Saturday, August 6, 2011

on how june came to be born in july. {a birth story--watch out!}

it's easiest for me to tell it all at once, so this will be long.  and it's easiest for me, when it comes down to the need for it, to tell it at the time it happened.  to keep facts straight, you see.

it's also important to back up a few days, to tell you how i came to be a believer in acupressure, and quite possibly red robin's spicy wing sauce.  and how i am pretty sure that certain body parts of mine have superhuman powers and are completely immune to epidurals.

a week before my due date, my doctor announced to me that he was leaving the next day for a 10 day vacation.  a vacation he had planned a year in advance, yet somehow managed to miss giving me that detail when he signed on to be my doctor and told me my due date {which was smack dab in the middle of his yearly planned vacation}....oh, about 9 months ago.  he also mentioned at the same time he told me he was leaving, that all of the induction dates were taken until august 2nd.  {my due date was july 28}

now, normally this wouldn't be a big deal.  caleb was delivered without a doctor even present, and leah wasn't delivered by the doctor i had been seeing during regular visits.  i know how these things can go.  i am also very pro-doctor's vacations because i know they work hard.  however, i was {and still am, if you couldn't tell} frustrated that he had failed to mention this to me until 24 hrs before he left.  also informing me that i couldn't be induced by anyone else, even if i had wanted to be.

the week before this, i had asked him about inducing.  i am not the biggest fan of inducing, and said that i'd like the baby to stay in as long as possible.....but, we have ben's brother coming into town from texas on august 2nd, and i was really hoping not to have to be in the hospital while they were only in town for 3 days.  if it happened that way, then fine.  but during the week before my doctor had told me he was leaving, i had asked specifically if i would be able to be induced a day or two after my due date so that i could maybe be out of the hospital by the time the family arrived.  and do you know what he said?   "well sure, that sounds like an option."  and a mere 7 days later was telling me that no, it wasn't in fact, an option.  no possibility to induce until august 2nd, the very day i had told him family was coming!

i was peeved. 

specifically peeved because with the last two children, my body did not go into labor on its own.  not at all, not even a little.  so i'll be honest, i lacked faith in my body's ability to do it this time.

overall, i just felt like my doctor didn't even care about me.  now maybe that's not true, he's a decent guy....but that's how it felt to me.  to not tell me he was leaving, then to not even care or proactively help me when it came to inducing a day or two past my due date after i had specifically asked him to.  anyway.

because of this fact, i came home and researched all of the different ways to help induce labor.  and honed in on one:  acupressure.  ben and i watched youtube videos about it, and each night i would bite my bottom lip & try not to cry out in pain as ben dug his fingers into pressure points on my ankles and feet for 10-30 minutes at a time.  i'm not sure he needed to be as tough on me as he was, but i was the one encouraging him to dig in because i was so desperate to try to go into labor on my own.

but i'm telling you,

it.  was.  brutal.

for my birthday, we went out to red robin.  i tried to order the spiciest thing on the menu, an appetizer of riblets with a side of spicy wing sauce.  but i am a total weakling when it comes to spice, and by the time i was finished with the appetizer, there were tears coming down my red hot cheeks and my nose was running.  i went through 3 glasses of water in about 5 minutes.

ben would take a bite and say, "hon, this isn't very spicy."

which then made me feel hopeless.  because if that isn't spicy, how in the world was i going to actually handle something spicy??

anyway, we kept on with the acupressure every night.  and eventually, i began to feel differently.  the baby had still not dropped, and nothing else along the lines of signs of labor had begun, but those dang contractions that i had been having for almost a month and a half now started to change.  in the more painful direction.  i would wake up at night gripping my pillow and whimpering through a painful one.  but they were irregular, so i waited.

i started to get into what i call "the last time" mindframe.

