Sunday, August 24, 2008

Birth Stories | Griffin | July 26, 2008

My client and friend, Ashley, was kind enough to send me her birth story. She really wanted a natural birth...ended up with an epidural but with a happy ending, so please read more to find out. I know this is a long one, so I'll post her "birth plan" later. Ashley, send me a photo or two to upload with the story. :)

Griffin’s Birth Story
Born July 26, 2008; 9:47 p.m.

This is a bit long-winded, so be prepared for a long read…We saw my OB at 10 a.m. on Friday (July 25), and were happy to find out that I was 3 centimeters dilated. Being 3 days overdue, Dr. Faulkner agreed to strip my membranes and OK me for acupuncture to induce.

I spent that day doing a final project for work, and visiting the mall with my mom and Alyssa for some last minute shopping. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, until that evening when the acupuncturist made a house call to try and induce me. The treatment was interesting—I had some very strong Chi sensations, and felt lots of baby kicks. We were advised to take an hour-long walk afterward, to try and stimulate things further. Greg, Alyssa, my mom and I enjoyed the Sculpture Park and waterfront—I was having minor contractions at that point. By 11 p.m. that night, I finally started having regular contractions, but still nothing painful. They were five minutes apart, but Dr. Faulkner suggested that we get some sleep until I was really in pain.

I woke up around 2 a.m. (on Saturday morning—July 26) with painful cramps. I quietly got through things on my own for a while, relaxing in bed and walking around the condo. After a few nudges from me that things were starting to happen, Greg got up and helped me. After an hour of painful contractions, we called Dr. Faulkner again. This time she advised us to come to the hospital when we felt like it was really ‘time,’ but not later than 7 a.m. By 3:45 a.m., I knew I was really in labor. I had some moments where I felt really scared and discouraged—the contractions were already intense, and I wasn’t sure how I would cope through the entire process. Greg helped me relax, and was very reassuring. I was feeling very nauseas and cold, which was also discouraging. During the time that I labored at home, I showered, took a bath and sat on the birthing ball to get through the contractions. By 5 a.m., we felt like we were ready to head to the hospital. The nausea and chills were getting worse, and I did not realize that was a normal reaction to labor.

We were not stressed on the way to the hospital, but I was VERY uncomfortable. Greg drove the wrong way by accident, and we stopped at Starbucks for a quick snack (I knew they would not let me eat once we were admitted to the hospital). We were put in a small room in triage (the area where they monitor you to determine whether or not you should be admitted), and I was hooked up to the monitors and checked for dilation. I was SO upset to find out that all the labor I had been through so far had not dilated me any more. I was still only three centimeters. They were not sure they wanted to admit me, as my contractions had slowed to only 7-8 minutes apart. I was very frustrated and began fighting against my body, which was a big part of why I was not progressing. After an hour or more in triage, things got a little ugly. They told me my baby was a bit ‘flat’ and that they wanted to see more activity out of him. Then I started throwing up (another common side effect of labor), and this apparently put the baby in distress. The triage nurse started acting like we were in code red, and hooked me up to oxygen and ordered an IV. I was scared at that point. As they were poking me over and over to find a vein for the IV, the call was made to admit me. At that point, my personal nurse arrived in triage to rescue me. She was a saint. She took me off oxygen, told them to stop trying to give me an IV, and calmly walked us to our birthing room. I loved this woman! She was the turning point in my birth experience, where I realized that my birth plan would be respected and that I would be in very good, caring hands.

With nurse Alyssa’s and Greg’s help, I then began to progress very quickly. We were in our birthing room by 10 a.m., and I was in the tub by 11 a.m. I labored in the tub naturally for about 3 hours. I was in active labor, and became very mentally focused to get through the pain. At about 2 p.m., I started telling Greg I needed to get an epidural so I could take a nap. Remember, I was planning on going through the entire process naturally, so he was very strong in trying to talk me out of it. Our nurse came in and also tried to talk me out of the epidural. She checked my progress and I was already at 8 centimeters! I was in transition, and had gotten there pretty fast. Greg and the nurse coached me through about another half hour to try and avoid the epidural. I had lost my focus at that point, and decided that I needed relief to make it through. At that point, I was about 9 centimeters.

After the epidural (which did not hurt), I took a nap and waited until pushing could begin. I felt really really good for a while. I could still move and feel my legs, and could tell when I was having contractions. When pushing started, the nurse was certain I would have the baby very quickly. After about an hour of pushing and getting nowhere, she started to suspect that the baby was facing the wrong direction—face up instead of face down. I started to feel more and more pain, even with the drugs. Long story short, pushing went on and on for 5 ½ hours before Griffin was finally delivered. I was so grateful for having the epidural, because I was in a lot of pain and was completely exhausted. Pushing was so physically exhausting, I’m sure I could run a marathon after having gotten through it.

In the end, we decided to let the doctor use forceps to deliver Griffin. She was willing to let me keep going on and on, since he was not in any distress, but I couldn’t bear the thought of pushing for hours and hours more. Plus, with him facing the wrong way, there was no guarantee that I would EVER get him out on my own. His head was essentially stuck in my pelvis. The forceps delivery was painful, but Griffin was delivered very quickly once they got started. The doctor also wanted to let me push him out, so she only used the forceps to get his head over my pelvis. Once he was crowning, I was able to finish the job, and bring my baby boy into this world. The feeling of getting him out was the most relief I could ever imagine. The look on Greg’s face was priceless, and as he watched Griffin be born, he just calmly said ‘Wow.’

They put Griffin onto my chest right away, and we cuddled skin on skin. He pooped all over me, and started nursing almost right away. I was in shock, and total euphoria. It was an overwhelming feeling of happiness, relief, shock, disbelief and amazement. He was so beautiful, even with his horrible cone head (which went away by the next day). Greg, Griffin and I bonded as a family and started getting to know each other right away. He never left our sight or our room, and we held him close until we were able to leave the hospital the next night. All in all, we are so happy with the birth experience, and will look on that day forever as one of the most momentous of our lives.

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