Birth Story: Leaving Dignity at the Door

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Many thanks to Allison Grenert who shared her birth story (and sense of humor) with us.

At 36 weeks, my doctor noted that my blood pressure had been steadily going up. She told me that she wouldn’t let me go past my February 5th due date. I started showing signs of my body preparing for the baby; I was dilating and thinning. We scheduled my induction for the morning before my due date, which happened to be my brother’s 30th birthday. I barely slept a wink the night before because I was so excited and anxious.

We arrived at the hospital, checked in and got settled. IV’s were started and the nurse asked me if I had a birth plan. I told her that I didn’t have a birth plan and just wanted to have the baby as quickly and safely as possible. I told her we didn’t know the sex and she was very excited. I informed them that I wanted to try to not have an epidural or pain medication.

They started the Pitocin around 8:30 a.m. and everything was smooth sailing for a while. At about 12:30 p.m., the doctor came in and broke my water. Then the labor pains really started. I was not progressing very fast, so the Pitocin was turned up a few times. I was coping well with the labor pains until the back labor set in. Holy smokes it was unpleasant! We were trying all the tricks we had learned in our prenatal classes, but I was not getting any relief.

I finally broke down and asked for a shot of pain medication. Before the nurse gave me the shot, she told me that if she gave it to me, they could only give me two shots out of safety for the baby. I told her I understood and to give me the shot. Ahhhhh…relief! While the medication was helping with the pain, I felt I could make a more rational decision on how I wanted to proceed. After my husband and I talked, we decided that an epidural was going to be in my future. A short time later, the nurse came in and told me the best anesthesiologist in the hospital would be leaving at 4 p.m. and if I wanted an epidural, now would be the time to do it. I told her I had decided to get the epidural and the doctor was notified.

When he came in, he was this little tiny guy. My husband was there with me, but was told he couldn’t be there, while giving me the epidural. The doctor told my husband he would take good care of me because Scott was a big guy and didn’t want him to “thump him.” He was a great doctor. I barely felt a thing. Then the relief set in and was told that maybe I should try to get some rest. I’m not sure how I was supposed to rest with all the beeping, blood pressure cuff squeezing my arm and the fetal monitor.

It was only after I was “resting,” that I realized that with my legs numb, I couldn’t use the restroom by myself. My worst nightmare…a catheter! By this time, my day nurse was off work, but she told me she’d come see me in the morning. She was really looking forward to our surprise baby. During the shift change at 7 p.m., a nurse came in and asked if I minded if a student nurse along with an OB nurse was assigned to my room. I said, “Heck, why not?” That meant Scott wouldn’t have to hold a leg! It turned out that it was the student nurses’ first delivery experience and she would be with me. Unfortunately, every time I got checked it was by two people, so the student could learn.

I was still progressing slowly, so the Pitocin was ultimately turned up as high as it could go. That did the trick. I went from 7 cm to 10 cm very quickly. At 12:15 a.m., the doctor was woken up from her nap at the hospital and we were ready to start pushing!

An hour-and-a-half of pushing and an episiotomy later, Elyse Ruby was born. At 1:41 a.m., I saw our beautiful girl for the first time. She ended up being born on her due date. Scott contends that she wanted her own birthday and didn’t want to be born on the anniversary of the Bears losing to the Colts in the Super Bowl. The doctor asked if Scott wanted to cut the cord and he said, “No, you are the professional.” They placed her on my chest and she was the most precious thing I had ever seen…well after I got my glasses back on that is.

I delivered the placenta a short time later and got all stitched up, while Scott was telling the families about the baby and they were getting Elyse’s stats. Quite honestly, I thought that was the grossest part of the whole thing. The doctor asked if I wanted to see it and I passed. Funny thing was when they were removing it from the room, Scott walked in and said, “What was that?!

The families came in to meet Elyse and all fell in love of course. After they had all left, the IV’s had all been taken out and I had feeling back in my legs, I was informed that I had to take a shower!!! In front of the nurse, no less. I really thought they were playing a cruel joke on me. Oh well, all dignity had been left at door.

After everything had settled down after the delivery and being moved to our room for the rest of our stay, we finally got to spend some time with our baby. She was so precious and tiny! Then I realized that I was starving and hadn’t eaten in nearly 24 hours. Just then my nurse wheeled in a cart of food they had ordered for us earlier before the kitchen had closed. I swear she had a halo over her head when she walked in. I was so thankful they were so considerate and thought ahead. It was seriously the best turkey sandwich I have ever had in my entire life. I could have kissed her!

It was around this time that I started trying to nurse Elyse for the first time. There was a huge learning curve at first, but the nurses were a great help. I was so glad we were in such a breast-feeding friendly hospital. It felt so weird and natural at the same time.

Throughout my whole labor and delivery, the only thing I would have changed was that I had my contacts in instead of my glasses on (I was advised not to wear my contacts). So, I guess all in all, if that was the only negative, then I had a great experience. The biggest thing I learned was that no matter what you want to happen in your birth experience, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen that way. I went into this not wanting an epidural or an episiotomy, but I got both and it’s okay. There is a saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” We all made it through as safely and quickly as possible, so I guess I did follow my birth plan.

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