We had a lot of confusion as to when Ember was going to arrive throughout the pregnancy. According to the date of my last period, she was supposed to be here around July 4. According to the ultrasounds, June 16 was D-Day. And then, my blood pressure started staying high, even with meds, so I was scheduled to be induced on June 10. I started out very much against induction, but after a lot of thought, prayer and research, I decided to go along with my doc’s recommendation that we go ahead and get the show on the road.
My husband was a sweetie and made a CD full of baby girl songs that we listened to on the way to the hospital. My OB was there having had to do an emergency C-section a few hours earlier. I was 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced for 3 weeks, and I walked in @ 6 am on June 10th to be induced 1-2 cm dilated with no change my effacement. I’d had some contractions the weekend before. I’d put them at about a 1 on the 1-10 scale. After being checked, I was hooked up to external monitors, as I did not want internal for as long as I could help it. I was having contractions, but not very strong (maybe 2-3), and not at all regular.
My first nurse was a bit daffy and she killed my hand looking for a vein to start the pitocin. She told me to blow out birthday candles through each contraction. Really? I seriously think her digging around for a vein on my hand was the worst pain of the day. She got a nurse anesthetist in to numb me so that an IV could be inserted. She finally got the drip started @ about 7:30 (IV in my outer forearm). Not too long after, my contractions became regular, about 2-3 minutes apart. I think because they started the pitocin drip very low and gradually increased the dosage, I could definitely feel them, but they weren’t so bad. I also got to sit up through them. I’m sure if I was made to lie down on my back or my sides, they’d hurt a lot more. The daffy nurse had to assist in a c-section, so I got what I can only describe as a mad cool nurse. She was great.
Because my doc and the nurses knew that I wasn’t violently opposed to an epidural, the actual anaesthesiologist came in to visit and talk to me about what to expect, should I go ahead and decide to get one. Apparently, and contrary to what I’d heard, there really is no “point of no return”, but if its administered around 8-9 cm, because it takes 10-15 minutes to kick in, it may just be useless to get it. He then informed me that there was a scheduled c-section from 11:30-1:30, so if I wanted one, it either needed to be before 11 am, or after 1:30.
Jeff napped most of the morning, mostly because he hadn’t slept at ALL the night before. I got only about 4 hours myself, so I actually took about a half hour nap before lunchtime. I remember that it was right before lunch because I woke up and was STARVING. I was told not to eat anything before the induction. The night before, I made sure to have a GIANT meal around 8. Beef coconut curry from Pei Wei, and a double scoop waffle cone from Baskin Robins (Chocolate fudge and Reese’s Peanut Butter cup). The next morning, I drank about half a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee in the mornings is what kept me from suffering from the normal…blockage that happens during pregnancy. Those who are up on what can and often does happen on the delivery bed, know what I was trying to avoid. So, STARVING. And they wouldn’t let me eat, should a c-section become imminent. So, my breakfast and lunch were blow pops, and my afternoon snack was three Lifesavers. I didn’t know they changed their 5-flavor lineup. The green was…watermelon? I digress.
My doc came in to check in on me at 12:50. 2-3 cm and maybe 90% effaced. Baby had moved down a bit, but she was less than thrilled with my progress, and broke my water. Again, I wasn’t against that, and I really didn’t want the labor to go into the wee hours. That experience was…interesting. There was considerably more fluid than I was expecting. I asked if my girl would dry out in there, but the doc and the nurse assured me that there was still plenty in there to keep her happy. Cool.
So, I’d read that labor speeds and is intensified when the water breaks. All reports are true. Contractions felt a bit irregular to me, but they hurt (maybe around a 5). A little bit of fear gripped me at this point. They were bearable (who needed a birthing class? I breathed slowly), but I worried that something greater than an 8 might be too much to deal with and all I would remember about my daughter’s birth was how much it hurt, instead of how wonderful it was. I went ahead and let the nurse know to get the anaesthesiologist to come by to give me the epidural. He came in around 2. A couple of sticks, and a really cold sensation for about a second, and by 2:15, my legs were total dead weight. He showed me the button to press to release additional meds and left. Prior to that, having to wheel my IV in with me and messing with all of the monitors to go to the bathroom was a pain in the butt. After that, I got to learn the joy of having a catheter. Then the daffy nurse came back. I am SO glad she wasn’t the one with me through that.
But, my contractions evened out, and were not even noticeable. I was able to nap a little more, and the cool nurse was back. She checked me out, and I was about 3-4 cm and still not a whole lot more effaced. Baby was a little further down. I asked her how common this was with an induction, and she said that this is normal. At 6, my doc came in and said I was a whole 4 cm. She mumbled something about a c-section. Actually she talked about it, but I really didn’t want to hear it, so it sounded a bit muffled. She told us that she would be back at 8 to check, and if I hadn’t progressed significantly, then we’d have to seriously talk about a c-section.
