Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Abbi's Birth Story-Labor, Part 1

See The Backstory here.

Ok, so we got home with the *blech* castor oil and I began googling recipes.  The tricky part of this is adding enough to the 2oz you have to take to make it taste good while still remembering that you have to actually drink it.  All of it.  The best way, in my opinion, is to mix it into a small smoothie.  1/2 banana, strawberry daiquiri base (no alcohol), the castor oil, and ice...I couldn't even taste it.  Awesome!

That was at 6pm.  By 7 or 7:30 I was completely miserable.  By 8:30pm my contractions were a minute long, 4-5 minutes apart.  So, we decided to go for a walk to see if we could keep things going/speed things along.  We walked for about 30 minutes and by the time we got back the contractions were a minute to a minute and a half long, 3-4 minutes apart.  I ate something, watched some TV, and just chilled out.  At this point, nothing really hurt.  I mean, the Braxton-Hicks practice contractions I had been having for months just feel like my tummy was tightening.  No pain at all.  These contractions kinda hurt...they got my attention but didn't make me catch my breath.  Make sense?

Anywho, the contractions stayed the same for a while, gradually getting down to 1 minute long, 2-3 minutes apart but not really any stronger.  So I decided to lay down at around 1am to get a little sleep.  At 2am I woke up bolt upright.  This contraction hurt.  After another one I got up and got into the shower.  I decided to let Wilson sleep (he hadn't slept in weeks because he was so stressed waiting for the baby)...yeah, that lasted for about 15 minutes.  I got him up and started leaning on him and vocalizing through the contractions.  By 2:30 we decided to call the midwife and see if she thought it was time to come in to the birth center.  She told us to come on in and she'd check me and see if I was far enough along to stay (they want you to be at least 4cm dilated).

I don't remember much about the car ride.  I had my eyes closed pretty much all the time at this point and just wanted Wilson to stand next to me or hold my hand and talk.  It really didn't matter what he said; I just needed to pay attention to something other than the labor.  I'm pretty sure all he said from 2 to 6am was "Slow, deep breaths", "Just breathe", and "You're doing great, Babe".  Funny thing about labor...when you see women not making a lot of sense and such you assume that they aren't thinking clearly, right?  Well, for me anyway, I was actually thinking pretty clearly.  Decision making was difficult but I could totally form complete thoughts.  I just couldn't articulate them.  For instance, at one point Wilson was talking too loud so I wanted to ask him to be quieter.  But I still wanted him to talk to me.  So I said "Shhh!" and then, not 3 seconds later, "Talk!".  I wanted to say "Not so loud" or something, but I couldn't formulate the words.  Weird, huh?

Anyway, we got to the birth center at 3:30am.  The midwife, Ashley, checked me and said I was "3-4cm dilated".  She wanted me to stay for an hour or so, re-check me, and then "decide whether or not to send me back home".  I was devastated.  I couldn't imagine going back home at this point.  She wanted me to walk in between contractions; I could only make it about 3 steps before having to sit down to make it through another contraction.  They were right on top of each other!!

Apparently there were two possible reasons my contractions were so fast and furious only 8 hrs into my labor: the castor oil (obvious solution) or the baby being posterior, or sunny side up.  The midwife wanted to rule out the posterior option so she had me get on all fours for a couple of contractions.  Wowza. That was crazy uncomfortable.  All I wanted to do was sit through a contraction with my hands or elbows on my knees. Getting up on all fours was suuuper uncomfortable for me. But I did it and nothing changed so she agreed that I was in active labor and should stay.

Time flew by at this point.  Wilson had called our families and I was just getting through each contraction, one at a time.  I don't remember needing much coaching other than the midwife reminding me not to clench my hands.  I was praying between and through the contractions though.  I had spent a lot of time preparing my mind and heart for this moment.  My main concerns were:
1. For a safe labor and delivery for me and the baby
2. For an efficient labor and delivery that was as painless as a natural labor could be, and
3. That I would honor my husband throughout the process
I really didn't want to look back on this moment and remember screaming unspeakable things to this man that I had pledged to love and respect.  That was very important to me and I can honestly say that I looked to him for support and he showed up 100%.  He was incredible.

Sometime around 5am I was going through a contraction with Wilson right where he had been for every other contraction, squatting in front of me with his hands on my knees speaking encouragement to me.  It hit me: I didn't want him touching me.  I very swiftly pushed his hands away and he got up and sat down in a chair a few feet away from me. (Come to find out, he was really relieved to get a reprieve at this point!) I immediately started apologizing in my confused half-sentences.  I guess he understood. I felt really bad but I just didn't want him right there anymore.  The midwife saw it and offered to start the jacuzzi for me.  Turns out, I had hit Transition and the fun was really beginning!

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