Friday, September 10, 2010

Birth Story

We had a scheduled induction at 39 weeks. In addition to 9/2 being the exact date of my 39 week point, it was also my grandfather's birth date (he is deceased, but is still one of the best men I've ever known) and I thought it would be cool to have his great-grandson born on his birthday.

We had been told to check in by 5am (my midwife joked that we could show up early, but not late, so we made sure we had plenty of time, even at that low-traffic time of morning) and arrived at the hospital at 4:45am. The valet parking attendant was not on duty yet, so we cheated and parked in the ER parking lot next door and walked over to The Baby Place.

The security guard was very nice (apparently, the others on duty during our stay were not all so friendly or helpful) and we went right up after Daddy Fuss getting his name tag (I wasn't issued one, since my pregnant state allowed me to be identifiable enough, and I would soon be wrist-banded as a patient). While we were in fact early, they were not ready for us - they had been unexpectedly busy the night before (a fact that would be evident later in the day) and didn't have any clean rooms yet. So we waited. For about half an hour. No biggie, since I wasn't in active labor (though, ironically, I had about 4 fairly uncomfortable/strong contractions in the 30-minutes it took us to drive to the hospital - eveidence that my body was getting ready on it's own - induction or not!) but I would have felt bad for someone in labor waiting around for a room like that!

We got into our room and it still took awhile to get a nurse to stop in (my husband had to track one down to find out if I needed to pee in a cup or not) but she finally came by (and apologized for making me wait) and we did the paperwork, etc. and then she began to attempt to get my IV started. I mentioned that I was going to be a little picky about the placement, since I'd had a bad experience with the one I had when Fuss was born (it was in the side of my wrist and I couldn't bend my hand all day - especially annoying when I needed to boost myself into place in the hospital bed both before and after the epidural was put in). She said that was understandable and began to fish around for a vein. She blew the first attempt and had to bandage that one up pretty quickly. Her second attempt was so incredibly painful (burning that just kept getting worse and worse and she wasn't having any luck anyway) so we tried again elsewhere. She missed her 3rd attempt, as well and called in another nurse to try. And another. And another. I was stuck 6 times (I looked like a car accident victim - I had blood and bandages all over my arms. My husband's Facebook status was the picture of my damaged arms and a request for 2 of our friends - a nurse anesthetist and a paramedic - to come down and show them how to start an IV) and they finally got it - not in the most ideal place, obviously, but at least it wasn't incredibly uncomfortable like it was when I had Fuss. My Pitocin was finally begun just after 7am.

My day nurse came on around then - I can't remember who actually started the drugs. I loved my day nurse - she was terrific. I started responding to the drugs pretty quickly and I must have been wussier this time around, because I was seriously feeling the pain/discomfort even before my water was broken and I ordered my epidural before that happened (both the nurse and midwife had encouraged me to order it before I HAD to have it, since it takes time to get the fluids and get the anesthesiologist in, etc.). Around 9 my midwife came in and broke my water. It started gushing and kept coming. My midwife, Lucy, was even surprised by the seemingly neverending flow. She saw how much kept coming and said "wow" and nothing ever seems to surprise Lucy. They had to change my bed pads twice before she left to go back to the office.

The nurse anesthetist came in a little later to do my epi. My hospital kicks out the family so my mom and Daddy Fuss went to grab some breakfast. I have few complaints about this experience. My 2 minor complaints were a) she had to put the numbing agent in twice (she described it as "like novacaine in the dentist office" and it burned like all get out) and b) the pathetic excuse of a hospital bed pillow that the nurse gave me to hug while I was leaning over into the position the anesthetist needed me in to put in the needle.

It took a few minutes to kick in, which she said was normal. It was a very different experience from when Fuss was born. With her, I felt NOTHING after the epidural had kicked in. This time I could feel the pressure and intensity of the contractions, but not the pain. Since the pain was the biggest issue, it was fine, but a little weird. I was able to rest for a little under an hour and when I woke up, my mom was watching the contraction monitor. She informed me that the contractions were coming faster now - 1-2 minutes apart. We set up the DVD player we brought and turned on episodes of Veronica Mars. It turns out my nurse was a big fan of Veronica, too and she enjoyed talking to me about it when she'd come in to check on me.

I don't remember how long or in what order things happened exactly, but some other nurse came in to check me and told me I was 7 cm. Shortly after that, I started to really feel the contractions - I had to breathe through them and it reminded me of the hard labor pains I felt when in labor with Fuss. Wow. They were strong. Was confident I was glad I had the epidural at that point. I guess this is what they referred to as transition - I don't remember it at all with Fuss, since I wasn't feeling anything then. It just happened SO fast. I wasn't watching the clock or anything, but I swear, from the "you're 7cm" point to "okay, let's push" was like 10 minutes. My mom told me to change positions while I was dealing with the pain, because she noticed the baby's heart rate was going down. A few minutes later the nurses came in and basically said the same thing and gave me an oxygen mask to up my oxygen level. They called Lucy, who was on her way over anyway since it was lunch time and she wanted to check in. I started feeling all this pressure and she told me that I'd need to let her know when I was feeling the next one and we'd push. She had me lay on my right side while breathing the oxygen. She got a call from one of her partners about then and he must have asked how things were going ("we're about to start pushing") and then if there was any food around the office. Just about then, I was really feeling the contraction, so I rolled back onto my back and she abruptly told him no and hung up on him. She and my nurses and Daddy Fuss coached me through some pushes. I felt awful. Holding my breath and trying to push was REALLY hard. And I felt it all. And I couldn't seem to catch my breath in between pushes.

