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I always thought the first thing I would do when I got home from the hospital would be to write up my “birth story”. The tale of how Lucas finally made his way into the world. I didn’t really expect it to be as hard and traumatic as it ended up being and I think it took a few days for it to sink in how scary it all was.
Because I had Gestational Diabetes, my doctors didn’t want me going much over 40 weeks. There are a lot of risks of having a large baby or the placenta beginning to break down. My due date came and went on the 5th and early on September 7th we had our last OB appointment. I was only 1cm dilated and about 70% effaced, my cervix was “unfavorable.” Still, my doctor really thought it was time to get him out of me, and said the risks (an emergency C-section) far out weighed the risks of him staying put so she scheduled me to go in that night. I was penciled in for 6pm with the instruction to call at 5:30 to be sure there was a room for me. So I did as I was told, and they asked me to come in at 7 – since that is when the nurse shift change began. I said sure, and Noah and I both took a little nap on the couch and enjoyed our last few minutes of quiet “us” time.
We went in at 7pm and were taken to my room. UVA hospital is set up that you labor and deliver in the same room and then they move you to your recovery room. My nurse came in shortly after and introduced herself as Deidre. She had an accent that I found out was Jamaican and from my understanding has been an OB nurse for long time, but was new to UVA hospital. Therefore, she was still being “orientated” by Lori – who came in to introduce herself soon after. Lori was wonderful, exactly what you would want in a nurse, Deidre not so much.
Let’s start with I undressed, but the gown on and laid down on the bed. Deidre began feeling my belly and got a look of concern on her face. She asked me when the last time I had an ultrasound was. I explained it was at week 22 and wanted to know why. She said that the baby felt really wide to her and she thought he had turned sideways. I had only been there five minutes at this point! I told her that I had an exam that morning and the doctor felt his head – so as of that morning he was head down and ready to go. She was like “Well, I’ll get an ultrasound…” ok… I knew he hadn’t moved; he had been in same position for months!
It took about 2 hours setting up and explaining legal things to me. I signed a bunch of waivers, was told the rules of the hospital/maternity wing. MeanNurse tried twice to get my IV in and missed both times. It hurt so badly. My hand is still bruised, 9 days later. My doctor came in and examined me and told me the baby’s head was still down in the same position. She then gave me my options for inducement.
Since I was only 1 cm dilated, they didn’t want to start me on the Pitocin right away. She felt that would be too much for me and the little guy. She gave me two options, one was to insert a balloon type of thing into my cervix to try and get it to open more. The other was to take Misoprostol – which is a small pill they deposit on my cervix. Lori was standing behind Dr. Reddick nodding her head up and down. She was like “Well, as an OB nurse, of those two... go with the Miso…” My doctor looked at her like “don’t advise her!” but I had already heard enough and said that I wanted the Miso. Dr. R said she would have made the same decision and they go get things set up.
Meanwhile Mean Nurse is still trying to get a baseline of the baby’s heartbeat and isn’t succeeding. She isn’t talking a lot, just staring at the monitor. The doctor comes back and inserts the Miso and tells me that I can’t get up for two hours. TWO HOURS! I had to go to the bathroom every 10-15 minutes at the end. I lied still for about the first hour and then the second it was horrible! I had to pee so badly and my legs began cramping. I asked the nurse if it would be possible for me to get up and go and was told no. Finally at 11pm, MeanNurse came around to where my IV was and sets up the fluids. I asked, “Before you do that, can I PLEASE go to the bathroom?” She sighed and said yes and I had to drag all my monitor wires with me. I didn’t care though because I had to pee so badly!
I asked if I had to get hooked back up because I really wanted to walk around and MeanNurse told me I had to get back to bed. The other nurse came in and said that they got a prescription for a sleeping pill for me if I wanted it. The idea was to let me sleep during the early contractions so that I’d have more energy. I agreed and took it; I think they gave me an Ambien. I asked to use the bathroom again and felt that I had to apologize because MeanNurse looked so aggravated. When I came back, the other nurse asked if I would like to sit in the rocking chair for a bit. I was like “YES PLEASE!” and MeanNurse was all “She took a sleeping pill” and Nice Nurse was like “It isn’t like she is going to fall out of the chair.” I explained that my body was achy and crampy and rocking sounded wonderful – so they moved the chair by the monitors so they could keep track of the baby and my contractions. NiceNurse asked if I wanted to get in the shower and I was like “More than anything,” and again MeanNurse was angry. They left the room and came back to inform me that the doctor said I could have 20 minutes off the monitor. Sweet! The NiceNurse set me up with shower stuff and gave me some comfy socks and I got in the shower with Noah standing by to help me. It was one of the best showers I ever had. I used the nozzle and put it right against my belly and back and the warm water felt so good. I got out and figured my 20 minutes was up, so I put another gown on and crawled back into bed. Without being hooked up to the monitors I was able to get kind of comfy and fell asleep for like a minute or two. The nurse came in and was like “The doctor wants you to walk around if you are up for it.” I was like… “OK ….” So I put on my robe and Noah and I walked around L&D for a few minutes. The contractions had definitely started by that point and I was getting uncomfortable. I came back to the room and climbed back into the bed.
