Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh the Labor Pains...

Many have asked that I share a little bit of our labor and delivery experience... so this post will be dedicated to all the hard work it took to bring little Sophia into the world!! Where to begin??? I guess the VERY BEGINNING....

Sunday morning December 28th 1am

I was sleeping nicely, woke up to some "contractions." I was thrilled b/c these are the first that I had really felt and thought maybe, just maybe, my body was going into labor on its own as opposed to having to be inducted. I had a few other signs that could support my hypothesis! Needless to say I was excited and pretty much wide awake. How was I going to really go back to sleep until 5:40am when the alarm was "supposed" to go off??? So I didn't really sleep -- just laid there in bed dying for morning to come to get this show on the road.

Nate and I got up, got ready, and headed to the hospital. Since I previously blogged about our arrival, I won't go into depth -- recap (the doctor checked me and I was 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced). She started me on Pitocin to induce my labor. Thankfully my body had started some contractions on its own...which worked with alongside the Pitocin.

I was on the Pitocin Sunday from about 9:30am to 5pm when the doctor came back into check me to see the progress I had made and to evaluate if the PIT was working. Basically, throughout the day, they increased my PIT every 30 minutes to cause the contractions to be more intense, effective, and consistent to work her down the birth canal. The doctors words were "make Allyson uncomfortable... b/c then I will know her cervix is changing..." By the mid afternoon, I was starting to get pretty "uncomfortable" -- or at least I thought I knew what uncomfortable was.... little did I know, my journey had just begun.

At 5pm, the doctor checked me and I was STILL 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. She was able to get in and strip my membranes though (which was a VERY painful exam and procedure) ... overall, there was only a TINY change after 8 hours of PIT. Needless to say I about lost it.... I couldn't keep it together... just balled my eyes out b/c the pain from the contractions was intense and I had made (in my mind) ABSOLUTELY no progress. I was getting pretty tired too b/c I had been up since 1am.

At that point my awesome nurse (who is a good family friend) took charge and asked all our family in our room to leave and turned off all the lights, and Nate and I had peace and quiet for me to start focusing on the contractions and pains to come. This whole time, they are still ramping up the PIT.

5pm to 10pm was the LONGEST 5 hours of my life. It was the most excruiating pain I had EVER felt. Since they were trying to send my body into labor, ramping up the PIT caused very intense contractions. I was having contractions every 2 1/2 to 3 minutes that last at least 90 seconds. There are a lot of "3 min" segments in 5 hours!!! Believe me!!! Nate's hand got a nice squeezing job -- with every contraction, I held his hand VERY hard, looked him straight in the eye, and had to do my deep breathing to make it through the contraction. After it was over, it seemed like no time at all until the next one started. I wasn't getting much rest in between contractions.

I kept looking at the clock thinking, how am I ever going to survive? And I thought my back pain was the worst pain I had felt!! Around 8pm, I didn't think I was going to make it... the nurse told me I could get a small dose of Nubain to take the edge off and to be able to rest b/w contractions. I hesitated b/c I really didn't want drugs, and wanted to try to do it on my own. However, since I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I said, bring on the Nubain. Once I got a 1/2 dose of Nubain, I was able to at least rest during the contractions. They weren't any easier or less intense... (I have been told that the Nubain caused me to act a little loopy too). Finally, when they were almost maxed out on the PIT and I was in horrible pain, she came in and checked me around 10pm. I was 4-5 cm dilated and over 80% effaced. This was WONDERFUL news for me!! Progress... but we still had a LONG way to 10 cm dilated.

At this point, I was at a crossroads... My intention with this delivery was to go natural. Women of many ages past did it over and over again... I felt it was also an amazing sense of accomplishment! Nate and I had taken some extra classes to prepare ourselves for what was to come.... well, everyone's labor story is different and you can't predict what will happen.

After laboring from 8am to 10pm all day Sunday, I didn't know how much longer I could go. The doctor had previously mentioned we could turn off the PIT and let me rest for a few hours and start it up again... HECK NO... I wanted so bad to get this child out!!! Also, you have to remember that I haven't eaten all day long b/c I was on the PIT. I had a bowl of oatmeal at 5:40am -- and it was 10pm!!!! For those of you that know me well -- you know that I eat at least every few hours... not eating was one of the hardest parts of the day... they want you to be able to have success.... but you can't nourish your body -- besides with ice chips! Big deal....

After my thought and consideration, I decided to get an epidural. I knew I needed rest and relief from the contractions and wanted to have enough energy to push her out... Getting the epidural was the BEST thing I could have ever done. I progressed from 5 to 9 cm in 1 hour. When the doctor came in to check me around 11pm, she said, WOW, you are getting close to delivery!!! I couldn't even believe it... the end was FINALLY in sight for me.

She had me "labor down" for another 60 minutes and she checked me and I was complete... ready to push. Sophia was having some decels in her HR, so the doctor really wanted to get her out for fear the cord was around her neck.

By the time we got everything set up, I started pushing around 1:30am... Sophia wasn't doing well during the contractions and pushing, so I could only push every other contraction, which increase the amount of time pushing. I also had to push most of it on my side... she seemed to respond better to that position. I pushed for about 45 minutes or so... and Sophia Grace came into the world to FINALLY meet her mom and dad after this long, difficult process.

It ended up that she did in fact have the cord around her neck and the doctor was able to get it off right away. Due to the lengthy process pushing, she was pretty flimsy when she came out... good old gray color... she only got a 5 on the apgar scale... but that quickly improved with stimulation, suction, and time. By her 3rd rating, she was up to an 8 on the apgar scale.

Despite the whole process being (A) EXTREMELY LONG (B) nothing what we had planned, expected, or even hoped for and (C) did I mention extremely long, we were blessed with a wonderful, healthy baby girl.... she is such a blessing to us and what an awesome reward at the end of the long process. I kept saying to Nate, "I can't believe she is here... she is our child...I am a mother." I was thrilled and so excited!!

She has been doing well since her arrival to the world!!! She actually let mom and dad get about 6 hours of sleep total last night!! This was WONDERFUL for mama b/c I pretty much hadn't slept at all from 1am Sunday morning to 10pm Monday night. Yep -- count up those hours ... a lot for 1 person to be awake straight!!

So that is the story of our labor and delievery journey!! It was very long and hard.... but the reward was well worth it....

Please keep up on the blog for more updates.... hope you enjoyed the pictures below!!

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