Sunday, April 26, 2015: Sunday night. Ben and I had been relaxing all day in anticipation of the induction that night. At 7:15 that evening we got in the car and headed to hospital; I looked at the car seat next to me and tried to imagine what it would be like coming back home - there would be a baby there! - but it still seemed surreal.
Check-in was a breeze, and we quickly got settled in a labor room that was much bigger than either of us were expecting. They hooked me up to the fetal monitors, and my doctor gave me Cervadil not long after. The point of the Cervadil was to hopefully get me a little more dilated by Monday morning when they would start the Pitocin. (At this point I'd been 70% effaced and only 1 cm dilated for more than two weeks).
Monday, April 27, 2015: They let me have breakfast that morning, and about an hour later started the Pitocin drip. I could feel the contractions, but they were more uncomfortable than anything. The doctor checked me after awhile and I was still only 1 cm. About mid-morning I was finally at 2 cm and they were able to break my water. (Side note: weirdest feeling ever).
A little while after that, the contractions definitely started to pick up. I felt them in my pelvis, back, and stomach, and I really had to focus on yoga breathing. Most of the time I had my eyes closed and I would just listen to Ben saying "deep breath in, deep breath out." When they started to really get intense I told Ben I didn't know how I'd get through the day because the Pitocin was only at 2 milliunits. Well I didn't realize it had been steadily bumped up - so by that point it was 6. I felt like way less of a wimp then!
The contractions got stronger and stronger, and around 1 PM I decided to get an epidural. I was in a lot of pain, I'd been having contractions for over five hours, and while I didn't know how high up the Pitocin drip would go, the 12 milliunits we were at didn't seem to be the peak, yet I was only at 3 cm. (I was hoping to wait to get an epidural until later but my doctor told me that morning I could have it at anytime and I no longer wanted to wait).
At this point I was looking forward to the epidural (also strangely, the catheter so I didn't have to keep getting up to go to the bathroom), but I was really emotional and nervous about everything. I didn't doubt my decision, but it was still nerve-wracking! The anesthesiologist was very nice and when I felt the first prick I automatically flinched and then cried out, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I know I'm not supposed to move!" They told me all was fine and Ben kept telling me what a great job I was doing.
During this time though every so often the baby's heart rate would decelerate - dropping enough to have the nurse make me change my position or give me an oxygen mask; they assured me this can happen and were very upfront about not being overly concerned, but rather just monitoring the situation.
This is when it starts to get a little fuzzy for me - I wasn't too aware of what time it was, and they came in to bump down my epidural just a bit so it didn't cause my blood pressure (and the baby's blood pressure) to drop too much. The doctor came to check me again, and after all this time I was still at 6 cm. I remember texting my mom, "he's never going to come out!" This went on for another hour or two, and the doctor came in to let me know they were going to take me off Pitocin for awhile (I'd still be contracting), and when they started it back up if the baby's heart rate kept decelerating they were going to talk about a c-section. I remember being surprised by that information but not upset by it.
After twenty minutes they came in and started the Pitocin really low - the two milliunits again, and Parker tolerated it no problem. They sloooowly bumped up the Pitocin and I could feel the contractions again. On a scale of 1-10 my pain level went from a 4 to a 7 very quickly - I told Ben it felt like I didn't even have an epidural. They had an anesthesiologist come in to give me a "block" (immediate relief), and he bumped it up a little but he recommended pushing my pain button every 15 minutes or so because he wasn't sure how long it would take for the level to go back up and he didn't want me to be in pain. I remember asking the nurse if it was safe for the baby for me to use my "pain button" because I wouldn't use it if it would affect him; she assured me all was well and his heart rate was good - they had me wearing the oxygen mask but it was just a precaution.
This was the worst part of labor for me. It had been almost 24 hours since my induction the night before, I was in a lot of pain, I was uncomfortable, and I just wanted to be done. Every time there was a contraction I started crying and it took all my effort to focus on Ben's voice telling me to breathe. When the medicine started to work I was able to doze again, but I don't know how much of that was the medicine or the exhaustion.
|This is my "ready to be done" face|
They left, and the doctor checked me...still 6 cm. She said she'd come back in an hour and if I was still there we'd talk about options. I wasn't in as much pain at this point but when the doctor and nurse left I just started crying - I told Ben I needed to be done, I couldn't do it anymore, etc. You guys, I don't even remember what he said but I do remember how calm he seemed to me and how strong. He was the most incredible coach.
When the doctor came back I was still at 6 cm - she told me we could continue like this since the baby's heart rate was fine, but they really liked to see progress every two hours, and I hadn't progressed in over four; a c-section was a viable option at this point. We told her it was time to talk c-section. I never doubted our decision and she was very nice and supportive as she explained the process - even reassuring me about the "pinch test" they'd do to make sure I didn't feel any pain.
They started prepping me for the procedure, and Ben started packing up the bags to put in the recovery area we'd be in afterwards. Since I would have medicine in me I couldn't do skin-to-skin contact in the operating room, but the team told Ben he absolutely could which made us both really happy. Before I knew it Ben gave me a kiss and told me he'd see me in there.
This was really happening.
Everyone in the operating room was very nice - I kept telling the anesthesiologist I was nervous about feeling things. He assured me that while I would feel the doctors touching me and maybe some pressure, he'd make sure I felt no pain. I must have asked about the pinch test two or three times and he was very patient with his responses. When Ben came in, he sat by my head and held my hand. For the first pinch test I cried out (in I'm sure a panicky voice), "I could feel that!" They asked if I could feel it, or if it was painful - I told them it was a little painful and they administered more medicine. Ben started talking to me to help calm my nerves and I finally told him, "Babe, shh, they're going to do another pinch test, I have to focus." (Ha!) I called over the sheet "are you going to do another pinch test?" They told me they already did and had even started the procedure, which actually calmed me down a little.
I have no sense of time in the operating room - they said everything would take an hour and I remember thinking that seemed like forever, but it went by pretty quickly. Ben talked to me but I couldn't tell you a word he said - I just kept saying to him, "I'm just nervous." At one point they said "the baby's head is out," and Ben goes "babe, his head is here!" which made me laugh.
Then at 10:06 PM (although I wouldn't know the time until later), it became real when we heard his first cry. I gasped, "oh oh!" and automatically started crying too.
I said "Hi Parker," and though his eyes were still closed he turned his head towards me (the nurse even said "see he knows who you are!"), and I kissed his face several times while crying. He was simply perfect.
I remember liking that Ben and Parker got to stay in the operating room the whole time, and as they were finally getting me onto the gurney, the song "Happy" came on, and everyone started laughing and dancing. Um, except me - I very nicely told them, "I think I'm going to throw up," and then proceeded to for a few minutes. Not a fun experience but compared to the five months of puking at the beginning of this pregnancy? Not really a big deal.
|First attempt at a family selfie!|
I kept saying "I'm sorry, I've just never been this tired before!" They left us after awhile, Ben pulled out this bed (they had a chair that converted to a bed), and we told each other and Parker, goodnight.
Yes I will never forget the exhaustion of that night, but I will also never forget the magic. Welcome to the world P-man - you've changed ours so much already.