Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Labor-The Good, The Bad and The Ughhly

If you happen to be pregnant and don't want to hear labor experiences that weren't the best, then you might want to stop reading.  If you want to be informed on all types of situations and have a little insight into what could happen, then please continue.

I wouldn't say that my labor was horrible, just not what I had hoped for and could have probably gone a little bit better.  I was aware that you cannot plan for your labor and have to be ready for anything to happen so that baby comes out happy and healthy, but looking back on my experience, I have some disappointment.  Some in part to how my situation was handled and some blame falls on myself for not speaking up.  I have to cut myself some slack, being it was my first pregnancy and, as you'll read, I wasn't on top of my game with quick thinking, but I definitely could have been more assertive with some things along the way.

It was Thursday, February 18th when I decided I had to call my doctor.  I was at work and had non-stop dampness in the you-know-where area.  I had almost called the Friday before, when I stood up after a meeting and thought my water broke-but I had also gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy and I embarrassingly have to admit I was a sweaty mess.  I chalked it up to being overweight and ready to pop, but this day I just felt like it might be something else.  I should probably call-I was 4 days overdue so they had to understand I would be getting anxious for things to start moving.  My doctor had me come in on my lunch to do a quick test to see if my water had in fact broke.  I left work-fully planning on coming back-and headed over to see what was up.  I still had my bag of water but was definitely dealing with some liquid.  The ph paper didn't indicate my water broke either, but she decided to throw it under the microscope for good measure-yup, I was ferning (which ment there was amniotic fluid).  I must have had a high leak and since I told her that I had kind of been dealing with this for almost a week-she decided to send me to the hospital to be induced.  When your water breaks or you have a leak, you and the baby can be at higher risk for infection so they like to deliver within 48 hours (I believe).  I potentially had been leaking for 6 days-so off to the hospital I went.

I had hoped for a natural birth.  I understood that things can happen and actually wasn't completely opposed to an epidural, but I wanted to try to do it without the medicine.  I had spoken to my doctor about my thoughts-I was all or nothing.  I either would do it natural or I would get an epidural.  I didn't want the in-between stuff, the analagesics, that could potentially pass over the placenta.  This might sound silly, since the epidural is a medicine, but this was my game plan and I had a right to it and my doctor seemed on board.

Since I was not in labor I had to be induced.   They got me going and my doctor came in and broke my bag of water-no big deal-I don't remember it being anymore uncomfortable than a pap smear.  My first big disappointment came when I asked to have something to eat.  I had gone to the doctor on my lunch, so I hadn't eaten since that morning.  I was starved, it was late in the afternoon and mama needed some food-nope.  They would not allow me anything more than Jell-o and popcicles, I think it's to try to keep you from vomiting while in labor.  I don't know, I just wish I had known to grab a sandwhich at home before I came in.  I was about to be in some serious labor and could have used the extra strength.  Maybe I'm wrong, but you better believe I'm eating before I go to the hospital, if I do this again...at least something small to help tie me over.

They say induced labor can be the hardest, in my case it was rough.  I was going strong without an epidural, using all the methods I had learned in my birth class-rocking chair, walking, bouncing on a ball.  As my labor progressed by contractions began to cluster.  Basically I was having huge contractions with no valley-no breaks.  They would peak and then start to come down and then peak again.  It sucked, I consider myself to have a high threshold for pain and these were kicking my ass.  Unfortunately my doctor left for vacation that night at 10 pm.  I had met her fill-in doctor and was told she would be checking in.  She told me good luck and that whenever I wanted an epidural just let them know.  After about 13 hours of labor-I wanted one.  I wasn't able to breathe through the contractions anymore, I was gritting my teeth and fighting through them-NO GOOD-I feel that I had stopped the progress by doing this, I was only dialated to about 2.  I asked for my epidural, I gave it a good go, but at this rate I didn't know where I would muster up the strength to actually push-and who knew how long it would take me to get to 10 at this rate. The fill-in doctor refused me, she would only allow me to have the drug Nubain until I was at 3 or 4.  I was devastated.  I tried to explain to the nurse my request to do it all or nothing and that my doctor said I could have an epidural  whenever I was ready...I was ready. The nurse tried again but the doctor refused.  So I refused and tried to tough it out again-I only lasted another hour or two when I finally caved.  It was close to 3am, I was exhausted. The Nubain did allow me to finally rest-it took the edge off the contractions and I actually slept a bit, I was to 4 within about 2 hours.  So it did what they wanted it to do, but it still was against my wishes, which was really upsetting for me.

I think throughout my labor I made a really big mistake, this being the first main instance...I was very concerned with being a "good" patient.  I didn't want to be the stereotypical girl in labor-yelling at everyone, I wanted to get along with everyone. I'm not saying that you should be a bitch, and I wouldn't be next time, but you better believe I will be a lot more assertive with situations.  I knew my body, I knew I was the reason I wasn't dialating-I was muscling through those contractions-I knew if I got that epidural I would dialate fast...I was right. 

Once I got to 3 or 4 with the Nubain they prepped me for my epidural-the guy was awesome. Nobody can be with you when you get an epidural, except your nurse-I wish Don could have held my hand, but the nurse and epidural guy were great at keeping me relaxed and preparing me for pokes and pricks I might feel-the epidural was not bad at all.  Half the reason I wanted to go naturally was because the epidural scared me-I had made it into something it wasn't.  It wasn't bad to get-at all-and once it kicked in...Ahhhhhh.  I now understood why they were so popular. I was fully dialated to 10 within an hour or two.

Once I hit 10 the nurse was like-alright time to start pushing.  I think this is where I made my second mistake, I needed to labor down.  I couldn't feel anything when I was pushing.  There is no way that I was being productive and it showed.  I pushed for almost 3 1/2 hours when the fill-in doctor came in.  She told me she was going to do a c-section and if I wasn't crowning when she got back, I was next.  This horrified me.  Of everything I had hoped for-a vaginal delivery was at the top of my list.  I did not want to have a c-section.  I swear I was hanging by the rafters trying to get our little Pipster out...to no avail.  About an hour later they began to prep me for my "c".  I remember at this point the urge to push came on big and bad.  It's like I had to grunt and push with all of my might.  I may be wrong, but I feel like if I had been able to get to this point before I started pushing, I may have been able to go vaginally.  I will say that Piper had gone sunny-side on me (face facing towards by belly) and my night nurse suspected this, but noone checked and there was no discussion about possibly trying to get her to turn-another disappointment.

The c-section went well-I didn't like it-it is a bizarre situation, but at that point I just wanted to meet her and know she was ok.  My anesthesiologist for the procedure was amazing also!  Piper was born at 1:23pm on February 19th after exactly 24 hours of labor. 

I remember everything and I definitely remember the pain-but I will say that the benefit, our little Piper, outweighed those 24 hours and I have gotten to a place where I could do it again, just this time I have a little more insight into things. 

So if you are pregnant and worrying about the labor-don't.  You'll get through it, it will be fine and all that matters is that you and baby are healthy.  But if you walk away with anything from this post just know to speak up for yourself.  I trust doctors in situations that they are there for, but in labor, a lot of it has to do with your body-and only you really know what's going on there.  So let them know how your feeling, or not feeling and ask lots of questions as to why it's going the way it is-that's your right as a patient and a mother.  Don't worry about pleasing anybody during this time, let everybody worry about you-labor can be tough and you deserve to let yourself be taken care of! 

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