Three Months Later
I am so sorry that I disappeared. Taking care of Aiden has been absolutely amazing and is most certainly a full-time job. I wanted to update my blog ALL THE TIME but somehow it became a very low priority. I will definitely be updating a lot more with all of the adorable things Aiden does and the amazing scrapbook pages JJ creates for me.
I know this is VERY behind but I thought documenting Aiden’s birth story at 3 months would be as good a time as any. I still can’t believe 3 months has gone by already, it doesn’t feel like it at all. Everything you’re about to read is from memory but trust me, I remember well. I don’t understand women who say they forget. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget. If you’re currently pregnant or just don’t want to read about a pretty traumatic birth story (but one with a very happy ending) then you will want to stop here. If you want to hear about an amazing, unforgettable event that brought the most precious gift into our lives, then please continue.
It started Friday morning, March 9th. We were told to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. to have my water broken (I was already at 3 cm the Wednesday prior) and get labor started. I had to call labor & delivery prior to coming in to make sure there was a free bed and of course there was not. G and I then went to C*racker Barrel for breakfast and Starbucks for hot chocolate before calling L & D back at 9:00. They said to come in at 10:00 and we would get things going.
We arrived at L & D and I really think I’m prophetic. For some reason I wanted to write 3/10/07 on all of the paperwork instead of 3/9/07. It was rather odd. Anyway, we got all the paperwork completed and we were shown to our room. I got changed into the cute blue gown they like to put you in (see picture below - don't I look like a first time mom how has never done this before and has no idea what she's gotten herself into??) and we were EXCITED to say the very least. The started monitoring Aiden and I and we were both doing fine. My midwife, Liz, came in to break my water and I was already dilated to almost 5 cm. Everyone was excited and just positive that my labor would progress quickly. One of the nurses even said “getting to 5 is the hardest part, the rest should go really fast!” She was wrong. Really, really WRONG.
The breaking of the water was definitely an odd sensation. Obviously I didn’t expect my water to be cold but for some reason I didn’t really expect it to be warm either. Liz had to poke the bag twice and then it finally broke with a “pretty good meconium staining”. She stated that it was perfectly normal and that things should progress pretty well from then on. I thought for sure contractions would start getting harder at that point but sadly they did not. They were uncomfortable and regular but no closer than about 10 minutes apart and no more than maybe a 5-6 out of 10 on the pain scale. I rocked and tried the birthing ball and changed positions but not much was getting my labor going. Around noon Liz checked me and I was about 6 – about 1 cm in about 2 hours. This was not going well.
We kept things about that same way until around 2:00 p.m. Liz came back in and I was still about 6 cm and not progressing or contracting all that regularly. She recommended Pitocin at this point, given that I was still well rested and ready for the labor that Pitocin would surely bring on. I agreed, all I cared about was a healthy me and a healthy Aiden and if it took Pitocin to get that then that was what we would do.
A nurse came in to start an IV in my left hand. The vein blew, which always sucks if you’re a needle-phobe like me and they had to insert the IV into my right hand. They got the Pitocin and fluids started and needed to check my blood pressure. Blood pressure should not be taken in the arm you have an IV in, if at all possible, so they decided to take my blood pressure in my left arm. The nurse warned me that the area where my vein blew may throb while the b/p was being taken. As the cuff began to tighten I experienced some of the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. I started screaming for them to take the cuff off, it was that horrible. When the cuff was off poor G was asking if I was okay and I looked down at my wrist. At that point I started freaking out because there was a golf ball sized knot under my skin where the blood had pooled. G also freaked out and the nurse immediately applied pressure to my arm to get the blood to go down. They also had to go get me ice for the horrible pain I had in my arm/hand. It really was one of the craziest things I have ever seen in my entire life. I have pictures of the bruising afterward and it looked horrible.
Once the IV was in and the horrible blood pressure incident was over they started the Pitocin. That brought a pretty immediate change to my labor. I definitely had to concentrate more during contractions and focus while breathing to get through them. They were also getting closer together and progressively stronger. Apparently I did respond well to the Pitocin though. They start out at 1 and can go to 20 but by about 4 my body was in a good labor pattern and the contractions were MUCH stronger on the monitor (as well as from my POV). Both my SILs and their sons came to see me at this point. I was still feeling good and breathing through the contractions. They were getting very close together though and it was becoming much more important to stop talking and really breathe through them. My visitors had to leave and Liz came back to check on me.
During this time I my blood pressure was carefully being monitored and it started to rise. Liz ordered blood tests to make sure I was not developing pre-eclampsia and the phlebotomist had to take my blood in the middle of contractions. Liz talked to me about the possibility of an epidural both to help with the contractions, given that they were coming every couple of minutes and were extremely intense, and to help relax me and possibly bring my b/p back down. At that point it was hovering around 160-170/95 or so and hadn’t been anywhere close to that during my pregnancy. I wanted to keep going naturally but I was starting to near the end of my rope. Liz sat with us and continued to support me and breathe with G and I. She again talked about our options and wanted to make sure I was comfortable with anything that happened. Liz left us alone again to continue to labor and make the decisions that needed to be made.
