Friday, July 26, 2013

Did I Just Pee My Pants?! Joci's Birth Story, Part II

I thought I knew what to expect this time around.  My labors have went from 24 hours, to 13, to 9.  And the amount of time between transition and the actual birth has gotten considerably shorter with each baby as well (as evidenced by our last birth).  So I was anticipating a 5-6 hour labor this time around and the midwives, Jon and I had all agreed we would head to the Birth Center soon after contractions had started.  I was so nervous about not making it in time.  My concern couldn't have been more unnecessary.

I had other concerns as well, namely, childcare for the other kids.  Our parents were committed to coming down when labor started and then sticking around a few days to get us all back on our feet.  But the real question was whether they could make it down in time.  Which is why we had invited Kylee down the week of the baby's due date, just for that extra measure of security if I did go in to labor, and for a fun distraction if we were still waiting (we had big plans for trips to the mall, wedding projects, and lots and lots of walking this week!).

I was also worried about work, when and if I should stop taking assignments so that I wouldn't end up having a baby in the middle of one.  And finally, I was worried about clearing "birth a baby" off our schedule in enough time to start focusing on the upcoming family wedding.  And perhaps, in all my vanity, the whole idea of fitting in to a bridesmaid dress has been occupying my thoughts as well.  Obviously, there were just too many things out of my control.  I had no choice but to turn it all over to God and trust He could work out my agenda just fine.  No surprise there, He certainly has.

Because soon after succumbing to the post-kitchen-frenzy exhaustion, I awoke with a start.  It was 3:45am and, I thought, I had just peed my pants.  I jumped out of bed as fast as a fully-pregnant, just-awakened, trapped-in-my-pillow-nest woman could manage, and ran to the bathroom to determine what exactly had happened.  My water broke early (before labor started) with Jack, and while this was very similar, since it only occurs in about 10% of pregnancies I thought my chances of it happening again were slim to none.  But it didn't take long to determine that it was indeed amniotic fluid and not pee.  And it also didn't take long to realize that a baby wouldn't be following this water-breaking as quickly as Julia had arrived after hers.

I decided to try to go back to bed.  But it's kinda hard to sleep when you know that your body is about to go in to labor at any moment.  So I decided to get up, find something to eat and finish editing my transcription assignment, which was one item I was able to check-off my list of concerns.  It also just so happened that both Uncle Jared and Kylee were sleeping at our house that night - so childcare issues were taken care of.  And as things stood at 5:00am, there appeared to be no danger of not arriving at the Birth Center on time.

But just in case things suddenly took a different turn, I decided now would be the best time to get myself ready to meet our little girl.  Shower, shave, make-up, final packing of the bag and that was right about the time the kids started waking up.  I'd done my best to be very quiet to ensure Jon got a full night's sleep in preparation for the big day.  But at the slightest stir that morning, I got to wake him up (for the second time in his life) with the exciting news.  "Ready to have a baby today??"

Contractions were still extremely mild and not at all regular.  But since I was Group B Strep positive (yet again), I knew I would need to come in at some point for antibiotics.  I waited until after 8:00 to give the midwife a call.  Ironically, the one midwife I hadn't seen this pregnancy happened to be on duty that day - Susannah.  I remembered her from my Julia appointments though and I was excited to know that she would be the one taking care of us that day ... and hopefully catching our baby!  Susannah was headed to the Birth Center to meet another mama and said once she got settled in to come on over to check on the baby, start antibiotics, and decided where to go from there.

39 weeks, 1 day, full of anticipation!
So we took our time getting around.  Jon cleaned the kitchen, I got thing organized for the kids.  Eventually we realized we were half an hour later than what we had told the midwife and decided it was time to head out.  The drive to the Birth Center was entirely different than with the last baby.  We actually were able to stick to the speed limit.  And since things were still not progressing and we assumed it would be a long day, we decided to stop at the grocery store and load up on some vittles.

