I was due March 13th, and had been told at my 38 week appointment that while I was progressing dilation-wise, the baby was still high up and probably wouldn’t be showing his face any time soon, so I was expecting to go at least until my due date. I’d been having quite a bit of back pain for the last couple of weeks, but I have a condition that affects my spine so I was just attributing any pain to that and the weight of the ever-growing baby. The morning of March 5th, I ended up leaving work at around 4:45am (my shift ended at 5:30am) because my back pain and cramping was starting to become a bit more uncomfortable. I didn’t think I was in labor, but I wanted to head home and rest just in case. Apparently after I left that morning my co-workers started placing bets as to how many hours it would be before I was in the hospital. C went to work that day, and all day I updated him on the length of my contractions (which weren’t hurting, just uncomfortable) and how far apart they were. We ended up going in to the hospital late that night because, even though I wasn’t in a lot of pain, the contractions had held steady for at least six hours at that point. That night I was monitored, checked, and sent home with a muscle relaxer and a diagnosis of “false labor.” I went home so frustrated; we had thought our little guy was about to make his appearance!
Wednesday morning I had my 39 week appointment. Everything went as usual and I was feeling uncomfortable due to my back pain again but otherwise I felt great. The elephant-size swelling that had taken up residence in my feet and ankles over the previous few weeks had even disappeared! So, imagine my surprise when I lugged myself onto the exam table and the nurse told me my blood pressure was high for the first time my entire pregnancy!
“No worries,” she said. “You’re probably just a little nervous because you’re so close to the end now. We’ll take it again later and it’ll be fine, I’m sure.”
Okay, cool. Bring in the doc, then! The doctor came in, checked me, and I’d progressed again. We talked about my trip to the hospital and my level of discomfort, and then he said words I was absolutely not expecting. “I’d like to induce you this week, due to your back issues. I’m worried about him getting much bigger and you having difficulties with labor because of it.”
I always swore I would NOT be induced strictly due to discomfort, no matter how far along I was. I didn’t want to be induced at all, really, because I’d heard horror stories about how much more painful it is and I wanted to go as naturally as possible. But, if the doctor said that’s what he wanted to do, I wasn’t going to argue. Plus, I was already almost 4 centimeters dilated, so I hoped the induction process wouldn’t be too lengthy or difficult. And I had another couple of days to prepare myself and walk like crazy and try to go into labor on my own! No big deal, it’d totally happen. Except…not so much. The doctor left us in the exam room while they went to schedule the induction with the hospital. While he was gone, the nurse came back in to check my blood pressure. Still high. Crap. She left again, then came back to move us to another room so that that exam room could be used for another patient. So, we waited some more. Nurse arrived again, took my blood pressure again. High again. Double crap. She then said she’d be back after checking to see “what the doctor wants to do”.
What do you mean ‘what the doctor wants to do’??? He wants to induce me in a couple of days! Right???
Wrong. The doctor came in a few minutes later to say that, since my blood pressure wasn’t going down, he just wanted to induce me that day to be safe. So, we should leave his office and head for the hospital; they’d be ready for me there. WHAT?!?!? My first response, after a giant gulp, was “well…can I go home and get my bag first?” Haha. I was so worried about my bag! We were told that was fine, just to get there whenever we could, so we left the doctor’s office, headed to Target to grab a few snacks for hubby’s bag and a couple of sandwiches (neither of us had eaten yet that day, and we knew that once we got to the hospital I wouldn’t be allowed to eat for quite a while), then headed home and grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital.
We checked into the hospital around noon and I was brought into a room on the Labor & Delivery floor shortly afterwards. I changed into a gown, met with my nurse, a midwife, and the anesthesiologist (who I assured would not need to help me, but explained my autoimmune issue to him just in case), and then I waited. They started my pitocin and antibiotics at 1:40pm, and we waited some more. I turned the Food Network on and just chatted with hubby for the next few hours in between nurse visits and monitoring. I was contracting, but it just felt like uncomfortable cramping so I really was doing well. My parents came to visit at about six o’clock, and C went to get some dinner in the cafeteria at that point (I kept insisting I didn’t care if he ate in the room with me, but he refused to do so). While my parents were visiting, I winced a few times in discomfort, but again, nothing serious. I will say, though, that the entire time my contractions were never more than three minutes apart.
After my parents left is when things started to get a bit serious for me. C and I decided to go walk the halls, so the nurse helped me with the wireless monitors and gave me a second gown (I really didn’t want anyone to see my butt if possible; little did I know how little I would care about such things in a few more hours!), and off we went! It was at that point that my pain started to increase with each contraction. I was able to walk through them at the beginning of our tour, but by the second time around the floor I was having to stop and double over every time one hit. We eventually went back to the room and I got back into bed; the pain from the contractions themselves wasn’t too horrible, but the pain in my lower spine and SI joints was getting increasingly worse and was almost at the point where it was just sticking around and refusing to wane between contractions. Plus, my contractions were super close together at that point – usually only a minute or two apart. I remember telling C, over and over at that point, “this isn’t going to work for me!” Haha…like I had an option at that point! The next time the nurse came in, I asked if there was any sort of pain management option that was not an epidural. She said they could put some medicine through my IV that “wouldn’t take away the pain, but would make [me] feel drunk so I wouldn’t notice it as much.” I told her to start it, stat.
