The Birth of Big I

March 28, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Induction-The Lease is Up 


This birth story was taken directly from my journal.

March 27, 2001

Three to 17 days past my due date and I’m sitting here waiting for the phone to ring to tell me what time to come to the hospital to be induced.  Yesterday, my doctor gave me a few options; however, when she said she thinks the baby is between 8 and 9 lbs, the decision to induce was clear.  I was in complete disbelief last night and still am.  I just can’t quite believe that my body will actually do this feat.  I’m having a difficult time thinking of the reward for all this pain I’m going to go through.  It’s been this way throughout my entire pregnancy.  Once I passed the first and second due date, I just got this notion that the baby would just take up permanent residence. 

I lost "the plug" on Thursday and have had such terrible pressure-so bad that I constantly feel like I have to pee.  It just seems my body doesn’t quite know what to do.  I’m really praying that I take after my Mom and that once the induction starts it goes quickly, although I’m sure 5 minutes will feel like 5 hours.  But at least I can hope.  This just isn’t the way I thought it would happen.

Sitting here waiting for this phone call is pure torture.  I’m hungry and can’t eat anything before this happens.  I told my Mom I don’t think pain management will be a problem, because I’ll look at the IV in my arm and just pass out-come to-see the IV-pass out again.  I hope I can tough this out without pain meds.  I need to take my Dad’s advice and think "I’m tough like Tocchet."  I can’t help wondering if Tocchet would be this tough if he were put in my situation.  The guy probably passed out when his baby was born.  Oh well, enough for now.  Next time I write, maybe this will all be over. 

April 1, 2001

March 27th turned out to be the longest day of my life.  We arrived at the hospital around 10:30-11:00 and went immediately to labor and delivery room 12.  My first nurse, Vikki, took us to the room and had me change into one of those flattering hospital gowns.  She then strapped on an external fetal monitor and a contraction monitor on my stomach. 

It was neat to see the heartbeats of the baby.  Vikki tried to get an IV in my left arm and it really hurt.  She said my veins were rolling and moved onto my hand.  It hurt a lot but she eventually got it in.

Then they needed to draw blood before they started.  Vikki couldn’t get the job done.  Another woman came in and began to try my right arm while Vikki called the IV team.  This woman failed too.  (It’s funny because no one ever had any trouble previously).  Finally, Robin, "Pleasant Robin" arrived from the IV team.  She drew my blood no problem.  My parents had arrived just previously to this and I could tell my Mom (an RN) wanted to jumped in.  I really wish she would have.  My arms and hands were sore from all the bad sticks. 

They started the pitocin at around noon.  I was feeling nervous, but excited thinking I would be like my Mom and have the baby is just a couple of hours.  Around 1:30 p.m., my doctor came in and broke my water.  I was 3 centimeters and 70% effaced.  It didn’t hurt at all, but it felt really yucky.  The water was almost hot.  From here on out, amniotic fluid leaked out on a regular basis.  I kept making faces when it would gush out and my Mom and husband kept asking, "Is that a contraction?" It most certainly was not.

We were all in good spirits and I was joking around a lot.  Another doctor came in to check on me and told the nurse to find me an italian ice.  I was starving!  I ate ice chips and italian ice like there was no tomorrow. 

At 3 p.m., Stelene became my nurse.  She checked and I was dilated 3-4 centimeters and was still 70% effaced.  The baby was at -3 station-floating around.  They continued to bump up the pitocin every 15 minutes and I started to have contractions two to five minutes apart.  They really weren’t bad at all; they just felt like a tightening.   

At around 7-7:30 p.m., after Stelene said I was about 5 centimeters, my doctor checked and said I was still only 3-4, but 75% effaced.  The baby was still at -3 station. 

At this point, my doctor said that I was failing to progress and if she came back in two hours and I wasn’t making major progress, we would have to consider a c-section.  I got very upset and began crying. 

Linh became my new nurse.  She was this tiny Vietnamese woman and she was the sweetest thing ever.  She really helped me to calm down because I was a wreck.  She told me that this was still my choice; I still had control and to think positively.  Nothing was going as I had wanted it to.  My birth plan was completely blown to hell, but Linh helped me hold it together.   

