Monday, November 28, 2011
Katie's Birth Story
I suppose now that Katie is six weeks old I had better write down her birth story before details get fuzzy or I just forget it all together.
Katie arrived exactly one week after her due date. I honestly am not sure how long I was in labor, but I know I started to feel funny towards the end of the 7:30AM Mass that morning and shortly before 9AM I was wondering if today might be the day that I finally would go into labor.
When I got to Mass that day I spent a decent amount of time
praying to begging and pleading with God to let me go into labor. I was pretty much waving the white flag and admitting that I finally acknowledged that A) I had no control over when the baby would come. B) I got the point that this seemingly never ending pregnancy was clearly a lesson in patience. C) Yes, I really get that I'm not the one in control and that I would have to be patient and just wait. Also, totally unaware that October 16th was the traditional feast day of St. Gerard, I decided to ask for his intercession with hopes that I'd eventually go into labor on my own. Mind you, I was three days away from my next appointment where I was told we'd have to look at inducing labor. I desperately did not want to be induced.
That morning I found out that I had a new student coming into my class so I decided to hang around to meet her even though I had a substitute for my class. While I greeted my students as the arrived I started to feel more and more off, but I wasn't about to get my hopes up that I'd actually go into labor. I went home for about 30 minutes before heading back to the school to pick up Ellie and pop in on my class. By the time Ellie and I were on our way home a little after 10AM I was feeling crampy. Shortly after we got home I had a contraction that I would classify as painful.
Bryan and I decided to give walking another try. I must have walked a hundred miles during my last few weeks of pregnancy in a futile attempt to get labor started. As we walked around the neighborhood I began to get contractions every five minutes that were painful enough to make me think that I might be in labor. At this point I was in a serious stage of denial. After we walked for 45 minutes to an hour I told Bryan I wanted to go home and have lunch. We went home and made lunch. While that was cooking I worked on straightening the house a little and spent some time bouncing on my exercise ball.
By noon the baby was clearly dropping. My jeans (my pre-pregnancy jeans which I had worn throughout my pregnancy) which had zipped up and stayed closed with just a hair tie that morning were now unable to zip at all. By the time we sat down to eat lunch I was having a hard time sitting down. I could sit on the exercise ball, but sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table was next to unbearable. I did, however, manage to sit down at the kitchen table and have lunch with Bryan and the girls. My contractions were about 7-10 minutes apart, but they were not lacking in intensity.
Right after lunch I decided that I was not going anywhere until the laundry was folded and put away. Yes, I'm really that stubborn. The bottom line was I was not going to have my mom come up and see laundry all over the living room and I wasn't going to have her fold my clothes for me since they wouldn't be folded my way. Don't try to figure out the logic of a woman in labor who is in a state of denial.
Once the laundry was folded, I tried to just sit down to see if the contractions would continue. They did, but I was unable to sit still. I'd sit for a few seconds and then have to get up and walk into another room to be by myself. That's not easy when you have two kids, a concerned husband and a dog trailing you.
Around 1 or 1:30 Bryan and I went for another walk. I think we made it around just one block in our neighborhood before I decided that I needed to go home. At that point Bryan wanted to call the doctor's office and my parents. I refused and told him I wasn't sure I was really in labor. I was worried that we'd get to the hospital and that it would be false labor. He told me that if I was still like this at 2 he'd be calling the doctor's office. At 2:30 he made the call and within minutes the midwife called back, spoke to Bryan and told us to head over to the hospital right away. Bryan got our next door neighbor to take the girls (He caught them in the nick of time. They were about to head over to their son's soccer game.) and then he called my mom and dad to come up.
We go to the hospital a little after 3PM. It was dead in labor and delivery when I arrived. That meant I got the "good room." I was also the only L&D patient at that point in time. My contractions continued along the same path of intensity. I think they were coming about 5-7 minutes apart once I got there. I was surprised when they told me I was dilated to 5cm and 90% effaced. Finally, I had made it past 3-4cm.
After laboring for about an hour or so I felt a ton of pressure and had Bryan get someone to see if I progressed. The resident who was really excited that I agreed to let her be part of my labor (I had expressly said no residents were to be involved in my care on my birth plan, but changed my mind when my midwife wasn't at the hospital when I arrived) checked and told me I was now at 7cm. My water still hadn't broken at this point.
Bryan and I were watching the Parent Trap (the Lindsay Lohan one) while I sat on the birthing ball and leaned on a chair in front of me. I have no idea how close my contractions were. All I know is that with each one I could feel the baby moving further down into my pelvis. I was also getting to a point where I felt like I was just going to freak out and lose control if I didn't focus on breathing. With every contraction I focused on breathing deeply and simply praying. It was a very meditative labor.
I have no idea how much time elapsed between when the resident checked me and said I was 7CM and 100% effaced and when I told Bryan that I needed him to get someone to check me again. I had hit a point where I felt like I just needed to push. I suspect it had been maybe 15-20 minutes, but really I had no concept of time at that point. When the resident and my midwife came rushing back into the room I was 9-9/12cm and I was given the choice to either wait until I was at 10cm or try to push past it. I chose to push.
After 8 minutes of pushing Katie was born. What I didn't know until much later was that the cord was wrapped around Katie's neck. She came out and was a purplish blue. I thought her color was odd, especially her purple feet, but I didn't think to ask about it. I don't remember when Bryan told me that the cord was wrapped around her neck but I think it was the following day. My midwife, who was taking pictures of Katie being born had put my camera aside and directed the resident to remove the cord from Katie's neck. I guess this was done quietly since I was totally unaware of it. Despite the fact that I pushed for less time that I did with either of her sisters, I think I had more difficulty delivering her than I did with the other two. Perhaps that has something to do with her head coming out sideways.
At 5:50PM on October 16th Katie was born weighing in at 7lbs 12 oz and 20 1/4 inches long. She was my biggest baby and surprisingly I had the easiest recovery with her as well.