|Posted on November 16, 2012 at 1:25 AM|
Life with Lucy Part 1
A detailed chronicle of the birth of may daughter Lucy. My inspiration for doula work comes from this story. Dont worry there is a part two and it is all about breastfeeding.
Originally written for facebook on June 25th 2011
Edited for this blog on November 16th 2012
The Story of your birth, my memories after the 1st year
Lucille Patricia Rodeghero-Shearer
The day before you were born (July 6th), I already knew I was dilated a little bit and 70% effaced from my last check up. You were head down and moving so much! I got a phone call from Dr. Amanda Rodeman telling me that there was an elevated protein level in my urine. This combined with my high and climbing blood pressure and visible swelling meant that I now had a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. Dr. Rodeman wanted to induce labor with pitocin. Pre-eclampsia can be very scary. But the doctor knew I wanted a natural birth and to avoid pitocin if I could. She agreed to let me do some self induction methods while being monitored in the hospital for 24 hour before they would discuss moving to pitocin. Your mom Heidi and Susan your doula and I discussed it and decided that this seemed like the best compromise for keeping us safe and getting you here the way we wanted.
Susan said to take our time heading to the hospital and that she would meet us there. Your mom and I packed clothes, snacks, music, our birth plan, the breast pump and our wills and power of attorney forms (these were very important for us as a same sex couple). We then decided we would go to lunch. It was early (10:30 am) for lunch and options were limited so we chose a Culvers on the way to the hospital. Who knew you could get ice cream so early? After some comforting junk food we went to Columbia Regional Hospital (Now called Women and Children’s of Columbia).We checked in at the front desk and they led us to our room. We were starting to get so excited to meet you in person. The next 36 hours were spent doing many things to jumpstart labor and get settled in the hospital.
The doctor (love her) had specifically picked a shift with hospital staff working that were friendly to natural child birth. The nurses and doctors looked at my birth plan and were on board with everything except eating during labor (I did anyway). They told me to do whatever I needed to do. They gave me an IV that capped off so that I could move freely. They attached a monitor to my belly to sense contractions and listen to your heartbeat. I had them turn the volume down so it wasn’t distracting. I started to use the breast pump to keep contractions going. Sometime around here, Susan arrived. For awhile it was hard to be consistent because new people kept coming in the room. One of these people was the anesthesiologist. He explained that they wanted me to sign the permission forms for an epidural in advance, so that in case I wanted one I wouldn’t have to wait. He was actually very nice and asked me what I would do to manage labor. I explained some of the natural methods we were using and signed the form. I told him that with all due respect I hoped to never see him again. This made your mom and Susan laugh! Another visitor was the ultrasound tech; he wanted to make sure the baby was head down. Susan jumped up and reminded him we did not want to know your sex so to make sure to not tell us. I was so grateful for her at that moment!
I read for a little bit, a sci-fi novel from J. Heim. This book would be ¼ of the way done at the end of labor. Susan talked with me about double pumping and coached me to do 15 on and then 5 off. This proved to be a good pattern for me and kept the contractions going really well! I figured out how to read/pump simultaneously which would be good practice for later when you nursed (a lot) J. After pumping for a few hours they checked to see how dilation was going. I was at a 4! Hooray for breast pumps! I also started to notice a bit of colostrums while pumping. Susan kept reminding me that I was in charge and at one point disconnected the monitor for me so I could pee instead of waiting for a nurse. Your mom did everything in her power the whole labor to make sure I was supported and comforted.
Evening came and I had a popsicle provided by the hospital and a granola bar provided by the snacks we brought. All throughout labor I drank tons of water and munched on ice. I did not have any IV fluids at all. I got up and hallway walked a bit in between pumping. The early part of labor was filled with the 3 of us telling jokes, watching TV, reading (Susan read all of a book I brought), and texting family and friends. Some local friends, Anna and Demitri stopped by to see how things were going. They came back after you were born and brought us food. Anna held you ever before you had a bath or a diaper. I slept only for about 2 hours for most of the night. If I stopped pumping my contractions got way less consistent. But when I finally fell asleep I really needed it!
Sometime during the night the nurses changed shifts and my new nurse named Chrissy came. She ended up being the best nurse and a really important part of your birth team. Baby sweet I have to tell you, I think the doctors were getting nervous. They already knew I was assertive and strong with two really excellent support people. I think that they were worried I would be stubborn and not keep you safe. But eventually I think they understood that I would know what was happening and make conscious choices based on what I knew. I do not have blind faith in doctors, only in myself. I think that there was a reason I had you in the hospital naturally. All of my care providers needed to see it! Your mom told me later that all the nurses were talking about me and that Dr. R said she just knew I meant it when I said I could do it.
