Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Birth Story: Episode 7

Ok.  So it's about time I document this birth story before I forget about it and plan for Episode 8.

**Due to graphic content reader discretion is advised** :) 
**It's totally long too.  Maybe you should grab some popcorn.**

It began Monday May 3rd.  Every time my bladder filled up, I had a contraction.  I assumed that it was just a weird physiological response.  After all, my doctor predicted at my appointment last week (April 27th) that there was a 99% chance that I would be at my appointment the following week (May 4th).  So I was contracting approximately once an hour, but nothing regular.  I went to bed that evening without having had a contraction for at least a few hours.  My husband was planning to stay home from work on Tuesday morning while I went to my doctor's appointment.  I was predicting that my cervix would be completely closed the next day and I would have to suffer through two more long weeks of pregnancy.  I was ok with it though, because I had more things to get done before baby's arrival and my parents weren't scheduled to come until Sunday the 9th.

At about 1:41 AM I contracted.  My bladder was full.  I went to the bathroom.  I finished feeling the contraction, noted the time, and fell back asleep.  At 2:00 AM I contracted again.  My bladder was not full.  Uh oh.  Now I was starting to wonder if my cervix was actually dilating and at what rate.  At 2:06 AM  I contracted again.  Crap.  I began to think that I might actually be in labor.  I took a walk around the house.  I went to the bathroom to make sure I wasn't mistaking it for a bowel obstruction or gas bubble.  I pondered if I should call my on-call friend, Jennefer, to come over.  I hated to have her come over in the middle of the night, have us go to the hospital, and come home to say, "Sorry, I just had to fart."

I decided to go upstairs and tell my husband the predicament.  I said, "David, I think I'm in labor."  He jumped out of bed and said, "What should I do?  Should I take a shower?"  I said, "No, just get dressed.  I'm not sure we have time for you to take a shower." (My husband is unable to take quick showers.) At this point the contractions were quite close together and getting stronger.  I called Jennefer and she didn't answer.  Now I was a little panicked. I called another friend, JoAn, and she was amazingly still awake and told me that she had just gotten home from the grocery store not long ago.  I could hear the TV in the background.  However, while I was on the phone with her, my call waiting beeped.  Jennefer was willing to come over and she didn't have to work in the morning like JoAn.  So we waited for Jennefer while I finished packing my bag.  I called the doctor.  The contractions started getting harder.  I called Jennefer on her cell and told her we were going to take off to the hospital and she could let herself in.  I didn't want to take any chances.

I had several contractions on the way to the hospital.  We arrived at about 3:15 AM.  I handed the ER admitting person my hospital registration and insurance cards that I was planning to mail the next day.  I told her that I gave birth to a baby in the lobby of the ER before and that she might want to hurry.  I messily signed the forms and they wheeled me up to Womens Services.  I got a room.  When they examined me, I was 5 cm dilated.  We had plenty of time to spare.

I labored while watching infomercials.  I totally want a TriVac.

I labored while starving.  I was trying to decide what special treat to have for breakfast in addition to my hospital meal.

The thing I remembered most about laboring was the extreme bladder discomfort.  The nurse wouldn't let me go to the bathroom because the doctor was delivering another patient and the nurse was afraid I would have the baby on the toilet.  Instead she gave me a bed pan.  I totally couldn't do it though.  I had too much stagefright.  I've spent about 30 years making it a point not to pee in my bed, why wreck all my progress?
[Wish I had a photo of me sitting on a bed pan]

Finally when the doctor was finished delivering her other patient, the nurse let me go to the bathroom and I peed a whole lot.  Such relief!  The nurse asked, "Are you peeing, or did your water break?"  Quite honestly I wasn't sure, but I assumed it was pee.  After my bladder was empty, the baby began to descend.  The doctor came in and said I was fully dilated and she broke my water (which confirmed I only peed on the toilet).  She told me I could start pushing.  I thought it was a little weird because I didn't feel ready to push.  I did not have an epidural so I could feel everything.  I just didn't have the urge push and I didn't feel my contractions were all that strong.  I told her if I pushed, all that was going to come out was poop or farts.  She told me it was ok.  So I gave a half hearted push during a kind of weak contraction and I was right.  Now I am going to take all the glamour out of childbirth, but here is an interesting fact:  Fart + Amniotic Fluid = Funny Gurgling Noise.  Yes.  Lovely.  It's a shame that TLC and Discovery Health doesn't reveal these things on their Baby Story and Birth Story episodes. They make it seem like such a beautiful process. (Sorry to my male audience.  I'm just keeping it real.  You can't say I didn't warn you.)

[Be thankful I don't have a picture to insert here.]