"maybe this is the last time i'm going to do dishes before i have a baby"

"maybe this is the last pair of maternity pants i'm going to wear"

"maybe this is the last time i'm going to vacuum"

and so on.

but every time i said that, it seemed like i would find myself again doing dishes, again hoisting up the lovely panel of my maternity pants, and again vacuuming.  so i stopped saying those things to myself and went on with daily life like having a baby was actually a figment of my imagination.

on monday night, i went to bed in pain.  everything just ached and hurt.  and my back ached more than it had in a while.  and now we begin to time frame things.

tuesday morning,

3:30 a.m.

i woke up whimpering through a contraction again.  and again.  and again.  finally, i got up.  drank a bunch of water.  lay back down.

5:30 a.m.

i couldn't take the pain of the contractions anymore, so i got up and took a hot shower.  i really felt like this was "it" this time, so i went the extra mile and shaved my legs.  that took some serious effort in our one-man shower.  blow dried my hair.  breathed through contractions.

6:30 a.m.

woke up ben.  who was pretty incoherent, because he'd been working on a paper until about 3, so he was going on about 3 1/2 hrs. of sleep.  this is how our conversation went:

"ben.  hey.  ben.  ben. benbenbenbenbenBENBENBENBEN!!!  WAKE.  UP."

i kid you not, i had to say his name about 47 times, and finally went over to him to shake him.  at that point, he shot up, sitting straight up in bed.

"what is it??"  he asked with his eyes still closed.

"you need to get up and get in the shower.  i think i'm in labor, and we need to go to the hospital."

"oh,"  he said.  then he lay back down.  "well, i thought you were just going to bring it to me...."  he mumbled.

"bring you what? the baby?  you want me to just come back when it's all over?"  i knew he didn't know what he was talking about, and sometimes i do this to him just to see if i can keep him rambling nonsense that i can make fun of him for later.

but he came to his senses after that one.

"huh?"  he sat back up again.  blinking,  and this time i knew he was lucid.

"i'm in labor, this time it's for real," i said.

"wow.  really.  wow.  okay.  wow," and he got up to get ready.

i also texted lisa at this time, my friend who was planning on watching caleb & leah while we were gone.  i told her we were going to go the hospital, but that we would probably leave in an hour or so.

7:30 a.m.

lisa showed up.  my contractions were still going, every 4-6 minutes apart.  still painful.  we got things ready, i went through how things were going for the kids.

8:00 a.m.

the contractions slooooowed down.  to about 10 minutes apart.  i couldn't believe it!  we put our bags back down, and waited.

9:30 a.m.

i lay down on the couch to take a nap.  waking every once in a while to breathe through a contraction.  my contractions were actually more severe and consistent when i was laying down, but i was completely exhausted.

10:30 a.m.

debated about sending lisa back home to rest for a few hours.  but then contractions would start back up again and they were seriously painful.  i was nervous that as soon as she went home i'd have to call her to come back.

1:30 p.m.

finally, finally went to the hospital.  i couldn't take the pain anymore.  i thought that i had been such a rockstar, laboring at home just the way that i had wanted to.  and was thinking that i would arrive at the hospital dilated to at least a 5, if not more.  my fingers were crossed that i would be at a 7.

2:30 p.m.

get checked in, changed into my gown, and wha-lah!  here i am in all of my hospital gown glory:

yes, i did my hair & put on make-up before going in.  go ahead and judge.  i know i'm going to look rough when it's all over so i try to give myself as much of a sporting chance as possible.  go in all clean and shiny, come out with barf in my hair and my face a hot mess.  that's just how it works.

here's another one, a side view shot.  i promise you i'm not trying to look all sexy-like for the camera.  a contraction was actually starting & i was in the middle of telling ben to wait & not take the picture until it was over, and he snapped anyway.  so this is what happened.

also, if you think i'm only going to post "fancy" pictures of myself during this, well.....think again.  there are some very disturbing images coming up.  prepare yourself.

