Thursday, June 13, 2013

Supermom! How I birthed my baby -- Part 11

In the 11th part of this series, Samantha Rawagah shares the story of her son's birth at The Midwife Center for Birth and Woman's Health in Pittsburgh. Follow Samantha on her blog: My Jordanian Nugget.

On February 28, 2013 I was working from home, thinking that I hope tomorrow is my last Friday I have to go to work. I was able to get dinner cooked and worked on by baby blog. I haven't done either of these things in a really long time. Something was different. I felt good... I felt like I had energy. I had my bags packed and the house was sort of clean, I was just waiting for a baby that I believed would probably be staying in there for a little longer. Then things changed. I was taking out my contacts that have to sit in their solution for 6 hours; I thought that I shouldn't put them in there in case I went into labor that night. I know this a weird random thought but this was my concern at the time.

I assumed my third trimester sleeping spot on the couch and went to sleep. I woke up around 4:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom. I felt a little bit of leakage, but I thought I just had to pee. I wasn't sure, so I laid back down and started to Google "What happens when your water breaks." Then I got up because I felt like I had to go to the bathroom again. I made it to the kitchen and then my water broke at 4:17 a.m. This time, I was sure. I called for my husband and he asked if I was certain. The large puddle under me confirmed it had, in fact, happened. At that moment I forgot what the midwives told me to do. The water was clear and I was GBS negative, so I thought I was good to stay home, but I called the on-call midwife anyway. She told me to go back to bed and call again at 8 a.m. to assess my contractions, which hadn't really started yet. GO BACK TO BED?! I am having a baby soon and the best part was my dad insisted the baby would come mid-March... he was wrong. Yes, this was one of the first thoughts that went through my head.

So I gave sleeping a try, but I was getting random, inconsistent contractions that were uncomfortable. I got up to walk around. No one told me that when your water breaks, the leaking does not stop. This is when I dressed in my new outfit of Depends and a birthing gown. I dosed off every once in awhile, but barely slept. Finally, I texted my best friend, Lauren, who would be joining us for the birth, but had quite the drive from West Virginia to make it. She got things cleared up at work and headed here to Pittsburgh. Getting closer to 8:00, I showered and did my hair... you know, the important things. Then I called the new on-call midwife to see what the plan would be. She asked if I wanted to come in for an early labor progress check. Declining, I told her I would rather stay home. She told me to pay attention to my contractions and that I would know when to come in. There wasn't a formula she could give and I was okay with staying home... until I didn't want to anymore. I was starting to have contractions that were timeable. I walked around the house and did some squats, trying to kick start active labor. Dufda went to get some Chinese food for us around 2:30 p.m. While I was eating, the midwife called me and asked if I would like to come in to have my progressed checked. I agreed, after I finished my lunch of course, since rush hour was about to start and I didn't want to have to be stuck in traffic while I was laboring. So we loaded up the car and headed to the Birth Center. I sort of thought we would go home to make more progress, so I wasn't getting my hopes up. On the way there, my contractions all but stopped. I had one minute-long contraction on Grant Street that hurt like hell.

When we arrived at the Birth Center I had Ghaith park in the parking lot because I didn't want to take the unloading zone spot reserved for the birthing moms. I stepped out the car and had a really bad contraction. We didn't bring any of the bags in, because I really thought I had more time. I was waiting in the Ocean room, my first choice of birthing rooms. As soon as the midwife came to check me, I started having contractions about a minute long each and they were three minutes apart. It was as if my body knew I was allowed to have the baby now and kicked into gear. Ghaith moved the car, because we would officially be "unloading" my precious cargo sometime soon. Lauren was called and was given the go ahead to make her way down to the room.

When they checked my progress, I was 3cm at 4:00 p.m., 12 hours after my water broke. I needed to get to 4cm to get into the tub. I labored with breathable contractions until 6 p.m. It really wasn't that hard. At 6:00, I was checked again and was able to get into the tub. At this point, I could laugh and chat with Lauren and Ghaith after each contraction. It was like we were just hanging out... that would be if we typically hung out with me naked in a tub and my best friend and husband chillin' tubside. It was oddly normal.

At 7 p.m. the shift changed for the on-call nurse and midwife. This was also the turning point in my labor where I went from being a super happy laboring mama to a demon. I felt pretty bad for the new staff. At one point, Ghaith tried to tickle my stomach and the voice that came out of me telling him he better stop was that of a gorilla, with a little bit of Satan thrown in. I remember the new midwife, Abby, checking my progress and saying I was about 6-7 or 7-8cm, I can't remember exactly. Panic settled in. I was hot in the tub and couldn't get a good grip on anything. I think at one point, I actually kicked and screamed like a child. There may have been some tears, as well. I got out of the tub and Abby was able to check me again. Unfortunately, I was only about 6cm, which made me really cry, because I felt like I was going backwards. This, however, was far from the truth. I labored on the birthing ball until about 8pm. There is no sugar coating it; it hurt so bad. Screaming was just wasting my energy, so I switched to a really low hum. I slept in between contractions. Several times, I shouted out that I needed to push. Abby said I was not ready and not to waste my energy. At one point, she was able to push my cervix back around the head, so I was the complete 10cm. Finally, I was able to start pushing. I tried pushing on the toilet, on my hands and knees, and eventually ended up in the one position I didn't think I would like... sitting up. Let me tell you... pushing is awesome. It gives you something new to do and feels like you are actually making progress. I imagine it really hurt, but honestly, I just can't remember.

Jad started to emerge. Ghaith, who said he didn't' want to see him coming out, was all over watching his little noggin come out of this very small hole. I, on the other hand, was offered a mirror and told them to keep it. There is a point at which you are able to see your baby's head, but you aren't able to push because you aren't having a contraction. This was when I panicked. I wasn't prepared for how the head would look coming out. He was either going to have one of those little miniature heads on a stick, or be a member of the Conehead cast. Cue the oxygen... for mom. Nugget's heartrate was dropping slightly while I was pushing and I noticed commotion to the side of me, but wasn't sure exactly what was going on. I found out a little later that an extra midwife was being called just in case Nugget had any issues. Abby came over and looked at me and told me I needed to push harder. I think I looked at her like I would incinerate her face with my glare, but I pushed harder than I ever thought I could. Low and behold, a baby came out. Here is where my thought process went out the window. They placed Nugget on my chest at 8:59 p.m. and my first thought was, "What the heck is this?" I kept Jad pretty covered up, although Ghaith really wanted to see him. I was so concentrated on pushing, that I forgot I was going to get something at the end. Shock, is the only word that I could use to describe the feeling of being handed a human... a human I created... that I was now responsible for... yeah, it was pretty overwhelming. 


Next, I basked in the bliss of giving birth au natural. I am told I don't get a medal for this, but I tend to disagree. My medal is pretty awesome, don't you think?

My wonderful nurse, Ashley, served me breakfast in bed and it was the best freakin' omelet and English muffin I have ever eaten. Lauren left after a little while and Ghaith and I were able to enjoy the fruit of my labor. Of course, we did what all other new parents would do. We dressed him up and took lots of pictures.

* * *

Part 9 -- Sara's story 
Part 10 -- Valerie's story

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