Thursday, February 12, 2009

Here He Is!

Ansel Quinn Case
February 10, 2009 12:51 am
7 pounds 19 1/2 inches
Asleep after the exhausting journey!

Brother Miles, delighted with his new baby brother.

Tired, happy Mama, littlest "Lower Case".

Avery, tired himself, getting a good look at his brand new brother.
The Birth Story
I went in at 2 pm on the 9th to be induced. I was already at 3 cm and 80% effaced and had a bulging bag of waters. For two weeks, with prodromal labor that left me exhausted, on edge, so READY for the labor to just really BEGIN. Right at the end I was spilling protein and my blood pressure was climbing. Finally we decided it was just time for the baby to be born.
When I first got to the hospital there was a brand new nurse who tried for a long time to find the baby's heartbeat, but she couldn't, couldn't, couldn't. Finally she left and I burst into tears and her supervisor came in and showed her how she'd put the gel on the wrong side of the monitor and quickly found the heartbeat and so then of course I was crying with relief and the poor nurse was trying not to cry too. Not the greatest start.
Then the resident came in to introduce himself and started explaining about all the things they can do to speed labors along, after I'd just explained that I go really fast at the end, and wanted to try to slow things down this time. There were some English language difficulties as well as hyper-excitably on his part. When I restated my concern about wanting to keep the labor from progressing too quickly he said "Oh, oh! Slow down is no problem. I just say "Slow Down" It is good." Ummm... yeah. Okay.
As it turned out, my OB, Anita Showalter, couldn't get in to break my bag of waters until 8:45 pm. Once she broke the water things happened pretty fast. I walked off and on for an hour and a half, stopping occasionally to get monitored. Pretty quickly I couldn't walk or talk through the contractions, and within the first hour they'd gone from every 3-4 minutes to every 1-2 minutes. I asked to go to the jacuzzi tub, and by the time the nurse checked with the doctor, checked the tub, started filling the tub, monitored the baby, and checked me it was two hours since the water breaking. I was still 3 cm. And devastated, though I shouldn't have been. I haven't had a labor yet that hasn't stayed at 3 cm for a long time. I made it to the tub room, passing my OB in the hall, in fact leaning on her during a contraction. I saw the resident and burst into tears. "I don't want him there!"
The tub felt really good but the baby flipped from left side to right (and face down to face up it turned out) immediately. My back and bottom felt kind of numb and weird. My nurse came in after 15 minutes to check heartbeat and had to search around a little for it. Contractions were coming quick and with more than one peak. As soon as she left I felt like I should get checked, and another nurse came, apologetically saying that I was just 4-5 centimeters but 100% effaced. She was shocked that I said "OK, It's time to get out."
My nurse came and rushed me in the wheelchair back to my room, passing my doctor on the way, who said she'd be right down. By the time I got into the bed my doctor was there, said to the nurse she'd be surprised if I wasn't at 7 cm, and she asked if the contractions were hurting in my back. They were, since the tub. She checked me and I was 7cm! She had me go on hands and knees, sort of leaning against the back of the bed, and the contractions then were really really hard. I was throwing up again, and they were having three or four peaks, and barely a breath in between. But I could feel the baby turn, and move down finally and get into place. My Mom and DH kept helping me breathe through them, and reminding me when I felt like I couldn't do it that this was transition, the worst of it.
Then suddenly I felt pressure, but for the first time it wasn't just that feeling a split second before uncontrollably pushing a baby into the world without anyone being prepared. This time I felt like it was time to push, but also incredibly calm and quiet and just still. The doctor and nurses got the bed covered and got gloves on and everything ready. I pushed four or five times, instead of once, and it was hard- I've never had to think about pushing before, and this time I did. My doctor held a warm washcloth to my perineum, which felt really good, and I pushed when I felt like it.
Ansel was born at 12:51 am, and started crying right away, then stopped the second she put him up on my belly. He was born pink and and plump and healthy and after that first burst of crying has been very quiet and calm.
An amazing thing about the labor, I think, is that Dr. Showalter sat in the corner of the room during that last hour, just sipping her tea and knitting, ready if she was needed, a couple of times suggesting something, but just staying out of the way, not trying to rush or direct or take control. She was way more attentive and intuitive and calming than either the previous OB birth or the midwife attended birth. It really was perfect.
Avery got to stay up and stay at the hospital to witness the arrival of his newest brother. Though at times he was worried, and somehow unprepared for all of the throwing up I did, Betsy did a great job of making sure he was doing okay, and not getting too scared. He is proud that he was there, and is completely in love with this little pink bundle of baby boy now in our house. Miles is very gentle and loving of the baby, too. He tries to share his toys and loves to have a moment to hold the baby "My By Self".
Aaron is teasing me about already planning the next baby, and about how I just really can't complain if my hardest pushing stage ever was 10 or 15 minutes. But back labor sucks, even if it was only an hour of it. And pushing is hard, though rewarding work. I'm so grateful I got a chance to experience that, instead of it being such a panic-frantic thing. And I am just incredibly thankful for this amazing doctor, the really wonderful pregnancy she enabled me to have, despite being high risk, and the great labor and birth of my third son. And I can't wait to do it again. Or at least, I can't, right now, imagine never doing it again.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ready For The Marathon

Here's the image I had when I woke up this morning:

You've been training and preparing for a marathon for months (9 months, to be exact). You're psyched up, you've invited family, friends, photographers and reporters. Everyone is there, ready, excited, watching. You go to check in and get your race number and starting position, only to find out that the rules of the race have changed, and instead of standing in the big mad crush and taking off in a great rush you're going to start whenever you feel like it, but you have to walk. Not only that, you have to hold your two year old's hand, which means stopping to look at bugs and stones and occasionally sitting down to have a snack and a nap. The starter gun will go off, but they can't say when, and in the meantime you, and all of your team have to just walk along the race route.

I've been having what I think they call prodromal labor for awhile now, and it's been getting increasingly frustrating. My body is making progress, slowly, SLOWLY dilating and effacing and my water broke, but sealed up again, and everything is ready, but the contractions are random and not too intense. It's hard to be the watched pot, everyone standing around waiting for some action to happen. It's hard to be ready and feel things starting, starting, never really getting on with it, though.
I've only had labors that started fast, with water breaking and immediate contractions 1 to 1 1/2 minutes apart. Even if it's taken a while to get through the beginning stages, it has at least been INTENSE, and both times I've gone from 3 cm to baby in arms in 45 minutes exactly. So that part, the really hard part of labor, has gone REALLY fast.

This image I'll just keep reminding myself of, though. I AM making progress. I AM getting the work done, just without the drama. That's okay, right? So what if I walk half the race route before the starting gun goes off? That much less to run, right? Now I should try to enjoy a nice walk, a leisurely pace, more time with just two kids to walk with.