It is hard to believe that my daughter is a year old today! Was it really a year ago that I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting for her to arrive? She was 10 days late. My May baby ended up being a June baby instead. I thought I’d share my birth story.
While I was pregnant I had read so many times that I should create a “birth plan” for my labour and delivery. I think there is some value in having a plan, but when I say having a plan, I mean discussing the “what if” scenarios and maybe a couple extra things. An example of the “what if” scenarios – what if the baby needs to be taken to the ICN, who will go with the baby, who will stay with mom? You hope it won’t happen, but at least you know where everyone is going to be if it does. Other things like do you want an epidural? And who do you want in the delivery room? Those are questions you might want to have answered too and put into your “birth plan”.
Here was my birth plan: I wanted to deliver in the hospital. I wanted an epidural if possible. I wanted my husband by my side, but if I needed my mom I gave myself permission to ask for her to come into the room. I’m glad I didn’t have anything more complicated than that since it probably wouldn’t have happened.
Here’s what did happen:
I was due May 24. It came and went. I was scheduled for an induction for June 3 at 8:00 AM. I was sent in to the hospital for a non-stress test on June 2 just to make sure that the baby was doing ok. This was the third non-stress test I had to do so I was starting to be a pro at them. 🙂 It went well and I was even asked by one of the intern doctors if they could bring in an ultrasound machine so that he could practice identifying the position of the baby for future deliveries he might be involved in. They apparently needed someone very pregnant but not actually in labour. I was the perfect candidate. It was fun seeing the baby in there one last time. We headed home shortly afterwards.
That evening I started getting contractions. They weren’t all that painful, nothing more than menstrual cramps. I’ve probably actually had worse cramps than the contractions I was having. According to the information we were given I was supposed to head to the hospital if the contractions were coming in less than 5 minute intervals. Once they reached 3 minutes on a consistent basis (around 11:00 at night) we decided to head to the hospital. Another non-stress test, a pelvic exam, and I was sent home, being only 2 cm dilated. 😦
The contractions slowed down a bit, but they were enough to keep me from really sleeping that night. They were also enough to dilate me just a little bit more.
Bright and early we drove to the hospital. Another time being hooked up to the machines for a non-stress test. My doctor visited me, confirmed that I was 3 cm dilated, and gave the go-ahead to start pumping me with oxytocin to induce labour. Now we just had to wait for a labour and delivery room to open up. In the meantime, the nurses came to start the IV. Attempt one – not in. Attempt two – not in. Attempt three – it’s in, but it hurts! It ended up hurting the entire day. If I had known better I would have kept on mentioning it until it got fixed.
About an hour or so later I was moved into the labour and delivery room. The wonderful thing about the hospital was that you were able to stay in one room the entire time. The oxytocin was hooked up and we waited for things to start happening. The contractions were still no more than menstrual cramp intensity.
Around noon my doctor stopped by and broke my water. What a weird feeling! It was quite uncomfortable when she used the crochet-like hook to break the membrane and then the warm liquid burst out. It kind of felt like I had just wet myself! About a half hour later that’s when things started happening!
The contractions started coming faster now and a bit more painful (although to be honest I don’t recall any pain since it was overshadowed by what was happening next). I requested my epidural and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, I was in a full blown panic attack!!! It was scary! I had never had a panic attack like that before!!! The nurse was fantastic. She was with me the entire time, helping me get through the intense moments. I was crying. I was trying to breathe. I was crushing my husband’s hand when I contraction would come. I remember the nurse’s calming presence. Her hand on my head. Her gentle voice. (Even now as I’m writing this I’m almost in tears from the memories!) Eventually I calmed down enough and the anesthesiologist was able to give me the epidural. It felt like ice being poured down my back and then no more pain. Breathing returned to normal, crying stopped, and I was able to settle back down again. (As a side note, I was reading somewhere the pros and cons of having an epidural. One thing that was listed as a con was needing a catheter since you can’t really be up an and about. I’m not sure why this was listed as a negative thing. I loved not feeling like I had a full bladder. Anyone who’s been pregnant knows the joys of having the baby sit on her bladder. Haha!)
My parents came for a visit, as did my sisters. It was fun being able to see them and it was a diversion while we were waiting for me to get more dilated.
At 6:00 pm my doctor came back to check on my progress. (I had lots of visits from the nurses in between the doctor’s visits.) It was determined that the baby was sunny side up and I was only about 7 cm dilated and the oxytocin was at a very high dose. They decided to give it a bit more time, increasing the dose of oxytocin, and my doctor would come check again in a couple hours.
In those two hours my feet started swelling and my cervix did too so that by the time my doctor came back I had actually regressed. Now I was only 6 cm dilated! My doctor recommended a c-section. They turned off the oxytocin drip. I was told that there would be a bit of a wait before I would go into the OR because there was one lady in front of me in line. Of course, about 10 minutes later the nurses popped into my room saying that they were waiting for blood work for her and so I was going in right away! Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t do all that well with change…ok, I’m terrible with change…and being pumped up with oxytocin (a stress hormone) I was barely managing to keep calm. My husband changed into scrubs (he looked pretty handsome in them if you ask me) and I was wheeled into the OR.
I lost it when they asked me to move from the bed I was in to the operating table. I had been given an extra dose of the epidural and my feet were so swollen that I could barely move. I started panicking again!!! They tried to distract me and help me calm down, but I couldn’t stop shaking or crying. My husband came into the OR and tried to help calm me down too….
The next thing I knew I was opening my eyes and there was my husband, holding our daughter! They’d had to put me under in order to get me to stop shaking so they could perform the surgery. I asked if the baby was a girl (apparently a few times) and I thanked the anesthesiologist for putting me under and then we moved to the recovery room…where I started having my third panic attack of the day!!! My nose was stuffed and I was having a hard time breathing, the nurses were checking this and that, pushing on my uterus to make sure the bleeding had stopped…I don’t even remember how this panic attack ended, but I guess it did eventually and I was able to hold my daughter for the first time.
She was beautiful! A tiny little perfect baby girl! And she had a beautifully shaped head. I was a mom!
After about an hour we were wheeled into a private room and my parents, my husband’s parents, and my sisters came into the room to meet the newest member of our family. As I remember this part of the day I remember who was there and that there was time when I wasn’t holding my baby, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember anyone holding her. I have pictures, but I guess I was still too drugged up to remember. So strange.
The next morning we were told that the cord had been wrapped around my daughter’s neck a couple times. It really made me appreciate how great it is to have hospitals, doctors, nurses, and epidurals. There seems to be a huge fad for having “natural” births and home births, but there is a reason why there are hospitals and doctors. The panic attacks I could have done without, but that was me and not the “modern medicine’s” fault. My goal for the next time (if/when it comes around) is to be conscious when the baby is born, but at least I know that I’ll be well taken care of.
And now my baby is a year old! Wow! Happy 1st Birthday, Little E!