The Baby Bean Blog

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Birth Story, Part 1

WARNING: This is not one of the birth stories where everything goes according to plan. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and you don't want to hear about how things don't go the way you want them to go, these Birth Story posts are probably ones that you should skip. But this blog is to chronicle my story, and this is part of it, so here goes.

I'm going to tell this story day by day. Yes, giving birth was not "at most 24 hours of my life" like I thought it would be. It was quite a bit longer. I'm going to go ahead and put Saturday, August 13, and Sunday, August 14, together.

On Saturday, I had a lot of lower back pain, which can be a sign that labor is approaching or even that labor has started. I thought about this with some excitement: I could be having my baby soon! But I also tried to remain grounded in the reality that I have lower back problems anyway, and these pains could just be a result of that. However, late Saturday night, I began to pay more attention to my abdomen and decided that what I was feeling, in addition to the lower back pain, were contractions. The contractions were spaced far apart. Only two of them were even 10 minutes apart, and I could go without a contraction for hours. But it definitely seemed like the start of something. Of course, that "something" could have be "prodromal labor," which can go on for days, but it was good to think that things were happening.

I went to sleep Saturday night around 11pm. I told my partner that labor could be starting, and she got a little panicked, which for her meant that she started to organize and clean. We still hadn't finished packing the labor bag completely, and she set her sights on that. I was quite confident that even if this was the beginning of labor, it would still be quite some time before I had progressed enough to go to the birth center, so I went to sleep.

I woke up between midnight and 1am to pee. Of course. At this point, I had to pee about every hour, asleep or awake. Occassionally, I could go for two hours, but that was the max. So I got up to pee, and when I wiped, it seemed like there was some fairly watery discharge going on down there. I wondered if my amniotic fluid was leaking or if this was just the normal discharge that a lot of pregnant women get: leukorrhea. I was familiar with leukorrhea because I had been having that more and more of it over the past couple of weeks.

I went to the bathroom several times between midnight and 2am, and the watery discharge persisted. Since I was group B strep (GBS) positive, if I was leaking amniotic fluid, I would have to go and get my labor started because they would want to limit my baby's exposure to the bacteria. If I had been GBS negative, I would have been given 3 days to go into labor by myself.

I thought about calling the midwife, but I decided that I was just being paranoid. I mean, I've been paranoid about so many things going wrong with this pregnancy, and with the exception of being GBS+, all my fears were unfounded. So I finally decided that I would see how things went for the rest of the night and then call the midwife in the morning at a decent hour.

The watery-ness of the discharge did slow down a bit by the morning, but I decided to call anyway at 9am, thinking I would just be assured that it was nothing. However, the midwife asked me to come in and be tested to see if it was amniotic fluid. I told my partner, and we hopped in the car and headed to the birth center. I was SO SURE that it was nothing that it never even occurred to me to bring the labor bag with us.

We got there around 9:45am, and the midwife did an internal exam where she took a sample of the discharge that had pooled around my cervix. The fact that there was discharge pooled around my cervix indicated that my water had indeed started leaking. She put the sample of it on one of those little rectangles of glass that you put under a microscope. 20 minutes later, she confirmed that there was amniotic fluid present in the sample.

I stayed at the birth center while my partner went to get me a milkshake from McDonalds. When she returned, the midwife poured 4 ounces of castor oil into the milkshake and told me to drink it up. She also started me on the antibiotic--vancomycin--that I would need to receive every 12 hours until I gave birth, I started the antibiotic and the castor oil milkshake around noon.

After all that was in progress, my partner went home to take care of the dogs and called my mother to come and get them--since she was the one who would take care of three of them for the first week of the baby's life (a friend who lived near my mom would take care of the fourth). My partner also straightened out a few more things at the house, threw some more things in the labor bag, and came back to the birth center.

Now about castor oil. Basically, it gives you a really, REALLY nasty case of diarrhea. All the spasms and gurgling of your intestines around your uterus cause you to release the hormone prostanglandin, which is the same hormone that softens and thins the cervix. It's a "natural" way to induce labor. Not a pleasant way, but a way that doesn't use drugs. My partner got back right around the time the castor oil started to work. Lucky her.

I basically had pure liquid diarrhea for about 5 or 6 hours. This was made worse by the fact that the birth center had horrible, scratchy, single ply toilet paper. After a few hours, I was RAW. I finally asked my partner to go to the drug store to get me some decent toilet paper and some Tucks pads. Note to self: DO NOT EVER, EVER PUT TUCKS PADS ON A RAW AREA AGAIN. I almost cried as it felt like putting rubbing alcohol on my raw "area." Wait. Let me rephrase. I didn't "almost" cry. I CRIED. IT HURT THAT MUCH. So ixnay on the ucksTay.

As the hours went by, I became more and more afraid that I would not be able to have my baby at the birth center. I could feel my dream of having a non-medicated (except the vanco and the castor oil) childbirth slip away. I thought that I had about 18 hours after my water broke to be in active labor. The castor oil was givng me contractions at last, but they were still pretty far apart. Sometimes as close as 7 minutes apart. Sometimes 10 or 15 minutes apart. This was not active labor, I needed contractions at least 5 minutes apart--4 mintues would be better. If I couldn't get there by myself (and the help of the castor oil), I would be transferred to the hospital where I would be put on pitocin--a synthetic hormone that mimics the natural hormone oxytocin, which causes contractions.

Things were hopping at the birth center. All three birth suites were full by the afternoon. Two women arrived after me and had their babies while I waited for my body to kick things into gear. Another woman also arrived and was put into the family room because all the birth suites were full. I felt bad for taking up a birth suite since not much was going on with me. And at midnight on Sunday, that's how things stood.

2 Comments:

  • Poor Oz... Sorry about the rough start. I'm sure glad I know about the end result and that it was nice result. Big baby though. My older sonny was 9, 9 1/2 lbs. I can only guess at the rest of this story.

    By Blogger foxymama, at 11:02 AM, August 28, 2005  

  • Thanks for still reading and commenting, Foxy. :) I hope you enjoy Part 2. Although "enjoy" might not be the right word to use....

    By Blogger Oz, at 5:32 PM, September 03, 2005  

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