June 24, 2011

Birth Story: Graeden, The First - A Hospital Birth

Experience is the most valuable tool for learning. When I think back to just over 8 years ago when I became pregnant for the first time, I realize how naive I was. I didn't know me, my body, or anything about birthing options. The only thing I knew was that I wanted a female provider. So I asked a friend where she went, made sure they had a female obstetrician  and then went there. It was a relatively simple decision. And I complied with everything they told me in my appointments...except I didn't do some of the tests (like for Down's Syndrome) since abortion wasn't an option.

The Birth: On my due date, I had an appointment and the doctor stripped my membranes. I didn't know what that was what he was doing. He checked to see how dilated I was and I think I was 2cm. He asked me if I wanted him to see if he could stretch it to 3cm. Not understanding that he was trying to start my labor for me and that I'd be in terrible cramping pain all day, I said, "okay".

I had intended on going to work, but with these new menstrual-type cramps I was feeling I just went home. And watched How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. Twice. I couldn't get off the couch.

I called my mom. I was hungry and didn't feel like getting up to get anything. Or make anything. She left work early to make me dinner and arrived with it about the time Tymon came home from work. We ate. The cramps turned into contractions. We timed them. I lost my dinner, which was a major disappointment. I was achy, tired, hungry and now couldn't eat. Contractions got a bit closer and a couple of hours later we went to the hospital about 9:30 pm.

Walking in through the emergency room entrance we ran into a guy I went to junior high and high school with. He's an EMT/Firefighter and had just taken someone in. We hadn't seen each other in nearly 10 years. We talked for a couple of minutes and I introduced him to Tymon. Then, as I was leaning against the wall, I said something like, "well, my contractions are less than 30 seconds apart, I gotta go."

When we got to the birthing center, the Nazi nurse who apparently knew more about my labor than I did (ha ha), said, "well let's see if you're really in labor" as she put us in a room and checks to see how dilated I was. I didn't have another contraction for an hour. Wow. What a let down. I thought I'd be giving birth within the hour. I had no idea what the psychological effect that a few callous and insensitive words would have on me.

When contractions started up again, I began to vomit. Like a lot. And since the food was long gone out of my system, I was hurling bile. Bright yellow. Then fluorescent green. I wanted a natural childbirth. One of the nurses kept trying to push an anti-nausea drug on me. After about 3 or 4 times, I asked what the side effects of the drug were. She didn't know. I explained that I could handle throwing up. I did not know if I could handle whatever side effect came from the other drug. A very frustrated Tymon told her not to ask again. She didn't.

The nurses checked to see how dilated I was several times over the next few hours. And in every painful pelvic exam I had a bulging sac and they couldn't tell for sure how many centimeters I was. I think they are used to women having epidurals so they don't have to be gentle.

About midnight, I had some strong urges to push. They said I wasn't ready. I believed them and held back any pushing. I still wasn't "ready" about 4am. But by that time my attitude had shifted. To hell with compliance and not pushing. My body wanted to push? Then I will push.

I was laboring on a birthing ball and heard a soft sound like a water balloon popping. Then amniotic fluid flowed everywhere. Sweet. This was really happening. I didn't care that the doctor was at home sleeping. In fact, I didn't care if he came at all. Yes he. My female provider wasn't on-call that night. I was finally pushing and an end to labor seemed in sight.

I used a birthing bar to raise myself up off the bed with each contraction. And I pushed. I felt the RING OF FIRE. A pale comparison to the real feeling, which is more like someone taking a blow torch to your crotch. It lasted several pushes. I didn't know if I could push through it. I have never known such an intense pain. The doctor arrived maybe 15 or 20 minutes before Graeden was born at 5 am. I watched as the doctor held his head and then his body as it appeared. My first impression? Wow. He's gray. And long. Is he mine? Yes. That's one question I know the answer to. In fact, he's still attached. To me. My baby. All 6lbs. 15oz and 20" of him.

I was invincible. High. I did it! I birthed Graeden without any drugs. I can do anything. The urge to run up to the rooftop, pound my chest and shout, "I am WOMAN! Hear me ROAR!" may or may not have been suppressed. Wow! My mind was on fire. A physical euphoria lasted all day. And its memory lifts me even now. Seriously, stand back. One part smugness mixed with ten parts empowerment equal an unconquerable spirit. I will do nothing in my entire life harder than giving birth for the first time.

Graeden tore me 4 inches up the inside of the birth canal. Not that I cared. I didn't feel it. This is the power of a natural child-birthing high. I got a saddle block, went into surgery and the OB stitched me up.

There were some fantastic parts to the entire experience and some not so good parts. The most frustrating part was the billing. Long after the pain of the birth faded, the bills continually came. And that (as well as hospital nurse/doctor impressions) led me to search for another provider with my second pregnancy. It wasn't until then that I began to understand my birthing options and most importantly, I learned how to read my own body responses.

6 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. so I take it you are hopeing she will come by sunday... one down four to go!

  2. Nice, Bridget! I admire you, but I'll stick to my drugs :-)
    And yeah, get these stories posted. You'll be having Kira tomorrow :-)

  3. I can't wait to read the next installment! At least your doctor let your go...mine asked me on Wednesday...What are you doing on Friday? My response was "I don't know, why?" He was on call on Saturday, and wanted me in Friday to start inducing me, due to all my complications, not Lilly's. My response was...."ok, let's see if I can get my mom in town, now! Otherwise I wasn't going to have someone at the hospital with me on Friday. (Eric was in training at Boeing, and couldn't miss the day) Luckily, Lilly was an agreeable little girl who came about 12:30am Saturday morning, and Eric could get some sleep for class Saturday.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I love birth stories. It's interesting how scary and overwhelming a first birth can be. That "ring of fire" sounds crazy! You're one tough cookie!

  5. I love you can remember all these details. I don't think I could. My first 2 are16 months apart and they too don't know life without eachother. Were Evan and Jett close to?


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