Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Birth Story (or is it Isaacs?)

I have debated posting about Isaacs birth for several weeks now. After all, it's a very personal thing, and who wants to read about it anyway? But I remember being pregnant and scared because of all the horror stories telling me that labor was just a necessary evil when getting a baby. I remember not trusting my body and reading hundreds of books and articles to help myself feel secure. But there was so much negative stories out there that I wanted to share mine, because I believe birth is pretty freaking incredible.

It was week 39 and I was already dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced. My doctor was very sure the baby would come early, and I was so ready! Fast-forward to week 42 and still no baby. Really, doctors should never tell a woman that her baby is coming early. It's a bad idea. Because I was late I received another ultrasound. It showed us that I had lots of amniotic fluid, (more than typical) and Baby was going to be 9 pounds, give or take 26 ounces. Psh. That is one big margin and I was pretty annoyed at that. I was measuring at a 43 when I was supposed to be at 37 so...we figured it had to be somewhat large. Because of this and the fact that I was late, my doctor decided to induce me.

I kept a journal during pregnancy so I can remember what happened when, who said what, how big I got etc. The day before I was scheduled to be induced, I sat down at the computer in tears, and managed to write about my feelings.

Today is thursday, the day before the induction and I feel so hopeless. I feel like my body has failed me, and I feel robbed of this whole experience. I so wanted to go into labor and send the exciting message to Brent at school letting him know that “it’s time!”. I wanted to labor at home, comfortable and firm until it was time to go to the hospital. I wanted to feel what it was like to go into labor on my own. And now I feel very robbed of that. And so weirded out that I have my baby scheduled to come into this life. It’s weird to think that tonight is the last night of just Brent and me. The last night before our roles in life are added to and changed. I’m worried about the induction. Mostly that I will end up getting so many drugs pumped into me and so many interventions that it will be one big medical fiasco until the baby comes out. I don’t want to be forced into things. But, I guess this is the way it’s going to be. I need to remember that I get my sweet little baby out of all of this. There is a happy ending! I just hope everything goes okay and baby is safe and healthy. I worry so much if the baby will be okay. I have felt its constant companionship in my belly for so long, its little kicks and moves that it feels so safe inside me right now. I’m scared to bring it out and maybe find out that there was something wrong all this time, that I didn’t grow baby like I was supposed to.

Depressing right? I was kind of a mess. So there is the prelude, but here is Isaac's birth story.

The night before the induction I actually slept really well and was surprised when my alarm went off at 5am. It still hadn’t hit me that I was having a baby. I couldn't believe that soon I would hold my baby and FINALLY find out the gender. We drove to the hospital, parked, and walked right in. I was so grateful that the maternity ward was basically empty so we got a room right away. I was immediately told to change into a gown and then was given an IV. A nurse asked me a bunch of questions while they prepped me. I was worried she’d be my nurse for the day because she wasn’t very nice but the shift changed at 7am.  I got a nurse named Rosemary (Rosa) and she was amazing! So helpful and she immediately hooked up to the pitocin and gave me a huge hug, telling me today would be awesome and she couldn’t wait to help me.

They started me off at the lowest dose and not much happened. I had 4 contractions during ten minutes. It was really fun to watch my contractions on the screen, it entertained Brent and I all day. Nothing happened so she pushed my dose higher. Still nothing for HOURS. Brent and I talked, laughed, watched March Madness and marveled at what was happening. But mostly we were pretty bored. Birth is always depicted as so excited and crazy, but really, it's a whole lot of waiting around uncomfortably.

Rosa checked me hours later and I hadn’t dilated past a 3.5 but was more effaced. She moved my dose up even more. Now the contractions were more noticeable, but still pretty enjoyable. They were just like Braxton Hicks with more of a bite to them. We even watched most of Despicable Me 2 on my laptop (Brent feel asleep during it, he was one tired dude).  At 1 or 2 pm my doctor came in to see me. I was a 4 and effaced much more.

We decided things weren’t progressing super fast on the pitocin so she would break my water. I was really nervous! It was a strange experience but not painful, and I progressed to a 6 in 20 minutes. The contractions were much more serious now. I had to concentrate with each one and they became stronger and stronger. Soon, they were hard to handle. But, they were manageable, and I was thinking hey, I can do this! Rosa came in and said that this was as strong as my contractions would get so I contemplated going natural. After 40 mins of contractions only minutes apart, I became exhausted. The pitocin never gave me good breaks between my contractions, just a lessoned pain to a heightened one. I hadn’t been allowed to eat breakfast and the contractions coming one after another really wore me out. I was having a hard time telling Brent what I wanted him to help with during a contraction. They only thing I knew was I HAD to be holding his hand at all times. 

