Coco Mama » Creative Adventures in Preggo-hood

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17 Hours (A Birth Story)

I’m SO happy to return to blogging after a 2 month postpartum hiatus.
I missed you bloggy blog!
To mark my return into the blogosphere, I thought I would share my birth story (as it is the reason for my absence).

Disclaimer: From what I hear, most first time labors are God-awful, and though mine was no picnic, this story is by no means intended to horrify anyone. However, this isn’t the glossy magazine version either, so cover your eyes if need be.
Ok here we go…

12:30 am – 6 days before my due date, a good hard contraction woke me up. It was nice and painful so I thought “hmm, I should pay attention”. Almost immediately the contractions were 10 minutes apart. I sat in bed timing them with my iPhone and within an hour they were coming in at 5 minute intervals.
I decided it was time to wake up the husband.
My thinking: “This pain is intense but if this is the worst it gets, it’s totally manageable”.

3:30 am – We started packing for the hospital and the contractions were suddenly 2 minutes apart.
My thinking: “Already 2 minutes apart? This is going to be an awesomely short labor!”

4:00 am – We arrived at the hospital. Time for an internal exam.
WARNING: nobody ever mentions how painful this is. I don’t really know what the hell they do down there, but I was jumping out of my skin.
The nurse said “Well your contractions are sure close together but you’re only dilated 3 cm. Prepare for a long labor”.

4:30 am – I sat on a birthing ball while Gino held my hand. I did my yoga breathing through my contractions and watched the monitor as they peaked every 2 minutes. Ever had food poisoning? That’s exactly what my contractions felt like but intensified by about 170 million.
I could hear my birthing workshop instructor’s voice in my head telling me to stay present.
I say to hell with staying present. Distraction is what saved me and made the pain somewhat tolerable.
Through each contraction I tried to focus on anything – a poster on the wall, I counted dots on the floor – whatever.
And for the record, I believe that yoga breathing is really a placebo. It offers nothing but something to DO.

10:30 am – After 10 hours of steady, intense contractions, my body tells me it’s done.
I was ready to curl up on the floor and weep uncontrollably (though I refrained from doing so).
I felt like it wasn’t the intensity of the pain I couldn’t handle, but the duration. I was absolutely exhausted (and the strict “ice chips only” diet didn’t exactly provide a much needed energy boost).

The nurse told me I’d only dilated to 4 cm and that I wasn’t “going to have this baby anytime soon”.
She said if I wanted the epidural, it was now or never.
After a lot of wavering and a long discussion with my husband, I decided to take it.
It was such a difficult decision for me. There’s this stigma that paints you as “less strong” if you take the epidural. I was muttering about how guilty I felt about not having a natural birth as the anesthesiologist put the IV in my spine. He overheard and said “That’s nonsense. Would you get a root canal and not take the freezing?”
Good point Mr. Anesthesiologist!

10:45 am – EPIDURAL BLISS.
Though I wasn’t permitted to walk around, I still felt like I had full control of my body (legs included), but I couldn’t feel a twinge of pain. It was glorious.
So photo time! I think I even texted a bunch of people.

Ice chips and a hospital band

12:45 pm
– The glory was short lived – I started to feel my contractions again.
They upped my epidural dosage. Twice.
Didn’t do a thing.
The nurse put something else in my IV drip. It made my legs absolutely dead, which was weird but hilarious to watch when they would fall out of the stirrups.

1:15 pm  – I was finally 10 cm dilated – yey!!! Time to start pushing.
It took Gino and 2 nurses just to hold my dead legs up.
Even though my legs were completely numb, I still had a good deal of contraction pain.
But pushing through the pain actually offered some relief, and more importantly, reassurance that the end was near.

4:15 pm – After 3 hours of pushing, I just about had a melt down.
I was done. The tears were welling up and I couldn’t imagine pushing anymore. Apparently 3 hours is the marathon of pushing (i had no idea).
The nurses and midwife started to speak to each other through their teeth without much lip movement.
Something was wrong and they were discreetly discussing it.
Oh God.
The midwife went for the on-call doctor.
The doctor informed us that the baby was stuck in the birth canal so we had 2 options:
- Vacuum delivery
- C-section
The C-section posed a great deal of risk to the baby because they would have to push the baby back in. This made it an easy choice to go with the vacuum option. The doctor explained that they would only attempt a vacuum birth 3 times and if all 3 attempts failed they would preform an emergency C-section. I was too exhausted to fully grasp the possible seriousness of this situation, but Gino told me later that he was petrified.
The second we made our decision the medical team started to set-up for the vacuum delivery.
And man, were they quick. By my next contraction, they had given me a local anesthetic (biggest needle I’ve seen in my life), cut me (episiotomy – don’t remember that, but Gino said it sounded awful), and placed this plastic-bowl-looking suction cup on the baby’s head.
Then I pushed with all of my might.

