Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Birth Story

On Thursday May 21st I decided to take the kids down to the museum center. We didn't have any definite plans for the day, and we had purchased the membership at the beginning of the year and had only managed to get to the center one other time. The kids had such a great time there that I thought it would be a good time to use the true advantage of a membership and just run down for an hour or so before the baby came. Little did I know that this would literally be what happened.

So we ate our lunch and gathered ourselves together and headed to the children's museum. We had a great time. We all played together in the ball area for a good long time and then we went into the craft area and they kids made paintings of different colored circles using cups and easter egg halves. We then headed over to Kidstown where the girls proceeded to empty out one of the kitchen areas into the pretend metro bus. They were playing "we're going to North Carolina". They played very nicely together and even played well with other random kids who wanted to play on the bus. Ali even carried on quite the conversation with one little boy's grandpa, explaining to him in great detail (much to his delight) why it's so wonderful to go to North Carolina. I began browsing my Creation magazine that I had brought along when I realized I was having stomach cramps, or at least that's what I assumed the first one was.

By the time I felt the 3rd contraction I ruled out the gas pains and stomach cramps. Mike read my mind from across town and called me to tell me his students had just left ( it was 3pm). I was in the middle of deciding whether or not I should call him at work and bother him with what could be false labor. We were on the phone long enough to determine that they were indeed 5 minutes apart. Mike looked up on the internet that they should do that for about an hour before we call the doctor, which alleviated my rising panic that the baby might possibly fall out on the floor of the children's museum. We agreed I should go home and drink water and put my feet up to see if they went away. The kids were disappointed that it was time to go (and Jillian was unimpressed when I said I was having contractions that MIGHT mean baby Veronica was coming so I didn't bother telling the other two). In the end we agreed 5 more minutes in the construction area and 5 minutes in the "adult" museum part. I was uncomfortable at that point, but nothing more than I'd experienced monthly throughout all my life. By the time we were finishing our last 5 minutes in the "adult" museum, I had a contraction that made our exit slightly more urgent. Ironically, as we sat on I-75 in traffic that was thankfully not too horrible, I remembered that my friend Amy had promised to show me the back way home from the museum center the next time we went together. We arrived home at 4 o'clock and I immediately sat in the recliner and began to down water. Mike arrived home at 4:10 and I was quite sure that the contractions were not going away.

Level headed as always, Mike had me call the doctor while he called the Gasts to see if they had anyone available to come stay with the kids. The mid-wife at the practice decided to send me straight to the hospital saying that if I had dilated past 3 cm (as I'd been that for a couple weeks) they would go ahead and have me have the baby. Rachel Gast was at our house in 10 minutes. Mike grabbed our half packed bag (his half was completely packed, I had managed to pack pajamas at least) and we headed to the hospital. Fortunately Mike was driving because my contractions were at the point of squirming all over my side of the car and gritting my teeth a bit. We spent most of the drive to the hospital on the phone with friends, arranging childcare for the girls till my parents could get back to town (they had left for a mere 72 hours to see Sam's preschool graduation in NC).
----Ronda came to relieve Rachel Gast and spend the night with the girls. Amy came and got the girls the next morning and graciously took them to their end of the year homeschooling celebratory picnic. Jen Moore even made them certificates for being new big sisters so they wouldn't feel left out when all the homeschooled kids got their certificates. Mom and Dad got the kids from the Yeazels when they got back to town and brought them to the hospital so they could meet Veronica.-----
Once we got that figure out we were on Montgomery Road and my phone was dead. We pulled into Bethesda North at 5:00 pm. Mike used the valet parking and we headed to the third floor. Well I should say that I headed first, but as I was walking with a bit of difficulty and feeling quite stereotypical as the giantly pregnant woman huffing and puffing her way through the lobby, Mike caught up to me easily. We took the elevator to the third floor where I declared my name to the maternity receptionist who slapped a purple piece of paper down and said sign at the 4 Xs. Fortunately they were large Xs and i scribbled my name and requested a bathroom. (According to my husband I was quite "surley" toward the receptionist, but I REALLY had to pee and she was asking for my insurance cards and stuff. I was in the middle of a contraction using all of my power to remain upright and on my feet so I tossed my wallet to my husband for him to get out my insurance card--I had bad aim and he thought I was throwing it at the receptionist. Apparently my tone of voice was not exactly sweet at the time either- again, I was having a contraction:)) The receptionist called a nurse and they got me into a triage room (as construction left them with no public restroom). I got to use the restroom and then settle onto the bed to get checked. Apparently I was 9 cm with a bulging water sack. They wheeled me to a delivery room and on the way sweetly replied to my request for an epidural that I did not have time for that.

Ever since I got pregnant with Suzy I have "entertained" the idea that I might like to experience natural childbirth. In fact, with Suzy I even waited till her actual due date before having an induction thinking that she might come on her own before then. But being the somewhat impatient pregnant woman that I am, I was induced with Suzy on her due date and got my epidural before my petosin. Knowing the evil that petosin is and the extra pain it creates, it was not an option to be induced AND have natural labor. In reality, I really never thought I would actually experience natural childbirth because I'd never actually gone into labor on my own before. Anyway......This was the moment when I realized that I was indeed "Oh, crap!" going to experience natural childbirth. The fantasy picturesque ideal of natural childbirth was gone and reality hit home. Quite uncomfortably.

They wheeled us into a delivery room and called for the doctor from Associates in OB-Gyn. His name was Dr. Metherd. He was very nice. I don't recall that I'd ever seen him before. Although there is a plus to that in that I didn't worry at all about what he thought of me, whereas I really like my regular OB and would have to see her again, yearly, for the rest of my life actually. They asked me if I wanted to have them break my water. I recalled my friend Amy's words that the water provided a cushion between the baby's head and my body and that contractions hurt more after the water was broken. So of course I said no. They already hurt like crazy, who in their right mind would say sure, bring on more pain. They said that I could just push the baby out if they broke my water. I still said no as the pain had not gone away, so my answer was still no to the more pain request. Apparently they decided I was not in the right frame of mind to answer such a question because they went ahead and broke my water. ( Mike had to tell me that later, I thought it broke on its own) I pushed 3 times with a certain level of awareness about the process. The last labor class we had attended was for the twins. I was told that on the third push the baby actually moved. I found that disappointing as I had pushed 3 times. When I told my husband that my ears felt numb, the doctor told me to breathe a little deeper because that meant I was hyperventilating. I had never done that before either. New experiences all around.
From here on out we'll have to rely on Mike for accurate information in another post. It's a little fuzzy around the edges for me. I remember the doctor telling me that he didn't mind my screaming but that screaming detracted from the pushing so perhaps I could try grunting. People were alternately telling me to breathe and push. Once my sweet husband reminded me very gently to try not to scream. Eventually I told them all that breathing was no longer an option because every inch of my being was telling me to push that thing out. I don't know how anyone could stop to breathe with a baby's head partially out of their body. I can't imagine I will ever forget how that felt. Needless to say there was the moment of "pop" and she flew out the rest of the way. She was perfect and healthy and amazingly clean. Most of the amniotic fluid had been trapped behind her so she got washed off as she came out. From first push to last was 12 minutes. She was born at 5:27 pm. 12 of the most amazing minutes of my life. I don't think I would have had the courage to choose it on my own, but natural labor was an amazing experience.