- 4 years ago
- Wedding: August 2012
About a week before my due date, my midwife scheduled me for an induction mostly as a precaution/to make sure they had a spot for me at the hospital should I need one. I was totally convinced that I would go into labor on my own, so as I (impatiently) counted down the days tilI my due date, which came and passed without so much as a contraction, my anxiety about being induced escalated. At 10 days past my due date, DH and I headed into the hospital to start the process of meeting our little guy.
For my whole pregnancy, I had planned and hoped for a natural birth. I read all the books, DH and I took the classes, and I had read over and over how one intervention would just lead to another, so I really thought that I was being set up for “failure”. We checked into the hospital Saturday evening and I was 1cm dilated and about 50% effaced, same as I had been for weeks. I was given Cervidil, and we spent the night at the hospital ready to start Pitocin first thing the next morning. Morning came, I was checked, still only 1cm. Womp womp. They started Pitocin and I began feeling contractions around 10 am. At this point, the midwife decided to use a cook catheter to help open up my cervix. The placement of the catheter was incredibly painful, as were the contractions that followed. They continued increasing Pitocin until late in the afternoon, I was having regular, strong contractions for hours and was convinced we’d have a baby that night, until the contractions started to taper off and eventually stop altogether. WTF?!
Around 4 pm, the midwife decided to take me off Pitocin for the night so I could eat and sleep, with the plan to start Pitocin again at 7 am. Talk about feeling defeated. We had been in the hospital for almost 24 hours with nothing to show for it.
They left the catheter in until 10 pm that night, and I was dilated to 5cm when they checked me in the morning.
They started Pit again in the morning, and by 11 am the contractions were super intense, coming one on top of the other and often lasting well over a minute. Also because I was on Pit, I was required to be on (wireless) external fetal heartrate and contraction monitors throughout labor. The nurses were constantly in the room trying to pick up baby’s heart, and all the positions that were most comfortable for me seemed to be the worst for monitoring him. At one point around 2 or 3 pm, I had a 4-minute long contraction (I don’t remember this particular one, DH told me about it later) during which they had me laying on my back in bed as they tried to monitor him and also tried to check me, which was so uncomfortable and miserable. I was 8 cm, and shortly after, they broke my water. There was a little meconium in the water, but baby seemed to be doing well.
Up until they broke my water, I felt like I was in control of what was going on. I was uncomfortable, for sure, but I was coherent and could handle the contractions. After breaking my water though, everything became a blur. I was in this “zone” where I couldn’t talk, couldn’t focus on anything other than that moment. My body really did just take over and do its own thing. I started feeling the need to push, which was the craziest sensation, almost reflex-like. It really did feel like having to poop (which, amazingly, I didn’t do), but it also felt like throwing up in that there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. The nurses/midwife wanted me to get three pushes in during every contraction, but sometimes I would only get two, and others I would get four or five – I really had no control over the urge, which I didn’t expect.
Sometime during all this, the midwife elected to put an internal monitor on baby to better keep tabs on his condition, since he kept moving around and they would lose him on the monitors. The contractions continued to be incredibly intense and they had me on oxygen since I had started to hyperventilate. Before I knew it, I was aware of the nurses preparing the room with the delivery table and everyone getting suited up and I knew I must be getting close. They brought a mirror over and I was able to get a glimpse of baby’s head as he made his way down. I remember the intense pressure and “ring of fire” as he started to crown, and the midwife was pouring warm water down there and trying to stretch me out. After several pushes and no progress, I was vaguely aware of the midwife saying something along the lines of “I’m going to just help you out a little bit here, is that ok?” I knew she was talking about an episiotomy, but at this point I didn’t really care and I trusted her enough to know that if she thought I needed one, then I probably needed one. It really wasn’t that bad, she injected some lidocaine first so I was mostly numb for the cut itself. DH was watching, though, and says that image of her cutting me still haunts him.
A couple of pushes later, just before 7pm, our son was born and pretty much everyone in the room commented at his size. They laid him on my chest briefly before the neonatologist had to check him out (due to the meconium). He didn’t look particularly big to me, but I guess I didn’t really have any sort of frame of reference…they put him on the scale, and DH turned around with this shocked, “OMG” look on his face and told me he was 10 lbs, 15 oz (nope, not a typo). I think we kind of stared at each other in disbelief, and DH said, “I can’t believe you just did that.”
DS scored an 8 and 9 on his APGARs, and looked perfect. The moments after his birth are kind of fuzzy to me and I don’t remember sequence very well, but I got stitched up (still numb, not a big deal) and a shot of Pit in my leg because I was bleeding a lot. They also started pounding on my stomach to get the placenta to detach, which hurt A LOT. Nobody told me that would happen, either, so that caught me off guard. At that point I was about ready to tell everybody to get the hell out and stop touching me 🙂 Actually delivering the placenta was not painful, but I definitely felt it come out.
