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The Birth Story of Augie Hatch, part 1

July 26, 2012

Augie (aka Hatch aka August) and I are now seven weeks postpartum.  It’s been sort of a blur, with all of the new baby ups and downs along with studying for the NCLEX.  I took the test last week, and hopefully I passed so we can put that behind us!  I’m hoping to spend the rest of the summer relaxing as much as possible, while still getting done the enormous amount of paperwork and completing the numerous hoops that need to be jumped through before starting the Masters program in September.

So on with the birth…

Several weeks before I went into labor, I reached the point in my pregnancy where I felt Done.  It was getting increasingly hot outside, I had my psychiatric clinical rotation four days a week, along with lecture for eight hours on my one “off” day, and even driving to and from San Francisco to get to class and clincials felt taxing.  But I also knew I had to get through enough of my class before I went into labor to make sure I’d pass, so I think my body was getting a lot of mixed messages about whether I was ready or not.  The last week of May I had several nights of contractions that made me wonder if I was starting labor, only to have them fizzle out after a night of interrupted, crappy sleep.

Friday night, the weekend before my due date, I was up throughout the night with irregular contractions.  I’d been monitoring my own blood pressure because I have crazy white coat hypertension, but even my own numbers were starting to go up, so on Saturday my midwife came over and we decided that I should go get some acupuncture to see if we could either a) get my BP’s lower or b) get labor going and get the baby out to avoid a whole preeclampsia mess.  We’d also done a 24-hour urine collection the day before (basically I peed in a jug for 24 hours as further proof I didn’t have preeclampsia), but they kept telling us they didn’t know when the results would be ready so there was that little bit of worry that although everything seemed a-okay, we couldn’t really be 100 percent positive.

The acupuncture did make my contractions closer together, so from Saturday afternoon on, they were somewhere between 5-8 minutes apart, but not incredibly strong.  Just strong enough that it was near impossible to sleep throughout Saturday night and into Sunday.  I tried to rest as much as possible, but spent a lot of time going back and forth between the shower, where I actually felt comfortable, and my bed which felt horrible to be in.  On Sunday, after checking in with my midwife and not much progress on the labor front, we decided I’d go back in for more acupuncture.  My blood pressures were still not stellar, but weren’t going up anymore, but after I got home from the acupuncture appointment I was feeling sort of crappy and ended up taking my temperature.  I had a pretty solid fever (101 something), but Tylenol seemed to knock it out.  While my midwife had been coming and going , she decided that at that point she needed to be with me, strong contractions or not, so she arrived later in the day on Sunday.  Because of the fever, and not really knowing 100 percent what was going on since we hadn’t gotten lab work back, we decided to go into the hospital to get stat (super fast) lab work done and to make sure they couldn’t find something she was missing.

I realllllllly didn’t want to go to the hospital.  I knew in my midwifey mind that if I was my own client I would have wanted me to go, but that knowledge was basically all that kept me from throwing a tantrum and refusing.  I had visions of them wheeling me in for a c-section the minute I got there, but that was not at all what happened.  Instead, we showed up and got incredibly chill nurses who checked us, confirmed that I had a weird, not really active labor pattern going, determined that my baby was incredibly healthy acting, and did lab work that was as vague and non-specific as everything else.  Basically, it seemed like everything was okay, but nobody could figure out exactly what was up.  So we signed out against medical advice and went home to “sleep”.

I actually did get about an hour of really crappy sleep when we got home, and woke up at 3 or so in the morning extremely nauseous.  That’s generally a good sign in labor, so we were all hoping for the best when the nausea was accompanied by more regular, every 3-5 minute contractions that were slightly more painful.  I spent the next ten hours or so in the same pattern…have a few contractions, throw up, try to drink something so as not to get totally dehydrated.  My midwife ended up giving me several bags of fluids to try and keep the dehydration to a minimum because I was really, really not keeping anything down.  To be honest, the constant throwing up was almost worse than the contractions.

Monday afternoon my midwife checked me again and I was at 6 cm.  Not bad, but certainly not as far along as I’d hoped for almost two days of labor.  I’m not sure if I said this out loud, but I basically decided at that point that I was going to get in the birth tub, which we hadn’t used yet, and if that didn’t either make the contractions and nausea manageable, or help me dilate within a few hours, I was done.

The tub was a strange beast.  On the one hand, it felt really nice to be floating in the water between contractions.  On the other hand, the actual contractions in the tub were MUCH more painful than they had been at any other point in my labor.  We actually took that as a good sign, but after (at least?) three hours in the tub and lots more vomiting, I asked to be checked again and had dilated to 7 (and I’m pretty sure that was being generous).

We’d had a few conversations prior to that point about whether or not I wanted to go to the hospital (because of the fever, vomiting, and BP’s), but after informed consent discussions, up until then I’d decided against it and felt good about those decisions.  But I knew when I got out of the tub that we were headed to the hospital.  I still wasn’t happy about it, I felt really disappointed in myself, and was really worried that other people were going to be disappointed in me, but I have to admit I was hugely relieved.  And it was 100 percent my decision.  I was exhausted and needed a sleep like nobody’s business.  There was no way that was going to happen without an epidural at that point.  Once we were out the door, I have to say I was almost excited to be going in.  I’ve heard labor referred to as a marathon, and at that point I felt like I’d already done the marathon and was going into the hospital to get the really nice post-marathon nap.

So we headed off to Kaiser.  I managed to contain my nausea until the hospital was in sight, at which point I threw up all over the inside of our brand new car. Note to others!  If you are throwing up every 20 minutes or so, bring a barf  bag with you in the car!  Besides the exhaustion, I have no idea why that didn’t occur to us.

….to be continued…
(Pictures by my friend Carina, who also took our wonderful maternity pictures)

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