Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oliver's birth, Part I, Waiting

From the very beginning of my pregnancy with Oliver, I assumed that although his due date was August 20th, he would be here by the 13th, possibly earlier. After all, Colin had been born 12 days before his due date, and Gabe came 7 days before his. This was my third child, and my labors had never taken more than five hours, so yeah....of course he would be here at least as early as his brothers. Colin was set to start kindergarten on the 25th, and had his open house on the 21st, and I always just assumed that there really wouldn't be a conflict with either of those dates. I thought it would work out well that we would have a couple of weeks together as a family to adjust before he started school.

We had our family reunion a month before my due date, which I was really happy for. It kept me busy. I felt like nothing was really going on with my body, and the first time that my midwife checked me, at 36 weeks, she confirmed that nothing was going on.

At my 37 week appointment, I told the midwife not to examine me...I really didn't want to know. I had been dialated to a 2 for three weeks before I had Gabe, so I knew that knowing really wouldn't tell me anything.

Unfortunately, I had a vomiting episode and had to go in later that week, and I found out then that I was dilated to a 2 and was 50% effaced.

This was the point where I started to go really crazy. I tried very very hard to keep busy and not think about it, but it got harder as each day went by.

The most frustrating aspect of it was that I was having a lot of contractions that bordered on being painful, especially at night. Just when I was getting my mind off my pregnancy, I would be roped back in by a group of contractions that forced me to think about it. I remember being woken up sometimes by some contractions so strong that they had been a part of my dreams. I would lay in bed, watching the clock, trying to will myself back to sleep so that I be as rested as possible whether it was labor or not. I would always end up getting up, and then they would subside and I would go back to bed.

In the meantime I was reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and trying to prepare to give birth naturally, something I hadn't done with either of my other boys. By the way, I would recommend reading this book regardless of whether you are pro-epidural or not. It is quite interesting. I felt that this time, with the help of my midwife, I would be able to avoid getting an epidural. I really didn't like the detached feeling it gave me - not even being able to feel my legs or walk for hours afterwards. I felt like it cut my emotions off a bit too - neither birth had even brought tears to my eyes (and I am a crier) - they just seemed surreal.

At 38 weeks I was 3 cms dilated, but the head was not yet engaged, which didn't surprise me at all. I could feel the baby up in my ribs. My midwife said my body was "completely ready" and she wouldn't be surprised to see me again soon.

Though I was frustrated that I hadn't had the baby yet, I knew that wishing for it to happen before this point had just been wishful thinking....but now it was 38 weeks, I was 3 cm's and it really was time. Woohoo! Right?!

One day at about 38 1/2 weeks I started having strong contractions about 5 minutes apart. I timed them for about an hour and a half, we went to our favorite Thai restaurant, where they continued regularly...I started thinking about whether everything I needed was in my bags, and then....they just stopped.

I still had days when I managed to not focus on my pregnancy, but those days were fewer. I was huge, I definitely FELT 3 cm's dilated, and I was having diarrhea every morning (which can be a sign of labor). It was almost impossible not to obsess over it.

Now I was really starting to worry about Colin's first day of school. I wanted to have the baby before it, but not so close that I wouldn't be able to go with him. So the baby really needed to be born NOW!

Chad was obsessing as well. He was taking a month or so off (paid- woohoo for BofA) when the baby was born so he felt like he was just biding time at work. No one wanted to give him any new work because they knew he would be leaving soon, and not knowing exactly when that was going to happen was very frustrating. When I was 38 1/2 weeks his boss told him that he could start working from home. Probably not the best idea because now we could obsess ALL DAY LONG together.

When Chad wasn't working his normal job, all of his extra hours were spent fixing up our flip house. We had a deal - he could work all he wanted over there at night (and he did - usually from 5-11 every night), but after the baby was born he had to take a whole week off before devoting himself to it again (full-time, since he would be off from BofA). So Chad was also awaiting the birth because it totally impacted when he could finish the flip house up and have it on the market. The summer was coming to an end and he really really wanted to have it up for sale soon.

