Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sophia's Birth Story

So finally I have some time as little Sophia sleeps to share her birth story. I'll leave out the intimate details but give you all an insight to the magical day she was born.

On Saturday, April 19 (Aries final day) we got up, had breakfast, and went to the Farmer's market in town. I posted on the looking for home remedies to start labor. One poster suggested Pineapple "Labor" chicken so that became the menu for Saturday evening. Prior to leaving I thought I would read Sophia a story...Oh Baby the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss to encourage her arrival.

We went to the Farmer's market and walked around town a bit. I felt as though labor was going to pass me by yet again. That afternoon while working on some signs for Phillip I stood up and thought "hmmm I haven't been laughing. I don't think I just wet my pants!" So at about 1:45pm it turns out that my water broke! I called the doctor and she said there would be A LOT of fluid...I had fluid for sure but it wasn't the gushing or constant trickle most women experience when their water breaks. The doctor said to call her back in an hour. So we waited. I was still experiencing fluid loss but was not having contractions. She said she would see me at the hospital. So I made phone calls to my brothers and sisters and girlfriends. Wolfed down some chicken salad and rice krispie treats. Phillip took his stuff to the hobby shop for the history game club and came home to make corn bread and fry up some fat back! We finally left for the hospital around 4pm! When I checked in, cool as a cucumber, and said "I'm having a baby" you would have thought I said "I severed my arm off." the way the quickly whisked me to the admitting desk to get me checked in.

We got to the Labor, Delivery, and Recovery room, I put on my fancy hospital gown, and then started walking the halls to encourage labor and contractions to begin. Nothing was happening. We walked for about 2 hours. I played Yahtzee with mom, Phillip took a cat nap.

At 9:00 pm (7.25 hours after my water broke) I still wasn't having contractions. The doctor had me started on Pitocin. I really didn't want to be induced in this way because of the vicious cycle of Pitocin, intense contractions, possibly having an epidural or other pain medication, baby in distress.....etc. But it is a risk to have the water break and then not be in labor. So Pitocin, IV fluids, and confined to the bed was my fate. They start you out at 2ml of Pitocin. Every hour or so they would come in and up the dosage. I was able to sleep through contractions for a bit and then could sleep between the contractions.

The hours ticked by. Saturday came and went. It is actually kind of boring just waiting. You can only judge time by each contraction. It's like a roller coaster. A slow rise, the peak, and then down. Over and over and over again. When I walked into the hospital I was 3 cm dilated. A free ride for those 3 cm! So it was very disappointing at 5:23 am when the doctor informed me I was only 5 cm. Up the Pitocin again. I think at this point I was at 16ml of Pitocin.

I was able to get off the bed and use my exercise ball and the rocking chair to labor in. The ball and chair offer a natural rocking movement and more natural position to labor in. I would sit on the ball, Phillip was on the bed or in the rocking chair and mom was behind me rubbing my head, shoulders, and back. Through each contraction Phillip would rhythmically rub my chest and talk me through each contraction. He could anticipate each contraction through my body movements and by watching the monitor. The contractions were coming on stronger and stronger now. The sun rose although it was a gray rainy day outside. A few more hours passed. Around 9:30 or so I started to feel the urge to push. After a while I requested the squat bar which goes over the bed, is a little bit like doing a gymnastics routine but certainly helps. Your pelvis opens 30% more while squatting. It was difficult to coordinate holding onto the bar while dealing with a contraction. I don't recall the bar being there too long.

Then the show begins. At some sudden point the dim lights go bright, the "serenity" of my space was gone and the show starts. Lights come up, the doctor arrives, nurses appear, and I swear the words "ACTION" were shouted. Phillip held one of my legs and mom stood beside me just as she had at numerous soccer games and dance recitals shouting "Come on Kelly, you can do it! Push." I pushed for about an hour and a half. I did use the mirror to help me focus and see Sophia being born. It was the most difficult physical thing I have ever done. Finally she started to emerge, "sunny-side up." I remember at some point saying that I just wanted her out of me and that our next children will be adopted. I have of course reconsidered that already!

Interestingly my water broke again during pushing. We are each born with 2 membranes surrounding us. Usually when your water breaks both membranes break. When my water broke only the first membrane ruptured. Sophia was born "in the caul."

Sophia was born at 11:44 Sunday morning. The feeling of having her given to me umbilical cord still attached with Phillip and Mom there beside me was incredible. She is all ours. I couldn't have done it with out Phillip and Mom there supporting and coaching me the whole time.

I never had an epidural or other pain medication. We asked the nurses when most women request the epidural while on Pitocin. She said around 8ml...I went all the way up to 22ml. The body is an amazing thing. You just have to know you will survive and have the mental capacity to work through the pain. I survived one contraction I knew I would survive the next. I'm glad I was able to bring Sophia into this world partially on my terms. The next time around I hope to use a birthing center, midwife, and have the baby in the water but I'm not disappointed with how things had to happen this time around. I'm also fortunate to have had my favorite doctor in the practice, Dr. Gopal, deliver the baby. She knew and understood my wishes for a natural childbirth from the start and that was truly helpful.

So that's Sophia's story. She is 11 days old now and we feel truly happy and blessed to have her in our lives!

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