Birth stories are hard for me to write, and I’m not entirely sure whether they’re appreciated by the masses or not. But I do try and have a record of everything for my kids’ sakes, as I would hate to have them ask me one day and not be able to remember.
That said, I never did get around to writing Dexter’s birth story, though it’s told in bits and pieces in other posts on this site. And with Daniel’s story, I split it into a series of posts that I never actually finished. So I’m not great at these things, as you can tell.
So I tried to keep it simple this time. I created a video diary of the day, which I used to keep track of everything that happened. Inductions can be tricky, and at 37 weeks, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I made sure to document as much as possible. The result has been put together here as part of a new series of YouTube videos I am doing, titled New Mom Diaries.
This video doesn’t really cover everything, though. Most of the day was spent with a whole lotta nothing going on, and then when everything DID happen, it happened fast. In all of my birth stories, one common theme has held true – as soon as I hit 7cm dilation, people better be ready to play catch because BABY IS COMING.
And this time was no different.
When I arrived at the Labor and Delivery suite early in the morning of October 22nd, I was hooked up to the CTG machine and had my first internal check, where I was told I was already 4cm. My doctor arrived minutes later and said since I was ready to go, she was going to go ahead and break my waters. Apparently, though, my membranes were not playing ball, and it took a lot of effort on her part (and the part of the nurse!) to actually get the damn thing to burst. When she finally got a hole in it, the waters just kind of gently trickled out, and she had to keep digging in to make the hole bigger.
It was an odd sensation.
Immediately after this happened, the machine lost track of the baby’s heartbeat. He was clearly pissed off that we’d stolen his nice warm water, and so he was climbing up into my rib cage in an effort to stay warm (or that’s what I imagined). After several minutes of being unable to get him, my doctor decided she’d have to put a trace on him. This meant a Fetal Scalp Electrode, which is a wire with a clip on it that attaches directly to baby’s head. It gets a better read to be sure the heart is okay.
She tried with three different wires to get the trace, and still we couldn’t get a read on him. By this point Mark and I were a little panicky. But after nearly ten minutes, she finally was able to verify that all was well. She also verified that I was now at 5cm.
Eventually, the CTG was able to pick up baby’s heartbeat again, so I no longer had to have the trace on, but I was told I would have to be on the machines for the entire day, like it or not.
I was given Pitocen to get the contractions going, but it was a very small dose. My doctor wanted to make sure me and the baby could take it, so we were told it would be upped every few hours. I was allowed to walk around as long as I stayed within range of the machines, so I spent several hours just dancing around my IV pole as we blasted Pearl Jam out of Mark’s iphone.
Once the contractions started to pick up, there was concern about the baby’s heart decelerations, and I was told I’d have to stay in bed. Frustratingly, after SEVERAL more hours (though it seemed like a lifetime) of contractions and pain, I was checked again and told I was STILL just 5 cm. It was then that I gave in and accepted an epidural.
Of course, that didn’t go very easily either! Everything that could go wrong did. The anesthesiologist was really frustrated, as everything he warned me COULD happen, DID happen. He swore that his record was really good but sometimes things just don’t work out. Besides me being one of the rare specimens that receives the “electric shock” from an epidural, we also had to deal with him hitting a blood vessel. This meant he had to remove the needle and redo the whole procedure again. Once we finally got it sorted in the right place, we realized it had only taken on my left side. I wasn’t TOO worried, because the same thing happened during Daniel’s birth, and eventually it had spread to the right side, as well.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky this time. Not only did the epidural never take on my right side, but by the time it came to push the baby out, the left side had completely worn off. NIGHTMARE.
It was around 3:45 when I was checked again, and I had a smile on my face hoping to have progressed beyond 5cm. So when he nurse said I’d hit 7cm, I was ecstatic. Until she pulled her hand out of me… and that’s when it all went wrong. Immediately when she removed her hand, I felt the most excruciating pain. I started to moan and cry, and I thought that I was about to throw up from the pain.
I rolled onto my left side and grabbed the bed railing. The nurse was confused and asked if I was okay, and I could barely answer. She asked if I needed to push, and I couldn’t decide if I did or not. I panted for a moment and grabbed my epidural button, trying to force more medicine inside of me. The nurse quickly typed something on the computer and then said she’d be right back. She opened the door to leave, and I screamed.
“I NEED TO PUSH!”
This had NEVER happened to me before, quite honestly. With Dexter, I’d felt a gentle pressure, and he’d basically slithered out of me with two tiny half pushes. With Daniel, I lost my bag of waters moments before he wiggled his way out without any help from me. So to actually feel this intense pressure between my legs was completely foreign to me, but I KNEW something big was happening.
My doctor was called, but she’d be 15 – 20 minutes, so another doctor came in and suited up, and I heard them saying that I had “anterior lip.” I was told I could push if I wanted to or I could wait. I was in so much pain by this point and truthfully I was terrified. I was not prepared to actually have to do any work! I know it sounds ridiculous, but seriously I’d had such easy births with the other two boys that I just genuinely did not expect to have any issues with the actual birthing part.
Luckily the anesthesiologist ran in at that point and saw how much pain I was in and administered a bolus injection to try and give me some relief. It wasn’t totally effective, unfortunately, but it DID take the edge off enough that I was able to focus a little more on my own part in the pain management – namely, breathing through it. I kept asking if the baby was okay, and I was assured that he was fine. But when I snuck a glance at the CTG machines, I saw that he was having MASSIVE decelerations, and I knew I’d have to get him out of me.
I just kept telling myself, “Be brave. Be brave.” I knew that millions of women before me had done this, and there is nothing special about me. I was going to have to push and I was going to have to endure.
It was at that moment that my OB arrived and told me that I’d feel much better if I pushed. So I did.
I held my legs up with my arms, I bent my head forward, held my breath and pushed for ten seconds.
“Well done, me,” I thought, as I started to relax… but oh! Wait, what? The doctor was telling me to push again. Another ten seconds. A slow, agonizing ten seconds. “Surely I get a break now, right?” Nope. AGAIN!
This time, I screamed. I screamed as I pushed and I felt that well-described “ring of fire”, and I watched as my baby popped forth out of me and was held up, grey and slimy before my eyes.
He was beautiful.
They put him on my chest, and I held him as they wiped away the vernix and blood and they suctioned his nose and mouth. His tiny whimpers weren’t the bellows I was used to in my newborns, but they didn’t seem concerned, and so I let myself just look at him and take him all in.
My doctor delivered the placenta, which took me by surprise when she gave a little yank, and after looking me over, she said I had a couple of little tears but wouldn’t require stitches. So at least I made it through three births without ever sustaining any major injuries.
Hilariously, right after the baby was born, my left leg went numb again, as the epidural/bolus finally kicked in. A little too late, but whatever.
Baby Chester weighed in at a healthy 6lbs 12oz, which is actually 8oz more than Daniel weighed! The doctor was amazed, having expected him to be smaller since he was born early. But I thank god for every ounce, since he’s been having some issues with his weight and feeding since birth.
So now we have it. A birth story that is actually done. My baby boy. My last child. Welcome to your new family.