Monday, March 9, 2015

Her First Two Pregnancies {Choosing Life: Chapter 2}

She already had two amazing and beautiful boys, ages 10 and 8. Both boy’s genders were surprises since she and her husband chose to wait until they were born to find out their sex. And each one, of course, had their own unique birth story.

After an uneventful pregnancy, the only glitch having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (probably resulting from eating a large bag of Starbursts on the way to the clinic for the test), her firstborn, Michael, decided astonishingly to be born on his due date.

She and her husband had settled in for an evening of movie watching. Having had random contractions all week and being that it was the night before the baby’s due date, she had chosen to lay on the couch with a towel underneath her, just in case.

Her husband pushed play on the DVD player, and they were both thrown into the midst of Saving Private Ryan’s depiction of D-Day. And although the gun shots were loud and intense in the middle of the beach storming scene, they both heard an audible pop that seemed to come from behind them or across the room. She raised herself up on her elbows to see what the sound was and realized her water had broken!

As she sat on the toilet, trying to talk to her nurse midwife on the phone, she was told to come in when she couldn’t talk through the pain. They left almost immediately especially since they also lived 45 miles away from the hospital. She sat on towels as her husband sped down the highway, breathing through the pain with every bump in the road and every contraction. She had planned ahead to have an unmedicated birth only because her friend had done it, and she wanted to see if she could do it too. She can be competitive.

They were ushered into the largest birth room, and she proceeded with various activities to help distract and alleviate pain. She went to the bathroom, they did laps in the hallway, she took a warm shower, she rocked in the rocking chair. These kept her busy until the pain became overwhelming. Soon, as she was moaning to herself, hunched over in the rocking chair, she overheard her midwife tell the nurse-in-training that she was in transition.

Transition hurt. And it was surreal. Eventually, the midwife had her climb onto the table so they could check the baby’s progress. Thankfully it was time. Since she chose a natural birth, she had no IV’s, only a monitor around her belly to listen to the baby’s heart.

The room was full of attendants waiting on the arrival of this new little human. She remembers noticing all the random day to day discussions going on around her between agonizing pushes as if they were all sitting in her living room, just hanging out. She kept pushing as instructed, getting tired, but the baby still wouldn’t come out, its head stuck crowning for 25 minutes.

While some of the nurses and attendants seemed to become a little anxious, her nurse midwife assured her everything was okay because the baby’s heart rate was still normal. But not wanting to risk the child being stuck any longer, the midwife finally gave her what was supposed to be a tiny episiotomy. Ouch! Not realizing she didn’t need to push as hard anymore, the last push resulted in a nice 3rd degree tear and an 8 pound 5 ounce, black haired, red faced quiet baby boy. She was amazed it only took 4 hours from the time they first arrived to the hospital.

Having experienced a natural childbirth for all it’s worth, she gave in to her curiosity to see what a medicated childbirth was like with her 2nd child, Jonathan. However, this pregnancy felt very different, and while she doesn’t remember having any diagnoses of something like gestational diabetes again, she often referred to the baby as the anti-Michael. This child just seemed ready to break out, moving more and kicking harder. The baby’s hormones collided with her own causing her to feel depressed and anxious, miserable. She was given an anti-depressant during the last month, but when the due date arrived and the baby didn’t seem to care, she cried on her nurse midwife’s shoulder believing she couldn’t survive one more day.

Having compassion, the midwife met her at the hospital and broke her water. Being induced caused the pain to come on much more quickly and intensely than she remembered when it happened naturally. She couldn’t wait to get an epidural and spent the whole pain free time sleeping. When she woke up, the epidural had almost worn off, and it was time to push.

Again, she had to receive an episiotomy since the scar tissue from the last one wouldn’t let the baby through. And again, she had a lovely 3rd degree tear. But in spite of all this, she got to experience a most amazing national geographic moment. After they put the screaming red faced, blond headed, 7 pound 9 ounce baby boy on her chest, he wiggled and rooted around to nurse almost immediately. With this baby, both she and her husband both felt their family was complete.

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