Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Carolina's Birth Story: My 1 Hour and 54 Minute Labor

This story starts with us trying to get pregnant so that our second baby would be born before we moved to Houston for Chris to start a new job after his graduation. So we are trying and five months go by before we see two pink lines on a pregnancy test. Before I was even due to get my period I knew I was definitely pregnant. I couldn't wait until the day of to take the test, so the day before I was due to get my period, on Christmas Eve, I took a test first thing in the morning. Of course it said I was pregnant and I jumped up and down on the bed to wake Chris up and show him. I was so happy I told all of our family the very next day as a Christmas present.

So then we found out that my due date was September 2nd, and Chris's first day of work in Houston would be August 12th. Commence panicking. Chris's health insurance plan was due to run out on August 24th so we figured we would get on his new plan through his work as soon as possible and that everything would work out just fine. Lenny was born 6 days late so I thought I would probably go until my due date at least. I looked for some doctors that accepted Medicaid, since we also had that for the pregnancy. I couldn't find anyone who would take me at 36 weeks, so we figured as soon as we got on the new insurance plan we would find a doctor then and still have a few weeks to spare before the birth. 

I did find an awesome birthing center about a mile away from the apartment we would be moving to, and they were happy to have me. Their fee would be a flat $5000, but Chris said his new insurance would cover most if not all of it. So once we moved, we visited them, loved the place, and planned to make an appointment as soon as the new insurance was figured out. I was 36 weeks and Chris was due to start his job (after a week of unpaid training) the day I hit 38 weeks. Since both of my pregnancies had been extremely normal, I wasn't stressed about missing any appointments. Besides, I felt no desire or need to get cervical checks after reading about their basic uselessness and potential for harm. So we started a little waiting game while my sister and I idled at the pool and unpacked our things. 

We kind of talked a bit about what we would do if I went into labor before we had everything straightened out, but we didn't really come up with a plan or worry too much about it. I knew for sure Carolina would come around my due date or after. I kept saying that she would probably come around two days after my due date. Cause, you know, I had one child, so automatically I'm an expert. 

At the end of our first full week in Houston, my sister Lucia calls and says that she found a super cheap flight for Saturday morning and wants to come visit. Of course I told her to come. So the next morning, on August 17th, my sister Maria (who had been staying with us) and I drove to the airport to pick her up. It was a bumpy drive and my Braxton-Hicks were acting up like they did any time I did any driving. Totally normal for me. Since probably around 30 weeks my Braxton-Hicks were strong enough to regularly wake me up at night and they got to the point where I was actually sort of breathing through them whenever I got them at night and whenever I was driving. This had been going on for several weeks so I really thought nothing of it. Everybody says they get worse with your second child, right?

Well, we all hung out for a while and I was grateful that I got to stay behind and take a nap while my sisters took Lenny to the pool. I didn't even make it upstairs to the bed- I just face-planted on the couch and passed out. I slept for almost two hours and woke up all hot and sweaty right as they were coming back inside. I went to the bathroom and noticed that I had lost my mucus plug. This was around 2:30 in the afternoon. For me there wasn't a noticeable plug. It looked a lot like fertile type mucus, tinged with a few tiny streaks of blood. I had to wipe over twenty times before I wiped it all away. I mean, it was a LOT. I was feeling a little bit worried but everyone knows you can lose your mucus plug weeks before you go into labor, and it will regrow itself. Plus, I already knew the baby wasn't coming for another two weeks. So we kind of freaked out a little bit, but Google and I managed to calm everyone down. Maria and Lucia decided to go out for a while. Chris and I sat down and went through all the "what-if's" just incase I happened to go into labor before he got us on the new health insurance plan. I had done a lot of research into the best area hospitals but we decided that we would just run directly across the street to the little medical center there. I called them about taking a tour of the facility and registering, but they told me to call back on Monday. I planned on doing that, and Chris was going to talk to his HR department first thing Monday morning to get the health insurance set up. He couldn't do it the week before, because he wasn't on the payroll yet. 

Maria called us after 7 and asked what we wanted from Boston Market. So at around 8 we all sat down and had chicken sandwiches. Now remember I had been having Braxton-Hicks all day. After the mucus plug fiasco, everybody was in my face every time I had one, asking me if I was ok to the point where it was getting a little bit ridiculous. I still didn't dwell on them because for the past three months I would get them randomly. Sometimes I would have five in an hour, then six hours would go by before I'd get another one. I never dwelled on them because I didn't want to freak myself out. Now all of a sudden while we were eating I got the real McCoy. At 8:30 pm, I was frozen over my sandwich with my birthing face on, breathing all hard and of course this time no one even noticed. 

The contraction passed and I said, "Uh, guys. Sh** just got serious." I immediately had to go to the bathroom and spent 20 minutes in there with labor diarrhea (sorry for the TMI) while my sisters are timing my contractions through the door. They are coming every five minutes. Maria and I are having a lively debate over whether or not I am in actual labor. Of course I wanted to be in denial but it wasn't possible. Meanwhile, Chris is absolutely freaking out. I actually had to tell him to calm down so he wouldn't stress me out. Once I was able to get up from the bathroom I basically barked out orders and got ready to go to the hospital. 