Soon, I couldn’t do it any longer and called for the anesthesiologist. He couldn’t come for 15-20 mins and that was a LONG time to wait. They kicked Brent out for it. It was pretty scary and hurt a lot. I held onto Rosa like crazy. He had a hard time getting it in and it was off center to my left side a few times. Finally he was done and Brent was let back in. I’m really glad he didn’t see the epidural being done, I think it would have freaked him out. 

From then on out it was much easier to do labor. Brent and I watched my contractions (I could still feel the pressure/tightness) but the pain was pretty much gone. It was a great epidural, I could easily move my legs and feel my body pretty well. Soon, each contraction came on so strong I could really feel them, even with the epidural. Around 7pm Rosa checked me and I had dilated to a 9.5 and baby’s head was super low!! She said it was time to push and I was pretty shocked. After sitting around all day things were finally going to come to an end. 

She called my doctor who was at home (not on call that night) but she still decided to come deliver my baby. While she drove to the hospital (she lived a half hour away), we waited. Rosa’s shift was over and she had to go home. I was so sad to see her leave. Fortunately, my new nurse Kirstie was awesome as well and more business like. Turns out I really needed that personality trait for pushing. She set up everything for labor and then we did some practice pushing. Pushing was hard, and somewhat awkward. Things quickly got pretty serious with pushing and I was feeling lots of pressure. 

During each contraction I would do 3 rounds of pushing for 8 seconds. The first push I could do really well, but by the last one I was out of breath and tired. I even started coughing a lot and having a hard time breathing at the beginning. Soon my doctor came and took over. Tons of people came into the room (nurses and the pediatrician) and I didn’t even care. I honestly didn’t care at that point about anything. My body was just a tool I was using and that was it. Things got really serious for awhile and soon I couldn’t open my eyes, I just had to concentrate on breathing, both during contractions and after because I was getting very light-headed. 

I heard them say the head was coming and soon they were shouting at me to "keep it up", "push harder", and "just a little longer". It was like my own personal cheerleading squad. Brent was making lots of comments like, "woah", "wow", "there’s the head!" "Good job honey you’re doing great". Soon though he grew quiet and I looked up and he looked sick. He excused himself and went to sit down on the couch for a few pushes, saying he was light-headed. Soon he was back and pushing got even harder. It was an out-of-my-body experience for me. I couldn't believe what I was doing. My mind was just marveling as my body took over. I felt so powerful!

Then, with a couple more impossible pushes, he was out! They stuck him on my belly and Brent called out “It’s a boy!”. I touched my baby for the first time and marveled at how perfectly soft his skin was. I couldn't believe how big he was, and that he had actually just been inside me! Brent hugged me, crying hard and telling me how much he loved me. That moment bonded me to my husband like never before.

My moment with my baby was cut short because the doctors were worried and didn’t even let Brent cut the cord, saying they needed to see him right away. They cut the cord fast and soon baby was over in the corner on a warming table with 3 doctors working on him. The first thing I noticed was I hadn’t heard him cry yet, and I asked “Why isn’t he crying? Is he okay?” They wouldn’t answer me but kept working. Brent left my side to go watch baby and I felt like my whole world was about to end. I couldn’t bear it if I lost my baby now, not after seeing him, touching him, and wanting him. Man, I wanted him, more than anything I have ever wanted in my life.

I prayed heavily with Heavenly Father to let him be okay. Brent grabbed his oil and asked the doctor if he could say some ‘words’ over the baby and gave him a blessing. I didn’t get to hear most of it because Brent was quiet and my doctor was talking to the nurse as they hurried to stitch me up, but I remember Brent asking for Heavenly Father to get our baby safely to us. I was so proud and grateful in that moment that I had a husband who honored and used his priesthood! Looking back, this moment really touches me. The first time Isaac was touched by his father was through a priesthood blessing. What an incredible example and memory for Isaac as he grows up.

My whole body was so tense in those few minutes of chaos. There were doctors and nurses shouting so many things but all I could hear was the silence of my baby. Finally Isaac cried and I felt like a dam opened up inside my chest as I sobbed in relief. They brought him over and I was able to hold him. The nurses were so great and took a picture of our new little family and I marveled over his perfect face for a few minutes before they took him away to the nursery, Brent going with him.

It was an incredible day, and it did work out in the end. I was so worried, but it turns out things will happen the way they're supposed to. I now have a healthy, happy, sweet boy who is doing so well! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mom, I know so many women are unable to experience what I experienced. Isaac is doing great, and I am so happy to be a mom to a little boy! He is growing so fast!

My sister-in-law asked me if I would have done anything different, and I truthfully didn't know how to answer that question. Yes, things could have gone differently, but I like the way they happened, the good and the bad. So I think that my answer is no, I wouldn't change a thing.

Isaac Brent Froberg, 9 pounds 11 ounces, 21.5 inches, biggest baby in the hospital that weekend, Momma's nose and eyes, Daddy's complexion and winked forehead and our last name. Feels pretty good!