So at about 5 centimeters dilated I started to be able to tell I was having contractions without looking at the monitor. It was definitely pressure for me and not pain. Sometime that morning a new doctor came in. I am glad we only saw her that one time. She swept into the room, never made eye contact with me or your mom and started talking about “How about just a little pitocin”. I told her no, it hadn’t been 24 hours yet. She pushed it a little more. But we said no and she left. Your mom Heidi cried at this point. She was so pissed at the mentality of this doctor both because she did not respect us enough to make eye contact or glance at my birth plan and because she was a pitocin pusher. Susan talked us through it and Dr. R came in with Chrissy. I told her I did not want to see that doctor again. She never came back. Chrissy asked us at this point if we wanted less people checking on us. We said yes and she made it happen!
I was not dilating more after that (surprise, surprise) so pitocin was brought up again. I said no to it but asked about breaking my water to keep things moving. I wanted to go as natural as possible while keeping you safe. Breaking my water was an intervention I could live with! They agreed and broke my water. Weirdest feeling EVER! From this moment on it felt like I was constantly peeing. The water had meconium in it. So the nurse explained that you would be taken out of the room instead of immediate skin-to-skin to make sure your lungs were okay. I believe that this contributed to my milk not coming in for so long (5 days or so) and with your inability to keep your body temp up for awhile. I did make sure that Heidi could go with you as they checked you.
Shower for heat on back
Dr. R came to check on me and I threw up as we were talking. Susan jumped up with a cup just in time to catch the puke (Ahh the life of a doula).
Another doc came in and did a check. As she was checking she said “I am going to strip your membranes” and did! I was a little in shock and pissed. It was an intervention I would have said yes to, I would have appreciated her asking instead of just doing. I started to have some stronger contractions and the shower was out for me since my water was broken. So mom put pressure on my back. I tried the birth ball but never got comfortable on it. I labored mostly side lying in the hospital bed. Dilation stalled again at 6. The nurse suggested pitocin and at this point we all agreed to it. But because Chrissy was awesome she held off for a long time. She just kept telling everyone she hadn’t checked on me yet, BLESS HER! When she finally said she had stalled as much as she could, I cried! My baby sweet, I was just so worried that pitocin would lead to an epidural and/or a c-section. This whole time your mom Heidi and I had a code word that if I used it meant I really did need pain relief. I could say I *needed* it all I wanted (so helpful, even though I Heidi says I never really said it) but it want a true request unless I said the code. Luckily I never had to say it! Chrissy gave me some time to process. I cried for a bit and Susan and your mom reassured me that I would be fine. I ate about 5 popsicles during labor. They didn’t want me to eat and my blood sugar would drop and you would stop moving so they would bring me a Popsicle. I started to dream a bit about what I would eat!
Chrissy came back and hooked up the pitocin. She started it really low and only turned it up once. All of my self-induction methods helped keep the pitocin to a minimum. With pitocin my contractions became hellish. Some were right on top of each other with no break in between. I started to screech a little bit and Susan coached me to make deeper throaty sounds. That helped a lot! I would have a contraction on my side and grip the handrail or your mom’s hand. Chrissy was a genius and remembered hot water helping me manage so she brought hot towels that Heidi pressed into my back. Susan coached her on how to press for maximum reward for her effort. At one point (near transition) I labored on the toilet for awhile. I looked at Heidi and said “OH Fuck, I can’t handle this”. This was the first time the intensity of it all scared me. But that passed quickly. I knew it was time to push. My Dr. came all the way to deliver you even though she wasn’t working.
I wanted to just push, and push and be done. It took a little bit for me to just listen to Susan and the doc about how to make my pushes effective. I pushed for 30 minutes and you were here! When you were crowning I was able to reach down and feel your hair. As you came out Dr. R yelled to Heidi to call the sex. Heidi said” I don’t know how”. Dr. Rodeman said it’s easy, if it has a penis…” and we all laughed. Heidi said we had a girl. Your nurse rushed you out to check your lungs and Heidi followed. Then you came back to me, all was well and you latched on to nurse in like 3 seconds.
6 pounds 8 ounces
191/2 inches long
And born at 6:58pm on 7/7/2010
We named you
Lucille for my grandma
Patricia for your grandma
Rodeghero for me, your mama
Shearer for your mom, Heidi
I cried and smiled. Chrissy, Susan and Dr. R held you and we took pictures.
Your mom held you while I delivered the placenta and Dr. R stitched up my small tear. We took a picture of the placenta for Katy-Fredrick Hudson. Dr. R Posed with it.
The first non baby thing I said was “okay now can I eat?”
I am still learning things from you my baby sweet. One really big one is that now I know I want to be a doula. I thought I might, but you made me know it. More people should be this lucky!
My doula for Lucys birth and my experience in childbirth and the experiences I had after her birth are the reasons I am inspired to do the work of a doula. Women are not given enough honor and love for the work we do as mothers. Not because it's hard or painful but because it is essential.
PS-Be looking for the part two of this post which will be about my postpartum period and breastfeeding