Wow. What happened to me? I disappeared on this blog for quite a while.
Well, I had a baby. And trust me, you didn’t want to hear from me once I hit the third trimester.
I’m back, though, and this morning, I’m going to write about my birth story. Mostly for myself and my daughter, if I’m being completely honest about it. However, I thought if there was some poor woman out there ready to pop and terrified, this post may help.
Takin it back now to 6am December 16th….
I opened up my eyes excited and scared to death. Today, I was going in to have my baby. I had decided to get induced after my doctor told me it was an option at 39 weeks. I was due on December 23rd but since the holidays were so close we opted for the December 16th induction.
Also, to be completely honest, I was so over being pregnant. It’s hard at the end. You feel just the constant stretching of your skin and I lost track of how many times I peed my pants. It’s not glamorous and I think that mixed with just the fear you start having about the birth, it is a very stressful time.
Before I went in, I watched a lot of youtube videos. I wanted to know what to expect and everyone has a different story. Some have great stories about being induced where others thought it was the worst decision ever. So, in the end, I just had to make the best decision for myself and hope it went ok.
I packed my bags days before and dressed in a comfortable outfit that I assumed I could wear home as well. Tom also packed a bag and some blankets from home.
When we got to the hospital, I was nervous and excited. It is such a weird feeling to be scared to death and excited at the same time. I tried to focus on just the being excited part though. We finally got into the room around 9:30am after the hospital did a shift change. I got dressed in my hospital gown and then Marla proceeded to give me the worst IV experience I have ever had. She was nice so I hate to rag on her about this, but Marla needed some additional training on administering IVs.
I had decided before all of this that I would go into this experience as calm as I possibly could be so during IV gate I was as calm as a cucumber. Just looked at Tom and waited.
Around 30 minutes later, Dr. Weitzner arrived. He started to explain to me what he had explained to me in his office a few days earlier. There would be three stages of the induction and each would take about 12 hours. The first step was inserting a cardboard looking strip with a string attached. This would stay in and help thin out my cervix and dilate me about 1 cm. Once that was done, they would insert a “balloon” and leave it in until I was dilated to 5 cm. Then they would start me on Pitocin, which would start my contractions and dilate me to 10 cm. Boom – baby would be here.
This plan sounded great to me. I was assured that as soon as I felt pain I would get an epidural and because each stage took 12 hours, I would have a lot of time to ease into the stages. Simple right?
Well, let me now tell you what actually happened.
At 11am, I started Stage 1. It was pretty simple and if you have ever used a tampon that’s basically what it felt like. After the nurse left, I ordered a hot dog for lunch and proceeded to watch about 6 episodes of “Love it or List it”. The hospital had a decent line up of channels actually. I was surprised by that for some reason. The bed I was in was not super comfortable. I thought maybe it had something to do with the fact that my body was a beach ball but even after the baby was here my back was killing me in that bed.
At 6pm, Tom started asking me if I felt anything but I still didn’t. I had a monitor on my stomach so I could constantly hear the baby’s heartbeat and the nurses came in every hour to check on me.
Around 9pm, I started getting nervous because I knew at 11pm I would get the balloon. Something about them calling it “a balloon” really was creeping me out for some reason. I was reminded, though, that they would give me something during the procedure.
At 11pm, two nurses came in to insert the balloon. They moved the bed all the way down and told Tom to stand on the side to hold my hand. I could see how nervous he was for me. He told me later that he felt so helpless everytime something had to be done and I looked scared. He knew, though, that if he looked scared too that it would make things worse. He was right.
When they got me flat on my back they gave me fentanyl. Now let me tell you about this magical stuff…. It’s awesome. I instantly felt drunk and I 100% forgot about the whole balloon insertion that was going on. I also had forgotten what it was like to be drunk, so this was sort of fun. Once they inserted the balloon, they told me they would be monitoring me but to try and get some sleep because once I woke up there was a chance that things would start getting pretty crazy. Since I already felt like I had shot gunned 10 beers I thought this would be pretty easy.
Once they left the room, I got situated in the bed and closed my eyes. Then the cramps came. First, they were pretty normal cramps. Felt like period cramps. Uncomfortable but not the end of the world. They came and went and I wasn’t timing them because they didn’t seem that crazy. They kept coming though over and over again. By 11:30 pm they were getting pretty uncomfortable. I called the nurse in and asked if I could get something since the fentanyl wore off. No to that request. I didn’t want to get the epidural so soon either so I laid back down and used a heating pad.