The next thing I remember with any clarity was everybody leaving the room (there was a shift change I think), and it suddenly being just DS, DH, and I. Those moments were pretty magical, and DH sent out text messages to announce the birth and reveal DS’s name, which we had been keeping a secret.
After I peed, they moved us all to a recovery room. I continued to bleed a lot and was passing clots. I got a few more stomach “massages” to get my uterus to contract, but it finally did and the bleeding slowed down some.
I think the midwife said the episiotomy was small and the equivalent of a first-degree tear, but I couldn’t tell you how many stitches I had. Putting any sort of pressure on that area was painful for about a week, so it made sitting, getting into/out of bed, and sitting on the toilet pretty uncomfortable. The cold packs, numbing spray, and witch hazel pads from the hospital were my best friend during that time (I stole a bunch of extras to take home as well). Unless I was laying in bed, I found the big hospital granny panties and gigantic pads to be a bit cumbersome, so I switched to depends underwear once I got home and those worked really well and stayed in place better.
This is so, so long…I’m typing it out in Word and on the 3rd page already, but here are some thoughts on postpartum and recovery now that DS is almost 4 months:
1) I was determined to breastfeed, but it was not going well in the hospital. DS wasn’t latching deeply enough and it was extremely painful. We met with a lactation consultant (LC) before we left and she was pretty useless. On our first morning at home, I broke down crying because DS was so hungry and wanted to nurse alllll the time, but I was in a tremendous amount of pain. Out of desperation, DH called our pediatrician who recommended an LC at the local hospital (not the one we gave birth at). That woman was an angel from heaven who met with us for an hour, fixed DS’s latch, and sent us home feeling confident and hopeful that everything would be fine. My milk came in later that day (3 days PP) and breastfeeding has been going well ever since. If you plan to breastfeed, find yourself an LC. Without her, I would have quit bf-ing in the first week, no doubt. Also, kellymom.com and the La Leche League website/forums are an invaluable source of information that I have used a lot.
2) Having a newborn is HARD. Wonderful, but hard. When the baby is crying his or her head off and you can’t figure out why, and you look at your SO and wonder, “what have we done?”…it sucks. But it will get better. Research P.U.R.P.L.E. crying, and hang in there. If you can have a family member come help you, do it. My mom stayed with us the first two weeks and cooked, cleaned, and held DS while DH and I got some sleep. She was a lifesaver.
3) I had killer baby blues. I cried pretty much nonstop for the first 8ish weeks. Sometime after 8 weeks I began to feel human again, but I’m still struggling with anxiety and mommy guilt, especially after returning to work at 12 weeks. I could write so much more on this, but suffice to say postpartum hormones are whack.
4) Sex: Sigh. DH and I have attempted only a handful of times and it is pretty uncomfortable. I also have had very little interest due to being tired, feeling bad about my postpartum body, and not wanting to get pregnant again (lol) and probably because of breastfeeding as well. We use a lot of lube and take things slow. I plan to get an IUD sometime in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully that will take some of the fear away so we can “practice” more 🙂 DH has been a saint about all of this.
5) Sleep: It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse. DS goes to bed around 7pm and sleeps until around 7am, typically waking up about every 3 hours during the night to eat. This is where breastfeeding is awesome – I just go get him out of his crib, feed him, change him, wrap him back up (he loves being swaddled still), and he pretty much goes right back to sleep. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. I’m kind of getting used to the broken-up sleep, and honestly I don’t mind that much, especially since I feel like I don’t get to spend any time with DS during the week when I’m working. Nighttime is kind of our special bonding time. I highly recommend the book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” for some insight into why babies sleep the way they do and how to get a good routine going. I’ll be honest though, after a long day at work on top of being up several times during the night, I feel like a zombie quite often.
6) DS is the best thing that has ever, ever happened to me. I did not grow up wanting to have kids and never felt particularly maternal, but absolutely love being a mom. Seeing him smile and watching him grow makes all the hard work worthwhile. Having him has really forced me to be more present and savor every single moment, even when I’m exhausted and frustrated, because this time really does go by SO FAST. I know that I will look back and miss these moments, so I’m trying to soak them all in.
7) I miss being pregnant. I can’t wait to go through labor again (hopefully not induced this time), and I can’t wait to experience the craziness of having a newborn again. I fully realize that this is insane and I can’t explain it. DH thinks I’m nuts.
Hope this helps some new mamas or soon-to-be-mamas, sorry it’s so long but there is just sooo much to say 🙂 Anything I didn’t talk about or you’d like more details on, just ask!