Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From zygote to baby burrito: An epic tale

One of the boys in my sixth hour asked what dilated meant after overhearing a conversation between some of the girls and I. I told him I'd be happy to explain but he'd have to be able to handle the words uterus and vagina. He nodded his head in ok, then turned a little pink and let loose the smile he was trying to hold in. He couldn't hold it any longer and explained, "It's just weird to hear you say it!" I told him that out of everyone, it should be the least weird to hear the words from your science teacher. He told me it's always weird from adults.

Needless to say, he didn't learn about dilation from me. And since I am aware of the sensitivities of some that read this blog, the full story with all disgusting details is after the jump. Beware, it's a long one, but I had so many great titles, I had to use them all. And it is probably waaaaaaaay more information than you ever wanted, but I always like reading what other women have experienced. Remember, no one is making you read it :)
Change In Plans

It started with uncontrollable itching around the 10th of December. Being a veteran of lifelong eczema and red head skin, I know me some itching. Never this bad though. This would wake me up at night. I've scratched to blood before, but this was on a whole new level. I mentioned it to my doc Tuesday and she said there is actually a liver issue that pregnant women can get that leads to crazy itching. Oh, and your tummy measurement decreased 2cm instead of increasing so we need another ultrasound. So 2.5 hrs, some blood work and an ultrasound later, Baby J was still looking fine, estimated birth weight of 7lbs, 13oz.

Two days later I hadn't heard back on the lab work. I wasn't super concerned because the (fav medical website) said all they do for it is induce labor early. And since Friday at 9pm was the big day, I figured they would probably just stay the course. But I was curious and madre told me I should call and find out. Around 4pm I did and they told me everything was normal on the labs, but the doc wanted to change my induction time to 5am instead of 9pm. Hey, that meant only about 12 hrs of being pregnant left so I said sure! After hanging up the phone, the mild freak out began. Sure you plan and plan and plan, but dude, this was actually going to happen. And I lost a day of mental preparation. We tried to go to sleep early since we had to call at 3am to make sure they had room for us, but who can sleep when a life changing event is about to go down? And don't forget the itching! We went to sleep around midnight I think, and headed out the door a little before five. We were a tad late, but I told John that they wouldn't start without me so it didn't really matter.

Oh THAT Is What a Contraction Feels Like? I've Totally Had Some Then.

We check in and the nurse points to the LDS I wrote next to religion and says, "What did Brigham Young's wives all have in common?" "Um, they all had children?" "Prophet Sharing. And we live literally just down the street so if you need anything, my husband is up all night and can come right down." I love Mesa.

So I get all hooked up with a bazillion wires. The nice young nurse asks me all the questions and then checks me. I get the same exclamation I've heard for three weeks, "Wow, she is so low!" or some variation. But here's a new one. "Your cervix is tilted back and my fingers aren't long enough. I have to get another nurse." Huh?

Enter the funny nurse with a German accent.

Dead serious. She was from Frankfurt.

We'll skip that bit of PAIN and go to the five hours of worthless Pitocin. I started to go crazy. It was a little anti-climatic to wait that long for something to happen. The contractions were merely uncomfortable. Thanks to the little monitor telling me when they happened, I was able to figure out that it wasn't just gas that I'd been experiencing this last month. I had always assumed I'd feel something , you know, contracting. Nope. Just abdominal ache.

What's that you say? Five hours of mild discomfort shouldn't make someone crazy? Agreed. It was the itching. It had now manifest itself as a raised rash all over my back, although the itching was everywhere. Especially on my stomach. You know, the giant belly with elastic straps of monitors winding around the already itchy stretch marks. The basketball shaped area covered in ultrasound goo that doesn't dry, just makes a sticky film. And baby girl really didn't want to be monitored. Every time I sat straight up, leaned forward, laid on my left or right side, and pretty much any position with a semblance of comfort, the monitors couldn't pick up her heart beat. Then a nurse would have to come in, squirt more gel on my stomach and play Battleship with the monitor and baby's heart rate. The nurse said if it kept happening, they would have to go in and put a monitor on the baby's head from down south.

Awesome. I already had to unplug six thousand cords and carry an IV every time I had to pee (every frickin half hour), all I needed was a monitor up my Vajayjay too. Never mind the birthing ball or the soaking tub of my original hospital (My doc likes the inductions at one hospital and spontaneous at the other. Less chance of getting turned away), I had to try and lay still on my back in a half-reclined bed NOT made for amazon women while I tried to peel my skin of with my fingernails. Thankfully the History Channel was doing a wonderful special on the art of meat butchery to distract from my hunger. Oh yeah, diabetics don't get to eat anything during labor either. They just get their fingers pricked every hour or so and a special IV if the blood sugar level dips below 60. To put that in perspective, my fasting level is 85 and they kept me at 70.

 Apparently the Librarian Voice Knows Medical Equipment.

Needless to say, I was excited to see my doctor around noon when she came to break my water. I was more than ready to finally get the party started.  Earlier Husband had asked me how they break water and I told him it was with an over-rated crochet hook. He laughed and I said I really didn't know, but the librarian voice said something around those lines.

Then the nurse unwrapped the Amniohook. The librarian wins again and John couldn't believe that it really looked just like a crochet hook.

And then the fun began.

How Baby Was Almost Named Fidel Pagés

And by fun I mean 1 minute long contractions 2 minutes apart. I originally thought I'd give natural childbirth a try because I wanted to stay mobile and not confined to a bed (that was before I realized how hard it was to go anywhere "monitored"). I didn't really make a birth plan because I knew how little control I really had over this process. No set expectations= no disappointment. I think if I could have worked up to those intense contractions I could have held out if I had to.

