Teagan's Birth Day
Friday morning I started out to Oroville, CA, to see my grandmother. It was a bit of a drive from Sacramento, but I had been feeling cooped up, and I knew that my mom needed help dealing with my dementia-ridden grandma, so I went, even though I was feeling quite swollen that morning. The doctor had said a few days ago that he was beginning to suspect, at 36 weeks, preeclampsia, but that I shouldn't worry too much. I was going in for another urinalysis that evening, and if my protein levels dropped from there 2g to 300mg, we wouldnât worry.
Unfortunately, they would only rise with my stress levels, along with my blood pressure.
My grandmother had a particularly rough day, and we tried to find out where she had hidden almost 3K in her money so that we could pay her bills. Never found it; she claims someone broke in to her house, assaulted her, and made her give it to them. We did, however, find the purse involved in the 'attack,' and she insisted that they came back later and hid it so we could find it and think she was crazy. I assured her I didn't think she was crazy, but I donât think she believed me.
We headed home early as my head was beginning to pound something terrible â I would later discover that this was because of the blood pressure increase â and I wanted to go to sleep. Halfway through the trip home, my feet got too swollen for my shoes, and so I had to take them off and lean back in the car in order to relieve my headache. I arrived home, and was worried enough to tell Chris that I wanted to go to the hospital, but not worried enough to hurry. Besides, I told him and myself, I was supposed to turn in a urinalysis anyways, so it wouldnât be a waste of a trip. It was just after ten pm, and his family was already asleep, so I told him that we could just walk. We live about a block away from the hospital â you can see the parking lot from our bedroom â and I wasnât feeling bad enough that I was willing to wake them up for such a short car ride.
We arrived at the hospital and the lab was closed where I would have turned in the urinalysis, so we just walked up to labor and delivery. After telling them that I had the urinalysis done, and some of my symptoms, they asked me to just step in the check in room to get my blood pressure checked. My average blood pressure was 120/60 to 125/70; but when I got to the hospital that evening, my blood pressure was 186/158.
Immediately I was giving a saline lock, because the staff was concerned that I was going to have a seizure. I had to share a room with another laboring mother-to-be until they checked me in, and I told Chris, crying, that I was jealous that she got to have a natural childbirth, knowing that I would be at a very great risk for a c-section. I was actually pretty positive that I was going to have to have one, which only served to freak me out more.
I was checked in, and early the next morning, my doctor came in to discuss my options. He said he wanted to start softening my cervix and try pitocin, but if that didnât work, which he didnât think it would, he was planning on c-sectioning me by midnight the following day. My blood pressure was stable, but anytime I would stand upright, it would skyrocket.
They started me on a medicine to soften my cervix at 4 pm on Saturday, February 20th, and they added another pill against my cervix every four hours. By 8 am the next morning, when my doctor came back, I still wasnât effaced at all, and I MIGHT have been 1 cm dialated, so he tried to break my water. I wasnât dilated at all, so it just resulted in putting me through a great deal of agony as he put both of his hands inside me and scrapped against my closed cervix with his hook. The nurse on call ended up coming back in later to apologize, and to tell me that if/when my water broke, it would be quite bloody due to the rough treatment I had received, and that I should expect that. She also came in to tell me that my doctor would be back around noon to try again. I cried when she left; nothing before (or since) has hurt more than him trying to break my water with my cervix closed. They started me on pitocin level 2 after he was done (around 830 am) and raised it every 30 minutes by 2 points. By noon I was at level 8, and they kept me there until 2, as my contractions were 2 minutes apart, all off the monitor, and all lasting more than 30 seconds. The nurse came in to check me, but after all that laboring, I was only dilated 3 cm, and it didnât look like I was going to progress. She asked if I wanted an epidural, which I declined at first, but by 3 pm, I was so tired from not having slept in two days that I couldnât hold my head upright during contractions, I had to have Chris do it. I was too worried about not being able to push to decline it any longer; I accepted the epidural, and at 3:15 pm I went to sleep.
I woke up around 4:45 pm when my mother came to visit me. We talked for a bit, and the nurse came in to ask to check me, but saw my mother with me, and decided to wait a bit. I was telling my mom how well I had slept, and how I could feel my feet already, and was starting to feel my lower legs. I asked her how long it was supposed to last, and she said she didnât know, because I was born about 3 minutes after her epidural was administered and she didnât have a chance to experience it, but that I should probably get another dose if I could already feel my legs.
The nurse came back in and asked to check me, and before I could ask her for another dose, she announced, quiet surprised, that I was 10 cm and the babyâs head was already starting to crown. Chris came in and she showed him, and I was thrilled! That meant I didnât have to have a c-section after all! She told me that I was far enough along that I could start pushing with the contractions, and she called my doctor and told him to be in the area. By 5:30 pm I had started pushing. It wasnât difficult for me at all; the epidural had worn off enough that I could feel my legs, so I didnât have the discomfort of not being able to work them, and I could feel the strong pressure of Teaganâs head coming out, but it didnât actually hurt. It was extremely uncomfortable, but my back had hurt more for the past 7 months than this did.
