Update: Sorry I’ve been MIA since July, but I HAD A BABY! He’s so perfect and I have many things to catch you up on. I’ve been taking notes about everything going on and will post updates when I can.
Xoxo, Mommy Kayt
When I got the epidural I was only at 2 cm and 70% effaced (which seemed impossible since I was in so much pain and felt tons of pressure). But the nurses all said to get it now because I could progress quickly and might have to wait to get it because they had scheduled c-sections taking place soon. I realized that I didn't want to be writhing in pain when they have a very long needle near my spine and I have to stay completely still!
Before and after the epidural, our baby’s heartbeat would go into a lull on the monitor. He would “get sleepy” they said and it wouldn’t spike up and down like they wanted to see. So I got sugar water and wore an oxygen mask and would turn from side to side every now and then to wake him up. He loved the oxygen so that seemed to be doing the trick, although I hated wearing the mask.
The doctors came in to let me know some options since I was only at 2 cm. There was a foley bulb that they could put in right at my cervix and then inflate the balloon part to open it up and help dilate me.
This could only take me as far as 4 cm. I thought this was a great first step before taking any more induction drugs. But after letting me know about this option, the doctor said that my contractions look great and that we could wait 4 hours to see how my body progresses naturally.
Ok!!! That sounds good to me!
A few hours go by and they come in to check me.
I'm now 3-4 cm dilated and 100% effaced with a very soft cervix. Since the foley bulb would have brought me to 4cm, we now didn't need that!
I swore they would now say it’s time for Pitocin (an induction drug that sends you into labor with really tough contractions), but they said I was doing great on my own. Let’s check me again in 4 hours!
Well only 3 hours later they came in because the nurse thought my water had broken. I thought I had felt something, but it wasn’t a gush or anything like that. We later discovered that my water had broken at this point, but only partially. Some trickled out and the baby came down a little and acted like a cork to stop the rest of the water.
I almost told the doctor not to bother since she came in before the 4 hour mark.
So when she said to me, “You’re complete!”
I said, “What???”
She said, “You’re 10 cm! And I could feel the baby's hair! Time to start pushing!”
What?!?! He has hair?!!
And how did that happen so fast!!!
I couldn’t believe it.
And then I started crying. The nurse had just estimated about an hour ago that we might have a late night or early morning birth. It was only 6:00pm and I wasn’t ready for this! We were about to play monopoly!
Everything moved so fast and my body did all this work by itself!
I suddenly was scared and nervous.
This was it.
I would soon be meeting my son and it all felt like a dream.
So I started pushing.
The nurse went over some techniques, and the best one we tried involved me grabbing a sheet that was tied around the waist of the nurse. She would use her weight to stabilize herself and I would pull that sheet and push with everything I had. Because of the epidural, it did feel weird pushing when you are numb from the place you have to push from!
I figured out my breathing pattern and the nurses and doctors really helped guide me so I didn't push too much (that’s when you can end up tearing) and they helped hold my legs along with Julia and Devon, our doula.
I got so hot and kept sweating and was on the verge of having a fever. Devon kept putting cold washcloths on me and after a few seconds, they would be burning up.
They noticed that Blackbird’s heart rate would drop during each contraction. They said as long as he recovered after each contraction, I could continue laboring. It was possible he had the cord wrapped around him and it was being compressed during the contractions. The doctors had me start pushing on every other contraction so I could give him a rest and not stress him out.
After 3.5 hours of intense pushing, his heart rate was still dropping during the contractions and they didn't want me to go on doing this for much longer. It just wasn't good for him.
They were now checking to see how far down his head was in the birth canal. Remember, this is the calculation that starts in negative numbers and once you hit +5, the baby is out.
He had been at +1 and after 3.5 hours of pushing, he was only at +2. He wasn’t moving down and had been at +2 for a while now.
We were running out of options.
The doctor said we could:
1 = Do a c-section right now, especially if I was exhausted and didn’t want to labor anymore.
I looked at her and immediately said, “NO!”
2 = Try a vacuum. But they would only let me do a few pushes with the vacuum and if that didn’t work, we would have to do a c-section.
The last thing I wanted was a c-section, so we opted for the vacuum. Of course there are risks involved with this that you don’t want to think about as they are using a hand pump vacuum to try and pull your child’s skull down and out of your body…. But those risks are so minimal and we needed to give this our best shot.
Despite the epidural, it hurt so much when they put the vacuum in. I felt so much pressure.
I did 2 full pushes with the vacuum (each push was comprised of 3 deep breaths and pushes in a row).
I pushed for my life.
The last thing I ever wanted was a c-section.
After those pushes, the doctors checked my progress.
He was still at +2.
He hadn’t moved at all.
I tried so hard.
We had run out of options.
It was time to do what's best for the baby and for me.
