Thursday, May 28, 2015

Introducing: Zachary! (And a birth story)

Zachary LaVell Purser

7 lbs 5 oz
19 in
37 weeks 5 days

The Birth Story:

For the past month or so, my blood pressure and the protein levels in my urine have been creeping up.  Not bad enough to do anything about, but bad enough to pay a little extra attention to.  At my 36-week appointment my blood pressure spiked higher than ever (just a few points away from declaring preeclampsia) so my doctor told me to go to Labor and Delivery on that next Saturday for a non-stress test (where they monitor Baby's heartbeat and my contractions) and a blood pressure check.  Nate and I had discussed how perfect it would be to have a baby on the Saturday afternoon of a 3-day weekend.  But we both got the feeling that this day was not the day, so I didn't even pack my bags.  I headed off to L&D while Nate stayed home with the kids to mow the lawn.

A neighbor of mine was the charge nurse at L&D when I got there.  She got me hooked up and my blood pressure was reaching new levels.  The first few checks were alarmingly high.  After about half an hour my blood pressure was consistently low, though, which was reassuring.  The not-so-reassuring part of it all was the baby's heart rate.  It was in the safe range, but there wasn't enough variation.  He had been extremely active the night before, but since waking up that Saturday morning he had only moved a few times.  The whole time I was hooked up to the monitor he only stretched out twice, and didn't move at all other than that.  They were looking for his heart rate to increase every now and then, but it didn't move around at all.  After getting a good picture of how the baby was doing in there according to his heart rate, my neighbor/nurse sent the info to the doctor on call.  She came back shortly and said, "How would you like to have a baby today?"  I kinda freaked out inside!  I was excited, but not mentally ready!  She said that he didn't look too bad in there, but not too good, either, and since I was past 37 weeks they'd feel more comfortable getting him out rather than leaving him in.  I had been having the exact same feeling for the few weeks previous, so even though I know that the closer to the due date the better, there are instances where 37 weeks is better than 39 weeks, so we had to go with it!

So they sent me down the hall to a delivery room.  It was about 11AM by this time, and they wanted to monitor me for another half hour before starting pitocin, just to make sure that the baby looked like he could handle pitocin.  If not, they would have done an c-section.  But he looked fine for that next half hour (and for the rest of the induction, too), so they started a very slow, low dose of pitocin to get things started.  At this point I was dilated to 3cm, which is where I'd been for the two weeks previous.  

Nate had to bring the big brothers to their swimming lessons at 12:20, so he didn't get to the hospital until just past 2PM, after gathering my things and getting things situated with the boys.  His sister came to watch them and stay the night.  On his way out, he found the new camera that we had ordered on the front porch that wasn't supposed to arrive for another week.  It was a sign.  ;)  Today was the day, and we needed the new camera to document it!

Shortly after Nate showed up, around 2:30, the doctor broke my water and increased the pitocin.  I was still just dilated to 3cm.  I could feel the contractions, but they weren't painful at all.  Far less painful than the ones I had been having on my own for the past few weeks!  The nurses estimated that he would be born around 8PM.

Right around 5, the contractions started feeling rather painful.  I knew that I didn't want an epidural unless things dragged on, but when the pain gets real you start thinking about it.  ;)

I had always heard that when you deliver without an epidural, you feel "pressure" when you're getting close to pushing.  By "pressure," they really mean you feel like you need to have a bowel movement.  I didn't feel that at any point, but I was starting to feel like I was constipated.  The nurse said that was a good sign so she checked me again.  I was 5.5cm and 90% effaced, and she said it felt like I had a forebag of water that would need to be broken, so she'd have to call the doctor in.  I could feel it break while she was checking me, and that's when things got real.

It's a bit of a blur, but I was having less than a minute break between contractions, so they turned off the pitocin.  I was getting a little frantic with the extreme pain and couldn't stop thinking about the epidural.  They could tell I was close, even though I was only dilated to 5.5cm, so they started getting the room ready, and fast.  I started feeling nauseated.  Not 10 minutes later they checked me again and I was 8cm.  I didn't know what to do with myself, and was going out of my mind, so I started pushing.  The doctor was there and checked me again and I was fully dilated.

My first push was not a good one.  I think I was scared of what would happen if I really pushed.  Then I got scared of what would happen if I didn't push!  They kept telling me to grab behind my knees, but there was no way I was letting go of those bed rails!  I found myself screaming involuntarily.  I gave two good pushes and his head was out.  One more really good push and he was born at 5:49PM!  Just before the nurses' shift change.  ;)

They put him on my belly to rub him and suction his mouth and nose.  They didn't do that with Russell, and I was surprised how wonderful it was!  They left him there for a few moments, until the cord stopped pulsing before cutting it.  Then they quickly took him over for a weight and a diaper before putting him on my bare chest.  We cuddled like that for the next few hours!  It was amazing!  He was still all covered in vernix and blood and nobody cared!  In that time the doctor delivered the placenta and gave me one tiny stitch from a super tiny tear.
He is almost exactly three times Caleb's birth weight and exactly one pound less than Russell's birth weight!

And that's Zachary's birth story!  About 6 hours of labor total, but only about 45 minutes of pain, when I went from 3cm to delivering a baby!  It was all so bizarre, and not what I was expecting, but looking back I can say that it was exactly how I wanted it!  I can't say I'll ever be brave enough to deliver unmedicated again, but it was a really good experience with the happiest of endings!