So without further ado, here’s Calhoun’s birth story. Sorry to keep you all waiting!!
We got to the hospital early Thursday morning, and started pitocin around 6:45. By 8, I was having mild contractions, and was dilated 4-5 cm. I spent the morning relaxing with my headphones on, using my hypnobirthing techniques, basically taking it easy. I was not in an active hard labor, but I was contracting regularly. It was a slow pace, but that was what we wanted, so I was content with that. The doctor, however, wasn’t thrilled. He really wanted to break my water, but we didn’t want to do that, and each time we declined, he was a bit more put out with us. I’ll just go ahead and insert right here that my doctor was a J-E-R-K, but I knew that going in. We weren’t planning on him being very supportive, so we had dismissed him early on in the process. We were much more reliant on the nurses and hospital staff to be our advocates- and they were. They were awesome!! They were totally on board with our natural approach.
So around lunchtime, I knew it was time to get more serious about things, so I put away the relaxing stuff and got to work. My mom walked the hallways with me while Patrick got a bite to eat. Then Mom went to lunch, and Patrick worked with me in the room. My contractions were picking up in intensity, and I was standing and leaning over a chair while he applied counter pressure to my back. The baby was posterior, or at least halfway positioned that way (which means that his back was against my back, instead of his back against my belly). It causes back labor, unfortunately! But the massaging helped– even the smell of the peppermint oil that Patrick used was a comfort.
I knew at that point, I was in a good hard labor. I don’t even consider myself to have been in true, active labor until that time.. I was having to work hard through those contractions! I sat on the birthing ball (which is just a big rubber exercise ball), which helped with the back pain, but it was too difficult to keep the baby on the fetal monitor in that position. (another sad example of hospital policy interfering with the natural process!) At about 3, the doctor came in again to check me and said I was 5 or 6 cm, I think, and wanted again to break my water. We said no, and he was obviously pouting about that, and very negatively said, “well, you’ll probably be another 3 or 4 hours.” He wasn’t encouraging in any way, or kind or even physically gentle as he examined me or anything. I won’t go into the details of all he did wrong, but he was pretty awful. Even the nurses had had enough of him, you could tell. The man just had better things to be doing, I guess, and he was tired of me being difficult!
Anyway, so he left, and I was pretty discouraged. For one thing, I was in a lot of pain, and had been working so dang hard that I couldn’t imagine four more hours. I told Patrick I was ready for an epidural. In between the increasing contractions, I made a good, logical argument for it. I knew I COULD go naturally because I’ve done it twice already, but I also knew that an epidural wouldn’t lead to a c/s for me and I was ready to just be done. Patrick tried his best to help me remember that I didn’t really want it, and I feel bad for putting him in that position. In the end, however, he knew that it was a choice that only I could make. (I had told him I would ask for the epidural at transition, because that’s when it was the worst. But I didn’t think I was in transition– so it was a tough situation to be in.)
Anyway, we called the nurse and she let the anesthesiologist know. Meanwhile, I’m having killer contractions, and I am starting to feel the urge to PUSH at the end of them. I, however, am in complete denial about that sensation. For one thing, I was just 5 cm, right? I couldn’t be feeling ready to PUSH, could I?? I still had 5 more cm to go! And secondly, if I don’t admit I want to push, then I’ll have time to get that epidural. And I want. that. epidural.
But then, I started making the low, moaning sound, and I knew the anesthesiologist had better hurry. I still didn’t tell anybody that I had pressure, but on one contraction, my mom asked suspiciously if I had pushed a little with that one, and I thought for a minute and then replied, “Well, not with my heart!” They laughed, but I think they were on high alert from that point on!
Finally, the anesthesiologist got there, at about 3:30- it was just maybe twenty minutes after we called him. He was asking questions and I was answering as fast as I could. I was practically begging him to hurry, because in the back of mind, I knew I had a matter of minutes! It wasn’t logical of me, I knew, but all I could think was to get it before I had to push! I was sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning on my mom, waiting on the needle, when I had a huge contraction followed by an enormous POP, and my water broke all over everybody (uh, sorry for that.) Then, my mom (who is a labor and delivery nurse) looked down and yelled, “We have a head! Lay her over!” Somehow or another, I am then on my back, with the baby’s head halfway out, and my body is in FULL PUSHING MODE, without my permission WHATSOEVER! The anesthesiologist,
who is now along for the ride whether he wants to be or not, hollers out in a shocked voice, “Is that the head?” Even in the midst of the craziness and pain, a part of me mentally chuckled at that. This poor guy. His day just got a lot more interesting!
So, because Mom is the closest to me, and my nurse is running for gloves and whatever else is required for birth (because you can’t have a baby without the proper tools, you know), and my doctor is off pouting somewhere else in the hospital, and the anesthesiologist is in shock and out of his element, my mom is the one who delivers the baby. The rest of the baby’s head popped out right away when they flipped me, and mom told not to push while she unlooped the nuchal cord. I heard her say it, but it was so out of my control that I don’t know if I did or not! Anyway, she got the cord unlooped, and my body pushed once or twice and the rest of him was out! I say “my body” because it wasn’t ME– it honestly wasn’t. I had no conscious thought of pushing, it was just a force that took over. It happened, literally, in a matter of seconds. It was so overwhelming and shocking– totally unreal. Time stood still, like it does when you’re in a car accident or something. I couldn’t even process it right away. They told me to look down and see him, but I couldn’t do it, it was just too much. It took me a few minutes to come back into myself. They laid him on my belly, and I held him, stunned at what had just happened. He was so beautiful. It was like a tornado swept into my room, turned me upside down, and left me with this amazing treasure laying on my tummy. We were all crying (I think the anesthesiologist even had a few tears -ha).
Luckily, my dr took a long time coming, and I just laid there, holding him. I was in a lot of pain with the placenta still attached, still contracting and hurting. But it didn’t dull the sweetness of having my baby in my arms. The dr finally made it, and I handed the baby off to Patrick, and delivered the placenta, which was a big relief. I had no tears amazingly enough, but there was a lot of bleeding and it took some intense work to get my uterus to stop contracting. It was made all the more uncomfortable by my doctor’s terrible bedside manner, but that’s another story. I’ll just say, there was a point where I nearly reached down and smacked him. And, I’m not the only one in the room that was feeling that way! Anyway, in the end, it all came out okay. The bleeding was stopped, I was fixed up and done. We delayed all the newborn tests and such and just had some time to bond together for a while.
It was marvelous.
Eventually, we had him weighed and measured and printed and all that. But it was when we were ready, and it wasn’t some big, chaotic mess in the room. All along, the nurses were incredibly accommodating to our birth plan, they were so respectful and compassionate. They were interested in how and why we chose to do things the way we did, and did everything they could to make our experience exactly how we wanted it. It was as perfect as it could be.
So, 39 minutes after my doctor said I had another 3 or 4 hours to go, Mr. Calhoun Scott Trisler entered the world. It was incredible and funny and one of the most memorable moments of my life. I love this story, and I only wish I could tell it better. This doesn’t even do it justice.
Well, that’s all the time I have to write– I need to get back to the little guy. If I forgot some part, I may come back and add to it. It’s hard to remember the sequence of everything because it happened so fast! What a ride!
More later on coming home and postpartum recovery, and of course, more pictures!
Love to all.