My birth story begins on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008. I went to my 38 week appointment and I was hoping to get some good news (that I had dilated and effaced more) since I’d been having pretty painful contractions off and on. I was still 1 cm and 50% effaced and at this point, a bit annoyed! My blood pressure was elevated when I checked in, but nothing incredibly bad. After my midwife checked my cervix, they rechecked my BP and it was still high. We hadn’t seen the doctor yet, so he came in after the BP recheck. He comes in and starts talking some kind of nonsense about the law of diminishing returns. He goes into this lengthy explanation and I’m totally not getting the point. He said “Do you see where I’m going with this analogy?” I said “Nope, totally lost!” He told me that he thinks I’ve just gone as far as I can with this pregnancy, and that it’s becoming more risky than it is beneficial to continue to be pregnant. So he went and made a phone call, came back and said “Okay! Come back tonight around dinner time and we’ll get started!”
WOW! My husband and I were not expecting that! We just kinda looked at each other like “Oh my goodness. We’re actually going to have this baby!!” My mind started going at like a million miles an hour, thinking of all the things we had to do. We called our parents, stopped by my office so I could tell them what was going on, went to lunch (we ate at Cheddar’s and got their apple pie for dessert – INCREDIBLE), and I went back to the office while Brandon went home. We each had a little To Do list of things to do at work and at home.
The afternoon went really quickly and before we knew it, we were arriving at the hospital. When we checked in, we were told that all the rooms were full! Luckily they were expecting me and I wasn’t considered an “elective” induction, so we got a good room – Room #9. It was really big, which ended up being a good thing because of all of the family members that came.
I put on my hospital gown after being completely baffled by it for about 5-10 minutes – seriously, those things are CONFUSING! They came in around 7:30pm and hooked me up on the monitors (BP, fetal monitor for heartrate, and contraction monitor) and after that someone from the lab came in and took some blood. My parents arrived in town a little before 9:00pm and came up to see us before heading to their hotel for the night. Our nurse for the night came in around 9:15pm, so my parents left. She put in my Hep-lock and the Cervidil. I finally ate at 11:45pm after asking it it was all right to do so. From 12:15am-6:15am, we “slept.” The BP monitor kept taking my reading every hour and it would startle me every time, so it was hard to really sleep.
At 6:15am on Wednesday they came in to remove the Cervidil and at 6:45am they started Pitocin and an IV of fluids. They would gradually be upping the Pitocin dosage throughout the day by 2ml/hr. (I think that’s how it works). I remember noting that there was a big difference in my discomfort between 6 and 8. I think I eventually went up to 26 or something.
Things were pretty uneventful for the morning. Not a lot of pain, just uncomfortable. My nurse checked me at 1:00pm and I was still only 1 cm and 60% effaced. They explained that Tracy, my midwife, would be coming to break my water soon so if I wanted an epidural to let them know so that they could prepare me (I had to go through a bag of fluid first). So I did request the epidural. I’m really glad I did it then, since they didn’t arrive until about an hour after Tracy broke my water. I never realized how much that would hurt! Oh my gosh! It seriously felt like she was putting her hand up and was going to reach my tonsils. For some reason I thought it wouldn’t hurt as bad the more I was dilating and all…WRONG. I was worried all morning about how I would need to poop before they came to do the epidural because I knew I wouldn’t be able to move after that. I was terrified I would poop while pushing! (If you want to read a great birth story that will scare you about pooping during labor, click here!)
They came in and gave me my epidural around 2:30pm, which was very good timing, since the contractions were starting to come on pretty hard and fast since breaking my water. That was the only time they wouldn’t let Brandon stay with me. The epidural itself didn’t really hurt, but being curled up in a ball like that was incredibly uncomfortable. I jumped the first time he stuck me and I think I made him nervous! After they finished, everyone left me alone for awhile and I slept for about 45 minutes. When I woke up I felt SOO GOOD. I had to call Brandon and tell him I was awake and I sound so loopy on the message. I said “The epidural is AMAAAAAAZING…!” on the voicemail.
The next few hours were pretty uneventful. By 9:30pm, I was at 4 cm and 90% and around 10:15pm I started having unbelievable pain. I was having a lot of back labor from then on out – absolutely no position I could get into was comfortable. I discovered the patient controlled analgesic button around this time (no one had explained it to me!) and tried to use it but it didn’t help much.