I was determined to get the baby to come down, and began standing and holding onto my husband.  I rocked back and forth and when I couldn’t do that anymore, I sat on the edge of the bed.  The contractions were so strong and I relied on my husband and my breathing to get me through them.

The contractions were really starting to hurt badly and I was completely exhausted.  I asked for some Stadol because I was exhausted and didn’t think I could do it anymore.  My body was so tense and every muscle felt clenched.  I thought that the Stadol would help relax me and bring the baby down.  This was at about 8:30-9:00 p.m. 

Once I had the Stadol, I slept between contractions and didn’t have a care in the world, but it did nothing for the pain of the contractions.  This could be because they put me on double strength pitocin at this time.  Stadol should last for 1-4 hours, but mine lasted less than an hour.  The side effect of the stadol was that it made me talk non-stop like a drunk fool.  I was swearing up a storm and cracking up everyone in the room when I wasn’t taking my two minute naps. 

At 10:30 p.m. my doctor came to check me.  We were all encouraged.  I was 5-6 centimeters, 90% effaced, and the baby was at -1 station.  I could tell because I started to feel incredible pressure.  I got a reprieve from the c-section threat. 

Around midnight, the doctor checked me again and I was 7 centimeters and completely effaced.  After this check, things got very painful.  I began having terrible pressure everywhere down below.  It was this intense pressure and a horrible burning sensation.  Each contraction was no longer felt in my stomach and all I could do was to lay on my side, reach for my husband, and writhe and squirm in pain.  Nothing made it feel better.

My doctor guessed that I’d have the baby around 3 a.m.  My husband said after the fact that he began thinking there was no way I’d make it until then.  I felt the same way and I remember I kept staring at the clock, willing it to move, but it seemed to be motionless. 

At around 12:30 a.m., my body started pushing the baby out and I started yelling "I have to push," over and over again.  I was also gagging and began to vomit.  It was black and disgusting.  The nurse accused me of drinking soda, when I was really probably vomiting from the lack of any substantial food or drink since the day before. My jerk of a nurse (my 4th of the ordeal) finally sent in the doctor (who had been napping) after my Mom went to get her.  My Mom told me she went out to get her and told them I needed to push.  The nurse said to her, "I know.  We can hear her."  Out of 17 L & D rooms, I was the only one without the epidural and it was obvious to everyone on the floor.  I was in absolute agony. 

The nurse checked me, expecting a major let-down, but I was 10 centimeters and ready to push.  I remember thinking, "Of course I’m 10 centimeters because the baby is RIGHT THERE!"  I rolled onto my back and began to push with the next contraction. 

I felt overwhelmed with having to hold my legs, curl my body around the baby, hold my breath and push.  I was also still gagging and vomiting, which was just lovely.  I felt like I was auditioning for the next Exorcist movie. 

My first few pushing attempts felt futile.  Once the doctor got there, my Mom held my left leg and my husband held my right leg.  The nurse kept pulling my legs apart and I just wanted everyone to leave me the hell alone.

The doctor was pulling at me, trying to avoid an episiotomy, but the pulling hurt worse than anything.  It was horrible.  I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, but I was. 

The doctor was watching the fetal monitor and said she would have to cut an episiotomy.  My Mom and husband said they could see the baby’s head but the head was hitting my bone and I couldn’t stretch on my own.  I remember crying and saying, "You’re going to numb me right?" With the next push, the doctor cut an episiotomy and the baby’s head was out.  As the doctor suctioned the baby, the baby began to cry a bit. 

I said, "GET IT OUT OF ME!" because the shoulders were killing me.  With one more small push, our baby was born.  The baby came out fast and sprayed amniotic fluid on the doctor and nurse.  I heard my Mom say "It’s a girl," and I couldn’t believe it.  I had been so focused on pushing, that I didn’t even think about whether or not it would be a girl or a boy.  I just wanted whatever it was OUT!

Our baby daughter was on the bed between my legs and I reached out to touch her.  She felt warm and slippery.  My first words upon seeing her were, "I can’t believe she’s mine, all mine."

