My awesome bride/friend, photographed the birth story – Emily of E.F. PhotographyFinally, he’s here! My (c)ankles are happy for it as well… Bane Alan Veronee arrived six days earlier than his due date. I was hoping for a July 4th baby, but honestly, my body just couldn’t handle it any longer. I was absolutely miserable and rapidly gaining excess water weight. I have a rare condition called Malignant Vasovagal Syndrome – which in Layman’s terms just means ‘I have an extra sensitive nervous system and when I pass out, my heart stops’. My OB and Electrophysiologist seemed to think my body was smart enough to pack on excess water weight as a defense mechanism. Which, is great in some ways to keep baby safe and healthy, but not great because it was getting a little out of control. It wasn’t what most would expect with pitting edema/excess swelling in pregnancy – toxemia/preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. No matter how much water I drank, how much salt I avoided, or how much I had my feet up during the day (including those sexy compression stockings), the water weight was just THERE. And no, it wasn’t the addiction to Oreos that did it! ;-) I was so swollen my feet jiggled. I’m not talking about after a day of being on them — this was when I first woke up. My feet were so swollen, I had rolls! I’ve included a Before and After photo, because I know you want to look at this craziness! ….
Okay, back to the birth story…I’m getting off track here…
So, I had been told that ‘it’s rare for a woman’s water to break’,… and ‘it’s rare to go early for your first born’… so, naturally I thought I still had more time until he arrived. Well, as soon as I fell asleep at midnight on June 26/27th, sure enough a few minutes later I woke up to a contraction and heard a ‘pop’ type of sound. It’s not entirely an audible pop, but more like if you had a balloon in your belly and someone popped it, sort of like hearing your heartbeat. You don’t really ‘hear’ it, but you do… make sense?! haha! So, I ran to the bathroom (having heard about this POP sensation and water breaking) and sure enough running to the bathroom was a good decision. This was awkward, because I was attempting to yell at Robby (who had been sleeping in the guest room because of my pregnancy snoring habit that didn’t combine well with his light-sleeper-ness) from the master bathroom, but he couldn’t hear me. So, towel between my legs I ran to his room and said ‘BABE, MY WATER BROKE!!’. What was his response? “Okay, well fix it” and stayed sleeping. He had told me he’d been having dreams about my water breaking, so obviously, he thought he was dreaming. I had to bug him a few more times and out the door we went!
I originally had planned to hire a doula and labor mostly at home. Well, life got away from me and I neglected to hire one and when my doctor told me at my 39 week check that I was 4cm, I realized laboring at home might not be the best idea. My sisters first baby practically fell out within a matter of four hours, so I thought maybe the same would happen to me. I was hoping to avoid as many interventions as possible, so that’s why I wanted to labor at home. But, because of the risk of infection, etc. I figured we may as well head to the hospital – just a short 15 minute drive from our house.
Counter pressure works wonders for back labor pain! Every few minutes Robby was on back pressing duty!
As soon as we arrived, my contractions started to pickup pretty fast, so I was hopeful I could make it all the way without pain medications. I had researched all the different options for pain, and because of my condition (blood pressure and heart rate dropping issues), I was fearful that any of the options they had would dramatically drop my heart rate or BP and possibly cause an emergency c-section. So, my choice to valiantly attempt an intervention free birthing process was both a health concern thing and an accomplishment thing. I labored pain med free from midnight to 7 am when the doctor said even though I was 7/8ish cm dilated, that I wasn’t progressing fast enough considering my water had broken. Which, I was fearful of because I’d been told how hospitals put you on a time clock… I was a little annoyed trying to make such a decision while I was in so much pain. I was having back labor and the pain was excruciating. I like to think that if I wasn’t having back labor, I could have dealt with the pain. The back ache was so painful that it wore out all my energy and stamina getting through each contraction. The P word came about and I realized that if I were to have Pitocin, I had read in my research it would make my contractions unnaturally stronger and more unbearable than they were already if I didn’t combine it with some pain relief. So,… bring out the epidural WOMP WOMP…. Yup, I gave in. I knew that if I got the Pitocin, I wouldn’t be have the energy when it came time to push. Pushing with back labor, I knew wouldn’t be easy. Trying to sit still during contractions of transition and getting an epidural — WOW. Just remember to breathe ladies! It’s amazing how the breathing helps you get through it.
If you end up needing to do this rope pulling maneuver, remember that you may have crazy inflammation appear two weeks postpartum… I swear it feels like I have arthritis from doing this! It’s amazing how much your body is put through during labor! I even had some crazy neck pain from tightening my neck in the pushing/holding breath part!
I have to admit, the epidural was sweet relief. I asked for them to give me the lowest dose of the epidural and the lowest of the Pitocin. I fell asleep and when I woke up later, it was time to push! Only, I neglected to hit the button again – so all that pain started coming right back. BUT, I was able to still have enough feeling in my legs and body to feel the contractions (which I had read that with too much of the epidural medication – you have to be coached when to push) — so I was able to “effectively” push during each contraction. Well, maybe not entirely effective. I pushed for T W O H O U R S and F O R T Y N I N E M I N U T E S. But, who’s counting?! He was sunny side up and was pretty much stuck.
I was balling my eyes out at this point and very ill from all the continued pain. I had given up mentally, but somehow my body just kept going and I still miraculously had the energy to keep pushing when a contraction came along. It’s like my body wouldn’t let me NOT push. I seriously thought everyone was lying to me when the entire past hour they kept saying ‘he’s right there – almost – good good, doing great!’. The dude with the foreceps (or whatever he had that he was planning to use) was walking in the door when the doctor said something she had never seen before happened – his head completely turned and he popped right out during one last good push!
I had the best nurse EVER – I just loved her! It turned out, Emily just knows EVERYONE. Her mom actually worked with my nurse for quite a long time – small world!Softest thing in the world… BABY FEET!