At 11:00pm I was 5/6 cm and 95%. I did all right with the pain until sometime around midnight, when I kicked everyone out except Brandon. Our parents went and found a lobby to sleep in. It’s a good thing I kicked them out because starting around 12:30am or 1:00, I was having so much pain! My contractions were coming fast and hard. Brandon coached me through with some breathing from childbirth education class (wow – something actually ended up being useful!) and we had to ask for something that I could puke in because I got really nauseated. I think they checked me around then and I was about 7 cm and fully effaced. We tried to sleep but only got in about 10 minutes before I woke up and had to puke. After the PCA button kicked in, we slept for maybe an hour or two. I guess the nurse checked on us (our 2nd nurse since checking in – Stacy) but I never heard her come in.
At 4:00am I woke up and knew something was different. I hit the PCA button, hit the call nurse button, and she came in to check me. She said “Wow, no wonder you’re in pain! His head is right there and you’re ready to start pushing! I need to go call the doctor!” So she did and they started getting things ready. It’s so weird when they started changing the room around for delivery. It was like it became an entirely different place. These weird lights came on, they brought these tables out of the closet…absolutely surreal.
Stacy removed my catheter and then we did some “practice pushing” for a few minutes while we waited for the doctor to arrive. I said “So I realize we haven’t talked about this yet because my whole birth plan kinda went out the window, but there are a few things I would like when he’s born…” We discussed having him be placed on my tummy at first and about delaying the Vitamin K shot and eye drops until after I’d held him for a few minutes. Everyone seemed okay with that. I also told them NOT to tell me if anything except a baby came out while I was pushing. Under no circumstances did I want to know if I pooped! I don’t think I did…If I did, everyone is keeping it very hush-hush.
My OB came in and just sat in a chair for awhile while we pushed a bit. Finally he said “Okay, is she ready? Let’s have a baby, how does that sound?” They did some more rearranging, put on some paper gowns, and everyone got in position. Dr. Ford had been talking to my nurse in what he must have thought was code language. He was saying how because this was a big baby, I might need some “help.” I don’t remember exactly what he said then but I knew he meant “episiotomy.” At that point, though, I didn’t care.
When they were ready, we did 2 sets of pushes (3 in a row each time), but I would totally lose my steam on the 3rd one. I remember saying “It’s so hard to tell when I’m having a contraction!” but eventually figured it out. After 2 sets he said “Okay let us know when you feel pressure and I think we’re going to have a baby with this next contraction!” On the 3rd push of the 3rd set, he was out, at 5:00am on the dot! I could feel him coming out, even through the epidural. I opened my eyes and saw this little gray and sticky-looking baby! They put him on my chest while they cleaned him up and he was just the most amazing thing I’d ever seen! His eyes were open and he was crying. After a few seconds (30? 45? I’m not sure) they took him over into the little baby closet to check him out. We could tell they were concerned about something but they wouldn’t really say. Brandon videotaped a bit while they were checking him out. I was being stitched up at this point. They eventually told us that he didn’t seem to be breathing exactly right so they were going to take him to the NICU to be observed. It all happened so fast, but they wheeled him out to the NICU.
The next little while is a total blur. Brandon went and announced his birth to our parents and explained where he was now, then came back to me. We just kinda sat there for a little while and talked about how crazy all of this was! They gradually took me off some of the monitors and things and I think we napped for a few minutes. I started going a little nuts as the epidural started wearing off – All of a sudden I just HAD TO GET OUT OF THAT BED!!! My back, butt, and the rest of my body were just so sick of laying in bed! We called the nurse and I begged her to let me up. I tried to stand up with their help but almost passed out. So walking to the bathroom was a no-go.
Soon we were able to go see Miles in the NICU. I remember thinking he looked so small and pitiful in there, even though he wasn’t really hooked up to much of anything – no oxygen, just a BP monitor and stuff. We stayed for about 10 minutes, just oohing and aahing over him. They told us they had one more check to do on him but she was pretty sure he would be brought down to us soon. So we waited. Eventually they brought him to us. It was so amazing holding him after all that time waiting. It’s true what they say about the memories of the pain just melting away. Our boy had arrived. Our son had been born and we were a family.