11:45pm was bad. I stood up and tried walking but I couldn’t do it. The pain was unbelievable and I just kept wondering how I could power through this. I wasn’t even a full hour into the second stage yet and I couldn’t sit or stand.
I then tried walking to the bathroom. Tom was behind me with his hand on my back. Right, as I got to the doorway of the bathroom, I projectile vomited that hot dog all over the walls and mirror in the bathroom. Tom later described it as “yelling puke into the bathroom”.
Immediately, I started crying “I need to clean this! Is this real bad Tom? This seems bad!”. Tom ran out of the room and down the hall. I vomited again but in the toilet.
The nurse arrived and as soon as I turned to look at her the balloon fell out. Both of us looked at it and she said “I’m getting a wheelchair, you need to go to Labor and Delivery now”.
The ride between the Mother Baby Unit and Labor & Delivery was honestly a blur. I realize now the cramps were serious contractions and that I probably should have been timing them. Contractions are no joke and it makes me laugh, still, to think about the drug free home birth I originally wanted to do. Thankfully, I came to my senses.
Anyway – back to 12am on December 17th. I got to Labor and Delivery and my nurse, Debbie, was there setting up some machines. She informed me that I was third in line for an epidural and I started crying even more. Third in line?!
She gave me more fentanyl to stop me from crying.
At 12:30ish, Tom was asked to leave the room so that I could get the epidural. I was scared to get this, but the pain I was in prevented me from really caring at that point. I needed this epidural.
I was sitting and had my head in one of those massage chairs. I asked Debbie to hold my hand as they exposed my back and opened what looked like a suitcase of needles. They cannot insert anything if you are having a contraction so they waiting a few minutes. I felt a pinch. Very minor and then I felt coldness. They taped the string up my back and I was given a remote control for it basically. I couldn’t tell I couldn’t feel my legs for a few minutes honestly. I was in such a state of happiness that I couldn’t feel the contractions that it didn’t even dawn on me that I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down.
Next, they told me they had called Dr. Weitzner and that he had told them to start the Pitocin. They also explained to me that Stage 2 took me 30 minutes to get through when it usually takes people 12 hours. So me dilating to 5 inches, contracting that hard and vomiting all over my bathroom was not at all normal. The baby was safe though and everything was fine.
By this time, it was 3am. Tom and I went to sleep.
At 6 am, I was up. The nurses come in every hour so getting sleep that was legit was pretty hard to do. Tom was out though. He slept for a long time actually.
At 9am, our parents arrived. Because we could only have 4 people in the room at a time they had to take turns coming in to see me. They all looked so excited.
I was feeling pretty ok but as time was going by, and I was getting more and more dilated, I was getting very nervous. Every once in a while, I would look up at the screen and watch her heart beating. I wondered what she was thinking in there. My water was broken so maybe she was thinking “Hey getting a little tight up in here” or “Where did all the water go?”.
In the afternoon, I slept a lot. I had zero appetite but apparently, I was peeing a lot since my pee bag was changed several times throughout the day.
At around 7pm, I knew it was getting close. I was 9 cm at this point and Tom was already sounding the alarm with the parents. I took my last nap.
At 9pm, I was woken up by nurse Debbie and told it was time to push. Everything after this seemed to happen so fast. My sister was in the room and everything was put into position. Tom was on my left side holding my leg and seemed very nervous. Within minutes, I was being told that as soon as I felt pressure I need to push all the way through my contraction. This went on for the next 3 hours. Dr. Weitzner came in the room here and there and checked on my progress. Her head was there but was not dipping down to come out.
The last resort was to have one other nurse come in and play tug of war with me while I was pushing. I was so sure that this was effective but when I was checked it was clear by their reactions that this hadn’t worked.
Dr. Weitzner then timidly approached me and told me that I needed to have a c-section. My stomach dropped. I didn’t want that at all but then I thought about my baby. I knew she needed to be out. I knew that every moment I spent thinking about my choices rather than acting I was putting her at risk. I didn’t want to hurt her.
Before I even realized what I agreed to, I was being shaved. What a moment. Being shaved in a room full of doctors, nurses and your husband. I do not recommend doing this for fun.
