Greta’s birth story

I should be doing other things like writing thank you notes, or
cleaning up the house, but for now I will write a little bit of the
birth story while Greta is sleeping. There will probably be way too
many gory details for many of you, so feel free to just ignore this
whole post. I want to write as much down as I remember before I forget
it all.

On Thursday I went to the doctor. She checked my cervix and it was 1-2
cm dilated and 75% effaced. She thought I would probably go before my
due date (which was about 2 weeks away), but didn’t think it would be
before the weekend. Before bed on Thursday evening I noticed a slight
pink discharge, but figured it was just from the doctor sticking her
fingers up me. On Thursday night/Friday morning (5/29), I got up to pee
at about 12:30 am. I felt a strange pop of sorts, but didn’t really
think anything of it and went back to bed. At 1 am I felt a gush/squirt
of water. I contemplated staying in bed because I was tired and wanted
to sleep. Side note: all along I was really hoping I would go into
labor at about 8 am, so I would have had a full night of sleep before
hand. However, little girl didn’t seem to think that was such a great
idea. After a couple of minutes I decided to get up to go to the
bathroom and check and see what was going on. My pad was entirely
soaked through. I decided that my water must have broken. I woke Matt
up and told him that I thought my water had broken. The doctor told us
to call her if my water broke because of the risk of infection. Since I
was also Group B Strep positive it was extra important that I get to
the hospital shortly after my water broke to get on antibiotics to
prevent the baby from contracting Group B Strep. So I called the doctor
and started getting the remaining things ready for the hospital. The
doctor called back and said to come in and get checked out. My doctor
was not on call, and actually turned out to be out of town at a
conference on Friday, so I didn’t get to see her at all during the
birth process. I was kind of sad about that because I really like my
doctor.

We arrived at the hospital around 2 or so. I was still feeling fine,
but did notice several more gushes of water, so I figured we were going
to be staying at the hospital. After going through the ER to be
admitted (it was completely empty), I was escorted to a room, got a
hospital gown and asked a zillion questions. Matt was not allowed in
the checking-me-out room, so he went around and moved the car to the
parking garage. They also put the monitoring belts on me to see if I
was contracting at all. It turns out I was having some mild
contractions, but I couldn’t really feel them at all yet. Since I was
contracting and my water had broken I was sent off to a room. Matt came
in and we got settled in. The nurse came and started my IV to give me
fluids and antibiotics. The nurse also checked my cervix and I was 3 cm
dilated and mostly effaced (I think maybe 90% or something). We tried
to rest for a while, but were pretty excited and the contractions had
started getting more noticeable and were waking me up. They weren’t
very regular, sometimes 2 minutes apart, sometimes 10 minutes apart.
They told me I couldn’t really move around because my water had broken.
I was allowed to sit in a chair or in the bed for the most part.
Because they were pumping me full of fluids and the baby was still
inside, I had to pee every 20 minutes or so. That was definitely
annoying. I think it was also annoying to the nursing staff because I
had to unplug the monitors every time and we could never seem to find
the baby’s heart rate when we plugged them back in, so the nurse would
have to come and find it. Oh well. I was hoping not to be monitored the
entire time, but they didn’t seem to want that. When we went on our
tour of the hospital they said that they monitor the baby’s heart rate
for about 20 minutes every couple of hours. I don’t know if my
situation was different because my water had broken and I was on
antibiotics or what, but the monitors were on constantly. Every time I
moved we would loose the baby’s heart rate. Apparently the shape of my
belly made the monitors hard to stay in position. they would just slide
down. Everyone commented on my basketball belly.

As time went on the contractions definitely got stronger, longer, and
closer together. A new nurse came in at 7 am. I liked her much better
than the previous nurse. The baby’s heart rate was dropping a little
after some contractions, so they wanted me to stay in bed, lay on my
other side and get a good 20 minutes of data to make sure everything
was ok. It turns out it was, but they really wanted me to stay in bed.
I was not comfortable at all in bed. I wanted to move around. If you
know me, you know that I can’t sit still at all most of the time. It
drives Matt crazy. It usually takes me a good 15-20 minutes of moving
around in bed to get in the perfect position to sleep. I can stay in
the same position for about 5 minutes before something must be
adjusted, whether it is my leg, arm, or maybe I just have an itch. I am
fidgety and this does not seem to work well with labor when the nurses
want you to stay perfectly still. At about 9 am I had enough. I
couldn’t get comfortable and the contractions were painful and coming
too close together. I feel like if I was able to move maybe the baby
would have moved down faster, but who really knows, that is just what
the books tell me. Matt kept telling me I could do it and that I didn’t
need the drugs, but I had started to believe differently. I had hoped
to go drug free, but that apparently wasn’t happening. The nurse
checked me to see how far I was dilated to determine if I could get the
epidural yet, and I was about 5 cm dilated. Eventually the
anesthesiologist came in and gave me an epidural. I felt immediate
relief. We were supposed to rest, but we mostly talked because we were
excited. And we called our families because we could actually talk now
without me having a painful contraction. With an epidural comes a
catheter, so no more trips to the bathroom. I’m pretty sure I was most
excited about that part of the relief. I didn’t have to struggle to get
up to go to the bathroom and then have a contraction on the way. I
could just sit there and let the pee collect in a bag.

