It has been such a long time since I've posted, but I wanted to share LO's birth story. It's amazing how one tiny human can take up every minute of your day!
Because Baby Blue was enjoying her accommodations and I was past my due date, my doctor and I scheduled an induction to welcome her to the world. The induction would begin on the evening of January 15, with baby’s likely arrival to be on January 16. I would officially be 40 weeks and 6 days.
We set off to the hospital with a bag stuffed with clothes and all sorts of things we had no idea if we’d need. We checked in and were installed in our large labor and delivery room to begin. The Cytotec was administered around 10pm and I was given an Ambien to help me sleep. It was still a pretty restless night with all the checking, but I got a good amount of sleep.
When I was checked in the morning, I was only dilated to about a two. Very disappointing. Right before we were supposed to start the pitocin I went to the restroom and my water broke while I was on the toilet. I was excited, as I hoped it meant that my labor was progressing on its own. However, I wasn’t happy to see that my water had a greenish color to it. Meconium in amniotic fluid is not good for baby, so I knew we were going to have to get her out sooner rather than later.
My doc decided to go ahead and start the pitocin. The contractions started and were manageable for a while. I was hooked up to an IV, so going to the bathroom was really annoying. As the day wore on, I wondered if we were ever going to get to that magic point where I get to push. Turns out, we were not.
I found the contractions easier to manage in the rocking chair rather than the bed, so I was hanging out there for most of the day. My contractions were registering in the 30s (of 100) and were coming around every 1-3 minutes. At one point, they inserted an internal contraction monitor and my contractions were then registering in the 90s. Oh so not fun. Around 6pm our nurse asked me how I was doing. I said, “OK, I guess. It just really hurts.” She then asked if I wanted some pain relief or the epidural. It was like the skies opened and the sun shone on me. I was only dilated to three, so I thought I couldn’t have the epidural yet. I just then realized that she had been asking me how I was doing for a few hours. I didn’t know that was code for “Do you want some pain relief medication?”
My doc, whom I love, gave the OK for the epidural and the anesthesiologist was called. He became my new favorite person. The worst part of the epidural is the numbing medication they inject before actually inserting the epidural catheter. Oh, and the whole curling into a ball while having contractions. That wasn’t fun either. But it was all worth it. The epidural went in and started working as soon as he injected the medication. I could even move my legs, which I wasn’t expecting and really liked. After it was in, I looked at DH and asked if I was having a contraction. I had no idea. He looked at the monitor, had a surprised look on his face, and said, “Yes, right now. You can’t feel anything?” It was awesome. Modern medicine is awesome. And DH was certainly relieved after watching me battle through the contractions for hours.
LO, however, didn’t like the epidural as much as I did. Every time I had a contraction, her heart rate decelerated. We tried flipping me over from side to side, but nothing helped. My doc came in to talk to me about it. She sat on the side of my bed and explained that my cervix was not opening to more than a three after more than 12 hours of pitocin (and even longer with the other meds) and that while she knew I didn’t want a c-section, she thought it was the best thing to do. I love that she sat there and talked to me about it rather than just telling me we were going to do it. When we scheduled the induction, I was happy that it would be on the day that my doc was on call, so on the “off chance” I’d have to be cut open, she’d be the one to do it.
Once the decision was made, things moved quickly. I already had the epidural, so they just had to inject the necessary medication to completely numb me from the waist down. My nurse, Laura, who had been with me the whole day, stayed through the operation to see me through. I won’t lie - it’s pretty scary being wheeled into an operating room and strapped down with your arms outstretched on either side. DH was waiting in a little room outside until they had me prepped. The anesthesiologist was the same gentleman who put my epidural in. I wish I could remember his name, because he really helped keep me calm while I was being prepped. I just remember lying there thinking, “Just relax. Everything is going to be OK. DH will be here soon. Just relax. Your doc is here. Just relax.” My doc came and held my hand for a bit as well, which really helped.
