Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birth Stories, Part One - Gracie

Since I have had both an unmedicated hospital birth and a home birth - I have been meaning share my experiences with each. The first installment is my firstborn which was planned for in a carefully chosen hospital.

* * * * *
July 12 - Monday morning around 5:30 a.m. my water broke. We were so excited. Contractions were regular at about seven to ten minutes apart and Gracie was on her way! We called our doula (Colette), our parents and close friends. Colette came over to our house and we decided to wait until the contractions were strong and regular before heading over to the hospital.

Around 10:00 a.m. - Contractions stopped. I ate, took a nap, took a walk, took a shower - still no contractions. We watched a movie, ate some more, walked on the treadmill - still the contractions were few and not regular.
Around 5:30 p.m. we decided it was best to head on over the hospital. We arrived at Allen Bennett Hospital and was given a beautiful room. Those in the Greenville, SC area - this is the hospital to have a baby! The room had recliner, table and chairs, rocking chair, big bathroom with a big Jacuzzi tub. As soon as I was allowed, I was in that tub! We asked to be allowed to labor naturally (without being induced) with the hopes of avoiding anything unnatural with the delivery.

Later that night, the contractions became very regular - 5 minutes apart and were a bit more difficult than the earlier ones. Pete and Colette took turns rubbing my back during the "uncomfortable" part. This went on all night. As best as they could - Pete and Colette tried to sleep in turns.

The next morning, I was checked and was still only about halfway dilated. Dr. Cowart said that we needed to go ahead and take the Petocin. I was pretty scared at that point. My commitment to go unmedicated was being tested. Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning (7/13) they started the Petocin. Unfortunately, that meant that I was on the monitor constantly (belt around my tummy) and had an IV and could no longer enjoy the Jacuzzi tub.

The Petocin is some tough stuff. Contractions were being artificially created and came on top of each other. I was close several times to asking for the epidural, but Pete and Colette kept encouraging me. By early afternoon, the contractions were so strong, that only Pete had the arm strength to press in on my back and relieve some of the "discomfort." We prayed and prayed and the progress seemed so slow. Pete and Colette were starving and would try to run quickly out to the outer room and grab literally a bite of sandwich before coming back for another contraction.

Around 5:30 p.m. (yes, 36
hours since my water broke) I was told that I could finally push. I had been at Allen Bennett so long, that Dr. Cowart was no longer on duty and Dr. Helmrich was going to help deliver. I was exhausted. Pete and Colette were dripping with sweat from holding me up and giving counter-pressure on my back. However, when I could push - Praise God - it was nearing the end! From the childbirth class I knew it shouldn't be but maybe a half hour. But…I pushed for three hours! At 8:40 p.m. (after almost 40 hours of labor) Gracie was born.

She was immediately placed on my chest and given an opportunity to nurse but she did not nurse very much – I think she was exhausted too. We held her for about an hour off and on as the nurses measured and weighed her and was being stitched back together (just tearing, no episiotomy). When the sewing was done and my modestly restored – the families were invited in. Roughly 500 photos were taken – mostly in the hallway so I didn’t see my child for probably an hour. But I was too busy eating to really notice. One aspect of a hospital birth is nothing but clear liquids – for over 24 hours of being there I was sustained on Sprite. I dined on cereal, chocolate pudding and Dr. Pepper (yes, this was almost 5 years ago, LOL).

Gracie was finally brought back in and nursed some m
ore and fell asleep. My mom stayed with me that first night so Pete could get some much needed sleep. Gracie slept all the way until around 6:00 a.m. I was sore, but finally rested and nourished. And after the first night, Gracie slept like a regular newborn – short periods and lots of nursing.

Overall – the hospital was positive. The nurses were all (well, there was one I didn’t care for, but she wasn’t there long). They were very respectful of our birth plan and not once were we offered an epidural. And both OB’s that were apart of the birth were great. For my first child – I was glad that I was able to have an unmedicated hospital birth.


Anonymous said...

What's an episiotomy? Is that the technical term for a C-section?

Carra said...

Nope - sorry actually an episiotomy is when the doc makes a cut on the perineum (which is just inside your vagina). A place that no one wants cut, torn or otherwise disturbed LOL!