*warning: this contains a lot of information, some that you might not be comfortable reading about as it is after all a birth story. However, for privacy reasons, I left some details vague on purpose.
I have been wanting to get this down for some time, mostly for myself to look back on. Truth is, I started writing it in the hospital on my phone, but when things got intense, I obviously put it aside. So for several weeks after Baby C’s birth, I slowly would add to it, again on my phone. As time went on, I couldn’t remember some of the details as clearly, or maybe I could never remember them due to the pain! Anyway, here is Baby C’s birth story, as best as I can tell it.
I woke up Tuesday morning (May 31) at 3:30 feeling uncomfortable. I was cramping like I was having my period. I got up hoping that would help. It didn't. After laying back down, I started to feel contractions. Now, I should note that I had been having contractions for a few weeks but only at night and they were not regular. The night before, they were coming at best every 6-10 minutes. That morning, I timed them for the next hour. They were coming every 3-5 minutes. At 4:45, I got up to take a shower and get ready to go to the hospital. After going back and forth deciding whether we should go, we arrived at the hospital around 6:00 or so. When checked, I was not far enough along, but they wanted to observe me for a bit. They encouraged me to walk, so I did. However, we were preparing ourselves to be sent home. We even planned breakfast.
At 8:45, my doctor came in to check me again. I'd dilated enough to have my membranes ruptured (she broke my water). Needless to say, we were shocked. There went our breakfast plans! Around 9:00, my nurse hooked me up to an IV antibiotic since I had GBS. My husband ran to the cafeteria to get breakfast, and as soon as he was out of sight, I got very nauseated and vomited. The nurse gave me Zofran for that. The on-call doctor came in around 9:30 to check me again. There was a little more improvement. Over the next couple of hours, I had not dilated enough, so they started me on Pitocin to help intensify my contractions to help me dilate more. At that point, labor was going great! I seriously thought it was not going to be bad since my contractions were only uncomfortable and not painful. Ha!
I can't remember exactly when the pain from back labor began, but it worsened quickly. I was contracting every minute for a minute. However, I wasn't progressing like I should and they were having a hard time monitoring my contractions - they weren't really showing up on the monitor. I had to press a button with every contraction so they could see when I was contracting. I tried to labor sitting on a birthing ball rocking side to side to help open my cervix and try to ease the pain. My husband sat behind me holding a heating pad against my lower back. At 3:30 (I remember this time because it was shift change), my contractions from back labor were so bad and so close together that I was begging for meds, something I didn't want to do. I was miserable. I started with an IV drug that I thought would take away my pain, but it only made me drowsy. No relief. I guess I didn’t hear the nurse explain it very well. After getting my husband's ok, I ended up with an epidural, something I indicated in my birth plan that I did NOT want. Only problem was that the anesthesiologist was finishing up a surgery. I was in agony - worst pain I had ever experienced, and I’ve been known to have a very high tolerance for pain. It wasn't until around 6:00 or 6:30 when I finally got the epidural. After 3 contractions, I could no longer feel the back labor. Sweet relief!
Because my body finally was able relax, I was able to dilated further. Looking back, the epidural was one of the best decisions I made during my labor. It saved me from having a c-section or other complications. They also increased my Pitocin again. By this time, I was so worn out. We watched tv but I couldn't keep my eyes open.
Around 8:00, the pain in my back return to the same degree it was earlier. I wanted more meds, but had to wait for the on-call doctor who was finishing up a c-section. The nurse kept checking me. I was so close to being fully dilated. She had me lay on both sides for 10-15 minutes to help dilate the last bit. I was in so much pain and so tired that I was falling asleep between contractions, if that's possible!
At 8:30, the nurse had me start pushing. We were still waiting on the doctor. She wanted me to push twice with each contraction, but I could and wanted to do three in hopes to speed up the process. At one point she called them practice pushes and that really upset me. I thought that if I was going through that much pain and effort, it better have been doing something! Well, it was. The nurse and my husband were at my sides holding my legs helping me push and encouraging me. They would tell me how much I progressed and when they could see the head. They told me he had a lot of dark hair. I remember being so dehydrated. But I wouldn’t let my husband or the nurse get my ice chips or a cold washcloth because they wouldn’t get back in time for the next push. Without thinking, I literally was pulling skin off my lips. I was drenched in sweat, my hair completely soaked. I definitely was not one of those women who didn’t look like they had been through labor as soon as they delivered! I still wanted more meds, and when the doctor finally came in around 9:30, she told me no because it would slow the process down - take 4 more hours. On top of the back pain, I was starting to tear and could feel it. The doctor cut a little bit to help but said she wouldn't even call it an episiotomy. I asked her how much longer, and she told me within the hour. I watched the clock as much as I could. Well, an hour later, at 10:33, Caleb entered the world. Even the nurse told me on my last contraction it was going to be it. I asked her if she promised, and on the third push, he came out. Because there was meconium in my amniotic fluid, they had to take him right away to check and clean him since he could have aspirated it. Once they determined he was ok, I got to hold him and nurse him. It was such a sweet moment when he looked right into my eyes. He immediately stole my heart! I was overjoyed (and exhausted)! He was perfect! He weighed 7 lb, 10.5 oz. I got my 7 lb, May baby by an hour and a half (I'd said from the beginning of the pregnancy that he would be born in May instead of June and I couldn't fathom delivering a baby over 8 lb)!
I had the best medical team. The doctors were great. My nurses were unbelievable and very attentive to my needs. And, of course, my husband was the best coach I could have ever asked for. He was by my side the whole time. I seriously could not have done it without them.