How I Became a Mommy- Birth Story: Part 2

After a quick drive from the restaurant where I had my last pregnant lady meal, we arrived at the hospital in the rain. J and I grabbed the bags and walked into the main doors of the hospital. On our tour, they told us to come in the emergency entrance and pick up the "Stork Line" phone to call the birthing center and let them know we were there. We weren't sure what to do since it was a planned appointment for induction, so we just went in the emergency room doors and were greeted by a security guard. He showed us the phone and quickly offered me a wheelchair; I don't think he realized I wasn't actually in labor!

After announcing our arrival on the "Stork Line" and making our way through the hospital we arrived in the birthing center at about 5:30 pm. I was late for the 5:00 pm appointment, but figured it didn't really matter because the baby would come out one way or the other even if we were late. We waited for about 15 minutes before being escorted down the hall to Room 9. It was surreal walking in and seeing the little warmer in the corner thinking our little one would be born in this room! We got settled, I changed into my own pajamas to be as comfortable as possible that night, and then we waited for the nurse to come in for the initial exam. She checked me out and confirmed that I was still 0 cm. dilated. Sigh. It was going to be a long night...

The induction got started. I was strapped up to the he monitors and the nurse put the Cervidil in place. The monitors showed that I was having some contractions that I couldn't feel too much, and the nurse said they were about 3 minutes long. Because they were most likely due to mild dehydration, they gave me a bag of IV fluids. At this point there wasn't much to be done since the Cervidil had to stay in place for 12 hours unless active labor came during that timeframe. J hung out with me for awhile, and my parents stopped in for a visit. I ate my little bag of pretzels with peanut butter and sipped on some water. I did not want to have to get up to use the restroom since it meant unhooking the monitors and dragging the IV pole in there with me, so I stayed put and watched some tv before sending J home to get some rest. I'd like to say I slept well that night to save up some rest, but I was much too anxious. I kept listening to the baby's heartbeat on the monitor, the sounds in the corridors, and the thunderstorm outside. Worst of it all was that everytime I rolled over due to a leg or hip cramp, the monitor would move and the nurse would have to come in to readjust the straps. I must have slept about 1.5 hours total in between episodes of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. It all seems a blur now, but it was a very long, tiring night.

The sun came up and my nurse came in to say good morning. After an exam to see if the Cervidil had done it's job, she said "well, you're still at 0 cm." The good news is that I was having regular contractions on the monitor. I still couldn't really feel them but she could tell that something was going on so I was a little hopeful. She gave me exactly 30 minutes to shower, change into a gown and get back in bed before the Pitocin started. I got ready and snuck a granola bar for breakfast. I knew it would be a long day and I didn't think a liquid diet was a huge deal since I was still at 0 and would have plenty of time to digest it. What a rebel, huh? Nurse Lauren wished me luck and introduced Nurse Sarah who would be with me on the day shift, and hopefully for the birth of our baby!

J arrived for the day looking excited and nervous. I filled him in on the lack of activity overnight and we waited for the show to begin. After I got settled they started the Pitocin and explained that they would increase it slowly in increments of two to see how I would respond. We got started at about 7:15 AM, as I sat and waited to feel the contractions come on. Around 8:45 AM my OB arrived, and did another exam. She was excited by the progress on the monitors and said "I think you were ready to go. This baby just needed a little nudge." She told me that I had dilated to about 1.5 cm. and that she was going to break my water to speed things up. It surprised me when she said this and the gravity of the moment didn't really hit me until later. Once she broke my water there was no turning back. I'd be leaving this hospital with my baby in my arms! I remember the gush and looking at J after the doctor left the room. It all seemed so surreal... I got a little nervous because they saw some light meconium staining and at first weren't even sure if that's what it was. The OB said she wouldn't be surprised given that I was a week overdue, but it didn't seem bad. Some more contractions and fluid confirmed it, and I was told that they'd need to carefully suction out the baby's mouth when he/she was born in case of any ingestion. Sarah told me that some babies inhale before that first cry which can make things worse, and in some cases would need to be monitored in the NICU if anything got into the lungs. I hoped for the best and tried not to worry about this. My OB talked to me about pain management and told me to speak up when things got intene, because Pitocin is known to create some aggressive contractions. She left and told me she'd see me later.

