Monday, March 3, 2014

Jake's Birth Story

Jake's birth story... I have been excited to write this post since he was born. As my pregnancy started winding down my Google search bar was flooded with "what do contractions feel like," "ways to naturally induce labor," "difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions," among other questions. Since this was my first pregnancy I felt really lost and anxious. I do not have many friends who have had babies recently so I didn't have too many people to help me answer these questions. So, I am excited that I can now give my anecdotal answers!

I had a regular weekly doctor's appointment on Wednesday, February 12th- I was 40 weeks. My doctor asked me if I wanted her to strip my membranes but I decided not to let her because we were expecting a big snow storm that day and the next. She said she wanted to go ahead and schedule my induction appointment for 41 weeks since Jake was measuring so big. So, we scheduled the induction for the next Wednesday which would give me a week to try and go into labor naturally. I decided to give it two more days and then have her strip my membranes on Friday, February 14th. So, I went to work that morning and then went to the appointment at 1:00pm. A lot of people say that having your membranes stripped is really painful. I didn't really think it was. It just felt like a more intense version of her checking my cervix. I cramped and bled right after she did it but that went away really quickly. I didn't have any signs of labor for the rest of the day. No cramps, no Braxton Hicks-- nada! My doctor was really confident that stripping my membranes would work for me because I was already dilated 5 centimeters (I walked around at 5 cm for a week and a half!). So Saturday (2/15/14) morning my husband and I slept in and then went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We came home, took the dogs on a walk, then sat down to finish a movie.

At 1:30pm I had my first contraction. When people say "you will know" they mean it. I knew. It felt like the most intense shit cramp I had ever had (sorry if that is TMI) but I could never get a good explanation of what they felt like! It came on super strong. There was no "building up" or "mild" contractions. After I had a second one I decided I needed to time them. For about an hour they were coming about 15-20 minutes apart so I decided to quickly shower and get my stuff ready to head to the hospital. Well, as soon as I got out of the shower they suddenly dropped to being about 4-5 minutes apart. I was freaking out at this point. I was in so much pain and I couldn't get all of my stuff together because the contractions were coming so fast. I was worried I wouldn't make it to the hospital in time for my pain medication! I told Adam to go ahead and call our parents. They all live 4 hours away and I wanted to make sure they had time to get here. Well come to find out both of our parents were already secretly in town! My parents had been here for a WEEK and Adam's had come up Friday. They were so terrified of missing the birth but it all worked out because they probably would have missed it had they not already been here.

I tried to wait until the end of a contraction to call the doctor but while I was on the phone leaving her a message another contraction started and I just had to hang up in the middle of it. She called right back and Adam answered. The doctor said she could tell by my message that we needed to hurry! So, we left for the hospital around 3:45pm. The car ride was excruciating. The walk into the hospital was excruciating. I couldn't even talk. I didn't have any rest between contractions because my back pain was so intense. Once I got to triage I had to fill out a million forms before they finally got me into a triage room to check me. In their defense they were trying to hurry as much as they could so I could get some pain medication quickly. The doc checked me and I was 6cm and 90% effaced. That was at about 4:30pm.

They got me to my room and the anesthesiologist came in. The doctor on call that night was one of Adam's golfing buddies (Adam is a nurse at the hospital where I delivered) and he came in and gave me the speech about "if I wasn't comfortable with him doing it he could call another doctor blah blah" and I am pretty sure I screamed "it's fine just do it!!" I didn't even feel the numbing shot or the epidural. After he was done I knew something wasn't right. Every time I had a contraction I could still feel it on the left side of my body. The doctor came back in and tried repositioning it-- still didn't work. So, he decided to just take it out and redo it. He explained that sometimes it just does that and that I might go through the rest of labor being able to feel it on my left side. Of course that freaked me out. Once he got it back in he cranked up the levels and I could finally feel the tingling sensation going down my left side-- it was working! I ended up still having a "hot spot" on my back where I could feel the contractions coming on. It was painful but nothing like it was before. It also helped me push more effectively because I could feel the contractions building up.

After the epidural worked it was selfie time :)

 At 6:30pm (2 hours after arriving) I was 10cm and 100% effaced! The doctor said they had just had a birth and needed to "recoup" and they would be back in soon for me to start pushing! I think they all just needed a dinner break but that was fine with me. It gave me a couple of hours to recollect my thoughts and I was able to text some friends and coworkers to let them know I was in labor. At around 8:20pm the nurse came in and said we were ready to push! I allowed my mom, mother-in-law, and sister to be in the delivery room with Adam and me. A lot of people thought I was crazy for letting so many people be in there but I am actually really thankful they were all able to share the experience with me! I pushed for about 2 hours and 40 minutes. The pushing didn't hurt too bad until Jake started to crown. Then it really hurt. My nurse said that the epidural doesn't usually cover the pain of him actually coming out. What?! Well, there wasn't any going back by that point! Ha! Jake made his entrance at 11:07pm on 2/15/14.

As soon as Jake came out I knew something was wrong. He wasn't crying and he was a deep purple color. He was making little grunting sounds. The nurse put him on my chest and tried to rough him up a little to see if he would cry. When he wouldn't they whisked him away and the neonatologist and NICU nurses began working on him. His lungs were filled with amniotic fluid so they had to suction him and take him on to the NICU. I was so terrified. I was filled with so many emotions and then for my baby to be taken away was just devastating. I was upset that I wasn't able to have my ideal post-birth situation where I did skin-to-skin and nursed him immediately. I definitely think that not being able to do those things impacted our bonding and breastfeeding experience but I was just so thankful that they were able to stabilize him so quickly and I knew that once he was discharged I would be able to get all the cuddles I wanted!

He ended up staying in the NICU from Saturday night through Tuesday. He had to be put on antibiotics and have his breathing monitored. The hospital could only keep me until Monday but thankfully there was an open room in the NICU so we got to room in with Jake Monday night and then he was discharged on Tuesday. They fed him formula in the NICU which made my breastfeeding attempts really difficult... but I plan on posting about our breastfeeding journey soon!

Jake is doing great now and the pediatrician says he is very healthy! He was up to 9lbs 1 oz. at our last doctors appointment about a week ago. While I wish I had been able to have my ideal post-birth experience and bonding time with Jake I am thankful that it wasn't a more serious situation. 

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  1. Congratulations Sarah!!!! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I can't wait to hear about all the details now that he is home. :)

  2. Sarah he's precious! Thanks for sharing his birth story!


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