Monday I talked to my older sister about shooting some maternity pics and a few hours later I started contracting..
Funny thing is, I didn't think I was contracting...I couldn't be...maybe I was constipated or something...(yes,I just used the word constipated in a blog- get over it!) I tried not to think too much of it. I went to my little sister's gender announcement party for her coming addition and they started to get a little worse. My older sister (who is also a Labor and Delivery Nurse) tried to help me time them. She put her hand on my hard as a rock belly and said that they were definitely contractions... I kept trying to track them, but they weren't steady...
Sleep evaded me that night. I would get to sleep for an hour or two and have a few contractions, get ready to try to time them thinking they were steady only to have them stop- the same process would repeat many times...
I walked all day on Tuesday hoping that things would get steady...and I was MISERABLE! I was exhausted from no sleep and the unsteady contractions would go from being super painful to annoying like a toothache or would stop all together for a few hours...
Right before I got ready to teach voice lessons for the day I sat on the couch in the living room and felt a tiny gush of water...nothing too extreme, in fact I wouldn't have thought anything of it if it hadn't been for the fact that my contractions seemed to get worse a few hours later.
My friend Erica came over that night and visited with me. All the while my personal nurse (AKA my older sister Amber) was calling me from her shift at the hospital trying to convince me to go up for a labor check...
I really didn't want to for a few reasons:
1) I didn't want to go up to the hospital and be told that I was just constipated or something and not in labor
2) It was about 3 and 1/2 weeks too soon for this baby to be making a grand entrance, therefore impossible that I was in labor
3) I didn't want to go, have them tell me that yes, I was in labor, but I would have to go home until contractions were steady...
I decided to wait it out. I called and left my midwife a message and since we had an appointment the next morning, I would let her do the labor check...
8:45 yesterday morning rolls around. My husband hesitantly went off to school and my personal nurse decided to join me at the doctor's office...
I'm kind of glad she did because I wouldn't have known where to begin...
We listened to baby's heartbeat, it was fine and my midwife decided to test and see if I was leaking amniotic fluid...she didn't even have to stick the paper all the way in, it was VERY positive...my water had either broken or I had a tear in the sack. She checked me. I was 75% effaced, but only dilated to a 1. She sent me right up to the hospital.
She felt horrible because my lack of contractions and my broken water meant I would absolutely have to have Pitocin. I told her I was okay with that because I knew it was necessary for my safety and baby's safety. My only problem with Pitocin was the use of it to "speed things along" unnecessarily like some OB's try to do.
Besides...at this point I'd already been in labor for over 24 hours and dealing with no sleep and crappy contraction patterns...I was just ready to be done and I knew this would be the only way.
I got to Mountainview and they hooked me up to moniters...apparently I was having contractions and they were pretty steady but I just wasn't feeling them- ergo they weren't doing anything.
Then came the dreaded bag of Pitocin...it actually took a few hours before I started feeling the contractions. The nurses were surprised at my level of pain tolerance, the Pitocin was pretty high before I felt the contractions.
After about 6 hours on Pitocin I felt another large gush of water. We assumed that was my water breaking the rest of the way. I got on the birthing ball for about an hour to try to help manage the pain (since I couldn't do the tub like I'd been planning on because the baby had to be on constant monitoring to ensure she was handling the Pitocin alright) My midwife came in to check me and was helping me off the birthing ball when Niagra Falls gushed...I swear I stood there for 3-5 minutes as water went all over the place. I was so embarrassed and apologized through my tears. My midwife simply said that there were towels that could clean up the water, and we needed to look at our bright sides: 1) the fluid was all very clear and 2) with the water completely broken for sure things should move along faster.
Then came the sad part...she checked me and I was only about 2 or 2 and 1/2 cm dilated. My contractions started getting more unbearable, though I refused to admit that the pain was a 10 even though it was...tears kept flowing and, of course, they only made the contractions worse because I was all tense because I was crying....Jeff was, in short, amazing. I told him that I didn't think I could do this, he quietly kept assuring me that I was doing awesome and he was on the ball. If I needed anything he was quick to be there. Anytime I was in pain as they checked me or as contractions got worse I would close my eyes and all of a sudden I would feel his hand wrapped around mine. I definitely couldn't have done it without him.
Although I was on Pitocin, I was trying to be gung ho about the no epidural thing... however, after about 10 hours on Pitocin, being so exhausted I could barely see straight, and having contractions that were about 3 times more painful than regular ones stacked right on top of each other- and not causing much cervical change to boot... I knew I couldn't do it...it broke my heart, I felt completely defeated, but I knew that if I was going to have to labor through the night (and I would have to) I needed to be able to get some sleep.
