Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lincoln's Birth Story

When I was pregnant, I found it helpful to read other womens' birth stories to prepare myself. Hopefully this post will help others as well. Don't worry, there are no graphic pictures and I'll try to keep the TMI to a minimum, but if this isn't your cup of tea, feel free to skip this post. :)

Lincoln's Birth Story

Let's start on Friday. I had my usual doctors appointment- this was my 38 week check up. My doctor did a quick check and there was no progress at all. She estimated that I had at least a week before baby would arrive, which is on par for first time moms. 

That weekend I was feeling particularly tired. I was sleeping (although restlessly) 9-10 hours at night and taking a nap during the day. My hubby convinced me that a little fresh air and being outside would make me feel better. We declared Sunday our last "date" day as just the two of us and spent the day shopping and hanging out in San Francisco.

I was craving Vietnamese food so we went to our favorite place. I covered my food with Sriracha- I'd been adding hot sauce to everything lately.

Ice cream for dessert!

That afternoon, I noticed I had lost my mucus plug. This is one of the steps to being closer to labor, but it doesn't necessarily mean labor will start ASAP. I didn't think too much of it and went about the day.

Later that night, around 9:30pm, my water broke. It was just a small trickle and at first I thought I had peed myself. ;) I told my husband and he kept trying to convince me it was nothing and to get some sleep.

Just a few minutes later, I started having contractions. These contractions were very different than the Braxton Hicks contractions I was having before. To me, Braxton Hicks felt like my whole belly tightening up in an uncomfortable way, almost like a tight hug, but nothing painful. These contractions were in my lower abdomen and felt more like intense period cramps. They weren't super strong, but enough to bother me. I decided to lay down and try to get some rest in hopes they would lessen and go away.

Laying down lasted for about half an hour- I just wasn't comfortable. We decided to start timing the contractions to see how far apart they were. Hospital guidelines say to come in when contractions are 5 mins apart, 1 minute long, and lasting for at least 1 hour. Almost immediately they were coming 5 minutes apart and they just got closer and closer.

Just a sample of timing. 

This was about the time that my husband realized things were getting real and it was time to go to the hospital. He hadn't packed a bag yet- he thought he had at least a week before baby. He was running around the house frantically grabbing clothes and other items. Later, he told me he had almost packed dress shoes and t-shirts. ;)

12:30am- We drove to the hospital. Obviously there was no traffic and we arrived quickly. It took another 15 minutes to get across the parking lot because I had to keep stopping for contractions. Once inside the hospital, my hubby grabbed a wheelchair for me. He was wheeling me slowly up to Labor & Delivery when I said "we need to hurry!" May or may not have freaked him out. My water had broken fully- it felt like I was sitting in a puddle of warm water. Yeah, not very comfortable.

At 1:30am, a nurse checked me at Labor & Delivery- I was dilated 3-4 cms and we were getting admitted. This was it! Baby time!

I was given fluids through an IV because I had thrown up at home (a lovely reaction to the contractions) and it had been so long since I last ate.

My husband was not prepared for this- between contractions, he was sending last minute work emails and setting up his out of office alerts.

This is my "these contractions suck" face.

At 3:00am I was at 5-6 cms.

By 3:45am I was at 8-9 cms. My goal was to go completely drug-free. This was just a personal preference and I in no way judge anyone who wants/goes a different route.

I was getting through the contractions, but by this point I was barely handling it. I was exhausted from lack of sleep and food. I knew if I was expected to also push this baby out, I needed some kind of relief. I opted for the IV drugs as opposed to an epidural. Not being able to move my legs really freaked me out, so I really didn't want to do an epidural. I was given a half dose of Fentanyl, which my doctor described to me as having a few glasses of wine to take the edge off. I was able to sleep a bit!

This also happened to be a blessing for the baby. My labor was progressing quickly and the baby's heart rate kept dropping during contractions. The meds ended up slowing down the labor a bit, giving both me and baby a break. I was given an oxygen mask to try to assist the baby.

5:00am- I was at 9.5 cms. I asked for a bit more Fentanyl, which allowed me to rest for another hour. 

6:00am- 10 cms and fully dilated, which meant it was time to push! I was glad an hour had passed since being administered the drugs- this allowed the effects to wear off so I was at my most alert to push.

Pushing was not what I expected. I definitely felt the urge to push, like my body was kind of doing its own thing and I just went along with it. It also didn't hurt as much as the contractions- why did no one tell me this? ;) You also only push when there's a contraction, which ended up being 4-5 minutes apart. I pushed for almost an hour with just one nurse in the room who advised me when and how to most effectively push. It was definitely hard since I was so tired. By this time I had been awake for over 24 hours.

When the baby was close, my doctor arrived, along with a slew of nurses. My husband said it went from one nurse to like 6 in just a few moments. After that, it only took 3 pushes and the baby was out! They immediately put him on my chest for some skin to skin bonding.

Lincoln was born at 7am.
7lbs 4oz, 19.5 inches long.
Total time in labor: 9 hrs

Some thoughts: the labor and birth was not what I expected, at least pain and time wise. My labor was very quick, especially for a first time mom. I didn't have a ton of time to labor at home (the early labor stage) since my contractions started out in "active labor" and were very close together.
I also didn't expect to be in bed the entire time. I thought I'd be up and about, walking around, maybe even lounging in the bath tub, but with the IV, lack of sleep, and oxygen mask, I felt most comfortable in the bed where I could relax and attempt some sleep.

In my mind, I thought that the final stages of labor and pushing out the baby would hurt a lot more than the contractions. That was part of the reason why I asked for the drugs. So I was very surprised when it wasn't as bad. I had gotten to almost 9cms dilated before asking for pain meds and I feel if I was more rested (i.e. not having been awake for 24 hrs) I would have been able to go med free. Maybe for the next baby. ;)

And now for the fun stuff:

Skin to skin bonding with Dad

Sleepy after a bath

Proud papa. :)

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!