And here we are! I can NOT believe that I’m finally here writing this post with a soon-to-be eight week old baby sleeping in his crib! This seemed like an impossible dream for YEARS and now, here we are…
Before we get started, you may want to go back to the Third Trimester Recap to get a better understanding/refresher of what was happening. Also, keep in mind that this post is as much for me as it is meant for you all. This is a way for me to look back in a couple of years when my memory is foggy…
This post will also be very word heavy, as I do not have many (read any) photos of this time.
Ok, ready? I hope you grabbed a cool glass of wine as we dive in!
On Monday (September 17, 2018), I went in to the doctor’s early for my 38 week appointment. Long story short, I left that appointment having scheduled my induction for Wednesday (September 19, 2018) at 1800. Induction Day came and that evening we made our way to the hospital! I was still having contractions and wasn’t feeling very good thanks to the preeclampsia. Because I continued to have contractions for months and I was feeling less than myself, I was very skeptical and hesitant as to how this whole labor process would go.
At 1845, after checking in and settling into our room, I was checked. I had not progressed anymore since the 36 week appointment–less than 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Not quite the starting point I was hoping for.
At 1930, we started our first round of Cytotec in hopes that it would thin the cervix and let labor progress. From then until Thursday (September 20, 2018) morning, I had 5–yes FIVE–rounds of Cytotec. This was the same medication that I had taken during each of my miscarriages, so I was expecting the cramping, backaches, nausea, and general discomfort. I wasn’t expecting all of the symptoms without any results. That’s right–No progression!
Thankfully, my doctor let me eat breakfast and lunch on Thursday! Unfortunately, for me, my body rejected it a short time later.
From the Cytotec, we moved to the Foley bulb. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a ballon that is inserted and attached to a catheter. It’s slowly inflated to help with dilating by applying pressure. OH MY GOD! That was incredibly painful. Almost more painful than the rest of labor. I couldn’t get out of bed, but I couldn’t stay still. I had such hard and fast contractions with almost no break in between. I couldn’t catch my breath or focus on anything. Finally, they were able to give me 2 rounds of Fentanyl. While I was hesitant to go on narcotics, it allowed me to go into a fog and relax briefly. I will forever be grateful to the nurse that suggested that option.
Finally, it was time to remove the bulb and check me again. We were now into LATE Thursday evening. At this point, I was almost at 2 cm dilated. Yeah, I moved 1 single centimeter. I lost it! I could not believe after all those contractions, all that pain, all the medications…there was no progression. I was already exhausted (physically and mentally), barely able to sleep, and I couldn’t move to get comfortable.
After removing the bulb, the doctor let me take a shower, move around, and sleep without interruption from 1200 to 0230 Friday (September 21, 2018) morning. At 0300, we started Pitocin. We knew (really we were desperately hoping) the Pitocin would push me over edge and we’d actually start progressing. Boy, did it! By 0500 I was 3+ cm dilated and ready for my epidural.
At this point, I had been laboring for 33 hours and was EXHAUSTED. I had gotten sick two or three times, was having horrible back labor, and was letting the medical team know that I was okay with and ready for a C-Section. In the beginning, the epidural left me itching and shivering like crazy. I broke through skin in a few places from scratching so much. After about an hour, the itchiness and shivering stopped and I was able to rest, on and off.
Sometime between the epidural and the pushing, the doctors attached internal monitors to the baby to get a more accurate reading of his stats. To this day, I still am not sure what the deciding factor(s) was.
Around 0800 I had progressed another 3 cm, leaving us at a 6+. At some point between these two times, my epidural got really low and needed to be replenished. By 1000, I had moved to a 8+ and around 1130, I was fully dilated and beyond ready to push. At 1421, after 3 hours of pushing, almost 44 hours of labor, 3 doctor shift-changes, and 4 nurse shift-changes, Michael William III arrived!
Our huge joy-filled moment quickly turned into deep dread and concern. Michael came out at 7 pounds 10 ounces, with a full head of dark hair. He also shares my maternal grandmother’s birthday, who passed away 10 years ago. He was deep blue in color, wasn’t crying, and was limp. When he finally did take a breath and let out a cry, he sounded like an exhausted, sick kitten. It’s a sound I’ll never forget.
Very quickly the NICU team swept him away and brought him to there area of the hospital to help him. He would take a breath and then would stop breathing. Apparently, it is fairly common in Colorado because of the altitude, but no one in any class or tour seemed to think that was important information to share. (Can you tell it makes me mad?!)
While that was happening, I was having complications of my own. My placenta would not detach. I was hemorrhaging like crazy, which was causing dizziness and confusion. I had a few second-degree tears that required many sutures. I needed Pitocin again, post delivery. After all that was dealt with, I was exhausted and passed right out for a few hours. 24 hours later another potential complication would arise–swelling and a potential blood clot. (Luckily(?), it was just a lot of swelling and there was no clot.)
When I woke up, the baby was still in the NICU. I was cleaned up, taken care of hygienically, and placed back in bed. My epidural was still very much in my system and I could not apply any pressure to my legs or move my toes. Apparently, there is a policy in place that does not allow the mother to enter the NICU until she can walk, assisted. After crying, having the husband and his parents go see our little baby and take photos for me, I was mad enough to fight my way into the NICU.
12 hours after giving birth, I was able to see and touch our little boy. He was hooked up to monitors and was trying to maintain his oxygen levels. 13 hours after giving birth, we were able to hold him! Oh what a feeling that was–exciting, terrifying…as much as I wanted to hold him, feel him, smell him, I wasn’t sure I could or should.
Ultimately, as we all know, everything turned out in our favor. He was discharged from the hospital 2 days later. After a large weight loss, many blue spells, high jaundice levels, and the uncertainty that came with it all, we have our baby! Home, safe, and healthy.
The doctors, nurses, technicians, and staff were great! They kept us in the loop, handled my anxiety riddled self with patience and kindness, and loved on my baby when I couldn’t.
My labor and delivery was nothing like I had imagined. I was expecting a faster delivery and birth process, doing skin-to-skin with my baby immediately, sharing our room with him…all the things everyone talks about. With that being said, nothing about our journey to baby was easy and this fit the mold with him. I would (and will) easily do that whole thing over again!