**This version of my birth story is the depressing version. As I was typing this out, I realized just how horrible is sounded, so I wrote another version, found HERE, so if you want the puppies and rainbows version of my birth store, read that one. This one shows my true emotions about what I was feeling at the time and how I ended everything in tears convinced I was a bad mother.**
There is one lesson that I took from my birth experience on November 13th, 2009: Nothing is ever what you expect.
I went into my induction expecting what I considered to be the worst: 24+ hours of labor and a long, painful delivery resulting in several stitches , but in the end, a happy, healthy baby boy would be placed on my chest, still covered in goo, and the most amazing, overwhelming feeling of love would come over me and I would never feel the same again. The only thing I got right was the happy, healthy baby boy part!
So, with the help of a time line Timmy helped me get together the day after, I shall attempt to recall what happened, in what I call the worst day of my life which ended in the best moment of my life.
At 5am we called the hospital to see if there was a bed available for our 6am start. I was being induced at 39 weeks 3 days due to pregnancy induced hypertension. There was a bed, but due to staffing, we couldn’t get in until 7:30. This actually worked out well for me and Timmy cause that meant we could get breakfast before hand.
At Panera, Timmy and I made our guesses for when Aric would be born and how big he would be. I guessed he’d be born at 12:45am that night and weigh 7 lbs, 12 oz. Tim said he’d be born at 7pm and be 8 lbs, 3 oz.
7:30 arrived and we got settled in our room and got registered. At 8am, my doctor came in and broke my water. At that time, I was still 1.5 cm dilated. It hurt like the bejezus when she was checking me, but the actual water breaking was painless. It was the weirdest feeling, too, like I was constantly peeing myself bu couldn’t stop it. And laughing only made it worse!
At the same time, my IV was hooked up and I got my first dose of clindamycin (the antibiotic for the Group B Strep) as well as some standard fluid, and, of course, the pitocin, which was to be upped every 15-30 minutes, depending on progress.
Contractions started shortly after, but I was feeling nothing, which was great! After about an hour, the nurse checked me and I was at 2 cm, maybe 3. She upped the pitocin again and left. At about 9:30ish, I started feeling some of the contractions. Throughout this first part, my blood pressure had been really high, like, 156/105 high. Once I started feeling the contractions, it increased again.
At 9:45 the nurse asked if I wanted the epidural. I said I wanted it eventually, but I didn’t want it too soon for fear that it would be done before the actual delivery part started. She reassured he that she would re-up the epi as much as I needed it, so it was pretty much no such thing as starting it too soon. There’s definitely a “too late” though. Besides, the epi will help lower and control my blood pressure, so there’s really no bad side effect, other than slowing down the labor process, but she was going to up the pitocin in response to that.
I still wanted to wait it out, so she left. At 10:15, I couldn’t talk through the contractions any more, and they were coming one right on top of another. When the nurse came in shortly after, the first thing I said was “EPIDURAL!!”
The anesthesiologist was already next door, so I didn’t have to wait long. He knew about my scoliosis, but said it was no big deal, and that usually once he gets the needle in, he can tell how the spine curves and it wouldn’t be bad. Even the nurse said the worst part is the initial shot of Novocaine they give you so you don’t feel the needle going in your spine.
All lies. LIES I TELL YOU!! LIES!!!!!!!
What was the point of the Novocaine again? Cause the damn doctor didn’t even give the damn drug time to work!! I felt that needle going in between my vertebrae and I could feel it turning around inside of me while the doctor tried to feel for the curve of my back.
“Whoops! I’ll have to try again!”
I was shaking because of how much pain I was in. My nurse, Angie, was fabulous. She walked me through everything the doctor was doing and gave me tons of support while he was doing his job.
So, once again, the pointless Novocaine shot, the needle going into my spine, and the spinning to find the curve.
And finally, it was done. It took a little bit for the numbness to kick in, but once it did, it was great! I even napped quite a bit!
But here was another thing I expected to go completely differently: When you are on the epidural, you have to lay on your side, switching sides once an hour. I totally thought I could sit up and watch TV, or play a game with Timmy, but nope. And I actually felt kinda crappy, too. Like, the run down feeling of having a cold. There was no “feeling good” while on the epidural, just “not feeling pain.”
Before I got the epi, the nurse gave me what’s called a fluid bolus. When you get an epidural, your BP has the tendency to plummet. Since mine was already so high, she wanted to do anything she could to keep it from dropping too far too fast. She also created, like, a mini-shot so that if my BP goes too low, she can try and raise it again.
I was getting my BP monitored every minute for 5 minutes, twice every five minutes for 15 minutes, every 10 minutes for 20 minutes, then every 15 minutes for the rest of the time. I think my hand was about to fall off due to lack of circulation from how many times my BP was taken by that damn auto cuff!! About 30 minutes into, my BP was 88/32. Yep, 30 minutes from 156/105 to 88/32.
After giving me that mini-shot, my BP went up again, but stayed pretty steady at 130/70 for the next several hours.
So, now it’s 1pm. I’d been on the epi for about 2 hours now. I was now 3-4cm dilated. This was progress. Angie upped the pitocin.
At 2:20, I was still 3-4cm. Angie mentioned that it’s looking like an evening delivery, so she won’t be around to celebrate Aric’s birthday with us.
4:30 – New nurse, Meggin, my hero, started her shift my giving me another dose of the antibiotic. She told me that this would be the last of this medication, since I’ll be having a baby sometime in the next 8 hours! WOOHOO!!