This is where I kinda broke down a bit. I WAS rabidly against having a c-section. 1) Because I really didn’t want to have to have gone through labor just to have a c-section. 2) I didn’t want to have major surgery. I still never do. 3) I was scared. So I cried a little and prayed a lot. At the same time, my epidural was starting to wear off. I questioned having it, as I wondered if that was why I had stalled. I decided to let the pain come through. If for nothing else to reassure myself that things were actually progressing. Contractions were about a 7 on my made up scale. At about 7, I pressed the “more drugs please” button. Just to take the edge off. It didn’t work. So, the nurse anesthetist came back to fiddle with the stuff, and whatever she did helped. I was back to 5’s again. They also gave me an oxygen mask, which I barely used.
Shift change. New nurse, also very cool. At about 8:10, when the doc hadn’t returned she checked me out. Surprise! 10 cm/100% = READY!!! She called the doc in. Doc confirmed that yes, I was in fact ready to go. At this time, I could feel my contractions and they were STRONG. But, because of the fiddle with the epidural, they weren’t painful. I was wondering when the “ring of fire” would come, but it never did. Now, after each 30 seconds of pushing, I breathed in through the oxygen mask. Totally cool nurse was on my left, J was on my right, both cheering me on and counting out each push. I’ll mention that from start @ 6 am to finish after 9 pm, Em was totally non-perturbed about the whole birthing event. Never a drop or spike in her heartrate. Good baby!
After about 45 minutes of pushing, she was out! And screaming to the world that she was HERE! I cried. And was surprised that her cord was such a pretty shade of blue. I’d never given thought to her cord except for worrying about it being wrapped around her neck or tied in a knot. She was kicking around so much that the doc had to be sure her toes weren’t in the way when she cut the cord. Then she went to be cleaned, measured and given her antibiotics for her eyes while the doc messed with all the stuff that comes after the baby. Placenta out. I never even felt it, or saw it but I did ask if it looked ok. Doc said yes. I did NOT have an episiotomy, much to my relief. I did have minor tears in both directions which required stitches. But, because the epidural was still working, I didn’t notice but for the doc requesting sutures. I made sure to ask if they were the dissolvable kind. Yes, they were.
Doc was still working on me when the nurses were done with Em, so Jeff held her. APGAR scores were 9 and 9. I then tried to breastfeed a bit, and while she seemed interested, we just weren’t jiving. No worries. About 10 pm whisked her off to the nursery for a more in-depth looksee. I made Jeff go with, and he stayed for the rest of her measurements and her (*sniffle*) vitamin K shot. I did refuse the Hep B, because now is just not the time for her to have to develop antibodies for a disease that she is completely unlikely to contract. But, for the antibiotic goo and the vitamin K, those aren’t foreign invaders to her body, so those were ok. When they were done messing with her and just started observation, J came back to walk with my transport bed to my recovery room. He then left to go collect my stepdaughter and brother in law so they could see Em for the first time. When he got back, he had already made a slideshow of pictures from the evening. I cried again. So sweet.
In the room, I was greeted by my tech who showed me my lovely collection of girly bit recovery items. This stuff is luxurious, let me tell you. 9_9 Anyhoo, the days in the hospital passed in a blur. Food was bearable to adequate, and I did have Jeff bring me snacks because though I was eating every bite they gave me, I was starving by halfway to the next meal. We did have Em taken to the nursery in the evenings, reasoning that we will have PLENTY of time to have sleepless nights with her and that we may as well rest up while we could. I told the nursery nurses when to bring her to me to eat, and they did just that.
Lactation consultants came in both days. Good thing, because we were having some trouble with latching due to momma and baby problems both. Still not getting the hang of things, and knowing that she was already getting ever so slightly jaundiced, the second consultant recommended 1) Pumping as much as possible 2) Using a nipple shield 3) Giving her everything I could produce first and then supplementing with formula, until my milk came in. Still waiting for that, but I’m currently noshing on hard cut oatmeal with ground flaxseed and blackstrap molasses, with vanilla, cinnamon sugar and raisins to make it slightly more palatable. I’m also taking all my vitamins that I took while pregnant, plus 1000mg of flaxseed oil. I am producing more with the pump, so that’s a good. Hopefully milk will come in this weekend. Em still wants to try to latch, but momma’s parts just aren’t very good for the easy latching, and more often then not, we have a hungry, frustrated and crying baby that WON’T try to latch after not getting it the first 10 or 12 tries. But we keep trying. I told her that we both didn’t come with instructions, and she can’t read, so we’ll figure this out together.
Em was a little jaundiced so we did see her pediatrician the day after we got home, and did go for some labwork. I wonder just where she was in gestation, because she is so small, and just a bit fuzzy, but whatever the case, she was and is happy and healthy. Which is all anyone can ask for. We’ve taken her in the sun quite a few times, and she doesn’t seem so yellow anymore. We’re visiting a lactation consultant tomorrow to work on our latching issues. Otherwise, we are all doing pretty well, and are happy to be dealing with sleep that comes 45 minutes to an hour and a half at a time.