Blaise's birth was so unlike Dom's in many aspects. I think some of this had to do with the fact that I had done it once and so was better prepared for what was going to happen and signs and symptoms declaring labor to be on its way. As most of you know, I was unhappy with most of what happened at Dom's birth and when I realized I was pregnant the second time around, I started researching and looking for a new medical provider. I had heard rave reviews from several friends about a Midwifery group here in Rochester, and I decided they sounded like what I was interested in - natural approaches, mama's decision trumps all, and less invasion/messing with things is best.
I never wrote down Dom's story, mostly because it was not at all what I had been hoping for, and I was so flustered and stressed by it all, I didn't really want to remember it. In short, I was in early labor for 2 days, headed into the hospital twice (at the advice of doctors I'd never met over phone calls) and having to deal with a horrible, horribly resident - a male doctor who "knew exactly what I felt like," only to be sent home both times. Finally my water break broke in full while visiting my doctor; he sent me into the hospital, where I was told I had no choice and that pictocin was being started. At this point I hadn't slept in over 28 hours, and 2 hours in, I asked for Nubaine, a pain killer, and then requested the Epidural later because I didn't have the energy to breathe anymore. Dom was born with 30 minutes of pushing within the hour and a half of getting the Epidural.
Blaise decided to be late. Very late. The midwives allowed up to a 2 week late window before highly suggesting induction for health reasons and the safety of the baby. At 1 week late, I went in for an ultrasound and a non-stress test to make sure the little man was still doing ok. He was, but my blood pressure spiked a few times that day, and then went down. A routine NST brought me back into the hospital Sunday at 2pm (10 days late), after which I questioned the nurse about leakage of amniotic fluids. With Dom it had been a gushing, so I wasn't really sure what a small leak would be like. She said she could test any fluid leaking and determine what it was. Sure enough, I was leaking, in teaspoon amounts, bits of amniotic fluid. This meant my water had broken, and baby needed to be born within a day or so to prevent infection. The midwife on call, Beth, came in to check on me, and at this point I was only 1-2 cm dilated, and 50% effaced. My BP had spiked again, and she told me if I could sit still, take deep breaths, and get it to come down, she'd send me home until real labor started.
BP came down, and by 3:30pm, home I went. I only live about 7-10 minutes from the hospital, depending on the time of day. The evening was spent eating dinner, snuggling + reading books with my little man, and a ridiculously frigid walk around the neighborhood. I was having light contractions on and off, but nothing serious. It was definitely was no reason to forego sleep. Sometime around 1 am, I awoke with more serious contractions that weren't letting up. They were repeating every 5 minutes or so, so I woke David up and told him perhaps we should time them. He helped time them (at this point around 2:45am), and we went ahead and phoned Beth. She suggested I start getting ready and head in. We'd already arranged for our sweet friend, Julie, to be ready for a middle-of-the-night phone call, so we phoned her. Contractions were remaining pretty steady, 30+ seconds long, 4-5 minutes apart, and gaining in intensity, all signs of labor happening. Julie arrived, bag was loaded into car, I wandered out into 8 degree weather in yoga pants and a lighter weight coat (yup, realized this much later), and off we went. Several potholes coincided with contractions, and I made David stop in the middle of the road. Thankfully at 3:30 am, nobody's out, so nobody cared.
Hospital check-in was wonderful. We parked in the garage, and slowly made our way to the maternity ward, which was dead quiet. Being the middle of the night, we had to get there by going first through ED. Since the midwife had talked to me on the phone and was present in the hospital when I showed up, I was put directly into a room, skipping triage completely. The nurse came in, introduced herself, and let us be, with her only instructions to stay in the area and not wander out of the hospital.
At 7 am, the midwives switched, and Becky, who was my main midwife (I'd seen almost all the midwives in the practice, but I'd definitely seen Becky the most), came on shift. Contractions were continuing, but sometimes they'd be 2-3 minutes apart, and then it'd stretch out to 6 or more minutes for a couple. Unnerving, to say the least. My body was progressing at the rate of a snail for lack of continuity. Part of the midwife philosophy includes not constantly checking me to decrease risk of infection, so this progress was mostly based on the fact that the contractions weren't getting tons stronger or equally closer together.
