Alma’s birth.

Originally written March 31, 2009. Warning– it’s brutal, written while I was on opiates, and I nearly died.

On Tuesday the 20th (of January) I woke up feeling like things were different. Lots of weird things went on that day.. it snowed here and actually stuck a bit, a co-worker of K’s lost his wife the night before (heart attack), and I felt like the baby was getting really close to arriving.
I kept asking K if my belly looked any lower because I could swear that I’d dropped, but he insisted it looked the same. I’m actually pretty certain that baby dropped while he was away on a business trip just days before as since that previous weekend I was urinating every 15-20 minutes around the clock. Some other things felt different that day too: lots of pressure in odd places like my legs of all places.
Once the day began to progress I realized that I was having contractions that weren’t very random at all. I started timing them as lunchtime drew near and they were about every 8 minutes or so. I continued to eat and drink knowing that since I wasn’t quite yet term (I would have been 37 weeks the following weekend) I would need to go to the hospital immediately.

Thankfully K was home all day due to the snow and he kept on eye on me and how the contractions were progressing as we kept distracted. As late afternoon came around (about 4pm) contractions were around every 5 minutes apart and I decided to check myself to see if my cervix had made any recent progress (the day before I was at 3cm and a bit effaced, very soft and baby’s head felt low). I felt around a bit and didn’t notice much significance except for perhaps more thinning. As I took my hand out however I noticed a lot of bright red blood and that signaled to me that I was indeed laboring.
The blood shook us both up a bit and we decided then to get the kids packed to go to Mom and Dad’s so we could head out to the hospital. We were worried about the snow and that if we waiting until much later the roads would get even worse.

Once we arrived, we got into triage after about a half hour wait. My contractions seemed to get more out of pattern so they had me walk around a few times in between cervical checks. I did get more regular contractions when I walked around, but only dilated another cm. I was however around 80% effaced. I ended up being discharged late that night but we were told to stay in town instead of going all the way home. So we spent the night at Grandma’s. I remember wanting Arby’s SO badly and was quite pissed to find they were closed due to “all the snow” and I had to settle for McDonald’s instead.

Although my contractions had spaced apart, I felt happy they did because it allowed me to sleep that night in between them. K got up the next morning and went to work as normal so he could take more time off when I was actually getting somewhere with the labor and I lounged in bed until later that afternoon when my water broke. It was unlike my three previous births when it had broken with a huge gush, but rather more of a slow trickle that would flow a bit more upon heavy contractions or movement. I called K to come to get me so we could go back to the hospital.

Upon readmittance to triage, it would seem that I was 6-7 cm dilated! The nurse kept commenting on how comfortable I looked and and that I didn’t even act like I was in labor.

I got into a birthing room and remember commenting about how I just KNEW I was going to miss most of Lost due to being in heavy labor. I practiced the breathing techniques discussed in Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery and found they worked very well. I also kept in mind that a loose mouth meant a loose bottom and that peeing at the slightest urge would help my labor to progress all that much faster.
I did consent to monitoring and IV with antibiotic treatment since with my two previous pregnancies I had been Group B Strep positive. I had the most wonderful nurses who were very for my desire to birth naturally and K helped me so much when the contractions started to get painful. I was so glad that I felt SO utterly normal in between them! Completely different than a pitocin induced labor!

As I predicted, around 8:30 I started to get the urge to make noise during rushes and began to moan very low with each one. I was checked and found to be at 8cm by this time. I remember thinking “how wonderful, this is so easy!” and that it sure wouldn’t take long now since I was already at 8! Was I wrong, lol! The contractions continued with intensity and I began to scream with them around the time Lost began and at 9:30 I was still 8cm dilated. This continued for some time and I began to vomit around midway through the Lost extravaganza and like I predicted I was so into the business of getting the baby out that I ended up missing most of my favorite show.

I asked for some phenergen for the nausea as by that time I was only dry heaving and starting to feel like I could doze in between contractions. I felt like it wouldn’t be too much longer before I was ready to push. They gave me a dose through my IV around 11 and I told K to try to get a bit of sleep. He slept like a log and I dozed heavily between contractions until about midnight when I felt like I couldn’t take the pain any more. I was checked again, STILL at 8 and remember asking both K and the nurse to help me, that I wanted it out NOW and they had the okay to cut me open and that now I was okay with drugs.
I vaguely remember yelling “OH FUCK!” once, K laughing and saying that wasn’t the best choice of word to say (oh who cares I was in labor ffs 🙄) and then I somehow managed to behave myself with the cursing from that point on. I insisted on going to the bathroom again as I think I knew something was impeding the way of baby moving down fully. I did not like being up and moving around with the rushes, which really surprised me as I thought being “chained to the bed” was something I wasn’t going to want to endure this time around without an epidural. I just wanted to lay and relax best I could between rushes and laying in bed seemed the best way to do that.

