datestampSunday, July 26, 2009

Wilhelm's Birth Story

There's nothing quite like looking ahead to the birth of Axel, to bring about all the memories of the birth of Wilhelm. But let's start back a little further...

After Dig and I had been married about a year, we found out we were pregnant. I knew right away something was up. We spent three months dreaming and planning. Then we had an ultrasound and there was a heartbeat, but the baby was measuring much smaller then the dates I knew to be correct. I was worried and my fears were confirmed one morning when I used the bathroom and there was a little bit of blood. I freaked. I went to my OB, there was no heartbeat. I had a D&C that evening. My hopes were crushed and I fell into depression. I know that 'Bean' was a girl and I know that someday we'll see her, hold her and raise her...but it still hurts.

Dig and I moved to Vegas and then to Arizona. We worked...a lot. That was pretty much all we did. I became somewhat ambitious and started traveling for my job. Time apart is not good for Digger and I. We need each other. We had mounting arguments and fighting. I even thought about what I would do if we split up. But I never wanted that. Then we took a road trip to see the fam in California. The time together was really good for us.

A few weeks later we were at WalMart and Dig picked up a pregnancy test. I was like, what is that for?? He knew because of my moods that I was pregnant even before I really had symptoms or was really late. I found an OB near my work, watched "A Baby Story" every day I had off and still continued to travel. I did get a little more domestic, sewing maternity panels into jeans and a diaper organizer, reading up on breastfeeding and searching the pages of "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

At about 15 weeks we had some blood work done that came back with a high percentage that said our baby may have Spina Bifida. I was scared, Digger was my rock. We agreed we would do our best for our baby no matter what. We went on vacation again, this time to Oregon to visit his family. I think that's when I started to get really excited, even though I knew we'd be finding out if there were any medical issues with our little one the week after we got home.

On that Oregon trip I saw all the cute blankets my MIL made (there were like a dozen, and I teased her that this was going to be an Arizona baby.) We shopped for more maternity clothes, oohh'd and aahh'd over baby things and the men-folk went and did whatever men-folk, look at old rusty cars, etc. I felt peaceful, like everything would be okay.

At 20 weeks we had a super fancy 3D ultrasound. He was perfect and big and a BOY, we were elated. Digger gave him the nick-name of Spanky in the elevator on the way out of the appointment. I said NO WAY, but as you can see I was totally outnumbered and caved before too long.

The rest of the pregnancy went smooth. I felt great. Ate gobs of fresh pineapple and Paradise Bakery turkey sandwiches on molasses brown bread. Seriously, a lot of money was spent at Paradise Bakery that summer. Also, my little SIL McKenzie came to stay with us and check out ASU that summer. I have great memories of kicking it in the pool with her for hours, not so great memories of being dragged around ASU on a campus tour and having to chill under a tree at Big Surf while Dig and his sister played...but it was good times really!

In early September 2002 my doctor told me I lost my mucus plug. She probably said all kinds of other things like, it still could be weeks until you deliver, but all I heard was baby...coming...soon. I called my MIL who was here with a car full of baby gear and her sewing machine within days, all the way from Oregon. I don't remember working much for that month, I remember several trips to fabric stores, cleaning carpets, setting up and sorting through all the things she brought along.

We all started to get a little impatient. Around Oct. 8th, I had another OB appointment and was told we'd be inducing on Friday, the 11th. My favorite doc in the practice would be out of town and I'd have to have the one I wasn't super comfortable with. Around 2am on Thursday the 10th I woke up with new and strange sensations. I waited in the dark, trying to be quiet. Digger knew something was up right away.

After we decided these were contractions, I went to my MIL and woke her up to walk to 7-11 with me about 5000 times. We played some Yatzee, called the doctor and tried to get a little sleep. Around 9am we went in to the OB's, got checked out, was 2-3- cm dilated and were sent to the hospital next door. My OB checked on me a couple of times, but was getting ready to go to a family reunion out of state. They started pitocin, she broke my water...which seemed to never stop coming out and I tried to walk.

Now I know that the the pitocin was making my contractions horrifying and difficult to deal with, but at the time I just thought this was labor, live with it. I was very conscience that there were other women who could hear me if I screamed, so I tried to keep my moaning under control. I successfully refused an epidural, but when the contractions got closer together, I was hooked up to the fetal monitor, on my back, stuck in bed. My back labor was so intense I caved into the pressure to have a 'half dose of stadol.' That junk made everything worse. Now I was loopy in between contractions and not able to prepare for them, so when they hit, it was even more intense...which I didn't think was humanly possible.

