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After an extended period of prodomal labor, I spent most of my time at home writing off the 3-5 minute apart contractions I had been experiencing for literally WEEKS. Some were tolerable, others very painful. I decided to forget going into REAL labor anytime soon.
Fast forward to Friday, July 23rd, 2010.
Around 2 pm, after going to a staff meeting for my work, I started noticing a different TYPE of contraction. They were painful, but again, tolerable. They were considerably lower than before. I had been 2cm dilated and 100% effaced for the last week and a half, and after having my 38 week appointment with my OB on Thursday, I was so bummed that my cervix hadn't made a change from the week before, despite the contractions.
The different contractions continued into the evening and I started cleaning things when the night started dragging on. I posted about my contractions picking up-- becoming less tolerable and more frequent and intense. I was so hesitant to wake my husband because he was scheduled to work at 4 am. I didn't want to go to labor and delivery if I was just going to be sent home (as all of the other times) and I definitely didn't want my husband to have to get little sleep for no reason. He would still need to work and I would be frustrated for him. So I waited it out. 11 pm rolled around and my husband emerged from the bedroom, used the bathroom and then stood in the hallway and stared at me. I spent the last two good hours hunched over the couch in a heap of pain my knees. I was working through contractions and I just felt so frustrated. How was I supposed to get through the evening with these?
We decided it best to get checked, just in case, and we did.
The nurses and the laborist doctor were awful. My contractions were 3 minutes apart, 60 seconds long and HURT me. The tocometer at the hospital was positioned funny and did not pick up a single contraction. I had been there so many times and I KNEW what they looked like. Even my very early, small contractions registered on the monitor in the past. The very rude triage nurse 'reassured me' that I was NOT having contractions as the monitor was not showing them and my belly would harden if I were. Well two moments later I had another contraction and practically forced her to feel it physically. She looked at the monitor, looked at me, and shrugged me off. When she left, I fixed the positioning of the tocometer and ta-da! My contractions shaped up like giant jagged mountains on the screen. I was so pleased so at least PROVE something. I had been checked at arrival and of course, was only 2 cm and 100%. Michael looked at me like, here we go again, and then we waited. The rude nurse returned about 20 minutes after I adjusted the monitor and said with a surprised look on her face, "Look! NOW you're having contractions. We'll check you in an hour and see if you're progressing. If no change, you will go home."
Well needless to say, I was incredibly irritated that she had changed her tune because the monitor finally showed what I had been feeling, but I hoped and prayed I had change. In my heart I knew I wouldn't for some reason. I was checked at 4 am, and sent home with an injection of Phenergan (I hadn't slept and I was in SO much pain still). They told me that they thought my boy was TOO BIG and that he was not moving into the pelvis like he should. I told them over and over that MY doctor never once said he was big. How can this be? I was so exhausted that I just took that as a reason to go home and hope for more change and out we went...
I was completely out of my mind drunk from that injection, but managed to wake at most of my contractions which continued through the night.
Saturday, July 24th-- Orion's birthday!
I woke up with contractions that were just as bad as the night before. I think being 'done' was the easiest way I could put how I felt. My mom called me around 12 noon and I was extremely short with her when she asked what would happen next. I started crying, told her I didn't know but I can't talk anymore and I hung up on her... my poor mom!
Afterwards, trying to calm myself, I called my husband at work and asked him to just come home; even if it were for just an hour for his lunch. He came home and said he was home for the afternoon.
I had noticed most of the morning that my boy wasn't moving as much. In fact, I had barely felt him. I started probing and poking him and I barely got a response. This started to worry me. I felt like we needed to DO something. We called the on-call doctor, who ALSO told me (to my irritation) that I was NOT in labor because 'something would have happened by now-- like your water breaking'.. FINE, but the baby is different, I told her. She told me to get his heart tones checked.
Back to the hospital we go, hanging our heads in shame.
While the 30 minute driving pursued, something CHANGED.
