Friday, February 20, 2015

Act 5; Scene 21: The Whole, Long, Big Birth Story of Scarlet Elizabeth

The title of this post is kind of deceiving, since the actual birth of baby Scarlet was actually pretty short (1.75 hours from the first contraction to birth, to be exact). But the writing about it will be long, since I want to include all the details :-). I have loved reading my friends detailed birth stories on their blogs, so if this is not your cup of tea, just skip this one!

It starts with this: being dilated to a 3 and 85% effaced at 35 weeks. Then at 36 weeks being dilated to a 4 and 90% effaced. The doctors kept telling me they would see me soon. When it got down to 38 weeks and I was just over 4 cm and very effaced, but still pregnant, I mentioned to the Dr. that I wasn't sure if I wanted to be induced (I had scheduled an induction for my due date per the suggestion of one of the doctors--he said it was easier to cancel an induction than to get on the waiting list in case something happened and I ended up wanting to be induced. So I did just in case, thinking there was no way I would need one since Tommy came early and this is the second baby and I was just as dilated). When I mentioned I didn't really want to be induced, the Dr. said, and I quote, "Well, statistically you won't make it to your due date, so I wouldn't worry about it too much." That calmed my fear about that.

Well. January 9th came, and I still had no baby, and I still had an induction set for the next day. Walking up and down the stairs a ton didn't work, bouncing on the exercise ball didn't work, eating spicy food didn't work. Did I still want to keep the induction???

We decided to go for it.

Now, the main reason I didn't want to be induced was because I had been practicing for months "Hypnobirthing" techniques. After Tommy's labor in which the epidural didn't work for most of the labor, and then they had to pour tons of it into me which resulted in a very hard recovery, I decided I needed a coping method in case it didn't work again. The more I read and practiced Hypnobirthing, the more I really wanted to go through with it naturally no matter what. As I always tell Robert, labor is like the ultimate female experience--and I sort of decided that (since I'd already had a baby once) natural labor was really the ultimate female experience. And I wanted to try it.

But...I knew that pitocin would probably make it harder. I didn't want that. Besides the fact that inducing took away that element of excitement and surprise when you go into labor naturally. 

But when it came down to January 10th, I was ready to have that baby. Plus I didn't want to risk getting to the hospital too late, since I was positive for strep. So we decided to stick with the induction.

One of the benefits of having an induction, said everyone, was that you can plan for it--you can get a good night's rest, a nice breakfast, and take a shower before you go into labor. 

The breakfast and shower, maybe, but the sleep...lies.

I could not sleep one wink. It took me forever to fall asleep, then I woke up at 2:30am and was up for good. There was no way I could sleep--I was anxious and excited--oh, and did I mention I had a cold at the time so I could only breath out of one nostril?

I know, ideal way to go into having a baby, right? At least I did get that shower.

I spent a lot of the night looking up ways to naturally induce labor. Maybe if the Dr. just broke my water, I could get myself into labor without pitocin. I spent a lot of time that early morning massaging acupressure points that supposedly induced labor.

Here I am just before we left for the hospital, about 6:30am:

Well we got all checked into the hospital, and hooked up to penicillin, and then the Dr. came in. The first thing he said to me when he came in was, "Who scheduled you for an induction today?" I replied, "Uh...me," He responded with, "Who was the practitioner who gave the permission? Usually we don't do inductions on Saturdays."

Ummm...that was a great way to make me feel super nervous (as if I wasn't already--I was about to have a baby!). HE was the Dr. that suggested I schedule it, I told him. Then he left, with no other words, looking rather bleary eyed. I mean, of course he didn't want to come in on a Saturday morning for something non-emergency! I felt really bad, and nervous that he was not happy. 

The nurse (who was AWESOME) saw my reaction, and she had noticed very acutely the doctor's behavior. She informed me that this doctor came in and there were two scheduled C-sections and my induction all in the same morning. So he was feeling a little overwhelmed. I'm glad she told me that, because his response made me feel pretty awful. Honestly he could have been nicer about the whole thing. 

He did come back about a half hour later and broke my water--he told me I was dilated to a 5. Then he and the nurse left, since we said we'd like to try for a while to get it going without pitocin. They brought in some exercise balls and I started bouncing away! Then we tried some other wives tale labor induction tricks (wink wink) and what do you know--all of a sudden I had a contraction, strong and hard. There was no mistaking that baby. And then another--and another. The contractions started about 3 minutes apart. We were on our way!

The doctor broke my water at about 8:20am, and I think my first contraction was around 9am. When the nurse came back to check on us, and took monitor of my contractions, she was kind of surprised at how far we already were into the whole labor ordeal. Later she told me that she had only seen it work once or twice in her 30 year career that people being "induced" were able to start their own labor without pitocin. I was ecstatic to be one of those!

But my excitement at being able to start labor without pitocin soon waned as the "intense pressure," shall we say, increased. I tried to get in the zone and stay released and relaxed. Robert was great at helping me through and pushing on my back as hard as he possibly could. I plugged in to my Hypnobirthing tracks on the ipod...but I just couldn't listen to them. They were so far removed from where I was right then and there, and since contractions were coming faster and faster, I didn't have a chance to be able to take time to get relaxed with the tracks. In fact, I was just annoyed at listening to them. So I ditched it and tried to focus on breathing and relaxing through the here and now.

Since we hadn't ever done this before, Robert wasn't exactly sure what kind of coaching to give me. We had worked on a few things, and he was doing great, but honestly I hadn't known exactly what kind of coaching to tell him to give me (I thought I did...). As my contractions were 1 minute apart and very strong, I started to wane. We thought it might be a good idea to move around or change positions--we had heard that helped. But I could not move. I just couldn't--I needed my whole focus to get through those fast and hard contractions.