Over the next two hours things really picked up. I started to feel the contractions getting stronger and stronger. I was talking with J and watching tv. J called my parents to tell them that the OB had broken my water and that I was having contractions now. I was able to manage them laying in bed for awhile, but was getting uncomfortable. Each contraction would cause another gush of fluid. I remember wondering how much could possibly be left in there and also wondering how some women say they didn't notice their water breaking. To me it is a completely different sensation than peeing your pants and there is no possible way to confuse the two! Soon the contractions became a lot more aggressive. J helped me get out of bed and unhook the monitors for a minute so I could walk around the room a bit dragging my IV pole behind me. The first contraction that hit after I got out of bed showed me that this wasn't going to be easy. I pretty much had to stay at bedside if I didn't want to leave a trail of amniotic fluid all over my hospital room. I made one last attempt at getting into the bathroom when I realized that my mucous plug had come out (ew!). I knew I was dilating even more and that things were working.

Sarah helped me onto the birthing ball after cleaning up the messy trails I was leaving around the room, and I spent the next hour or so rocking and swaying my hips through each contraction. The contractions were becoming stronger to the point that I didn't want to talk very much and just had to focus. J sat in the corner and waited for me to ask him for help. He busied himself by playing on his iPhone and taking pictures on my camera. I hooked up my iPod and started the hypnobabies track and just tried to focus on that instead of the pain. Hypnobabies was like magic; I was able to tune everything out for awhile and really manage the contractions for awhile. And then I felt a sensation I hadn't felt since the first trimester and yelled "hand me that cup!" Enter nausea...

On the birthing ball, puke cup in hand. Glamorous.
Sometime later, I was back in bed trying not to puke. Contractions were coming much stronger and closer now. I really didn't have much time to warm up to this whole labor thing like I pictured. I thought I'd be spending time at home managing the small contractions before it was time to go to the hospital. I had to face them head on in Room 9 at that hospital. It had only been about 2 hours and I went from no pain to very intense pain in that small window of time. My parents arrived and came back to the room to see how things were going.  J and my mom were sitting on one side of the room hanging out, and my dad was in the armchair on the other side of the room. I think my dad was nervous and uncomfortable seeing me in pain, and kept asking questions about the monitors beeping, what the birthing ball was for, etc. I recall that as much as I wanted my parents to be there, I really just wanted everything to be totally quiet and not have to talk to anyone or be distracted. I couldn't really talk much at this point and was trying to get back into my Hypnobabies trance, but was in a lot of pain. I couldn't focus knowing that there were people in the room just staring at me even when I had my eyes closed. J could sense that I was uncomfortable, and was about to speak up when I was able to muster "Mom, I think you guys need to leave." They kissed me and left me to relax.

The nurse came in a little while later to check things out and asked if I had thrown up. I told her I almost did and that had I eaten something probably would have. She said "I'll bet your five. Most women start throwing up around five." They told me that they were going to check things out again, and I remember this exam being verrrrrry uncomfortable. My contractions were about 2 minutes long with maybe 30 seconds between them and I was in pain. She couldn't quite reach my cervix to tell, but thought I was about 5 and 1/2 to 6 cm. I'd gone from 0 to 5 1/2 in just about 3 hours. Because of the intensity of the contractions at that point, they turned off the Pitocin since I was progressing pretty well. She told me to try to relax, but the pain was intense. In my mind, I knew that a natural child birth was out of the question for me once that drip got started due to the instensity of the contractions it is known to cause. I made it a goal to get to 5-6 cm. before getting an epidural, so when I heard her say that I was only at 5 1/2 and not the 8 or 9 that I felt I should be given how strong and fast these contractions were I asked for the epidural. I didn't want to get it any sooner than 5 cm. for risk of stalling labor so to me "almost 6" was good enough. She asked if I was sure and I said yes. I knew without a doubt that there was no way I'd make it to ten cm. without one...

Nurse Sarah went off to order the epi and another nurse that was helping out on the busy floor that day told me they were finishing up one now and then had to do a c-section first, and would come to me as soon as they could.. The next hour or so was a blur of pain. Every second felt like minutes. J didn't know what to do since not much could comfort me, so we just waited there together quietly until the team of anesthesiologists wheeled in the big old epi cart and Sarah asked J to leave the room...    

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How I Became a Mommy- Birth Story: Part 1

It is hard to believe that our little boy is already 8 weeks old. You hear everyone say "enjoy them while they're little. It goes by fast" and know they're right, but have no idea how much so until you see it before your very eyes. I am enjoying every day with our wee one and am loving this mommy thing! Before time gets away from me, I wanted to reflect on those last days of pregnancy and the adventures of bringing this baby into the world. Our birth story was not exactly what I pictured it would be like, but it is ours and perfect in it's own way. Here goes...

