We’re still in the hospital (being discharged tomorrow) but while I have a tiny bit of downtime, I thought I’d post a quick update! I’ll post the full birth story after we get home and settle in – these are just some details I remember at the moment. I documented a little bit of the experience as it happened in a notebook which will help me figure it all out later.
Miss A was born May 29 (on her due date!) via c-section after 24 hours of labor. I went in at 7 p.m on May 28th, got the cervadil at around 10:30 p.m. and the pitocin around 4 a.m. Doc came in and checked me around 8 a.m. and I was only 2 cm… and in terrible, terrible pain. The baby was also having decels throughout the contractions, but not bad enough to warrant jumping the gun at that point.
I toughed it out the labor for awhile, but once the second dose of stadol wore off I started throwing up from the intensity of the contractions (about 1 1/2 mins each, every 30 seconds…yikes! ) So I caved in and got the epidural (best decision ever, by the way – though I had my heart set on a med-free delivery, I knew that by being as tense as I was, there was no way that labor was going to progress). My water broke once I sat up for the epidural, and there was meconium in it. It wasn’t thick, and by then she wasn’t having decels anymore, so they all agreed to let the induction continue. This was somewhere around 10 or 11 am.
By 4 pm I was almost completely dilated, with just a lip of a cervix left, so the L&D nurse had me start pushing on my own a little bit with each contraction (which I could still sort of feel, but they were just pressure) to try to move her down. So I tried. And I tried. And I tried.
At around 5:45pm my L&D nurse came in and said that my doctor was on the way and he was thinking c-section, but she didn’t think it was necessary so she had me start pushing even more, got me in position and everything. Then she reached in and found out that the baby’s head was in an awkward position and was having bad decels every time I had a contraction and every time I pushed. So she stopped me.
My doctor showed up a little after 6 pm and said “I think it’s time we have a baby!” He checked me, and all the pushing we did actually made the cervix start to swell back up, and I was back down to 8 cm. Not good. I panicked and asked if we could wait an hour, if we could try something different, if there was anything we could do, and when he said no to everything (and explained all the risks to me) I asked him if he could give me a minute to talk to DH and the L&D nurse about it. He said sure, and walked out. Both DH & the L&D nurse said he was probably right at this point and I knew it in my heart too…I was just terrified of having the c-section, it was probably my worst fear throughout the whole pregnancy. (I also was a bit put off by the fact that I really felt like my doctor was treating me like a whiny 7 year old instead of someone who just wanted to be involved and informed…he seemed really pissed at me that I was questioning him.) After I consented to the c-section they took my temperature, and I had spiked a fever, so they pretty much had no choice then – meconium + baby not coming down + cervix swelling shut + fever/infection = not a good combo for the baby trying to enter the world!
So, they prepped me and then wheeled me into the OR around 7 p.m., and Miss A was born at 7:31 p.m. She’s 7 pounds, 13 oz and 19 1/2 inches long, every bit of her perfect. She came out screaming like a banshee and had no complications from the long labor or the meconium staining. I was so worried that she’d have lung problems or something worse as a result of that. When I heard her first little whimper, and then I heard her cry, I burst into tears on the operating table, both relieved that she was okay (between the long labor and the complications I had during pregnancy), and overwhelmed that she was here and mine. The longest 10 minutes of my life was waiting to see her after she came (they were doing tests and getting her apgars – which were 8 and 9!) My first thought after I heard her cry though was – this was the best thing that has ever happened to me and there’s absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do for this little girl.
She’s still doing perfectly…having a little trouble with breastfeeding, and has a little bit of jaundice that the pediatrician is watching her for (it’s why we’re still here – the doctor was ready to discharge me today, but the pediatrician wasn’t.) But otherwise, she’s great. She’s a fairly quiet baby, and everyone who sees her raves about how adorable she is!
Honestly – recovery from this has not been too bad. The epidural block wore off within about an hour of surgery (maybe longer…I kind of lost track of time after awhile) and I was glad for it – I’m pretty sensitive to anesthesia, and the epidural itself made me a bit shaky, so the block made it ten times worse…between that and the nerves, I was shaking so bad I made my neck sore. The surgery itself was a breeze otherwise…I felt literally nothing. They said I’d feel a lot of pressure at times but I didn’t really. They also said that some women can feel weird and disconnected from their bodies, like a floating head, but I didn’t get that either. Despite the ansethesia I still felt very connected to the procedure.
After it was all over, as it turns out, it would have been dangerous for me to try to push the baby out. She was trying to come out face-first and wound up with a pretty awful bruise on her head as a result. So the c-section was the best move for all of us.
As far as recovery, it’s been pretty good so far. The best piece of advice that I got was to get up and walk the second they let you, and so I did (it was about 18 hours after surgery). It was kind of painful to get up for the first time, but after I got up and walked around a bit I felt incredible. I had my first shower last night, and I’ve been up and down from bed all day today. They give me a good amount of medication for the pain, which I’m sure helps (at one point, it wore off yesterday and I started shaking uncontrollably again, though I didn’t really feel like I was in pain because the incision site is numb, I guess my body was picking up on the pain anyway). As far as the pain itself goes…it’s not awful. It kind of feels like I did a million sit-ups and my stomach is tight and overworked. Occasionally it will sting a little bit around where I have the staples (those come out tomorrow as well). They give me percoset and motrin for pain, which makes me very sleepy, but the last dose is wearing off as we speak so I may be asking for more shortly.
From this experience, here are some “take-aways” that I would tell anyone reaching the end of their pregnancy and being unsure of what to expect.
1. Have your ideal birthing experience in mind, but keep your mind open. I wasn’t going to use any pain medication, I felt so strongly against it, but it wound up being the best thing for me.
2. C-sections are not awful. They’re not great, but they’re not awful, and certainly nothing to be afraid of (at least not as afraid as I was!)
3. The second you see your child for the first time is an experience you just can’t put words to. For me, it’s like she’s always been here and I’ve always been her mother.
4. If you have a somewhat bitchy L&D nurse, worship her. The last one that I have was kind of sarcastic and not at all what I needed while I was in as much pain as I was, but she wound up being (next to Mr. Dad) my strongest advocate and the best support I could have asked for.
5. Being not pregnant after 9 months of being pregnant is a very weird feeling. You still kind of look pregnant but you don’t feel anything moving around anymore.
6. The post pregnancy hormones kick in pretty quickly. I’m not religious at all, but when the hospital chaplain came by today to drop off info about their services, as she left she said “God bless you and your baby” and for some reason, I burst into tears after she left. I don’t go to church, I don’t have any religious affiliation whatsoever, but I was seriously that touched. I read the card she left for us a little while later and cried again.
7. After the baby comes, be patient – with everything. Breastfeeding has been a battle, one that we’re working on so very diligently, and it has turned me into a raving lunatic at times because I just want her to latch on and eat and she can’t/won’t right now. (The lactation consultants have been amazing, though!) Also, add about 3 hours to everything you plan to do. For example, yesterday I planned to eat breakfast when the people brought it in around 8:30. I think I probably finally got to eat around 11, between taking care of the baby and having nurses/doctors/baby needing my attention.
That’s all for now – I’ll add pictures and such once we get home!