They had been worried while I was pushing because her heart rate kept dropping and staying low so the doctor had called for pediatrics.  Talk about adding stress to the situation.  There I am pushing and screaming and there are three gowned up doctors just waiting for my baby. 

Once my baby was out, the doctor immediately said peds wasn’t needed, and then wrapped up my daughter and put her on my stomach.  She was wide awake and immediately stopped crying once she was touching me and heard my voice.  She felt like warm, liquid velvet as I held her, talked to her and kissed her. 

I introduced myself and my husband did the same.  They then took her to get cleaned up.  She began to cry and my husband, Mom, and Dad went with her to the other side of the room.  (My Dad was always on the other side of the room because he couldn’t deal with what was going on with me.)  As they suctioned out her nose, my baby got very angry and when the nurse went to do the other side, she punched the nasal aspirator out of the nurse’s hand and sent it flying across the room.  She was definitely my daughter. 

Her APGAR scores were 8 and 9 out of 10.  She was immediately pink and alert.  My husband held her next, while the doctor stitched me up (agony) and delivered the placenta.  My Mom and Dad took turns holding her as well.  Then, she came back to me. 

I have never seen a more perfect and beautiful baby in all my life.  My Mom said she looked just like my baby picture.  She had barely there blonde hair on top and just a little light brown fuzz around the rest of her head.  Her eyes were so big and bright.  Her little nose was slightly upturned and her nostrils looked like upside down hearts.  Her lips were perfectly shaped, and her little ears looked identical to my husband’s. 

She weighed in a 8 lbs 0 oz, 21 inches long-my exact measurements when I was born.  My Mom said she’s my little clone.  She was born at 1:29 a.m. on March 28th, about 45 minutes after I started pushing, and she forever changed my life.

04210001_4 05110003

"Black Belt Mama" lives in the northeast and is a stay-at-home/work-at-home mother to her two daughters, "Big I" who is now six and "Lil C" who is almost 18 months old.  She writes on her blog, Black Belt Mama, and also for a syndicated (more tame) version of her original blog for her hometown newspaper’s website.  She is also the editor of the Birth Story blog. 

To read about her second birth, which was much more mama and baby friendly (with a midwife), go here.   

The Birth of Kathryn

March 21, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Gimme the Drugs 


I went for my 38-week appointment on Wednesday, January 24 and was still at 1 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced, no change from the previous week. My doctor went over the plan for what would happen induction-wise if I went late, so I wasn’t expecting much to happen soon. But, I also knew things could start happening at any moment.

On Friday, January 26, I started feeling more of a wetness during the late afternoon/early evening hours, so I began to suspect that my water might be leaking. I’d also started to get some bloody show during the day, enough for a pantyliner. But, I wasn’t convinced enough to call the doctor about it. My husband and I went out that night, stopping to get some litmus paper at a hobby store so I could check if the fluid was basic, which would indicate it was indeed amniotic fluid. (Yes, I’m a dork for getting the litmus paper, but hey, it was cheap!)

We went out to dinner and got home around 10 p.m. and I checked the pH, but it wasn’t showing up as basic, so it didn’t appear to be amniotic fluid. I just figured my discharge was starting to change in preparation for labor. Soon after we got home, I had quite a bit of diarrhea, which was yet another sign (especially looking back) that labor was going to start soon. Around 11 p.m., I started getting really strong, constant menstrual-like cramps in my lower back that sometimes were in my lower abdomen, as well. I knew from reading that this is often how labor starts, and since I hadn’t had any cramping during pregnancy, I really started to suspect something was up. I went to bed around midnight that night and started getting mild contractions during the night, but nothing major.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 27, and my husband and I dropped off the dog at 7:30 for his previously scheduled grooming appointment. I let them know that I was likely in early labor and checked to see if we could board him there if it turned out I really was in labor. They said that wasn’t a problem. (So glad we had the appointment for that morning!) My husband and I got home around 8 a.m. and the contractions, which were mostly in my lower back, were definitely painful. I wasn’t 100% sure this would be the real thing, but I went back to bed to get some rest just in case it was. I had to take my heating pad to bed because my back hurt so much from the contractions, which were about 15 seconds long and probably 8-10 minutes apart at this point (though we weren’t timing them quite yet).

