know we were ready for the pushing stage, and that she was zipping home to shower while the nurses came to put me in position and do some practice pushes with me. She'd be back in 30 minutes or so for the end game.

  She didn't make it back in time. The nurses came in. My Sailor woke up, and we worked on 2 pushes... and that's about the time they asked me NOT to push and, with a quiet level of slowly rising panic, they called my doctor.

She was still 20 minutes out.

So they called the on call doctor. He was down the hall, but The Bean wasn't waiting. Despite my lack of effort, she was coming,  ready or not.

Beanie Girl and I, 1 hr later
Quickly realizing the docs were too far away, they punted. On the next contraction, and instruction for 1 small push, Beanie Girl came into the world in her entirety.  No slow delivery here! The nurse that caught her had never caught a baby before. I'm glad to say, she didn't drop her. No catcher's mitt necessary (but it might not have been a bad idea...).

They put her on my chest and asked me not to move until the on call doc could get there to complete the delivery and the (now necessary and fairly extensive) repair work on the undercarriage.

Dad and daughter, Day 1

We spent a few days in the hospital, but emerged as a party of 3. Beanie Girl was 7lbs and 20 inches at birth. We're working on helping her gain some weight and we're working through some medical issues with her, but she's a trooper. She's 5 weeks old now - still growing up strong. As we're about to entertain the last of her Aunts/Uncles/Grandparents from My Sailor's side, we're slowly finding our stride.

And we're lucky to still have the best support crew ever up here.

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