I have been writing this post for
two over two weeks now…
Sorry to leave you hanging after the announcement that she is here, as you can imagine it’s been a whirlwind and I’m not quite sure where the time goes during the day. I did want to make sure to check in and include a picture and write up her birth story as I read a ton of birth stories while waiting for her to arrive and I also wanted to write it out so I would have it captured.
The birth of AV:
As you guys know from earlier posts I started having some blood pressure issues during my 39 week appointment. I always have ridiculously low blood pressure and my sister had the same issue during her pregnancy so they put me on bed rest and scheduled me to go into triage at labor and delivery at the hospital that next Saturday when I would be 39 weeks and 2 days. I started having what I thought were contractions on Thursday afternoon, but nothing that was spaced evenly and I had no clue how to actually time them. Side note – I still don’t, until I got into hardcore labor I didn’t know when one was starting, I just knew when it was at it’s most uncomfortable so all that they teach you in the labor classes was not super helpful to me. We made it to triage at 11 am on Saturday during which I was having a fairly painful contraction like experience. They put me on the monitor and took my blood pressure, which was still high for me (around 130/90) even with the bed rest, but the contractions were not evenly spaced. They ordered blood work and we hung out in triage for the next hour waiting for it to come back. Blood work came back slightly elevated but not in the pre-elampsia range, however, the doctor on call from my practice wanted to be on the safe side and suggested that we induce. I was all for it and got all teary eyed that this was finally happening. And I was happy that the induction meant that she would be monitored the entire time I was at the hospital (as I think I mentioned before my birth plan was this – healthy, alive baby, me torn up as little as possible so monitoring definitely went with that plan).
Induction Part I – aka let’s stick a balloon up you and see how that goes:
I was having decently regular contractions by about noon on Saturday (I could only feel some of them) so they could not use the easier miso.prostol on me and the other option was the balloon catheter – basically they put a catheter up you and inflate it so that it stretches the cervix. Didn’t sound like the most fun ever but that was the option so we went with it. My husband headed home to have a friend come by and take the dog as well as pick up our bag and I waited for the doctor to do the procedure. They told me that it would be a little uncomfortable to insert but I mentioned that I had had multiple catheters for IUI and IVF procedures so I was familiar with how it worked (one of the multiple ways that all the infertility procedures actually helped me during labor – more on that later). She inserted the catheter and inflated the balloon and it wasn’t too awful, not incredibly comfortable but not too bad. The worst part was having the catheter tubes hanging out of me and taped to my leg which was just kind of a strange feeling. From there they wheeled me to the antepartum ward where I would spend at least the next 12 hours (they have you on the catheter for 12 hours or until it hopefully falls out). At this point I could feel the contractions a little more at time but it still wasn’t that bad. I ordered a grilled cheese that immediately gave me terrible heartburn and my husband went out and got me a milkshake from a local place which helped a little bit. From there I just laid on my side in the hospital bed and we watched the hockey game on tv to pass the time. The pain was bearable until about 1 am when they offered me some ben.adryl to sleep and fent.anyl to take the edge off of the pain. The combo definitely helped and I was able to get some sleep until 4 am when they came to take the catheter out. At 4 am they removed it and I was only another 1/2 centimeter dilated and my contractions had slowed down, I was discouraged about the progress but determined to stay focused on the end goal of healthy baby, even if it took a while or ended in a c-section. They decided to put me on miso.prostol as the next step since the contractions were far enough apart at that point, so they inserted it at about 5 am and would be checked when the next doctor for my practice came on call at 7 am.
Induction Part II – Miso and breaking my water
The insertion of the miso didn’t seem to change the contractions much, was in slight pain but not really a huge deal. The new doctor on call came in at 7 am – we had joked a few weeks ago that of all the doctors in my practice, there is only one male among the bunch, and that it would totally happen that I would get him. Nothing against a male OBGYN but I had met almost all of the females in the practice and really clicked with them, he was one of the few that I hadn’t met so we bet it would be him on call. He wanted to check my cervix but apparently thought it was too high (didn’t seem a problem for the dr the day before) so I ended up basically doing the yoga bridge pose so he could get clear up in there to check. And the news was still slow progress – only 2 cm after the miso had been added. He suggested we move to labor and delivery and then break my water followed by pito.cin to get things moving a little faster and we agreed (again – healthy baby goal, not so much into how we got there). They told me to walk the halls for an hour, take a shower and then would be back to move me to the L&D room. Walking a bit seemed to up the contractions and help pass the time, and the shower felt great to be cleaned off and a little refreshed.
At around 10 am or so we moved into the huge and super nice L&D room – we also were assigned our own private nurse (all patients get them at the hospital I delivered at). She was literally with us the entire time that day and we had a backup nurse come in during her lunch break. Since I was anxious about making sure baby was OK I really appreciated having someone monitoring her the entire time. The Dr came in at about noon and went about breaking my water. He said it might be uncomfortable – but again infertility had prepped me well, it was no more than the catheter insertion and once the water broke it was a super strange experience – tons of gushing warm water that I couldn’t control, but no pain associated with it.
