Saturday, October 20, 2012

Liloa's Birth Story

Short version:  Liloa Christopher was born on 10/15/12 at 4 pm.  He weighed 8 lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long.

Long version:  Our due date of October 7th came and went with me being dilated to 4 cm and 50% effaced.  My doctor was sure I’d go into labor on my own, but we scheduled an induction for the 15th (41w1d) just in case.  As it turns out, Liloa was very comfortable and the eviction was served.  We arrived at the hospital at 6:45 AM on the 15th.  The nurses checked me in but then realized that we weren’t on the schedule.  My doctor’s office had forgotten to send over some paperwork so the hospital wasn’t aware that we were supposed to be there.  They put us in a waiting room and called my doctor, who confirmed that we wanted to go ahead with the induction, and then they showed us to a L&D room.  I got into a gown and discussed the plan with my nurse, who was very nice. 

It was a strange experience, going in for an induction.  You’re not already in labor so there’s nothing to focus on, like contractions.   You’re just... waiting.  They started the pitocin drip by 7:30 AM.  I wanted to deliver without any drugs or interventions at all, but because it was an induction, I had to reevaluate my plan.  I had to be monitored continuously, but Liloa kept moving around and the monitors weren’t able to keep a continuous line on his heart rate.  He was doing fine, but every time I’d move around, they’d lose him on the monitor.  Only, they kept telling me to keep moving.  I took walks with my IV pole, one hand holding the monitor in a spot I hoped they’d get a good reading from, and kept getting called back to have the monitor adjusted.  He was OP, or “sunnyside up” so it was hard to get a good reading on him, and then I’d move, or he would move, and we’d lose his line completely, and everybody was getting frustrated but trying not to show it.

They increased the pitocin in small amounts hourly.  We watched the morning news, Let’s Make A Deal, and The Price is Right while I waited to feel something more than these irregular, only-slightly-uncomfortable contractions.  At 10:30 my doctor checked me and I was at a 5, and she decided to break my water.  They turned the pitocin up again. 

By noon the contractions were painful and I was doing Lamaze breathing techniques and sitting on a birthing ball to keep things progressing while managing the pain.  The next 2 hours were intense.  My body had finally got the clue that we were DOING something and started to contract on its own.  Between the pitocin contractions and my contractions, I was in a lot of pain and not able to relax much between them.  The breaks between contractions were short and the pain never went away completely.  Because Liloa was OP I was having some mild back labor too.  Standing and swaying helped me through the contractions.  My nurse tried to get me to lay down for a while, since I’d been on my feet all morning trying to get Liloa to turn, but when I laid down and couldn’t move like I wanted to the pain felt completely unmanageable.

By 1:45 I’d had enough of the cluster contractions.  The Lamaze breathing was making me panicky and Chris (quite frankly) was no help.  He spent most of my labor surfing the internet on his phone and occasionally tossing a “Good job babe” my way.  I asked for the epidural.  The anesthesiologist was there very quickly.  I signed the paperwork and got up on the bed so she could do what she had to.  I had 4 very intense contractions during the whole procedure and was reduced to tears and shaking by the time she was done.  When they let me lay back, my nurse checked me while we waited for the epi to kick in and I was 8 cm dilated.  It was 2:45 PM.

At 3 PM Chris wanted to run home and let the dog out.  We live close to the hospital, and I was in a good place pain-wise, so I was OK with him going.  The nurse told him it was a good time to go, so he left.  The epidural was good; much better than the one I had with Kawika.  I could still feel the contractions and they were still a little painful; they felt like early labor pains, no longer the uncontrollable monsters I’d been having.  I could move my legs with almost no assistance, and I didn’t feel nauseous.  Overall, I was very pleased.

At 3:30, my doctor came in to see how I was doing and decided to check me.  I’d been dozing a little since Chris left at 3 and was kind of irritated that she had come back so soon to bug me.  But as soon as she put her hand down there I noticed that I felt different.  Her eyebrows shot up and she said “Wow!  You’re... 10 centimeters and plus 2 station!  Let’s have a baby!”  The nurse looked at me and said “You’d better call him.”  I called Chris, who didn’t answer, so I sent a text: “Come back, don’t dawdle, we’re ready.”

The nurses and my doctor started setting everything up, chatting about cars and the weather and the recent string of bicycle thefts in my doctor’s neighborhood.  Everyone was suited up and they put my legs in the stirrups just as Chris walked in.  He looked around wild-eyed, took off his jacket, came to stand by my head, gave me a kiss and my doctor said “Okay, here’s a contraction, and, push!!”  He was just in time!

It became obvious pretty quickly that Liloa wasn’t tolerating the pushing very well.  I’d only pushed 3 times through 1 contraction and they were having me shift from side to side, take deep breaths, and push even harder.  After the 2nd set of pushes, my doctor got very serious and I started to feel scared.  They put an oxygen mask on my face and put NICU on standby.  My doctor leaned over and said “Listen, Julie, you need to get him out NOW.  You can do this, he’s almost here, but you need to get him out.”  One more contraction, and I pushed so hard.  I had to hold it for 10, take a quick breath, and push for 10 again, and again, and again... I felt a strange sensation and someone said “Here’s his head.”  I glanced at Chris and he was looking at the baby, looking scared.  I pushed again and delivered his shoulders and body, and... silence.  Half a minute, maybe, while my doctor and a nurse rubbed him and suctioned out his mouth and nose.  I could see he was blue, and not moving much. 

Suddenly he gave a huge cry, and everyone seemed to give a collective sigh of relief.  They put him on my chest and toweled him off a little more, and he was very pink and very noisy.  Chris and I kissed each other, and kissed Liloa, and marveled at how long his fingers and toes were.  His head wasn’t the slightest bit cone shaped, and despite delivering him sunnyside up, he didn’t have any marks on his face from my pubic bone like Kawika did when he was born.

The doctor spent a good 20 or 30 minutes stitching me up.  I realized that I’d been up in the stirrups with her doing her thing down there for quite some time and asked Chris.  He said “It’s bad, babe.  It’s real bad.  She cut you.”  It turns out she gave me an episiotomy to help Liloa out faster because his cord was crushed when he was down in my birth canal and he wasn’t getting enough oxygen.  After the episiotomy, because I was still pushing so hard, I tore.  I had a 3rd degree tear and a hematoma.

But Liloa is perfectly healthy and suffered no ill effects from his birth experience.  Overall, he’s an easier baby than Kawika was, and that’s saying something.  We’re truly blessed!

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