This is a disclaimer that the following post may be a tad personal and graphic…. it’s the story of my baby’s birth.
Friday after work, I decided that it was officially time to serve Emmalynn her eviction notice. So, I tried every natural induction method I could think of (with the exception of Caster oil). I cooked the famous eggplant parmesan recipe, ate an entire pineapple, went for long walks, bounced on my birth ball, broke out my breast pump, and got busy ;) And……. nothing. Saturday I woke up still pregnant and a tad disappointed. So, I did a little more of the same. After going my entire pregnancy with out even a Braxton Hicks, I began to have contractions on Saturday around 11:45.
Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night. My contractions continued for the next 24 hours. They increased in intensity, but never became consistent. They would vary between 3-10 minutes apart. Around 11 on Sunday I realized I hadn’t felt Em move in a while, so I woke up Lan and we went to Labor and Delivery to make sure everything was still ok with her. In triage they checked me out and said that Em was fine, but that my fluid was low. I had two options. I could go home and wait for my contractions to become consistent, or they could induce me. If I went home, then I ran the risk of her cord getting pinched because there wasn’t enough fluid around her. If I chose to get induced, then I had a 60% chance of a c-section because I was only 1 cm. Well faced with the options of risking my baby’s health and risking a c-section, the decision was an easy one.
After being admitted, they decided to use a Foley bulb where they put a tube into your vagina and then blow it up. Then they tape it to your leg to put pressure on your cervix along with a slow drip of Pitocin. This is designed to help you dilate the first three centimeters, and then they would up my Pitocin. Well, at this time, my contractions were really intense and I was shaking violently and crying. They laid me down and put in my Foley bulb, and right when they finished, I started puking. The nurse convinced me to get my epidural early (not that I needed a whole lot of convincing at that point). They did some numbing shots, so then doing the epidural was actually pretty painless, and it brought immediate relief. I could feel the cool liquid entering my body, and my shaking and puking stopped as my legs started to tingle. All of a sudden I was an immediately different person. I was now smiling and chatting. They finished up my Foley bulb by taping it to my leg. They turned on my Pitocin, and not 7 minutes later, Em’s heart rate dropped. They turned off my Pitocin, put oxygen on me, and quickly turned me on my left side, which was pretty scarry. Her heart rate came back up pretty quickly though. They decided to let the Foley bulb work without the Pitocin and see what happens. At this point my parents arrived to wait out labor with us. Taking the advice of friends, I tried to rest as much as possible.
When they checked me again, I had gone from 1-7 all on my own. They tried turning on my Pitocin and thirty minutes later I had four intense contractions in a row and Em had another drop in heart rate. They turned it off for about twenty minutes to give Em a break, then turned it on again. After a while I started to feel pressure, and then the pressure began to hurt… a lot. I was breathing through the pain, and it got to a point where I wanted to be checked. I asked my parents to leave because I wanted privacy. When they checked me, I was at 9. One centimeter to go, and things got very intense. They said that they would be back to check me in an hour, and that wasn’t something that I was ok hearing. I needed to have this baby, and I needed to have it then. I started moaning through contractions, then moaning turned to screaming. They called the anesthesiologist to give me a booster, which didn’t do anything for me. Poor Lan. I would tell him to help me, and then tell him not to touch me. The only thing he found that he could do was to fan me because I was so incredibly hot. I was pleading with God to perform a miracle and make time go by faster. I kept repeating “shit, shit, shit”. Which if you know me, is not in my normal vocabulary. I also kept saying “I cant do this, I can’t do this.” Lets just say, I was probably scaring every laboring woman on the floor. I was not graceful, brave, or rational. I tend to be a more reserved person who doesn’t like to draw attention to myself, however, at this point I could care less. At one point Lan needed to go to the bathroom, and in between a contraction I said he could go. Then a contraction hit and I changed my mind. Poor Lan didn’t end up going to the bathroom until well after Em was born.
They were asking me a bunch of questions, and I could only answer that I didn’t know. They asked if it felt like I needed to push… again… I didn't know. All I knew was that it hurt and I needed it to be over. They ended up coming back in to check me early. Perhaps because of all the screaming I was doing, and I was fully dilated and she was way down low. They said I could start pushing which was music to my ears, because that meant the end was in sight. They said as they were getting me set up that it usually takes women 1-2 hours to push their babies out. My response… hell no… this baby is coming out now. When I finally started pushing, it felt really good.
After one push they started getting everything ready. Lan said that with each push her head would come out pretty far, but then go back when the contraction ended. I would usually do three pushes with each contraction, and my last push was always my best push. I think if I had a mirror (which was in my birth plan) I would have probably been able to push her out faster. They kept telling me that I was doing really well, and just a little harder, a little longer. I think if I knew how close I was, I could have done a little better. I guess I finally got to a point where her head didn’t go back in after the last push, and they asked if I wanted to feel her head. I reached down and remember being shocked at how far out she was. I was expecting her head to barely be poking out, but she was almost all the way out. I remember being surprised at how squishy her head felt. They noticed a trace amount of meconium on her, so they said that if she came out screaming, they would put her right on my tummy, and if not, then she would need to be checked out first. With the next contraction, I was able to get her head out. The nurses kept saying, her eyes are open, her eyes are open. Lan told me later that she as actually looking around and turning her head and looked right at Lan. haha! When the midwife eased her out, she let out a loud yell, and they put her right on my tummy. I think I said something really profound at this point like “it’s a real baby”. Even with her on my tummy, it still hadn’t hit me that this was my baby, and I was now a mom. I think now, two weeks later, it is finally becoming real :)
After a few minutes they took her to the other side of the room to weigh her and check her vitals. While they were doing this, my midwife eased out my placenta and stitched me up. I had a “small second degree tear”. I was still in disbelief that I had just had a baby… like a real baby. After they were done, they brought her over and I was able to snuggle with her skin to skin. She was (and still is) so tiny. We spent the next hour snuggling, and I was able to eat some food there in the delivery room. She was six pounds 14 ounces, and 19 3/4 inches long.
After about an hour, they wheeled us to our recovery room. On the way Lan got to push a button that played a song through the whole hospital letting everyone know a baby was born.
The last two weeks have been a crazy whirlwind, but I am enjoying every minute of snuggling this sweet baby.