We spent almost our weekly grocery budget on snacks for labor... oops.
Susannah met us at the door and we went downstairs to the office area to start a non-stress test.  I sat in the recliner for 20 minutes listening to our sweet girl's heart beat and watching the machine register contractions so minuscule even I wasn't feeling them.  Then it was time for the antibiotics.  We were hoping one dose would be enough but just in case, I would keep the hep lock in all day.  Unfortunately, getting it in the first time proved much harder than we thought.  The midwife messed it up once, and the nurse messed it up twice.  By the fourth attempt I was starting to feel nauseous and lightheaded, but it finally worked.  I still have bruises on both my arms and hands from the previous attempts.

Since contractions still weren't anything to write home about, we decided to discuss some options to get labor going.  Originally, I was just going to go home and try some things out there, but after talking over the last birth we decided maybe I should stick close to the Birth Center (we were still so hopeful early in the day)!  The first was suggestion was castor oil.  There was no juice to mix it in so the midwife dug up a Pepsi for me to chase it down with.  Ugh.  Nothing like drinking straight up oil - thick, warm and disgusting.  I was more than thankful to polish things off with the Pepsi.

View from my bed, it's ingrained in my mind.
Since the other mom was in the room I had Julia in, we got our second choice.  Not that it really matters.  We went with the room that had a whirlpool tub but I never ended up using it.  The room was nice and spacious, which was good when I started pacing the floor (hours later).  The midwife brought in some labor tincture (the first of two different concoctions I tried that day) with instructions to take a gulp every 10 minutes, hold it in my mouth for 10 seconds and then swallow.  And then she carried in our old friend the breast pump.  For those of you that may not know, that can induce labor as well.  Of all the things we tried it was the most effective that day.

So I set to work pumping while trying to distract myself with a book and Jon started playing the first of several hundred rounds of Mah Jong on his iPad.

Surprisingly, the castor oil never really "did it's thing" (if you know what I mean).  But with the pump I was able to register some regular contractions about 5-7 minutes apart.  Eventually, pumping got old and I got tired.  So I decided to lay down and take a rest, maybe a nap.  But as I was laying there drifting off I realized that contractions had once again slowed to almost nothing.  This was the point where I started to wonder if maybe another car birth wouldn't be so bad.

I wasn't the only one falling asleep.  We were literally bored to death.
I started to feel guilty for not doing my part in helping my body go in to labor.  I mean, for heaven's sake, the least I could do was to remain upright so that the baby could at least be directed downwards!  We decided some walking was in order.  We had a whole hour before I was due for a second dose of antibiotics.  Since it was unbearably hot outside, we decided to drive back to the grocery store (the closest place with air conditioning and plenty of room to walk) to pace the aisles and get caffeinated (which the midwife assured me was not a big deal at THIS point).  Anything to get this girl moving I guess.

It wasn't until we were standing in line at the Starbucks counter that I realized I was in a crowded grocery store, on a Saturday, with a needle in my arm and gobs of colostrum stuck to my dress, about to walk up and down the aisles while getting my mocha frappucino fix.  Two words: hot mess.

But the walking helped and by the time we left Safeway contractions were about 5 minutes apart again.  Of course, much to my dismay, they nearly stopped again once we returned to our cozy room at the Birth Center.  The midwife came in to check on us and start another round of antibiotics, something that we had all thought wouldn't be necessary earlier that day.  And then we started to talk about what we'd do in another four hours.  One thing I appreciate so much about the Birth Center is that they don't rush you.  This birth was very much the same as Jack's, except I didn't have a doctor breathing down my neck the whole time, forcing the pitocin, reminding me that I needed to deliver within 24 hours OR ELSE ...  The midwife wasn't at all concerned with how long it had been since my water had broke.  And if she wasn't, I wasn't going to worry either.  So we decided that maybe we would just head home and wait things out there.  Susannah was going to send another dose of antibiotics home, with instructions on how to administer the IV, so that we could take care of the 8:00 dose on our own, and wouldn't need to return until midnight.  And that's when I realized that, if the midwife wasn't interested in seeing us for at least another 8 hours, I just may not be having a baby today.

While she left the room to get the IV bag, Jon started cleaning up all his stuff, and I sat on the bed thinking about how I was going to explain to my kids, when we got home, why Mommy's hands were empty and her belly still full.  It was right about this time that it started to thunder and soon rain was streaming down the window panes.  It all suited my mood so perfectly ...

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