My contractions got harder and deeper and low, low, LOW into my belly. The tightening was different and I started panting to get through them. They were one-after-another and all over the place in length of times they lasted. Driving through the parking lot of the hospital, Michael went over the last speed bump....
"Umm.." I said urgently.
My husband stared at me, 'What?"
"I'm almost positive my water broke."
I reached down and felt the wetness and looked at my fingers. I smelled them. It didn't smell like anything. More trickling.
"Yes, I definitely broke it. I'm sure."
More contractions. Oh man these were hurting!
"Yay!!" he exclaimed as we parked, "Are you sure?"
I nodded as I stood. I expected a huge gush, but I just got another trickle. Because of everything i began to doubt I was right.
We checked in and made our way to a room. My nurse had my give her my wet panties to test for fluids. As I stood in the bathroom offering them in my gown, a DOWNPOUR occurred right over the floor drain and my water came out like a waterfall. She stopped swabbing my panties and put her items down. "I don't need to test THAT. Let me get you admitted. It's baby time!"
I don't remember the order of things necessarily as my contractions started to get intense. Michael made phone call after phone call to confirm FINALLY we were in labor! We got put into a new room, I was in bed immediately. They asked me if I wanted my epi if my doctor would allow it-- I nodded through the pain. YES. Please! My doctor happened to be out of town this weekend but the on-call doctor ( the one who told me something would have happened 4 hours ago would be delivering me. ha! In your FACE!) would be there for me. Alright , then.
My contractions were hard but all over the place. They trended in a piggy-back manner with no break and then a very long (3-5 min) break in between. My IV got started (ouch! My hand was so sensitive to it!) and they told me that I had to wait for it to bolus the liter and then I could have my epidural. The anesthesiologist had been called, though and was on his way next. Checked first-- 5 cm. The nurse seemed excited and shocked. Yay!
The anesthesiologist came in whistling with a smile on his face shortly after that, shaking my husbands hand and walking me through everything. Lying on my side was the hardest part for me-- my aching hips would not allow it. Curling my legs to my chest? Forget it! I managed though; mostly because I really wanted the darn epi! He told me to practice staying VERY still during my contractions. It was so hard, but I knew the epidural would make me feel so much better.
He warned me of the burning, the pinching, the 'electric shock' I might feel-- none of it hurt. He praised me for not moving and not flinching. 2 contractions and 10 minutes later, I was in HEAVEN. It was the best I had felt in MONTHS. My back didn't hurt, my hips didn't hurt. I felt great!
They checked me again because my contractions were changing-- I was at a 7! I had just spoken to both of my parents and told them it could be awhile-- and now we were calling them back saying, "Come now-- 20 minutes had passed and I progressed to a 7!"
To give an accurate time accounting, my water broke at a quarter to 5 pm. It was 6:30 now.
They hooked an amnio-infusion to me-- giving the baby fluids internally to keep him comfortable. His heart tones sounded perfect and he had moved down some. They never gave me proper station numbers, but assured me we were on our way.
around 7:15, I started grunting and fighting the urge to push. It felt like I was holding pee and trying super hard not to pee myself. I realized that was what my contractions felt like, and they were nearly constant. Then, that feeling.... like you have to poop! I felt that and tried and tried to hold off on pushing. My nurse decided to call my on-call doctor, and then advised we would try pushing. 7:30 pm. We started pushing and pushing.
And pushing. And pushing. My nurse was great! I barely felt the pain or discomfort or burning or pressure she told me I might feel and she was such a cheerleader. My boy's head would show just a tad and Michael's face would light up. "I can see his head! He has hair... A lot.. It's black." I started getting excited. I then realized the pain in my shoulders was starting to really hurt, though. Not back spasms.. Not again... I tried to not use my shoulders to push with. I tried to think relaxing, tense-free thoughts. The spasms started occurring along both shoulder blades and became so painful almost instantly. Pushing started to become unbearable and not for the reasons you would think!