The contractions continued. I didn't sleep much. I found myself on my knees over and over again, asking Heavenly Father why I wasn't having the baby. I know that sounds petty, but it really really felt by this time that there was something going on with my body. All these contractions and no progress and I could just feel that the baby's head just floating around. Some days I could feel it work down, and I would feel a ton of pressure with a lot of discharge, and the next day he would be up in my ribs again. Gabe had been born "sunny-side up" and I wondered if maybe that was what was going on.

At 39 1/2 weeks I was still 3 cms and the baby's head was still floating around. My appointment was on a Tuesday (the 18th) and my midwife made an appointment for the next Monday, saying that if I hadn't had him by then we would talk about inducing.

I cringed when she said "induce" and said that I really wanted to avoid that. I had had pitocin when I gave birth to Colin and remembered the horrible contractions and the fact that I had to constantly be monitored, and I knew it would not jive with the plans I had in place for a natural birth.

Let me just mention that we had definitely tried every "method" for inducing labor at this point, and she recommended that we keep trying.

Now I was at that point where I almost wanted the baby to wait a few days so I could insure I was at Colin's first day. What was frustrating was that I didn't know for sure when his first day was. In our district, they had the kindergarten students start school on staggered days for the first week. Each kid only goes to school for one day that week. So the teacher will have five or so kids each day and then they start going every day the next week. We still hadn't received information telling us which day of the week he would be starting. We called the school and they told us we would get something in the mail, and we finally did on THURSDAY, telling us he would be starting on Monday the 25th. When we went to his Open House that night (the 21st), I told his teacher that I would be having the baby any day and asked her if Colin could start school a different day if I happened to go into labor on Sunday or Monday, and she said that should be fine. Getting the Open House out of the way and finally knowing when he would start was a huge relief. Now I was mostly okay with not having the baby until after the 25th (though of course I still wanted him to come NOW). I felt a lot more calm.

We went to Stake Conference that Sunday and I only lasted through half of it because I was so uncomfortable. Everyone who saw me there was shocked that I hadn't had the baby yet. Of course I was too. I can't emphasize enough the fact that we had never once considered that I would go PAST my due date. It really never even entered into our thoughts.

We took Colin to his first day of school and then went directly to my midwife appointment. She checked me and said"Darling (in her English accent), what did I tell you you were last week?" I told her 3 cms. And she said, "You are going to hate me, but you really haven't progressed at all and the head is really high."

She took a deep breath and said we should talk induction - I think she was remembering my opposition to it the week before. She said, "When is the earliest you would like to consider it?"

I told her as soon as possible!

She laughed and took us into her office, put us on speaker phone with the midwife on call at the hospital, who told us we could come right over, and just like that we were off! We called Robert and Sabina and asked if we could bring Gabe over. They met us at the house, I made sure I had everything I needed, and we left for hospital. I was sad that I wouldn't be able to pick Colin up from his first day of school, but I knew that he wouldn't be bothered by having Sabina do it (he loves his Aunt.) I was very nervous. I really felt like it was time to induce (I just plain didn't understand or trust my body at this point) but I was also afraid that something was going to happen to the baby because of the pitocin. When I had had it with Colin, his heart rate had dropped dramatically towards the end and they had screwed one of those little monitors into his head. I barely knew what was going on at the time, but looking back and knowing more about pitocin and emergency c-sections, it really scared me. I didn't want to end up with an emergency c-section just because I was going crazy with impatience. Chad and I were joking and listening to "Viva the Vida" the whole way to the hospital, as I tried not to worry too much.


Kari said...

In retrospect, not the kind of post I should have read, being pregnant and due for August. Still, now I have better insight into your "batty" post!

Mac said...

Well I have to say that I was totally engrossed in your story. I am waiting for Oliver to arrive home and he is due in about an hour. So I was reading your story, trying to pass the time - and I found myself not wanting it to end (you're a very good writer), but I'll be honest with you, it stopped when the story was just beginning - I wanted the whole thing!!! I WANT MORE!!!! What happened at the hospital? How long did you wait? I have so many quesitons. You can't do this to me.