Friday, July 25, 2008

My Big, Loud, Irish Labor...

...was surprisingly peaceful.
You may have seen those television shows that depict the young mother in the throes of labor, screaming and cursing her husband, but I am here to say it does not have to be that way.
Grace Anne was born July 9 at 5:19 via vaginal delivery with no cursing of her daddy, whatsoever. Thanks to the hypnosis techniques I had learned, I made it to 7 cm dilation with no drugs, and was never in pain. All I felt was intense pressure, like the worst menstrual cramps one can imagine. I felt like I was being squeezed through the eye of a needle, but there was never pain.
The evening before, I had to go in for a gel application to my cervix to help jump start dilation. I then returned 6 hours later for another dose. They were going to let us go home, but Grace started having a little trouble, so we were kept. Andy slept much of the night & my Mom was there, up filming every few hours. At about 3 am or so, she came and sat by my bed, and I think that's probably the most special time I've ever spent with my mother.
My contractions started to change a little then from the braxton hicks belt tightening sensation I was used to, to the cramp-like contractions.
At 8a they came in and got me on the IVs, started pitocin to jump start contractions, etc. Their blood glucose machine was a beast & I felt like it was going to eat all my blood. My poor little fingers almost couldn't bleed anymore by the end of the day, it took such big samples.
At 10:50a, my water broke all by itself. This got me really excited. Within an hour, I was dilated to 7 & not having as much fun anymore. I did get an epidural, but it didn't hurt, and I only had a very low dose. It makes me wonder if I could maybe make it further the next time around.
4:30 we were ready to push. Grace was really struggling, so they had to put on an internal monitor (which I'm not too happy about since the doctor ended up just yoinking it out, along with a patch of Grace's hair... my poor baby got scalped!)
Near the end, the doctor, nursing team, and my husband began singing my favorite hymn, Come Come Ye Saints. That was really special to me.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, here's part of the first verse:
"Come, come, ye saints. No toil, nor labor fear, but with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day..."
By then, the doctor told me to stop pushing, and a few minutes later he dangled a very fuzzy baby girl in the air by her ankle. She stared at me, blinking, before they whisked her off to the sidelines for clean up.
It happened so fast that my husband didn't get the opportunity to cut the cord, which I really wanted him to do.
During the birthing, I tore pretty badly, and the doctor did an episiotomy. My birth plan pretty much went out the window, and I felt the doctor had a bit of a negative view on things, but I was glad I had a healthy baby. I still feel that I had a satisfying birthing experience.
After I was sewn up, I was finally able to hold my baby.

Not long after, Andy went with her to the nursery for further clean up, and I was brought a tray of food. I didn't get to eat it right away, as they were letting me recover, but I was ready to rock and roll. They took out some of the IVs, leaving only one in to my relief, and then took me down to the room I'd be staying in.
I was enjoying a lovely turkey dinner when Andy returned with our little girl. She had a little purple bow in her hair, I was sold.
We roomed in with our baby the entire time.
Sitting was really uncomfortable, so they got me a doughnut cushion. I called it my tush cush. I also had lots of ibuprofen & percocet.
We were released Friday evening. Grace slept all the way home, and didn't wake up till 9 or 10.

And of course we had a perfect stay in the hospital, and a chaotic first night home. She woke up at 2 and wouldn't go back to sleep. My mom finally came in to us & took her at 6 am so we could get some sleep. She was a perfect guest the entire time. I wish she could be like that every time she visited. Maybe now that she has a grandbaby, she will be. :)
A couple days later the baby blues kicked in.
Nobody really takes the time to warn you about the baby blues, or the fact that you will cry uncontrollably without reason or warning. I think I'm starting to come out of the woods now, but rough days when Grace is inconsolably fussy tend to set me back. It takes a conscious effort to eat and take my meds. If I don't, I tend to get really depressed. Getting out helps too, and so does chocolate.
She gained her birthweight back and then some by 2 weeks, and the nurse was really impressed at how strong she was while doing her PKU test. She can hold her head up for short periods, and it took both of us to hold her down on her belly for the test. Her cord stump fell off on Tuesday, and I'm glad cuz I think it was starting to bother her. She would yelp if I turned her on her belly wrong.
Anyway, that's about all. I've been meaning to post this and updates for a long time.
Grace is fussing now, time to go feed!