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The Story of Lily's Birth

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by Lisa Colver

I was over a week past my September 10th due date. My doctor finally scheduled me to have my labor induced, but I went into labor naturally 2 days before that. On Saturday September 20th 2003 I woke up around 7:20am with some abdominal pain, which I thought was gas pains. It didn't feel anything like the Braxton-Hicks contractions I had experienced over the past few weeks, it felt more like intestinal pain. The pain got so bad, my husband Ben woke up from hearing me moaning in pain. He asked what was wrong, and I told him it was very bad gas pains. He suggested I try to go to the bathroom. That didn't work. I began to think it might be labor, so I started to time the pains. They were about 5-6 minutes apart. I went downstairs and started walking, which made the contractions suddenly 3 minutes apart. I ate half a bowl of cereal, figuring I wouldn't get the chance to eat later. Then I called up my doctor's office. The doctor on call was Dr. Chai, the only obstetrician in the office I hadn't met before. She said to go to the hospital. So I took a very quick shower, got my bags, and Ben drove me to the hospital. They wheeled me to Labor&Delivery and hooked me up to a contraction monitor and a fetal heartrate monitor. It was amazing to watch my contractions shown on the print out. The doctor checked me and said I was only 1 centimeter dialated, but they decided to let me stay, because I was so uncomfortable from the contractions. The next time the doctor came in to check my cervix, I felt her put something plastic inside me. I asked what she was doing, and she said she was breaking my water. I was shocked she hadn't even told me what she was going to do, until it was almost over. After that I felt a continuous trickle of water with movement or contractions, but never any huge gush. She said I was 2 centimeters at that point. The doctor then said she would hook me up to pitocin to increase the intensity of my contractions. I asked if I could wait and see if my contractions would progress on their own, but she said that since the water was now broken, waiting for a long time could increase the risk of infection. I didn't argue, and they hooked me up to pitocin. I had planned to try to not use any narcotic pain medication, and simply wait for the epidural, but the pain proved to be too intense after awhile. So they gave me half a dose of a painkiller in my IV, which I had never heard of before. When the pain continued to intensify, they gave me the other half of the dose. They increased the amount of pitocin drip to 3 times as much, and the contractions became unbearable. I used lamaze breathing simply as a way to try to keep from screaming. Finally, it reached a point where the pain was so bad, I began screaming with each contraction. The nurse ran in and asked me to use breathing to try to control the screaming. I was begging for my epidural, but they said there had been an emergency, and the anethesiologist was busy with the emergency. Ben helped me to breathe through the contractions, until the anathesiologist arrived. When she showed up I think I said something like, "Thank God!". I was only 2 to 3 centimeters, but they gave me the epidural anyway. I didn't feel any pain from the numbing medication injection. Getting the epidural wasn't very painful. It was more like a strong pressure. I think it hurt much less than getting the IV. Once it was in, I had instant relief! The next contraction felt like my earlier weaker labor contractions, and I could easily breathe through it. After that, the next few contractions only felt like pressure. Then I felt nothing at all, and didn't even know when I was getting a contraction! I could still move my legs, but they felt numb. The rest of the labor was a breeze. I was talking with my family, like I wasn't in labor at all. Then I tried to sleep, but I guess I was too excited to be able to fall asleep. Time went by quickly, and within a period of one hour, I jumped from 4 centimeters dialated to 8 centimeters dialated. An hour after that, I was 9 and a half centimeters dialated and ready to push.
The nurse went and got the supplies needed for the delivery. When she got back, she told me I could start pushing. I was able to feel the urge to push, and I could feel a slight pressure with each contraction on my left side, since I had been laying on my right side for over an hour, and the epidural medicine had mostly settled in my right side. As my sister videotaped each push, Ben was my labor coach, and encouraged me to push with each contraction. I held my knees back and pushed. I believe it was after only one or two pushes that they could see her hair. The nurse turned off my epidural and said it wouldn't wear off for two hours. I was scared that the pushing phase might last longer than that, so I pushed with all of my strength. After 20 minutes of pushing, they said I had accomplished what most women need 2 hours to accomplish. I asked to see Lily's hair in a mirror, but the nurse warned me that there may be things I don't want to see. I still wanted the mirror, and when I got it, I wished I had listened to the nurse's warning. Now I was scared to continue pushing so hard. Dr. Chai showed up, and she told me she understood I had a birth plan in which I asked to not have an episiotomy. I explained, I didn't want a routine episiotomy for no reason, but if there was a good reason to have one, I was ok with it. Well she said I needed one, because I was already starting to tear a little bit. So I asked to have a local painkiller. The doctor explained they don't give a local painkiller to someone who already has an epidural. But I was scared of being cut open, and I insisted, so she gave me the local painkiller. She didn't give me the episiotomy right away. Instead it happened without warning, as I was pushing. The pressure was very painful, and I could still feel the episiotomy (which I thought was me ripping). After a scream of pain, I heard everyone saying her head was out. With the next push and another scream, she came out. The whole pushing phase only lasted 30 or 40 minutes. They put her on my stomach, and I immediately noticed how much she looked like Ben. She had a lot of black hair, and black eyes. Her skin looked almost the same color as Ben's skin, but the next morning was much lighter. They took her to a little table across the room, and I couldn't see what they were doing to her. While that happened, the doctor stitched me up with about a zillion stitches that went all the way back to my bottom, and then I delivered the placenta, which hurt, but not too bad. After they cleaned Lily up and had cleared her lungs of meconium, they handed her to me, and my family came in to see her. When everyone crowded around her and talked loudly, I could tell she was scared, and she started crying. So I said I needed to feed her, and everyone left. She was born hungry, and I breast fed her for a long time. I soon found out, she was 8 pounds 5 ounces and 18 and a half inches long. Ben went with Lily and a nurse to the nursery to take photos of her first bath. 
 They moved me to the mother/baby recovery room around 1am or 2am, and Ben brought me dinner from Del Taco and went home shortly after that. It was a very painful night, and I asked the nurse to take Lily to the nursery for one feeding period, so I could have 4 hours to sleep and recover. The next morning they brought her back to me, and Ben showed up soon after that. Some of my relatives came to visit me that day. Lily was a very peaceful baby that day. However, that night, after evryone left, Lily breastfed for about an hour and 20 minutes, and my nipples were so sore, I couldn't continue. She started to cry when I stopped the feeding, and I began to cry from frustration and pain. I called the nurse and asked them to take her to the nursery to give her some formula, and to bring her back in the morning. I didn't get much sleep that night, because I was still in so much pain, and I just got a roommate who wanted to keep the light on all night. The next morning, my nipples were still sore, so I asked the nurse to give me a bottle to feed Lily with. From that point onward I began giving her formula as well as breastfeeding her with each feeding, to avoid sore nipples, and to make sure she would get enough to eat. Ben drove me and Lily home that morning (the 22nd). Lily is doing well, and she's the cutest baby in the whole world.


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