Friday, October 29, 2010

Memories of Labor

Our good friends are expecting their second daughter. She is about 38 weeks along and it's been a hard journey on her this time around. Keeping up with a 15 month old while dealing with morning sickness, back/head aches and signs of preeclampsia is far from simple! She is definitely ready to meet her baby girl. I just got a call and she is pretty sure she is in labor. They are getting everything ready to head to the hospital and making arrangements for their daughter. After I got off the phone with her and her husband it made me think of when I was in labor and a lot of memories I had forgotten about. Some funny and all painful, but I thought I would share.

When I started to have contractions I was out to lunch with Austin and Katie (my sister) Thursday the 13th of May around 2ish and I was starving! I devoured my cheese raviolis , my bread, part of my sisters salad and a couple bites of Austin's panini. I even complained as I walked out of the restaurant that I was still hungry. I had a couple signs that this was the start to real labor, but I chose not to get my hopes up because I have had all the signs before. Looking back now, it was quite obvious that my body was totally preparing for the long painful journey ahead by stocking up on all the food it could get. I wish I would have listened to my body telling me to eat more because that was the last food I had until after Maisie was born (about 30 hours later) but instead I felt like a cow and went against my instincts. We planned on having an early dinner, but by the time dinner was in the works I had completely lost my appetite. My stomach was in knots and the last thing I wanted to do was eat.

So after hours of laboring at home I had decided it was time to go to the hospital around 4am. Katie had fallen asleep on the couch and Austin was fully clothed trying to get a little sleep in our bed. I sat next to Austin and told him we needed to start making our way to the hospital soon. We started debating if Katie should come with us because there was the possibility that they would send me home (yeah right) and we knew this was going to be a long process and that some one might as well get some sleep. Katie said she would call a cab in the morning and so that was the plan. I said goodbye to Scooter, hugged my sister and then I walked (if thats what you want to call it) down the 2 flights of stairs and across the parking lot to the car. The minute we got on the main road I started to cry, more like bawl. I have never felt so emotionally unstable in my life. At first I was crying because I was scared and then it turned into "this is the last time of just me and Austin" and then "the next time we come home will be with Maisie". These are all legitimate things to be emotional over, yes? But then I became irrational. Half way to the hospital I started to become hysterical about Katie possibly missing the birth and her having to take a cab to the hospital. I was saying something to the effect of "I don't want the cabbie to kidnap her" haha (so ridiculous) After crying so hard the whole car ride we finally got to the hospital. I got hooked up in the triage room and my blood pressure was sky high (due to my car ride long freak out). I was still crying in the room and the nurse thought I might of came down with preeclampsia. They seriously took my blood pressure like 10 times in 5 minutes. I kept telling them it was because I was stressing out and crying so hard, but to be safe they took my blood and waited for the results. Of course it came back just fine, but that just proves how hysterical I truly was. I was in pain and vulnerable, oh my poor, poor husband. Austin and I both laugh about it now, because it's so funny to picture me having such strong contractions (2 minutes long 4 minutes apart) and worrying about all these unnecessary and irrational things and to the point my blood pressure sky rocketed. I am already a worrier, but under those conditions I was a mess. haha

After I was checked into the labor and delivery suite it was not long before I was running a bath. Any one who really knows me, knows when I am feeling under the weather a nice warm bath always helps. I am a pretty modest person so I had the bathroom door shut thinking that if it were shut no one would come in. WRONG. I am in the middle of a contraction, in fetal position completely naked and the door opens and sure enough theres 2 nurses in the bathroom with me. There wasn't a shower curtain or anything to hide behind so I just sat there, embarrassed of course. I know that these ladies don't care, they have seen close to everything, but I have only been at the hospital for a couple hours and already feeling uncomfortable not only from being in labor, but because I was in a new surrounding with lots of people I have never met before. Within a couple hours all modesty went out the window. All of my attempts failed and so as the pain increased I could care less about modesty.

You know those exercise balls that a lot of women use while in labor? Well I affectionately call them the labor ball of death. My mid wife said I should give it a try because I was just starting transitional labor and I was having a hard time coping with the contractions without tensing up. The most simplest tasks with 35 hours no sleep are tough, but labor is close to impossible! She explained that most women find relief while using them, so I decided to give it a whirl. My whole body was already trembling because pain mixed with adrenalin mixed with extreme fatigue. I got on this ball and that was the only time during labor that I was tempted to scream. I think my already unsteadiness then put on this unstable ball did not mix well. I was facing my bed and I remember closing my eyes trying to bounce and relax and when I opened my eyes the first thing I saw were my clenched white knuckle fists gripping the bed sheets. I tried my best to tough it out, but after a half hour there was no way. I settled for pacing back and forth in my room and sitting in a rocking chair. Ladies, don't let me discourage you from using a labor ball because I think I am one of the few that didn't enjoy them.

After I got my epidural I was feeling much better. The epidural was light so I had no problem moving around on the bed to switch positions. I could move my legs and I knew I could walk around, but of course they wouldn't let me. I was able to take a quick nap so I ended up falling asleep while hugging the head of the bed (on all fours) and when I woke up my legs were completely dead. Just my weight on my legs while I napped numbed me more than my epidural did. I noticed that my right side was cramping pretty bad turns out the epidural was stronger on my left side then right I started feeling uncomfortable, but compared to what I was feeling before it was defintley tolerable. I could feel every contraction and I started to notice how long and strong they were. The last hour until I was able to push it felt like my right side never had relief it felt like it was in a constant contraction.

My labor lasted 30 hours. It was an incredible, insightful, beautiful experience. I think labor was totally designed to push you to your limits so when you do finally meet that precious baby whom has been developing in you for 9 months its nothing short of amazing. There is not one experience that defines me as much as giving birth to Maisie and the work it took to get there. I became a mom that day.