Tom was instructed to change into scrubs. I remember at some point he came out of the bathroom and asked if he needed to take off his pants. I thought that was really funny for some reason. Tom, my husband, my comic relief.
At 1am, I was being pushed down the hall to the OR. My mind was wandering. I was terrified but I kept thinking that this would take an hour for some reason. I have no idea where or how I got an hour but focusing on that allowed me to somehow think it was going to be easy?
Once I was in the OR, I was transferred to the OR table and a sheet was put up like they were about to saw me in half during a magic show. Then my arms were placed on two blocks on each side of my body which transformed me into a scarecrow.
At some point, I realized they had started the c-section. They definitely did not announce it to me but it was clear they were doing it. It felt like my body was being thrown around. Tossed like a sack of beans back and forth and up and down. Tom then came in and just kind of bee lined for the side where my head was. It was interesting to see him get no direction on where to go in the room after they had let him in.
Next, and I think it was before my baby came out, I felt the urge to puke. I was super worried about that because what was I going to do? Pause the c-section and go to the bathroom? I told one of the nurses and she got what looked like a thai soup take out container, put it by my face and then told me to turn my head to puke. I tried to hold it in because I was worried I couldn’t do it. But then I sucked it up and threw up. After throwing up I felt a little better but still scared and pretty confused through most of it. I tried to keep my eyes on Tom and think about my baby.
Right before Sophie came out I felt a very odd sensation. It was a lot of pressure and I can only describe it as a feeling of pulling something out of wet cement. Again, no pain at all just a lot of pressure.
Then, at 1:53am on December 18th…..
“We have a baby!” Dr Weitzner declared. Then silence.
Instantly, I was worried. Why isn’t she crying? And as soon as I had completed that thought we heard a cry. I looked at Tom. He was crying. We both just cried. We have a baby!!!
I was so overwhelmed by emotion and just thinking “what next?”. Funny, that is what I was focused on. What happens now????
Well what happened was Dr Weitzner brought her around for me to see her but then she needed to go to the back and get looked at. She looked really pissed honestly. Like this was not how she expected the day to go for her.
Tom was allowed in the back to see her and take pictures. She was so beautiful. Perfect. Like the perfect piece of pie.
He took my phone during this time so the zen like music I had playing was gone and I was stuck listening to the doctors talk about what they were doing. This is why no one should be awake for surgery, by the way. You just sit there and obsess over the tone of their voice and what they are saying even means in English. One of the doctors noticed my music was gone and offered to play some. He was a lot younger and when I told him to play ELO he played Coldplay instead because he did not know what ELO even stood for. Dr. Weitzner corrected him though.
Tom walked back over by me and this time he was holding Sophie. She wasn’t crying she just had a frown on her face. She clearly was still sort of upset about what just went down. When I saw her, I was surprised at how out of body I was still feeling. I mean, I knew I loved her. I knew I was excited to see her but I don’t think I was portraying that outwardly. We got a picture together though and looking at it makes me cringe almost because I do not look like I know what is going on.
After the c-section was over, I was excited but a little scared because I knew the medication would wear off soon. I didn’t know what to expect and I feel like in retrospect I should have researched c-sections more. I just was so convinced I was going to have her naturally that I refused to look into the other options.
The room they wheel you into next is the recovery room where you stay for the next 2 hours or so. This is where they monitor you and you spend time with the baby. They also periodically will massage your stomach so that your organs go back to the correct places. Sounds pretty gross right?? Yeah it is. It also hurts. And as gentle and caring as Nurse Debbie was with me, this part was not fun.
During this time, Sophie breastfeed for the first time. What a miracle! I read about this happening, but you can’t wrap your head around it until you see it happening for the first time. She wiggled and moved around on my chest until she found my nipple herself and started breastfeeding. Just amazing.
Since the parents had all stayed, they allowed each person to come back one by one to see Sophie and I. This was all a blur.
After all that, I was brought into another recovery room where I would stay for a few days. The doctors wheeled me in and I asked for a wet towel so that I could wipe myself off. I felt so gross.
Tom and Sophie both fell asleep. The doctors all left and said they would be back soon to give me medication and take my catheter out (whoo hoo!). After the door closed, I sat and enjoyed the silence. The sun was coming up and coming through the window. I stared across the room at Tom and Sophie and just smiled at them. I can’t believe I just went through all of that. I put in my headphones and pressed play.
“Hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race”.