The Birth Story

This is the birth story. I am sharing it with the world, but you know, this is a birth story and birthing babies is not necessarily clean nor pleasant. Read at your own discretion!

My Mama always said, "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." Over the past few days I've been laughing at the way the Lord answers our prayers by giving us what we want and then some.

When I saw Dr. Breeland on Thursday, she checked me and I was still 3cm. "You're not going to go anytime soon" she said, and asked to schedule an induction. I agreed since we'd be past the due date by then. I'd also been feeling very unwell and was feeling quite ready to have the baby. Before Dr. Breeland left the exam room I asked when I should come to the hospital (just in case, ya know). She said to come in at seven minutes apart--"we want you to make it on time and we don't want a Twin Lakes baby." (this is in reference to a baby born in the lodge many years ago on a rainy night during a women's retreat). She also said that she really didn't want my water to break while I was at home.

Off and on for days I'd have some contractions in a row. They were never regular, usually at night and while painful a tolerable pain. Every night I'd get a bit excited and then they'd stop.

Thursday night, we ate at out with Zack and Kristen and they started and stopped. Friday night, Matt and Virginia came over to play Killer Uno while they were hosting. I had several in a row and then they stopped.

Early on Friday I realized that I had lost my mucous plug. I was excited because I'd never had any signs of labor like that, yet I wasn't really hopeful about labor starting, either. We drank coffee that night while playing cards and went to bed wired. I took a bath and then a shower and Tuan and I were just kind of hanging out in the bed reading and talking. When we realized it was 1:40, we quickly turned the lights off and went to sleep. As I was drifting off I had another contraction and grabbed the cell phone so I could time them if they started up.

Around three, I woke up to a rather painful contraction and got up to use the bathroom. I realized I had had another ten minutes earlier and decided to time them. They were five -/+minutes apart then (3:00/3:08/3:12/3:19). Around then, I decided to finish packing the bag "just in case" and then one hit that HURT. I went over to Tuan and woke him up. "I'm having contractions, honey, they are close together, just so ya know." He mumbled and rolled over. I went back into the closet and decided to put some clothes on. Then a second PAINFUL one hit.

"Tuan! I think you need to get dressed, babe!" He jumped up and started dressing. I called my practice and was put on hold. Then one hit and I dropped to the floor by the bed while Tuan took the phone. The fact that I was banging my head against the bed while on all fours convinced him and the on-call nurse that it was indeed time to go.

I was trying to find a jacket before we went downstairs and Tuan was like, "Paula, you don't need your jacket, let's get in the car." Our neighbor Andrew, and Virginia were coming over (thank goodness Virginia was here!). They were around four minutes apart at that point so I had these moments of lucidity and pain free bliss in which I would get distracted. I was using the bathroom, getting water, grabbing a hair brush and lotion all the while Tuan was propelling me out the door.

We got in the car and left TL and they hit four minutes apart. This was around 3:40. Tuan was driving rather speedily and when we hit Florence they were three minutes apart. I learned quickly that the best way to cope with this pain was to scream loudly and primal. You know the "barbaric yawp?" That worked for me.

He ran red lights and hit 90 as we rushed towards the River Oaks. When we pulled into the parking lot around four am, they were at two and a half. We had to stop in the parking lot and I hung onto him for one. Then at the door, he called to be let in while I was wailing and screaming in the background. The security guard got me a wheelchair (God bless him, I couldn't stand up anymore) and Tuan wheeled me upstairs. When we got to the nurses' desk I was in-between contractions so they asked for my card and ID. I gave them my Sam's card in confusion and then one hit and I let out my barbaric yawp. Tuan said all the nurses immediately jumped up and went running.

"We'll check you in later", someone said, and I was being wheeled straight to a room that was quickly filling up with nurses. They got me into a gown and I went to pee. Had two contractions in the bathroom and almost refused to get off the toilet I was in so much pain. They somehow got me to the bed and started all the stuff they needed to do. Contractions were two minutes apart then and I was screaming and asking for an epidural.

