August 19, 2010

What Happened After the Brownies

Rah commented on my Brownies = Labor post, saying "Okay now please tell us the rest of the story, about when Paul finally came home and when you eventually went to the hospital, and how it turned from water breaking into a C-section."

WELL OKAY.

Let's see. I called the OB's office as soon as it opened, and no one got back to me for AN HOUR AND A HALF. I was a little cranky about this, but because I STILL wasn't having much in the way of contractions, and because at the time we lived about a 5-minute drive from the hospital and there was a bus that went practically from our front door right to the hospital every 20 minutes, I was more THEORETICALLY annoyed than actually annoyed---and plus, I was eager to know what the next step would be. It turned out to be "going to Labor & Delivery to see if your water really broke or if you've just been steadily peeing your pants for the last four and a half hours."

But---Paul had the car. And he wasn't back yet. (Time check: it was 10:30 a.m., about 4 hours after he'd left for the office, with a 1.5-hour commute.) I called him at work and he said he'd leave in another hour and a half. Three hours later we were at L&D---and indeed, my water really had broken. I was still barely feeling the contractions, which were about every two and a half minutes according to the L&D machine. But no dilation and no effacement, so they sent me home and said to come back either when the contractions got more serious or at 6:00 p.m. (12 hours after my water broke), whichever was earlier.

As we were leaving, we heard someone calling us and it was one of the other couples from our childbirth class: she'd had her baby the day before. (Of the six couples in our class, FIVE had their babies before the last class.) I was VERY ENVIOUS, because she was already DONE.

At 3:30 p.m., my contractions finally started hurting. (This is now 9.5 hours after my water broke.) I kept a journal, so I have here my description of what they were like at this point: "I can't 'relax into them.' They HURT. They give me a feeling of needing to get away. They feel as if you're sitting on your leg in a way that's going to tear it out of the socket if you don't move right away---but there isn't any way to move." So. Several hours of that, and then it was 6:00 p.m. and we went to the hospital and checked in. I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced.

Next, seven hours of the new experience of laboring in a hospital, not really knowing what to do or what to expect. I tried the tub; I tried fentanyl (it didn't do anything for the pain but it stopped me caring about it), I tried walking, I tried changing positions, I tried breathing, I tried focal objects, I tried the labor ball, I tried the rocking chair. I felt like I was sampling at the cafeteria of labor options and that nothing was really working any better than anything else---but the fact of having things to try was distracting and helpful.

At 1:00 in the morning (this is now 19 hours after my water broke), I was at 4cm and I got an epidural. My blood pressure went very low (I wrote down "70s over 40s") and I threw up and then got a shot of something (ephedrine?) that helped bring my blood pressure back up, and then I had my own nurse sitting in the room with me and I had a blood pressure monitor checking me every few minutes automatically. I felt great: no more pain, and I even drowsed.

This is where I am not quite sure what happened, but the GIST is that my cervix was swelling as it dilated, which was giving us crazy dilation measurements: for example, I got to 6cm, but then "went back" (not really, but the swelling made it like that) to 5cm. At 9cm, it had been just over 24 hours since my water had broken, so the OB said the next step was either pushing or c-section. She came back two hours later and I was at 6cm, so they prepped me for a c-section and the baby was born 28 hours after my water broke.

They had the baby station right near my head so I could look at him right after he was born. I remember he was such a surprise to me: I'd expected him to look FAMILIAR or something, like MY BABY, but he didn't look familiar AT ALL. I was glad I saw him right after, or I might have worried he wasn't mine!

You know what the most stressful part of the c-section was for me? When they were wheeling me to the operating room and I was watching the fluorescent lights go by over my head. HOW MANY movies and TV shows have shown that exact from-the-bed angle, with nurses leaning in and the lights flicking by overhead and the bed passing other medical people in the hallway? So it made me feel like I was in a dramatic movie/show, and that made me stressy and upset. But once the table was in the OR everything was okay.

I remember being in Recovery and I wasn't even eager to see the baby yet, I was so busy feeling TREMENDOUSLY HAPPY AND RELIEVED that I wasn't pregnant anymore and that the labor part was DONE. And I felt content to enjoy the anticipation of seeing the baby, and also I was busy eating delicious, delicious ice chips as often as the nurse would let me have them. I also felt very excited because we were going to call our parents and they were going to be SO SURPRISED that the baby was HERE: we hadn't told them our plan to NOT call during labor, and this was still two full weeks before my due date.

30 comments:

Amy said...

Yay! Thanks for finishing the story!!!!

