Thursday, March 19, 2009

Levi's Birth Story

Here it is as promised... Levi's birth story. I'm including 2 versions. 1) Short and sweet 2) LONG version for all my natural childbirth friends :) and for my own memory.

1) I had contractions all day at 10 minutes apart. At 9:30pm, they turned to 3 minutes apart so we headed to the hospital. When I got to the hospital, I was already dilated to 10cms and was ready to push. However, Levi was in a posterior position, so I had to push for 3.5 hours before he came out. Even though I had severe back pain due to the posterior position, I was able to deliver Levi without any pain killers and vaginally (after having a prior c-section). Now we have a happy, healthy baby boy!

2)Levi's due date was Feb 28th, but I kind of expected him to be early since Colt was 6 days early. Well, early came and went, as did Feb 28th. I had several days for which I had 3-4 hours of consistent contractions about 7-10 minutes apart, but they never led to anything. On March 2nd, I began having contractions about noon that were 10 minutes apart. I had an OBGYN appointment at 3pm, where she told me I was still dilated to 4cms and effaced 80-90%. She said when my labor began, it would probably go quickly. On my way home from the doctor's office, I noticed my contractions were pretty strong and I was having lots of back pain. The rest of the day, I continued to have contractions with strong back pain about 10 minutes apart. I remembered my Bradley birth instructor telling us that back pain means the baby is posterior. She had given us several different positions to get into to try to turn the baby, so I did these positions with each contraction. (Colt was also posterior, and I had horrible back pain during his labor too. My back was bruised after his delivery because I made Ty push SO hard to counteract the back pain. His position was the main reason he didn't descend and I had the c-section.)

When Ty got home from work, he could see how intense my contractions were. They weren't horribly painful, just lots of pressure that made me focus on breathing. Still going on at 10 minutes apart. About 9:30pm, we began getting ready for bed. All of a sudden, my contractions started coming at 3 minutes apart and the back pain intensified. After about 30 minutes, Ty realized I was in labor (I was still unsure) and called Cody and Chez to come watch Colt. When they arrived about 45 minutes later, the car was packed and we headed to the hospital. During my last contraction before we left the house, I told Ty, "I don't think I can do this anymore," which is a classic sign of transition. Since the next stage of labor is pushing, Ty knew he had to get me to the hospital quickly. He sped the whole way and ran several red lights - shame on him! It was difficult being in transition in the car, but it was kind of a nice distraction and made it pass by quickly. We called the on-call doctor while we were at home, but didn't wait for her to call back before we left for the hospital. She finally called while we were in the car and was kind of in a tizzy because we left without her approval. She also was like, "You had a prior c-section and now are trying to have a natural VBAC??"

We arrived at the hospital ER to admit at 11pm. I had a contraction as we walked through the doors, so I got on my hands and knees to labor and Ty pushed on my back to counter pressure the back pain. The ER staff saw that I was far along in my labor and they rushed to admit us! A few minutes later I was in my room with our labor nurse. I immediately went to use the bathroom. The doctor showed up in the room to talk to the nurse and they heard me in the bathroom say, "I think I need to push." Good thing we left for the hospital when we did!

So, I started to push. My goal was to have a drug-free vaginal delivery. Our nurse, Judy, at Seton Southwest hospital was AMAZING!! She recognized that Levi was posterior and helped to position me in several different ways as to get him to turn and stop the back pain. (With Colt's delivery, they hospital in Florida only let me push laying down in the stir ups, which is not using gravity to bring the baby down. I must say that pushing in this position was much easier though. Pushing for Levi was VERY painful. Well, the pushing wasn't so bad, but the back and hip pain that came after the push was the worst.) I pushed for over an hour before my water broke. I pushed for a total of 3.5 hours. After 2.5 hours, I was getting really tired (I hadn't slept well the night before, or napped, plus it was 2 am). I started asking how I could get Levi out quickly. The only option, besides another c-section, was to use the vacuum, to which I agreed because I didn't have much energy left. They had been able to see Levi's head for quite a while, but he just wasn't coming out quickly and was still posterior. At one point, they brought in a nurse who prepared the baby's bassinet. She was nice and I recognized that her presence meant Levi was coming soon. However, she left the room. I kept asking the doctor when she was coming back because that meant it would all be over soon. Eventually, the nice baby nurse came back in, along with a host of other nurses in masks and gowns. Before I knew what was happening, they had the vacuum out and Levi was on his way out. I started feeling a hot, burning sensation and said, "Is this what they call the ring of fire?" with Johnny Cash's song playing in my head. The nurses all laughed and the Dr. pulled out her scissors to give me an episiotomy. Levi's head came out and his shoulders were turned weird, but they eventually got those out as well. Let me tell you that was the most painful part of the entire experience. I feel like I almost kicked the doctor in the head because I was in so much pain. Fortunately, Ty and my nurse were holding my legs back!