The whole morning continued as such. I still was having good, strong contractions, just nowhere near each other. I felt myself though and was positive, taking the time to talk, joke, and laugh, as much as was possible, in between contractions. I tried the shower several times as well as the whirlpool tub once. I was allowed to have food, which I tried; my body decided no, I didn't need that. As I was going nowhere fast, I discussed my options with Becky. She made sure I understood that I had the decision to make, and I could wait as long as I wanted to make it. It was wonderful feeling I had the freedom of choice in how I wanted this labor and birth to go.
My nurses were in and out, making sure I was comfortable and didn't need anything, but mostly David and I were alone. By noon I was pretty certain I wanted to try Pitocin in attempts to bring my contractions closer together. To have Pit, you have to be monitored consistently for twenty minutes - both for the baby's heartbeat and for the mama's contractions and blood pressure. They had a heck of a time attempting this with me because the best way for me to breathe through each contraction was by first moving to all fours, which made me in way less pain, but made it impossible to keep the monitoring going. Needless to say, it was a ridiculous process.
Finally the time came. I'd been monitored and all was safe with me and baby, so Pit could be as safely as possible administered. At this point I was getting exhausted (long labors are pretty tiring, to say the least), and so I asked Becky about pain killer options. I knew an epidural was not on my 'want' list, but I was open to something that came via an IV. I was already getting the IV with the Pitocin, so I was offered Nubain, a pain killer given once through the IV that lasts 2-6 hours. Becky also mentioned "the midwife cocktail" (called that because only the midwives offer the combo), which included another drug with the Nubain that causes you to be drowsy (similar to the effect of Benedryl). I decided on the mixture since a cocktail always sounds good. Just kidding - more because I wanted something to help my body sleep some.
As being hooked up to the IV limits your movement, and being connected to all the monitors does even more so, I opted to take a shower before beginning. I had three excruciatingly painful contractions about 10 seconds apart from one another while in the bathroom, each lasting well over a minute and a half. And then another lapse of 6 minutes before another. I knew after that I definitely had made the right choice in opting for the Pitocin as my contractions were transition worthy, but were not close enough to be making positive progress. Becky checked me right before they hooked me up, and at this point it was about 3:30/3:45, and I was 6 - 6.5 cm dilated and completely effaced.
Then began an hour of me being completely out of it. I went from sound asleep to wide awake, breathing through a contraction, to sound asleep again. (David can attest to this!) Around 4:40, I felt like I had to pee. You can't blame me with the amount of water and juice I'd downed, but Becky had come in to check on me, and asked, "Are you sure you're not just ready to have this baby?" She recommended that she check me instead of me going to the bathroom. Sure enough - 10 cm! It was showtime!
Another great thing about this labor was the lack of people frequenting my room. Only once the whole day had I seen a doctor, and that was during the Pitocin phase. I'd knocked one of the monitors off when moving to get more comfortable, and apparently some doc came rushing in. I remember this not at all because I was so super drowsy. Otherwise it was just our nurse, Jo, and Becky checking in every once in awhile. And that's also how the actual pushing phase was, too - only four people other than me, and two were related to me.
Pushing was a completely different experience this time because with Dom, due to the epidural, I felt the need to push, but there wasn't any pain involved. Also with Dom, I was told to push even when I didn't feel it. This go round was so, so different. The pain was definitely present (I now understand it when women liken it to a 'ring of fire' - sorry, Johnny Cash fans if that forever ruins your associations with the song). I was encouraged to only push when I felt like it and to just breathe and rest if I felt that was what my body needed. Fifteen minutes and a few good, strong pushes, and out came a head. Another push got out the rest of the tiny body, well all 8 lb. and 12 oz. of it. Immediately, this new little person was placed right on me. And he was beautiful. Simply beautiful.
And there you go. The story of how my little Blaise entered the world.
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This post The Long Awaited, Epic Story of B's Birth first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 20 March 2012