Friday, September 2, 2011

"Labor Day #1"

I thought that it would be fun, with Labor Day around the corner, to start sharing a little personal information about my labor experiences.  I also wanted to share with you the births of our first two, since Peanut is heading our way in another 50 days or so.

Sweet Pea is our first born.  I was 21 years old.  We didn't find out what she was going to be and it was a really fun surprise.  I had been seeing my OB every week at that point and I was having intense contractions for days before that last visit. I was a day away from 38 weeks and he said that everything was just fine.  My contractions were very irregular so he told me that they would even out when it became time.  I went to work and got home at about 10:30 that night.  I woke up at 6:30 am, startled and wet.  Oh great!  I had heard that you can lose bladder control when pregnant, but this was not fun.  So I waddled down to the bathroom when I realized that it was actually my water that broke!  But my contractions were still irregular!  So, I woke up The Raconteur Daddy and in his sleepy daze and shocked expression on his face, we grabbed the bags and got in the car for the 40 minute drive to the hospital.  I called my Mom and Dad and he called his Dad and then his Mom.

We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am.  They made me ride the wheelchair all the way up to Labor and Delivery.  The nurses checked me out; I was at 3 centimeters and my contractions were still irregular.  They wouldn't let me walk around or get up because my water had broken already.  Because they wouldn't let me out of bed, they did allow me to get the epidural right away.

Now, it was a Saturday.  I had just seen my OB the day before.  He never told me that they don't work on the weekends.  The 'on call' OB from his practice (who I had never met) came in and informed me that he would be the one taking care of me.  I was upset and scared.  Here's this stranger that I had never heard of coming in instead of my doctor.  I guess there wasn't anything that I could do about it though.

My parents came in to be with RacDad and I.  The doctor immediately ordered pitocin to 'make my contractions regular'.  This didn't help, it just made them come quicker.  So I would get 3 right on top of each other, then a couple minutes later I'd have two, etc.  The doctor then left the hospital.  I was at 5 centimeters and it was 10 am.  I stayed at 5 for what seemed like a long time.  The nurses would come and check on me every so often, but there wasn't much change.  At 2:30, the nurse came in and checked on me and I was finally at 8 centimeters.  I asked her how much longer she'd think it would take.  She told me it would probably be a few more hours and she left the room again.  My Dad came over to watch the contraction graph again (he thought it was interesting, like watching spark graphs on a car).  He looked at me and said, "Are you feeling OK?"  I replied, "I feel funny."  So they called the nurse right back in after being gone for 10 minutes.  She sighed and said that she'd check me again.  When she lifted the sheet, she got white in the face and said, "Don't do anything!  The baby is right there!"  She called in other nurses and they called the doctor to tell him to come back to the hospital.  There was no time to wait.  So, they pulled the OB (from a different practice) out of the next room.  She came in and suited up.  One push later, I had my beautiful baby girl in my arms!  It was 3:03 pm.

Everything happened so quickly that my body didn't have a chance to stretch in the places that it needed to (finding out later that was thanks to the pitocin).  So, the doctor that delivered Sweet Pea had to do an episiotomy.  I was upset because that was the one thing I didn't want to happen, but again, I had no choice in the matter.  The doctor that was supposed to be there finally showed up when they were weighing Sweet Pea and the OB was starting to prep me for sutures.  He pushed her aside and told her that he could finish up.  So he sewed up the episiotomy and left the hospital again.

They whisked away Sweet Pea and RacDad to go to the nursery to clean her up and do her check ups while the nurses were rubbing my fundus.  I wish that I could have been with her the whole time, but that's not how the hospital did things.  The nurses were working hard because I was still bleeding.  At first they thought that it was because Sweet Pea's umbilical cord was only 12 inches and they thought that there was tearing.  After 1.5 hours, and not getting to see Sweet Pea because they were taking care of me, the nurses finally got the doctor on the phone.  He told them to just give me a couple shots and keep rubbing the fundus.  I had finally lost 7.5 units of blood when they called the doctor again 20 minutes later.   He finally came sauntering in as they were prepping RacDad for a transfusion and ushering my parents out.  He found that he had missed an artery when stitching me up the first time.  He said that I didn't need a transfusion because I was young enough to recover.  So, he gave me a second episiotomy (with no local anesthesia!) and stitched me up again.  It was agony feeling the whole thing and not having the strength to respond!  I couldn't even see anything at that point except for bright white.

I don't remember much after that point.  It was a terrifying time for my parents, not knowing what was happening.  It was also terrifying for RacDad, being there watching, not knowing if he'd be a single dad.  I just remember trying so hard to stay awake and trying to respond to him when he'd say my name, but it was impossible to do.  I could hear the fear in his voice and the nurses voices, and it still echos in my ears today.  I was so scared for him.

I finally came to around 8 pm.  I was allowed to eat and my Dad went and got me the most amazing Prime Rib dinner from a great restaurant up the street.  I don't remember getting moved to the Recovery room, but that's where I had dinner.  I finally got to see Sweet Pea and try nursing her for the first time.  She was taken back to the nursery.  The nurses continued to 'supplement' her with formula through the course of my 4 day hospital stay.  I just didn't have the strength to be able to have my supply come in well.  It took 2 full weeks for me to recover enough to be able to get out of bed by myself.  Poor RacDad had to not only take care of me, but take care of Sweet Pea on his own too.  He went back to work and I started on my road of getting healthy again.  After 6 weeks, I had to go back to work and my mom took over as Sweet Pea's daytime caregiver when RacDad and I had to work at the same time.

It was a very difficult experience to get over.  That's one of the few reasons why there are so many years between Sweet Pea and Little Man.  I also think that there were residual things that caused the two miscarriages that happened between Sweet Pea and Little Man, but that's for another day.

Just remember that if there is something that you need or want for your child, don't be afraid to speak up about it.  I was so young and didn't know that I could have told the nurses to not give her formula.  I didn't know that I could demand that I nurse her right away and be the sole person to feed her.  I didn't know that I could have told that horrible doctor that he needed to step aside and let the other OB finish her work.  I know that most labors don't go according to 'the plan', but if there is something that you really want (or don't want) don't be afraid to say something.  It won't offend the nurses or doctors, they are there for you...not the other way around.


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