August 26, 2009

birth story, part I

It's hard for me to decide where to start the official birth story, so I'm going to go back a bit to provide a little context. Be forewarned that this will be the complete, unedited birth story, so if you're not too keen on reading about mucous or the state of my cervix, you may be happier going here and checking out the cute pics instead. Otherwise, enjoy the story and all the messy glory!

Friday, August 7, 2009

We had an appointment with the midwives to administer a non-stress test to assess Lincoln's tolerance of his extended stay in casa mama. He did great, and an exam revealed that my cervix was softening and I was about 1 cm dilated. In an effort to jump-start the dilation that was beginning, we decided to have the midwives insert a foley catheter into my cervix before we left.

The balloon on the catheter, which is typically used to hold it in place inside of the bladder, is filled with saline just inside the cervical opening in the uterus. The gentle pressure of the balloon can help aid dilation, and if it works well enough, the catheter will just fall out after the cervix dilates enough.

So anyway, pretty much the minute that thing was filled and I stood up, I started having contractions. The car ride home was understandably uncomfortable, and as soon as we got home I needed to lay down and try to relax through this new pressure. I requested a bit of massage and we tried some of the relaxation techniques that we learned in class until I felt good enough to get up.

We watched So I Married an Axe Murderer, one of our favorites, and I had contractions the whole time, between four and ten minutes apart. When the movie ended we decided to try going for a walk to see if we could get things to pick up, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. The contractions petered out and we went to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. By eleven that evening, there didn't appear to be any more progress, but there was bloody show leaking from the tube. I decided to remove the catheter before we had a big mess to deal with.

Saturday, August 8, and Sunday, August 9, 2009

I called the midwife in the morning to let her know how the foley adventure had gone. She assured me that although it may have seemed fruitless, my body was doing good work and she was sure that I was more dilated than I had been. She suggested that we rest up and expect to wake up in labor one night soon.

Our doula's advice was that we start some big, messy project around the house, like wallpapering a room, because Baby would surely sense the inopportune moment and choose to arrive right in the thick of it. We don't have any rooms that are currently in need of that kind of redecoration, but we've been wanting to try making pickles, so we decided that would be our project. We went to Third Place Books to find a book to guide us in the process and came away with The Joy of Pickling. Another stop at Uwajimaya for vegetables, and we were ready for our adventure in preservation.

By the time we got everything assembled and home, it was time for dinner, so we decided to save the pickles for Sunday. With no notable contractions or labor activity, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and spent Sunday morning putting up our spicy Italian giardiniera. (I'll share more about our pickles once they've cured enough for us to sample them.)

Just about the time that we finished our pickles, another round of contractions started. That was around 2 pm, and they were between five and ten minutes apart for the next four hours. We took another walk, hoping once again to encourage the process, but once again they went away and we were left babyless for yet another day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We woke up early on Monday because we had to get to Swedish by 9 am for our Biophysical Profile ultrasound appointment. This ultrasound is commonly done on post-dates pregnancies to make sure that there are still adequate levels of amniotic fluid and to ensure the health of the fetus and vitality of the placenta. Unlike the two previous and awful ultrasound experiences, this one was a breeze thanks to the fact that I was propped up on the table instead of being forced to lie flat on my back. The screen was also positioned at the foot of the bed, rather than off to the right, so it was much easier to see without craning my neck, which I appreciated. No more ultrasounds anywhere else! Obstetrix is the place, despite their questionable spelling choices.

The ultrasound revealed one vital and healthy baby, plenty of amniotic fluid, and a placenta that would continue to support the pregnancy should it carry on (and on, and on). We were told that they would be providing us an estimated birth weight based on the measurements that had been taken, and while the tech was out of the room I jokingly commented that it would be pretty funny if they came in and said it looked like we were going to have an eleven pound baby. Ha! That would be hilarious! Right? A couple minutes later, the doctor came in and said that everything looked great, gave us a printout to take to our midwife, and said that they estimated the weight of our son to be 10 lbs 12 oz. That's an overestimate, of course, but yeah~ have fun with that giant baby! And then they left us, mouths agape.

From Swedish we went to breakfast before heading to the midwife for another non-stress test and exam. She assured us that the weight estimates based on ultrasound are often wildly inaccurate, and she wouldn't be surprised if he was closer to 8.5 pounds or so. Once again, the non-stress test was passed with flying colors, and an internal exam revealed that my cervix was soft and pliable, but still only about 2 cm dilated.

We discussed our plans for the day and decided that castor oil should play a starring role in our afternoon. We stopped at the drug store on the way home to pick up the fixings for my labor-inducing cocktail: chocolate Ensure and a bottle of castor oil. Delish! I downed the mixture at about 2 pm and we left immediately for a walk before it was too late and I was tied to the house (well, specifically the bathroom). I had a few contractions, but nothing out of the ordinary, and just as predicted, spent the next few hours visiting the bathroom and kneeling on the yoga ball between trips.

We started getting really frustrated after a few hours, because it seemed like the castor oil had been yet another futile attempt at starting the labor that was determined not to begin. I was getting hungry, so we had dinner and prepared ourselves for another uneventful evening.

Continued here and here.