Saturday, June 16, 2012

Labor and Delivery WOD

I posted awhile ago during my pregnancy about my thoughts on natural / med-free childbirth. Why not fully experience everything my body is supposed to feel and go through during the labor and delivery, right? To help Justin and me through the process and to have a level head there for support, we hired a doula, Katie, to be there with us at the hospital. Here's how everything went down to bring this little cutie into the world.

(WARNING:  Read with caution as this post may include some details you don't want to know. i.e. If reading about the progress of my cervix dilating is going to gross you out, you may want to skip this post. I'll throw in lots of adorable baby pictures to balance it out though.)

The last several weeks of my pregnancy were a bit of a roller coaster.  At my 38 week appointment, my blood pressure was high (160/100), and the doctor warned me that if it didn't go down by the end of my appointment after laying on my side, she would want me to go to the hospital for immediate blood tests and to have my blood pressure monitored, and if it still didn't go down after monitoring, they would want to induce. (The concern with high blood pressure is pre-eclampsia, which can lead to seizures and organ failure, and the only known cure is delivering the baby.) When the nurse retook my blood pressure at the end of the appointment, it was down (148/74) - thank goodness! (They look more at the bottom number, and over 90 is where they get worried.) This same pattern went on at my 39 week appointment and my two 40 week appointments. Over these couple weeks, they took several blood tests and had me do a urine test where I collected all of my urine for 24 hours. My doctors (there are six in the practice) knew I didn't want to be induced, and nothing from the blood and urine tests indicated that it was medically necessary to do so, but I felt like I was negotiating for more and more time at each appointment. In the meantime, I tried a bunch of "natural induction methods," including several workouts with jumping rope, squatting, and lunging (very light and low intensity) and TONS of walking. The baby just wasn't ready to come out.    

By my 41 week appointment on June 5, I was 9 days past my due date, and I knew I was going to have to schedule a date to be induced. Even though it's normal for pregnancy to last up to 42 weeks, OBs get nervous when you pass your "due date" and especially when you get close to the 42 week mark. I had an internal exam and was dilated 2-3 cm, the same as I had been at my appointment 4 days earlier. My doctor was adamant that she did not want me to go beyond 42 weeks, but she was willing to give me more time as long as I did a non-stress test (NST) and ultrasound where they look at fluid levels surrounding the baby. With the NST, they monitor the baby's heart rate and look for it to increase when the baby moves, then go back down. It took awhile for the baby to get moving, but then everything looked good. While were we in the room for the NST, a nurse came in and said she had scheduled for me to be induced at 9:00 p.m. that night. I was like, "what?! NO!" The nurse looked super confused. Apparently the doctor had just written "schedule induction" in my chart, so I told her the doctor said I could have more time as long as the baby looked fine. Everything looked good with the ultrasound as well, so we talked to the doctor again.  Because 42 weeks would be a Sunday and they don't schedule inductions on the weekend, the latest the doctor was willing to schedule it was to start Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. They start in the evening because they insert something that ripens the cervix before starting pitocin. (I think next time I'm pregnant, I may figure out what day of the week my "due date" will be and lie about the date of my last period by a day if it's going to be on a Sunday again.)

I called Katie to give her an update with what was going on, and she suggested that I consider taking castor oil.  I had read that castor oil can be very effective at starting labor, but it causes horrible diarrhea in the 2 oz dose recommended to start labor. Would I rather get diarrhea and potentially go into labor or be induced?  I decided I would take my chances with the castor oil and had Justin go buy some (it's with the laxatives at the drug store). I took 2 oz with OJ around 8:00 pm Tuesday night, and around 9:30, I was having fairly regular contractions about 12 min apart. I tried to go to bed, but was too uncomfortable when the contractions came to get any sleep. I took a shower, laid down for awhile, took a bath, laid down for awhile, took another shower. Around 3:30 a.m. I woke Justin and told him he may want to get up and pack. This definitely seemed like labor, but I still wasn't completely sure it wasn't just nasty effects of the castor oil. (BTW, it did not disappoint as a very effective laxative.) By 5:00 a.m., contractions were getting much more intense, and I text Katie to let her know what was going on.

7:00 a.m. -  I started thinking I might want to go to the hospital soon, and we left about 45 minutes later. When we were checked in and in our room, the nurses took my blood pressure and hooked me up to monitor the baby. I knew my blood pressure was also going to be an issue at the hospital. It was 175/108 (yikes!), and they drew blood for more lab tests. Then, the baby wasn't responding to my contractions, and the nurses were worried he may have had a bowel movement in the womb. (This can cause problems if the baby inhales it and is more common in babies born after their due dates.) They gave me some juice, and he started moving around. My blood pressure also went down some after a little time in bed. After checking me (dilated 4 cm, which didn't seem like much progress from 2-3 at my appointment after being so uncomfortable all night), it was about 9:00 a.m., and they let me get of of bed. I went from the rocking chair to a birth ball, then I got in the whirl pool. I was in a lot of pain during the contractions at this point, but the whirl pool felt amazing and made it so much easier to relax during the contractions.