I slept until about 10:30 a.m. and got up. We started timing contractions around 11 a.m., and within an hour, they were 3-4 minutes apart and lasted about 45 seconds. We decided to get ready to go to the hospital. I took a shower while my husband finished packing our last-minute items. By this point, my contractions were painful enough that I had to stop whatever I was doing in order to breathe through them. Leaning over onto all fours so my belly was hanging helped take some of the pressure off. The pains were still in my lower back mostly and sometimes wrapped around to my lower abdomen. I never really felt any contractions high up.

We left for the hospital around 1:30 p.m. and arrived at 2 p.m. We went to labor and delivery and got checked in; then they took me to the labor and delivery room. I changed clothes, used the bathroom one last time, then was asked a ton of questions (mostly health/pregnancy related) by the nurse. They checked me internally and said I was still only 2 to 3 centimeters dilated and about 90% to 100% effaced.

Around 3 p.m., they were ready to put in my IV, which was the worst part of the whole thing for me. It took three nurses and four tries to get in an IV–the first three veins blew–and I was bawling from the experience. Around 3:30 p.m., just when I was filling out my consent forms for the epidural, they injected Stadol into my IV to help take the edge off the contractions, which were becoming more painful, though staying at about the same frequency. I felt the Stadol nearly immediately, as the words on the pages in front of me quickly started running together. I was really surprised by how fast it took effect. It didn’t really take away the pain (I still had to breathe through the contractions), but it definitely made me care less about the pain!

At 4:30 p.m., the anesthesiologist (thanks, Dr. Bennett!) came in to administer my epidural. (I was already pretty sold on the epidural beforehand, and knew with certainty I would get it once I felt those early contractions.) My husband had to leave the room, so he took that time to call my parents, who wanted to come to the hospital, and his family, who all live out of town. (We wanted to wait until I got the epidural since we didn’t want to tell them I was having the baby and then have it be a false alarm.)

I was still under the effects of the Stadol when I had the epidural inserted, so I think that helped relax me. The numbing shot kind of stung at first, but I didn’t feel any pain after that. I could feel the catheter being threaded in, but it didn’t hurt. They also sent a small electrical shock down my left leg to ensure proper placement, but that didn’t hurt either…just a weird sensation. From start to finish, the procedure took about 10 minutes. My epidural took effect immediately, and I didn’t feel any contractions from that point on. My torso was very numbed, but I could still feel my legs for the most part and could even move them quite a bit. It was weird because I had the sensation of itching sometimes on my upper legs, but scratching didn’t help make it go away!

The nurses had a hard time finding my contractions on the external contraction monitor, so they ended up putting in internal monitors for contractions and for the baby’s heart rate once I had the epidural. They also inserted the catheter at this time, which I could feel, but it didn’t hurt.

My doctor wasn’t on call that weekend, so I met one of his practice associates when he came in to check on me around 5 p.m. I really ended up liking him a lot…he had a good sense of humor and was just real laid-back. He checked me around 5 p.m. and I was only at about 4 centimeters and 100% effaced. He also broke my water at that point, which I couldn’t feel, but I did feel the warm sensation of the gush when it came out.

About 5:15 p.m., the blood pressure of both me and the baby plummeted from the epidural, and my temperature dipped quite a bit, too, and I started shivering. I was still feeling the effects of the Stadol, but I do remember them inserting blood pressure medicine into my IV a couple different times in order to stabilize me. They also had me lie on my left side and gave me oxygen for about an hour. I came really close to vomiting at that point and gagged a few times but managed to avoid actually throwing up. They finally got the vitals looking good for both of us and then started a pitocin drip in order to really get the contractions going. My parents arrived around 6:30 p.m. and chatted with us while I labored.

Around 8 p.m., the nurse told me to let them know if I started getting a sensation of pressure, especially in the rectal area. About five minutes after they mentioned that, I started getting that exact pressure and called in the nurse. The doctor came in again to check me around 8:15 p.m. and said that I was fully dilated and it was about time to start pushing. I was actually kind of surprised because I figured it would take longer before I started pushing. My parents went to the waiting room since I wanted it to be just me and my husband for the delivery, and the nurse got things ready for delivery, including getting the bed adjusted into the right position, getting out supplies, and getting the stirrups in place.

