Annndd…we’re back for Part II of Porter’s birth story. In case you missed the first half, go here.
So many of you were upset (not really) that I kept you hanging. Have you learned nothing from movies?!?! The best ones are always told in parts. That’s how they sell the big tickets. Also, the times indicated are generalizations…I didn’t actually look at the clock and write down everything as it was happening (wait…really?!?). BUT Travis and I did sit down a couple of hours after the birth and jot down some things which has made it much easier to write these recaps.
Oh..and I go back and forth between present and past tense. Turn me in to the blogger police.
Where were we….
Ah yes…in pain…12 hours in…that’s where.
1:00pm: I labor in every position I know how. On the bed, on the ball, on all fours in the bed, walking up and down the halls, on the toilet. Contractions are coming every minute and it feels like I’m in transition (the hardest part of labor – also the shortest). During Clara’s birth, transition lasted about 30-45 minutes. The pain I was feeling was SO similar and started in my back, wrapped around my belly and then coursed down my legs.
Every 30 minutes or so, I would change positions. What worked in early labor to relieve the pain wasn’t working anymore – positions that felt good (hunched over on the bed with my bottom on the exercise ball) now gave me no relief.
Sometime during the afternoon, Katy came and labored with me in my room. She STILL hadn’t checked in to the hospital (this wouldn’t happen until 7pm).
One technique that helped me get through this period was VISUALIZATION (read about this in any hypnobirthing book). This may sound dumb to some readers (but it might help others who are about to do the labor and delivery thing): As each contraction came, I pictured myself standing on the seashore. The contraction was a wave coming at me. As the wave grew closer, I would shoot panes of glass out of my fingertips and block the wave from crashing into me. Sounds ridiculous but I swear it helped – just took my mind off of the pain for a second. I was like a super hero.
5:30pm: I’m checked again, just KNOWING I’m at a 9. Nope – the nurse says, “Eh, maybe a 5 or a 6.” I want to hit the nurse. She also says that Porter’s HEAD IS CADDY CORNERED BEHIND MY PUBIC BONE. <-important to remember and the reason why the contractions were coming on so hard and fast, yet making NO difference in my status.
5:30pm-6:00pm: After 8 hours of hard labor (which isn’t the correct term, since ALL labor is hard), I opt for a dose of Stadol to help with the pain. All it did was make me feel drunk – still SO much pain.
7:15pm: Checked again. No progress.
7:17pm: After 19 hours of laboring naturally and talking (or screaming) it over with Travis, I opt for an epidural. I feel discouraged and down. This labor was not going AT ALL what I had expected, not what I had planned for.
7:52pm: Anesthesiologist FINALLY makes it to the hospital. I said this to him – “Can you just move your f….?!?” I didn’t finish the sentence… a contraction. The drugs washed over me and I was able to finally relax a little.
8:00pm-11:00pm: Since I got the epidural so late in the game, I could still feel each contraction but they were SO much easier to control. As with most epidurals, my contractions started to slow down. Not good. Porter was STILL STUCK and making no progress. I just knew I’d have to have a C-Section, something I most definitely did not want.
The next step was Pitocin to speed up my contractions. <-three drugs. I’d had three drugs given to me. The exact OPPOSITE of the natural birth I wanted.
11:00pm: As I’m being checked again, one of the nurses (an amazing one!) literally put both of her hands up in me as I’m having a contraction and she moves Porter’s head a wee bit. It’s enough to get him dislodged! YES!!
11:15pm: After Porter becomes “unstuck,” things happen quickly. I progress to a 10 and it’s time to start PUSHING. I can actually feel each contraction so I know when I’m supposed to push. Even with pain meds, pushing is HARD. It’s super tiring and can take hours. For this birth, it took a total of 2. Two hours.
11:15pm-1:00am: I push for rounds of about 30 minutes and then take mini-breaks (until the end where I got no breaks). Travis holds one leg and a nurse holds the other. They pull out the hand grips for me to hold and they help.
1:00am-1:17am: Around 1am, the nurse calls the doctor in. IT’S GO TIME!!
I’d seen a midwife the entire pregnancy but Dr. Van Duuren was on call that night (and I’m so glad he was there – he had such a calming presence – “a midwife in a doctor’s body”). With each of these last pushes, he stretches and pulls me apart (sounds painful…it is..but also exactly what I needed not to tear). He doesn’t speak a word and allows the nurses to coach and cheer me on. With each push, everyone in the room tells me about how much hair Porter has or how close I am. Needed! I’m the type of person who LOVES encouragement (perhaps why I became a trainer?). I KNOW that I can do this and I push harder and harder.
Two last pushes…one to get his head out and another for his body. As soon as he leaves my body, the feeling of relief in the room is palpable. Porter is instantly placed on my chest.
He nurses immediately (like a champ). As I deliver the placenta and receive one stitch, Travis and I talk about who he looks like (Henry…he looks like Henry). So much joy. And RELIEF. So much relief.
I want to write more about expectations and reality….but that will wait for another day.
Today, 3 weeks later, all I can do is smile about those 24 hours. I’ve already blocked out the pain. I’ve already blocked out the 8 months of nausea.
And I already want 5 more kids just like this one.
These kids we make…they’re pretty amazing.