I had had my membranes stripped at my 40 week appointment on December 29 in the hopes that by doing so, it would kick start labor. And nothing happened except I had been losing pieces of my mucous plug ever since and having mild contractions that would always stop before they were really timeable. When I woke up on Tuesday, January 4, I just had a feeling that something was going to happen soon and I better tie up anything that needed to be done that day. In the early afternoon, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, but couldn't and starting getting abdominal cramps because of it. It only occurred to me that I could be in early labor once I finally was able to go and the cramps kept coming. I sat in bed and played around on Facebook for awhile timing contractions for a little over an hour and since they were anywhere from 5-15 minutes apart, I figured I might as well go to the grocery store and get some of the stuff I was planning on getting for my mom since she wouldn't be able to stay in the hospital the whole time once Ewan was born. So, off to Acme I went and while being up and walking around the store, contractions started coming closer together and I decided to tell Alan that I thought I might be in labor.
Later that evening, Alan and I were watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune while timing contractions and I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. When I got in there, I noticed that there was blood tinged fluid on my underwear so I decided to call my doctor because I thought my water might've broken. He told me to come in to labor and delivery to get checked. The whole way to the hospital, my contractions had gotten closer together and were more painful.
When we got to labor and delivery around 9PM, I was given and iv and hooked up to the baby and contraction monitors. After about an hour, I was checked by one of the residents and was told that I was 4cm dialated, 90% effaced and the baby was at -3 station. While I was hoping to have been much further than that, 4 cm means you're in active labor so I was admitted. Ewan was finally on his way! A few minutes later, the resident came back into the room and told me that my water had indeed broken, so I knew that one way or another I would be having a baby within the next day.
I had decided a long time ago that I wanted to give birth without pain meds. Yeah, after almost 6 hours of being at the hospital in labor and not progressing, I had decided that I wanted that epidural afterall, especially when I was told that they were going to finish breaking my water and if that didn't help contractions along, they were going to start pitocin. I give every woman props for giving birth completely natural, but they're out of their minds!
Even though I did decide to get the epidural, I will admit that I was terrified. I was scared of the thought of a needle being stuck into my spine, of what it would feel like to not be able to move my legs, of a catheter and especially of the after effects of the epidural. I had read all the horror stories about people getting horrible headaches and needing blood patches and all sorts of other stuff because they had an epidural. However, getting it wasn't painful at all and once it kicked in, it was bliss to not feel the contractions anymore and get some sleep!
Somewhere in there, I can't remember when exactly, an internal catheter was inserted to measure contractions because the external monitor wasn't getting the results they wanted. I should've known then that something was up because I could feel more than just pressure everytime the doctors checked me and when the contraction catheter was put in. And sure enough, about 3 hours after the epidural was placed, I could feel everything in my back on the lower left side. This happened throughout labor, everytime the epidural was "topped up," there was less and less time from when it took effect until I could feel contractions again.
I think it was a little before noon on the 5th when I was checked and they told me that I had finally progressed to 5cm and 100% effaced. Yay for some sort of progress! The nurses kept upping the pitocin, and I kept waiting for Ewan to go into some sort of distress and for me to wind up with an emergency c section. Luckily, he tolerated labor like a champ.
Around 3, another epidural was placed, and we were all hoping that this time, it would work. And it did, until about 4:30-5, when I could start feeling contractions all over again. They kept having me shift from side to side so that it would help him move down the birth canal and every time I was on my left side, I started to feel contractions again so I was convinced that that was the issue. Unfortunately, I had to wait until almost 6:30 before the anesthesiologist came back in to give me more pain meds and it was the most horrible pain ever. The contractions were coming right on top of each other and they were the worst I had yet experienced. I don't really remember a lot of that time, other than just moaning and screaming "someone help me, please make the pain stop." I remember doing my best to focus on a green star sticker that was on the ceiling whenever I could feel contractions, sometimes I did a better job than others.