Part III – Pito.cin and fun with epidurals
From there we started the pito.cin and I asked how long I would need to go before getting the epidural. They wanted me to go for an hour or two if I could in the hopes that I would dilate more so I agreed to that plan but told them that I might wimp out at any time and order the epidural. Luckily at this wonderful hospital there is rarely a wait for an epidural so this seemed like a good plan. Right away with the pito.cin the contractions were definitely stronger and closer together. For the first hour it wasn’t too bad, but during the second I got some fent.anyl like the night before to try and take the edge off. That didn’t really work so well, it barely touched the contractions that I was feeling really close together and super strongly. So at about 2 pm I played the epidural card and around 15 minutes later one of the two anestheseologists came into the room to do the insert. I had to sit up in bed and breathe through the contractions for him to do the placement, which was not fun but sitting still wasn’t as agonizing as I thought it would be. I felt the sting of the numbing agent go in and then wasn’t supposed to feel much after that, but I could feel some pressure and a little pain as he was getting it inserted. Once it was in they monitored my blood pressure to make sure it wasn’t getting too low, and I was ready for the instant epidural relief that I had been promised by the internets. Except that didn’t happen… At about 5 minutes in I still felt pain on the right lower part of my belly, they said to give it another 5 and see if it got any better. And nope, it only got worse. The only way I can describe it is if someone was literally stabbing me in the abdomen, maybe it was the pito.cin that made it super hard core painful but regardless, hats off to those that go through natural labor, there is no fucking chance in hell I was going to make it through the pain at that level. At that point my nurse called in the second anesthesiologist to take a look. She adjusted the epidural to be more on my right and added some additional meds (I think – I was pretty much in agony at that point) and then we waited another 5 minutes to see if it was getting better. And it wasn’t… At this point I was actually in tears for the first time of the day, shit was hurting and my nurse and husband were super helpful in getting me through each contraction as they kept coming. The second anesthesiolotist came in again and told me that she was going to have to redo the entire epidural. I was not super pleased to hear this but at this point would have done whatever she said if it meant pain relief. So they ripped off the huge amount of tape on my back (she was shocked that I felt that as well) and re-inserted the entire thing. This time I could only feel the numbing sting and not much after that. And about 2 minutes later instant, blissful, beautiful relief. I could have kissed her, I’m pretty sure I told her that I loved her at that point, and I was not at all kidding. The only downside (which turned out to be an upside) was that I was now insanely numb from both epidurals. I literally could not feel anything at all in my legs, which I thought would freak me out, but I was so happy to be pain free that I didn’t even care. At this point I was able to rest for a bit while happily numbed up. The Dr came in after the second epidural and didn’t do a cervical check as they wanted to wait a while since my water had broken – I asked him for an updated estimate of when he thought I would have the baby and he said sometime between midnight that night and noon the next day, so we settled in for a long wait.
Part IV: What do you mean I’m fully dilated?
At about 6 pm my nurse gets an update from the Dr that he wants her to check me as he is about to deliver a baby down the hall. She checks me (can’t feel any of it) and gets a huge smile on her face and says ‘I knew I would be right about this’. I ask her what she means and she tells me that I am fully dilated and ready to go only a few hours after the epidural and that she would have fun telling the Dr that it wouldn’t be midnight or tomorrow after all. I pretty much freak out at this point as I tell her that I’m not ready yet, I thought we would have hours and how can I be ready to meet this baby now that the time is here and how would I be able to push? Up until this point you don’t really have to ‘do’ much other than lay there and get things done to you but pushing would take effort and I was scared that I would be too numb to do it or wouldn’t be able to figure it out. She laughs and says ready or not, this is happening. The next hour is a bit of a blur as she gets the room setup and has the doctor come in and the staff on call for the actual delivery. It is crazy how much happens when you get to that point, tons of equipment is setup and more people start to come into the room, and I am still freaking out in my head about the fact that this is happening and I now actually have to do something, i.e. push a baby out with no idea how that is going to go since I cannot feel anything at all. At around 6:45 we setup to start pushing. I can’t feel anything so I have my husband holding up one leg and the nurse on the other side, they tell me when a contraction is coming and when I need to push. So push I do – all I can feel is that it is tiring and I am pushing with all my might even though I can’t tell if it is doing anything. They tell me that for a first timer it could be 1-3 hours of pushing (which seems insane, pushing is super exhausting). Luckily after about 15 minutes they tell me that I am doing great, I ask if they are just saying that to make me feel better and they say no, that they can see the head and that it is time to bring the doctor in. He comes in and I push for another 20 minutes until he tells me that she is partially out and that I need to not do anything else for a second. And a few seconds later they plop her on my chest – covered in goo and slightly blue looking. I freak out and ask if she is OK and they say she is great, after a bunch of hands rub her down for a minute she starts screaming and the husband and I start crying. He cuts the cord at some point and I can feel the doctor doing a bunch of stuff in the vag area, but happily all I can feel is pressure and no pain (which makes me happy for the epidural debacle since I am still numb). The doc tells me I have a small tear and some vaginal bruising but all in all not bad, which I am happy to hear. For I don’t know how long we are just marveling at her being out and actually with us, I knew that there was a baby in there but it was hard to picture her being actually on the outside. It was instant love and happiness with a lot of amazement and wonder with just taking everything all in.
All in all, as far as labor goes I was very happy with my experience, and I think having realistic expectations as well as all the infertility procedures helped me to stay calm and focused on the end goal.
That is it for now, I hope to write another post on how everything is going having her home, summary is that it is hard but awesome and that our struggles with infertility have made us more patient people and I think better parents than we would have been if getting here had been easy. I am reading and following along with your blog posts late at night from my phone and I hope to return to commenting and responding to comments soon, but please know that AV and I are rooting for all of you and that we send our love.