At some point I felt like I could push and I closed my eyes. I remember talk of needing to get the baby out and fetal distress. My mind concentrated on the empty crib at home and this picture of Christ:

Around 9pm: I couldn't look when they told me he was coming out. I was hardly aware of who the doctor in charge was, but his voice was the one I could hear. I needed his particular voice at that point. I didn't realize they were using a vacuum to help me get my boy out or that it had come off with some force the first attempt. I had no clue I was being cut and that even with the cut, I still tore. My task was push this baby out now.

Digger didn't get to cut the cord. Everything was happening quickly. Wilhelm had the cord around his neck and was handed over to nurses immediately after he was free of that tangle. I tried to look, but it was like coming out of the movies into a summer day. I caught a glimpse of the huge raspberry on the top of his head from the vacuum and that was frightening. He never really let out a good scream, but he got good Apgar scores and must have pinked up right away.

When he was handed to me, he was bundled, tagged and hungry. I tried to start nursing, but they brought me dinner and took him off to be vaccinated. I ate like a ravenous bear after being NPO (nothing by mouth) all day. Wilhelm was in the nursery.

I was moved to another room and talked Digger into taking his mom home and getting a good nights sleep. A very sweet and kind CNA brought my baby to me. I couldn't believe she was going to leave him with me. I wasn't qualified to be the sole person in charge of this precious little bundle. She gave me a few kind words and a reassuring smile and left the room.

I can't put those hours with my baby into words. I looked into his little face and I knew him and he knew me. I felt an overwhelming sense of respect for all women who had ever been mothers. I was still nervous that I might do something wrong, but I couldn't imagine letting go of my boy. We worked on our nursing skills, snuggled and fell asleep. I was too afraid of dropping him to keep him in bed with me, so I put him in the little plastic bassinet they had wheeled him in on.

When I woke up, they were just bringing him back! If I had known they'd come take him, I would have held on to him. They didn't want to wake me up, so they gave him a bottle. I was pissed off. Here I am trying to nurse and they pump him full of formula. That nurse must not have liked my attitude, because she was not nice to me the rest of her shift. She repeatedly asked me how much breast milk Spanky had taken. Seriously, my milk wasn't even in yet-I was totally new to this-the night nurse ignored my baby's name tag that stated "I'm breast-fed." in sharpie and this broad wants me to tell her in ounces? I was too flustered to give her a proper talking to, I regret that. She said things to me like..."He's too big of a baby to be getting so little milk." I stuck to my guns and with my family back in the room, no one was taking him from us.

During my stay, I pretty much kept to my room, but I did have to call to the nurses station several times for a new ice pack for my girly parts. Imagine my surprise when I did venture out to the nurses station and while I was there chatting, another new mom called for something and it was broadcast, loudly...for all to hear. I am pretty sure that was the first time in this whole deal where I got flushed from modesty or embarrassment.

Every time a nurse would come to check me, they would start by wanting to see my back. And every time they would be in shock that I had a 8lbs. 13oz. baby without an epidural. At that time I thought I was pretty much all that is woman for accomplishing that feat. Now I think it's sad that an epidural is that common, that a nurse would be shocked that a woman chose not to have one.

Over all, we had a beautiful, healthy baby and that was the most important thing. It doesn't change the fact that now that we're looking toward the next delivery with better preparation, education and extra support in the form of a doctor who supports natural childbirth and knows my wishes and with a doula to speak for me when I may be too busy to have my head in the real world. No pitocin, no stadol, no taking my baby out of my sight. Birth norms in this country need to change. I am glad we have the ability to intervene when it's necessary, but it is necessary a whole lot less then it's actually happening.
That being said, Thursday, we find out if the placenta has moved out of the way. I hope, pray and feel confident that it has.....BUT, if it hasn't and a c-section is in my future...I will do my best to be grateful, even though it's not what I want.


Anonymous said...

Wow. No wonder your husband doesn't want to talk about it.

I am forever amazed at women - both physically and mentally. That sounds weird, but I hope it is taken in the way intended.

The Godell Family said...

You were a trooper. And I have to say that the nurses at St. Charles never took my babies unless I knew it. What idiots they were. And...If you do end up having a c-section, don't worry about it. I have had 2 (1 emergency, the other planned). I healed quickly. I just kept thinking that the only thing that matters is that the baby is healthy and good. Everything else can be what it is. Good luck!

Shauna- said...

We love you and SPANKY! Thanks for sharing.

lil mama said...

I'm glad it's going to be better this time around! I hope everything goes well. Can't wait for the preggo shoot!!

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