Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Birth Story

I think I would have gotten a lot out of reading other people's birth stories prior to having a baby this weekend, so I'm going to write mine up and post it. I expect this to be a long and detailed posting, and maybe a little too much info for some, but I hope someone benefits from finding it!

Friday, April 10th, marked 40 weeks and 6 days of being pregnant. For whatever reason, I really had it in my head that Thursday was going to be the day, so when I woke up on Friday and still no signs of labor, my hormones got the better of me and I cried. I spent the day trying to keep busy and secretly wishing I hadn't been so committed to being drug free, because anyone else would have induced by now. Erik came home from work and we walked to Old Chicago's for pizza and to celebrate yet another night of "this might be our last night as a family of 2".

We got home from pizza, discussed having sex (which didn't work the night before), and got ready for bed. As I was brushing my teeth, my water broke--around 10:30 p.m. FINALLY! I called my Doula who suggested I try to get some rest, so we got in bed and Erik promptly passed out while I tried to sleep through the excitement.

About an hour later I started to feel contractions. They were more than I could sleep through, and I tried to wake up Erik to rub my back or something to make them better. Having had 3 beers at Old Chicago's, he had other ideas, but ultimately I won out.

The midwife had said don't come to the hospital until the contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, and keeping that pattern for an hour. So we decided to watch a movie. We watched "The Dentist", a predictable and cheesy horror flick about a dentist who is having a bad day. Around 2:45 the movie wrapped up and the contractions were close enough to 4-1-1 that I thought we should leave the house. We called the birth center and the Doula, loaded up the car, and off we went.

On the way to the hospital my contractions slowed down. I only had 2 in the entire 40 minute drive. The hospital sent us to "triage", something we had never discussed. I got very annoyed by their intent to check me and hook me up to monitors. After sitting in the little room for what seemed like an hour (but probably was not), the midwife showed up to check me, this was around 3:30 a.m. I had hardly progressed since my appointment on Tuesday. She suggested I go home. I was a little bit heartbroken. They kept me on the monitor for another 20 minutes and we discussed whether or not to go home with our Doula, who was also in favor of going home.

I was so stressed by the check in process and the drive and really didn't want to repeat them later in the day. Plus, I was so excited that the time was finally here that I didn't think I could stand to return to the waiting game. Another factor was that my water had broken and I had tested for GBS (Group B Strep) which meant that I was "on the clock" to be progressing within 24 hours and they said we should probably plan to be back at the hospital by 10:00. So we decided against everyone's advice to stay (we told the Doula to go home so at least one person would be rested).

We checked into the labor room around 6:30 and they started Penicillin for the GBS while Erik took a nap. At 7:00 the daytime midwife arrived and told me we had a long way to go, as was evidenced by the fact that I could have a conversation during contractions. We walked the halls and my friend Jami visited. I got an email from a friend who is a homeopath suggesting some natural methods to speed things along and we sent the Doula to go pick them up on her way back to the hospital.

Around 10:00 they came in to dose me with Penicillin again and the contractions at that point were more than I could chat through. There were no plans to do another check until around 12:00, but the nurse told me later that I was probably around 4 c.m. at this point. At almost every contraction, I felt like I needed to poop. I figured I should have gone before, and there was no way that this was the "urge to push" since the contractions were just barely getting intense. Our Doula suggested sitting on the toilette during contractions and we had a nice setup with her rubbing my back and Erik holding my hands in front of me during the contractions.

And then things changed. I had one or two really intense contractions. I mean really intense. And then I felt something coming out, which really freaked me out. Everyone kept saying "it's just a blood clot" and I was thinking, that was the biggest freaking blood clot ever. Since I was kind of panicing they paged the midwife, who took a peak and informed us that it was actually the rest of my bag of waters. I was a little too wrapped up in the moment to look for myself, but apparently it was about the size of a softball. She did something to get it out and the contractions got about 10 times stronger.

I think it took 3 people to get me to the bed for a check, where the midwife sounded surprised herself as she checked me and realized I was at a full 10 c.m. I was too far along to have time to set up the birth tub I'd been so excited for. They filled a regular bathtub and we pushed in there for a while. At one point I made a comment about changing my mind, "Sorry Speck you will be an only child", etc.

Then we got out of the tub and experimented with a variety of positions. Most of this is a blur. I remember making all kinds of grunting and howling noises during the push contractions. The baby was hung up on my pelvic bone and it took a lot to get him past it. In the end, the baby was delivered with me on the bed, lots of support behind me and holding up my legs. They set up a mirror so I could see his head which they later pushed out of the way (I realized that they were doing this so I didn't watch myself tear).

Pretty much everything from the toilette on I did with my eyes shut. It felt like pooping out a big rock. And finally (after about 2 hours of pushing), everyone said to me "Gwen, open your eyes here comes your baby!!". I opened them and peeked down to see his greyish/white goopy body being pulled from me. They gave him to me for just a second and several people seemed very concerned with towling him off. Then they whisked him away. I was so exhausted I had no clue what was going on. Xander was born at 2:39 p.m.

The midwife came back, I asked if I had torn and she said yes, second degree (which means some muscle had torn too). I have to say that the tear itself I didn't feel at all--during tearing or after. The stitches, on the other hand, were something else. I think they did some sort of a shot that was supposed to numb me, but I was so sensitive and tired that I know I squirmed with each stitch. It didnt make matters any better that she kept saying "I need to go slow so I can make sure I sew the right parts together".

I later found out that my baby had come out with his cord around his neck and that they had to cut it before he could come out all the way, which was the reason for all the chaos. As they sewed me back together I watched Erik on the other side of the room, getting to know our son as they did his tests and took his little footprints.

Then they took me to a recovery room where we all stayed for the next 2 nights. For the first full day, I felt like I was on some very intense drugs. I guess this was the hormones, as I still get a little whif of it from breastfeeding. We are home now and recovering well. I will post a "recovery" story as not to take away from the birth story.

So that is it, Alexander "Xander" Edward Kubec's birth story. I'm pretty impressed with myself for how clearly I can remember everything. I'll get pictures online later today or tomorrow and post some recovery details as well. I'm going to post this without proof-reading, since there is a little baby boy who is due for a feeding now.


  1. Thanks for posting this Gwen...I really enjoyed reading it :-)

  2. Dear Gwen & Erik -

    Ya hoo! You did it! A natural birth for you and baby Xander (cute name). I just read your birth story. While it sounds like some intense moments, overall seems you did great through the process.

    Enjoy your son and look forward to the reunion. I am almost 35 weeks now and doing well. I will be in touch now that I have your email.

    Love, Lisa