Megan said...

WOW! So what happened next? What was everyone's reaction and how was your recovery and what was it like to bring him home? Did you have c sections with all the rest of your kids too?

Amanda said...

HE WENT TO WORK 1.5 HOURS AWAY WITH THE CAR WHILE YOU WERE IN LABOR?

ZOMG.

I'm feeling very caps lock about this ^! Whew.

d e v a n said...

ooh, I felt that same way after my babies were born - that I'd thought I would just KNOW them, but they weren't familiar at all. It happened with all of them, but was most surprising after the first.
I almost felt like I needed to like, write my name in magic marker on the bottom of their foot... just so I could be sure when they came back from the nursery.

Pickles and Dimes said...

I like reading birth stories! I'm so glad you kept a journal during this - isn't it surreal to read your thoughts years later?

sara said...

When Pie was born the only thing I thought was mine. I knew she wouldn't look like me or Husband...at least I hoped not otherwise he would have some explaining to do...so I just thought mine.

Also with Megan...what next?

Fran said...

Thanks for finishing the story!!
Also, my husband once thought he might go into hospital management and he said he would have all the ceiling tiles painted with a running mural of some sort. He didn't go into hospital management but I still think his idea is a good one!

jen(melty) said...

"I'd expected him to look FAMILIAR or something, like MY BABY, but he didn't look familiar AT ALL."

omg that was SO me. I was expecting to look at her and just know she was mine and yikes I was a little shocked, and then I felt bad about that, and now I look back on the pics and she WAS familiar if that makes sense. I did not feel that bad with my boys, especially the first one.. don't know why. But with my daughter, it was a SHOCKER so much that that's the one thing I remember most from her birth. I am so happy I'm not the only one.

Christy said...

OK, now that you've dangled the fun part in front of us, what about the aftermath? Were your families Super Surprised, like you'd hoped? What about the MIL's reaction?

We talked about not telling anyone, but then I was overdue and got induced and so we let everyone know JUST TO STOP THE RANDOM CALLS. "Did you have the baby yet?" "Any news?"

And I did feel like I knew my son when he was born. Because it looked like I gave birth to my husband. Seriously, I wonder if he has any of my DNA he looks so much like his father.

Mimi said...

I remember having the same feeling when being wheeled to the operating room. Very surreal.

Rah said...

Oh, thank you, thank you. But like Christy, I want to hear all the rest!

Jess said...

These descriptions are so USEFUL. Like not recognizing the baby and being glad you saw him right after he was born--what a good thing to know!

Marie Green said...

Man, when I saw my first daughter (actually Twin B, as Twin A was not held over the curtain in their haste to get her sister out), I thought she was... um... how to say this?... UGLY. It just, I mean, I'd never thought anyone ELSE'S newborn was ugly- I always LOVED babies- but it was such a shock. To see her, all beady-eyed looking at me... it was certainly not the glowy moment I had pictured!

Anonymous said...

Like the commenter above, both my kids looked so much like their father that they were familiar immediately. But it's still weird, because a NEW PERSON is suddenly there. I got to see my daughter for a minute, then they whisked her to the NICU and I didn't see her for a few more hours. When my son was born they whisked him off to the side (to suction him) and I didn't see him at all. So I said, "Would someone please hold the baby up so I can see him?" And one of the peditricians lifted him up, to her head level or even higher, and that was my first sight of him. Then I decided to quit while I was ahead, because my body apparently has trouble with having babies. Also, I am old for baby-having.

I agreee that I want to hear the next part of your story.

Caitlin said...

I am snickering at the thought of not telling the family until - SURPRISE! - the baby is already here. SO TEMPTING. Was it just you and Paul or did you have anyone else there, like maybe a girlfriend for moral support?

I can't wait to hear what their reactions were. Did you do this with all your babies?

Anonymous said...

Loved the comments from everyone about thinking you'd recognize the baby immediately and not actually doing that. I had that feeling, but have never put my feelings together enough to verbalize or even think about it that way.

With my second, we had a 3-d ultrasound picture of her face and I have to say that I felt more recognition, but didn't quite put together WHY I had the recognition until I ran across her ultrasound pic months last. OF COURSE, I thought, THAT is why she seemed familiar.

Laura

Alias Mother said...

I'm kind of with Amanda. Your water broke and he went to work an hour-and-a-half away? I don't mean that in an irate way, more like...didn't that seem a bit, I don't know, risky?

Tess said...

Your description of the way contractions felt is SO SPOT ON! The feeling of "needing to get away"! YES!

