Tuesday, March 20, 2007

360 days old

since i've always wanted to document it and it's never been told, here is
Julianna’s birth story

One year ago today it was a Friday afternoon and I was coming home from yet another long week of work and whined and complained about how bad my pelvic bone was hurting. Then I proceeded to laid around on the couch until someone suggested that we go out to dinner with my mom, dad, and sister downtown. We went to a restaurant I had never visited before. It was different but yummy and I remember the cold air blasting in through the door every time someone opened it. There was to be live music there that evening and because we were eating a pretty early dinner we didn’t see the musicians until we were about to leave. They had just come in to start setting up. Anyway, I don’t remember what I ordered except that I did eat my mom’s bowl of chili after she decided she didn’t like it. Whoa buddy. Big mistake.

So where was I? Oh yeah. Back to the restaurant. When we were done with our meal and waiting on the check I started feeling some tightness in my stomach. When I complained about it everyone kept asking, “Are they contractions?” But I didn’t know. All I knew was that I was feeling really bloated and when I touched my belly it was as hard as a rock. So we all went on home.

When we got home the tightness still hadn’t gone away so I called the doctor and the nurse on duty kept asking me how long apart the contractions were. I tried to explain to her that it was basically a constant pain and tightness in my lower stomach and upper thigh area and that I couldn’t feel the tightness go away ever or at least not enough to time it. So they finally just told me to go on over to the hospital to get checked.

On the way to the hospital my water broke (or so I thought). We made it up to the fourth floor and I got checked in. She asked for my symptoms and I told her about the tightness in my stomach and that I thought my water broke. She told me to go on over to the nurses station in Labor and Delivery. When we got there we had to wait a bit to even be addresses so I went over to the bathroom. It was then that I was certain that my water had indeed broken. By the time I got out of the bathroom back to the nurses station I could feel the pain coming and could definitely start timing the contractions. They were about 2.5 minutes apart (or I could be mistake since my memory is fuzzy, but that’s how I recall it). Anyway, they got me into a bed soon and hooked up my IVs and took my blood pressure, etc. When the doctor came and checked I was 4 cm dilated. We called my family to let them know we were there, but also told them that there was no need to come to the hospital just yet because all we were doing was a lot of waiting… I think it was about 8pm then.

They sometime moved me over to a real Labor and Delivery room and got me hooked up to all the machines and everything. Then my doctor actually came by to see me and I remember feeling really relieved that it was that particular doctor on call that weekend. I asked her when she got off and when she said, “Not ‘til Sunday” I was pretty happy that she would be the one that would more than likely be delivering my little one. She told me that there were a lot of patients on the hall that night so that she’d be back a little later.

Well, we hadn’t been in that room for long when my mom, dad, sister, and sister’s boyfriend come strolling in. Jonathan decided to call his mom and tell her that everyone was there so they might as well come on up too. So shortly after that his mom and grandmother were there.

My pain was getting pretty bad and the nurse kept saying that a doctor would be in to check me again shortly. I remember being SO UNBELIEVABLY HOT. Everyone was fanning me with folded up papers and I was snapping at people who wouldn’t answer my questions the first time I asked. The nurse was pretty generous about letting more than the allowed 4 people in the room with me, but then the pain got so bad at one point I remember saying to my mom, “I can’t do this!”

The NCAA Tournament was on TV and I kept trying to distract myself by watching the games. (I believe Boston College was playing, but then again maybe I am mistaken. It was hard to pay attention and besides NCSU and UNC were both already out.) By about 10:30 my contractions were getting so bad and they kept telling me that the doctor was going to be right in to check me. I had told myself that if I could make it to 7 cm then I would try to have a natural delivery, but since the doctor wasn’t coming I finally called for the drugs.

Then it seemed like AN ETERNITY before the anesthesiologist arrived. Apparently several women asked for their epidurals all at the same time. He did finally get there and administered the drugs pretty quickly and easily. I just remember him about to stick the needle in my back and me yelling for him to stop, that a contraction was coming. I was so afraid I wasn’t going to be able to sit still. But after it was all said and done, the epidural didn’t hurt at all. Anyway, he was Puerto Rican and very funny. I remember liking the man with the drugs a whole lot. He he.

After I got some relief from the pain I was able to rest a little. I don’t think I ever went to sleep, but it was definitely a lot easier to sit still and think. The nurses had shooed my family out into the waiting room when the anesthesiologist came so it was a pretty nice quite time with my husband for a while after that.

With the epidural I could still feel each time a contraction was coming, but it was very minor pain compared to before and I later I realized how good this was because I would know when I was going to need to push. As my luck would have it, the nurse checked me right after I got the epidural and I was 7 cm and they told me that it wouldn’t be too much longer before we’d start the whole delivery process.

In hindsight, I *think* I could have managed without the epidural if I had known that I was already to 7 cm and if the delivery had still gone as smoothly as it did with the epidural. However, I do want to note that that was indeed the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. It makes me a wee bit sad that I didn’t have the opportunity to really evaluate the situation and decide, but I hope to have other opportunities to see if I actually can manage a natural childbirth. For me, the breastfeeding was the worst part of the whole experience, but that’s a whole other story…

Now I’ve lost my place again. Oh yeah. My labor kept progressing normally. They called the doctor. I think around 2:30 or 3 am the doctor finally got there and told me I was ready to get the baby out. I started pushing and the baby’s heart rate starting dipping a couple of times which worried me a little, but not too much because the doctor wasn’t too concerned. I pushed for an hour and a half (I think).

We stopped. The doctor explained how close the baby was to coming out. She explained that every time I’d give a really good push, her head would twist to the side and get stuck. The doctor had tried to use her hand and hold the baby’s head upright while I pushed, but she wasn’t having much success with that because she needed to use her hands and also because Julianna’s head would just twist right back. She gave us three options. First, we could choose to keep pushing and trying (no telling how long that would be). Second, we could give her permission to use forceps - not to pull the baby out, but just to hold her head stable while I pushed so that it wouldn’t twist and get stuck. Our third option was to go with a c-section. She said, she’d recommend the second option and that sounded like the right one for us anyway. She also explained how they’d have to call in some extra doctors and nurses from the pediatric unit to examine the baby if forceps were used. That was just a routine precaution that the hospital takes and requires every time forceps are used during childbirth and we were fine with it too.

Well, what seemed like five minutes and two pushes later, Julianna was born March 25, 2006 at 5:38 am weighing 8 pounds 4 ounces and she was 21 ¾ inches long.

It turns out that the umbilical cord was around her neck, which must have been why the heart rate was dipping a little, but they were able to get it safely untangled pretty quickly. Jonathan got to cut the cord and they passed her off to the pediatric team. He started videoing and she started crying. Then I did all the afterbirth stuff and finally the doctor helped me try to nurse one quick time before she left.

The nurses came in a little while later and took the baby to the nursery. Jonathan walked down the hall with them and pointed Jules out to the proud grandparents. Phones around the country started ringing. (I’m kidding.) As they tried to move me to a new room I realized I couldn’t walk, but with a lot of people help and a wheelchair, I eventually made it. We stayed until Monday morning and then we brought our little jaundiced baby home. The rest is history.

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