He had to come out now.
C-section it was.
All the doctors and nurses told me they have seen people push who think they are pushing and they really weren't doing anything. They said I was pushing perfectly. I pushed from the right spot and was really bearing down and giving each push everything I had. I said after all, I'm from Philly!
Our boy just didn’t want to come out and we didn’t have a choice anymore.
So now I really started crying. The nurses and doctors went to prep the operating room and gave us a few minutes to ourselves.
This was not the plan.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Hell, during the c-section portion of the labor and delivery class, I took my bathroom break!
I thought, “Nope, don’t need this info!”
I can't handle change unless it's change I'm creating!!!
But the most important thing was our baby boy. He needed to come out. It was time.
Julia gave me a kiss and I just couldn't believe this was happening. My whole body started shaking. They said it was from the hormones. When a lot of women give birth, they start shaking and I had just labored for over three hours and had a lot of the same hormones being released.
They wheeled me back to the operating room and transferred me to another bed for the surgery.
The anesthesiologists came in and gave me more drugs through the epidural so I was now numb from the chest down, not just the waist down. I got anti-nausea drugs and kept telling them throughout the surgery when I felt nauseous so they could give me more.
Once they made sure I was completely numb, Julia came back in the room. She had a gown on and sat right next to me.
My hands rested on these planks that came out from the sides of the bed and I still couldn't stop shaking. I was now violently shaking my arms and shoulders because they were the only things not numb.
I started feeling pressure.
Lots of it.
It felt so weird.
The anesthesiologist stayed by my head and he talked me through the surgery to warn me when to expect pressure or if our boy was close to being born.
Julia was reassuring me and being so strong and supportive. I was so drugged now I was becoming exhausted but still couldn't stop shaking.
Then they said he was close to coming out.
I felt tons of pressure...
And then our son was born. After a little while I finally heard a tiny cry.
He was here.
Julia went over to see him while the doctors worked on taking care of me.
It turns out there was no cord wrapped around him. But there was a lot of meconium, which is actually the baby’s first poop. Some babies end up pooping in utero. It’s not very common, but can happen when babies stay in past their due date.
I found out later that when Julia walked over to see him, they had cleaned off a large amount of the meconium from him. The doctors were careful not to stimulate him too much so he would cry because he could have inhaled it, which would have been very dangerous and landed him straight in the NICU.
Luckily, our boy was fine.
The nurse let Julia know that the placenta had an extra lobe and part of it was calcified. Calcification happens when the placenta is used up and isn’t needed as much, like when the baby is overdue. The nurse also said that the umbilical cord was lumpy and wasn’t in the middle of the placenta. It was more on the side. Based on all of these things, they suggested we send it to pathology to be analyzed and not give it to our doula for placenta encapsulation.
I had been looking forward to getting the placenta encapsulated so I can get a lot of the hormones back into my body. It can help with postpartum depression. I also figured it couldn’t hurt since we are the only mammals who don’t ingest the placenta after birth. Sounds weird, but it made sense to me.
Update: We got the final lab results and the placenta was fine. Our doctor reassured us that if anything was wrong with it, our baby wouldn’t have gone to full term. He would have been small and would have ended up in the NICU after birth.
But none of this mattered when I heard my son cry and knew he was here.
We were mommies. Finally.
I could hear Julia talking to him. It made me feel so good since I couldn't be there to see him right away.
She was incredible.
And he definitely was soothed by her voice. He knew who she was.
She brought him over to me all wrapped in a swaddle.
Our boy was gorgeous.
I couldn't believe we had a son and he grew inside of me. It was all so amazing.
Julia sat next to me holding him and talking to him while they stitched me up. It took a long time because they were so meticulous. Which I appreciate now but at the time I just wanted this part to be over. I was still violently shaking and would lose feeling in my right arm every few minutes when the blood pressure cuff went off. I started falling asleep for 20 seconds and then would wake up nauseous. They said this was from the drugs and the fact that I had already been in labor. They said all of the hormones being released would make me exhausted.
Finally they were finishing with the surgery and Julia went to tell our doula the great news.
Our son was born.
Born at 10:35pm. 8 pounds, 5.5 ounces and 22” long.
The nurses and the doctor who delivered him came over to me and they said that everything went perfectly. The incision was small and based on his head size and my pelvic bones, he never would have fit through the birth canal. There was nothing more I could have done. This definitely made me feel better knowing that we did what we had to do.
They moved me onto a new bed with wheels and covered my arms so I could get warm.
They placed Evan in my arms and we wheeled down to the recovery room where Julia was waiting.
I looked at my son as we went down the hallway.
His sweet, adorable, perfect little face with big cheeks. I told him that I love him and he looked at me and recognized my voice.
The tears started rolling down my face.
This was it. I was a mommy.