The nurse annoyed me greatly. She kept cheering me on, telling me, "Push push push push push! You can do it! I canât believe you are doing so well!" I wanted her to stop. I knew what I was doing, and I didnât appreciate the cheering squad. Still, she was kind, so I didnât say anything about it. For his part, Chris only made a face once, and as soon as I called him on it, he was very good about it. He said he wasnât even aware that he had made it, and apologized.
The doctor arrived at 6:15 pm, and immediately pulled out a scalpel. I asked him, loudly, what in the world he thought he was doing with that, and he said an episiotomy. I told him loudly, "No! I do NOT want an episiotomy!" He told me I could possibly tear, and I told him so be it. We argued for a few minutes over which healed easier, but he shut up (for the first time since I have met him) when I started to push again. He put the scalpel down and started doing a massage. I knew what the massage was supposed to feel like; I had stretched myself out down there several times on my own. Even with the epidural, it was excruciating; not at all like what I had done for myself. I told him to stop it, but Chris told me âtrust me, Selah, you want him to do this.â I had already began to tear, and the doctor was trying to stop me from tearing more.
As Teagan got closer and closer to coming, everyone started cheering me on. It was distracting and frustrating, and I told them all the be quiet and let me do this. I would find out later that the door to my room was open, and our families heard every word. My mom said that she laughed when she heard me tell everyone to be quiet. Everyone was silent, except for the nurse, who I think was just so excited she couldnât contain herself. She was smiling widely as she held my left leg, cheering me as quietly as I think she possibly could.
I knew that Teaganâs head was out by watching Chrisâ face. It was EXTREMELY uncomfortable, but it still wasnât something I would describe as pain, per se. It hurt, yes, but it wasnât painful. It wasnât something my body recognized as something wrong. I think that I just categorized how it felt in my head as something important, something necessary, and my body accepted that.
The doctor yelled at me, "STOP PUSHING!" after her head came out, but it was beyond my control. She slid out of me, and Chris stopped looking at me, and started to stare at her. Her shoulders were next. The doctor was frantically trying to get me to stop pushing, but I couldnât stop pushing anymore than I could stop my heart from beating. Her shoulders slid out, and the rest of her, and there she was! The doctor held her up to Chris, and she had a perfectly round head. She wasnât purple or molted looking like all of the babies that I had seen in natural child birth; she was pink and round and perfect. The doctor asked Chris to cut the cord, which Chris had vehemently sworn he wouldnât do, and Chris just nodded, mouth open wide, took the scissors and cut. He had to cut twice, because he didnât make it all the way through the first time, and then the doctor put her on my stomach. She had been crying during the procedure, which had lasted less than a minute, but as soon as she was put on my stomach, she opened her eyes for the first time and looked right at me and stopped crying. Immediately.
It was amazing. I knew what real childbirth was supposed to be like. She was supposed to look weird and alien, and she was supposed to sob, and she was supposed to do all manner of strange things that I wouldnât know how to handle.
But she didnât. She looked clean; she wasnât covered in blood or that white, creamy stuff. She was round and pink and beautiful, and as soon as she turned those big, dark eyes at me, I began to sob. I had been so worried that I wouldnât feel a connection to her; I had never really realized that I was pregnant, so I was afraid that I wouldnât love her immediately. My worries were completely unfounded. I brought her up to my chest and we stared at each other, me crying, her silent, and Chris came up and held my shoulders. I was too far gone to realize it at the time, but I would later find out that Chris was crying right along with me.
I ended up having two tears, but the doctor remarked that if everyone tore as neatly as I did, he would recommend it more often, and stitched me up. I felt every stitch, and it HURT LIKE HELL, so I knew that the epidural had worn off. They took Teagan to the other side of the room to weigh and record her, and I relaxed while I could. I knew that the easy part was over, and I was going to need all the sleep I could get!
I didnât get the childbirth I wanted; I was sick, so I had to go to a hospital. Thatâs ok with me though. That is what hospitals are there for. For when you need to be treated. My feelings on childbirth are the same though, and if I can, my next childbirth I would like to have the same birth plan. The epidural was lovely though. The short nap that I got before I delivered certainly helped out a lot. I donât know if I could have found the strength to have her without it. My pitocin induced contractions were fast, hard, and extremely exhausting. 3 hours of contracting off the monitor every two minutes was really all I could take. I was had been sleeping during the 30 second intervals between contractions.
Teagan was born 6:23 pm on February 21st, 2010. She weighed 6 lbs 9 oz
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