Monday, August 27

The Truth of the Matter

In studying to become a breastfeeding consultant I am learning not only about the wonders of breasts and breastmilk but more about women's health in general, and specifically the birthing process.  TT's birth was fast, very fast.  And as I have learned it is called a precipitous birth and affects 2% of women.  A precipitous birth is defined as a labor lasting 3 hours or less from the first contraction to delivery.  (My labor with Teddy was a little under two hours - one hour at home, 45 minutes driving to the hospital and 10 or so minutes there.)

Now, as a regular reader you know I have blogged about TT's birth before; in retrospect this is the sugar coated version of how it all went down.  Yeah, like a mafia hit... his birth went down.

The first contraction was sharp, strong, sharp and very knowing. A foreshadow.

I had gotten into the shower at the onset of labor; as a test to see if it was "real labor".    In hindsight, we should have called the OB's office sooner.  And when my OB suggested not coming in right away since my labor had "just started" I should have told her more directly that it was time to get a move on.  Perhaps then she might have made it before TT was born.

Precipitous labor hurts.  Let me restate that it H-U-R-T-S.

Yes, I know all labor hurts.  This is why there are drugs designed just to help women get through it.  But imagine cramming all of the pain one might experience in the average 15.6 hour labor into 2 hours.  I've been reading stories shared by others in regards to their own precipitous labors - I think I got the middle of the road... I've read about women not feeling anything till the last 15 minutes to women who were in some much pain they bit themselves and drew blood.

As we were getting into the car I honestly had doubts about making it to the hospital.  I remember wanting Husband to take one last pregnancy picture before we went out the door, RR was already in the car waiting for us; and thinking "holy bleep bleep bleep bleep I am never going to make it".

At this point my contractions where about a minute long with a minute between them.  This is not an exaggeration.  As Husband drove to the interstate I couldn't get my mind off the pain.  Breathing was not helping; and then as he slowed to pass through the toll plaza the contractions let up.  Ahhh, sweet relief I thought I can do this, and then BAM.  The lull in contractions for a few minutes was the transition between active and transitional labor.  We were in it for real now.

I remember RR telling me to breath, I remember me telling RR to breath as he was so not calm.  And how could he be; Husband was driving as fast as he could and I was moaning, groaning, and screaming through contractions which were ONE. ON. TOP. OF. EACH. OTHER.  There was no break in the pain, it was like the tide coming in - waves of pain rolling over me.  I couldn't sit, I half laid in the seat pushing my rear end out of the seat as my feet dug into the floor in an effort to comfort myself.  So much for staying loose - as we learned in childbirth class - pain is easier to deal with if you are relaxed and loose.  HA!!  At one point I had wanted to tell Husband to pull the car over just so I could get out and walk, as being confined to the car seemed like the worst possible scenario.  But I didn't want to traumatize RR any further, not to mention it was dark and cold; oh so cold are winter nights in New England.  Thank goodness it wasn't snowing or icing out.

When we got to the hospital my mom and step-dad were outside waiting for us.  Husband threw my mom the keys to park the car and RR was ushered inside by my step-dad.  Poor RR he thought I was going to die.  Let's me be honest, I thought I was going to die I was in so much pain; totally bewildered by how women were able to give natural child birth for two millennial.

Ha.  I can laugh now; if precipitous birth was the norm and not the expcetion we would have died out as a species a long time ago.    Husband did his best to help me in and I couldn't decide if I wanted to walk (ugh, it hurt too much to move) or sit in the wheelchair (that felt like I was going to snap the baby's head off) - so I opted for a limping run - if memory serves me correctly.  Everything began to get very blurry at this time.

I remember a nurse taking my arm as Husband checked us in; she was ushering me in triage and I had to stop and hold the wall the pain was so immense.  She asked me how long I had been in labor, and I swear she laughed at me when I told her a little over an hour; like I was some sort of drama-queen not up for giving birth.  I think she doubted just how far along my labor was.  I told her I was going to need drugs, and she said they'd have a look and decide from there.

I was sent into the bathroom to get changed into a johnny.  The room was swimming and my contractions would not stop, or lessen; they continued to come right on top of each other.  I sat down on the toilet and my water broke - how had I forgotten about this step in all of my worry about the baby coming in the car?  I looked down and noticed my water was brown, and I though - "Oh crap, the baby pooped already.  I hope we're not in trouble."

The next contraction brought me to my knees and I called out for help.  The nurses yelled back I had to get myself dressed and out of the bathroom.  jerks.

I half walked half crawled and cried all the way onto the bed, so happy to see Husband waiting for me.  One of the nurses prompted me with a "let's see how far along we are".... this statement was followed by her yelling "get the mid-wife I see a head."

I cried, I told them I couldn't do it.  Husband told me I could.  The nurse and mid-wife told me I had to.  I was so drained and exhausted from the pain.  And then I remembered, pushing brings relief, and once you're done pushing it's all over.  The pain will stop.  And so I pushed.  Three pushes later and the mid-wife proclaimed "you have a baby."

"Great" I said "What is it?" - we hadn't found out the baby's sex during pregnancy.  "It's a boy" proclaimed my OB, who had just arrived in the scene as she was pulling on her gloves.

"Later" that evening - and I say later with quotations as really not that much time had passed and it was still before midnight, Husband and I lay in my hospital room with the baby nestled between us we spoke in awe of the events that had just unfolded.  We spoke about how we went from a family of three to nearly instantly a family of 4, although it had been months in the making.


When we had gotten home from the hospital and I walked into our bathroom and saw my bright red fuzzy bathrobe laying on the floor where I had left it mid-labor and started crying.  I had chalked it up to early on-set baby blues at the time; but now I know it was more than that.  It is still more than that; TT's labor was a traumatic event.  It almost sounds overated as I type that, say that out loud for the first time.  TT's labor scared me.  It scared me to my core.  But I am learning now to accept it.  To cope with it.  To make it my own and to learn from it, to be better prepared should we be blessed with another pregnancy in the future.

Ha!!!  I have to laugh at this.  I had sworn up and down that since RR was early, then TT would HAVE to be early, and he was born just hours before his due date.  Which means, Murphy's Law being what it is and all that jazz, I'll probably end up with a c-section after 48 hours of labor in the future; just because I'll be educated and aware of precipitous birth.

But my chances of having another precipitous birth are "most likely" since I've already had one.  Other "causes" are doing cocaine... yeah, good thing I'm not a user.

Oh well, I guess only time will tell - about the birth that is... not the cocaine.


Rebecca said...

Holy crap, girl! That sounds like it was very traumatic! But it also sounds like you did beautifully! I'm glad you're working on coming to terms with it... birth is unpredictable at best and every woman, every birth is different so the next one could be the calm, relaxed birth you wanted for TT.

Regardless of how his birth went, or how any others you may have in the future go, the end result is worth it. TT is a beautiful baby who is lucky to have you, D, and RR as his family.

Kristen G. said...

WOW! He was ready... whether you were or not!

While I didn't have a precipitous birth. Gwen came quick (2 weeks early & 5 hours from the time my water broke to delivery). My Dr had me convinced that Jillian was going to come quicker & was preparing me for a car birth. All for nothing. She took her sweet time (water broke and I delivered almost 13 hours later). Another Dr in the practice told me that baby #3 and #5 don't happen the way you expect! That was true for me with baby #3 - I will never know about #4 or #5.

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