I saw the large suction-cup slowly come into my view and then the baby’s head.
I swear the head just kept going and going.
My thinking: “How the hell is something so large coming out of my body!?!!”
Then there was a flash of movement as the midwife rapidly removed the umbilical cord from around the baby’s neck (it was wrapped around twice!).
Then I heard the much anticipated cry.

May 9th, 2012, 4:47 pm – Caio Erasmo Cocomello was born!
8lbs on the nose and 21 inches long.
Gino got to announce the sex (it was a surprise).
They placed Caio immediately on my chest, all gooey and wet.
Within moments he stopped crying, looked up at me and settled in for a cuddle.
I let out a small gasp of happiness.
Gino cut the cord.
I looked up at him and his face was red with tears tumbling down his face.
There is nothing like this moment.

Brand new baby Caio

Rochelle and Caio

Cutting the cord and my birthing team

  • Jasalyn Thorne - Oh Rochelle, I’m crying just reading your story!! What a trooper you are to have endured all of that. I’m so sorry you had to experience that pain, I don’t wish it on anyone. THANK GOD your little man was ok. I started crying with relief when I read that the cord was wrapped around twice! Well done my dear friend. The memory of the pain does fade. Get ready for some AWESOME times ahead ;) I tear up every time our little Abbey looks into my eyes and all the horror fades away.
    Mucho love to you 3 xoxoxReplyCancel

    • cocomama - Thank you Jasalyn! I am SO thankful everything worked out in the end. I think the memory of the pain has almost already faded – In the delivery room I looked at Gino and said “I will never do this again” and boy did I mean it. But already I’m thinking “yeah I could do that again”. And I’m only at month 2! Haha!ReplyCancel

  • bethany schiedel - oh man i’m crying too!! loved reading your perspective and i can literally feel the pain again as you are writing about it… ugh. also loved that you took pics and texted, heehee! well done momma!ReplyCancel

    • cocomama - Thank Bethany! Yes photos were in order :) And I proud of the ones my husband took – he even correctly exposed them :)ReplyCancel

  • Grandpa Garrison - Brought tears to my ears my daughter. I was praying hard for you as time went on. I knew, because of the length of time, it was likely being a difficulty delivery.
    Love you Love Gino and Love my very first Grandchild Caio.

    Dad & GrandpaReplyCancel

    • cocomama - Thanks Pa! We love you too. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Siobhan - Thanks for sharing your story Rochelle, sounds like we had very similar birth issues, it was a wild ride. Not something I would like to endure again. I just remember after 19 hours and 1 hour of pushing turning to my sister and saying I can’t do it I need drugs! Both her and the nurse looked at me and said you’ve come this far you can do it. Great mantra but 4 hours and an epistiotomy and vacuum later I think hmmm should I have had an epidural? Probably, It’s rough oh god it’s rough but nothing like it in the world when your baby is out and safe in your arms. He’s definitely a gorgeous boy you have! Great Job momma getting him here!ReplyCancel

    • cocomama - Siobhan no epidural!??? You’re amazing!!ReplyCancel

  • ana {bluebirdkisses} - congratulations mama. Your story sounds so much like mine…except for the chord wrap part, and the actual delivery since I ended up with a c-section after all.

    i felt the same as you…there is this stigma against women who chose an epidural, or who end up having a csection rather than a “natural” birth. I felt so guilty about it all until I read “Bringing up Bebe” Have you read it? if not, you should. I think you’ll love it.ReplyCancel

    • cocomama - Ana I JUST read “Bringing up Bebe”! and you’re right, I did love it :)
      Isn’t it awful how much guilt is put on us moms? As if we aren’t hard enough on ourselves? I loved the attitude in the book that motherhood doesn’t have to equal destroying yourself.ReplyCancel

  • julie (xfallenmoon) - wow. what a moving birth story!! you are one strong woman! thank you for sharing it, i was wondering how your delivery went. i’m glad to hear your little bundle of joy arrived strong and healthy. :)ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - Oh you made me so teary Rochelle! You wrote about it all so well and it made me of course think of my own birthing experience just a few months before. Someday you and I will sit down and compare notes of our birthing experiences because we had some similarities (Leo’s heart rate kept dropping and we had to do an emergency forceps delivery with the OR prepped just in case a c section was necessary). I hope I can make you feel better by telling you my labour was 34 hours…I have never been so exhausted in my life! Do not ever feel bad about getting an epidural…I sure wish I had gotten one. If I ever do it again, I will be going epidural all the way! Hope you are a happy momma. Thinking of you and your new baby boy!ReplyCancel

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