Michael stopped holding my right leg and started to rub my shoulders. We were pushing but I was losing steam and became riddled with back pain that I could barely breathe through. I wore an oxygen mask at this point so I wouldn't hyperventilate.
The nurse called my doctor, who arrived shortly after. She watched me push a few times, decided I needed help. 2 hours had go by and we'd barely made progress. The pushing didn't hurt; but the pressure was intense for sure. He kept popping out to crown but would descend back in. The doctor told me he was stuck on my pubic bone and that we needed to push past it. We tried- and tried... Finally, she said it was time for some interventions. She told us, very somberly, that we can try using the vacuum. But she also warned of complications (breaking bones being one of them) as well as that she could only pull him 3 times total before she would request we go to c-section.
Alright, it's go time then!
We tried the first time. So close.. I could FEEL him getting close to full crowning. It burned mildly (a lot less than I thought; wasn't that supposed to be the ring of fire??) and there was intense pressure.. But still, he would not come. We tried a second time.. Same thing, but Michael said he was even closer to coming out. My shoulders hurt so bad, I was in tears. I wanted to push and knew I could do better but my shoulders were so painful that they were prohibiting me from progressing. I cried and said I could have him by now if it weren't for the shoulder pain! The room flooded with people-- 2 neonatal caretakers, another nurse, and another nurse to assist the doctor.
"Kim, this is the last time I can help you. After this, we have to go to surgery if you can't get him out. I need you to pull out whatever reserves you have left and push as hard as you possibly can. Alright?"
I waited. I waited through 2 contractions. Everyone was silent. The nurses watched me breathe through 2 contractions. "Are you feeling those, Kim?" I was; I just wanted a really strong one. At this point, they had hooked me up to some pitocin to give me some edge on the contractions. I felt a really intense one coming along and I pushed. They counted.. I pushed, pushed , pushed... VERY STRONG pressure and burning. His head is OUT! Lots of yelling, encouragement. The nurse on my left stands on a stool and starts pressing my stomach. My husband's mouth is at my ear, telling me come on, he's almost out! And then I closed my eyes and pushed with all I had left...
He was out! All at once. Neck, shoulders, body... I knew I tore.
They placed him on my chest after what seemed like forever (DH says it was about 10 seconds; she had to remove the vacuum from his head) and I started BAWLING! I kept saying, "I can't believe he's real!" over and over. Michael was kissing my face and telling me great job while I touched Orion. He was beautiful! A head full of hair, all his fingers (I counted!) and crying. He was just perfect.
The time was 10:09 pm and he weighed 7 lbs 14 oz. So much for this HUGE baby I did have trouble getting him out, but he was not huge. He was 19 inches. I just loved him the moment I saw him. Michael said he was beautiful. We cried. We looked at him in amazement. Apgar scores of 8 and 9. What a beautiful little man!
It turns out that I did tear-- A second degree tear. I also bled significantly and there was talk of a transfusion. But fortunately my weak uterus started going to work to stop bleeding. The placenta was delivered about 5 minutes after Orion. My doc stitched me up. I held my boy, and all was right in the world!
What an amazing story, Kim! It made me teary eyed! Our stories have some similar parts, my son got stuck in my pelvis too and I was lucky enough to get a second degree tear But anyway, beautiful story, thank you for sharing!
Mama to Jackson (23 months)
Fiance to Matthew
Yup, I agree with everyone else, this birth story makes me teary-eyed too! You had such a challenging time, and you did such a great job. Congratulations on finally being able to just hold your sweet little boy! He is beautiful.
Your story got me all emotional and teary-eyed!! After such a long and hard labor, Congratulations on your little man!!! He is so adorable!!
I'm sorry the hospital staff was so rude to you and no one believed you were in labor. What a terrible feeling to know you're having contractions but having no one believe you and confirm it ... especially the people who are trained for this!!
I'm glad you're both doing well now! Congrats again!!
Thank you so much to Typical Vampire for my awesome siggie!!