Finally I’ve a bit of time, so here goes…

Wednesday night I slept pretty badly. Nerves, mostly, keeping me up. I figure I got around 4hrs of sleep, and then an extra early wake-up at 5am didn’t help matters. We had to be at the hospital for 7:30am, and were right on time. As soon as I got there they hooked up the monitor belts (just like my NST’s – one for Victor’s movements and heart rate, one for contractions for me), gave me an iv (she did a poor job of it, but redeemed herself entirely later on in the day), and got me settled. I had a saline bag, glucose, penicillin, and pitocin all hooked up and going at it. The pit they had at the lowest dose and increased it every 10mins by a small amount. I realized I wouldn’t be able to knit (had hoped to early on) so Ken and I watched the tele for a while – later turning on some music to help me focus. I was 3cm dilated when we started. There were some issues with my bloodsugar going low, and expecting it and with frequent bloodsugar testing we kept it at a good level. Sugar’s too high can cause a newborn to have super low sugars (compensation over-drive) which can be dangerous for the baby. I started having contractions, but they were mild enough that I handled them with breathing and focusing and counting to myself – squeezing Ken’s hand when they started getting worse.
At 12:30 Dr. M came in, checked me out and with a 5cm dilation she broke my water. Everything changed from that moment on. I had assumed (wrongly) that after the water-breaking the contractions would become more intense on a gradual slope. Not.even.close. Instantly they went from a 4 on my scale to a 7 and started coming much, much faster. I wasn’t prepared for that, but what’s a girl to do? I tend to internalize my pain, but this was more than that could handle and I started groaning with each contraction. Very quickly I figured I wasn’t going to be able to handle it without some chemical help. I asked for it and they informed the anesthesiologist (who was in doing a c-section so I had to wait a bit).

Soon I started feeling some pressure with each contraction, and told the nurses. I walked across the hallway from the labour room to the birthing room (which helped the contractions surprisingly much). I got settled just in time for the anesthesiologist to arrive and to take the position for the epidural. Ken was told to sit, and my nurse performed her redemption by holding me and supporting me while the dr did his thing. Twice. After the 2nd attempt and not hearing anyone say anything clearly I asked, fearing/knowing the worst, “Did it work?” No, and he wasn’t confident going in for a 3rd time. They resettled me into “the position” and I told them I wanted to push – convenient that transition happened right then. They hurried to find Dr. S and checked my cervix again – 9.5cm. Trying to get me to stop pushing, and me trying my absolute best to not push, I screamed through each contraction and my body pushed anyways. Between contractions I apologised for pushing and kept telling them I couldn’t help it and that I was trying. An older nurse reassured me (and Ken, who was trying to encourage me not to push) that it’s an uncontrollable urge and that I can’t help it. Hearing that helped me feel better, somewhat, but I still felt a bit guilty and knew I was likely going to do myself some serious damage if I birthed him too early.

Dr. S arrived and I was given the go-ahead. So I did. I pushed for approx. 10 mins, so says Ken, and out came Victor. Too fast, we’d later learn, but it happens as it’s going to. At 2:10pm Victor Willem Helberg was born, weighing 7lbs 13.5oz and 19.75″ long. I had some tearing – grade II, so not too bad – so the dr started stitching me up right away. After showing me my Little, they took Victor to the side of me to clean him up and wrap him up. I got to see him again before they whisked him away to do the standard testing and check his bloodsugar. Almost immediately after he was birthed the hormonal overload kicked in and the shivering started – all over body, uncontrolled, very odd. They did the usual uterine “massage” (such a gentle term for such an unbelievably painful act) and ice-packed my girl-bits and covered me up for a while. After a bit of a rest they let me walk to the post-partum ward and see my Little Man. He was in the nursery – his blood sugar was indeed a bit low so they’d had to give him glucose and formula intermittently. We’d wanted to avoid nipples, but his health is most important.  He had some excess amniotic fluid in his lungs (stuff not squeezed out during labour because he’d been born so fast) that was causing him to “grunt” a bit (more sighing/whiney/whimpery sounds, than grunting) so he had to stay put for a while to be observed.  They also wanted to watch him for 48hrs for any GBS complications.
Over the next few days Victor got better – the blood sugar stabilized, some mild jaundice showed up but is slowly fading (it’s why we’re seeing his dr this week instead of next, though), but the grunting issue faded quickly and no GBS problems surfaced. We would have left Friday, otherwise. When he was discharged his weight was down to 7lbs 8oz, but well within acceptable range. Speaking of which, we weighed him today and our digital scale says he weighs 7lbs 9.5oz (so we’re not worrying about him eating anymore – though tonight he’s been eating almost non-stop so there’s not much to worry about anymore).

I’m doing well. I rarely have any contractions anymore, and hardly any cramping either (or lochia). The pumping is going well, though I feel/look like someone’s flayed my nipples with a razored whip – been here though, so I know it’ll improve. I’m down to +11lbs. Engorgement’s almost done, too. My colostrum and milk have come in much faster this time, which is convenient for now. I’m making more than he eats, so we’re building up a bit of excess. I’m not pumping at night when I sleep, though, so the production’s going to drop off eventually. That’s fine. We figure Ethan got breastmilk for his first month home, hopefully we can do the same for Victor.

More than anything I’m happy to have finally had the “full-term baby” pregnancy/labour that I missed out on with Ethan.  I feel like the bits from the past that were missing are filled in, and I’m more the Mom for having experienced them both.  Victor is absolutely wonderful and adorable and we cherish him.

3 Responses to “Victor’s Birth Story”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I should have warned you that things don’t always go slow when the water breaks. Take me for example, I went from 2 cm to delivery in 4 hours with Christina (it was 6 hrs with Keith). I’m glad that things turned out well though, you have such a wonderful little man to go with the first wonderful little man :-)

    If you can get one pumping in around 10/10:30 at night then you’re going to keep your production a bit longer which will give Victor even more. It’s getting time for the growth spurts where he’ll eat more and then drop back again. I’m so excited to meet Victor and see Ethan – hopefully this coming summer we’ll get to see you all again. (And despite the Christmas card going in the mail today, I wrote it out last week before Victor was born so it’s address to “Little” instead of Victor inside.)

  2. Kelly Says:

    Well, I went from 5cm and water breaking to birth in little over an hour and a half, so I win! :P

    My current pumping schedule has me pumping at 9:30ish for my last evening pump, then again at 3:30ish when I get up to take over. So far things are continuing to go well, so I’m hopeful we can continue like this for a while without losing supply.

    I think he’s already in a growth spurt – he’s been wanting to eat non-stop the past day, and though he doesn’t necessarily take much his overall quantity has increased.

  3. Sarah Says:

    I know the doctor was extremely surprised when I went from about 6 cm to being ready to push in less than an hour. He didn’t believe it when the nurses called him to tell him to come back over (his office is right next to the hospital – a hop, skip & a jump!)

    They go through so many growth spurts those first few weeks. I had forgotten how many they went through. I think I gave you a book (if not you might want to consider it) about herbal remedies to help maintain your milk supply. There’s lots of natural ways you can maintain the supply for as long as you’d like to. I could send you mine to read if you’d like – I think I still have it. I gave a lot of my breastfeeding books to our lactation consultant to add to her lending library so that others could get some use out of them.