Thursday, January 31, 2013

Welcome Sunshine, Part Two

Part One recap: 41 weeks pregnant, in hospital. Finally, labor starts picking up. While the details are hazy for me, my lovely doula Jill Fransen wrote an account. Thank you, Jill, both for writing the story and for agreeing to let me share parts of it, here.
When I arrived around 4:00, your dad was there, and your mom arrived in a little while with food for Josh. Your contractions were tolerable as you sat in the rocker. That rocker would be your friend for many hours that night. 
After your folks left we got down to the real business of labor. Your contractions were really quite close and strong. It seems that your labor was a series of rhythms. The rocker was very would "OM" through the contraction...going inward and being very focused. Then we decided to walk, stopping every few feet as you bent over holding onto the rail. You were determined to just continue to let your body and baby work together. You got in the shower; we listened to Sting, Stevie and some jazz. 
You labored--your contractions were mounting. You were getting very tired...your energy was being drained, and still your dilation was very slow. Things were getting intolerable: from the birth ball, to the shower, back to the chair, slow dancing with Josh, back rubs, foot rubs, hand all helped, but you were about to hit a wall. What you needed most was rest. Around 10:30 the nurse removed the rest of the Cervidil to give you a break from the piggybacking contractions. Finally around 1:30 in the morning, you got in bed, had a half dose of Demerol, and were able to get some rest. 
Here's what I remember about this part: I remember that the nurse saw me working hard and said something to the effect of, "I don't think you can go on like this much longer." She wanted me to have pain relief, but an epidural was not an option because I wasn't dilated enough (not that I wanted one anyway). I consented to the Demerol because I believed that I was still at the beginning of labor--that it could potentially be another day or two before the baby would be born, and I just didn't see how I could go on for that long. Josh was also exhausted because we'd been up for past several nights with false-alarms.

Josh opened up the couch, I positioned myself by your side, your small hand in mine. We turned off the lights and you got the rest you needed. I have rarely seem Demerol work so perfectly. You were aware of the contraction, only at the moved around, moaned, then were able to fall back into a restful peace. I did not leave your side as I held your hand and talked you through the peak of each contraction.
What I remember is that the contractions at this point were incredibly strong and hard, and that I couldn't "OM" anymore because I was loopy from the drugs. So I was literally moaning in pain at the peak of the contractions. While the narcotic undoubtedly allowed me to rest in bed (I couldn't have laid down otherwise), it actually took away my ability to concentrate and deal with the pain. I was very, very grateful to have Jill's hand to squeeze during that time.
Then, an amazing thing happened. As you roused during a big contraction, you said something popped--"my water broke." While you weren't particularly happy at that point, it sure put a smile on my face. Within a half hour the nurse checked you and you were 6 cm dilated! Josh woke up; the lights went back up a little...we were on baby alert. You went to the bathroom and sat there for a while. I believe that is where transition took place, because you experienced powerful urges to push. By the time you returned to bed, at about 2:30am,  you were 9 cm. dilated. This now was exactly the opposite of the old axiom: Hurry up and wait! This was, rather: Wait and hurry up! Dr. S. had to be called--you were going to have a baby! 
Now you were experiencing real bearing down urges...almost uncontrollable urges. This was when Josh just shone. He had you concentrate on his face, on his finger, guiding you through those extreme urges to push as we waited for the doctor to arrive.
To explain: the nurse was in a bit of a panic, as the doctor was not there. She told Josh to hold his finger in front of my face and instructed me to blow out the candle...instead of pushing. So, essentially I was holding the baby in due to absence of the doctor. Good times!
You were just amazing as you blew on the birthday candle that was Josh's finger. The urge at that time is greater than any other bodily function; watching you two at that moment I knew you were quite a team. I think the nurse thought she would have to deliver this little bundle...the first time we looked we could see about one eighth of her little head peeking out. So we were very grateful when Dr. S. walked in, sleepy and so beautifully pregnant herself.
Because you had done so much work before; because you had done so much breathing down and letting your baby just descend, you only had to push two or three times, and there she all her glory of girl and red hair.
When Bella was placed on my chest I cried, and Josh cried, and I kept saying, "Beautiful! Beautiful!" because she was.

Isabel Renee
January 30, 2003
3:45 AM
8 pounds, 9 ounces

1 comment:

  1. Rachel, thanks for your birth story. It is so important to share, especially as gentle urging to women to be individuals and choose what is best for themselves when birthing in a traditional hospital labor and delivery setting. And your story shines in its clarity.

    I was also taken with the deep level of support Jill provided to you and your family during your birth.


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