Well things never go according to plan do they? Throughout my pregnancy I was set that I didn't have a birth plan. I was going to go into the delivery with an open mind and let my body do what needed to be done to get our baby here. That is the short version of what happened.
At our 38 week check up my blood pressure was high and they found protein in my urine which are both indicators of pre-eclampsia. So on March 8 (my last day of work in the office) my OB sent us to triage at Labor and Delivery for monitoring. We were there for about three hours and my blood pressure came down and the protein was out of my urine so we were discharged, sent home and given a list of syptoms to look out for that would indicate pre-eclampsia.
One week later (Thursday, March 14th) at my 39 week check up…the same thing happened. This time my blood pressure was even higher and my OB again sent us to triage and said that if things didn't correct themselves this time that they might have to induce labor. This time we knew the drill. After about three hours we were so close to being sent home. The triage nurse was in the middle of telling us what to do at home. I was going to monitor my urine for 24 hours using some milk jug looking thing and then she got a phone call, stepped out of the curtain and came back saying my Dr. had changed her mind and decided that they were going to keep me and begin inducing labor to get the baby out. So this was happening. Matt was able to go home and pick up my bag and the carseat and pack some things for himself too.
They had told us that the induction process could take anywhere from 24-72 hours. They moved me to a delivery room, got me settled in, Matt came back and at 4pm they started what was the beginning of a VERY long process. They started with cervidil which is a cervical ripening pill that is inserted vaginally and is supposed to help "ripen" the cervix. At this point my body was no where near ready to have a baby. My cervix was not dialated or effaced. At. All. So we were starting from square one.
About 12 hours later around 3:30am (Friday, March 15) I was at about 1 cm and they decided to move on to step two…the Foley catheter balloon. I will point out that my Dr. did this about a minute after I woke up and did not listen to the nurse when she asked if she should give me something for pain prior to inserting the balloon. (Sidenote: There are about 10 doctors in the OB practice I go to. I had seen this particular Dr. once during my pregnancy and she was my least favorite of the bunch so it was no surprise that she did not change my opinion of her after this incident either. Having said that I have been 110% pleased with my entire pregnancy and delivery process. The Dr's took amazing care of me and the baby and that's all that matters. I would recommend this practice to anyone.) This was a very uncomfortable part of the labor process and I'm not even sure if the drugs would have helped but it would have been nice to have had that option.
About 12 more hours they started me on Pitocin and kept increasing my dosage pretty regularly. At this point one of my doctors came in and said that the was I was progressing she estimated that I might have the baby in the middle of the night or early Saturday morning. We had been updating friends and family the whole time but this was the first that we had an estimate of when our baby would arrive.
Unfortunately the doctor's guess wasn't correct. Around 2pm Saturday, March 16 they took the balloon out and I was about 3cm dilated. They kept me cranking on Pitocin for the day and with very little progression they decided to break my water around 8pm. From there things started getting very intense quickly. At this point time was all a blur to me. Matt said that within about 10 minutes the contractions were strong and with very little rest in between. I was also trembling uncontrollably and felt like I had the chills. I decided that an epidural was the next best step. So around 10:15pm I met my new best friend, the anesthesiologist. I had been afraid of getting an epidural (I thought it would hurt and I was nervous of the side effects) but afterwards I don't know what I was afraid of. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would and it helped remove my pain. Once the epidural went in I started feeling better pretty quickly and my face felt hot and I felt like I was going to throw up. And I did. The anesthesiologist apparently looked at me and said "good god"…haha. I was able to sleep pretty well that night and didn't feel any pain. The nurses kept coming in and looking at my contractions monitor and asking "Did you feel that?" And I would always reply "Nope."
The doctors checked me periodically though the night and at about 6am Sunday, March 17 they were able to feel that the baby's head was not in the right position. My nurse thought that the baby was facing sideways so she raised up the foot of my bed to try and get the baby to slip back in and rotate on it's own. Then around 7:15am (right after the shift change in doctors) the new doctor came in (who we had already seen on a shift previously) and said that I was about 8-9 cm dilated but that the baby was "sunny side up" and his head was tilted backwards (chin off his neck). The doctor gave us the option to try and push. He said it would be hard and that there was no guarantee that the baby would come out vaginally. He also said that there was a chance they would have to use a vacuum to get it out. And that realistically there was a good chance that I'd need a c-section anyways. His recommendation was that I have a c-section. He left us for a few minutes to let us decide what to do. When he left I started laughing. I was not surprised that this was the outcome. I was at peace with our decision to go forward with the c-section. I had called a good friend who is a labor and delivery nurse and she said that they really had done everything they could to try and get the baby to come. We made the decision around 7:45am to move forward with the c-section. They packed up all our belongings from our delivery room and moved them to the recovery room, where I'd spend a few hours post-surgery before moving to the post-partum floor. They took me in to prep me and took Matt to get him outfitted in his nifty scrubs. Right before they were ready to cut they brought Matt in and had him sit by my head. He was such a trooper the whole time and was so supportive and amazing.
They began the surgery and I remember that American Pie was playing when I was rolled in and Paul Simon…my kind of music. It all felt longer than I was expecting but I think I was in and out in 40 minutes. It was such an eerie feeling when you can feel your body moving but feel no pain. They had trouble getting the baby out as he was lodged pretty far in my pelvis. The finally got him out and the pediatric nurses took him to the warming table and had to give him some oxygen to get him breathing. And then we heard our baby cry for the first time. What an amazing sound. Our doctor was supposed to tell us the sex of the baby…and didn't…he was preoccupied sewing me back up. So one of the nurses came over and peaked around my curtain and said "Do you want me to tell you what it is?"…"YES PLEASE!!!". She said "It's a boy! And he looks just like you, mom." We cried and Matt went over to the baby and took pictures on my iPhone and was going back and forth between us to show me photos. He totally had a cone-head which I was not expecting. I always hear that c-section babies have the perfect round head but our little guy was wedged pretty far in my pelvis. The doctors had a heck of a time trying to pull him out and afterwards the assistant surgeon told Matt "I can bench press 300 lbs…and that kid was hard to get out". They also told us that there was a very small chance that he would have come on his own vaginally so it made me feel better about opting for the c-section.
Miles Christopher was born at 9:04 am on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day). He was 21.25" and 7lbs 13 ounces. They took us both into the recovery room where we were both monitored for a few hours before they took us up to the post-partum floor where we stayed for three more nights. We had an awesome view of San Francisco and our room was much quieter since the nurses came in less frequently.
After 6 nights in the hospital we were able to go home on Wednesday, March 20. While it was nervewracking actually leaving the constant care of the nurses and doctors it was SO nice to go home and be in our own bed. It didn't even matter that Miles didn't sleep well that first night.
Now we have been home for about two weeks and are getting into a routine. Miles is a good little eater, my milk finally came in and we were able to stop supplementing with formula, and he is finally back up and past birth weight. At his two week appointment Monday he weighed in at 8 lbs 2 ounces. We are all trying to catch up on sleep and adjust to our new life as a family of 4 (Kirky included).
While this was not exactly how we pictured the birth of our son to be, I have no regrets. We have a healthy and happy little boy and that is all that truly matters. I would say that we had a very positive birth experience. I felt very informed along the whole induction process and the doctors and nurses were all extremely kind and caring. The only thing I would change would be the length of time we were in the hospital. Six nights is way too long.