Warning!!! This post contains graphic descriptions of labor and Klaw's birth. It also contains colorful language. Do not read if you would rather not know!
In celebration of Klaw's first birthday, I am publicly sharing his birth story as I remember it. I wrote this down just a few days after Klaw was born while the memory of the experience was still fresh. Thankfully, my doula also wrote Klaw's birth story for us to have and it's fun to compare the two perspectives. I have done a little editing but only when it was necessary to make the story understandable. I decided not to edit the language because, sorry folks, birth is not PC and neither is my mouth.
Wow! My birth experience is NOT going to show up in any Hypnobirthing videos! It was definitely not the "gentle" birth that I learned all about and prepared for over the last several months. However, I was still attempting to crack jokes while Klaw's head was crowning, so all's well that ends well, right?
Saturday, March 27, I started to pass my mucus plug late in the afternoon and began experiencing irregular contractions. I went to bed and woke up around 1:30am with contractions 4-6 minutes apart. (Oddly enough, this happened to be almost the exact same time my midwife's plane landed from her trip out of town.)
I called my doula and gave her the heads up. We made plans for me to check in every hour until we felt it was time for her to come over to the house. 2 hours later, the contractions were approaching 3-5 minutes regularly and getting stronger, even though most were only lasting about 30 seconds. She came over & joined Chris & me. I was definitely not ready to go to the hospital.
I labored in our garden tub (love you, tubby!), the shower, & on my birthing ball. Things were going well. I was vocalizing a low hum to help me through the contractions, which were manageable. Around 8:30am, my water broke and the pace & intensity of the contractions picked up. Around 10am, I felt like it was getting close to hospital time since my contractions were about 3 minutes apart, at least 45 seconds and significantly stronger.
I didn't know if my midwife was back in town (she had been out of the country for a vacation), so we called the OB on call first...I spoke to him and he honestly sounded like a kid and he couldn't believe I was not already at the hospital. I was immediately uncomfortable so I had my husband call my midwife at home just on the off chance she was back. SHE WAS! HALLELUJAH!!!
We packed up & headed to the hospital. I got to L&D and met a host of interesting characters. The first person was a tech who was very put off by the fact that we asked her to turn off the tv. Seriously. One of the nurses was very matter-of-fact, but perfectly nice. She did the cervical check. I was 5-6cm dilated & looking good. There was very slight meconium staining in my amniotic fluid, so they did want to monitor Klaw's heart rate more regularly than I would have liked (this becomes more of an issue for me as the day progresses). My midwife shows up and she can't believe they told me I couldn't sit on my ball while on the heart rate monitor. She made the staff put me next on the list to get the telemetry monitor so I wouldn't be stuck in bed and told me (and the staff) that I did not need to be hooked up the entire labor.
Enter my labor nurse: she started off perfectly nice. As time progressed, she became a beast. I swear she timed her interactions with me to take place as a contraction was peaking. I started calling her a bitch every time she walked out of the room. She would conveniently "forget" to come & take the sensors off of my belly after 20 minutes, so I'd conveniently take the heart rate monitor off my finger to cause them to panic & rush into my room.
I got the sensors taken off & was granted "permission" to labor in the shower for 20 minutes. I decided my 20 minutes would be the same as their 20 minutes and I didn't see those sensors for well over an hour. Nurse Bitch didn't say anything to me. At this point, I think she knew better.
Well, late afternoon arrived and I was exhausted. I was still in the shower and had begun crying uncontrollably between contractions. My doula and I figured I was in transition (my husband, bless him, was having a terrible time dealing with me crying like this - he's so sweet). I had another cervix check and I was still at 5cm and my cervix was now swelling.
At this point, I knew something was wrong because I was unable to control what my body was doing - which meant I was pushing and not able to stop. Turns out I had a "second" bag of fluid and sweet Klaw had flipped sunny-side up, causing intense back labor. Nurse Bitch decided to come in, again during a contraction peak, to sternly inform me that I HAD TO STOP PUSHING! Keep in mind, my doula is helping me with all sorts of breathing techniques to keep me from pushing but I am physically & mentally exhausted and absolutely unable to control my body.
My husband gets my my midwife and I tell her that I have got to rest because I can't control anything. I didn't need/want an epidural, just a nap. She suggests stadol, tells me the risks (grogginess, puking, crosses placenta) & benefits (takes the edge off, only stays in system ~1hr). I agreed & literally passed out about 5 minutes after receiving it through my iv (I had already had to get fluids even though I had been drinking water & gatorade since labor began). I evidently woke up off & on for major contractions and about 1.5 hrs later, I woke up for real (and puked up a LOT of gatorade). I told my doula that I really needed to push even though Nurse Bitch kept saying I didn't need to...my midwife came back in to check on me.
WOOOHOOO! Not only did I get a shift change (Goodbye Nurse Bitch & Hello Nurse Nice Lady), I woke up almost fully dilated and Klaw had flipped himself back over! I have no idea how long the actual pushing stage lasted, but I was still physically exhausted - so exhausted, I was unable to even roll over to my side to push. My midwife let me try pushing on my back for a while, but then she had everybody roll me over so that I was on my side and in a better position that flat on my back. Now, I won't lie...this part was pretty darn painful but I, through my mumbling requests, still managed to make a few funnies.
I asked my midwife several times if she could just reach in & pull him out. I also started mumbling about "just get that vacuum thing...just suck him on out...mumble mumble." No one else understood what I was saying but my midwife said, "I understood her and NO - you can do this, Dana, c'mon."
I'm angry at this point and they keep telling me to look at my baby & all of his hair...and I keep saying, "NO!" I was using my anger to push that big ol' head out of my body and I didn't want to see a sweet baby head and lose focus. Well, I was able to do it and now I have a beautiful baby boy who was born on March 28, 2010 at 10:02pm after 20+ hours of labor: 8lbs, 2oz & 20.5" in length.
As a little bonus, I remember my midwife talking to my doula about how beautiful my belly was while I was pushing. Yes, it's a little vain of me, but I definitely did appreciate hearing it...