Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Maddie's Birth Story

Saturday afternoon we visited Dr. Wells for a checkup and learned I was over 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. However, Maddie was not dropping down against the cervix, preventing further progress (or making progress likely to be slow). Dr. Wells stripped my membranes and offered us the option of waiting things out for a few days or being induced over the weekend. After thinking it over, and learning that the L&D ward was empty, we decided to go ahead with the induction.

Upon arriving at the hospital, we discovered that I was in early labor and experiencing mild contractions. They started a pitocin drip around 4pm and steadily increased the amount every 15 minutes. Contractions started out easy, progressing to menstrual cramp-like sensations I could easily talk through, to more intense feelings that required me to stop talking, close my eyes and concentrate. We walked around the room, sat in bed, leaned over, slow danced, and eventually I made it to 3 cm after a number of hours. At this point the pain was not too bad, but it seemed as though there was no break between contractions to catch my breath. Relaxation techniques and positive thoughts were helping only somewhat.

Around 7pm that evening Dr. Wells decided to rupture the membranes. Given that my contractions were becoming more intense, and with the knowledge that the rupture would bring on even more painful and rapid labor, I decided to go ahead with the epidural. As the anesthesiologist administered the block, I leaned forward and was pleasantly surprised at how easy the process was…it hurt for only a second like a bee sting when the local anesthetic was given.

After that, all I can say is labor was an absolute breeze. I slept through the remainder of the dilation, all the way to 10 cm. Granted, it was not uninterrupted sleep, as we were not only excited beyond belief but I was being checked every 1-2 hours and the bp cuff went off every 10 minutes. If I happened to bend my arm within those 10 minutes, I would be rudely awakened by the painful constriction of my arm flesh. Contractions felt like mild warm tightening, and I sensed them only on the lower right side of my abdomen. Then there were the beeping machines, an epidural alarm which kept misfiring and my own bp monitor which seemed to be out of whack. Right when we’d fall asleep, something would inevitably beep or alarm.

In early labor Maddie did not like me to lie on my right side. Her heartrate would drop, so they had me lay on my left side, causing the epidural effects to be concentrated there (hence feeling contractions only on the right). However after a bit of progression, it seemed the problem corrected itself and she didn’t seem to mind me switching sides. I progressed at a rate of about 1-1 ½ cm every two hours.

At 9 am the next day I made it to 10 cm and was told that in a little while we would start pushing. Family and friends Mike and Bonnie, Jennie, Gregg and Kelly, Mike and Kara, Susan and Andrew and the boys were waiting in the family lounge. They came in to say hi before the pushing began, at around 9:45.

I pushed for over an hour and a half, watching my progress in the full-length mirror. Pushing seemed natural to me, though not in any way easy. Early in the process I was able to reach down and feel her little cone-shaped head starting to make its entrance into the world. I remember Ben saying “she’s almost here” and the doctor saying “harder, Becky, harder.” I could see her head crowning but she was stuck in the same position (almost out) for quite a while. Doctor Wells said he was going to need to do an episiotomy to get her the rest of the way out. I cringed, and he decided to wait and give me a few more pushes to try on my own. The process was tiring. Doing four pushes per contraction was not always doable. There were times I didn’t make it to the count of ten because of the sheer exhaustion of it all. Eventually Dr. Wells went ahead with the episiotomy and he told me to listen carefully as he would guide me through the next pushes, saying first “easy, go about half way” and then “okay give it just a little squeeze” and out she came! I immediately started crying as the amniotic fluid poured out and he lifted her around to wave at me. Then she was placed right on my abdomen where we welcomed her beautiful, round and soft body into the world. We were able to talk to her and love on her (she didn’t cry hardly at all) for a few minutes before they took her to the warming table. She started to cry more heartily and Ben went over to comfort her, singing “Jesus Loves Me” which instantly calmed her down.

Her apgar scores were 8 and 9 and she was a healthy 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Dr. Wells sewed me up and said he was glad with the small amount of damage done given Maddie’s size. I could hardly complain at that point, with my beautiful daughter in my arms.

They gave me a medication to help the uterus contract the placenta out. Shortly after, I became really ill, vomiting multiple times (despite two doses of Zofran) before finally feeling like myself around 4 or 5pm. At that point, I had been crying because I was so frustrated that I couldn’t just enjoy my baby due to throwing up every time I tried to hold her on my belly. But it was almost as a switch was flipped and I felt better in time to try and nurse her.

In the hospital we were constantly woken by nurses, nursing assistants, people changing our garbage, delivering the food tray, removing the food tray. It was exhausting. Then we discovered we could put a note on the door saying “Mommy’s napping…don’t come back ‘til later.” After that we slept a little more soundly.

Ten days later, we are totally and completely, 100%, head over heels in love with Maddie. She is absolutely the most amazing, beautiful, sweet, gentle and precious gift we imagined she’d be. Nursing is taking off, as she is more awake now and stirs herself when hungry. At this moment she sleeps soundly in her cradle downstairs. We are beside ourselves with joy.

Friday, January 19, 2007

She's Here!!

Madeleine Noelle has arrived!
Born January 14, 2007
11:21 am
8 pounds, 4 ounces
21 inches long

Birth story in progress...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

in bed

No, not bed rest. Rather, sick as a dog with a horrible cold and need to stay in bed to rest. Seriously. Could it get any worse? Plagued with end of pregnancy aches and pains and then hit with this awful bug. My lips are chapped, nose is stuffed, head clouded, pelvis sore, belly large.

But the baby is doing well...moving right now, tickling my ribs with those little baby toes. 9 days until D-day, but so far she's content to stay in her warm and cozy home. Fine with us, as the OB was on skiing vacation with his family this week. She can just stay put for a few more days, then we're free to go!