Sunday, June 5, 2016

After the Storm

Hi friends! If I were you, I would have thought I had disappeared off the face of the planet.  Well, I sort of, kind of did.

My last post was about the pregnant Whole 30 I embarked on in January for a few reasons - to clean up my diet big time and pass my glucose test.  I'm happy to say I did both!  My midwife was impressed at my results especially given my weight.  I also lost 8 lbs and had some ketones in my urine which she was not so impressed with and she told me to stop my whole 30 and add some things back in.  In typical, perfect, Clara-like fashion I did exactly what was asked of me.  Cue another huge weight gain. Sigh. Moderation and me are not friends.  More on that later...

After last year's miscarriage, many of you know that this pregnancy held alot of trepidation for me.  I was so concerned something would happen.  Even making it past "milestones" didn't really help.  Once you lose a baby, you have no reason to believe you won't lose another, even if the odds are in your favor.  This created alot of added stress during the pregnancy, but one thing I was hoping for above all else was a healthy rainbow baby.  In case you're not familiar with the term, a "rainbow" baby is one who is born following a miscarriage, infant death, stillbirth, etc.  It mirrors the thinking that storms lead to rainbows, and awful, dark times can lead to better times. There is always, always hope.

Now that the storm has passed, and some dust settled, I'm excited to share with you the details about the day the sun came back out for me and my little family.

I apologize for the lateness, as our baby is now almost 8 weeks old (!!!) but if you've ever had a baby, especially at 37 years of age or older (ha) then you understand my complete and utter exhaustion.  I truly underestimated my 25 year old self and overestimated my ability to bounce back so quickly 12 years later.

{DISCLAIMER: I feel the need to preface this story with the statement that I do NOT think everyone should do what I did, nor do I feel I am stronger than women who choose an epidural as I am not. Labor does not always go as planned and until you're in it, you really can't judge anyone else.  I cast no judgment on the choices of others in this area and ask for mutual respect.  The purpose of this post is to simply share my experience and how things went for ME.  If your experience was different or you don't like mine, you don't have to read it (cue "worry about yourself" haha). OK, read on!}

I ended up being induced at 38+5 (due to polyhydraminos and high BP), which was NOT what I had envisioned, or wanted for myself this time around.  I had read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and was preparing myself mentally to have a completely different experience this time than I did 12 years ago with Lizzie's birth.  (Long story short, epidural only worked on one side, I pushed for 90 minutes and it was just overall a rough experience that took me a really long time to recover.)  Anyway, I was hoping to go into labor on my own and avoid the evil pitocin monster, but birth plans, like ALL plans are subject to change. Good thing I'm flexible.

I checked into the hospital and they tried Cervadil to ripen my cervix.  Some women spontaneously begin to labor on this drug.  I was really hopeful!  I was already 2-3 cm dilated and very effaced thanks to alot of birth prep.  My husband was there and we waited for my best friend A to arrive to coach me through the birth.  We've got this, I thought.  I can do this.  

The 12 hours of cervadil did pretty much nothing. Oh goodness, I thought.  But, I can still do this.  They approached me about the pitocin.  Cringing, I agreed, still firmly decided there would be no epidural.  Possibly a narcotic to knock the edge off when things got "real" later on.

They started pitocin at 8am and my cheery attitude began to fade with each hour..holy hard contractions...especially because my cervix refused to make good progress.  I literally took 4 or 5 hours to get to a full 3cm which was with the pitocin consistently being ratcheted up as high as 24 during that time frame. The contractions were uncomfortable but not impossible to get through. I leaned on Stephen, joked around with A, drank peppermint tea and might have snuck a few other items for sustenance. I tried to think positively...but the continued labor without progression was concerning, and I was already running out of energy since I hadn't eaten more than a few tiny snacks since 4pm the day before.

