Monday, December 1, 2014

Jenna's Birth Story

Jenna's birth story begins at Target on the morning of Friday, November 21st. I was bending over to try on a pair of shoes when I felt a squirt. It felt like more than just peeing my pants (not that I know what that feels like or anything. Ha!). I stood up and felt it again. I couldn't believe that my water had just broken in Target! Since it wasn't a ton of fluid and I wasn't having any contractions, I went ahead and purchased what was in my cart, all the while feeling really excited and anxious.

I called Adam, who just happened to be working 5 minutes from our house that day. It was perfect timing because he was about to head to a second job all the way in Sacramento. I dropped the boys off at my sister's house and met Adam at our house. I had called Labor and Delivery and they said I should come in to be checked. So we grabbed our hospital bags and headed in. We got there around 1pm and they confirmed that my water had indeed broken! The midwife also confirmed that Jenna was head down, but face up. I started to dread birthing another baby this way, and prayed that she would turn over before birth.

After we were admitted and my vitals were taken, we were free to walk the hallways, as long as I returned to my room every hour so they could monitor the baby. I was not in labor at this point, but hoping that walking would get things started. I snacked off and on during the afternoon, but tried not to fill up too much. I was craving something sweet so when Adam went to get himself dinner he got me a Wendy's vanilla frosty. We walked, we sat. We walked, we sat. By 6pm I was feeling absolutely zero contractions or cramping, and I was still not in labor.
The midwife and the nurse both started suggesting I use a little Pitocin to get labor going. My goal with this delivery was to do it completely drug-free, as I did with Lucas. I really didn't want to use Pitocin but I was already feeling tired. I was imagining hours of walking ahead of me, and I didn't want to go in to labor exhausted. When I agreed to a small dosage of Pitocin at 6:30, I think Adam was surprised that I gave in so soon. I got hooked up to the IV, but I was still allowed to move around. I sat on a stool for a while and then requested a birthing ball. They upped the dosage of Pitocin every 30 minutes, and I finally felt my first contraction at 8pm. Labor had officially started!
I sat on the birthing ball and breathed out slowly through my mouth with each contraction. Inhaling during a contraction felt really uncomfortable, so I tried to keep my breathing nice and slow as I exhaled. At some point during the next hour I got a new nurse, who I really disliked. I could tell she was new. She would NOT stop fiddling with the monitor strapped to my belly. Anytime she couldn't pick up the contractions on her monitor she would adjust the straps on my stomach. All I wanted was for her to go away and leave me alone, and looking back I wish I had asked her to stop touching me so much.

By 10pm my contractions felt out of control. Adam said they looked crazy on the monitor. With Lucas my contractions would look like little mountains, with a gradual strengthening and then a gradual tapering off. These contractions were very jagged peaks, coming two minutes apart. I can't exactly explain what felt different with these contractions in comparison to Lucas' labor. But they definitely felt different, in a bad way. I was still on the birthing ball, leaning forward onto the bed. I couldn't imagine laying flat on my back. A lot of the pain was in my back, so I was having Adam push on my back during contractions. But I was unable to talk to tell him where or how hard to push, so that wasn't really helpful. And I was no longer just breathing through the contractions, but instead moaning. I also wasn't able to open my eyes. Every ounce of my energy and focus was on getting through the excruciating pain.

It was also around this time that I started shaking uncontrollably. Ever part of my body was shaking from the pain and I had no control over it. I've never experienced that before with my other labors, although I did witness it happening to Adam when he was experiencing kidney stones. Our bodies react in strange ways to trauma and pain! This lasted for the next hour or so.

At this point I had not been checked for dilation, due to the risks of infection. (because my water had broken). But around 10:30 I started begging the new nurse to get my midwife. Things felt so intense I was sure I was in transition and close to pushing. The nurse left and finally came back alone, saying the midwife was busy. The annoying nurse checked me herself, and it was the most painful internal check I have ever had. She told me I was 5cm and I was crushed. Only 5?? There was no way I could endure 5 more centimeters of this kind of pain. I whispered to Adam that I needed an epidural.

I was really hoping and aiming to have another drug-free labor and delivery this time around. And looking back now I can honestly say I am slightly disappointed that I ended up getting not only Pitocin, but also the epidural. But that's easy for me to think now. In the moment, I was 110% sure that I needed and wanted that epidural. I was not feeling mentally or physically strong. I couldn't even talk to tell Adam or the nurse what they could do to help me through the pain. I just wanted the intense pain to stop, or even weaken a little. The nurse called the anesthesiologist and started pumping a bag of fluids through my IV while we waited. I remember thinking I didn't know how I would be able to endure any more contractions while I waited for the epidural. Each minute felt like an eternity.  I finally got the epidural right before 11:30pm. If I had known how close to giving birth I was, I wouldn't have gotten it.

The midwife checked me right after I got the epidural and I was 8cm. She also said my cervix was completely gone, so I would most likely be pushing soon. The epidural started working on the left side of my body during the next 10 minutes, but my right side was still in intense pain. I had one strong contraction right around that time that felt like awful burning. I remember crying out to the midwife "That one felt different! It burns!". She checked my again and I was already 10cm. As she got things ready for delivery she asked me if I felt the urge to push, but I said no. I have never felt the urge to push with any of my labors.

I'm guessing it was around 11:50 when they asked me to start pushing, barely 20 minutes after I received the epidural. They said Jenna would be born before midnight, and I was shocked. I was expecting a difficult delivery, since she was probably face-up. And it was my Mom's birthday. Would she actually come out quickly enough to share a birthday with my Mom?

On my next contraction I pushed two times. The midwife asked me to push again but I was too tired. I thought I vocalized this but according to Adam I didn't say anything. Apparently I was in my own little world where even talking was too difficult. The midwife told me that I was going to deliver my baby on my next contraction. I was in disbelief. She laughed at me and said "You should see the look on your face!" My next contraction came and I pushed.....and out came Jenna! I couldn't believe she came out so quickly! And she had turned at some point during labor, so she came out face down just like she was supposed to.
Jenna came out coughing and crying at 11:56pm on November 21st. They placed her on my chest and I was so shocked and relieved. I couldn't believe I had pushed just 3 times and now I was holding my daughter! The midwife informed me I had zero tearing this time. Jenna was born weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz, and 20.5 inches long. She has a little bit of dark blond/light brown hair, my lips, tiny ears that lay close to her head (one is slightly pointy!), and blue eyes of course.
Jenna's temperature dropped after I had been holding her for a little while, and the nurses weren't able to get it back up to a safe range. So she had to lay under a heat lamp for a couple hours while they monitored her and continued to check her temperature. Eventually it stabilized and I got to hold and nurse my baby. Jenna lost 6% of her body weight in the hospital but is almost back to her birth weight today, at 10 days old.

So while labor didn't exactly go as I had planned and hoped for, none of it matters now. I got my healthy baby girl in my arms at the end of it, and that's what's important. So far Jenna has been an incredibly sweet and sleepy baby. She is such a blessing to our family and I love my tiny girl so much!

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