"9 cm" no epidural. "Page the doctor right now." As luck would have it, the doctor wasn't there. Seriously!? I needed to push.
They started monitoring and realized that every time I screamed I was taking away oxygen from the baby. "Breathe, Paula, breathe" the chief nurse by the bed was saying. I had cotton mouth, was begging for ice and had a mask on.

In between one of those AWFUL contractions, I said, "I need to push!" The nurse said, "don't push, the doctor's not here." "YOU CAN CATCH A BABY!" I informed them. "Yes, but we're not supposed to, please wait!" (I was pushing a little bit each time--impossible not to)

I have to say in defense of the nurses, they were only covering their bums. I can understand that although they know how to do it all, they probably get grief when the doctor doesn't make it in time. Nevertheless, both they and I know that when your body is telling you to push that you have to push.

The nurse at that point was muttering off to the side, "where is she!? We don't need to know that she's coming, we need to know where she is!" How I heard her was beyond me. My bottom felt like it was on fire, I was trying desperately to breathe and not scream and the nurse told someone to call the ER doc and get him in there. At that point I pretty much rebelled against all rules and regulations and authority. Someone said, "she's in the elevator" and a contraction hit. I pushed as hard as I could and number three plopped out onto the table. Yes, he and I surprised the whole room. 4:41 pm.

The doctor ran into the room pretty much right after that. Providentially, they had not taken the bed apart or Owen would have landed on the floor. "I tried not to push" I said to head nurse. She said she was amazed that I made it that long.

I got pain medicine after it was all over and laying there in post-natural childbirth trauma that I wasn't planning on, they asked if I were getting my tubes tied. "YES, YES!" I wanted to cry out, no more childbirth for me ever! Fortunately Tuan was there to hold me back. : )

I have to say that while I have often (fleetingly) thought about natural childbirth, I'm pretty much an epidural kind of girl. I believe increased pain in childbirth is a result of the fall and that epidurals and pain medicine are truly a grace and a blessing. I had a friend (who'd never had a baby, but worked in the hospital) talk about how much better the "natural" women looked after birthing than the "epidural" women.


This recovery has been a bit more difficult than the first two and I would never choose to go through this again. That said, I'm sure if labor had not come on so quickly that natural childbirth could have been a wonderful and lovely process--for someone else. I will leave picturing the "cervix opening like a flower" to a stronger and braver person.

So that's my long story of a short birth. In all, we started having contractions at 3:00 and he was born at 4:41. If the Lord blesses us with another baby I plan to check into the hospital at 38 weeks and as soon as the first real contraction hits, I will be asking for the epidural.

Our baby boy is beautiful and we are so grateful that he is doing well. I have a prayer request for him, but will share it in another post.


Joey and Elizabeth said...

Oh my stars... I literally just laughed through most of that post! I know it's probably not funny yet to you (and in a few weeks, I will NOT be thinking childbirth is funny), but you are such a wonderful writer!!
I especially love that you gave your Sam's card while checking in, that Tuan mumbled & rolled back over, and that your sweet friend who had never had a baby thought women looked better after doing it naturally. The "boohonky" really just did it for me!
Goodness... thanks for sharing!!

Hooks Family said...

Ok, this is such a great birth story! I know it wasn't funny at the time, but I couldn't stop laughing! I am all for pain meds, too!! I have the boring kind of birth stories - 3 c-sections!! We are praying for Owen!!

Gracie said...

My mom called me laughing and told me to read your post- I loved it, you are such a good writer! You are a strong woman!! Thanks for sharing.

Amanda said...

Congrats, Paula. Maybe I misread it, but you made it sound so easy.

Hahahahah. Love you lots and am praying for baby and you all.

guitta chaiban hogue said...

ok, i'm not laughing (with tears in my eyes) at your pain but your story was so fun (and funny). I like that you were screaming because i was a screamer too. I thought it felt better. When I was pushing dr. breeland told me not to scream but I really really wanted to. I can't believe your labor was so short albeit painful. Way to go, my epidural friend! I am with you on that!