09 September 2008

Tales from a Tuesday...

Have a baby, or pass a kidney stone?

And how appropriate - since the story here began on a Tuesday... Actually, this story has happened on a Friday when I thought I was going to be hosting a luncheon at work and my daughter made other plans; on a Wednesday when I least expected to welcome a second daughter; and finally, on a Tuesday - when Mr. Snicklebutt and I chose our son's birthday. (How I feel about that is still very conflicted, but not knowing the gender of our little one made up for the confliction of having picked his birthday for him.)

I have had many requests over the years to tell my own personal experiences in giving birth. I start by stating the obvious...Every woman is different and handles pain differently. For example: I have a dear friend who has birthed three children - all of them at home. I have sisters who have (in total) birthed 11 children, some with pain medication, some without. So... this is truly my own experience.

Of the three children that I have, Boobie Sneezy is the only one that I birthed 100% without pain medication requests. Her birth was - in my own personal opinion - relatively easy. My water broke on its own at 3:30 in the morning on the day that I was supposed to host the Thanksgiving luncheon at work. I ended up leaving voice mail messages for at least three other people and delegating. And then I was upset that I couldn't be there. I threw up once during labor and required air because I didn't know how to breathe; what woman really does? But aside from those little snafus everything else went well. I went home the day after she was born, and took her grocery shopping the day after that. She is also the only one of our children who, when she was born, caused another person to quit his job in the maternity section and move to another area of the hospital to work. Apparently, they should ask the kitchen help if they have ever heard a woman give birth before sending them to deliver meals to new mothers in the maternity section of the hospital. He hadn't. I missed my hospital meal that night...

Our second, Dorfus Dorky, was an experience. I suffered major back pain throughout the entire pregnancy, and was, in fact, on percoset and some other pain medication for the majority of the pregnancy. Still, when it came time to go to the hospital, we elected to go for the "natural" route. I would have to say that D.D.'s labor experience was a real trip. Literally. About 20 minutes before she made her appearance, I told the midwife that I needed something to take the edge off of the pain - the back labor was killing me, and I wasn't sure if I could handle the pain much longer. So...they gave me something. I can't remember what it was, but it was a real trip. It made me so incredibly loopy, I will never forget it!

Labor started when my water was broken; at least that's how I always look at labor - when the pain hits, the labor begins. No pain, no labor. So after being in the hospital for many hours and not progressing beyond the dilation of 5 that I was when I came in, the midwife on duty decided that perhaps I just needed to go home. I assured her that if my water was broken, I would probably have a baby. She decided to let the next midwife on duty decide if she wanted to do that, and, at 9:30 in the morning, the next midwife did. An hour and a half later - we welcomed Dorfus Dorky into the world.

So the labor... First off - I was on penicillin for the majority of my labor because D.D. decided to come 28 days early and the Group B Strep test results weren't in yet. Add to that the medicine that I got to take the edge off, and I was higher than a kite. Still felt the pain of delivery, but the pain of being stitched up was nonexistent. I remember that I had to go to the bathroom before delivering D.D. and asked the nurse if I could go to the bathroom before being hooked up to the monitor again. She assured me that would be fine, and then waited to see if I needed help. After watching me sit there for a few minutes looking REALLY stunned, she asked if I still needed to go. The following is the conversation we had.
"I can't."
"Why not?"
"I forgot how to walk."
"You just put one foot in front of the other..."
"Which one do I start with?"
"Which ever one you want..."

She probably thought I was the craziest woman she'd ever seen, but I managed to get through it all. I slept a lot immediately after D.D. was born - the drugs made me really tired...

When our third, Dumbo Farcus was born, I mentioned to the midwife that I did not want to be loopy like that again. She made a note of that, and we progressed. Based on my past history of having babies early and rapidly, my midwife made sure that I was at the hospital when my water broke by breaking it herself. And then we started waiting. I was expecting a baby within an hour or two, and when nothing happened - not even dilation - I found a book to read and took a nap and walked the halls and did jumping jacks and did all sorts of things to entertain myself. Mr. Snicklebutt, the love of my life, was bored out of his handsome gourd. He went to the bank for an hour or so. He came back. He took a nap and bugged me and took a nap and bugged me and pestered me and drove me crazy until I sent him away from the hospital to get himself something to eat with strict orders to NOT COME BACK UNTIL HE WASN'T BORED!!! I'm still surprised that he came back...

And so he did. And then immediate boredom set in again. Sometime around 4:15 in the afternoon (my water was broken at 10:32 in the morning), Mr. Snicklebutt mentioned to me that he needed to feed the animals on our little farm. So... knowing that the 1.5 hour drive was inevitable, we asked the midwife to check for progression. Only having moved 2 cm. in dilation, I told Mr. Snicklebutt that he might as well go home to take care of the animals - nothing was happening. And so, he did.

And then things started happening. I bounced on a birthing ball to try to get things going - and then couldn't get up because the contractions were coming so hard and so fast. I had one contraction that lasted for 7 (and yes, you did read that right) minutes. Seven LOOOONG minutes. Once the contractions started coming, they didn't stop. One right on top of another until little D.F. made his appearance. I should note at this point that I am anti-shots in the spine, so all of this laboring is being done without the benefit of pain medication or any other medication... At 6 pm, I called Mr. Snicklebutt to find out how long it was going to be before he got back to the hospital. He was still at home. Hadn't left. I mentioned that he MIGHT want to think about hurrying back because things were happening. And so, he did. Meanwhile, back in the hospital, I was on the bed facing the wall because I had climbed up on the bed that direction and then couldn't move. Literally. I was stuck. The contractions had come so fast and so hard that I could not move from the talking on the phone position I had been in. I was lucky to have made it to the bed! The L&D nurse who was in there was a true trooper. She rubbed my back the entire time Mr. Snicklebutt was gone. He walked in the door just minutes before 7 pm. And just barely before I asked the doctor for something to take the edge off the pain so that I could maybe breathe.

So... she checked me and found that I was dilated to 7 cm, and gave the o.k. for 50 cc's of something. Again - I have no idea what it was. Thankfully, it did NOT make me loopy. It also did not kick in until after our little one was born. D.F. was born at 7:12 pm. It took us three days to come up with a name for him. Recovery was pleasant - I didn't feel a thing. And Mr. Snicklebutt missed all of the boring transitional stuff. He came in just in time to watch our son be born and to cut the cord. I missed the cord cutting ceremony - I was facing the wrong way.

Would I prefer to give birth under anesthetics? Probably not. It may make the pain less, but think of all the fun stories I would miss out on! I do find it pretty exciting to be able to feel all of the everything that comes with giving birth... but then again, I'm one of those few women who recovers quickly and who doesn't need anything for pain after the baby comes too... For me - giving birth is a blessing to be experienced, not a pain to be dealt with. I would never judge another woman for using pain medication through the entire labor experience - I have never felt her pain. For me, it's just no big deal...

In case anyone's wondering... I'd rather have a baby than pass a kidney stone. But that's a story for another time...

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