3:00 p.m.

was checked by the nurse and told by her that guess what?

i'm only at a 3 1/2.  and guess what else?  that baby hasn't even dropped one inch yet.

i was beyond disappointed.  all of that and only 3 1/2???  just shoot me now.  knock me out and wake me when it's all over.

which led me to think, do i just have a weaksauce pain tolerance?  how in the world do women get to a 10?  or how do they labor at home while making sandwiches and sewing dresses?  {this of course, is what i picture other women doing.  i have no idea if this is what they actually do.  but sometimes when i hear friends talk about how they "labored at home until they were at an 8," that's what it sounds like to me.  just walking around, baking cookies and dancing to music while they sailed through contractions.  meanwhile, cut to me sweating and breathing and tearing up over a mere 3 1/2!}

i try to give myself credit.  i know i'm hard on myself and set expectations for my abilities a little too high.  i tried to think positive thoughts like,

well!  at least my cervix is doing something on its own!  this is the first time its done that!  way to go, cervix!  way to go little body!  3 1/2 is better than nothing! 

but seriously.  that optimism ran thin pretty quickly as i contemplated what lay ahead if i wanted to continue to be in labor without an epidural. 

once she checked me though, things really started hopping.  that's how it goes with me.  she had said right after she checked me that she was going to have me walk the halls to try to speed things up a bit.  but directly after she said that, contractions hit. hard. 

i tried sitting.  i tried standing.  i tried switching feet back and forth during contractions.  i would tell ben to push on my lower back and then as soon as the contraction started and he would put his hands on me i would yell, "DON'T TOUCH ME!" 

i was all sorts of a mess.

and poor ben.  even though i'm the one in labor and have very little sympathy for his position, i can muster up a little.  i know he felt helpless.  finally he asked,

"is there anything i can do?"

and i said, as kindly as i could,  "please stop asking me during a contraction if i'm okay.  i can't talk during them.  and clearly, i'm not 'okay.'  " 

i know it wasn't the nicest thing i could have said to him, because i know he was just trying to be helpful.  but he would ask me over and over during contractions, and then look at me like he was expecting an answer as i was breathing every last breath of oxygen out and looking at him with eyes that read, are you kidding me right now?

anyway.  i love him.  he really is fantastic, and especially in situations like birthing a child, i couldn't ask for a better guy to be at my side, honestly.  i just mentally couldn't handle that question anymore.  he did fan my face during contractions, which honestly helped quite a bit.  i felt like my face was on fire!

when the nurse came back and could see that i was seriously struggling, she told me that instead of walking, she just wanted to get me set up in a room.  she said that my contractions were much stronger and that she didn't want to send me out walking because it looked like "things were picking up."

so, into the room we went. 

the anesthesiologist came in, a nice lady who walked me through what she was going to do.  i've been down this road twice before, but let me tell you that epidurals still freak the heck out of me.  i hate the thought of them and here is where i always come to this fork in the road: 

i wish i could know that i could handle an epidural-free labor.  that i could look into the future several hours ahead and see that it was painful, but that it wasn't more than i could bear. 

but sometimes i lack faith in myself, you see. 

and so i always cave.  well actually, with caleb i wasn't given a choice.  i was given the epidural because of blood pressure that was so high i was near the level of having a stroke, and my doctor told me that the stress of having contractions could be too much.


4:00 p.m.

i said prayers over and over again while being given the epidural.  and i looked at ben and said coherently, "i don't ever want to do this again.  NEVER.  ever." 

while i was getting the epidural, and also having a contraction, another nurse hooked me up to a penicillin drip because i had tested positive for group B strep.  can i just say, that the penicillin drip was MORE painful than the epidural and the contraction combined?  what in the world was that all about?  my hand and arm felt like they were on fire!  the nurse diluted it after a few minutes and it just became an irritating pain instead of a crazy one.

5:00 p.m. 

we waited.  the epidural worked.  we took pictures.  look at how happy i am.

the baby's heart rate started to go whack-o just like the other two had, so i was put on oxygen and she was monitored closely.  it was clear that when i was laying in certain positions, the baby was sitting on her cord.  so i would have to rotate over and over. 

so hot.

everyone kept telling me to try to get some sleep.  and i tried, i was so tired.  but the nurses kept coming in.  ben snored away, just like he had last time. 