The doctor told me I was right. I wasn't quite ready to push because I still had a bit of a "lip" on my cervix. (Whatever that means.  I don't think facial parts should have double meanings.) At 5:15 AM she said she would come back in about 15 minutes.  She took off her blue paper gown and was gone for about 3 minutes when I told the nurse I was "feeling the urge".  The doctor came back, put on a new gown, and prepared for delivery.  I pushed once.  I moved him about 3 inches down the canal.  The doctor told me the baby had a very round head and was blonde.  During the next contraction I pushed again, but I just wasn't in the mood for pushing.  I got spoiled with the birth of Jason when he just popped out on his own with no voluntary pushing required.  But I pushed anyway, and when I began to feel the burning sensation of a head in my crotch, I pushed a little harder.  It was when the nursery nurse cheered me on that I pushed as hard as I could, and out he popped at 5:21 AM!  Little Boy George.  Wait.  Let me rephrase that.  Little Baby George.  I don't think this world needs another Boy George.

I was so excited my fear of dying in childbirth didn't come true!  I was monitoring my blood pressure all along.  It seemed to maintain a consistent rate of about 115/70.  All was good.  The doctor said I didn't bleed much.  The baby looked like he had Elmer's glue all over him. They said it was because he was 2 weeks early.  I allowed them to clean him up.  I wasn't all that interested in holding my gooey baby.  I prefer to hold them when they are clean and cute.  While they cleaned him up I had the doctor show me the placenta and I had David take pictures.  I'll spare you the pictures.

So all was well.  My husband left the hospital at about 7 AM to get the kids ready to meet their new brother.  I was anxious to take a shower because my pits stunk so much.  Shortly after the nurses changed shifts, my nurse, Leslie, helped me to the bath/shower that she filled.  I soaked in the tub for a while. I debated whether I was going to wash my hair.  I decided to go for it.  I wanted to look good for pictures that day and I thought the hospital shampoo smelled super good.  I stood up and washed my hair.  I bent over to touch my toes because I could.  All was well until.......

I had a gush of blood pour out of me.  I wasn't all that worried.  Clots happen and sometimes the bleeding comes in gushes. When it didn't stop, I pushed the nurse call button, and when Leslie came in I asked her if it was normal to have this much blood come out of me.  She said, "Yes, you just had a baby."  I took her word for it and she left the room, but it just wouldn't stop.  I began to smell the stench of blood. I could smell the iron. I called her again and as I stood there naked in a puddle of blood in the tub I said, "This doesn't seem normal.  I feel dizzy."  She quickly helped me out of the tub and laid me down on the bathroom floor.  I fainted for a few seconds.  She gave me a shot of Methergine in my leg to help the uterus contract, and she brought in a wheelchair so she could take me to my recovery room.  As she and another nurse helped me into the wheelchair, I was doubting my ability to get into it without passing out, but I trusted their faith that I could do it.  The last thing I remember was sitting in the wheelchair falling forward into the arms of the nurses thinking "Everything is going to be ok.  Everything is going to be ok.  Good luck to David raising 7 kids on his own."

The next thing I remembered was waking up on a stretcher with a cold washcloth over my forehead in the room where I delivered.  There were a few panicked nurses scurrying around me, covering me up, and taking my blood pressure.  I saw a midwife next to me and she introduced herself.  I heard Leslie say to the midwife, "I called you when we couldn't wake her up.  We didn't know what to do."  Apparently I had been passed out for about a minute, but Leslie said it was a very looooong minute.  She told me I got her heart rate going for the day and that she could skip her workout that evening.

I knew my doctor was doing rounds that morning, so I asked for him.  Thankfully he was there and he promptly came in.  I think he was testing my level of consciousness and asked me, "What did you do this morning?"  I thought it was strange question because I was thinking "Duh.  I just had a baby."  But I simply said (probably with somewhat of a slur), "Had a baby."  I think he was reassured that I had a grasp of what was going on.  I caught a glance at the blood pressure monitor.  It said 84/48.  I knew that was low and quite a drop from what it was during labor.  As I laid there in a daze with my nurse to my left and my doctor to my right I dared to ask, "Am I dying?"  I thought for sure they were there to simply console me through the end stages of life while the hospital staff called my husband to come quickly.  But they smiled and said, "No, you're not dying.  You just scared us."  I was relieved.  I told them I was starving and asked them when I could eat.  A nurse came in to give me some orange juice with a bendy straw and said to me, "This is why we don't have babies at home."  I fully agreed with her.

