Monday, January 10, 2011

Birth Stories, Part Three

I was soooo ready to have this baby...
When I started having contractions on Pete's birthday (Dec 12), I was thinking - yay!  This kid is early!  The contractions on Pete's birthday came every 2 minutes and lasted 30 seconds.  This went on for three hours first thing in the morning. I called my midwife, D.  D said that I should try walking, sleeping or taking a shower and let her know if they increased in intensity. I took a shower...they quit. 

When I started having contractions about a week later, I thought - okay I need to wait until my water breaks before I get too excited.  The contractions kept coming - 2 minutes apart for 30 seconds in duration.  A few days later the contractions were longer and harder intensity but sporadic (some 2 minutes apart, some 5 or 10 minutes apart) - so I tried to ignore them.

Family and friends called regularly to "check the pot" but nothing seemed to make these contractions follow through being the "real deal."  Christmas approached, Christmas passed.  Lots of contractions.  The calls to check were fewer and fewer.  Just as well - I walked and walked and worked and worked and nested and nested.

On Dec. 27, I decided that I really wanted to try that crazy idea of eating eggplant Parmesan,  Honestly I didn't expect it to "work."  I really like Macaroni Grill and who knows - maybe there is an untapped labor induction in the unity of cheese, eggplant and lots of oregano.  I was tired of being pregnant, tired of eating what I had cooked (we had been stuck in the house since the big snowstorm of Christmas Day).  While I waited in the van for Pete to grab the food, I tweeted, "pray for an effective dinner!"

So that night we all enjoyed a yummy dinner and the girls headed off to bed.  I felt pretty good so I asked Pete if I should keep painting the kitchen.  He said, "Sure if you're up to it."  I was having contractions but I had pretty much given up at this point.  (I did not say I was completely rational).  So I painted.  I love to paint.  I was detailing the edges between the cabinets and the walls.  The contractions were getting harder.  Pete said, "please start timing these things."  I reluctantly did.  The usual - 2 to 3 minutes apart, 30 to 60 seconds long.  But these hurt more.  I would paint a line, take a deep breath and lean up against the wall until it passed.  I wanted to believe this was "it" but I couldn't.  Around 2:00 a.m. I was at a good stopping place and really, really uncomfortable.  So I cleaned up my paint mess and headed upstairs.  Pete was constructing the cabinet for over the fridge.  I figured the contractions would stop if I took a shower - so I did.  Pete stayed in the kitchen to finish the cabinet.

After my shower I laid down. By now it was 3:00 a.m.  Pete came to bed and we slept for approximately half an hour.  At 3:30 a.m. the contractions were very, very uncomfortable and I woke up Pete with my "sounds." (and I don't mean the usual snoring).  We were talking about whether this was "it."  He said, Please call D."  I said "My water hasn't broke."  But since I was not able to talk during the contraction, I figured that yes - this could indeed be the time and I quit protesting.  So I called D.  Moments into the conversation I tossed the phone over to Pete to concentrate on handling the contraction.  D (being a great midwife) easily recognized that as a major sign that labor had intensified and none of us would be sleeping any more this night.

She suggested getting the tub ready and begin filling it.  I came downstairs to the "birthroom."  Contractions were intense and I spent most of the time kneeling by the bed leaning over the bed clutching a pillow and making "sounds." through each one.  Gratefully they were still about 2 minutes apart lasting about a minute.  Between contractions I texted my friends, posted my Facebook profile and tweeted, "I'm in labor." It took several contractions to complete the list, but what else did I have to do? LOL!

D arrived around 5:00 a.m. and her apprentice/assistant R soon after.  They set up their equipment and did some checking - the baby's heart rate was good.  I labored in the tub for a while but then decided to get out.  A few hours later I got back in the tub.  My back was really hurting and I asked Pete to give me some counter-pressure.  He was like, "oh no, not another Gracie birth!" (he only pressed on my back for 12 hours for that one).  He put on his swim trunks but really did not want to get in the tub.  So I kneeled in the tub and he pressed on my back, and time went on. The girls woke up around 8:00 a.m.  Pete went upstairs and got some cereal for them and turned on the TV.

I'm not sure when I really began to push, but it felt like a long time.  All in all I only pushed for 45 minutes.  I felt like the baby was stuck.  But I remember I thought that with Faith.  But this time, I was right.  This baby was a compound presentation.  The left hand was across the face so instead of just a head, there was a hand and arm coming down at the same time.  Yes, ouch is a good word here.  But D saw the situation and I kept pushing. She didn't tell me about the hand at the time but she was actively making sure this baby came out safely.

We had decided to give both girls the option of seeing their sibling born. We had read some books, looked at photos and watched somel birth videos.  After I had began pushing as little while, we called the girls back downstairs.  Faith came and seemed pretty disinterested.  So she went back up to watch TV.  Gracie was very interested.  As I pushed, she watched.  I heard her say "There's the head!  It has ears!"  She was totally fascinated, not freaked out and not even bothered by my "sounds."  We had prepared her for the fact that I would be noisy while the muscles were opening up the space for the baby to come out.  She knew I wasn't being truly injured so she just apparently tuned me out and focused on the baby - chatting with R and Pete.

Finally (not nearly the easy "pop" that Faith was) the baby came out.  A few gurgles but no solid cries initially. D looked at him (yes a him!) and began trying to get him to clear and cry.  After just a short while, she asked if she could give him some resuscitation breaths.  He was breathing but not well.  I am grateful for those sputters because otherwise I would have been pretty terrified. After five resuscitation breaths with this awesome "made for baby" oxygen thing (sorry I just don't know what it's called).  Then we heard some good solid cries - Praise God!

After that it took over an hour to pass the placenta.  I was sooooo exhausted with only 30 minutes of sleep with a 10 to 11 hour labor.  The little guy was pretty bruised from his birth.  D called the birth traumatic.  I agree.  He had a big bruise on his chin, some on his nose and between his eyes. Both eyes have some capillaries that have left blood spots around his pupils.  He looks wonderful but not so great at the same time.  When I was checked, it was amazing that I was not damaged from the birth (no tearing whatsoever).  That was truly a miracle.

At 9:31 a.m. December 28, we welcomed Zadok Anthony Carl into the world.  It was a tough birth, but he was a healthy baby boy weighing 8 lbs, 4 ounces and was 21 inches long.  For more about his name, see our ministry blog.

Love, Carra


becky@cup.of.joe said...

Oh Cara! I am in love! He is so handsome. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Love you all!!

Michelle said...

I appreciate the full story - I like details, you know. However, I have to maintain that the more I learn about childbirth, the less inclined I am to have them. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Love the details! Can't wait to meet him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Zade's birth story! I'm sorry it was traumatic, but I'm so thankful that everything turned out fine. I wish I knew about the eggplant parmesan with Caleb. He took his sweet time as well, and eggplant parmesan would have been so much tastier than the castor oil I drank!!!!