Monday, June 13, 2011

The More You Know...L&D edition

I already know that this child's birth is going to be different than Superman's birth. It isn't so much that Superman's birth was horrible, but rather that it wasn't ideal.  I have learned about labor and delivery since then and I can see how a few changes could have made a lot of difference in how it went. 

I think it is helpful for me to share Superman's birth story first so that you can understand why I want to see things go differently this time around...so let's start there. 

Superman's Birth Story 

My water broke at around 7:30 in the morning January 1st.  I wasn't really having contractions yet, but when I called the hospital, they told me I should come in.  We took showers, packed the car, and then dropped the dogs off and got some McDonald's before we headed to the hospital arriving about 9am.

When I got there they confirmed that my water had broke (Duh!), but told me that I was only about 2cm dilated.  We walked laps around Labor and Delivery while we waited for our room to be ready.  By about 10am we were in the room.  I wanted to labor in the tub, but the doctor said that I couldn't because of the risk of infection (which is false, but I will go into that later).  Since I was also now hooked up to the IV and fetal monitoring, I was stuck in the room.  To help with the pain and encourage my cervix to dilate, I used the yoga ball and eventually tried the shower (for the pain).  Finally in the early afternoon my contractions started picking up and I decided that since I was planning on an epidural anyway, I might as well get one then before the pain got to be too bad. Unfortunately, it slowed the process down for me and a couple hours later they gave me pitocin to help me progress.  About an hour or two later I began to have some really severe pain in the lower left quadrant of my belly.  It appeared that I had a "window" in my epidural and we needed the anesthesiologist to fix the epidural.  He pulled it out a little bit and the pain went away.

Finally about 8pm they told me I was fully dilated to a 10 and could start pushing if I wanted to.  I (not knowing any better) said, "sure!" and I began the long, long effort to get Superman out.  I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn't think I was pushing correctly, but no one told me that so we just plugged along.  About an hour and a half to two hours into pushing the "window" came back.   It got so bad that I decided that I was done with pushing and gave up.  S had made zero progress towards being born at this point and I was told that his head was likely stuck on my pelvic bone.

The anesthesiologist came back and the doctor said that I had two options.  Turn up the epidural so I would be prepped for a c-section or try a narcotic.  He asked me if I thought I could push more if the pain wasn't there.  I told him that I thought so.  I can't remember exactly how it went, but basically he gave me 5 contractions to make some progress with Superman or I was going to need a c-section.

I don't know what that narcotic did exactly, but the pain went away, I could finally feel the pressure where I need to push, and S began to make slow, but steady progress.  Despite the fact that it took some time (2 more hours), I felt like I could run a marathon.  I couldn't get over how great I felt while pushing and excited that the end was near.  When he was close to being delivered, the doctor told me that the NICU staff was going to come in for the birth.  He was concerned that 4 hours of pushing had tired S out and they wanted to make sure he was okay (what they told me after he was born was that they were actually concerned that I hadn't been making progress because the cord was wrapped around S's neck. I was so relieved that this was NOT the case).  He told me that if all was well, Superman would be placed on my chest afterward, but if not they would need to take him.  Thank goodness he was fine.  At 12:05am, my husband cut the cord and S was placed on my stomach, where he stayed for the next hour and a half.

Superman did have a fever when he was born, but it was low enough that they weren't too worried.  When they finally gave him a bath, the fever broke, but at that point the pediatrician on-call was already told about the fever and a series of labs were ordered.  For the most part, this was not that horrible, except that they tested his sugar levels and they were low.  They were low again that morning so we were told that we needed to give him some formula to help get them back up.  Superman seemed to hate that stuff so he didn't drink much.  It caused me a lot of stress that morning that they were forcing me to give him formula.  However, in the end I was grateful to have some formula, because we ended up needing to use it to "top him off" on days 3 and 4 because my milk was delayed (did this with the help of a lactation consultant so that it did not impact my milk production- I do not recommend doing this without their help).

Now that you know the story, next up is all the lessons I learned and things I will do differently.  Stay tuned for that post next!!

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