My induction was scheduled for Monday, August 20; I was second on the list to be called. Dr. O said the hospital could call anytime after midnight; but, from what I have heard, inductions have a tendency to be pushed back...so I didn't expect to be called until mid-morning. Fortunately, a friend suggested that I call the hospital the day before to confirm that I was on the call list, and that's when they told me to expect a call between midnight and 2 am...
We dropped Lulu at my parent's house on Sunday night, and headed home to finish getting ready. We cleaned, watched True Blood, and chewed our fingernails. Neither of us could sleep, but we decided to get into bed around midnight. And I laid there awake until 1:51 am, when the hospital called.
We arrived at the hospital around 2:30 and our nurse, Tess, brought us back to our room. (Stupid me thought we'd go to Triage first, so I told Casey to leave our bag in the car.) Tess set up the monitor, did an internal, and then a quick ultrasound to make sure Parker was head down. I was super excited to hear that I was 3 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and that Parker was stationed at -1. Progress! (Thank you, membrane stripping!!) The monitor showed that I was having irregular contractions on my own, about 5-8 minutes apart. So, at 4:00, the Pitocin was started at 2 drops per minute. Tess increased the Pitocin by 2 drops per minute every 20-30 minutes until shift change at 7 am.
The Pitocin took effect immediately; within 15 minutes, I noticed my contractions becoming consistent. The intensity was still very manageable, no different than what I had been feeling for months. Tess told us to try to nap before things got exciting... Casey was able to, but I couldn't. I listened to one of my Hypnobabies tracks, hoping it would relax me.
Our new nurse, Gwen, checked me at 7:30 and I was 4 cm and 80%. More progress! The Pitocin was at 10 drops per minute and my contractions were 4 minutes apart. My contractions went from manageable to really uncomfortable, like get me out of this effing bed NOW uncomfortable, in an instant. I tried sitting up in bed, standing, swaying, leaning over the bed, but ultimately the only position that was tolerable was sitting on the birthing ball, leaned over a stack of pillows. (Being a VBAC and an induction required that I stay on the monitor throughout labor, so a lot of the pain-relief techniques - like walking and showering - were not an option for me.) I asked Casey to turn on the John Mayer Pandora station, and tried to focus on my breathing during each contraction. I was shocked, and scared, at how quickly the pain became unbearable. I kept telling myself that the pain was temporary and that it was almost over at the peak of each contraction. Casey sat behind me and pushed on my back as hard as he could, and sometimes even used racquet balls. He said the sweetest things to encourage me, and offered to turn on my Hypnobabies tracks several times, but I didn't want them.
Gwen told me to expect to dilate one centimeter per hour and that she would do an internal exam as often as I wanted. (From what I've heard, most women hate having internal exams, but I needed to know that I was progressing.) I watched the clock and the monitor constantly. Gwen came in every hour to raise the Pitocin and check my pain, and I asked her for an internal every time. At 8:30, I was 5 cm, 90% effaced, and my contractions were 3 minutes apart. Gwen left the Pitocin at 14 drops per minute, because she was happy with the frequency of the contractions.
The pain was BAD. The majority of the pain was at the bottom of my belly and lower back. It's hard to describe the pain...I thought my bottom was going to rip open at the peak of each contraction. It hurt to sit on the ball, but every other position hurt worse. We had all the lights off in the room and music playing. I was miserable. I was exhausted. I couldn't talk. I stopped looking at my phone and stopped caring about updating family and friends. I wanted it to be over. Casey says I was totally normal in between contractions, but as soon as each contraction started it was like I hit a wall of pain.
At 9:30, I was 6 cm and almost 100% effaced. The contractions were still 3 minutes apart. I used the bathroom and had a lot of bloody show. About this time, I started thinking about the epidural... Casey did such a great job trying to dissuade me (I had asked him to before labor started). He told me I was doing great, that he was proud of me, that it was almost over, and to picture holding Parker. Gwen, on the other hand, kept reminding me of "how hard it is to go all natural with Pitocin". (I loved her despite this.) The more I thought about the epidural, the less faith I had in myself. I knew we were still HOURS away from pushing, and I knew the worst pain was still to come. I wanted to wait for my next internal at 10:30, but decided that even if I was at 7 cm, there was no way that I'd be able to push this kid out without the epidural. So, at 10:00, I asked for the epidural. Gwen said it would take 30 minutes. I had to have another bag of lactated ringers and there was one patient ahead of me. I was so pissed. Even though I knew there would be a wait, I was still pissed. I wanted relief NOW. And that's when I lost my shit. I started shaking. I was in constant pain - even between the contractions. I couldn't speak at all. Casey said I was moaning. I paged Gwen, and asked her to shut the Pitocin while we waited for the epidural, but she said it would be bad for the contraction pattern...so she lowered it back to 10 drops per minute.
