At my appointment on Wednesday, November 29 my OB ordered a growth ultrasound because my fundal height was measuring large for 40 weeks and 1 day. At the ultrasound the baby was measured 8 pounds and 5 ounces. They expect a baby to gain approximately one ounce per day. Since this was making for a large baby, my doctor wanted to induce labor on Monday, November 3. I would be 40 weeks and 6 days.
The baby was monitored closely every 2-3 days with ultrasounds and Non Stress Tests. Everything looked good and there was no medical reason to induce, so we decided to wait. We used tools from the Bradley class to communicate our desire for a natural birth. My OB gave us until Wednesday night, November 5th for labor to start naturally. At that time I would be 9 days over due. That seemed like a reasonable amount of time considering many doctors like to induce between 40-41.
If I hadn't gone into labor by that time, the hospital would call when they had a room available for the induction. Since I had a low Bishop's Score at my last appointment, the plan was to start ripening my cervix with cervidil and then to start pitocin the following morning.
I really wanted to avoid an induction because of the challenges it would pose to having a pain medication free birth. Plus I wanted my baby to pick his own birth-day!
So we had our homework to do. We used acupuncture, pressure points, evening primrose oil and relaxation along with visualization in an effort to get labor started naturally. My husband and I started walking 2-4 miles every day. And we went with the old adage, "What gets the baby in there, gets the baby out."
Contractions started Wednesday evening at 7 pm. They weren't very strong but they were coming pretty regular at 10-15 minutes apart. Christopher and I went walking to see if the contractions would get stronger. After about 2.5 hours I called my doula to see what she advised us to do. Since the contractions hadn't gotten much stronger, she told me to eat something and try to get some sleep to prepare for a long labor.
At 11:00 pm the hospital called. They had a room ready for us. I finished packing, called the doula, and took a shower. Just after midnight, we left for the hospital. It was almost 1:00 am Thursday, when I got into the L&D room. My doula met us at the hospital to help get us settled. They drew blood and got my IV antibiotics started for the GBS.
The contractions slowed down a little which I know is common from the Bradley class. Being in a strange environment will often do that in early labor.
My nurse checked me and I was 4 cm already! Those contractions had been doing something! Since that drastically improved my Bishop's Score, cervidil was no longer needed to ripen my cervix.
The nurse said they would start the pitocin at 5 am. My doula left for a few hours to get some sleep at home. Christopher managed to nap a little on the fold out couch while I watched the clock.
At 4:50 am, I was dilated to 5 cm and they started the pitocin. The plan was to increase the pitocin every 20 minutes until the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.
Because of the pitocin, they had to keep me on constant monitoring except for trips to the bathroom. My doula and Christopher were a big help though. The nurse let me walk around the bed, sit on the birthing ball, and sway with Christopher as long as the cords reached.
At one point, I got up out of bed to use the restroom. I guess when I got up, I had passed a large clot. My doula and the nurse were very concerned and asked about the amount of bleeding that I'd been having. Ever since the initial cervix check at 1 am, I had been bleeding some what heavily. Thankfully the bleeding slowed back down. But that was an excellent example of why you should wear a hospital gown to labor in.
At 9 am, my OB checked on me. I was 7 cm so he broke my water. There was light meconium staining. My OB said that was common when the baby is over due. My doula asked if I would still be to have the baby skin to skin immediately after delivery. My doctor said it would depend on the baby, but thankfully he didn't rule it out completely.
Labor wasn't that difficult for the next couple of hours. I spent a lot of time out of the hospital bed, swaying with Christopher. The doula would whisper into my ear just what I needed to hear and would massage my back. She kept reminding me to stay on top of the contractions by relaxing as soon I started to feel the pain start in my back.
The bed was pure evil. The contractions hurt so much worse when I was flat on my back. I didn't want to go there unless the nurse was going to check me.
At 11:00 am, I was 8 cm. Transition had officially started. The next two hours were rough. This is when time stopped for me. I would look at the clock and only five minutes had passed. I knew transition would be the most difficult time but also it's supposed to be the shortest period.
The contractions wouldn't go away completely during transition because of the pitocin. My doula said they would peak or double peak but never disappear like normal contractions during transition.
