Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Birth Story

It's 8AM on a Sunday. Brent and the baby are sound asleep upstairs. I slipped out of bed to have a quick bowl of cereal and enjoy the next hour or so of the morning to myself before the day officially begins. Me time is hard to come by these days with a newborn!

So...where to begin? Rewind back to late October. The week leading up to my due date, there were signs of impending labor: lost mucus plug, back contractions, spotting, the "nesting urge". My due date came and went, and so did all the labor signs. I actually began to feel really great - the total opposite of what I was expecting to feel given the size of my bump at this point, which was more like a boulder. I walked 2 miles a day, bounced for hours on my yoga ball while I watched TV, used my husband to my advantage, if you know what I mean. Somehow, an entire week went by, and there I was attending my 41 week prenatal appointment. My cervical check showed I was a mere 1/2 cm dilated, which was a small improvement over the complete closure the week before. It was pretty clear my body wasn't going to be doing this on its own, so we scheduled an induction for the following week, allowing some time for my body to hopefully dilate more. At this point, after over 9 months of waiting, we were just relieved to finally have an "end date."

On Sunday, November 9th, we had a really nice day. Brent made my favorite: banana pancakes for breakfast. He took me to TJ Maxx to walk around for awhile and get my mind off of the impending induction. At 4 o'clock, we checked into the hospital. Shortly after, I was getting the IV in my arm, which should have been a good indication of what was to come: it took 3 attempts because the needle kept hitting a valve. Yeah, it's about as pleasant as it sounds. Though, I would have gladly had them make 3 more attempts at the IV before I had to ever experience the doctor inserting the cervidil under my cervix again. Cervidil is a prostaglandin, used to ripen the cervix prior to induction, and since I was barely dilated, they left the cervidil in for 12 hours to further encourage dilation. Brent and I tried to sleep the best we could, but it turned into a night of tossing and turning, something we both really regretted the following day.

The nurse removed the cervidil early the next morning, and my doctor arrived promptly at 7am to do a quick cervical check. After 12 hours with the cervidil, I was still only 1 cm dilated but 80% effaced, which indicated my cervix had thinned a good amount overnight. The nurse hooked me up to a low dose of Pitocin, which is used to bring on labor contractions. Every 20 minutes, the dose was increased until regular contractions began. They equipped me with a sensor on my abdomen that detected contractions and would display them on the computer screen next to me. The contractions began, and I could hardly feel them. After a few hours, the period-like cramping started along with heavy spotting. My mom arrived at lunchtime. She was going to be in the delivery room with Brent and I to help me with breathing exercises. The three of us strolled the halls of the labor and delivery floor. Slowly but surely, the contractions were getting strong enough that I couldn't walk through them and would have to stop and lean over the railing along the wall. Eventually, my water broke. Contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes. Everything looked promising. Soon, my body started to contract on its own, but I was also still hooked up to the Pitocin, so contractions were now coming every 2 minutes and were getting more painful. The doctor did another cervical check, and I was now 2 cm dilated. The nurse decreased the Pitocin dose to allow my body to continue to labor on its own. Unfortunately, the contractions weakened, so they had to increase the Pitocin dose again. Contractions were coming strong every 2 minutes when the Pitocin dose was even slightly increased, but when the dose was decreased, the contractions were not strong enough to dilate. This back and forth continued for a few hours. The subject of an epidural came up, but I really wanted to hold off as long as I could since I know the epidural can slow progress even more. Around 6 o'clock, I opted for a warm bath to ease labor pains. This worked for about an hour, and then all of a sudden, the strength and frequency of the contractions became unbearable. Brent began timing the contractions and realized I was barely getting 1 minute in between each one. I was shaking uncontrollably and crying by the time I got out of the bath. I just remember screaming to get the nurse for the epidural. I was incredibly lucky - by the time I was dried off, the anesthesiologist was waiting for us in our room. He was my favorite person, let me tell you. Five minutes later, I felt relief. I could sit back and watch the computer screen to see contractions without feeling them. It was amazing. The doctor came in shortly after for another cervical check, and I was now at 4 cm dilated. She was hoping the epidural would calm me down enough to allow dilation to continue at a faster rate than it had. I was finally able to get a few hours of sleep.

I'm tearing up as I type this; I still haven't quite come to terms with what ended up being my labor and delivery experience. I barely remember the nurse waking me up to do another cervical check two hours later. At 10 o'clock, my doctor woke me up, and I immediately knew something wasn't right.

You are still at 4 cm. Contractions are not regular enough. Your cervix has not made any progress in hours. We can allow the Pitocin to continue and see if you progress, but he's likely in a bad position for vaginal delivery. Or we can do a c-section, and you can have your baby by tonight. We can get things started in the half hour.

C-section? You mean surgery? Right now? I broke down. I don't think I have cried so hard in my life. Enduring 31 hours of labor just for it to end in a c-section. No woman wants that. But the thought of enduring another day of labor with no guarantee he would come on his own killed me. It was a simple decision to go with the c-section, but painful nonetheless.

Before I knew it, I was being sketched on, equipped with a hair net, carted down the hall, transferred to a surgery bed, injected with an epidural bolus to completely numb my lower half, and fitted with an oxygen mask, surrounded by room full of eyes. The epidural causes uncontrollable shaking. When Brent was let in the room, I finally felt calm. The doctor did a quick "pinch" check to make sure I couldn't feel anything before she made the cut. A few tugs and pulls later, our names were being called to look up above the drape, where our baby boy was being held for us to see. I could barely hold it together, it was such a surreal moment. He was quickly taken over to the table, where Brent got to cut his umbilical cord, and the nurses cleaned him up a bit before he was placed on my chest for skin to skin contact. It was the happiest moment of my life.

Brent got to go with him to the nursery while I was being stitched up, and shortly after, we all were reunited in our room. We practiced our first latch to get him acquainted with nursing, and then we were transferred to our own private suite for the duration of the stay at the hospital.

I am beyond excited to announce that Wyatt Allen Morse was born on November 10th at 10:59pm weighing 8 lbs 1.5 ounces, 20.5" long.

He is incredible. Brent and I are so lucky to have been blessed with a healthy baby. He is a great eater, sleeps very well at night, and has only a short fussy period in the evening before bed time. We are loving being parents!