Swistle said...

Amanda and Alias Mother- I KNOW, RIGHT??? Later, the wife of one of his co-workers said that when she heard about that, she went home, pinned her husband, and made him promise he would NEVER do such a thing to her! At the time I wished he'd stay, but it didn't seem odd that he went: I was pretty sure it would be ages before anything happened. And also, I was pretty sure he was scared and fleeing the scene to deal with it a bit.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Oooh this story still feels unfinished, LMAO. Parent reactions, please!

When retelling older stories like this, does it make you go over to Rob and give him an extra hug or two and feel some extra affection for him?

Joanne said...

EXCELLENT story and description of those gd contractions. Ha, we didn't tell anyone either, that we were going to the hospital, and I will never forget my MIL saying, when my husband called and said "it's a boy!", she said "what do you MEAN? She HAD THE BABY?" Ugh. What a jerkstore.

Jenni said...

Oh, I love a birth story!

We didn't tell our family when we went into labor either, but they were suspicious and kept calling the house all freaking day (this was a home birth; my water broke at midnight and he was born at 9:30PM the next day) and we had to turn the ringer off. I mean, come on people! why else would I not be answering the phone? leave me alone! laboring!

Suzanne said...

I join the previous commenters in being HORRIFIED that your husband was at work 1.5 hours away, although the idea of you hopping the bus to the hospital while in labor sounds like a scene from a Lifetime movie. Only then you would have actually had the baby on the bus and a super cute off duty cop who was sitting next to you would have assisted and then you would have realized he was your true soulmate and you, Hot Cop and baby-you-didn't-recognize all would have lived happily ever after.

Which would have served Paul right for being AN HOUR AND A HALF AWAY with the car.

one of us said...

Always love a good birth story:) With both of my babies I had more of a feeling that they looked familiar - sort of that I know you but can't place you sense you get about people sometimes.

Sarah said...

Oh, it's a Swistle birth story at long last! This was like the best thing to happen to me in weeks.
I always find it fascinating, hearing how people end up having c sections after initially going into labor and everything seeming all Normal. That is nuts about your cervix swelling and going back and forth!
Also, this story made me think, "Hah!" kind of triumphantly, because I always think die hard natural birthers kind of believe that hardly ANYONE ever gets a c section because they actually needed one, but usually because they didn't yet exhaust all other options or because they got induced or because they didn't try to walk around to let gravity help. But it sounds like you pretty much systematically went through the L and D MANUAL of any and every thing that might help with pain and/or speed things along and your body was just not cooperating, period. Frustrating, but then also, thank goodness for safe c sections!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha all the comments about not really KNOWING babies when they're born reminded me of Miranda from Sex & The City after she has her son and Carrie asks how she feels or what it's like and she says, "It's weird- like suddenly there's a giraffe in the room."

That's SO how I felt with my son. Not that he wasn't familiar or cute or lovely, he was. But it is weird to spend 9 months being pregnant and then within a day (or longer, ugh) it's all over and the baby is here and breathing and eating and crying and they just HAND IT OVER to you and "You're a Mom now, get busy!" and it just seems so surreal.

MamaK said...

that panicky feeling watching the hospital lights overhead? yes, yes, YES! I remember thinking "this is why I don't like all those shows"

ditto request for part 3- reactions.

also, did the brownies get finished baking? did you eat them while in labor or after you got back home?

Swistle said...

MamaK- I ate them once I got home from the hospital, and it was SO WEIRD thinking, "When I was baking these, the baby was NOT BORN. But now I am eating them and he IS BORN."

Jeanne said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I ended up having a c-section after going through all the contractions and pain too. The doctor said my daughter's head was just too big to push her out. When I was in the operating room my blood pressure dropped really low and I ended up throwing up on my husband (thankfully he was wearing scrubs!). When we'd had ultrasounds we had been told that the baby had long hair, so I was expecting either red (me) or blond (husband) but when they held her up after pulling her out my first thought was, "Black hair? Really???" If I hadn't seen her instantly, I would not have believed it. I love to hear others who have similarities in their birth stories.

Becki D said...

I so appreciate your honesty, Ms. Swistle person who I don't know, but kind of feel like I could!

Cause when I first saw my girls (I thought maybe it would be different with the second, but no, it was the same) - I totally had that - "huh. nope, not familiar" reaction. And I wasn't upset (as some Moms are) when they took the girls to do the measurements and whatnot...I was busy being relieved that all the stress and pregnancy and laboring was done. I wanted to REST! and BREATHE!