At 12:00 pm, I was dilated to 9 cm during a contraction. I was feeling more and more pressure. During this period, I kept wanting to go into the bathroom. Most of the time I didn't have to pee. I just had to get away. I felt like it was good to keep my bladder empty as possible though because of my Bradley training.
Chris was in charge of my IV pole and cords. It was a clumsy dance as we maneuvered around into the bathroom. My doula kept telling me not to push while I was in there. I knew she wanted to make sure that I didn't make my cervix swell by pushing before it was time. Whenever we would come out, they would ask if I had any contractions while in there. I would tell them how many that I'd had. Sitting on the toilet actually helped them not to be so painful.
Afterwards, my doula said she and the nurse talked about me going into the bathroom. The nurse was okay with it as long as I continued to have contractions and wasn't off monitor for too long. They knew that sometimes women need to go away where it's quiet and private to labor.
Around 1:00 pm, I was dilated to 10 cm with a small lip of cervix left.
Things get hazy at this point. I started to push and the baby's heart rate dropped down in the 90's for 3 minutes. They put me on oxygen and kept moving me around in different positions to get the heart beat up. The pitocin was stopped at this point and I labored with my own contractions. I wasn't allowed to push for 45 minutes. This was so difficult because with the contractions, my body wanted to push desperately. I would feel my muscles contract and it would take everything in me to relax. All I could do was try to breath deeply and listen to the doula's instructions. I had to give my baby oxygen.
I would go away in between contractions, almost falling asleep. I knew this was common from the Bradley classes. I just kept breathing deeply without panting. The oxygen mask made me feel like I was going to hyperventilate.
The nurses actually started prepping me for a c-section but no operating rooms were available. My OB was in surgery and couldn't get there for about 45 minutes.
When my doctor got there, they let me start pushing again. They told me to show the doctor what I could do, encouraging me to push with everything that I had. My OB said I had mad pushing skills. LOL I just wanted the baby out and safe!
Suddenly the room was transformed and nurses were every where. Later I found out that because we were expecting a big baby, the nurses came in to help get him out. My doula said if he was stuck they would have put their forearms on my stomach to push down.
With every contraction, I was pushing 2-3 times. Down and out. Please, baby be okay. Down and out. Breathe deeply, give the baby oxygen. Come on, contraction, let's go, give me another so I can push. Down and out. Breathe deeply, give the baby oxygen.
I felt the ring of fire that everyone talks about. It hurt but it didn't last very long. I didn't care, the baby needed to come out!
Christopher watched as his head came out and the doctor suctioned his mouth.
When the rest of his body came out, the cord was across his body with his hand on top of that. So every contraction was putting extra pressure on the cord which was the cause of his heart rate dropping.
He was born 11/06 at 3:11 PM, weighing 7 lbs and 15.51 ounces and 20 inches long. He scored 9's on both APGARS.
They put him on my chest immediately. That was what I had been waiting for! I didn't even notice his little cone head. I thought he was the most beautiful sight ever. Christopher, the proud poppa, cut the cord.
The baby nurse tried to snatch him from us but my doula said, "No, she's going to breast feed him." Pam, my doula, rocks!
Pam is also a lactation consultant so she was right there with us for the first breast feeding. She actually latched him on every time for me. All I had to do was hold him. She said it was great that I actually had colostrum for him already.
My right nipple was inverted so Pam met the hospital LC and got a nipple shield for me. I breast fed him for a little over an hour while the OB finished repairing my tears. At that point the nurse came back for Andrew and I let her give him his first bath and do his exam. Christopher watched over him like a hawk.
My doula put on gloves and helped me get cleaned up. It was nice to have a familiar person doing it instead of a strange nurse. She put me in a fresh gown and helped me to use the rest room.
The nurse made the comment that it didn't seem like I had only known Pam for two months. It seemed like we were long time friends instead. Pam said that was her goal, to be a friend. She was a crucial part of my support system. Christopher and I were so glad she was there for us.
We had a beautiful and happy ending to a year and a half long journey to become a family. We are completely and totally in love with out little boy.