Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Isla's Birth Story

I was halfway through my last semester of nursing school at BYU. I had been packing in as many nightshift hours in the NICU at UVRMC as possible so that I would have less to do after Isla arrived. I had come to a point in the semester when many of my big projects, papers, and commitments were done. I had learned a lot, and our focus in school was preparing for the NCLEX, putting in hours at the hospital, and putting the final touches on our portfolios. Knowing the hard parts of the semester were past, I got on my knees to thank my Heavenly Father for getting me to that point and to say basically that I felt ready for the baby to come any time. I started praying about 11:55 pm on Friday, October 16th, 2009. I heard a "pop" (yes an audible pop), and felt my water break just after midnight.

Pointing to the belly, just in case you
didn't notice it.
All the fatigue I had felt moments ago vanished. I was left with a type of giddy excitement that soon-to-be-first-time-moms experience because they don't realize how long of a night they are in for. Well that makes it sound like it's about to get horribly real, but it doesn't, not yet. Even though my water has broken, I am not in excruciating pain, and my contractions are uncoordinated and sporadic. I don't feel any different except that it feels like I keep wetting myself. That was funny now that I look back on it.

We call our midwife. She tells us we can either go to the hospital now or that we can wait about eight hours and go in the morning. I opt to stay home to give my body a chance to labor on its own without any medical/pharmaceutical help. I think to myself that I should try to sleep and save up some energy. I try to lie down but that is a big joke. I'm way too excited to sleep. So I watch TV. Eat. I take a shower, straighten my hair, put on makeup. Still I really don't feel any different. It's about now that the women in labor on TV shows are screaming and acting every type of crazy, right?

Walmart parking lot.

It's in the early morning hours now, we are dressed and packed and ready to leave because we are too excited to stay home. We head to Walmart (yes Walmart) to get Gatorade and snacks to eat (presumably for Brett but actually for me to sneak while the nurses weren't looking). I'm waddle through the store like a fat duck with a full diaper (not far from the truth - fat, check; duck, nope; full diaper, check) and I get a glimpse of what life would be like if I ever let myself go and became overweight and incontinent (no I am not peeing myself, water is broken, remember?).

We get to the hospital. We are delivering at American Fork. It is a half-hour away but we choose to deliver there over UVRMC (where I am doing my capstone hours) even though UVRMC is only 2 minutes away, because it is a smaller hospital and you get a lot more individual attention. One of the perks of being in nursing school at that time was that I did clinicals at a variety of hospitals and I got to get a feel for them without having to be a patient. Looking back I am very glad I delivered there. I was treated like a queen, like I was the only patient there. They skipped litmus test because it was obvious my water was actually broken. They put us in a room, put me on a pitocin drip. We watched college football on TV, Oklahoma vs. Texas.

Enjoy your Carl's Jr. while I labor with nothing but
contraband junk food and an IV.
After nothing was happening and the nurse had already increased the rate a few times, I realized that when the nurse had spiked the bag she had poked a hole in it so I wasn't actually getting any of the pit. Oops. Well when she started with an new bag, THEN I felt it. At the time I didn't know any different, but after having had our second baby the natural route, I have to say that pitocin-induced labor really hurts. I wasn't thrilled by the fact that they gave me pitocin in the first place, but at that point I was way too excited to care - I just wanted to see my baby. My labor with the pitocin was very steady and very, very intense. I didn't feel like I had any time to relax and regain my composure between contractions. Originally I had gone into the endeavor thinking that I would "wait and see" if I needed pain medication, then go from there. An awful idea really. For anyone who is expecting, I would advise that you stay flexible, as labors are unpredictable, but have a better plan than "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it." Because of my "wait and see" method, I decided on an epidural when it got to the point of "this hurts and I want to die." They called the nurse anesthetist and he took a while to make it over. By the time he got there, I was already 8 cm dilated and in crazy town. He told us he would have come earlier had he known we were watching the Oklahoma/Texas game.

If I could do it again, I would have either gone without or gotten it much sooner. Anyhow, I was terrified of the epidural when it came time to get one. I had seen a bunch of them in clinicals and I was really surprised when I actually got nervous. Being so close to transition made it hard to hold still. I was crying and shaking and in a lot of pain. So when the doc said "hold still, we will get you between contractions" I heard "hold still, I am going to stick a huge freaking needle into your epidural space, and I'll try to do it in between contractions so that you don't wiggle and get nerve damage." I guess I was feeling a little emotional and vulnerable. So I will say it again: make up your mind, if you are going to get the drugs, get them and stop feeling guilty or inadequate or wimpy already.

The nap did worlds of good.

If epidural placement was in the Olympics, my doc would have gotten a gold medal. 10/10, 1st place, no splash, full technical points, artistic delivery (yeah, I guess it would be a smattering of diving, women's gymnastics and figure skating?). I couldn't feel a thing (what do you mean I should feel pressure during a contraction?), and I had a glorious nap.

I probably napped around two hours, can't quite remember. When I woke up, they told me that I could push. I had my wonderful midwife, Abby Rizk, there. I skipped over the part about how awesome it is to have a midwife (very distinct from an OB or a "med-wife". I will explore that now. My midwife was at the hospital the entire time I was there. She helped me with pain management and positioning during contractions. She was there to talk to. Isla had decelerations with contractions toward the end. She repositioned me and put me on oxygen and reached in and unwrapped the cord from Isla's neck, easy as anything. If you are really wondering if you should get a midwife, of course do lots of research, but I say if you are a low-risk pregnancy, then YES, get one, you won't regret it. If you have any more questions on the subject, please ask. Anyhow, I pushed around 20-30 minutes, and Isla was born. It was the most spiritual, fun, exciting experience of my life up to that point.

Isla's aunts, Hayley and Cassie were present for the birth. I'd put a picture of Cassie on here but I only have one and she is making the weirdest face. Trust me Cassie, you don't want that picture on here. 

Isla was born on October 17th, 2009 at 2:40 pm in American Fork, Utah. 

She was 19 inches long and 6 lb 14 oz. 

She looked like Terk from the Disney animated feature film, Tarzan and the grandma in Mulan.

I ended up gaining 60 lbs during the pregnancy and wore size 14 jeans until February of the following year. I went on to be the skinniest I have ever been in my life. Thank you, breastfeeding.

Brett didn't gain any weight.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate you not adding the weird-faced picture. Hayley is the photogenic one.
    I'm glad you have a blog. I miss those two!