Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Hudson's Birth Story

It’s hard to really know when my labor with Hudson started. I began having contractions probably a month or more before my due date, January 10th. My first ones really freaked me out, since I hadn’t had any contractions with Ellie until the day she was born, and it was waaay too soon to be in labor. But, I soon figured out that with the second child, it’s quite common to have contractions much sooner that don’t amount to anything. So, I learned to just ignore the contractions (they didn’t hurt anyway), or just sit down if I realized I was having a lot on a particular day.

As the due date got closer, we really began praying that Hudson would be early, and we pretty much assumed that would be the case, since Ellie came 5 days early as well. Currie’s parents came to town after Christmas and would stay until January 2nd. I was scheduled to go back to work on January 3rd, but was really hoping that I wouldn’t have to return to either job, since my subs were all lined up and ready to go. We were also thinking that it would be much easier on Ellie to have family in town to watch her while we were at the hospital—she was actually my biggest concern about labor this time. I wanted her to be able to be at home, with people who knew her routine, and people she felt comfortable with (who better than family?). The whole time his family was here we kept doing things to induce labor: went to Macaroni Grill for eggplant parmesan, ate fresh pineapple, walked, etc. I was pretty bummed when they left and still no baby!

On Wednesday, January 11th, I was having contractions pretty regularly, but they weren’t hurting, so I decided to go to my evening tutoring job. I continued to have contractions the whole time I was there, and was getting excited about coming home to time them. Currie and I had begun watching Downton Abbey that week, so the whole time we watched that evening I timed contractions: 5-7 minutes apart. We went ahead and called several friends that had said they’d be willing to be on call for Ellie in case we needed to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. That night we also knew there was supposed to be a snow/ice storm, so I was pretty nervous about having to ask someone to brave their way through that at 2 am (especially friends who had a newborn themselves)!

I had gone ahead and let my bosses know that I wasn’t going to come in to work that day as well, since we were fairly certain I’d be in labor. So, I was pretty surprised to wake up Thursday morning only to have the contractions slow down substantially. Still, I was pretty sure that he would be born that day or night, so I asked Mom to go ahead and come to be able to help with Ellie. She was able to get a ticket and arrived Thursday evening. My contractions had picked up in the evening and so again, we timed that they were 5-7 minutes apart. And, again, I woke up with contractions slowed substantially.

Friday we spent the day at home, which was great, since Mom was able to get a feel for Ellie’s schedule. She hadn’t been to our house since Ellie was born, and even though Ellie had seen Mom, I wasn’t sure how well she would behave or go to bed for her. Towards dinner time my contractions picked up in speed and intensity, but I still hadn’t had any other signs of labor progressing. So, we decided to go out for Dewey’s pizza and on the way home we stopped at Cyrano’s and bought a bread pudding to go. We watched Downton Abbey and again timed contractions. They continued to speed up, last longer, and I was starting to have to concentrate on my breathing.

At 3 a.m. I was just getting ready to wake Currie up and tell him that the contractions were getting really intense and that they were three minutes apart. As I said his name, though, my water broke! I felt a gush and he got me a towel, and helped me to the bathroom. I stayed there for a few minutes as we decided what to do, but all of the sudden I started shaking pretty violently. I could not calm down to get myself to stop the shaking, so we ended up asking our doula, Colleen, to meet us at the hospital (we had already been in touch with her throughout the previous days). I was kind of freaking out and really did not like the feeling of the water breaking as it continued to get my pants wet. Mom came up from the basement ‘cause she heard the commotion and we told her what was going on. She was all set to stay with Ellie—as it turned out, the timing could not have been better and Ellie was an absolute angel for Mom.

We arrived at the hospital at 4 a.m. and by the time we registered and got to a room, Colleen had arrived. I got checked and was somewhat discouraged to find out that I was only 4 cm dilated. I tried not to focus on it at all, though, and just concentrated on getting through each contraction. For most of the contractions I’d sit on the birth ball while leaning into Currie, who was sitting on the bed. This worked well for some time, but eventually Colleen wanted me to try something different to see if it would speed things along. I agreed to try the shower, but only lasted in there for about one contraction. I didn’t like the feeling of only being halfway in the water, because I was cold everywhere else.

I went back to the birth ball and tried leaning onto the bed. Currie & Colleen got me some warm blankets and draped them over my back to warm me up. Pretty soon I started getting hot, and I started alternately wanting the blanket and not wanting the blanket. I would ask Currie to rub my back and then quickly change my mind and snap “Stop! Don’t touch me.” As soon as the contraction would end I’d apologize and explain that I just really didn’t know what I wanted. I remember saying, “I forgot how much this hurts!” and “I feel like I’m losing it.” I was pretty sure I was in transition, and soon started feeling the urge to push.