When the anesthesiologist finally came back, he said that he's not an ob, but that I was probably heading to a c section because for some reason the epidural wasn't working and I wasn't progressing. Deep down, I knew this was the case as well, but I didn't want to admit it. A c section is something I've been terrified of my entire pregnancy and was determined to avoid at all costs. I knew that if I hadn't progressed at the next checkup around 7, that that's probably what I was going to be told. However, when I was checked again by one of the residents, I was now 7cm and the baby had moved down to 0 station. Thank the Lord! We also found out that Ewan was posterior, which totally explained the back labor. I was so pissed because he had been anterior for weeks, if not months, and then he turned right as I went into labor. Figures.
Around 9, my actual ob came in and checked me. I was hoping against hope that I had made more progress, but unfortunately that was not the case. I was still 7cm, 100% effaced and he had moved back up to -1 station. He also told me that not only was Ewan posterior, or facing head up, but his head was lodged sideways in my pelvis and it was like he was trying to come out ear first. My doctor told me that since this was the first time he had personally checked me, he would come back in an hour to check again if I would like, but normally he wouldn't do that and a c section would have to happen. I told him to let me discuss it with Alan and we would let the nurse know. I had already made up my mind by this point, I had been in labor at the hospital going on 24 hours, not counting while I was at home, and I was so exhausted and knew I couldn't take the epidural coming and going while waiting to dialate to 10 cm and then pushing, especially since pushing was going to be really hard, if not impossible based on where his head was located.At this point, my need for getting him out was much more urgent than wanting a vaginal birth. I called for the nurse around 9:30 and told her that I had decided to go ahead with a c section.
Once it was determined that Ewan was being born via c section, they stopped the pitocin and unhooked me from everything except the baby's monitor and my blood pressure cuff. I was told that I was to be taken to the OR at 10:15 since it wasn't an emergency, but it really wound up being closer to 10:45. I remember being really annoyed because I was tired of waiting and just wanted to meet my son. I was also really pissed at Alan because he didn't tell me that my hair was all matted on my head and I looked horrible. The things you worry about while in labor LOL.
They wheeled me into the OR and transferred me to the operating table, where they gave me a spinal instead of another epidural. This time, I really didn't feel ANYTHING from the top of my abdomen down. Everything felt like it was asleep. Once I was prepped and ready, they allowed Alan into the room. I actually think they made the first incision before he was there because he was told not to look when he entered the room. I of course, couldn't see anything because of the screen they had in front of me. The next thing I know, my ob says they're making the uterine incision, and the anesthesiologist says, "wow that's a big head!" and I knew he was here.
Ewan Alistair was born at 11:18PM on January 5, weighing 8lbs 8oz and 20.5 inches long. I heard him cry and saw him given to the nurses where he was checked out. I heard them say his agpar was 9/9 and the tears started flowing. I was so relieved he was finally here and that he was healthy. Once they had taken his footprints and cleaned him off a little, they gave him to Alan to hold and unstrapped my hand so I could touch him. It was amazing. My little boy was here at last.
Ewan was then taken to the nursery and Alan went with him while the placenta was removed and I was stitched up. Then I was taken to the recovery area, where I stayed for about an hour and a half. This has always been something that has really bothered me about the hospital where I gave birth since I found out about it. They don't let the baby join you until you're in a postpartum room if you give birth via c section. I think it's horrible that you're not allowed to bond with your baby immediately if he or she is healthy. I still think it's an awful policy, but Alan came back to see me with pictures and video so that helped. My mom also came back to help me spend the time and distract me.
I was finally allowed to go to my postpartum room a little before 2AM while Alan went to get Ewan from the nursery. We got settled and I attempted to breastfeed, which to say the least, did NOT come naturally to either of us. Luckily I had some awesome nurses who helped me tremendously and we've been getting better and better every day.
If I want to be honest, I'm extremely disappointed with how the birth process turned out, and I feel cheated out of a normal, healthy pregnancy and birth. I know that if we ever have more kids, they will most likely not be born vaginally because it's really hard to find a doctor that will allow a VBAC. In the end, all that matters is that Ewan is here and healthy, but I am coming to terms with ending up with a c section and having the exact opposite of everything I wanted and hoped for during his birth happen. Recovery hasn't been easy, but it's getting better everyday.
And now, pictures!
|right after he was born|
|exhausted, but so happy he's here!|