Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Amazingly Different Story of Graves's Birth

Note from Peyton: TMI refers to "too much information". If you're not comfortable reading about sex, childbirth, our other such topics in too much detail, you should NOT read this post.

Little note: the nurse told me that these pain meds I'm taking can either make you super drowsy or have the entirely opposite effect. I'll let you guess which camp I'm in. Here's a hint: I straightened/organized the HOSPITAL room at like six this morning. Also, I'm definitely taking advantage of the free WiFi. Hence, you have a blog post chronicling Graves's birth not even twenty four hours after the event. I'm actually really glad because the details are SO fresh!

I entitled Ann Peyton's birth story "The Amazing Story of Ann Peyton's Birth" and it was such an appropriate title, as is the title of this post. I have to say that their births were equally amazing, but in very different ways. I will probably do a whole post of that one day, but right now I just want to get down the details while they are still clear in my mind.

I think it goes without saying, that at least on THIS blog, a birth story could potentially be TMI for some people. Let's be frank, though, you and I both know how babies typically enter the world and I'm pretty detailed, so you probably know where this is going. Also, I will say that since I've been updating you on the condition of my cervix for the last two months, y'all probably saw this coming, no?

Sooo....onto the first bit of TMI. At my last appointment, Dr. McMinn suggested two things that she actually thought helped get babies moving (she debunked any ideas about cold baths, castor oil, and spicy foods). Her go to methods? Lots of walking and lots of sex. [Our extremely blunt next door neighbor and a friend from Sunday school with three children under five also suggested the later.] After two walks on Monday and a pretty labor intensive (pun intended) trip to the attic I got desperate. I hate to say it that way, but logistically I was like "WHAT THE WHAT? I dunno if I can even do that". I'll spare you the details, but it proved possible and after that, I was up a lot during the night  feeling crampy and having BAD back pain and soaking in the tub and laying on the heating pad.

I decided that it was probably the real thing and that I would take a real bath (wash my hair, ect.) when I got in the tub around 7:30 Tuesday morning. Pretty much right after that, the contractions really picked up. I told Peyton to go ahead and get ready and he called his mom and told her to plan on picking up Ann Peyton at some point that morning or early afternoon. I suggested that maybe we should run a few errands and told him that most were close, but I did want to go to the Hudson's across town. Ha. Within about thirty minutes, I nixed that plan and decided the only place I really wanted to go was the hospital. Peyton's mom was already on her way (thankfully) and we spent maybe another hour at home eating breakfast (I ate as much as I could) and getting things together. That hour was INCREDIBLY unpleasant. As in, I was on the floor in pretty intense pain and had to stop what I was doing with every contraction. They were getting really close- about three minutes apart. I didn't cry or scream, but I could not get through them without squirming around and making a little sound.

When we got to the hospital, they had Peyton fill out paper work and I sat on the floor. The ONE complaint I have about our hospital is that they really don't have anywhere for you to sit when you're in labor, waiting to check in. Should've taken amazing article of doula advice number four hundred ninety five from Carol Anne and pre-registered. Oh, well.

I got to our room and was really expecting them to say I was at about a six. Imagine my surprise when, they said I was at nine centimeters, complete, and my bag of waters was bulging, a la the hearty frontier woman, Carrie Howie. Um, yeah....I wanted to burst into a round of "You're UN-BElIEV-ABLE", I was so proud of myself. Just keeping it real, y'all.

Things kind of went downhill from there for awhile, though. Like, oh, six hours. Y'all...I stayed at 9+ centimeters for SIX hours. I wasn't AS terrible as it sounds though. Surprisingly, the contractions right after we got to the hospital were THE hardest part of the whole thing. There were some points where I really felt a little out of control. I didn't think I'd be a "screamer" and I never totally lost it, but there were points I was very vocal and I just. didn't. care. Honestly, I wish I had a video or could watch someone who had the exact same reaction I did. I asked Peyton what exactly I did/said and he said it was close to screaming/crying, but I never really got to that point. I didn't do a lot of "groaning" or "moaning", either, but I think that's mainly because my natural tendency is to have a higher pitch and those are kind of low pitch sounds. I'm sure this is SUPER boring, but I'm always fascinated by the noises people make in labor. Gross, right?

I hardly laid down at all during that time- I sat on the birth ball a lot because it took away a lot of pressure and was a "low resistance" seat. I ended up having to go to the bathroom a TON and so I also spent probably an hour just sitting on the toilet. That totally grossed me out before, but it ended up being the most comfortable things because, since it has a hole in the middle, it's basically a NO resistance seat. Ha! The nurses were really sweet about letting me unhook the monitor and finally they just brought in a little box they could hook up, so I could be monitored from the bathroom.