But then there was the shaking.

This is not low blood sugar trembling. This is "I've been holding boat pose for 60 seconds and my muscles are mutinying" shakes. Every time a contraction would start ramping up, I'd start shaking and then keep shaking until after it was over. Then I'd get about ten seconds before the whole process would begin again.

I appreciated how quickly the nurse brought the anesthesiologist. He was fantastic. I was afraid my shaking would make it harder for him to hit his 3mm mark, but he had a perfect yogi voice ("Breathe out the pain. Deep breath in, and blow all the pain away." He talked me through every step and it hurt less than getting blood drawn. When medical people say that you'll feel a slight pinch or a little sting, I've found it to be more like a hole punch or a scorpion sting. This slight sting was less than a sting. Numbing for a cavity is 100 time worse.

Praises to Fidel Pages, who pioneered the epidural. Ten minutes later I didn't feel a thing. I couldn't even tell when a contraction hit,but I could still move my legs.

There is a reason why I've never done drugs. Genetically speaking, I have ADDICT stamped on my forehead. And if I ever found a pill akin to an epidural, I would probably never walk again.

Then I took a three hour nap. Easiest five centimeters ever. The nurse told me we probably could have started pushing then, but we waited another two hours for my doc to come in. Me and my friend Epi could have waited for days so I didn't care.

Enter Dr. Messer. Four contractions of painless pushing, a painless little episiotomy, and a surprisingly quiet delivery room, Baby J came out with an Apgar of 9. They put her straight on my tummy while cleaning off what looks like cottage cheese.

(see that foot strong enough to break free of the swaddling? It trained by battling my right rib for three months. The foot won every fight)

I was expecting her to be a bluish alien like creature, but she was pretty pink. She stopped crying fairly quick and I was floored at how aware she was. Those deep bluish/brown eyes were looking all over, taking in the surroundings a literal minute after being born.

The Inspiration for Every Alien Movie

I was wrong about Baby looking like an alien, but the placenta is where the sci-fi channel got its ideas. I wanted to see it and my doc totally supported my science geek. It looks like a liver on the outside, but dude, the inside. Totally iridescent blue/white alien skin. And she stretched it out like a shower cap to show how big it gets. Grossly awesome. But saving and eating it is just gross, not awesome.

More Feminine Pads Than a 7th Grade Health Class

You spend nine months reading and researching and freaking out about delivery, but no one warns you about the postpartum. No one tells you about the diaper that goes in the ever sexy hospital hot pants they give you as underwear. Nor do they warn you about the contraction-esque afterpains. OUCH! Add in the awful low back pain and I was willing to pay good money for another epidural. And nursing? That pain gets its own post. And the bleeding doesn't stop for around a month so they sent me home with a ladybug trash bag full of pads, ibprofen, tylenol, stool softeners, antiseptic spray, extra pairs of hot pants that I was tempted to photograph for the post but decided to spare you, and more.

My Biggest Issue With Banner Baywood

Food. The biggest stress of this whole pregnancy. I was super excited to eat. Before they wheeled me to recovery, the nurse had me hooked up with a philly cheese steak and onion rings. Glorious. But then shift changed happened and I was lost in the shuffle apparently. No one ever asked me what I wanted to eat or explained how the whole food thing worked like they were supposed to. They just brought stuff. They did bring a celebration dinner for me AND the husband with Martinelli's and everything, which would have been really cool if it was food I liked and when I was hungry to eat it. The next day I was munchy and left the room to ask the nurse how to get food. Apparently you can't eat whenever you want to. WTH?  I had to wait until certain hours for an actual meal. At that point I was shown the snack room, but it was essentially juice and pudding. The nurse felt bad. I felt hungry. Plus, online they listed amenities like cookies and milk before bedtime, massage services, and more things that just never happened. Next time, I think I'll go with my original hospital. Anyone who pops a kid out of their nether regions should get to eat whatever the hell they want, when they want.

The Best Burrito
I didn't get a mommy high like my sister did, but I had a quiet moment in the recovery room, holding this sweet little swaddled girl, my little baby burrito. I couldn't hold the tears in and didn't even try. She was and is worth every minute in the hospital, every pain and inconvenience, every bite I didn't take, and every moment of the last nine months.

She is everything.


j & s said...

amen sister. every woman (especially after you have one) wants to know how it went. the more gross details the better. write on my friend

lindsay said...

please tell me that last beautiful picture was taken with your awesome new camera...AND tell me more, tell me more! i love birth stories, ESPECIALLY the real ones! and alien placenta..huh, who knew? That's awesome that she showed it to you.

Amy said...

I also wanted to have my girl naturally, but after being stuck in a hospital for hours amongst other things, I found the epidural amazing. I was amazed at how little I felt the needle being stabbed into my back.

The hospital I was at informed me that I need to tell them when I needed to use the bathroom (postpartum). I REALLY had to go, I called, they didn't come. I went by myself.

You have a very cute little girl. Girls are the best.

Elena said...

You're such a good writer! I had to read some of it out loud to Aaron because I was laughing. And I adore your baby just so you know :)

Liz and Navin said...

I love the way you write! Thanks for sharing your story. I will have my own story come May but it is really nice to here what others go through and about the details they tend to leave out in the books. Congrats again!

RatalieNose said...

Oh my hilarious!!!! Dying over here. My body hurts just reading!


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