Finally around noon we decided to break my water.  This was another full on negotiation with my midwife, who by the way, is AMAZING.  She really advocated for me. There ended up not being as much fluid as anticipated but it definitely helped things progress some and my continued goal was to avoid csection. They began turning the pitocin up higher and higher periodically. I labored for a few more hours and it was becoming pretty uncomfortable, I was sure I was at least a 6 or 7...they checked me and I was only at 4cm! Holy what?  All that hard work for just 4 measly cm?  I was crushed thinking I had worked way harder than that with contractions a minute apart for those hours! I just had to keep going. Kept upping pitocin and finally asked for something to take the edge off around 7cm and they gave me a dose of fentanyl. While that helped me rest between contractions, it also really slowed them down and thus slowed down progress which was not OK. I had a lot of pain, according to my nurse, more than I should have given what the contraction monitors said.  In hindsight, I really probably just don't have a very high pain tolerance and was so exhausted it  made it that much harder to deal. We had to have an hour between doses of the meds and that's when it got so rough I began to feel like I really couldn't do it. Like not just couldn't do it, but might not survive it.  I know mamas who have been through this are totally raising their hand with an Amen to that.  They don't call it labor for nothing! During that time I said alot of not nice words, screamed a little (ok, maybe alot, sorry to anyone else laboring nearby), and possibly fractured one or more of Stephen's fingers squeezing his hand.  And only progressed to 8cm in that very very uncomfortable time. I was getting mad at this point.  I mean, all this work, and literally blood/sweat/tears and I still had 2 cm to go?  The last coherent thought I had was that my best friend and birth coach, A, my husband and my nurse were all trying to kill me.  I made sure they clearly knew I felt that way. You know, so they could feel guilty when I didn't make it.

I sort of came outside of myself for the next 2cm. I had some contractions I could totally zone and breath through and others where I sounded like I was being sawed in half in a horror flick, complete with bloodcurdling screams and crying the pain was so intense. I knew I needed to be calm, not clench my body up and try to relax but I was going on 24 hours without a real meal and I had worked so hard to get to where we were. It was the oddest and most out of body experience I've ever had. That feeling during transition is something I never imagined - I literally at one point felt like I was dying. Being completely ripped apart from the inside. Pitocin was completely maxed out for the last few cm, as high as it could go. {Have you seen the movie, the Princess Bride? (If you haven't, I might unfriend you).  I feel like pitocin contractions mimic that machine that sucked the life out of the leading man in the Pit of Despair.  Like, seriously.}

They called my midwife in and she checked me and I was finally at a 9. I was feeling completely out of control in pain and started feeling the need to push. She checked again and I was 9.5 and I told her I had to push. Game was on!

I pushed for 10 minutes and baby boy was born! Having an easy pushing experience compared to my last birth was such a blessing and SO needed! That was the most amazing feeling in the WORLD once he slid out. I felt like a completely new person and was reenergized. Stephen said my entire demeanor changed and honestly I went from literally feeling like I was being killed to a feeling of euphoric, almost instantaneous relief.  They placed my cheese covered little nugget on my chest and my heart melted! Our little rainbow baby was finally here and he looked up at me with such a knowing and sweet look. Within seconds of my placenta being delivered he was nursing.  This hospital has a "magic hour" where they then clean you up, and leave you alone for an hour to bond with baby before even weighing him.  It was amazing!

I had a slight 2 degree tear, long but not deep, and in the same place I tore with my daughter 12 years ago.

Folks, if you've followed me for any length of time, you know I've done some hard things.  I'm a tough girl.  I lift heavy weights.  I've run some races.  I've set some huge goals for myself (pun intended) and met those goals toe to toe.  This was, hands down, the toughest, most physically challenging thing I have ever done.

While it wasn't perfectly in line with my birth plan, I knew as soon as induction was required I had to make some adjustments.  I still managed to have the birth I wanted given the circumstances and I am very satisfied for enduring (surviving?) the pit induced labor without an epidural or needing the csection.

Here are a few pics of our experience and new little boy, Wyatt Royce. 7lb7oz and 20.5 inches long.
Big sister is just over the moon! Their first meeting.

Daddy is super happy to have his little man here! Nothing makes you fall deeper in love with your husband than watching him become a father - again.  Sigh. 
A recent pic of me and the little dude.  He has my heart!

So you're caught up - to this point at least.  In the next few posts I do plan to talk about post partum depression and anxiety and my experience with that, as well as what is next for me  (hopefully later this week). I have a great deal more to say and tell you but I've got to rush off now and make dinner while Baby W is happy with Daddy, then be ready to feed him again. More later on where I am in my fitness journey. 

I'll tell you this much - it's not pretty and we have a LONG road ahead of us this year to find some semblance of my former fit self.  I can say it was totally, completely worth it!

I hope you're up for it.  I am. 



Sarah Reed said...

<3 you!!! You are a strong mama!!!

Kathy D said...

Congratulations Clara! he is a handsome little man. So glad things went well in the end.