I have to say I think part of the reason I never totally lost control was having a fabulous doula. I think that Peyton and I COULD have done it on our own, but especially since this was the first time to go natural, it was immeasurably easier with her there. There was ONE time where I said "I CANNOT do this" (from what I've read most everyone says that at some point, though I think with most, it's usually closer to the end) and Carol Anne was so reassuring and encouraging. I never asked for medicine and honestly, even when I said "I can't do this", I wasn't at the point of wanting to beg a doctor for an epidural. If a nurse offered me one, I'm pretty sure I would've still refused it. I'm not saying that to brag, it just never got that bad. For me.

This seems like a good point to brag on some people, though. The nurses. Our main nurse was actually a girl I knew from high school (although we didn't discuss that until post-labor; I was a bit distracted, ha!). She's actually someone that one of my friends described as "THE sweetest girl I've ever known" and she really was. She, like our nurse with AP, was so encouraging and helpful. I know I've sung the praises of my OB countless times, but once it's D Day, the nurses are who really matter. I was a little skeptical of how they'd all react to a natural birth and if they'd put pressure on me to get an epidural/have interventions that I didn't want, but everyone was totally on board and most of them even seemed really excited about it. They all knew our doula and were so happy to see her. They kept telling me how proud of me they were and how good I was doing and making me feel like a total rockstar. Speaking of Dr. McMinn, it was her surgery day and so the on call doctor ended up delivering Graves. She was sweet and super funny and I just loved having her there for our big day.

Okay, so back to the story...after maybe a couple of hours of really intense contractions, things really started to slow down. Carol Anne said it was possible that it was from the fluid they gave me when I got there. Anyway, it was frustrating, but I was also able to REALLY rest (like almost fall asleep) between the contractions, which were still every three minutes or so. They were still really strong, but I got some great rest between them, which was a total blessing. I think it's pretty unheard of to be able to relax like that at that point in labor. At least that's what Carol Anne and the nurses acted like.

Finally, after several hours of that, I moved around some, stood up, walked, ect. and they decided it would be best to break my water. At that point, as far along as I was, I was okay with it and Carol Anne totally confirmed that it was a good decision. Things picked up FAST from there.

I had some major contractions sitting up in the bed and then I went back to the bathroom to try to tee tee. I couldn't do it without pushing, and they don't want you pushing on the toilet for obvious reasons, but the nurse said I could try a little if she was in there. I went a little bit and then I knew IT WAS TIME. I mean ya'll...he was coming! I seriously hustled back from the bathroom and got in the bed and they called the doctor. I pushed for SIX MINUTES and he was in my arms.

Honestly, to me a lot of the contractions hurt more than the pushing. Sure it burned really, REALLY bad, but I was envisioning AGONY (especially since the first time we had sex actually was agony and I anticipated a baby being slightly um, more of a "stretch"). And it also helped that it took six minutes. I couldn't not push even between contractions, though, it was such a strong urge and I did say at one point (minute three, probably, ha!), "What if he never comes out?". Right after that, though, I could just tell he was on his way and a couple of pushes later I saw his head (I actually looked this time), then his whole face, and then his little (kinda big) body just slid right on out. They handed him to me and delivered the placenta (YUCK!) and stitched me up (which I didn't feel due to some Lidocaine). They did his APGAR (he got a nine out of then), weighed him and measured him (he was TWO full pounds bigger than AP was at birth...I sure picked the right one to have the epidural with, right? HA!!!) and then I nursed him for awhile and then all our families came in. AP was super shy and nervous around him.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and arguments about "good vs. better" aside, I'm glad I did it this way. It was a "bucket list" experience for me and it's something I'll NEVER forget. It seems arrogant, but I am proud of myself. I'm proud of myself in the same way I would be if I ran a marathon or something. Peyton told me when I made this decision, that he was proud of me because I don't often set physical goals for myself. He's was right and I'm glad that I set and accomplished this one.

Speaking of, I have to give accolades where they are due and there are two more people that I don't want to go unmentioned. First of all, Peyton. He was beyond supportive of this decision from the get go, even though it didn't really mean too much to him. But once we decided to do this, he was behind me one hundred percent. He spent the day of Graves's birth doing everything in his power to make me comfortable and help me get through the pain. He was SO encouraging and kept telling me how "proud" and "impressed" he was. He knew just the right things to say to keep me going and by the end he had learned how to help me keep my focus, even through the really hard contractions.

