Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Husband, My Hero: An Incredibly Long Birth Story

So maybe I did all the work in this "birth" story but it's my husband who is the real hero.

Tuesday September 2nd, 2008 was the most traumatic day (and night) of my life, hands down- hands so far down that I'm actually stepping on them. I wish I could say it was the most miraculous, amazing day but none of those miraculous moments happened until hours past day's end.

As I was calmly awaiting my induction date, I started having contractions on Sunday night. Despite being quite uncomfortable, they were pretty random. I even stopped timing them and tried (key word) getting some sleep. I woke up with stronger contractions but they kept coming and going- they had absolutely no pattern at all. I suffered through them all day waiting for 9:00- the time I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital. As 9:00 approached, I remember feeling nervous, anxious, excited and terrified. It was an emotional day.

When we got to the hospital, it was oddly calm and organized. The nurses were prepped and ready, my room was set up and the front desk lady even announced "you must be Ms. Palmer" as I approached. I got tucked into the hospital bed and began the most horrifying experience of my life.

First came the IV. That hurt like a b*tch! I writhed in pain as they stuck that thing deep under my skin. The nurses put monitors around my belly and confirmed that I was indeed having contractins on my own but that, despite the intense pain, they were exteremly random in length, intensity and frequency. They offered me some morphine for the pain and, duh, I JUMPED at the offer- until they informed me that it was administered via needle. Into The Butt. OMG. The shot was seriously more painful than the contractions. But, at least, with the morphine, I was able to get some sleep.

When the morphine wore out a couple hours later, my contractions became completely unbearable. Like I thought my abdomen was going to explode with each one. Oddly enough, they were still coming on randomly. The first morphine shot hurt so much that I put off the second one for 45 minutes, choosing instead to suffer through the contractions. When they finally gave it to me (my poor butt) it did nothing! They checked me and noticed that I hadn't dialated AT ALL. WHAT?! After all that?! As awful as it was to go through the pain, I felt just as bad for my husband who stayed by my side for a lot of the night watching me writhe all over the hospital bed. He held my hand and told me it was going to be ok. I knew it was hurting him to watch me.

In addition to the IV sticking into me, I had two monitors on my belly, a catheder, and an internal monitor that was attached to the baby's head. This was BEFORE the epidural was placed in my back. I was a mess and so uncomfortable.

I got an epidural before they started the labor inducing drugs (and even though I was not dialated). I LOVE EPIDURALS. The numbing shot felt like a pin prick - the IV and morphine shots were 100 times worse. Then I felt great. No pain at all all. This began my love affair with the epidural. I could just barely feel my belly tighten with the most intense contractions but beside that, I was the most comfortable I had been in months! Things were starting to go well and the nurses kept commenting that I would have a baby by noon on Tuesday- just six hours away!

Then things went horribly wrong. I dialated all morning but then stopped at six centimeters. I was still having random contractions. Two together in a row and then a third five to ten minutes later. In hours I had made no progress. I started getting the chills with a fever of 101. Because of the fever, they had to keep giving me antibiotics through the IV. Then I had a large contraction and the baby's heart rate dipped from the 140s to 50 then back to normal again. The nurses started to fuss all over me and then gently explained that I might need a c-section. I did NOT take this well. I bawled all over the place and panicked. My poor husband kept trying to calm me down and reassure me. Looking back, I'm amazed at how strong he stayed for my sake. He held my hand and kissed my cheek. I would have realized again how much I loved him if the possibility of major surgery hadn't been dangling in my future.

Late Tuesday afternoon, my OB decided that we should wait things out if the baby's heart stayed strong. She increased the pitocin and said that if I made any progress in two hours, we could do a vaginal delivery. PHEW. I calmed down and prayed for more dialation with each contraction. Two hours later I had progressed to 8 centimeters! I was so relieved! An hour later, I was close enough to a ten that they let me start pushing.

I started pushing at 7:30pm. It would be an understatement to say that that was a lot of work! My husband bravely helped push one of my legs towards my abs with each push as the nurse pushed the other. Halfway through- in addition to the strong contractions, I felt a tremendous pain in the side of my pelvis with each contraction. The pain brought me to tears and I was miserable. The nurse had no idea what it was. My husband kept telling me I was doing a great job and that I was so strong. The truth is I was worn out and broken down. It was amazing to hear the nurse say she could see almost see his head. But two hours had passed and baby was not coming out. He was coming out sideways, was stuck and unable to get through my pelvis.

My doctor came in and tried to help him out with the vacuum. The thing made an awful sucking noise against the baby's head as she plunged and I pushed. I kept imagining her ripping the baby's head right off his body. At this point I was hurt and tired (having slept three out of twenty four hours and enduring two days of contractions) and definately scared. When the vacuum failed, my OB broke the news to me- I was heading in for a c-section, immediately.

My worst fears materialized. I'd never had surgery before and now I had no choice. I hyperventaled and couldn't breath. I sobbed until I thought I would explode. I wished to be anywhere but where I was. I felt helpless and scared. Although my husband was right there experiencing his own fear and pain, I felt so alone. He bravely and calmly took my hand, told me it would be ok. He had tears in his eyes but he was trying to soothe me as much as he could. I just kept thinking of what was ahead of me and completely broke down.

