Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Birth Story

To be honest, I'm not sure how to go about writing about the birth of my second child. So many blogs do such a wonderful job of telling about the birth of their children, and yet the style in which they do it just isn't me. I don't want to simply go through and write about the stats of how long I labored and pushed and and how big she was and what drugs I took and all of that. I shy away from that partly because the details are fuzzy in my mind. They are coming in focus a bit more as time goes by, but still the exact details of what makes a birth story aren't particularly solid. But the main reason I don't want to write about it in the normal way is that it seems the experience of giving birth is so much more than simply the stats. So, this is my attempt at not only telling what "happened" but the emotions and lasting effect behind what happened. This record is more for me than anyone else. Giving birth was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and if anything is worth writing about this is.

I should start out with a brief recap of the birth of my first daughter. It was a scheduled c-section about 2 weeks before my due date. I never went into labor and had very few contractions. We went into the hospital on a Thursday morning, I was preped and taken to the OR and about 20 min. later my beautiful, perfect baby girl was born. True to her nature she was screaming before she was even out and didn't stop till they brought her to me in the recovery room. I was fortunate to be up to holding her very soon and she was brought to me less than an hour after she was born.

The thing is though, I wasn't a participant in her birth. I had the position of an involved spectator so to speak. I was physically effected, but only because of what was done to me not because of what I did. I wasn't able to get around very well for almost 2 months after the operation, and it was a full 2 weeks before I was really able to pick her up and do many of the basic care. It wasn't until I was pregant again that I realized how great a toll this had taken on me emotionally. It was then I realized that I didn't want that experience again unless it was absolutely vital for the safety of my baby. I wanted to labor, to experience the pain and toil of child birth, to be able to take care of my baby after she was born, to be there for my toddler. Don't get me wrong, I think c-sections are amazing procedures and I am so thankful that they are available. And I would not hesitate to have one again if I really needed it. I just wasn't convinced I needed it this time-so we went for a natural birth.

My due date was Feb. 19 and since I had had a c-section they wouldn't induce if I went over but instead would want to do a repeat c-section so we were praying hard that I would go into labor before my due date. On Feb. 14 I started having contractions every 10 or so minutes, but they were pretty mild so I didn't really think it was going to turn into anything. By about 6pm that evening the contractions were still 10 minutes apart and had gotten painful, but I was still able to function fine. In fact I had the bright idea of going to Hobby Lobby and getting fabric to make baby bedding out of. I contiuned down the path of "bright ideas" by trying to make said baby fabric when I got home. Now, perhaps you don't think this is that big of blunder? Well, I wouldn't either except when I was pregnant the first time I was warned by many women that generally when you go into labor you get a burst of enegery and a desire to do a project. Further more, I had been talking about that said burst of energy all pregnancy and was determined to watch out for it. One would think that with 6 hours of contractions just 5 days before my due date I would have noticed it. One would think that my husband asking if this was the burst of energy I would have noticed it. But, no, I didn't notice it. And I continued to work on said bedding until midnight. Now, by midnight I had been having contraction 5 min. apart for about 3 hours and wasn't able to sew during them any longer. Finally I decided that I might be in labor. Honestly though I still wasn't convinced. So I took a shower and finally laid down to try and get some sleep about 12:30. But the contractions didn't let me sleep for more than a few minutes at a time, so when at 4 I knew I was for sure in labor I was very tired. The next hour was when things really started to pick up and get uncomfortable. This hour was also when I began to start throwing up and that we decided it was time to go into the hospital.

When we got there they immediately wanted to do many things which I really didn't- give me an IV, break my water, and hook me up to an internal monitor. I agreed to the IV as I was concerned about getting dehydrated, but put them off on the other things. So, to speed up this narrative....my contractions stayed at 5 min apart until about noon when they picked up to about 2-3 min. apart. But by about 4 (I think this was the time, this is where it starts to get fuzzy) I was still only at 8cm. dilated so we broke my water. Contractions are much worse when your water is broke. Much. And then about 4:30 (I think) came the pitocin. Contractions with pitocin make the other contractions seem decently pleasant. My heart goes out to all the women who are routinely induced with pitocin and having their waters broke. I would have signed up for the epidural I think had I had to endure the pitocin from the beginning.

So at about 5:45 I was ready to push. I had no clue what I was doing in terms of what muscles to use. By that point I had gotten kind of stuck in bed because the contractions were coming so fast I hadn't been able to move to a better position. So I ended up delivering in the position I really didn't want to-but it did the trick, so ce la vie. My first push did nothing. I could tell right away that it was totally in effective except to make me more uncomfortable in the contraction. At that point I had my first doubts of "I'm not going to be able to deliver this baby." But by the grace of God the second went better, and the third MUCH better. By the third push I knew that this was going to be fine, I could do this, and soon I was going to get to see my baby. I didn't think it would be as soon as it was though. At 6:11 my little girl was born. The part of the whole ordeal that I had been most concerned about was really the easiest. I didn't feel it when I tore. And I did get to feel everything else. For the sake of the male readership (if they are still reading, which I seriously doubt)I won't go into too much detail....but I got to reach down and feel her head and was able to tell how much of her body was still left to be pushed, and such things. That was amazing. I was the participant in the birth, not just the spectator.