The contractions started coming about 30 seconds apart and lasted about 1-1.5 minutes. During the contraction all I could do was low breathing, grunting, and holding on to poor G. He was absolutely 100% amazing. He just tried to support and encourage me in any way he possibly could. By about 5:00 I was done. I remember grabbing G and telling him I wanted the epidural after two contractions on top of each other that I thought would tear my back open. G said okay and I repeated, “no, I really want the epidural”. G said he would tell the nurse as soon as she came back in the room at which point I said “call the nurse!” Luckily for poor G at that moment Liz came back in to check me again and see how things were going. The liver panel and blood tests had come back normal so that was a load off my mind. When Liz checked me I was only at 7:00, after 7 hours of labor and 2.5 hours of Pitocin. I was ready for the epidural and some relief. The Pitocin was just too much for my body to handle.
Luckily the anesthesiologist was on the floor at the time and was in my room in about 4 minutes. I was still very scared of the epidural but I knew I needed it if I was going to get through this labor. They made me sit up, which was excruciatingly awful in the throws of a contraction and then once I was sitting he was trying to show me on my back where the epidural would go. During the next contraction I jumped off the bed it was so bad and they had to turn off the Pitocin for me to be able to calm down and sit still for the long enough to have the epidural administered. G stood at my head while I curled around a couple of pillows. He held my hands and told me everything would be okay. The doctor was WONDERFUL and told me everything that was going on while he was doing it. The only real stick I felt was a tiny one when he numbed the area that would receive the catheter. After that I felt a bit of pressure when he inserted the needle but definitely no pain. I could have kissed the doctor and I was seriously considering changing Aiden’s name to John.
Almost immediately I felt relief and it didn’t take long for me to be pretty numb from about the waist down. It was an odd numbness though. I didn’t feel pain but I could still feel pressure. That and my right leg wasn’t as numb as the left. I could move and shift it where as the left felt more like dead weight. It was still MUCH better than the pain of the contractions though. Of course my b/p didn’t go down like it was supposed to though and they ended up having to give me a medicine for that also. My b/p was about 190/110 and almost immediately after they administered the medication it was 125/65.
For the next few hours I just tried to rest and keep my strength up. Liz doesn’t restrict food or “cut you off” when you’re in labor, which is nice. Of course she doesn’t recommend deep dish pizza or anything but something light is certainly okay. I was able to drink Recharge, which is like all natural G*atorade, and I ate a small cup of pudding. I really wasn’t hungry though with all the nerves and the like so I didn’t mind not eating. G’s aunt K came to see us. I love her but she REALLY got on our nerves. G and I were trying to doze and relax and she JUST KEPT TALKING. I was trying to be polite but I finally just said something about trying to doze so she would shut up. My MIL and SILs were great. My pastor and his wife, along with their son (one of G’s best friends) and his family came to see us, which was nice. They brought Aiden his first sock monkey! He he. My pastor and everyone there said a prayer for me to got through this labor as easily and quickly as possible, especially given that I was feeling very nauseas at that point.
The next few hours went by with the nurses starting me on oxygen and rolling me from side to side because Aiden would have “decels” or decelerations of his heart rate during some of the harder contractions. Oxygen is no fun but I understood the point. Finally at midnight Liz came back and checked me again and there was just the tiniest of lips left to my cervix, which she felt I could push past. She didn’t like the decels Aiden was having and wanted to get the pushing started.
From the beginning of the pregnancy, and for as long as I can remember, I have said that the only people I wanted in the delivery room were G and my MIL, D. The nurses starting to break down the bed and get me ready to push but G’s aunt K was still in the room. I just had to give G a look and he knew that he needed to get her out of there NOW. D also knew of my wishes and was doing her very best to get her out of there too. Finally she got the message that I did NOT want her in there and went to let everyone in the waiting room know what was going on.
I started pushing at approximately 12:10 a.m. Liz was having me push three times with each contraction and, not to toot my own horn, she kept saying what a fabulous job I was doing at pushing. With pushing I was able to get the lip of cervix out of the way but then I had a horrible sensation of needing to throw up and I did. It was not pleasant. I through up to the side in an emesis basin but it splashed a little on G and D. It was also all over my pillow and bed and they had to clean me up before we could keep pushing. After a few pushes they started to get more concerned about Aiden’s decels. He would do fabulous, heart rate around 150-160 without the contractions, but with the contractions and pushing he would dip down to 80 or so. I didn’t know that at the time but I did see the nurses whispering and I didn’t like it one bit.
Liz then decided it was time to call the doctor, Dr. W, in because there was a good chance it would need to be a forceps or vacuum delivery. I was getting scared but more than anything I just wanted Aiden to be okay. They called the doctor who arrived in about 15 minutes. Given how strong the contractions were with the Pitocin they decided to turn it off. Dr. W decided that we would try pushing, since I was a pro at it, and see how it went but would do the intervention if necessary. Without the Pitocin the contractions slowed to 10-14 minutes apart. You can NOT push out a baby with contractions 10-14 minutes apart. It’s weird though, in a way it felt like it was taking forever but at the same time it felt like time was flying by. After a couple of pushes Dr. W had them restart the Pitocin slowly to get some contractions going. When he still wasn’t coming fast enough Dr. W said they would have to use the vacuum and if that didn’t work in about 2 pushes we would need to proceed with an emergency c-section. I remember looking at her and saying “as long as Aiden is okay, do whatever you have to do.”
