It's been a week since my daughter's birth. And I finally feel ready to blog about it. Partly because I've finally had time to collect my thoughts on it, but mostly because I've had time to deal with it emotionally. Let's get one thing straight first: I have a perfectly healthy little girl sleeping in my lap right now and that was always the priority. But I want to be sincere about how things went, that's always been my goal with this blog. If you wanted to stop by and read a pleasant birth story that ended in rainbows and unicorns, then I suggest you search on. I also will not spare the gruesome details (Sorry, guys.) because I am writing this story as if I'm writing to myself from a year ago. I wanted to know all the gritty details, emotions included. With all that said, on to the story!
My doctor scheduled my induction beginning Monday night the 21st. Trey and I went in to the hospital around 9 pm to check in. My nurse K instructed me to lose all my clothes (but I was given the option of keeping my bra, which I took) and gave me a smock to wear that tied on the side. Then she set up the fetal monitors on my belly that would keep track of baby's heartbeat and my contractions. As soon as she set up the monitors, she could see that I was already having contractions of my own! Really small ones, about 5 minutes apart, that I couldn't feel at all. So that was encouraging to hear. Because I was already contracting on my own, I was only give a half dose of cytotec to soften up my cervix (which was still at 1 cm, 80% effaced). She put in my IV, which was the worst part for me to get through. Trey held my right hand while she inserted the needle into my left vein. My blood pressure rose during this part, but that was the only time it gave me any trouble.
Finally, we were left to sleep for 4 hours until she would come back and give me the other half dose of cytotec. At this point, I still have my pump on and keeping track of my blood sugars myself with testing and my CGM. About 15 minutes before I was to get my second round of cytotec, I had a bad low blood sugar of 44 mg/dL. The contractions I wasn't feeling were starting to have an effect on me. I brought my own juice boxes, so I drained 2 and turned off my pump (it stayed off until about 9 am the next morning). I took the second dose of cytotec and started feeling mini contractions around the time I woke up at 5 AM. They weren't painful, just exciting because I was started to feel something.
At 7 am on the 22nd, I met my day nurses W and M. They would be by my side during the entire labor process. They checked me again and I was now 2 cm but still 80% effaced, the goal of cytotec was to get me to 3 cm. They went to consult my doctor to see if they wanted to administer another round of cytotec, which would delay starting the pitocin another 4 hours, or if we wanted to get the show on the road. The result was to go ahead and start pitocin. So by 7:45 am, I was on the pitocin IV drip. I asked W when I would start feeling anything, and she said it usually takes about an hour. At this point, things were not painful and, honestly, kind of boring. I practiced breathing through the mini contractions that I did feel while listening to the radio on my iPod.
The nurses contacted my endocrinologist about putting me on an insulin drip, but he made the call to let me keep my pump on and check myself every hour. I was forever grateful that decision was made, because it gave me control in a situation where everything else was out of my control. So I was checking myself every hour, and the nurses would record it. I was cruising in the 150s for most of my labor, but my endocrinologist said that was fine as long as I didn't go over 200. I think the risk of me going low during labor was more important than trying to keep a perfect 100 the whole time.
At 9:30 am, my OB came in and greeted me. He gave me the option of continuing with my labor as it was or going ahead and breaking my water. I chose to break my water because I still wasn't feeling the contractions and I was still at 2 cm, so I figured we needed more momentum. After my water was broken, I got on an aerobic ball and started breathing through my contractions that started to be noticeable. Nurse W asked what would be the best care for me, and I said I just didn't want to stall out on my labor. I wasn't afraid of the pain because I have pretty high pain tolerance. I was only worried about my endurance and being in labor for days! So W wrote on the white board on my wall: "Keep things going" as my goal for care.
About an hour later, I hit active labor. My contractions were coming in waves and becoming more intense, but still nothing I would consider painful or something I couldn't get through. So far, Trey has just been hanging out with me and eating breakfast. I told him I would let him know when he needed to come into the game. All I said was "I need you" and he jumped in like a pitcher coming out of the bull pen. He applied counter pressure to my back and hips through each contraction. And in between contractions he rubbed my shoulders and feet to give me comfort. The ball worked great for me in working through the contractions. The best position for me was being on the ball, rocking back and forth, with Trey behind me on the edge of the bed or in a chair. Also at this time, my contractions required all my concentration. So when it was time to check my blood sugar, I would just stick my hand out and Trey would check it for me. I know I wouldn't have made it through labor without his support.
Around lunch time, my doctor came to check me again and I was at 4 cm. I was starting to get a little frustrated with how slow this whole thing was going. So M suggested that I labor on my sides for awhile to help the baby move down into my pelvis. This was not a comfortable position at all, but it seemed to intensify the contractions. Trey got out the heating pad we brought and applied it to my back during my contractions with pressure. He eventually had to go eat lunch, so W and he rotated out during back compressions. The pain was increasing, and I started low moaning. I thought I would feel embarrassed doing this, but the nurses actually coached me through the breathing so I didn't feel so awkward.
Sometime in the afternoon, M was keeping an eye on baby's heartbeat. She was fine, but she wasn't responding to the contractions like they wanted. So they gave me an oxygen mask to wake her up. The mask was great because it gave me cool air to breathe and was very relaxing during this whole process. At this point, I'm laboring on my knees on the bed, leaning over the back of the bed. So imagine this picture: a woman in labor, wearing a smock, low moaning every 2-3 minutes like a cow, with an oxygen mask on her face. I had officially lost my dignity.
Around 5 pm, things really picked up because I was at 7cm, 90% thinned out. "Sweet!" I remember sighing. Trey laughed. This meant I had made it. I was at the point of no return for pain meds and it looked like I would be delivering my baby soon. However, the contractions were increasing in intensity. It took all my strength to moan and breathe through them. Only once did I say, "I can't do this!" to which Trey quickly responded "Yes, you can. You are doing it!" I just had to get through each contraction and rest. I felt enough relief in between each contraction to refill my energy tank.
It seemed like I went from 7 cm to fully dilated within an hour, so the nurses went to call my doctor and have him come over for delivery. Meanwhile, my contractions were stretching my pelvis to the max. It felt like I had a 25-lb. medicine ball that was being stretched to a 50-lb. ball and deflating back down to 25-lbs. I wasn't getting the full relief of the contractions I had at 7 cm. Also, M told me that my doctor got called to an emergency surgery, so I had at least an hour before I could start pushing. I went from low moaning to grunting/screaming during contractions, squeezing the bed rails like I was going through an exorcism. They turned off the pitocin to hopefully give me some relief before my doctor could get there. It didn't help. My contractions went from every 2 minutes to every 3 minutes, but still no downtime from the pain.
After an hour of being fully dilated, the nurses decided that the baby was coming soon and someone needed to be there to catch it. So they got the on-call doctor and my room doubled in audience almost immediately. I initially requested that Trey be the only family member in the room when the baby was born, and I'm glad because I'm not sure where anyone else would go! I had my 2 nurses, the baby's nurse--who I would officially meet the next day--prepping the incubator table right next to me, and 3 delivery nurses (not sure, but I think one was an observing student). They brought up the stirrups for me to start pushing. I was so exhausted from being in labor for 10 hours, but I felt relieved that the end was in sight. I just needed to muster the strength to push.
The on-call doctor comes in and introduces herself while I'm fully naked (minus my sports bra) with my goods pointing straight out to the world, sweat pouring out from every surface I had. "Hello, I'm Dr. P and I'll be delivering your baby."
Part 2 . . .