I’m sharing the long versions of my pregnancies and births. You can read part 1 of my first pregnancy here.
We ran around packing last minute items – tooth brush, pillows, etc…and backed out of our parking spot at 12am, Easter Sunday morning to head to the hospital….
My contractions moved to 3 minutes apart on the ride to the hospital. I can remember, not the pain so much, but with every contraction saying, “What are we doing?? We’re having a kid! WE can’t have a kid!!!” lol
We got to the hospital and went to triage to monitor my contractions, check my progress and make sure I was indeed in labor. We found out that I was 4cm dilated (10 is the goal, lol) and 80% effaced (cervical thinness). I was kind of irritated that was all the progress I had made since 4pm Friday (now around 1am Sunday). The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural and I told her I wanted to ‘see’ how long I could make it.
We got to our room, called family and they began their trek to Raleigh (2.5 hours for Zach’s parents and almost 4 for my mom)
I continued to labor. At the time, I thought I was doing what I was supposed to, but I now know how much more active I can be (and SHOULD be) while in labor! I just laid in bed and waited for a nurse to tell me to do something or to have another check.
Around 3am, I was getting very tired (since only sleeping 4 hours since waking up Friday morning) and I wasn’t really sure how much longer I was going to be laboring. I knew I would have no energy to push when the time came. The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. She informed me that I would have a better chance of resting and preparing for pushing.
They checked me to make sure I wasn’t more than 8cm (too late for an epidural). I was 6cm so I agreed to the epidural. As soon as it was in, I realized I hated it. I hated having no control over the bottom half of my body. I felt like a beached whale. In two words – it sucked. But I was so tired, I didn’t know what else to do.
Family arrived around 5am or so.
It came time to push around 7am and that’s when I really hated my epidural. I didn’t like having someone tell me when I was having a contraction and for how long to push.
The more I pushed, the more K’s heart rate dropped. When we arrived, it was in the 150’s, the more I pushed, it dropped to 120’s, to 100’s, to 90’s and on down.
He started to crown and my OB brought the mirror over so I could see his head. I got to watch through1 more contraction and then my OB pushed the mirror out of the way. He informed me that he needed to use a ‘kiwi vacuum’ to get him out and that this vacuum was a ‘smaller’ version of a tradition (birthing) vacuum. Meanwhile, K’s heart rate continued to fall. My OB worked using this vacuum for about 30 minutes and as this progressed, nurses from the NICU began entering our room should he need to be taken.
After 2 hours of pushing, K’s heart rate had fallen to the 40’s and was not rising again. I was on the verge of telling my OB that I wanted to stop when he called for a c-section. In 10 seconds it went from a semi-calm delivery setting to alarms sounding, scrubs being thrown at Zach, phone calls being made, K being shoved back inside of me and my bed being put back together. (Yes, it was dramatic and traumatic as it sounds) My OB (who happened to be my favorite at this particular office of 5 doctors) took a couple of seconds to come to my head and inform me that K was alright and he was GOING to be alright, but we needed to get him out now. He told me I was going to have to have a c-section and he knew how much I didn’t want that but he really felt he waited as long as he possibly could before making the call. He also told me that Zach could be in the room with me, but would have to wait outside while I was being prepped.
They ran me down the hall to the OR and began prepping me. My arms were strapped to a table, a sheet was raised at my neck, blinding lights were all around me and a new nurse who I didn’t know was trying to tell me everything was going to be OK. All I could do was scream for my husband.
They finally let Zach in. He was crying, I was bawling. He tried his best to comfort me, but nothing was working at that point.
The nurse by my head tried to keep me aware of everything that was going on. My OB said they were going to start making the incision. I couldn’t feel the actual cutting, but I felt the tugging. She told me ‘in a minute’ it would feel as if someone were sitting on my chest and that was when they were pulling him out. It was more than ‘someone sitting on my chest’, it felt like someone knocked the wind out of me. It was horrible and only made me cry more.
Within seconds, he was screaming and that was the most amazing sound ever. The tears of fear turned to joy. I wanted to rip down that curtain and see my baby.
The momentary comic relief came when the nurse said, “Oh, she’s beautiful…” I screamed, “SHE???? He’s a HE!!!!” She chuckled and said, “Oh there it is!” Not sure how you missed IT, but whatever!
They brought him by so I could see him before they took him to clean him up and monitor him.
Zach and I had joked the entire pregnancy that it would be great if he had red hair (Zach’s father had red hair into his 20’s, so it was a definite possibility). My sweet pea, indeed had a head full of peach fuzz, red hair!
Zach went with them as they cleaned him and checked him over and they worked on putting me back together.
Now that the emergency was over, what happened was weighing heavily on my mind. I asked my OB if I could have a vaginal birth the next time. He laughed, peeked around the curtain and said, “Next time, already??” then got very serious and said, “Yes, you absolutely can.” And went on to inform me about how he was stitching me so that a VBAC would be possible.
Zach came in and they unstrapped my arm so I could touch K. He was screaming until I placed my finger on his cheek and he immediately stopped. They gave me about 3 more seconds to look at him and then took him back to our room to monitor him.
They moved me to a cleaner bed and bundled me up, as I was starting to get ‘the shakes’ (not sure if from adrenaline, the meds, or what). They began to wheel me back to my room.
I saw my mom first and she had tears in her eyes (I was a c-section baby too, she had prepared for a completely natural birth only to find out I was breech).
They got me set up in my room for recovery, I had to stay there for a couple hours for monitoring because of my c-section. K was in the room with us, but on the other side. They had to keep him under the lights for a bit and monitor him because of labored breathing.
I think it was well over 90 minutes before I actually got to hold him. It was beyond agonizing to just lay there and watch him from across the room.
Finally, I was able to hold him and nurse him. He took to nursing immediately and it was so sweet to be able to finally HOLD him.
They got us set up in our post-partum room and that’s when it set in. We. Were. Parents!
I basically stayed in bed all day that Sunday as friends and family came to visit.
On Monday, I was instructed to walk the halls twice and sit in a chair as much as possible. More friends and family came to visit and it was such a joy to share our sweet boy with them. I also got a shower and, as weird as it sounds, I was scared to! But it felt so good to get refreshed.
Tuesday, I was ordered to walk the halls 5 times – we did it 6 times for good measure.
Wednesday, the nurses showed up at 6am to remove my staples from my incision. We started the check out process and finally got to leave for home shortly after lunch.
Join me next Wednesday, for my thoughts on my c-section (more like my journey of thoughts), including the reason for it, and what I felt I could do to help, in retrospect…