At about 12:30, I was checked again and there was a little bit of cervix left. I was floored! I never had transitioned this long before! She said there was a lot of fluid in the way of baby’s head and helped drain that out. Once she did, that’s when I began to feel like baby was moving down with each rush. Now I felt like I was *getting somewhere* and it felt great but at the same time hurt like HELL.
It wasn’t long before I began to scream a bit and that drew everyone into the room. They yelled “don’t you push!!” but there was nothing I could do since my uterus was doing all the pushing. I flipped to my back, spread my legs and held my hand over the baby’s head as I felt that incredible burning sensation of crowning. Ring of fire doesn’t even cut it, it was more like whole crotch fully lit ON fire, lol. I began pushing because I truly didn’t care who was ready to catch the baby at that point.. all I wanted was it OUT of me and NOW.
I pushed hard a few good times and out the baby came like a freight train (I am borrowing that from one of the attending nurses) and I felt every twinge of it. I heard cries and realized K had FINALLY watched me birth from the other end of the bed. He hadn’t with our previous three. He said “it’s a GIRL!” and it didn’t sink in at first because I felt so relieved that I was done with those hard contractions. I felt my body relax as I began to take in the fact that we now were two for two! K went over to where they whisked her off under the warmer so she could be observed and I felt glad that she showed no troubles breathing and more than a little justified that for once one of my babies could do just fine on their own.

I birthed the placenta easily after a few minutes and remember feeling like my vagina was now made of ground meat. K went with our sweet girl upstairs to the nursery so the pediatric team could look her over and I asked for food. My lovely nurse made me a TV dinner and grabbed me a few little cups of ice cream. I had just about devoured it all by the time K got back to my room. Both he and the nurse kept saying how proud of me they were and I was told the story of the resident who watched my birth and how big her eyes had gotten. Another nurse I guess told her that she was to move to the next room where the birth would be a lot calmer since that mom had an epidural. I just laughed and laughed.

They moved me to a room on the antepartum ward since apparently all the postpartum rooms were full. K went to get the camera for me (we had completely forgotten it before!) and then told me he wanted to go home. (In the original wiriting of this I actually had ‘Poor guy.’ written here *cringe*) He left and they wheeled the baby in to me. I remember looking at her thinking that she was definitely an Alma Marie as we had briefly discussed changing our girl name a few days before. I didn’t state anything official on it though until I had K’s okay later that morning. (Another edit– Was I brainwashed?) Our previous choice had been Vera and I had liked Alice for the middle name, but we both felt like it didn’t “fit” this baby. I took a photo of Alma on my phone and sent it to some friends and family then took a few with the camera. Shortly after the nurse came to take her back upstairs for some tests and an NICU ped consult.
I slept a few hours then sat up to use the toilet. Oddly I pushed out two large clots then felt what seemed like buckets of my lifeblood pouring out of me. It overflowed the huge, diaperlike pad and even the waterproof cloth thing they had placed under my bottom on the bed. I watched my toenails turn from pink to blue. They said they don’t know how I did it, but I waddled into the bathroom and sat on the toilet so as not to make such a mess (funny what you think of during situations like that!) and pulled on the help cord. A nurse poked her head in and I told her I was bleeding all over the place. She said “MY GOD you ARE!” and ran back out.
Suddenly I had three people helping me back into bed and the OB who delivered Alma waiting for me with an ultrasound machine. She did an internal check for tears in my vagina and cervix and when she didn’t see any she said she needed to see what was going on in my uterus. She ran the transducer over it and told me she would have to manually remove the clots in there or I could internally bleed out. For some reason I was very calm (even the nurses remarked on how calm I was) and told her to do what she had to do. She told me she WAS going to give some pain meds for this. I didn’t argue. Let me tell you, there is nothing in this world like being crotch punched four times to extract fist-sized clots from the top of your uterus. BEST birth control in the universe I tell you! I took it as my body telling me that childbirth was something best left to retire to others at this point, and I still feel that way. (I ended up having another 🤣) I lost a lot of blood and the day before discharge when we found my levels going down even with iron supplementation, I conceded to a two unit blood transfusion. (I have phobias about other people’s blood inside me and actually even had mild allergic reactions to it.)
When I was discharged I was still pretty severely anemic and now nearly two weeks later, still don’t feel back up to par. I even had K buy some disposable diapers so I’m not doing laundry quite so much at this point. Al’s about 50/50 on cloth/disposables, which is fine since many of her cloth diapers are still a tad big.

Apparently my uterus had ruptured during the end part of the birth and caused me to have large blood clots adhere to the area that it occurred. If I hadn’t felt the urge to urinate, I would have died. I was immeasurably lucky it didn’t require surgical repair or the loss of my uterus.

Alma passed all her testing with flying colors and they admitted that I was right about my due date and her being very near term. She did need to be put under bili lights for about 8 hours but after the hemorrhage, she stayed in my post partum room with me. We were finally discharged on Sunday morning (the 25th).

Alma Marie
EDD 2/14-15/2009
Born: January 22nd, 2009 @ 12:44am
5 pounds 15 ounces
20.5 inches