I had D call my pastor in the waiting room to have them all pray at that moment. I was scared and I needed reassurance that everything was going to be okay. Dr. W was great about explaining everything and was very explicit that the vacuum is only to help pull as easily as possible while I continue to push. She also stated that the vacuum she was using has a safety measurement to allow only a safe amount of pressure to build up and if it reaches that point the vacuum will pop off on its own, which made me feel better. She was most concerned about a cord/neck issue and she didn’t want him to spend too much time deep in the birth canal where the cord could be compressed even more. During the first contraction I got that lovely feeling that I was going to throw up again and pulled the oxygen mask off to tell G. Dr. W said “no, you just feel that way” and Liz said “no, she’s going to throw up”. This time they were faster with the emesis basin and no one got vomit on them. During the next contraction I pushed and Dr. W pulled. Finally, on the third contraction she said to push as hard as I could and I pushed harder than I ever have in my life.
All of the sudden I heard Dr. W say “the head is out, I need fundal pressure” and a nurse jumped on my bed and pushed down HARD on the top of my uterus, at which point Aiden came shooting out of me. I know that’s a heck of a thing to imagine but that is exactly how G describes it. Throughout pushing I was very silent. I internalized the strength I needed and didn’t make a sound. When that nurse jumped on top of me I actually screamed out because it HURT. I couldn’t feel the pain but the pressure was INSANE. When his head popped out his shoulder got stuck and they needed him out immediately. There was no time for adjustment or movement, just time for the nurse to push and that was it.
The reason Aiden was having decels became very apparent once he was out. He did not have the cord around his neck but he did have it wrapped around his waist and his wrist!! He was tethered in! His cord was so short by the time he was out they had to cut it immediately. G had no desire to cut the cord, which worked out great since he didn’t really have an option.
As soon as the cord was cut though they laid him on my stomach and he was the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on. He came out with his eyes open and looking around, almost as if to say “do I have a story for you!” I can remember crying and talking to him and telling him how much we loved him. I remember saying “everyone’s waited so long for you” and “we love you so much” over and over again. I was just in awe that he was actually here and whole and okay. He had one heck of a cone (poor guy!! look at those pics!). The nurses then took him to the side to clean him up a little and I finally got to hear him cry. He was 8 pounds 8 ounces and 21 inches (or as the nurse said – 20 inches without the cone – LOL). G went to tell everyone in the lobby that Aiden was here. The nurses brought Aiden back to me to hold for a few minutes but they wanted to take him to the nursery to monitor because he had a very slight fever, which was a concern since there had been meconium in my water. I got to hold him before they took him though and it was breathtaking.
G went with Aiden to the nursery and D went to tell everyone about things in the lobby so I was by myself with Liz, Dr. W and a few nurses. The nurse that had jumped on me kept apologizing but I just had to laugh and tell her it was okay. I understood it was necessary and there was no apology necessary. The first time I looked at the clock it was 2:10 a.m. but I asked what time he was born and Liz said 1:58 a.m. was the official time. That’s when my sweet Aiden came into the world. I will never forget that time for as long as I live. As I laid there I just kept going over everything in my mind and wondering just what the “damage” was. I don’t think I was prepared for what they told me though. Dr. W said I had a 3rd degree tear. I had torn all the muscles and ligaments separating my vagina and rectum but didn’t tear through the rectum (which would have made it a 4th degree tear). I was being sewn up with a running stitch so there was no way they could count the stitches. As soon as Dr. W was done with the repair they put ice on me, even though I couldn’t feel anything.
When everyone else was gone Liz sat down to talk with me before she also headed out. She said “I know you’re not thinking about this now, and I don’t know what your definite plans are for more children, but just remember that every delivery is different. Just because this one was hard and traumatic doesn’t mean that the next one would be.” Of course I told her I understood and was just glad Aiden was healthy and safe, that was all that mattered. She told me that she would be in to see me the next day, to rest as much as possible, to take the pain medication she would be leaving orders for, and to enjoy Aiden in every way I could. I assured her I would do all of those things.
After Liz left the nurses finished getting me cleaned up along with changing all of the bed sheets and my gown. Normally they move people into the post-partum room within a couple of hours of delivery but since it was so late at night they left us in the L & D room until the next morning. G came back to the room with Aiden at approx 4:00 a.m. and that was the first time I really got to hold him by myself, without nurses putting oxygen to him or hovering over him. We were both exhausted but all I could do was smile and hold him. Take a look at that little hat!
This picture is hard to see but after he nursed for the very first time all I could do was snuggle his sweet head next to mine, hold his tiny body close to me, and thank God for such a beautiful miracle.My L & D were not easy but they were worth it in every way. My recovery is a different story and one that will be following soon…