The doctor decided I also needed pitocin to speed up labor so that the
baby would come out sooner. I’m not convinced she had any real good
reasoning, other than the risk of infection because of the water
breaking and also being GBS positive was greater and they didn’t want
the baby sitting in the birth canal for too long. My doctor had
originally said I would be allowed to drink, but this doctor wouldn’t
allow me, so I only had ice chips, which of course melts down to water
and then you can drink it 🙂 Matt went down and got breakfast and lunch
during the next few hours. He ate downstairs in the cafeteria so I
didn’t have to see him eat. Of course he didn’t leave until I had the
epidural because I wouldn’t have been able to survive without him. At
about 1 pm, they checked my cervix again and I was fully dilated. They
decided I should start pushing. However my nurse also had another
patient who was ready to push. I waited about an hour before the nurse
came and we started pushing. The doctor came in to check on the
progress several times and was not very positive. My nurse (and Matt)
kept telling me I was doing a good job and making progress. The doctor
would come in and say “She isn’t pushing good enough, or hard enough,
or something”. Hello, doctor lady, I can still hear. I really wanted
her to leave and not come back. She had already told me I would need an
episiotomy before I even started pushing. I had discussed this with my
doctor previously and she said that she rarely preforms episiotomies
and prefers for people to tear. Everything I had read said tearing is
better. The doctor didn’t agree. She didn’t want me to tear forward and
risk tearing the urethra and causing incontinence problems later. This
made me dislike the doctor even more.

I was pushing mostly on my back. After a while of pushing (I have no
idea how much time), they turned down my epidural to help me know
better when to push or something. This was fine and dandy except the
position they were making me push in was killing my back and the
epidural was doing nothing to stop that pain. The pain in my back was
about as much pain as I had been in the entire day. I kept asking to
sit up, but they wouldn’t let because I was making progress in the
position I was in. I was super annoyed, but apparently pretty funny.
Another nurse or two came in to help. One tried rubbing my back between
contractions, but it only helped a little. I know that I did say
something about turning up the epidural to get rid of the back pain.
They had just given me a new bag of epidural drugs and then they turned
them way down (or what felt like way down). I wasn’t having any back
pain until they turned it down. I didn’t understand whey they had given
me a new bag of drugs and then wouldn’t let me use them. I was highly
annoyed. Most of this time I had my eyes closed. After a while it
started to get really noisy in the room, I have no idea how many people
appeared, but too many for my liking. And they were all talking and
being annoying. I told them to be quiet, luckily they listened. It was
highly distracting to me to have people talking like I wasn’t in the
room and talking about all kinds of stuff. I was definitely getting
very testy.

At some point the doctor came in a suggested the vacuum. Again this is
something I did not want and my doctor said she had only used the
vacuum once or twice in several years, so I most likely would not have
to worry about that. Apparently her partner didn’t feel the same way. I
definitely pointed out to this doctor everything she did that was
against what my doctor had said would be possible. Sure I understand
circumstances change, but I felt like this doctor just wanted to get
rid of me as a patient and she would do everything to get the baby out
so she could leave me. She said we needed the baby out and I wasn’t
pushing hard enough on my own (or at least that is how I took it). At
this point my back was killing me so bad that I would do anything to
get the child out, so I guess I agreed. The anesthesiologist also came
and gave me a shot of something for the back pain. She used the vacuum
on a few pushes and then I pushed the baby out on my own. The doctor
held my little girl up and then gave her to the nurses. Again things I
didn’t want: cutting of the cord immediately and handing the baby to
the nurses. The nurses kept the baby for far too long, probably about
20 minutes or so. Matt went over and saw her and took pictures, but
they wouldn’t give me my baby. Again, highly annoyed. I kept asking for
my baby. They wanted to watch her for a little while to make sure she
was ok. Apparently her reflexes were a little slow at the beginning. I
have to say that would be expected with all the darn drugs she had
received, so just give her to me already. The doctor was busy stitching
me up. I overheard that I had a 4th degree tear down to the rectum.
Lovely. The doctor never really told me this, which I found and still
find annoying. I like to be informed of what is happening to my body.
The entire time she was stitching me up I was shaking uncontrollably.
Apparently that is due to the hormones, but it was quite disturbing. My
hands would just shake and shake and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

I finally got to hold my little girl. We snuggled and tried to
breastfeed. She wouldn’t latch on right away but eventually did, and
did a little bit of sucking. After a while, the nurses were ready to
take her up to the nursery for her bath and evaluation. I was supposed
to go up shortly after her, but it ended up being about 2 hours. I just
sat in the room by myself for a long while. Matt had gone up with Greta
to watch her bath and keep her in his sight. It turns out there were
too many other babies in there and he couldn’t go in or really see her,
so eventually when I was heading upstairs he came back to see me. After
about 3 hours we were finally reunited as a family. Apparently it was
pretty crowded in the nursery that night with lots of little boys
needing their circumcisions. I wish they would have let Greta stay with
us until they had time to check her out and such. But they didn’t. We
were now all happy in our room.

Overall, it wasn’t the birth I was hoping for, but in the end we got a beautiful, healthy, happy baby girl.