For most people, the true meaning of Labor Day has never been about anything more than family, cookouts, and relaxation. Understandably so, and that's how it has always been for me, too. Until Micah was born. Then it became LABOR Day. The name alone always makes me think of my labor and delivery with my firstborn and probably always will. So for today I thought I would post my birth story, since this blog didn't exist two years ago.
On 4/7/10 I started having contractions, at around 6am. I tracked them all day long at work, and my supervisor sent me home at 2pm when I started having to breath through them. I came home and miraculously continued having labor pains. I called L&D around 9pm because the pain was bad enough that I figured I had to be making some progress, and I started to lose my mucous plug, so they had me come in. I was only 2cm dilated and 90% effaced, so they had me walk for two hours. Came back, no change. So they sent me home with a sedative to try and get some sleep, but I only sort of dozed all night. I would wake up with every contraction and breath through it, with Antonio rubbing my back to ease some of the pressure. I stayed there as long as possible, but at 11 tried to get up. I couldn't. The pain was so bad all I could do was cry, so Antonio had to physically lift me to my feet. Once up I was better, so I decided to take a shower after sweating through contractions all night. I was fine until the end, when I was about to get out, when I got rapid tunnel vision and passed out. I fell right out of the shower onto the floor, and bruised myself up pretty good. Antonio ran to get me up and called L&D in a panic, but I was mostly alright. I went back in to L&D, and I was still not progressing. At this point when they told me to go home I was angry - I had fallen, I was past my due date, and they were unwilling to help me because the baby was not showing any signs of distress. I certainly was distressed! At this point I had been in labor for 36 hours.
After another sleepless day at home, we went back in at 10pm on the 8th. This time the midwife on duty took pity on me - I was 4cm and somehow, only 50% effaced, but she admitted me. I made it through about 5 hours or so like this, just breathing through contractions, but I wasn't making any progress at all so they put me on pitocin and gave me the epidural. This is when all hell started to break loose.
The woman doing my epi was fairly good, I guess - only took a couple minutes, but it was AGONY. She couldn't get into the right position and was crunching against my cartilage and bone repeatedly. And only my left side was going numb at first. Then rather suddenly, my left leg twitched hard enough to shake my entire body, and I was numb from the diaphragm down. They helped me lie down, and had to put me on oxygen because I was so numb I couldn't feel anything in almost my entire body. I only vaguely remember this part, but I do remember telling Antonio that it felt like I was on a rocking boat, and laughing hysterically about it. About 7 different people ended up in my room, and according to my husband, it was chaos. I don't recall much, but my blood pressure dropped and the baby's heart rate slowed significantly. They put in a catheter and a monitor on the baby's head to track his BP better (breaking my water in the process), and decided I had to let the original epi wear off because they were pretty sure it ended up in my spine.
I shook and twitched and fell in and out of sleep during the next hour, and when I woke up, they decided to keep my epi dosage VERY low because I was apparently very sensitive to the drug. That was SUCH a mistake. For the next few hours (I forget how long this was - I was very out of it), I used my little "magic button" to decide how much of the drug I needed, but I could only use it three times an hour. And pretty soon I was using my three punches up REALLY quickly. I was checked twice during this, and I progressed all the way to 7cm, which they took as a good sign. They tried to change my dosage of the epi, but by that afternoon I had all feeling back in my right hip stretching to my groin. The epi was strong on my left side, but the right side stopped working and I was in extreme pain thanks to the pitocin, so they tried to relocate my epi catheter.
The man doing it this time tried for nearly ten minutes while I shook and screamed - the pain was worse than any contraction I had during that time, and eventually made me throw up. Another anesthesiologist wanted to intentionally put it into my spine this time, using the drugs they normally give you for c-sections. She got it on the first try, but the pain didn't stop. They waited almost an hour while I writhed and cried on the bed, and the epi never took hold. She kept pumping my catheter full of drugs and resorted to cocktails of drugs mixed after awhile, but it never worked. The OB GYN on call was killing me, too, because he didn't want me to go into surgery to eleviate my pain - he kept upping my pitocin and watching my contractions, but needless to say, all that did was make me feel worse. During this time they checked my cervix, and I had REGRESSED - I was back at 3cm. The OB finally agreed that I had to go in for a c-section, under general anesthesia since none of the epi drugs were working on me, and the baby was starting to show signs of distress.
Lying on that table in surgery was possibly the scariest moment of my life, and by then I was screaming non-stop because the pitocin, despite no longer being hooked up to my IV, was stacking my contractions one on top of the other with no relief. The smell of the anesthesia coming through my oxygen mask to put me out was like ambrosia. I later found out that Micah had somehow turned in my belly and was breech. Naughty monkey. Antonio said the doctor told him the moment he pulled him from my body, that Micah opened his eyes and looked right up at him, instead of crying.
Micah Asher was a healthy 7 pounds, 5 ounces, 21 inches long!
I don't remember much from when I woke up, but Antonio was there right away and he said I wouldn't stop smiling and asking for the baby. I kept falling asleep between questions, too, because they had me full of morphine and other happy drugs. I saw Micah in pictures on our camera, then for a few minutes in my room with my family before I finally passed out. My mom was the first to hold Micah, and only long enough to bring him to me. I had to lay flat and I was exhausted, so I couldn't get a good position to hold him, and he started fussing. I had so many meds in me, I don't remember anything about how he looked right then...it breaks my heart a little to think of that part. Then I handed him over to Antonio. I don't remember anything else about this part. I woke up in a bit and the room was empty, but Antonio was in the chair next to the bed holding Micah, just staring at him. I fell back asleep. I woke up a few hours later with extreme chills and they hooked me up to antibiotics because the baby had apparently passed meconium in utero which gave me an infection. I only remember pushing the button on the bed and begging them for warm blankets because I was freezing. She gave me two - man, I loved that nurse - but I don't remember getting the IV at all, except that later she came in and took one blanket off despite how cold I still felt so I wouldn't get overheated.
I had two good days in the hospital, but on the third day I all but stopped eating and starting throwing up what little I did eat. The holes they had poked in my spine were still leaking fluid and causing me extreme headaches and nausea, but all I could do for it was lay flat as much as possible, drink soda, or get a blood patch. The patch involved them drawing my blood and injecting it into my spine above the holes to close them up. Needless to say, I was NOT impressed by that and turned it down...so I spent the first week home with the baby either in bed or in the recliner. Only 10 days after Micah arrived was I able to even do so much as change his diaper, and not being able to sit up to pump or nurse meant I wasn't able to breastfeed. His first night out of the hospital was with my mother-in-law instead of with me. The level of sadness I feel about that could fill an ocean, but that was just he cards I got dealt.
My husband was an absolute godsend, doing pretty much everything for both the baby and I and taking very good care of us. I can't even describe how lucky I am to have him in my life for this. And Micah is the precious little bundle of joy that made all my suffering worth it. He was such a good baby, content to sit and look around, only crying when he needed something. He's still like that...unless he's tired, haha.
His first photo, only a couple hours old.
About 24 hours old.
About a week old, already getting tons of personality.
Labor Day has a different meaning to me. What does it mean to you?