This was now about 1am or so and I was definitely tired and sore. I knew that the next dose of the medication was coming at 3am, so I felt like I should try and sleep until then. The contractions were getting more severe and I asked – a little jokingly, but dead serious too, if it was too early for the epidural. I was told it was and that they wouldn’t give it to me until I was four centimeters. It had been explained to me that they considered four to be the magic number and I wasn’t considered in “real labor” until I was at the point. From that point on, textbook wise I should dilate one centimeter per hour and then push 1-2 hours. I was like “I guess I have a long night ahead of me, huh?” They offered to give me something through my IV to “take the edge off” and I agreed. The contractions were gaining in strength.
For the next hour or two, I tried to sleep, but was unsuccessful. The contractions were really painful and every time I got one I would look at the monitor and see that the line had hardly moved. The nurse told me that these weren’t even registering and I was like “Oh my God, if these aren’t registering, what are the real things like?” I was in agony and the pain meds didn’t help at all. The MeanNurse kept making me move from side to side because she was still not able to get a good read of the baby’s heart rate.
At some point the anesthesiologists came in and these two guys were hot. They had to run through all the risks/benefits of getting the epidural with me. While the hot med student was questioning me, the other was trying to help the nurse with the monitor. They were moving me in all sorts of positions but I just kept focusing, the best I could, on the hot med student.
Finally 3am came and my doctor came in to check on me and give me the next dosage of the Miso. Lo and behold, I was 4cm! There was much rejoicing! She gave me the next dose stating that since it was working so well, maybe the Miso just kicked started my labor and I wouldn’t need the Pitocin after all. That was music to my ears. Also, I was told I could get the epic if I wanted. I was like YES PLEASE! I got up to use the bathroom for the last time in my pregnant life and came back and the other hot doctor was there waiting for me.
I have a tattoo on my lower back and getting the epidural was pretty similar, except that I was already on pain medicine. I sat at the edge of the bed and leaned on Noah. I took longer than I thought it would, it seemed like he was sewing the thing in my back. Between the sleeping pill and the pain medicine I was woozy and felt a little sick a couple of times. Noah held on tight to me and finally I was free to lie down.
It was almost instant that I was like “I have no feeling in my feet…” and then the numbness just rose up through my legs. It was wonderful. Unfortunately, I had a “hot spot” in my right groin area that didn’t seem to go numb and it hurt so badly. I kept complaining, but things started going downhill then.
This is where the night gets hazy for me. It was about four am and I realized there were about 20 people in my room and I couldn’t see Noah. The baby’s heart rate had dropped a lot and they were worried. They had decided to put in an internal monitor for both me and the baby. Well, apparently the monitor on me wasn’t working at all, because those contractions that weren’t registering suddenly were off the chart. Literally. The chart went up to 102 and that is where they were and they were long and would drop and then go back up again. Luckily, I couldn’t feel a thing! The bad part was that the baby’s heart rate was dropping really low with each contraction and I was told that they were considering doing a c-section. I was like “whatever,” because I really couldn’t comprehend what was going on. Drugs and I do not mix well. At some point my doctor broke my water, but I only know that because Noah told me after it happened and suddenly the pad under me was being pulled out and changed. I had no idea it was happening!
People were in and out and kept checking me. I was progressing fast, too fast for little Lucas to handle. They started injecting me with medicine to stop the contractions. I think I got three injections, but it was too late, my body was off and running. At 7:30 they checked me again and I was 7cm. I told Noah to call my mom, since she was leaving for the airport at nine, and I had a feeling that I would either be pushing or in the operating room at 9. He called her and just said that I was 7cm and she should have a grandbaby by the time she gets here.
7:45 they check me again. 9 cm and his heart rate is still low. They said they needed to do something and they were going to move me to the O/R and decide there if I was going to push or if they were going to operate. Noah said that was the worst moment for him. He said it was seconds that there were too many people in the room to count and then instantly everyone, everything was gone. He said he stood by himself in this empty room and didn’t know what to do.
As for me, I was being wheeled through the hall like a freaking episode of ER. I asked if my baby would be ok and I was assured he would be but I started panicking. Where was Noah, why wasn’t he with me? I was told that they were going to have to put me completely under and that Noah wouldn’t be able to be allowed in the room with me. I started crying and panicking and then hotty anesthesiologist Dr was behind me and said they could up the epidural and give me pain relief through that. They told me that Noah was putting on scrubs and would be there in a moment. And he was. He sat next to me and held my hand. We couldn’t see what was going on because of the curtain, but I felt a lot of pressure and moving around. I was pretty numb though so it didn’t hurt. It was really quick because suddenly I heard a baby’s cry and I was like “Is that him?” They had moved him over to check him out and he was blue, but he turned pink really quick. They had him at the examination table for what seemed like ever, maybe ten minutes or so, and I was still be worked on, so I just laid there waiting. Noah rubbed my head and kept talking to me and things were in and out. I was definitely doped up. Finally they brought Lucas over to us and I was able to look at him and kiss his head and they took him off to the nursery for his bath and to put him under the heat lamp.
After that, I went to recovery and Noah was allowed to visit with Lucas. I cried because I wanted to hold him so badly, after waiting so long. They finally moved me to my room and I asked the first person I saw when I would get to see him and they brought him to me pretty quickly. I held him and cried and couldn’t help but just love him instantly. The Lactation Specialist came in five minutes later and helped me to get him latched on to feed. He didn’t stay on for very long, but it was a start.
Oh sandy! What a great birth story! I actualy just took some ambien 20 min. ago so I am really feeling what it must have felt like for you going through all the disoreintation in the room going on around you. I can only imagine how you were feeing. But in the end you have your little one in your arms for safe keeping.