I cried helplessly as they cut off my monitors and the anesthesiologist inserted more drugs through my epidural. They rolled me onto a moveable bed, put the oxygen mask over my mouth and wheeled me into a completely different, foreign room with bright lights and white walls and tools everywhere. My husband bravely followed alongside with his own gown and surgical mask on.

The doctors kept pricking the lower half of my body to see if I felt the pain. I finally fell numb and became completely immobile. They placed a curtain in front of my face. I began to shake incontrollably in my arms and hands. My neck was cramped and sore from pushing for two hours and the pain was shooting down my spine as I lay on the operating table. Tears kept flowing but I just kept looking into my husband's eyes and tried to carry on a distracting conversation with the doctor. He told me the entire process lasted an hour. OMG. How could I lay still and let them cut me up for an entire hour?! I felt tugging and pulling in my abdomen. I could hear squishing and slurping noises. I was trying to control my shaking and my tears.

Then I heard someone say "it's a boy!" My husband left my side for one minute to just take a peek at the baby. I will never forget how when he returned the tears welled up in his eyes and had dampened his surgical mask. I will never forget that he told me "He's so beautiful. He's so beautiful." as he held back more tears. Then he grabbed my hand and said "He's definately a Jacob."

That was the one precious moment amongst twenty five hours of pain, fear an uncertainty. It only lasted twenty seconds, but my memory of those seconds makes the other memories of the night seem pale and distant. At that time I had no idea that I would not be able to see my son for the first time until three hours later or that I wouldn't be able to hold him for even longer. I had no idea that I would stay in the hospital four more days experiencing hot flashes, mandatory additional fasting, intense incisonal burning, multiple needle sticks in the arm, pain from laughing, coughing, breathing too deeply. I still had no idea I would be leaving with a staple-covered incision and fully dependant on pain medication. But despite the chaos and uncertainty, I found twenty seconds of pure happiness.

So after 25 hours of hard labor including 2 full hours of pushing, my son finally entered the world via c-section on Tuesday September 2, 2008 at 10:50pm.

Jacob Jessie Palmer entered the world weighing 8lbs 8oz with a soft head of dark brown hair and the most enchanting newborn face. I'm so incredibly happy and our lives have been turned so completely upside down that I have to pinch myself to be assured that it's all real.


Proto Attorney said...

Congratulations!! He's beautiful!! And his little head doesn't look like it took any beating from all that vacuuming. ;)

Sucks you had to go through all that and still have a c-section. But look on the bright side: at least you will still have bladder control!

the dragonfly said...

Oh, he is just gorgeous!

I'm sorry you had to go through all of that...but you have your little boy now. :)

Congratulations, Mommy!!

Anonymous said...

Your baby is so beautiful! I know everyone says that, but your baby is really REALLY beautiful!

SARAH C said...

oh my gosh, poor you! but congratulations, he is amazingly beautiful. make sure to take it easy and take care of yourself for the next few weeks, you must be so worn out from all that. the way i think of it, for the first month, nursing (if you are breastfeeding) should be your only job. leave the rest to others - you need to recover!

Googie Baba said...

Oh my god! You were tortured. How strong you and your husband are. Congratulations. Your baby boy is gorgeous.

Jean said...

He's beautiful! Sounds like a tough experience.

LL said...

He's so beautiful and Jacob sounds so perfect with Palmer! Congratulations to you both!!

postscript said...

Congratulations! He's adorable :)

Kym said...

Wow, he is beautiful, congratulations. I'm so sorry you had to go through so much. Good luck with the next few weeks.

newduck said...

I am crying too hard to even comment here. All I can say for now is he is so incredibly gorgeous I can't believe it. I'll write more later when I get my hormones under control.

Butterflyfish said...


Portia said...

Congratulations Cee!! He really is adorable! What a crazy birth story. I'm glad it ended so well though. Now get some rest when you can!

Butterflyfish said...

Also, omg is your birth story almost exactly mine.

LEO said...

CONGRATS! That is one horrific birth story, and I'm so sorry you had to go through it, but you have a gorgeous healthy baby now to show for it! Thank God you took this semester off!

OMG I'm SO EXCITED we get to see pictures and hear about Jacob now!

CM said...

I'm so sorry, after you were so scared of labor, it turned out to be so long and painful. :(

But it's over now, and your baby is gorgeous. Hope you are enjoying him, and that your husband continues to take good care of you both as you recover over the next few weeks.

PT-LawMom said...

He is breathtaking. Congratulations to you and your husband!!

So sorry about the birth - bleech. :( I was worried it was something like that when we hadn't heard from you.

newduck said...

Okay, I'm better now. It was the part about your husband's tears getting his surgical mask all wet that got me. I completely broke down when I read that. You are so amazingly blessed! Congratulations on the most incredibly gorgeous baby ever, and I'm so sorry to hear about the difficult birth. I'm sending you all my get-well-quick thoughts, and congrats again!