I ended up sitting up really high in the hospital bed--not laying down at all. And Robert was pushing my legs as hard as he could. Thank goodness our amazing nurse was there. She knew we wanted to do hypnobirthing, and she came up to my head and would gently coach me with "Let yourself sink into the bed...relax your forehead...relax your arms...." etc, according to what I needed at the time. She was so encouraging and calm! She kept telling us how great I was doing, and I did manage to stay loose and relaxed through the contractions. Something about her voice was just so calming! I knew if she just stayed by my head and kept coaching me we'd be ok!

Soon (at like 10:15?) They called the Dr. in--I was finally dilated to a 10. Ok, ok, so I know like an hour is NOTHING, but I seriously felt like I couldn't handle it much longer. It was getting so so so hard to stay relaxed rather than just pushing back with my arms. But when I did tense up and push back with my arms, they were much worse. So I tried my hardest to stay relaxed.

Now, part of Hypnobirthing is no pushing--they call it breathing the baby out, or gentle pushing. Which is what I wanted to do--I really didn't want to tear. However, when it came time that the baby's head started coming out, there was absolutely no release between contractions or pain. It was just one giant contraction, and I felt, as my friend called it, "The Ring of Fire." The nurse started coaching me in purple pushing--pushing her out hard. I said no at first and just kept breathing (my breathing sounded like a cow by now--something about that gutteral sound really helped control the pressure). But soon I realized that if I pushed as she coached me (and by this point I was doing anything she told me because she was awesome, and I was a bit out of my head), then the baby would come out, and the ring of fire would be gone. So I pushed. Hard. And I knew every second that I pushed that I was going to tear. I could feel myself tearing. But I did not care. I just needed it to be over.

At this point the Dr. was there, who said absolutely nothing to me. Other people were coming in rushing around getting ready, trying to stay quiet and avoid my eyes--I could tell they didn't want to "disturb me" (remember I was cow breathing? haha). 
I have no idea how many times I pushed, but it wasn't very many. Finally she burst out! Looking purple and just like Tommy. Whew! The Ring of Fire was gone! and she was up on my chest looking beautiful! But....my mind was definitely not taken away from everything else. My body started shaking and I'm pretty sure the first thing I said was, "Did they put the local anesthesia on? Put it on!!!" The nurse told me that skin was the hardest thing to numb, so it might not be completely numb. Bummer.
I was sitting up, so I could see the Dr. stitching me up. I could see the thread he was pulling, and I could feel the tugs of the string. And my legs were shaking. He told me I needed to relax my legs and stop shaking them. I tried to so hard! The nurse and Robert were trying to distract me my showing me my baby's sweet hands and feet--she was still right on me. But it was difficult to focus on her when my body was kind of freaking out. 
I did get stitched up and calmed down, and the doctor, without another word, left. Geeze. Who even cares about the doctor? He was there for like 15 minutes, hardly said a word (except for words I found rather discouraging), and then left. Not even a hint of recognition or friendliness that I expected, since I had been to my last two appointments with him! Good thing the nurse was so great. The nurses are the ones who do everything, anyway. I'm pretty sure we could have done that whole thing without the doctor (except the stitches, I guess...)
Anyway, to the most important part of this story--the baby! I had thought for sure we would name her Elizabeth--Lizzy. But when she came out, she looked so dark skinned (which she still is), and so...delicate. I immediately thought "Scarlet."  Of course we went back and forth for a few hours before I relented my wish for a "Lizzy" and we went with Scarlet Elizabeth. Yes, Scarlet with one "t", as in the Scarlet Pimpernel. And you know what? I love it. It fits her so well. We call her Skiz, or Skiz-a-Liz, for short :-).

She was born 6 lbs 14 oz, and 19 inches long. A teeny tiny little thing!

I think the best part about going the no epidural route was how easy it was to move afterward. I could pretty much immediately sit up and cross my legs to hold my baby, and I didn't need much help on the way to the bathroom. Really, the whole hospital stay was so much more calm this time. While the hospital bed was still extremely uncomfortable, at least I could get up and move around a lot more. And I was more prepared for how to handle nursing. And Scarlet slept silently in there--no huffing and puffing sounds like Tommy made. We had to check to make sure she was still breathing! But it made for some better sleep for us.

Here she is on the way home:

And by now it's been over a month. Six weeks tomorrow, actually! And the recovery for the most part was much smoother. My back wasn't aching as much as last time, and my "front bottom" (as stated in Matilda the musical, lol) was much less sore. Nursing, on the other hand....I am managing to make it without nipple shields, but I have been so so so sore, and I ALREADY had mastitis--like the kind you need a prescription for. Oy. That has made recovery really hard. You win some, you lose some, right? Oh, and did I mention I am off all dairy for now to help little sis and her tummy issues? Yeah that's been fun, too.

But overall it's been fairly smooth and we love our little sweetheart. Tommy loves her to death.

The first time Tommy held Scarlet

Proud big brother on Scarlet's first day to church
Skizzy at one month
And there you have it! I told you it was long. And I am not even going to go back through it to edit or even proof read because I don't have time!

So there you have it!

Welcome to the world, sweetie.

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you Cars! Way to go natural! I loved reading your birth story. I love her name and she just looks so adorable. I did no dairy for a while too with Lila. It was rough! I missed ice cream and cheese so much, but it was totally worth it to have a happier baby!