My due date was Monday, August 8th. I tried to work as long as I could up to the due date. I started to get the stares from co-workers and the comments like "you're STILL here?" when I would show up for work every morning, and it started to wear on me. I finally got the okay to work from home for week 39 of my pregnancy, but wasn't getting much done because I just could not focus. I had an OB appointment on the 2nd, and my doctor said I was slightly effaced, but not dilated a single bit. She did say that the baby's head was "right there" and that the late ultrasounds I had were probably right- this was going to be a big baby. Because of the size (they estimated baby was 8 lbs. 10 oz. at almost 39 weeks), she talked to me about the need to schedule an induction. This was a topic I really wanted to avoid, but due to some minor complications I had during pregnancy I knew that an induction would probably be likely. The doctor took a look at the calendar, her on call schedule, and went to her office to call the hospital. She came back in the room and announced "August 10th at 5:00 pm. Unless baby comes before that, we'll see you at the hospital at that time." She was hopeful that things would change over the course of the next few days and told me to stay at home and take it easy.

I went home and sent out a few final e-mails, activating the official "out of office" notice. I got busy nesting. I cleaned each nook and cranny of this house, and then cleaned them again. I finished up some projects that had been on my to do list for awhile, and even did some leftover wedding scrapbooking from our wedding almost 3 years ago! I was ready for the 8th and for this baby to come. I went for long walks every morning while the August temps weren't TOO bad, and caught up on the DVR. J and I went out for what we thought might be our last weekend dinner out as a twosome, and just enjoyed the quiet before the storm.

Monday, August 8th came and went. I woke up that morning and thought "well, baby will either be born on it's due date or officially late." I had been having some minor crampinng and tightening across my belly, but wondered if it was just Braxton-Hicks contractions and nothing to speak of. I waited for some new sensations to come over me, got excited with each trip to the potty that a sign of my mucous plug would indicate some dilation, etc. But as you may have guessed... nothing.

I started to really get nervous that week about the possibility of an induction. I heard lots of things about Pitocin making contractions unbearable, complicating breastfeeding, and leading to a higher chance of c-sections in the case of a failed induction. Each day that week I woke up in the morning feeling a little disappointed that nothing had happened overnight. I was getting more and more worried when baby wasn't showing any signs of showing up and that probably didn't help things. I felt as though scheduling an induction for 2 days after the due date wasn't giving Baby enough chance to come on his/her own, and felt that he/she would show up when it was "time." Aren't due dates just a best guess anyway?! I ended up calling the doctor and telling them that I would need to schedule another weekly appointment because I wanted to give the baby another week, and that I did not plan on showing up for the induction on the 10th. I was met with a bit of resistance from the nurse who answered the phone, but I didn't care. It's my body, my baby and my decision and something was telling me to wait.

I had an OB appointment the next morning and happily climbed up onto the table expecting my doctor to tell me that I was at least 1 cm. dilated. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. My doctor told me I was still at zero, and we talked about my wanting to hold off on the induction. What I learned that day was that she would have to induce me no later than the start of my 41 week mark. Because of the complications I was having, it was safer to induce me than to leave the baby in there- not to mention this baby was just going to keep growing. I really wanted to try for a normal delivery, and that probably wouldn't be possible if the baby got much bigger. So, I left the office with a new induction date, Sunday, 8/14, with my doctor and I hoping that baby would come well before that.

That is when the days started running together and my life started to feel a bit like "Groundhog Day." I continued my walks around the neighborhood, drank my red raspberry leaf tea, and watched a lot of crappy daytime tv. I'd go to bed hoping to feel something overnight, and wake up in the morning only to start the cycle over again. By Friday, I had it. I got in the shower that morning and cried my eyes out in frustration. I just had a feeling that the baby wasn't going to show up before Sunday, and that an induction (and likely a c-section) might be in the cards for me. I let that idea sink in a bit, and tried to make peace with the possibility deciding that maybe it was meant to be. I tried to let go of the disappointment I felt that I wouldn't be able to  call my husband at work or wake him up to tell him "it's time." I wouldn't have to use those towels or extra pair of shorts I had put in the car on the 4th of July in case my water broke while I was out somewhere. There would be no calls to my parents telling them to hurry up and pack the car, and I wouldn't feel those twinges of pain across my belly realizing that I might actually be in labor. I figured if baby was to come on his/her own, than so it would be and if not I'd just pack my bag and show up on Sunday.

Saturday came and went...Nothing.

Sunday morning I woke up, got showered and dressed for the day, went to one last breakfast out at my favorite little creperie, and came home to pack up the car. Later that afternoon, my parents pulled in the driveway (a perk to scheduling an induction is that out of town relatives have plenty of time to get here), and we reviewed a few housekeeping items before heading out the door to grab one last bite to eat before it was time. After a quick bowl of soup at the restaurant, J and I got in the car and were on our way to Fairview Hospital. It was official - I would not go into labor on my own but the joy and anticipation that I would soon meet this little baby inside me was all I could feel...