January 6, 2011

{Lukka's birth story}

Lukka's birth is starting to get fuzzy in my mind, so I decided to document it before all the little details are lost.

My due date was September 8, 2010, but everyone thought the baby would come out sooner because of the size of my belly. One day after my baby shower, 08/01/2010, I started to have strong contractions daily, and every day I thought "will it be today?".

My husband and I had been preparing for our baby's birth: we read (i.e. I read) a lot, we took Lamaze classes, we talked to friends, we bombarded my ob with questions, we had a birth plan laid out, etc. I felt calm (except for the rare wave of panic that hit me sometimes "will I be able to do this?").
I had decided to try and go with an unmedicated birth, but I wanted to be in the hospital in case of any emergencies. We got an aqua-doula (a tub) so I could labor in water (in Hawaii you can only have a water birth at home, in some hospitals you can labor in water).

Well, September 8 came and waved us goodbye, and still no Lukka. My parents had arrived late July to help us out, and in case the baby came early, so we were all hanging out, going on hikes, walking around, going to the beach, basically ALWAYS doing something to see if Lukka got some encouragement to come and see the world.

I wanted to have a natural birth, to go into labour spontaneously, so I asked my ob to wait the longest possible before inducing. I had been stuck on 2 cm for four weeks now, and having strong contractions constantly, which were obviously not doing their job of dilating me.
After 40 weeks, I started going to the hospital twice a week to monitor the baby, he was just cozy in there, lazy baby.

The doctor had scheduled an induction for September 17, and on the 16th she examined me and told me I was still stuck at 2 cm, and that my cervix was way up there still - this baby would not come out on his own before hitting 42 weeks. The next morning we were at the hospital, ready to have a baby, and I was a little disappointed in having to induce - I had really wanted things to start naturally.

I knew induced contractions were much worse than natural ones, but I still wanted to try and ride it out without taking anything.  I also knew that I wasn't going to able to eat solids because of the induction, so my mom made homemade chicken broth, we bought juices and apple sauce, and walked into the hospital with two bags of liquid food.

Getting ready to start induction
Day 1:
At 10 am they started the Pitocin drip.
At 3 pm I still felt nothing, just the same contractions as always.
At 5 pm I was already starving, and still no change.
At 7 pm I started feeling contractions, they were finally getting stronger.
At 8 pm I was still 2 cm dilated, in pain, but my doctor decided to stop the Pitocin so I could get some sleep and eat something solid.
I took a shower, had dinner, and by 1 am I was in (the most uncomfortable) bed.

Day 2:
At 5 am, after not sleeping much, I had breakfast, and the nurse re-started the Pitocin.
At 6:30 am, still no change. My doctor walks in and tells me this baby doesn't want to come out! If we just stick to the induction it'll probably be a repeat of day 1. So she breaks my water.
At 6:40 am, on the dot, I start having monster contractions. I wasn't ready, I thought it'd be a while for them to kick in. I immediately started doing my Lamaze breathing to cope with the pain.
At 9 am my parents (who had gone to our apartment for the night) walked in to find me sitting in bed, breathing through a contraction, feeling super nauseous.
At 9:30 am Patti Edwards brought in the aqua-doula, as she was setting up I started having back-to-back contractions where I literally had seconds between each contractions. My husband was helping me, coaching me to breathe, to focus on something else, but I wasn't able to rest in between contractions. This was getting hard, I felt like throwing up the whole time, but didn't.
At 10:30 am I got in the warm water. It really helped relieve the tension and shift the weight off my belly, but my contractions were seconds apart, and I was already doing the last level of breathing. I had no other way of coping with the pain if it got worse, and it was getting worse.
in the aqua-doula
At 11:20 am I was leaning on the edge of the tub, grabbing at my husband's fingers, shoving them on my face, and blowing imaginary candles. The urge to push was greater than my self-control, and I was having it with E-V-E-R-Y contraction, 5 seconds apart. When the world turned black for a few seconds, I knew I couldn't handle it anymore. I was out of breath, tired, and in such pain I was about to faint.
back-to-back contractions

The nurse checked me and said I was still at 4 cm, and that my cervix was still up there. I still had a long way to go.
At 12:00 pm they gave me an epidural, the pain slipped away, but I could still feel the contractions shaking my whole body. I was able to get in bed and sleep for a few hours.
At 2:30 pm I started feeling pressure on my butt, like I had to go to the bathroom. I told the nurse, who didn't want to check me because my water had been ruptured so the baby was unprotected, and they had checked me 2 hours earlier.
At 2:45 pm the pressure increased. I started to wince every time I had a contraction. I told the nurse, and this time she agreed to check me. Finally! I was fully dilated and my cervix was ready for action!
At 3:15 pm  I started pushing, and my back started to ache. I had back labor, where the baby's face is up, and his hard skull is pressing against the mom's spine.
At 4 pm I was still pushing. Basically I knew when to push on my own because I could feel the contractions. My husband and my mom were holding my legs, and my dad was filming. The pain in my back had increased, and it was getting very uncomfortable.
At 4:30 pm I asked for more on my epidural, which was no longer having any effect on me. I could feel the pain, and it was all on my back now. The anesthesiologist was in a c-section and wouldn't be able to come and help me. I had to suck it up.
At 5:30 pm I was still pushing, exhausted, and the baby's head was still stuck on my pelvic bone. The nurse said my doctor was going to come in soon, and that this baby might be too big for me, we would probably have to do a c-section. I wept internally, I didn't want a c-section.
At 6:00 pm my doctor arrived, took a good look at me, and said "OK Sophia, you can do this!". Well, she more like shouted this, full of enthusiasm. I was weak and exhausted and in pain, and I really wanted to give up. But I thought I could try one more time, the last time. So I pushed a few more times.
At around 6:20 pm I was screaming with each push, and I thought "this baby just has got to come out!" and I gave that push all that I had! I pushed so hard the baby's head went from my pelvis to crowning, and I got a third degree tear to go with it.
At 6:30 pm I pushed one last time, and Lukka came out all at once. I remember screaming because I was in such pain, because I was SO tired, because I was relieved, because my son was finally here!

Even in a daze of pain I ripped my gown down so Lukka could be placed on my bare skin right away. There was my beautiful baby, all gooey and crying, but I was in so much pain from the tear that I had no emotional reaction.
cuddling with Lukka right after birth
They stitched me up, which took 20 minutes, and I almost crushed my mom's hand to dust - the pain was even worse than pushing Lukka out.

When my husband had cut the cord, they had weighed and measured Lukka, and cleaned him a little, my husband gave him to me again. This time, the emotions were unbearable. I didn't cry, but there was a knot in my throat, and a love so deep and great for this little being that is just unbelievable.

I tried to breastfeed right away, and he was great at it! Latched on with no problems. This was our moment. I couldn't stop looking at him, stroking his little swollen face, kissing his still oddly-shaped head. It's the best feeling ever.
breastfeeding for the first time
Even though things didn't go exactly as I had planned, it was an adventure. And our greatest blessing entered this world with great health. We were truly blessed.
Lukka Nicodemus Gueiros Costa
born September 18, 2010
7 lbs 9.4 oz / 18 inches

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful story!! I can't imagine what a long labor like that is...I was already EXHAUSTED with a 6 hour long labor...

    I think I will make a blog too so I can post my birth story and never forget it either :-)