Daddy Fuss had to sit down at one point (he gets queasy in medical type situations) and Lucy told him she'd just step over him if he went down. I was glad he sat when he needed to, because I'm afraid I would have freaked out if he had actually passed out. The student nurse in the room took over holding my leg for him. My mom had my other side. There was also a special forces soldier in the room getting some observational training by shadowing Lucy (she had asked my permission to have him in the room earlier and I said "why not?" I barely noticed him until it was over and she was showing him how to feel my belly to make sure it was all passed.) but I don't really remember much but trying to catch my breath and suddenly having some nasal congestion (random!) and not being able to breathe well in between pushes. They had me roll back to my side and wear the oxygen mask in between contractions. I pushed for about 20 minutes. I felt him crown (I have always been terrified of the concept of "the ring of fire" and I am especially glad that I had my epidural, but there was a great feeling of relief when his head came out. Another couple of pushes and I suddenly felt a HUGE release/relief and he was out. Time of birth, 12:40PM. The first thing Lucy said about him was "He's a Moose!" which was hilarious since my husband and my mom and I all have this weird thing for moose and we call each other "moose" all the time and there was a running joke about this baby coming out with antlers.

They put him directly on my chest and wiped him off from there. I am always shocked by how purple babies come out. Fuss was the same way. They had to suction a bunch of mucus out of him, but he started to cry and yell. He was beautiful.

He hung out on my chest for awhile. I tried to get him to latch since all the books talk about the first hour and how they'll latch right away if given the opportunity. He played with my nipple a bit, but didn't seem to want to suck.

Lucy and the soldier helped me deliver my placenta ("you're gonna feel a big relief when this is done!" she said. Lucy is always right.) and other than the major pain/discomfort when they began to press on my belly, the worst of it was over. I got a tear of some sort - she said it wasn't exactly a tear from delivery, and I can't remember how she described it, but it's almost like a tear from strain. It's a 1st degree tear and I have 6 stitches, which she said she didn't HAVE to stitch, but I'd be more comfortable ultimately if she did, otherwise I'd be "flapping in the breeze." So she sewed me up.

I cuddled with my baby for a couple of hours. The nursery worker came in and weighed him (8 lbs, 6 oz, 20.5" long 9/9 on Apgar) and did all that stuff. Then the lactation consultant came in and we worked on getting him latched. He eventually did and began eating. I sent my husband to the cafeteria to get me some lunch and someone brought me some cranberry juice (OMG was it GOOD!) When he was really eating well, I started to feel funny. The contractions from the nursing were awful. I wasn't moving - was in fact still reclining in bed - but I started to feel SO dizzy. I mentioned it to my mom and the LC and they called in the nurse. She hooked me up to the BP monitor and started to take my BP and I started to feel even worse. They kept asking me if I wanted them to take the baby, but he was eating and didn't seem to be bothered by my problem, so I kept him. My vision was starting to fade a little, and there was lots of air-sounds in my ears and my mom said afterwards that my speech was slurring a bit. My BP got down to 89/60, which is even low for me.

I started to feel a little better. They gave me some fluids, but that started the contractions a little more intensely, and the dizzy feeling came back. My mom asked if they could turn off the fluids again, and they debated the cause. The nurse tried to get me to pee in a bedpan, thinking that that may help, but I couldn't feel enough down there to do it, so she had to cath me. I filled up the cath and the bedpan with more than 800 ccs of fluid (a lot by any measure, apparently) and I started to feel better again. Just after my bladder was emptied, I passed a huge clot - it filled the nurse's hand. It was creepy.

They continued to monitor my BP all afternoon. The Mother/Baby unit was full and it took more than 8 hours for me to get a room. I ordered my dinner and was hoping it would have to get sent to my new room, but alas, no. I was still there. My husband and my MIL went to the cafeteria to get some dinner for him, too. My SIL, J, and I were hanging out with the baby when one of the nurses who couldn't get my IV started that morning came in. She had been the roughest and most abrupt of all of them. She actually walked into my room this time introducing herself as "the nurse who couldn't get your IV started this morning." I was hoping that since she seemed to be joking around now, that maybe she was going to be more friendly. So I quipped "well, there was a list of people, so..." she then bossed J and I around to get us moved to the other unit. She was practically throwing the baby around and I was very happy that she let me hold him on the way to the Mother/Baby unit instead of just tossing him over her shoulder or something. I was quietly praying that she wasn't my night nurse!

We were finally brought into our room, the rude nurse hung out and hooked up the baby's security anklet (and she did it WRONG) when he was frustrated cause he was hungry. But she wasn't my night nurse, so it all worked out.

He loves to sleep. In contrast to Fuss who liked to eat as much as she liked to sleep and didn't discover that she liked to sleep until the next day. This little man wants to sleep more than anything.

He's handsome and sweet, though. And it looks like he might be a redhead. His eyes are a dark, rich, blue. He's so cuddly. He loves to be held.

Sometimes I can't believe I have a son. And he's got my heart.


  1. Congratulations! Are induction labors usually so short? 5.5 hours from pitocin starting to delivery sounds short. I'm sure you appreciated that!

  2. jessica - My last labor was induced, too and it was closer to 11 hours (6am to 4:40pm) so I don't know that they are any shorter. I know 2nd labors are usually shorter.

  3. My first labor was 37 hours. I'm hoping subsequent labors are shorter. (It WAS only 5 hours from when they broke my water to delivery, so that was good)