I started pushing around 8:40 p.m. In the delivery room were just me, my husband, the doctor, and one nurse. My epidural was still turned on, but I could feel some pressure at the start of each contraction. The doctor did good with telling me how to push. My first couple pushes weren’t great, but after he corrected me and told me how to make it better, my pushes were more effective from then on. We did three pushes on each contraction, with either my husband or the nurse counting for me. The doctor would start talking/joking about random things in between contractions (and sometimes during contractions! LOL), like my career field and state politics, and I really think that helped distract me when I needed it.

A couple times, though, the other three got into their conversation so much that they forgot to finish counting for me. I pushed as long as I could, then jokingly yelled, "Thanks, guys, you stopped counting!" At one point, the doctor asked if I knew what the vacuum was and started going over pros and cons of using it. At the next contraction, apparently I pushed even better than I had been, because he said, "Yep, mentioning the vacuum always makes them push better." Perhaps not a sense of humor for everyone, but he really was amusing.

My husband was able to be both by my side holding one of my legs and could see all of what was going on. (This was fine with me. I’d told him beforehand that it was completely up to him regarding how much he wanted to see himself.) He was fascinated by it all, and I’m actually glad that he was so into it. About 20 minutes into pushing, I suddenly started getting the overwhelming sensation that I was going to throw up, so they got the bedpan for me. I threw up just once (mostly just water since I’d purposely not eaten much that day in anticipation of labor and knowing that vomiting isn’t an unusual occurrence) and felt better after that. Before my last couple of pushes, the doctor went ahead and put on his delivery scrubs, and they called in the baby nurse, who would take care of the baby once she was born. I asked to reach down and touch her head once it was sticking out, and I’m glad I got to do that. Pushing to get the rest of the head and shoulders out hurt a little bit (but still not as much as the stupid IV hurt!).

Kathryn Alexandra was born at 9:09 p.m., after pushing for about 30 minutes, and weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces and 19 inches long. She had a rash on some of her face and most of her body, so they wanted to take her to the intake nursery soon in order to make sure it was nothing to worry about. They got her cleaned up and then I got to hold her for only about 10 minutes before they took her. They had my parents come in from the waiting room so they could see her before taking her. I ended up with no episiotomy, and just one minor first-degree tear that did not require stitches. We’d done perineal massage at the recommendation of my doctor ever since my 36-week appointment, so I’m not sure if that’s what helped, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

Katie5 Katie6_2

My husband cut the cord (he was unsure if he wanted to, but the doctor had convinced him to do it and he later said he was glad he did), and then the doctor delivered the rest of the umbilical cord and placenta, saying, "And now you are officially not pregnant any more" when it came out. I was under the impression that delivering the placenta took longer, but it was fully delivered within just a few minutes of Katie being born. The doctor put it into a bowl and showed it to my husband then inspected it before setting it down, but I asked to see it, too, since I really was curious. It was turned inside out, but the doctor turned it back out for us so we could see what it looked like in utero. Yeah, it was kind of gross, but I figured I don’t have many opportunities to see something like that, so I might as well! I’m really glad I did. I believe they said Katie’s APGARs were 7 and 8.

They took Katie to the intake nursery to check her rash (which ended up being fine and was mostly gone by the next day) and to give her a bath and check all of her vitals. My parents and my husband went to watch through the viewing window, and my best friend showed up just as my parents were leaving. They got me cleaned up, removed the epidural catheter, and around 11 p.m. they wanted to see how well I could feel my legs to know if I could be moved yet. I still felt a lot of numbness in the left side of my torso and in my lower back (that numbness lasted most of the rest of the night), but I could hold my weight and walk (with some help) just fine. They moved me to a wheelchair to take me to the mother/baby wing, where I would spend the rest of my time in the hospital.

My husband and best friend carried all of our stuff to the new room and they got set up there while the nurses helped me pee (I really had to pee once I could feel again!). I was able to sit down and get up off the toilet fine, and the nurses cleaned up a lot of the blood and gave me the mesh panties and pads to wear. They also showed me how to squirt warm water after I was done peeing in order to keep things as clean as possible. I walked back to the bed mostly on my own with some steadying from the nurse; they were surprised by how much I could walk on my own at that point.

