Well, now that we are all home and settled and Nick is currently napping, I thought I would try to type up his birth story quickly. Before I do, I just wanted to thank everyone for the well wishes. Things are going amazing so far. He's wonderful, perfectly healthy, and we couldn't love him any more. He's still getting the hang of sleeping without being held which had made for some really tired nights. Right now he's on nap number two where we're not holding him so I'm hoping that will make for a more restful night tonight for J and I.
Birth Story - the Long Version....
When I went to my 39 week doctor's appointment on Tuesday I hadn't made any progress from the week before despite somewhat frequent, although irregular contractions. We were scheduled for an induction on Tuesday evening January 3rd with an expected delivery on Wednesday the 4th, the day my doctor would be on call. Since there was almost a week between my last appointment and the induction I was hoping that I would just go into labor on my own and not need the induction. I was also a little surprised that they didn't check my cervix again before the appointment just in case I would only need the pit.ocin and not the cerv.a.dil.
On Sunday, January 1st, my actual due date, I started having what seemed to be more 'real' contractions that I had in the past. These were much more crampy feeling that the braxton hicks I'd been having for weeks. By 10:30 that night the contractions had been coming fairly consistently (5-6 minutes) apart for two hours, but still only lasting 30-45 seconds. I decided to call the on-call doctor just to see what his thoughts were. He said that things would probably still take a pretty long time at this point, but I was welcome to come into the hospital at any time. He recommended that I labor at home and call him again when they were more like 4-5 minutes apart and lasting closer to a minute. Well, 12 hours later they were still basically same. Craziness! After that there would be really long breaks between periods of consistent contractions, but they were never regular enough to call in again. Sigh!
Monday was more of the same. On Tuesday I decided to call in sick to work since I was still having the contractions and our induction was scheduled for 4:30 so I'd have to leave early anyway to get ready. I also didn't want to hear any annoying comments from my co-workers!
We got to the hospital around 4:45 (a good time to be running late, huh?) and got all checked in. The lady at check in seemed pretty confused about insurance. The baby will be going on J's insurance so he and I will have different insurance which I tried to explain and she was trying to tell me some crazy thing about how the baby will have to go on the insurance of the person with the earliest birthday in the year and that I would need to notify my HR about the baby, etc, etc. I kept saying that we had already talked with our HR departments and everything was worked out and I just wanted them to note J's insurance in the computer so items could be billed to that as needed. I guess we'll see how that works out after the bills start coming in.....I'm dreading seeing those huge numbers!
They took me upstairs to labor and delivery (no triage since I wasn't in active labor). A wonderful nurse came in to get us all set up for the evening. Then OB resident came in to check my cervix and explain the process for induction. As soon as she began the exam, she said, well you aren't really a candidate for the cer.vadil because are already at 3 cm, 100% effaced, and the baby's station is zero. Hooray! I was so excited! She called my doctor who said to skip the cerv.adil and then at midnight they would start the pito.cin at the lowest dose since she wouldn't be available until 7 AM the next day. J and I walked around and I practiced breathing through the contractions and tried out some different labor positions. The contractions were picking up some which was great. For me the worst part of this stage of labor was the stupid monitors. I was able to be monitored intermittently but they leave them on you, so you have the long cords draped around your neck. It made it difficult to get comfortable, use the bathroom, and walk the halls.
At midnight they came to check me again (the night nurse this time). It was very uncomfortable and she couldn't feel easily, I think she said it was because my cervix was so thin and the baby was so low, so she eventually gave up and got another nurse. I was now between a 4 and a 5. So not a lot of progress in 6 hours, but it was something. They called my doctor again who decided that I didn't need pito.cin because I was progressing on my own. Awesome! I was hoping to avoid supplementing my labor so this was good news. The nurse also recommended that I not walk around too much if I wanted to guarantee that my doctor delivered me. I wasn't worried about that, I was more worried about moving things along and meeting our son. So labor continued and amazingly I didn't feel like I needed pain medication yet. I was planning to get an epidural if I needed the pito.cin
Another nurse came in to set up all the delivery tools/supplies and kept saying what a great job I was doing. She kept saying this was the most difficult stage of labor and it was amazing that I was able to relax and talk between the contractions. I really don't know how I was doing it either, but I just kept feeling like it was going to be okay and I would get the epidural if I needed it.
The on call doctor arrived and I was at a 9 and the baby was at +1. She went ahead and broke my water and actually commented that she couldn't believe how difficult it was to break since it was just hanging out. After my water broke they decided I could try to push if I felt like it to see how things were doing. They also mentioned my flat pelvis again since they wouldn't know until I was actually pushing if he was actually going to fit out. My first attempts at pushing were not great. I wasn't comfortable pulling my legs straight back and pushing - I felt like I couldn't get in the right position. Since I didn't have the epidural they decided to get the squat bar which I really liked. I was able to make some progress that way. At that time, Nick's heart rate dropped really low during a contraction and the doctor said I had to have an epidural in case we needed an emergency c-section. But by the time the anestegologist got there, everything was fine so they sent him away. At 7 AM my doctor and original nurse arrived. It took 2 full hours of hard pushing. Honestly the whole time I just felt like there was no way it was going to work. They were showing me in the mirror how to push him out and I just felt like I had no idea what I was doing or how to push more effectively. It was so frustrating and I was so tired. The doctor started saying that she was going to need to 'do something' to get him out because his heart rate was getting high and getting him out would be better than him having to go to the NICU etc. I was really panicked and worried about how painful that part would be. Interestingly that part wasn't painful at all. They use a local numbing agent down there before they do any of that type of work so I didn't even feel it. The next thing I knew the doctor was putting the blue drape on my belly and I told J to grab the camera because I knew that the next thing was going to be a baby. Somehow I pushed with all my might and his head was out, they said to stop pushing and I could already hear him crying. The doctor kept saying, sorry, I know this is uncomfortable, but honestly I couldn't feel anything. He came the rest of the way out and the plopped him on my belly. The doctor said we needed to get him to the nurses right away so she cut his cord and they took him just a few feet away to get checked out. Almost immediately they said he was completely fine!
J took pictures of him and watched him get all checked out while the doctor delivered the placenta (which is a very strange feeling) and fixed me up. She said it would take about 6 minutes to stitch everything up but it felt pretty long. Mainly because I didn't like having my legs in the stirrups. Later I found out that I needed an episiotomy and had a second degree tear, so not great but not as bad as I had imagined. I've been pretty sore these past few days, but nothing too bad. I imagine I'd feel the same way if I'd had the epidural because I'd still be recovering from the stitches, but who knows.
In the end, it was a good experience. I won't want to go through it again for a while of course, but I'm positive I would do it again! Nick is amazing and was worth everything it took to get him here.
I don't really put a lot of photos online, but wanted to share one quick one just so everyone could see him. Here's our little miracle: