Saturday, August 7, 2010

Natural Childbirth

WHY???  is what I get from most people.  Then there's the occasional, "Good for you!"


As it gets nearer, I can't help but ask myself the same question, and then hope I can exclaim "Good for Me!" when it's all said and done.  

But, I do have reasons.  

First of all, I had a terrible 1st epidural experience.  If you're a first-time-mom, you maybe shouldn't read this.  At the same time, I felt my experience had a lot to do with the fact that the real facts and risks about epidurals are often glossed over by the medical staff, and so most people go into it only hearing "it's the worst pain ever, why wouldn't you get the epidural?"  And quite frankly, it's a lot easier on the medical professionals when mom is calmly bringing forth her new life, unaware of any trauma to her nether-regions.  

So, in my first experience, I was induced with a cervical pill that put me into hard labor with contractions every 2 minutes from the git-go.  And since all I'd heard was how horrible labor was, I wanted the epidural IMMEDIATELY.  The anesthesiologist comes and starts the procedure.  I feel this pop in my back, and my leg kicks forward on it's own, and I say "I didn't do that," and he says, "uh-oh."  

Not exactly what you want to hear from someone placing a sharp object into your spine!!

As I rolled over and was told I was fine, I started to notice that everything was numb from my chest down.  They didn't like that so much, so quickly sat me up.  Then my blood pressure crashed and my baby's heartbeat dropped significantly.  They quickly put some emergency drugs in my i.v. to correct all that.  I also noticed a headache right away.  The anesthesiologist said, "oh that's just your sinuses."  I told him I didn't have any sinus issues before labor.  When it came time to push, I couldn't feel a thing, and nothing was happening.  It took 2 hours of pushing to get her out.  

Immediately after she was born, I noticed a pretty significant headache.  I spent my day in the hospital hoping it would just go away, and the only thing that seemed to help was to lay as flat as possible with no pillow.  My anesthesiologist even came to visit me...has your's ever done that?  He even called me at home.  I think maybe he suspected he had screwed up.  

Then I spent the next 5 days  in the most excruciating pain...worse than any labor pain.  My head hurt so bad that to sit up to eat or go the bathroom just brought me to tears.  Apparently he had gone through the dura layer of my spine, and the spinal fluid was just leaking out.  So it was like my brain was sitting on my brainstem....I don't know if that's accurate, but it was horrendous.  By the time I was to the 4th day, I could barely hear from all of the pressure.  It was this strange mix of emotions from being thrilled to have brought my first beautiful baby into the world, and being in such constant overwhelming pain.  So on the 5th day, I got the go-ahead to go to the emergency room and have a blood patch.  This is where they take blood from your hand and insert it into the same hole in your spine.  If it works, it clots and within an hour you are better.  Thank God it worked for me.  Within that hour I could hear again.  I was a new person.  

I've got to say that with headaches that  bad, I didn't even notice the normal post-delivery pains that a mom would feel.  So, I guess there's a bright side to everything, right??

When I got pregnant the 2nd time, I decided to look into my ability to do natural childbirth.  I did a lot of reading on-line and decided on a book called "About Hypnobirthing."  For me, it was a concept where I had to throw out a few ideas that didn't mesh with my spiritual beliefs, but overall, it gave me some real tools and confidence to get through labor and delivery.  It gives a good history about how most of the world gives birth without assuming it's that horrendous, and even how the U.S. first started overmedicating women in labor, and how that's affected the stories we tell and our psyches ever since.  It also gave great deep breathing and focused relaxation techniques.  And it reminds me that my body was absolutely created to do this.  

With Jossie, I went into labor on my own, which made a big difference.  I had been laboring for 3 hours before I woke my hubby up.  He didn't believe me, since I was so calm.  By the time he took his hour-long shower and changed car-seats to our friend Angel's car, I was feeling pretty confident I was in labor.  At the same time I was so calm, that I was totally second-guessing myself by the time I was at the hospital.  In fact, I told them my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and I was so calm that they were in no hurry to believe me or check me.  When they finally got around to it, I was 7 cm and they were rushing me to the delivery floor.  I walked, which also shocked them.

Now, I won't lie that there is this moment of wanting to change my mind and even screaming as the baby is coming out, but in the end I don't have to be catheterized to urinate, and I can get up and walk around, and I can know that I didn't risk paralysis, or my baby's health.  The nurses have been very impressed with my overall calmness.  

Ahhh...I feel better reminding myself why I do this. 

I feel ginormous right now, like this baby has to be a 10 pounder at least.  And the thought of a 10 pounder all natural, does not sound appealing.  I also have some anxiety because something has gone wrong with each birth afterward.  I won't tell you what it was with Jossie...definitely TMI.  With Norah, she came out so easily, thankfully, but then a week later I contracted viral meningitis and spent a week with the most horrendous headaches again.  This time I couldn't lean my head backward at all or I would cry in pain.  I had to sleep with my back straight against the wall and when I'd get into too deep of sleep and my head would slip down, I'd wake right up with excruciating throbbing in my head.  I went through several tests, and my heart rate had even dropped to the 40's and the stupid urgent care doc told me that she was about to send me in for a pacemaker.  WHAT???  I'm obviously fine now, but wow...I want everything to be as healthy and normal as possible this time around, that's for sure.

Then there's the diabetes issue.  For Sophia, so much has changed since Noni-bear was born.  I have so many more details that whomever is watching her HAS to think about and do.  And since I'm the mommy, only I feel I make the best decisions regarding what she eats and insulin.  But, I'm having a baby regardless and she will be fine, I know..  Her emotions are all over the place at times too, which gives concern for baby transition.  I know God will give us grace and we'll get through this just fine.  

I have several doctor's appointments for me and the girls this week, so once those are through, I say, "bring it on!"  Norah keeps noticing my outie belly-button and saying "turkey's done!"  I agree, oh I agree.  

My foot is slightly swollen, and is causing me lots of pain, so I'm barely walking around.  The average daily temperature (not including heat index) here right now is 102.  I can't even breathe when I go outside, and feel like I could pass out when I stand for long.  My mom spent the week with me getting my last necessary "nesting" things done, so all that to say...I AM READY.  

Praying little baby is ready soon too.  


SarahinOK said...

You can do it!! :) I did both boys' births naturally and although, yes, there are moments when you wonder if you're insane for doing it- it's worth it. :)

And, Andy was 9lbs 9 oz... so for your sake- I hope your baby is not a 10 pounder!

Can't wait to meet the newest Spann. Please don't hesitate to call if you need someone who knows Diabetes to watch the girls. Andy starts school on Thursday- so it'll just be me and Ev during the day.

Blessings on you! May this be your best birth experience yet!

3galsmama said...

First time mamas NEED to read your story! It happens more frequently than they know!

Stay your usual calm self, and labor at home as long as possible ... you know, until you "accidentally" have a home birth. Everything will happen and everybody will transition just fine. :)

Kipplyn said...

Thanks for the reminder! As I wait for this sweet one to arrive, I ask myself why. Unfortunately, it still hurts even after the 5th time. 2 of my boys were 8 lbs 5 ozs. It still works! How much longer? I guess we won't be as far apart as I had thought we would. I have one foot that swells by the end of the day too. My midwife tells me it is normal for women to have one side that swells more than the other. :-) Many blessings to you and your new little one!