6:00 p.m.

this is where things started to get exciting. 

and by "exciting," i mean that suddenly i could feel....down there....things starting to move.  everything else was numb.  my stomach, my legs, down to my knees.  but in the middle?  right where things count?  it was very un-numb. 

now, this happened last time with leah.  but the nurse had told me it was because i had been because of the cervical softening stuff that they had used and then i had gone right into labor, and that a lot of times they have heard that the jelly will somehow deactivate the epidural or something.  and with caleb, the battery pack on my epidural had run out a good 45 minutes and was not replaced.  so i just assumed that those were the reasons that i felt everything.

but this time, there was no explanation.  i could feel every move of the baby.  i could feel any drop of liquid.  i could feel contractions.  my back and stomach were still mostly numb, but i found myself really starting to feel it, and needing to breathe through contractions again.
"what's going on?  why can i feel this?"  i asked the nurse.  

she wanted to turn up the epidural.  i pushed the extra medicine button one time, but it didn't make a difference.  i didn't want to be any more numb in the other areas of my body, and realized that no matter how much medicine i was given, that area was just not going to be numb.  

i have to say, i really don't like the way that i feel when i'm hooked up to the epidural.  sure, i'm virtually pain-free.  but it's a seriously disturbing feeling to watch the nurse have to move me over to one side, and i can see her hands move my body, but i can't feel them. 

i felt like i weighed 500 lbs.  i told ben i felt like a beached whale.  and then i made this face.  

and of course, he snapped a picture.

7:00 p.m.  

the doctor had arrived.  it's always fun to be introduced to someone who's immediately going to be looking at my goods about one minute later.  he checked me, said i was at a 9.  he also made one of the funniest comments of the night.  when checking me, he looked to see if my water had broken.  it hadn't yet, and he said, 

"well, this looks like a tough old bag of water."

which hit a funny bone with me and as soon as he left the room, ben and i made all sorts of comments about my  "tough old bag" about 20 times and i laughed until i started crying.  doesn't sound that funny now, but i promise it was then.

8:00 p.m.

contractions were painful, i was concentrating on breathing, and i was starting to feel really uncomfortable.  like i was sitting on somebody.  i said i could feel that i was almost ready, and when the nurse checked me i was at a 10. she said she was going to call the doctor to come in.

and that's when i freaked out. 

i looked at ben like this:

and said,

"ben i don'twantodothis!  IDON'TWANTTODOTHIS!!  please do this for me, i don't want to!  please please please pleasepleaseplease!" i'll admit, there was some begging going on. 

and he said, 

"oh honey, you know i would if i could," and then something along the lines of, "you're going to be okay.  you can do this.  you've done it before and you are strong enough to do this."

and then said, "smile! it's almost time!"  and snapped another picture.

8:20 p.m.

the nurse was helping to guide the baby down, and i literally felt her hand inside, moving the baby around.  another completely disturbing feeling.  

but then the doctor came in, broke the tough ol' bag of mine, and 5 minutes later, told me to push.  i don't know what happened to me mentally, but i went to a really weird place.  i was concentrating on pushing, and moving past the pain, and mentally felt like i lost it for a minute.

with each labor, there has been a time where i can feel myself on the edge.  my body is shaking uncontrollably, i am cold and feel weak and like i could pass out with my next breath.  the lines between life and death grow thinner and less defined.  things become a blur, the pain is too much and i just want it to stop.  but just when i think it is more than i can bear, there is something that keeps me going.  some last bit of strength is fighting to stay lucid and bring to pass the soul that is waiting to arrive, that is pushing to be born.

and so i take that last bit of strength, and i breathe in again, accept what is about to become, and count and push.