At 2:55 am, Levi was born! Ty cut the umbilical cord. When Levi came out, he wasn't breathing well because of mucus in his lungs, so they took him immediately to the bassinet to suction him. His apgar scores were 6, then 9. They didn't give him to us for like 45 minutes (just doing their routine stuff to him - cleaning, weighing, blood samples, etc), which seemed like FOREVER. Just when I thought it was all over, the nurse starts pushing on my uterus to get the placenta to come out faster. I made a comment about how I thought the pain was supposed to be over already! I swore at that point that I would never have a natural delivery ever again, especially if the baby was posterior. Eventually, they gave Levi to us. We enjoyed holding him and I nursed him. He had a little bit of a cone shaped head because of the vacuum, but it went away after a day or two. My first impression was that he was just very quiet and had the same "balding" look that Colt had -lots of hair on the back/sides, but not much in the very front. My heart was full of love for the little guy.

I was glad that I finally had my drug-free vaginal delivery, but was sure I would never do it again. The pain was just too much to ever put myself through again. However, my nurse was awesome and reminded me that going drug-free was best for a VBAC. The risk with a VBAC is that your c-section stitches could tear and rupture the uterus. A warning sign for this is lots of pain. If I'd had an epidural, I wouldn't have been able to feel if I was having uterine rupture pain. 2 weeks later, I'm still not sure I ever want to give birth naturally again. If the baby is in proper position (anterior) I would try again, but if the baby is posterior, would definitely have to think about it. However, when I think back, it's only 4-5 hours of pain, then it's all over. (They did say that if Levi had been in proper position, I would have needed to push for much less time). Anyway, natural childbirth was a good life experience that I'm glad I had. My recovery definitely has been much easier this time around, which is important having a 20 month old running around. And most importantly, I am healthy and so is Levi. We have been blessed!


Melissa said...

Charis, congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story. It is awesome that you had an unmedicated VBAC - you guys did a great job! Childbirth is not easy, if it were, we wouldn't need 12-weeks of classes, right? :) It's funny, when I was in labor with Addison, I thought, "What was I thinking to do this again? This is definitly the last one!" And now I would do it again. You're right, it's only a short time when we think of our life as a whole, but it's a time we can always be proud of. There are some techniques that can help encourage a posterior baby to turn. Things you can do during your pregnancy and during your labor. Contact me before #3 and I'll be happy to send you some info. :)

Congratulations again - you have such a beautiful family!

campers said...

I LOVED readin ghte LONG version! I am IMPRESSED that you had him unmedicated with him being posterior.....Caden was posterior...I pushed almost five hours and KNOW I couldn't have done it unmedicated! I know how you feel about not having another....I said the same thing!!! But they are soo worth it in the end...aren't they??? Thanks for sharing!

Jeremy and Alyssa said...

Okay, that solidifies it... you are my hero!

Chez said...

Wow, you are a rock star. Your description was great (terrible?) because I could really imagine the kind of pain you were in. You should really tone it down if you're serious about wanting a niece or nephew. :) JK, but seriously I'm so proud of you and SO glad you got to have Levi the way you wanted!!

Ty said...

Hey! I only ran one red light. Very safely.

annalee said...

i loved reading the long version. way to stick with your goal, i am more than impressed! your family of 4 is too cute.

Rocky and Sunee said...

so glad to read your birth story. You did some hard work. It's great that your contractions weren't too intense before you got to push, but pushing for 3.5 hours! My goodness. You've got some endurance.

It's crazy to think about how fast Levi may have some had he been in the proper position. It might have been right there in the car :). If that happens do you still have to pay a hospital bill?

I am still sad I haven't gotten to see you yet and jealous that Rocky has!

Colleen said...

You are one tough mama! Man oh man. I retold your story to Josh and I think he got a little queasy. :)

Kelly P said...

You are one awesome woman! Thank you for sharing your story and for confirming to me that I will never try that if I don't have to. Drugs, gimme drugs! I'm a terrible mom already. :-)