Friday, July 10, 2009

Five scheduled births: Baby #1

My friend Charlotte wrote a series of posts telling about the birth of each of her children, and because birth stories are so varying and interesting, I thought I'd follow suit. It's a good way to celebrate their birth days. Note: I wrote this post on the 10th. On the 11th I found my journal and fixed a few details, but it doesn't change the story much.

Before Kent and I married, I received direction from the Spirit that I should never use artificial birth control, so we were surprised, and a little disappointed, that it took three months to get pregnant. (With my current perspective, I count our blessings that that's all it took. But as a 21-yr-old, I didn't know anyone who had struggled with infertility.) Her due date was to be the day before our first anniversary, and I knew she would be a girl. We wanted to wait to announce the pregnancy until after the 18-week ultrasound, but I inadvertently gave it away by snacking on nothing but saltines and pretzels in a morning religion class that Kent and I took together at BYU. The professor figured it out and drew the class' attention to my morning sickness for us. Fortunately, I only had mild morning sickness and it got to where if I could throw up (is there a nicer way to put it?) once in the morning, I was good to go for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the daily throw up, which I worked into my morning routine, lasted for seven months.

As July 2 approached, we enrolled in a prenatal class with a local doula who counseled us to write out a birth plan and review it with our doctor. I don't think she was happy that we were going with a doctor because she gave me all sorts of statistics about C-sections, forceps, and circumcision, but I was not willing to have my first birth experience outside of a hospital. She told us not to feel pressured by societal norms, but I felt more pressure from her about what the experience should be like than from anyone else. However, her instructions on relaxation techniques for a natural birth were very helpful, which was good because I wanted to experience everything about this birth. As it turned out, I also got to experience an extra week of pregnancy.

When our anniversary passed and I had to answer "When are you due?" with "Last week", I started getting very anxious to get the baby out of me. Relatives reminded me that pregnancy isn't chronic and she would come when she was ready. The doula told me how horribly painful Pitocin-induced contractions would be. But when my doctor told me the complications of having a baby come too late, I decided to be induced. Kent and I went to the hospital at 6:00 p.m. for the first dose of Prostin, which is used to basically loosen things up in preparation for the Pitocin. The nurse advised me to eat a good dinner because she couldn't give me anything besides ice chips once I was admitted, so we headed to JB's to enjoy our last meal as a married-without-kids couple. After dinner, we stopped by Kent's cousin's apartment to visit his aunt who was in town. I remember standing there being annoyed by the cramps that had started, not even thinking that I hadn't had them for nine months so maybe they weren't just cramps. At midnight we were back at the hospital for the second dose of Prostin and I learned that those "cramps" were contractions that were coming every five minutes. I was in labor and I wouldn't need the Pitocin after all! (The nurse said that Prostin will induce labor in a small percentage of patients.)

Our nurse was great. She got me settled in and explained to Kent, who was keeping everyone entertained with his sense of humor, that when I stopped smiling at his jokes, he should call for her because the baby would be close. It was at that moment that I threw up for the last time of that pregnancy...all over Kent. The doula hadn't told us about THAT, but the nurse said it's actually quite common during labor. I bet she wished she hadn't advised me to eat a big dinner because she ended up cleaning it. I sat in the jacuzzi for about ten minutes, and within a few more minutes I had transitioned and Kent was helping me through all the relaxation and breathing exercises we had learned. They worked really well! I basically knew what to expect and I felt like the pain was manageable. The doctor came in and in an extra long single push our daughter was born in the early hours of July 10. One more push produced the placenta and then I noticed a group of nurses hovering around the baby with an oxygen mask on her face. The doctor thought that because the placenta came out so quickly, it had partially detached while she was being delivered and she was having trouble getting oxygen through her body. But only a minute or two later, she was fine and they handed me the little bundle.

Kent and I remember a great rush of joy flooding over us when we held our little girl. She has been a joy in our family ever since.

A little more about the birth story. One thing our doula hadn't told us, maybe because she never got this treatment at home, is that my nurse would start punching me. She said she was just kneading my belly to get things contracting back to normal size, but it felt and hurt like punches to me. We spent the next day in the hospital trying to get Kassidy to eat, but the poor thing just couldn't stay awake. She had nursed for an hour right after her birth, and I think she was full and tired. My nurse told me to wake the baby every few hours to eat, but rubbing her back and tickling her feet barely made her open her eyes. The lactation specialist came and took off Kassidy's t-shirt and held her up by the armpits while gently scratching her back. I was shocked at the treatment, but she taught me that babies are actually quite tough. Her method worked, and I used it again at home to keep the sleepy girl awake long enough to eat.

Eleven years later, Kassidy is a charming and responsible girl. I have loved watching her grow, and it makes me sad that her childhood is coming to a close as she nears the years of adolescence. It frankly scares me that in eleven more years, if she follows in my footsteps, she could be a mother herself! I look at the pictures of our family back then and wonder what our parents were thinking to let me and Kent get married and have babies at such a young age! I am definitely not the same type of parent I was a decade ago, but it has worked out alright and I love being Kassidy's mother.


Debra said...

I can't figure out why I like reading people's birth stories. Probably because they remind me of my own. This photo is a little disconcerting, however. Kent reminded me of this fellow:

I'm sure he looked at least 17 in person.
: )

Charlotte said...

That news story is just scary!! I love your birth story. I was in a hospital at the same time doing the same thing. I always hated the kneading of the stomach, too. Of course, I tend to leave a little placenta behind, so it is necessary. The closer my kids get to the age I was when they were born, the more freaked out it makes me.

Mary said...

Debra, that news story is disturbing. After seeing that boy's picture, Kent looks much younger, like a 14-yr-old with a five-o-clock shadow. The longer I stare at Kent in that picture, the younger he looks. Maybe it's just a bad angle that makes his eyes look bigger, which thus makes him look more like a child. Freaky! I swear he was 21!

mindy said...

I agree with Debra, no way Kent was 21 then!!

And seriously, they punch you in the belly? Noone has EVER done that to me, not even in the hospital. I'm pretty sure I'd punch back. I like the idea of sharing the births, though I'm afraid I'd err on the TMI-side. So did you have all of the kids without medication? I can't help but wonder what it feels like for other women during labor, because we all have different experiences and our bodies and minds process things differently. Your report of Within a few minutes I had transitioned and Kent was helping me through all the relaxation and breathing exercises we had learned. They worked really well! I basically knew what to expect and I felt like the pain was manageable. boggles my mind. Maybe if my babies were smaller.... ;o)

mindy said...

Oh man, Debra. I'm going to have nightmares about that story. :o(

Sylwia Lipinska Hardman said...

wow you guys do look young in that picture. kent looks like a teenager. having said that, just be glad you got it over with when you were young. it's not fun having babies when you are old and decrepit..