The anesthesiologist came in at 10:20. Moving from the birth ball to the bed was excruciating. Sitting upright waiting for the epidural was excruciating. Waiting for the epidural to take effect was excruciating. Answering the doctor's questions was excruciating. (Getting the actual epidural wasn't bad at all.) I was so desperate for the pain to be over. Casey says I said, "Thank you very much" to the anesthesiologist about 1000 times. Haha. By 10:30 I was comfortable and had another internal exam. I was between 6 and 7 cm, and had a bulging bag of water. Gwen stayed in the room to monitor my blood pressure and set up a catheter. Unfortunately, she didn't set the catheter up quickly enough, and I actually peed...(at first we thought it was my water breaking and got really excited). I apologized profusely and was really embarrassed, but looking back I think it's pretty funny. I was practically delirious from exhaustion at this point. The pain was gone, but I could still feel and move my legs, I could even lift myself up. It was the perfect epidural. I was still shaking, but I was pain-free and happy. Gwen left to update Dr. O and ask about breaking my bag of water.
I had to page her as soon as she walked out the door, though, because...POP! My water broke. It was the weirdest feeling. And it was funny because both she and Casey had just left the room moments before it happened. I felt the bag burst and water gushed everywhere. The three of us were really excited. Gwen checked me at 11:30, and I was 7 cm and 100% effaced. Dr. O had originally planned to come by the hospital around noon to break my water and would return that evening to deliver, but Gwen said she'd have to stick around because we'd be having a baby VERY soon. Casey grabbed some lunch and I updated my mom and friends. Casey smuggled me crackers, toast, Powerade and apple juice throughout labor. My sweet man! I came THIS close to falling asleep, but Gwen checked me again at 12:10 and I was 9 cm. Sleep was suddenly the furthest thing from my mind. Gwen grabbed the peanut ball for me to start rotating Parker (silly boy was posterior).
Dr. O came in at 1:15 and I was 10 cm. Parker was stationed at +1 and I was ready to start pushing. Gwen set up the stirrups and told me how to push. We only did 2 or 3 practice pushes before Gwen stopped me, because Parker's head was crowning. She paged Dr. O, who was doing rounds, and had her come right away. She said, "You're a really good pusher, this baby is going to be out in a few more pushes." And she was right. Gwen told Casey to look, and he told me he could see Parker's hair. Dr. O was back in the room, and Gwen set up a big mirror so that I could watch as I pushed. I reached down and touched Parker's head and it was soooo mushy and slimy. (I never thought I'd want to watch myself give birth, and I certainly never thought Casey would, but we both did and it was amazing. I am so glad for that mirror.) Dr. O massaged the area around Parker's head with gobs of oil, and helped ease his head out. Casey and Gwen held my legs, and I started pushing again. Dr. O said, "Look, LOOK!" and we watched with jaws dropped as Parker's head came out. One more push and his body was out. Three pushes. THREE PUSHES, PEOPLE.
Parker was on my chest immediately, purple and gooey, and screaming. I was stunned and trying not to cry. I kept saying, "Hi Parker" and everyone around me was saying Happy Birthday, Parker! I looked to Casey and we both smiled and said I love you at the same time. The pediatric nurse suctioned Park and dried him off while he was on my chest. Dr. O let the cord continue pulsing the entire time, and, once it stopped, Casey snipped it. I said, "He's so tiny! Look how tiny he is!" And Dr. O quickly said, "That's a pretty good size baby for you!" The pediatric nurse scooped up Parker for measurements. Casey went to the warmer and I watched in awe. He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.
Dr. O and Gwen pushed on my belly and the placenta was delivered shortly after. She said that I had a second degree tear and began stitching me up. Casey was holding Parker and brought him back to me. I loved watching him kiss Parker's chubby cheeks. Dr. O finished and said she'd be back before they transferred me to the Postpartum Floor. I asked Casey to call my parents, so they could head to the hospital with Lucy, but they were already parked outside, just waiting for the green light. HAHAHA. (Apparently they left the house when Casey told them I was going to start pushing...)
I nursed Parker and he latched immediately. There's something about that moment, the first latch, that is so special to me; I felt it with both of my children. It's like even though they're outside of my body, we're still connected and close. (Naturally, in the middle of this very touching moment, I was extremely thirsty.) Gwen offered to get me some water, which I sucked down, and then I swiped Casey's Powerade and finished that too.
My parent's and Lucy were outside our door in seconds, Lucy dressed in her Big Sister attire. She ran across the hospital bed and jumped into our arms. She pointed at Parker and stared at him inquisitively. We introduced her and said, "Give the baby a hug", so she laid her head on his. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.
I am beyond happy with our birthing experience. I got my VBAC! I got just about everything I wanted!! And even though I dropped the ball with hypnobirthing, I have no regrets. The epidural allowed me to enjoy Parker's birth.
All those worries we had during this pregnancy, were for nothing. Our boy is healthy and beautiful and sweet, and loved beyond measure. I have prayed more during these last 10 months than ever before in my life, and God was faithful.
|Before and After (the epidural)|