Friday, June 25, 2010

hello abigail rose: our birth story.

hi there blog.
sorry it's been way too long.
but i'm working on getting you all caught up...

on tuesday, june 15th our little abigail rose arrived and changed our lives for forever. she's amazing! so strong, so beautiful... we are on cloud 9.

if you are a facebook friend or close to joey and i you know how important a natural & drug free birth experience was for us. mostly we just wanted to be in control of our experience, have the freedom to move through it at our pace, and ultimately have a healthy baby and mommy!

unfortunately abby was a little stubborn and at 42 weeks my doctor said it was time to induce. we were really nervous about what this was going to do to our birth plan but the most important thing was making sure abby was ok and delivered safely. joey was super nervous... c-section was his biggest fear, but i was confident that my body would respond to the cytotek & pitocin and that i'd still be able to deliver without the epidural.

we had an absolutely fantastic experience and (without taking all the credit, haha) i totally attribute it to an amazing L&D staff and the phenomenal support of my husband. joey was a superstar... at one point our nurse came in and told us how impressed she was. she said it was like we had an invisible doula there helping us into different positions and move through contractions - but it was all my man. i can't even explain how much deeper i feel in love with him that day!

i want to share the whole day (and then some) here for anyone who, like me, read too many induction horror stories and are begging their babies at the end to come on time. inducing does not have to mean that you can't handle the contractions, stick to a birth plan, and come out on the other side with an amazing experience and 100% healthy baby.

so on monday, june 14th we were scheduled to be admitted at 7:30pm. it was crazy nerve-racking for my mom and joe who didn't have quite the tunnel vision that i did at the time. they really shouldn't admit L&D patients through the ER, lol. we distributed and went over our birth plan with the nurse on duty.

our birth plan was pretty straight forward. augmentation points were kind of mute since we were coming in for an induction but i made sure all nurses knew: not to offer the epidural, that we would ask for it if we decided it was neccessary, i wanted as much freedom as possible to move positions, use our birthing ball (my yoga ball), take a shower if requested, have exams before major increases of pitocin, and that we wanted to avoid an episiotomy if possible. etc. there were a few things on there for baby too - like holding off on the eye ointment to allow for bonding, and the opportunity to breastfeed immediately. as well as a section stressing the importance that no nurses offer sugar water, or formula if she was away from us for any reason. (do hospitals still use sugar water? it was in the birth plan sample i was using...) if you are writing a birth plan there are some great samples online, just do a google search and use what feels right for you!

i was a little dehydrated when i came in and had tested positive for strep b so i was required to be on continuous monitoring for pretty much the whole time and was on fluids and antibiotics through my hep-lock. around 9:30pm the pharmacist showed up with my doctor's order of cytotek. cytotek is a cervix softener that you take orally. with it you are required to be on continuous monitoring for an hour after ingestion... continuous monitoring can be an annoyance but we made sure to talk to the nurse about the equipment, how to maneuver with it and how to adjust and read the monitors ourselves to make sure the information was getting to the nurses without tying me to the bed. if you feel comfortable with the wires you can totally take control and be as mobile as you want to be. that room is your room during your delivery so own it!

when i came in i was actually having mild contractions without really knowing it... they were pretty short and about 8 or 9 minutes apart. i was on the cytotech every 4 hours until the next morning around 10am. at that point there was a shift change and Dr. Chinn came in to see me for the first time. I was 80%/1 still but she thought i was ready for the pitocin so we started.

when the pitocin was started contractions really started heating up. i labored until about 6:30 changing positions when it felt right, using the yoga ball, vocalizing, using breathing and watching a law & order marathon, lol. by 6:30pm contractions were doubling and tripling up and i wasn't getting a ton of rest in between so i really thought we were gearing up for the home stretch. Dr. Chinn came back in and i was only 3cm.

here i probably could have lost it because contractions were really coming and Dr. Chinn said she thought i might have another 6 or 7 hours to go. WHAT!?! but joe really stepped up to keep moving me through contractions and my nurse talked to Dr. Chinn about getting me off the machines and letting me have an hour in the shower. looking back i totally should have thought of a shower a couple of hours earlier because my body was responding so strongly to the pitocin and it was totally what i needed. vicki (the nurse on staff for most of my laboring) was so awesome and could totally sense how fast i would go if i just had a little time to let my body regulate itself.

so i got into the shower and i can tell you it was AMAZING! i had a chair in there to sit... and i stood to lean over it during contractions letting the water release the tension in my back, and i sat and snoozed for a couple of minutes between each one. while in the shower my contractions got stronger but regulated so i was getting one at a time which lasted about a minute and then would have a couple of minutes to rest in between each. joe stayed close giving me ice chips when i needed so i wouldn't get dehydrated in the shower.

when i got out of the shower the room was all set up for delivery. i'm telling you vicki totally knew something that everyone else didn't. lol. i was so sad to see her go! the next nurse came on (they were seriously all great, vicki just happened to help me through the rough spots - i think bringing in the cupcakes seriously helped, lol). i got hooked all back up to the machines and abby was still doing great. they left me off the pitocin for another 45 minutes or so since my contractions were still good and we wanted to wait for what Dr. Chinn said at the next exam. when she told me i only had about 2cm on one side to go i was ECSTATIC! they restarted the pitocin (still not 100% sure why but at that time i wasn't really able to argue about it because i was totally out of my head during contractions...) and things just moved!

at about 9:30pm i felt the first BIG urge to push and was technically pushing and hoped no one could notice. they could, lol. joe called the nurse over and she checked and i was good to push. she sat down and started writing stuff in our charts... a HUGE contraction came and i swear i about broke my husband. poor joey. i wish i would have had a camera (and could have used it) to get his face after that one. he told me later that he thought "uh oh this is where she starts injuring me". after it was over the nurse turned around (i was making some pretty crazy demonic possesion-like sounds) and she ran to the intercom to get Dr. Chinn in. abby was on her way!

three nutso contractions later and she was out! 20 minutes!

she was born with some bruising. her head came really fast and then was caught in between contractions. a lull that i thought was never going to end! literally the longest 45sec. to a minute of my life, eek! and i can't lie that that was another freak out moment... but again with joe's help and the amazing delivery team i got back into control and we got our little squishie face out!

from there it was pure ecstasy. abigail was so strong and very healthy. she immediately wanted to nurse which i was so happy about. joey hadn't decided if he wanted to cut the cord or not but when offered he jumped at the chance! when they took her to the warmer to get her all cleaned up joey went with her and she really responded to his voice, turning her head towards him and looking up at him. all of that tummy talking he did really paid off!

we were instantly in love with our new family!

here's abby's first photo after getting all cleaned up....

and me and my little girl after our hard night's work!

i hope sharing my experience helps some of my friends and others out there who might be a little nervous about inductions or about taking control of their birth experience... every person, their body, and their baby is totally unique so in no way am i trying to claim that this is how things "should" be done... i only want everyone to know that they have the power to own their birth day and come out with a beautiful, healthy baby & mommy!

one tool that really helped us:

the big book of birth. by erica lyon. this book gave us the knowledge and the confidence to move through labor how we wanted to. i really recommend it... skip the L&D section of what to expect and read this instead!

abigail is turning 4wks tomorrow! every day has been so amazing. we are getting into a great routine and are having so much fun watching her grow and develop.

here she is at 3 weeks... i already have SO many cute shots... time to get scrapping!