I was nervous and frustrated, because once again (this happened with Ellie), it was too early to push. I got up on the bed and turned on my side while Colleen rubbed my back, which helped me be able to breathe and relax some to control the urge to push. I kept groaning and sometimes wasn’t able to make it through the contraction without pushing. I really felt like I was doing a poor job (again) since I wasn’t able to make it through some of the contractions without pushing.

I’m not quite sure how things happened next, because it’s a bit of a blur. I remember being checked again and hearing that I was 7 cm dilated. The nurse and Colleen were monitoring Hudson’s heartbeat and it was dropping, but I don’t think I knew that yet. They put an oxygen mask on my face and had me turn onto my hands and knees. Then, they told me I needed an IV (part of my birth plan was not to have a heplock, since I have a severe phobia of needles). I think I was pretty calm through all of that, though, but I remember looking down and seeing blood running down my arm (Currie said the nurse must have been nervous or just rushed). I guess both of those things helped Hudson’s heart rate go up for a little while, but then it started dropping again. I just remember feeling absolutely exhausted and somewhat confused as to why all of this was necessary.

The next thing I remember is turning over again and suddenly being surrounded by nurses in blue scrubs. They had checked me again and even though I was 7 cm, I guess my cervix melted away and they started telling me “Abby, the baby needs to come out NOW!” I think they started giving me directions, and I remember saying “I don’t know who to listen to!” One of the women said, “Abby, I’m Dr. (Margaret) McCarthy. I need you to listen to me.” I had thought she was just another nurse… I hadn’t realized that she was the doctor on call, and that my doctor hadn’t been able to make it in time. She showed me a suction device and explained that she was going to need to use it because the baby was in distress. Then, a nurse climbed up on the table and started pushing from the top of my stomach as well. This was excruciating, and left me sore for weeks.

I remember pushing with all my might and everyone encouraging me to keep pushing. I felt like it was completely ineffective, though. Colleen later assured me that I was the one who pushed Hudson out, but I somehow still have a nagging feeling that she was only saying that to comfort me, since I needed the help of the suction and the nurse pushing on my stomach. Hudson was born at 6:48 am, after what I think was only about 10-15 minutes of pushing. He was limp and grayish, and the nurses immediately took him over to be put on oxygen since he wasn’t breathing. Currie accompanied Hudson, and I remember feeling scared, but somehow thinking things would be OK (Currie saw how concerned everyone was, though, and realized later he had tried to detach himself to prepare himself to comfort me since things didn’t look good). After 3 minutes, Hudson started breathing on his own and crying, and I remember a nurse saying “Isn’t that the most wonderful sound in the world?”

They let me hold Hudson, but only for a few minutes, and not to nurse yet, since they wanted to monitor him in the NICU. While I was holding him, my doctor (Dr. Mormol) came and stitched me up. Colleen then stayed with me, and Currie went with Hudson. Colleen and I talked about what had happened, and that the cord had been wrapped around his neck and his shoulder. He also hadn’t made the final rotation so his shoulder was stuck, as Ellie’s had been. Also, Dr. McCarthy came by after about 15 minutes and brought me two pictures she had personally taken, and printed out right in the hospital, of Hudson and Currie in the NICU. This meant the world to me!

After about an hour I was moved to a post-partum room (by myself), and Currie met me there soon after. Then, about an hour later Hudson was able to join us. Of course, I was very worried about him, but the nurses assured us that they are very protective of their newborns, and the fact that he was in the room with us was a very good sign. Finally, I was able to nurse him, and he had no trouble at all. The pediatrician told us that when newborns are in distress, rather than the “fight” response, they tend to shutdown. This actually helps them not to ingest meconium, etc. So, he too assured us that Hudson was doing very well.

Overall, Hudson’s birth was much more difficult than Ellie’s, which was a bit of a surprise, since I’d heard that the second tends to be a bit easier. I remember telling Currie the night that Ellie was born that I could do it again; this time, not so sure (at least not anytime soon!). I also remember telling Currie when Ellie was born that it was not the most pain I’d ever been in; again, not so with little Hudson. I felt a bit shell-shocked and traumatized with all that happened right there at the end, and with little explanation of why. Still, I’m quite thankful that I was able to get through it with very little intervention, and that a c-section was not necessary (I do wonder if I was just minutes/seconds away from one). I think the fact that I had been in early labor for about 3 days meant that when my water broke things just happened super fast and the contractions were super intense. (My water broke at 3 am and Hudson was born at 6:48 am). Still, the experience made me all the more grateful for our little boy, and for his health. I told Hudson the day he was born that he was not allowed to scare us like that ever again! I guess he’s been making up for it ever since, because he’s now 11 weeks old, and he is seriously such a sweet, easy, delightful baby boy!

Post a Comment