I got back in bed and visited with my best friend while my husband left the room to make phone calls to family and friends with the good news. They started me on two bags of pitocin in order to get my uterus to shrink back, and the nurses came in periodically to check and massage my uterus and keep an eye on my temperature (I’d developed a fever at the end of labor) and blood pressure. My best friend left around 12:30 a.m. and my husband and I just sat and talked for a bit while we waited for them to bring Katie to our room.

She finally came around 2 a.m.–the first time I’d seen/held her since the short time I had her after the birth. We tried breastfeeding immediately, but it was kind of frustrating at first. It felt like everything I’d read about what to do went out of my brain, and of course she didn’t know what to do immediately, either. By the second day, that got easier, but it was certainly frustrating those first couple times. It also didn’t help that I was so tired and just not in the right frame of mind to be patient with breastfeeding, so I decided we’d get a fresh start the next day. We sent her back to the nursery around 4 a.m. so we could get a few hours of sleep. My bleeding was still really heavy at that point, but less than it was right after delivery. It was more manageable by the second day and much like period bleeding after that.

We had Katie in our room all day on Sunday, January 28. I was definitely sore in the crotch, like someone had kicked me hard there, but I imagine it would have been worse if I’d had tears or stitches. Still, getting in and out of bed really hurt. My husband did all of the diaper changes, and feeding went better that day. My best friend and her mom came to visit us that afternoon after church, and the whole day felt like a parade of people who came into our room, one after another…nurses obviously to check on us, but then the hospital photographer, the lactation consultant, the pediatrician, the on-call obstetrician, the birth certificate/Social Security person, etc. I finally got to take a shower around 8 p.m. that night and felt a lot better after that. My best friend came back later that night with her fiance to visit and stayed for about an hour. We sent Katie back to the nursery around 10 p.m. so we could get some rest (with instructions to bring her back during the night when she needed to be fed, which I did around 1:45 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.). My husband and I took a walk around the halls for a few minutes, which was the only time I got out of the room since I was so sore when I walked.

On Monday, January 29, they brought Katie back to our room around 8 a.m. and we waited to be discharged, which they were hoping to do around noon. The pediatrician came and gave his okay to discharge Katie (though we had to take her back to the doctor two days later since she looked jaundiced), but we were still waiting on my obstetrician to come talk to me and give me the okay to leave. We thought he would come while doing rounds before his office hours, but he never came and the nurses didn’t know where he was.

We gathered up our stuff and watched TV while waiting for him. He finally came around 1:30 p.m. and sat down to talk with me. He said he’d been doing a c-section that morning, then had another delivery in the late morning, on top of keeping up with his office appointments, too, so at least there was a good reason for why he was later coming to see me. He asked me how things went, and I said that everything went way better than expected and that the IV was the worst part for me. I said that maybe it was a good thing hearing everyone’s horror stories because maybe that made things better for me!

He started going over instructions on care for my stitches, but I told him that I hadn’t had any stitches. He looked surprised, checked my chart, and said, "Wow, you’re right." I know it’s not the norm to not need stitches, so I really do count myself lucky there. I started asking a few questions about exercise and some other things, and he said that the only rule I had was that intercourse and tampons were forbidden for six weeks, but other than that, I could proceed as I normally would. He told me to continue my prenatal vitamin for as long as I was nursing, and to keep up with my iron supplement for about three months.

All in all, I really think things went extraordinarily well. From the start of the initial cramping, my labor was technically about 22 hours, but it seemed like less than that since my real contractions didn’t start until the next morning, and I delivered only seven hours after arriving at the hospital. I was prepared to push for a lot longer than 30 minutes, since I know it’s common to push for an hour or two (unlike what you see on TV and in the movies!), so I’m very glad that wasn’t the case. I really don’t think I could have asked for a better delivery, despite the few unpleasant parts about it.

Deanna is a copy editor who lives in Kentucky with her husband, daughter, golden retriever, and two cats. You can read her parenting blog "And Baby Makes Three"  here.