8:40  p.m.

when a baby is being born, it is like time stands still.  i know that outside of this room, there are other humans coming and going, laughing and crying, fighting and sleeping and existing.  but for me, no one else exists and nothing else is going on besides what i am focusing on right then, and who is with me and what is happening.

four pushes later, the pain stopped, the pressure relieved.

and sweet baby june was born, and cried her first cry, and then lay there quietly.

i looked at ben, with tears streaming down my face.  and saw the tears streaming down his.

there is nothing like this feeling.

it is literally like the heavens open and i feel like i'm given a glimpse of it, for just a moment.  it was there in the sound of her first cry.  in the first time i was able to see her pink skin and tiny fingers and even tinier toes.  as i held her and kissed her and introduced myself as her mother, that glimpse of heaven was there in knowing that here was this little body....this little spirit...that i had been a part of creating, was now in my arms.  that i had carried her around with me for months, whether mentally or not i could completely comprehend the weight of what it was i was actually carrying.

it is in this space that i am given the momentary knowledge of my divine purpose.  i was created to create.  there is something so mind-blowing, and humbling and overwhelming and completely empowering in this realization.


it is a spiritual feeling that i just can't describe.

as they weighed june, and cleaned her up, i lay there and tried to wrap my brain around the fact that this baby girl had just minutes before been inside of my body.  i still can't fully make sense of it, all i knew was that she was here.  and it was over.

and i was happy.  and in love.

if you like labor stories, you can also read about leah's birth here:


wendo said...

That made me laugh (tough old bag? seriously? that really is hilarious). And made me cry. I love birth stories. So happy little June is here.

toocoolstamping said...

I'm still waiting for the disturbing pics... Thanks for sharing all of your painful love story with us! Love you, sweet baby June!


Anonymous said...

I love reading your stories!! Congrats on welcoming baby June here...she's adorable!!

Rachel Chick said...

Lynsey. You are so beautiful! Of course, on the outside, but who you are is so beautiful to me. There is nothing like that feeling that comes to you as you are bringing a sweet little child into the world. That feeling of fulfilling the measure of your creation. So incredible.

As I was reading, I actually found myself being kind of jealous of you. Birth is so hard and so painful, but I really do look forward to it. It's just the most amazing experience. (And no, I'm not nuts. It's just . . . cool.) Then. I remembered that in less than a month, I will be there. And I realized how much I've let these last few weeks of stress get to me. (BTW, Nels is thinking of taking a job that he's been offered up in Sandpoint (near Coeur d'Alene). I've been a stressed out crazy mess for the past few weeks because of it. However, please don't mention anything about it either on his facebook page or my blog, because Melaleuca spies are everywhere, you know?) Anyway, I have felt really disconnected from the fact that a baby is even a reality . . . just like I'm pregnant and they are somehow not related. Very weird. But reading your story helped me out. So thanks.

I love you. Hope that all is going well and I can't wait to see more pictures of your little lady. She is so beautiful.

Cuddlydoll said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing.


The Foster Bunch said...

I loved your story. I have to agree with others I was laughing, and then crying The next minute. Thank you for sharing. Such a beautiful little girl, who is so very lucky to have such a wonderful mom.

ohmylanta said...

Fabulous post! I am so proud of you. I think daddy's cry in those moments because they are emotionally overloaded with love for the new one and gratitude for what we (their wives) endure. She is beautiful - just like her mom!!

MandM said...

I love your adjectives my friend. They totally hit the nail on the head. Congrats on baby June :)

Mindy said...

Congrats on your new little one! Oh, I just can't believe how fast they grow so cherish this time now! Did your epidural slip? That sounds a lot like what happened to me with Ellie. The anesthesiologist came in and had to replace it. But it worked the right way after that! You're so good to journal all this! I did that with Ellie also (not on a blog though) but my other 3 were all c-section so there wasn't much to write. :) Enjoy your cute little family!

Rachel Chick said...

So I just read through this again, because it was linked at the bottom of your post. SO SWEET. Firstly, you are beautiful and your baby girl is so lovely, but the whole experience is so beautiful. What an amazing thing it is to be a woman and to have the opportunity to create life. I love the experience of birth. There is nothing like it in all the world - that feeling of fulfilling the measure of your creation. It makes me sad to think about not experiencing it again . . . I'm going to just have to be a midwife so that I can still experience it vicariously. :) Also, next time you have a baby, you should TOTALLY do it natural. It's what your body is MADE to do! As I read through your story, I was again amazed at how you KNEW what to do. and most women do. - You wrote that your didn't know what was going on and then look at you! Your body did. That's so incredible and miraculous to me. I love it. And I love you.