At that point I reminded my doctor that he predicted last week that there was a 99% chance I would be back in his office this morning.  He told me he regretted not having given me his home phone number last week.  He's been my doctor for 10 years and 7 births and has delivered none of them. I guess I've made it to his VIP list and he is willing to do a special delivery for me.   He missed this one by about 1 1/2 hours just like Rachel's birth two years ago.  His on-call shifts begin at 7 AM.  Then I said, "Maybe the next baby."  He just laughed and said, "You're a tough cookie."  I guess most women aren't thinking about having another baby 3 hours after giving birth and passing out from postpartum hemorrhage.  But what can I say?  Odd numbers make me uncomfortable.

I was trying to recall the dream I was having while passed out.  I remember visioning something.  I didn't see "the light" or anything near death experience like that.  All I can recall is the presence of my children.  It was a very peaceful feeling, which is odd because usually when my children are present the atmosphere is anything but peaceful.  When I woke up I didn't fear death so much.  I just remember feeling very relaxed.  Maybe I was just enjoying being in a completely dependent state, having five people take care of me. If only I could've rolled over onto my belly and requested a massage.  And a milkshake.

For awhile my doctor stood at my side, held my hand, monitored my blood pressure, checked my fundal firmness, and prescribed treatment to the nurses.  To give you a visual, my doctor totally looks like Bernie Kopell from the Love Boat:

The only difference is my doctor doesn't wear a captain's hat.  Instead he wears a lab coat, dress shirt, and bow tie. I seriously love my doctor and he has the most calm bedside manner ever.

Finally he determined me to be ok and he prescribed 4 anal suppositories of Cytotec to further help my uterus contract.  The nurse shoved the four big pills up my butt.  Not very comfortable.  Then Leslie massaged my uterus and a clot the size of a grapefruit came out.  Her eyes widened and she looked alarmed by the size and told me that was likely the cause of my bleeding.  I took oral Methergine the rest of the day to help my uterus contract.  I passed a few more clots.  Got a bracelet on my wrist in case I needed a blood transfusion during my hospital stay. Thankfully I didn't.

Leslie brought me to my recovery room on the stretcher. When she opened the double doors to take me across the corridor to the recovery side of the Women Services floor there was man with a big machine buffing the floor and about 6 big yellow cones strategically placed along the corridor.  It totally cracked me up.  As she made her way across the corridor, dodging the cones, I felt like I was in the middle of a pinball game.  We made it across without hitting any cones.  That was fun.  I was still super starving and they gave me a lousy breakfast.  HELLO!? I just had a baby!  Surely they could've done better than an oatmeal raisin muffin, Raisin Bran cereal, and tiny melon fruit cup.  The only thing it seemed to be missing was a cup of Metamucil.  I think I almost cried when I saw it.  I ate it anyway and looked forward to lunch and the Sonic Burger, onion rings, and Oreo Blast I was going to ask my husband to bring for dinner.

I received a blessing of health from my husband and another man from church, which helped to alleviate my anxiety.  The rest of the day I ate, watched TV, visited with my kids, and got absolutely no rest. Leslie would not let me stand up for the rest of her shift because I don't think she wanted any more incidents to give her a heart attack.  Doc stopped by to check on me that evening.  I asked him if he knew what might have caused the bleeding.  He said, "I hate to say it, but...'Old Uterus'."  Meaning old and used.  OUCH!  I guess it's reality.  It has been well-used, and I am getting older.  Then he left, probably to go watch Charo perform while eating dinner aboard the Pacific Princess as it heads to Acapulco.
Meeting their new brother.

Wendy wanted to make it a point to get her finger in the picture.

A double rainbow to end the day.

But now all is well.  Baby George is here.  I am still alive with an old uterus, recovering, drinking protein shakes, eating roast beef sandwiches, taking iron supplements, and feeling like a milk machine.


  1. U r so amazing. U r my hero too. 7 seems like a great number to me! It's like biblical or something right?? So glad all is well with u. I'd love to bring u a lasagna or something. Let me know.

  2. every birth story makes me cry. nothing better than having a baby. wish i could have 25. (with lots of lady helpers that live with me.)
    so glad greorge is here and healthy.
    and love the new look of your blog.
    miss you guys. from jayne not chris :)

  3. glad he made it safe and sound. If your uterus is old and used after 7, how the heck does Michelle Duggar do it? lol

  4. Melinda, I have been reading your blog for a long time now! I found your blog through Somer's. You crack me up - and your family is adorable! Congrats on the newest addition... and glad you survived labor and delivery! :]

  5. Old uterus' don't go right back to shape after birth. I had an awesome birth with Mary (6th child) and then had to stay in the delivery room for hours with a petocin drip because of hemmoraging. They only serve ice chips and popsicles in there. I think it's funny that your doctor hasn't made any of the births. I'm glad that you and George are healthy.