Getting some love from Bandit
Around 10:45 a.m. - One of the nurses came in the bathroom and told us my lab results had come back, and I was going to have to be in bed. Because of my blood pressure, my doctor wasn't happy they had let me move around in the first place. My doctor then came in and said based on my blood pressure and labs, I was borderline HELLP Syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count ... it's hard to find much out about pre-eclampsia or HELLP syndrome because there isn't a known cause or even really a definition of what it is, but HELLP is basically really bad pre-e and can lead to seizures, liver and kidney failure, and hemorrhaging due to blood clotting problems.) It was weird to hear because I felt completely fine. I think the fact that I felt fine is also why it didn't really freak me out that much, even though I knew it was normal to feel fine and still have really severe problems. Other than the high blood pressure, I didn't have any of the other symptoms - headaches, nausea and vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, blurry vision.  Looking back, I think the swelling in my legs was probably "excessive," but the doctors always told me my swelling wasn't bad at all.

I was not looking forward to being stuck in bed, so I took my time getting out of the tub, going to the bathroom, and getting dressed. I was given magnesium sulfate through an IV to prevent seizures. The nurse made the magnesium sulfate sound absolutely terrifying and guaranteed to make me feel like complete hell. Katie later told me that other women she had seen given it spent the rest of their labor vomiting. Luckily, it didn't make me feel like crap, or maybe I was just too focused on managing the pain of the contractions to notice.    

11:30 a.m. - The doctor checked me again, and I was at 7 cm, which was amazing news because I didn't know how well I was going to manage being confined to the bed. She broke my water, and it was clear, another huge relief because of the concern that the baby had passed a bowel movement in there. At that point, I started crying. I'm not sure why; I think I was just so relieved to be getting some good news after what seemed like a lot of bad news. Being in bed completely sucked, but this part is mostly a blur. I just remember it was crazy painful, then feeling some pressure like I had to poop during a contraction. The nurse told me if I felt to urge to push to resist until they checked me. All of the sudden during a contraction, my body just started pushing. It kind of felt like a really intense, uncontrollable urge to poop. The nurse tried to get me to breath through it and not push, but holding back was pretty much impossible. I think this only went on for maybe 2 contractions.

Already working on his
overhead squats
A little after 12:00 p.m. - They checked me, and I was 10 cm. Ready to push for real! I pushed from my side for awhile, then switched to my back. I remembered Katie saying how most women like to push ... I did not. It hurt. A lot. Without thinking about it, I was screaming (extremely loudly) through the pushes until the nurse told me I would make more progress if I held in the noise. I kept my eyes closed most of the time and had my head turned toward Justin, who was sitting up by my head (he didn't want to see what was going on down there; I don't blame him!) Justin said it almost felt like a CrossFit event with everyone standing and encouraging me. Justin, Katie, the doctor, and I think at least 4 nurses were in there. It started feeling like I was pushing forever and that they were lying to me with all of the "you're doing great" and "your baby's almost here" comments. I thought about stories I had heard of women pushing for hours. Then I thought of my mom bragging about pushing her babies out in one push. Neither thought was very motivating at the moment. I also thought about finally getting to find out whether our baby was a boy or girl; a much more motivating thought. Each contraction was like a set a 3 pushes, and I set my mind to just make as much progress as possible each contraction and get this over with as soon as possible.

12:37 p.m. - Landon James Vaught was born! Once the head came out, it felt like the rest of the baby and all of my insides just fell out after it. Weirdest feeling ever. It seemed like it took Justin a really long time to announce whether "it" was a boy or a girl. I think I asked twice "what is it?" before he finally said "BOY!" We were both completely convinced we were having a boy so it was like I already knew before he said it and that was just confirmation. (We hadn't even fully settled on a girl name.)

Landon was a completely perfect and healthy little guy. And even though there were some scary moments and everything didn't go quite as planned, I really couldn't be happier with the experience. Katie and Justin, even though he was terrified much of the time and may be traumatized, were both absolutely amazing. It was the hardest, most painful workout ever, but I would do it all over again in a second.  

10 days old :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Landon James Vaught is here!

Landon James 
He was fashionably late (10 days), but Landon James Vaught finally made his appearance at 12:37 p.m. on June 6, 2012, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz (0.2087 pood), measuring 20" long, healthy, and super cute.  Labor and delivery definitely lived up to all the hype -- hardest wod ever but completely worth it.  For now I'll just show off some pictures, but I'll post more of a birth story and update later.

Super excited to be going home!
First trip to the gym :) 
 4 days old