Finally, they brought DH in. I started to cry (like I’m doing as I type this) and he just kept telling me that everything was going to be OK. We stared at each other while they started the operation. They told me I would feel some tugging and I did, though much much less than I thought I would. I didn’t realize that that small bit of tugging sensation was all there would be. I asked DH to talk to me and we discussed what I’d have to eat when it was all over. Other than a few clandestine pulls on a juice box during labor, I hadn’t had anything to eat since 11pm the night before. We heard a nurse announce the time and kept talking about food. Someone looked around the drape and said, “Your baby is here.” We were so surprised! She wasn’t crying and they didn’t try to make her, as they wanted to get any amniotic fluid/meconium out of her before she took a big breath in. The NICU team was called in, but by the time they arrived, they were sent away, as LO was breathing and crying just fine on her own.
I got to look at her for a few minutes until I had to go to recovery. DH went with her to the nursery. Before he left though, he got to watch one of the nurses basically punch me in the stomach and try to massage my uterus. It was completely surreal for me to watch as I couldn’t feel a thing. It looked crazy, though.
I had a nurse with me in a very small recovery area. They put these leg massager things on my calves to prevent blood clots and continued the abdominal massage every 15 minutes for the next hour. The first two times were fine. Then the epidural started wearing off. Holy crap. the last two times were so painful.
DH came in eventually and they brought LO in. They immediately had us try breastfeeding and she latched on like a champ. I can’t quite explain the feeling of those beautiful, healthy, safe blue grey eyes staring up at me. My heart exploded. I just wanted to stare at her. Eventually, it was time for her to go back to the nursery for a routine check up and for me to be wheeled to our mother/baby room.
The next few days were a whirlwind. We had wonderful friends and family come to visit us and baby. We also learned that when you have abdominal surgery, some gas can get trapped in your body and travel and settle in your right shoulder. Excuse me? Well, folks, I can tell you that the pain is excruciating. And I started crying because it hurt so bad and the crying made my incision hurt. My horrible nurse that night just gave me gas pill and looked at me like I was an idiot. We asked for a heating pad and she said she was waiting for it. Let’s just say that I was writhing in agony and this woman didn’t seem to care a bit. That’s when angry DH took over, went to the charge nurse, and got me some proper care. I usually try to tamp angry DH down a bit, but when he charged out of the room to get someone who might actually help me, I was cheering him on through the pain. The charge nurse came in, talked to me, gave me stronger pain meds and explained what was happening. And she got us a new nurse who was actually good at her job.
That said, most of the nurses we had were amazing. There were two especially who were the best and I owe them a debt of gratitude for being so very good at their jobs. They both listened and helped these first time parents more than they’ll ever know.
We ended up having to stay an extra day because I had a crazy rash on my belly and back. We think it was a reaction to pain meds, but it may have been to the solution they cleansed my skin with before the operation. In any case, we ended up finally being able to go home on Sunday. One major meltdown Sunday morning kept us there a bit longer (never give your breastfed baby a formula supplement with a fast flow nipple. Never.) but eventually we were on our way home.
So here we three are. LO lost about 12 ounces in the hospital so the first two weeks at home were making sure that she was eating enough and celebrating every wet and poopy diaper because they meant she was getting enough. I’m happy to report that she gained 12 ounces and one inch by her two week appt. She’s doing great. We’re still battling to get her to take more consistent naps during the day. She was only sleeping for 11 hours or so each day, and our baby doc wants to up that number. Foolishly, I thought a tired baby would go to sleep. I now know that sometimes she needs our help. We’re also going to try to start pumping and introduce a bottle so DH can sometimes take over a middle of the night feeding so I can sleep for some uninterrupted hours. I will say though, two nights ago she slept for 3.5 hours in two successive sleep cycles between midnight and 8am, and I felt like a new woman. Our baby doc, whom we also love, gave us the green light to let her sleep as long as she wants at night (as long as it’s not more than six hours), so I may be getting even more. I’ve had to wake her more than a few times to feed her in the middle of the night. At the time, I happily did it because I was so worried about her gaining weight. Now that I know she is gaining like a champ, I’ll be happy to follow her sleep cues at night. Fingers crossed!
So that’s my baby’s birth story. What a gift she is.