At this point, I called my mother, who felt horrible that I was still in labor. Apparently her body responded very well to pitocin and she delivered within 3 hours of starting it. Not me, I guess. My mom wanted to come in and do it for me, since she’s done it before and can do a better job of it
Shortly after my phone call, Meggin gave me the bad news. Since I was still at 3-4 cms and wasn’t progressing at all, it was likely that I’d be having a c-section to get the baby out. These were not words I wanted to hear. I knew that being induced increased the likelihood of having a c-section and so would having the epi, but I thought it was because women just progressed slowly and their doctors wanted to get things going. In my case, however, since I wasn’t reaching that magical 4 cm (which is apparently when you know that labor is really in progress), it wasn’t a case of slow progression, it was a case of NO progression whatsoever.
At 6pm, Meggin brought in a new mix of Pitocin that some of the nurses had been using that week that had been proven successful. Their theory was that the bags of pit from the medical supply company were made who knows how long ago, so they might not be as useful. So she mixed up her own dose to try and get me into a stable labor pattern. I guess that before this point, my contractions were not regularly spaced or intense.
Also, with this, she brought in another nurse to help position me in a way to try and get Aric to change his position to a more conducive “coming out” position. It’s at this point that they told me that Aric was in there crooked and was likely the reason I wasn’t progressing. She said I’d stay in that position for an hour with the new batch of pit. If I showed ANY progress, even just one cm, then we could avoid the c-section.
During that hour, I prayed, I visualized my cervix opening, I envisioned the baby working his way to the birth canal. I did everything in my power to have the nurse come in, check me, and have me be at 8cm. (Yes, I know, I totally went above and beyond what I should have expected.)
At seven, she came in and told me my labor pattern was nice a regular and should now have some progress. So she checked me. No progress, still 3-4 cm.
At 7:15, there was a sudden flurry of activity around me. I was being flipped on my back, new nurses were coming in and prepping me. An anesthesiologist (who was wicked cranky and I wanted to punch him) came in to change my epi to a full block. At some point, the on-call doctor came in and introduced herself.
At 7:30 I puked. I was so scared and so worried. Everything was happening so fast and I hardly had time to talk to Timmy and calm myself down. The anesthesiologist blamed Meggin for making me puke, telling her she shouldn’t have raised the bed. I wanted to shout at him that it wasn’t her fault, it was scared, but I didn’t. I was too scared!
They wheeled me to the operating room shortly thereafter. Next thing I knew, Timmy was by my side and Meggin was telling him to get the camera out.
At 7:54 pm, Aric Joseph was brought into the world at 7 pounds, 13 ounces, 20 1/4 inches long, APGARS at 8 and 9! My initial thoughts as they showed him to me? Wow, he looks ugly and angry! He was whisked away to his warmer, and Timmy got to follow. I could hear him crying as he was being wiped off, and I could hear Timmy’s voice trying to calm him down and soothe him and let him know that he has a daddy who loves him.
All the while, I was laying on a table with a blue tarp in my face thinking “This looks nothing like the OR in Grey’s Anatomy!”
Finally, the nurse brought Aric over to see me, and I got to touch him for the first time. The nurse took photos of the three of us together for the first time. You can’t see Timmy’s face, but you can see his eyes, which are glittering and happy. Me? I look, well, stoned.
When they were done, they wheeled me to the recovery room, eased me off the block, and started the morphine (the most wonderful drug in all the universe). Aric was in a little bassinet off to the side. This is when I finally got to learn his stats. Timmy started making phone calls. I could hear him trying to reassure family members that I was ok. Several wanted to talk to me. I wanted nothing to do with them. I was watching this little creature gazing at the world from his tiny box trying to soak everything in. I remember feeling sad because I hadn’t bonded with him yet. I hadn’t had that “moment” that everyone speaks of.
At 10pm, we were finally brought to our room, and two hours after he was born, I was able to hold my son and attempt to feed him. It was surreal. There was a beautiful baby boy in my arms, and I thought he was OK. I started talking to him to reassure others in the room that I was a good mother, but on the inside, I could have cared less. Sure he was cute, sure he was mine, but my feelings were still “eh.”
I slept well that night, though I continued to hit that morphine button as often as I could. A huge abdominal cut hurts more than you’d think!
After seeing several family members the next day and not caring, I started feeling like an even worse mother. It wasn’t until after my first shower that I finally broke down to Tim. I told him that I felt like a failure. I wasn’t able to “hold off” and just wait for labor to start naturally, I wasn’t able to actually labor and deliver a child, I wasn’t able to bond with him right away, and worst of all, I still felt like I hadn’t bonded yet, and I felt that I was failing as a mother. That’s right, I hadn’t been a mother for 24 hours, and I felt like a huge failure.
It took quite a few tears and lots of staring to Aric’s eyes before I finally started feeling like his mother. A shower during this time helped as well!
I was thinking today about just how much breastfeeding has helped me to bond with Aric. Spending hours a day with the two of us skin to skin looking each other in the eyes is such a cool feeling! I’m sure Timmy is jealous of all the one on one time we get to spend with each other, but I know it’s been awesome for me. He’s my little dude and he makes the cutest faces when he’s trying to latch on and eat! I really don’t know if I would have been able to bond with him like I have if I were formula feeding.
Anyway, to sum up, this was an awful experience. One that I’m not too excited to go through again. It’ll take a lot of convincing/pregnancy amnesia to get me to want to do this again!
and I have to say this, I’m in such a better place right now, so I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m experiencing any post-partum depression. I was feeding Aric this morning and was thinking about what a great mood I was in and how thankful I was that I was feeling happy and well rested with a tiny baby son in my arms. It was just that at the time, it was terribly miserable!
But one thing I expected actually happened: I expected that no matter how terrible the experience might be, I’d be left with an awesome result …. and boy was I!!