I didn't have a chance to get my group B strep test because I missed my 37 week appointment, but I had tested positive early on in my pregnancy, so I knew they'd need to give me antibiotics. We decided I should get there early on in my labor so they would have plenty of time to do the paperwork and hook me up to the IV. I was so blessed to have Lucia there, because I really wanted both Chris and Maria to be there with me at the hospital. I gave her the job of putting Lenny to sleep, while I went around the apartment amassing a collection of random things to bring with me. I think I may have grabbed four pairs of pajama pants. I was just power walking from room to room, grabbing anything and everything that I thought I might ever need. Apparently I planned on being there for a month. I was doing really well with the contractions, swaying and breathing with each one. I stood outside the car during a contraction, and when it was over we drove right across the street and parked in front of the emergency room. On the way over I felt kind of silly getting to the hospital so early. I was feeling fine, my contractions weren't really getting any closer, and I even managed to convince myself that my labor was stalling because I didn't have any contractions on the way over. (Even though I knew it was literally a two minute drive.) We got out of the car and I remember saying that I thought my labor was stopped. Then I got another contraction that was a bit stronger, and we went inside. It was about 9:00. 

I don't remember much about checking in, except that I thought everyone who worked at the hospital was extremely stupid. The hospital was old and ugly and it had that stinky motel hallway smell. Of course they forced me to sit on a wheelchair to go to the labor and delivery room, which is like the world's biggest joke. Every bump and jolt made me want to puke all over the nurse while punching her in the face. 

We got into the room and Chris was on the phone with registration answering a million questions. They sent me into the bathroom to change into the hospital gown and at this point I almost started weeping. I kept telling Maria that I didn't want to do it, that I wanted something to help with the pain. I suppose this was transition talking, paired with my anxiety over being completely mentally unprepared for birth. I didn't want an epidural, just a little bit of whatever they could give me. I told her, "I know I went all natural with Lenny, but screw that. I don't want to do this." So Maria asked the nurses about it and they basically said they'd get to it. 

They had me lie down on the bed and I asked if I could get up and walk around and take off the fetal monitor. They looked at me like I was an alien, and said they had to ask the doctor when he got there. I laid there breathing through my contractions, remembering to keep my lower half loose during contractions, and so I was pulling myself up while crushing Chris and Maria's hands during each one. My arms were aching but I felt like I was still dealing ok. I was breathing nice and slowly and my contractions were not that close together yet. The nurses asked me so many questions, it literally took them an entire HOUR. They even asked Chris when was the last time we had sex. I was laying on the bed like what the what can y'all just shut up and get on with it?! I had already told them about the group B and they were yet to hook me up to an IV. Finally at about 10:00 a nurse checked me and said I was at 9 cm. I was shocked. I even asked how that was possible since my contractions were sill far apart. I guess the nurses realized I was actually going to have a baby soon because they started moving around the room getting the antibiotics and other stuff set up. I was so anxious about not getting any pain meds and the nurse of course said there wasn't any time for that. I said, "Can I at least get a Tylenol?" She laughed and asked me what I thought it would do and I said "At least it will take the edge off!" Needless to say I didn't get the Tylenol. After this the contractions started getting worse. 

Around 10:15 a nurse told me to lay back so they could insert the IV into my hand. I scooted up to the back of the bed but then a contraction came that made me jump up on my knees, I reached forward and grabbed Maria for support and then my water broke. It was so heavy, I said, "What was that??" Even though I knew it wasn't the baby, I checked to make sure. It literally felt like a mini water bed fell out of my uterus. Maria was kind of shocked too. Chris was standing to the side, reaching out his hand ready to support me. They gave me about ten seconds to recover before having me lay down again to get the IV. Maybe one or two bad contractions passed. Just as I felt someone grabbing my hand to put in the IV, I jumped up again in semi-terror, and yelled out that I was pushing. The nurses told me not to, I guess assuming that I was doing it just for fun? I was trying to explain that I couldn't stop, and they were trying to tell me to calm down and lay back down. I felt someone grabbing at my hand again and I wanted to scream out for the love of God enough with the freaking IV!!! I pulled my hand away and tried to stand up on the bed. I felt a literal bowling ball in between my legs and felt my body pushing her out. There was no stopping this train. Still they were just uselessly telling me to lay down and then the doctor came in saying that I would hurt the baby if I didn't lay down. Well Maria finally grabbed me and said "Pant so you can lay down!" I had kind of forgotten you could do that, so I started panting and basically flung myself down on the bed with my butt hanging off the end because I was basically frozen and couldn't really move my body. 

The doctor finally sat down with his gloves on and I asked/screamed, "Can I push now?!?" He said yes so I stopped fighting my body and her head immediately came out. He told me not to push, unwrapped the cord from her neck, and then the rest of her popped right out. The time was 10:24 pm, and she weighed 5 lbs and 15 oz, born two weeks and two days before her due date. I was so relieved and I kept demanding to hold Carolina, but she wasn't breathing that well so they worked on her a little bit while I kept harassing them to give her to me. I felt so good and just amazed at how my body handled birth like a total boss. Chris looked at me and he was just exuding joy and relief, and he actually said to me, "Well, I'm not scared of birth anymore." To which I thought and may have actually said out loud, "Goooooood for you." (As sarcastically as possible.) It felt like hours but they finally let me hold Carolina and I fed her, then got yelled at by a nurse for "taking a huge risk by waiting til the last minute to come in." I wanted to smack her face off her face. Then they stuck me unnecessarily with a pitocin drip that I did not ask for or approve. We got schlepped off to another room where they made me wait for three. whole. entire. days. before I could leave even though everything was completely normal and fine. And that's it! 

I know it's an excessively long story, but I needed to write it all down so I wouldn't forget, and so that Carolina would be able to know all the details of her birth whenever she's old enough to want to know. It was an insane experience but I'm glad it happened the way it did. And of course my greatest happiness is in having a happy and healthy baby girl!

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