The second person is my sister. Cookie is in nursing school now and has seen more than her share of penises and vaginas. However, we're both really modest (I know that's a shocker) and when I invited her to be in the room through the whole delivery, I wondered if she'd take me up on it or if it would be awkward. Well, she did and it wasn't. She was so interested in everything that was happening, she really encouraged me, and she just held my hand when I needed her to.

I love my mom dearly and we are super close, but she is even more modest and I know her seeing me in such pain would have really upset her. I just knew it wasn't something I even wanted to ask her to attempt and I was really just fine with that. However, it meant SO much to me to have my best friend for the last twenty three years in there with me. There was so much emotion attached to it for that very much of why Graves is even here right now is because of the wonderful relationship I had with my sister growing up- it was so important to me for Ann Peyton to have the potential for that in her life. She will never, ever know how much it meant for her to be in there with me on that special day. At least not until she has her own baby one day ;)

I'm so thankful for our sweet boy and I'm so thankful for the amazing story of his first "birthday". It is a day I will never, ever forget!


Mary Pauline said...

Congratulations Herrington on the addition of Graves Jackson! We are rejoicing with you all!
Love and prayers.

Christi said...

Congratulations! Yay for the birth experience. You should feel proud of yourself, and I have been told that having a baby is like running a marathon.
I do have to share that I can't imagine be at 9 for 6 hours though...but then every woman's body is different. My youngest was a completely unmedicated birth (not even an iv was able to get placed) and she was the same size as Graves so I thought that was kind of neat.
I'm just so thrilled for you.
OH I loved your description of labor pains, I think we make similar sounds...which I would have never thought about until you wrote about it.
I hope you get some rest soon. I'm sensitive to meds so I avoided them with my 2nd...don't know why just that I was on cloud 9.


heather said...

Congrats girl I am so proud of you! Take it from someone who HAS run a Marathon, what you did is way more Awesome! But I know What you mean about being so proud of yourself. Good luck and I can't wait to see pictures!

Elizabeth said...

Yeah we did pre-reg and I had to SIGN papers well in transitional labor, not cool. Hey maybe the labor fascination means you're cut out to be a doula:) Congratulations and go girl!

Bea said...

Congratulations! And I so agree - on D-Day, it's the nurses who matter. Glad you had some good ones!

Allison said...

Congratulations! I'm so proud and impressed and encouraged. I'm so glad everything went (relatively) smoothly! And I agree with Elizabeth -- maybe you should consider being a doula :).

J. Henry said...

Congratulations! He is so so cute! You are a rockstar!!

Megan said...

Congratulations on sweet Graves! Thank you so much for telling us about your birth story-- I really want to give birth without interventions (but i'm not wanting a water or home birth) and your story makes me so excited for what it could be like. Thanks!!

Sarah Broadus said...

Rock it out SD! Way to get that baby here! Congrats! He is adorable!!! and yes mam' you do win the Rock Star award!

Mary Louis Quinn said...

For some reason my first comment didn't show up, but I'm getting all the followup comments??

Anyway, I love hearing all the details! You should be very proud of yourself!

And I think that's great that AW was able to be in the room with you! I tried to invite myself into the delivery room with Chris and Craig but that idea wasn't received too well. Maybe next time. :)

Kellie Davis said...

Denley, words cannot begin to explain how amazing I think you are right now! To think, all this time I've been referring to you as a little girl... Little did I know there was a SUPER WOMAN under that "little" exterior! Congrats to you, Peyton and my sweet Ann Peyton:-)))

Rachel Ratliff said...

Congratulations! That's an awesome birth story. Graves is adorable!

Alison said...

Congrats!! I have to ditto Peyton in that I am so proud of you and so impressed!

Amy said... is absolutely NOT "arrogant" to be proud of yourself. You SHOULD be!! You just brought a person into this world completely unmedicated - that is a MAJOR accomplishment! Plus, you set a goal for yourself and you achieved it - you should definitely be proud. (not to mention the fact that you're blogging about it 24 hrs later!) You are awesome! I am so excited to see more pics of Graves and of course of him and AP together! :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful birth story!! I'm so glad it was such a positive experience for you, Sarah Denley.

Sounds like you were 'stuck' at 9 for so long cause the baby was moving lower in the birth canal. That waiting us probably why you only pushed for 6 minutes!

Tara G. said...

Congratulations! I've been MIA for a while, so pleased to hear he's here (and has been for a while!) safely and healthy- you, too! :)