After she was born they put her right on my chest and I got to cuddle her there skin to skin for the next hour while they stitched me up. That was so great. She didn't leave me, but just cuddled there contentedly. In fact, with the exception of a very short cry right at first, she didn't cry at all. She was just happy and perfect. Sleepy really. She was 6lbs 8oz, 18 3/4 inches long, 13.5 cm head.

But those are just the stats.

What isn't included in those though was so much. Like deciding to use some pain meds when I had originally thought I wouldn't. I ended up getting two doses of Demerol and an anti-nausia med, along with a dose of Nubain with the pitocin. They didn't help much with the contraction pain exactly. Certianly some, but the main goodness of the drugs was that they made me sleepy so in the stage of 5min. spaced contractions I was able to almost sleep inbetween them. And in the late stages it made me sleepy enough to relax. This gave me the energy to push when the time came. After 30 hours of contractions, 36hours with out sleep, and about 21 hours of real hard labor I had no energy left. None. Now, I probably would have found the energy I needed to push without the meds, but I really think I would have pushed more. I am glad that I took them. Part of me really wanted to not to somehow "prove" something. Ultimately though I realized that was a stupid and rather wrong reason to do anything. I have nothing to prove. And I certainly don't need any growth hormones added to my pride. So if nothing else it is probably good for me that I can't say I did it completely natural.

I am sitting here though now trying to find words to describe the other behind the stats emotions of birth. Feeling the pain of the contractions and knowing that it is working for good- for each one works to bring your baby into the world. Knowing that your husband is there with you, loves you and believes in you. Having to put your trust in God and God alone when you know that although it is "you" doing this, it is only by the grace of Him and with His strength that you will be able to endure and bring a child into the world. Believing at times that it wasn't going to work, and furthermore was going terribly wrong and you and your baby were in danger and having to turn that fear over to God and feeling His peace wash over you. And so many other things that are only vague impressions, nothing I could ever put into words, but experiences and feelings that I wouldn't trade for the world.

I definitley prefer natural birth to a c-section. I don't feel closer to one daughter over the other though. She isn't more special or more loved. Rather it is something I just feel immensely blessed to get to have exerpienced once in my life. If there is a next time, which I pray that there will be, I will do things slightly different. First, I'm hiring a doula. So much of the reading I did and things I wanted to try to help with pain and with tearing I completely forgot about. Also, I really want to look into a birth center instead of a hospital. I want to be with people who look at pregnancy and birth as something which is a part of life-not a medical condition which needs to be treated.

Wow, I have all these impressions half formed in my head and I can't tell you about them. So I shall end this really long post now. There are sure to be further thoughts on babies, and labor and delivery, and children (especially the older reacting to the younger), and all of that....but for now, this is my birth story. There are things left out, and details I probably have wrong. But this is the way I remember it and so that's how it is and probably will be forever.

God is so good. In all ways, in all times. Whether the perfect birth ending in the perfect healthy baby or in the hard labor ending in heartache, and in everything inbetween. I'm still overwhelmed by how amazing it all is. Go and have children for yourself, I can't explain anymore.

3Psalm 127:3-5
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
5Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.


At March 15, 2006 10:34 PM, Anonymous Shannon said...

thank you for sharing this story!

At March 16, 2006 9:19 PM, Anonymous molly said...

What a GREAT story!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At March 18, 2006 2:35 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...


At April 18, 2006 11:17 AM, Blogger amazing journeys said...

Thank you Tiffany! I love birth stories and yours is great! You inspired me to share one of my own in my blog, hope to do it soon :) Thanks again!


At April 18, 2006 12:28 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Thanks Olya! Thanks for stopping to read my blog, I'm glad you enjoyed your time here.

At January 17, 2007 1:17 AM, Blogger ReneeM said...

Thanks for directing me over here! Did your Dr have any hesitation with allowing the V-Bac? or did they extra caution you or anything?

Apparently my Dr's group is the only group in town that will do V-Bacs, especially after 2, and even then if I get a few of the Dr, they may not let me... grrr. BUT I appreciate my Dr's honesty so I am prepared. I'd rather healthy baby than a V-bac... SO we'll see.

Your story was lovely!

At January 17, 2007 7:57 AM, Anonymous sara said...

I came over from Molly's. great story! I'm surprised they used pitocin - were there any special concerns about that? I'm planning a VBAC with a midwife in a few weeks.


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