You guys. That medicine was crazy. First of all, she was darn right when she said it didn’t ease the pain. Second of all, it didn’t make me feel drunk, it made me hallucinate! I kept half dozing off in between contractions and thinking I was saying all these things to hubby that I wasn’t really saying. At the same time, though, half of my brain was cognizant of the fact that I probably wasn’t really saying them, so I didn’t ask him anything because I was afraid of repeating myself! Turns out, though, I still asked him the same question (I don’t remember what it was, though) at least six times…oops. While I was busy alternating between hallucinating and contracting, hubby sat by my bed and read his book in between my contractions!
I ended up giving up a short time later and asking for an epidural. Having it put in didn’t hurt at all, despite what I’d been told previously, but then…it didn’t work! It sort of numbed my right leg, but my left leg and the left side of my lower back were completely normal. I kept telling the nurse that, because I was now in pain in my lower back and it was just not easing up, and she kept telling me I just needed to lie on my left side so gravity would make the epidural work better. No one seemed to believe me as I continued to tell them it wasn’t working (“this just isn’t going to work for me” became my phrase of the night, haha…I’m sure my nurse thought I was absolutely insane), so the anesthesiologist came back three times and gave me C-section level drug injections each time, with nothing changing in my pain relief!
Finally, finally, around 2am or so, they gave me another epidural. Hubby says that I actually ended up getting three separate ones, but I only remember two of them. This time, it worked! Hallelujah! Everything I’d heard came true; I couldn’t feel athingfrom the waist down! It was hilarious. I kept telling hubby over and over about it. I think, at that point, I was just so happy the pain was gone that everything entertained me. Over the next two hours, I progressed pretty quickly, from 6cm to 10cm (probably because I was no longer tensing up in pain every time I had a contraction!), and at 4am the nurse told me it was time to start pushing. Woohoo! I asked her how long first time moms usually push for. She told me anywhere between one and three hours. Ugh. Not so woohoo. That motivated me, though, and I was ready to get going!
At that point, my epidural had partially worn off, so I could feel my legs again and the contractions were painful but not overwhelming. I was actually glad that I could feel it at that point, because it helped me with the pushing (plus, with the end in sight, it just didn’t seem quite as bad anymore). On my third contraction of pushing, though, things started to feel a little funny. My heart started racing, and at first I figured “well uh, hello…you are trying to push out a baby, of course your heart is racing,” so I didn’t say anything. Next, though, as I leaned forward to start pushing again, I felt really sick out of nowhere. As I was asking the nurse for a bucket, I then felt a weird wooshing in my ears and told her that I didn’t think I could hear very well. Apparently that was a bad sign, because all of a sudden buttons were being pushed, I was told to stop pushing (which is NOT EASY BY THE WAY), and I was lying on my side with an oxygen mask on. My blood pressure had dropped to 80/50 for some reason, causing my heart rate to increase and baby’s to go down – not good. As I tried to concentrate on breathing and not pushing, my room filled with nurses and doctors while they decided what to do next. They stabilized both of us and decided I ought to push some more. They had attached an internal monitor to the baby’s head so they were able to closely monitor his heart rate.
Back to pushing I went. Little guy cooperated until the nurse had me change positions, at which point even I could audibly hear his heart rate slow considerably again. She put me back on my side and doctors were called in again. This time the doctor on call from my actual practice was there (she’d been in the middle of a c-section previously), and everyone kept talking back and forth about whether or not they should just do a c-section for me to get baby out. I finally asked what was going on, and the doctor explained that it seemed that the cord was wrapped around the baby in some way that, when I pushed in certain ways or he moved into certain positions, it was causing the issues with his heart rate. At that point, I didn’t care what they did, I just wanted him out safe and sound. I told them that, and the doctor decided that since she was there we would go ahead and have me try pushing again and see if we could get him out that way.
At that point I was extra motivated, but gosh you guys, that is hard work. I mean….duh. I knew it would be, but sheesh. I will say, though, I made it through the entire thing without yelling at hubby once! I did, apparently, yell “I can’t $(%^(@ do this anymore!!!!!!!” during my very last push, as my little guy came out…and luckily, I didn’t have to. I do feel bad for other first time moms down the hall, though…I was pretty loud. Oops. It wasn’t as bad as I made it sound, I swear! Our little ball of cuteness came out with his cord wrapped around his body and his neck, but after a quick check he was proclaimed perfectly fine! Hubby and I laughed, cried, and watched until he was cleaned up, checked again, and brought over to my arms. I did it! He did it. No….we did it.
Hayden was born at 4:59am on March 8th, 2012. He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces, was 21 inches long, and had a full (cone-shaped) head of brown hair. We couldn’t be happier, especially since we are finally starting to work out the whole sleep thing!!