We tried Fentanyl before the epidural. It worked for about an hour and then I was a weepy, sobbing, wet mess again. My knees were starting to bruise from me having Jeff do counterpressure on them to help mitigate the pain of the contractions. My nurse came in and we had a chat about how I wasn't doing anything wrong to have the epidural; in fact, my nurse noted how surprised she and all the other nurses had been that I had lasted as long as I had. They didn't doubt that I could go all the way, but they knew because I'd been in labor since Monday I would likely be way too exhausted to push when the time came. She quietly kept assuring me that I was making the right decision.
Of course, I was a sobbing mess, I felt defeated and of course the crying made the contractions worse so I cried harder because I was in constant pain...
It honestly felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when the Anesthesiologist came in. However, he was very slowly preparing everything and I had about 6 contractions by the time he got the ball rolling.
The worst part of the epidural was the numbing shot. He called it a killer bee sting and boy howdy he wasn't lying...however, once that was set and numbing everything I didn't even feel the rest. He was even pleased with the fact that his test dose actually worked right away and I was immediately feeling some relief.
It ended up being a huge blessing that I had the epidural. My midwife and my nurse were able to do what they had been wanting to do but were too afraid to do while I was in pain...they turned the epidural down and slowly started to turn it back up so that they could get the contraction patterns steady and effective, they were also able to place a special electrode to measure the contractions more effectively because the external monitor wasn't picking up my contractions correctly and I wasn't getting credit on the monitors for how bad the contractions really were.
When the electrode was placed my midwife saw the level of my contractions and told me how amazed she was that I had waited as long as I did for the epidural...
They turned down the Pitocin and slowly started to turn it back up in hopes of getting a steady pattern going. It worked, but it still took until about midnight before I was dilated to a 4. About an hour later I was a 5...and baby got lower and lower and lower.
By 6:30 I was completely dilated, but the nurse didn't want me to push without my midwife and was concerned because I still had a lip of cervix on one side. She decided to let me labor down- this means that she decided to let my body try to push the baby down as low as she could possibly get before I did too much work to try to move her down on my own.
By 7 I was dying! The had asked me to stop pushing the renew button for my epidural because they wanted me to be able to push effectively and, while it wasn't painful like a contraction, the pressure was almost unbearable! I had to push- but my midwife wasn't there yet...she was on her way but no one could say how far away she was.
I cried tears of anger and relief when she walked through the door at 7:30, I couldn't wait anymore to push! She checked me, or should I say she barely stuck her two fingers in and said, "I'm sorry I took so long! Baby is right there isn't she!?" We got ready to push right away.
It felt good to push, it relieved a lot of the pain until I got to the famous "ring of fire" section of the birth when the baby's head has finally made it past the pubic bone...
However, apparently I am a rock star- everyone was shocked that I had her out after only 30 minutes of pushing. Most first time mom's push for hours. Part of me thinks its because by the time I was able to push the majority of the epidural had worn off so I was really, really able to feel how and where to push.
Baby came out and they laid her on my chest for about 2.2 seconds. She was small enough that my midwife knew she couldn't let me hold her at first. They had a respiratory therapist waiting in the room while I pushed and he immediately went to work. Considering how early she was, they weren't surprised she was having a little trouble breathing and had been preparing me for it since I had been admitted to the hospital the previous morning.
I think the only thing I wasn't prepared for was not being able to hold her. I didn't even get a good look at her face. All I had was pictures that my husband brought over to me... the lucky duck could walk and stand, I unfortunately could not.
Jeff came back to me and made sure I was okay before asking to go be with the baby. I told him to go.
There were concerns of infection because my water had started to break so long before the actual delivery took place, and of course there were the previously mentioned breathing problems...the breathing problems weren't too bad, her lungs were simply a little "stiff" and she needed to have some help to keep them pushed open at first.
I finally got to hold her at 2 PM. The NICU nurse is awesome. She also gave us a very positive update. Baby is almost weaned off the oxygen, has been able to suck on a pacifier, and the labs they have gotten back so far have pointed to no infection. There is one more lab that take 48 hours to get back, if that one is clear I should be able to take her home when I go home on Saturday.
I too am on infection watch because of my water being broken for so long, so I have to stay at the hospital for 48 hours as well.
Hopefully I will be able to go in and try to feed her sometime later this evening. The pediatrician has her on a sugar IV fluid that has made her not very hungry because they needed to keep her blood sugar up in case she wasn't breathing well enough on her own to feed, but they suspect she is and will be ready any time now...I'm just waiting for them to come get me.
Well, that is how my last few days have gone...who knew things could get so interesting so quickly!?
Hugs and baby kisses until next time darlings!