On 7/21/2013 at 1221 am, after 27 hours of labor, we welcomed our baby boy, Emery James, into the world. The best of all of our best days to date.
But let’s start from the beginning, because it was a LONG series of events that got us to the above…
We had our last prenatal visit on Tuesday 7/16 (baby’s due date). During the visit, I was still < 1 cm dilated, so the option was given to us whether or not to go ahead with a scheduled induction. Our doctor said it was completely up to us, but the longest they typically let their moms go is one week beyond their due date. After some discussion, Nick and I decided since our favorite doctor in the practice was on call all weekend, that we would go ahead and kick things off on Friday. That would also give us the opportunity to make some appointments we already had scheduled for the new house during the week.
Tuesday to Thursday I spent nesting. I took some walks at Morrow’s Meadows. Did some cleaning. And also did a fair amount of lounging around. Hey, no time like the present, right?
Friday came quickly, and after a long day of laying out the electrics in our home, we came back to gather up our things. It was a very surreal moment, almost like going to a hotel for the night, only knowing that you won’t be back for days. And when you do return, you’ll have a whole new set of precious cargo. My parents came in that evening and accompanied us to the hospital shortly thereafter (7/19 at 730pm).
We arrived to labor and delivery where we were met with smiles. Seriously, everyone during our hospitalization was 100% amazing,, I can’t rave enough. My night nurse, Angie, got me settled in room 4123, started my IV, hooked me up to the fetal monitors, and took my health history. The monitor was showing the baby’s heart rate at 130-160 but no contractions yet. She gave me my Cervidil around 845 pm and told me that I needed to remain horizontal for the next 2 hours. The four of us spent the next couple hours laughing and chatting. I was still feeling good and took every advantage of the happy atmosphere.
Nick spent the night with me on the “couch” next to my bed. Trooper. A few hours in, I was starting to feel a little crampy with light contractions and was definitely getting a few more nerves as time ticked on. I took an Ambien, which thankfully helped me get a few good hours of sleep.
Saturday morning I woke up a little groggy from the sleeping pill but I could definitely tell things were progressing as evidence by the low back pain and cramping. My doctor came in around 830am for a “check” and let me know that overnight I had dilated to 2 cm. Good, but not great. I was also 90% effaced (cervical thinning). I took a quick shower and enjoyed a clear liquid breakfast, after which the pitocin was started. Dum, da-dum, dum. Here we go!
Around 11 am is when things really started to get uncomfortable. I tried to thwart the pain by changing positions as much as possible, getting up and down to the chair, and using a heating pad. But as labor charged on, the pain got worse. Wait, is that normal? 😉 I let my day nurse, Rachel, know that I was ready for my epidural, so she got in touch with the anesthesiologist. I received a few doses of Fentanyl before he arrived, and by 1230pm, things were MUCH MUCH MUCH better. I’ve always said it from the beginning, I’m no hero and don’t intend to be during childbirth. If drugs are available, lemme at ’em. I give all the credit in the world to women who can go through this process naturally, my Mama included (times 3)!
As time marched on, the contractions continued (even though I couldn’t feel them, yay ;)). My dilation also improved, but verrrry slowly. By 420pm, I was at 6 cm. Rachel came in regularly to increase the pitocin rate. Baby was still looking fantastic on the monitor, with a steady heart rate in the 130’s. Our parents were all there, waiting with baited breath to see some more progress. As they waited, I napped 🙂
My next “check” was at 530pm, and I was about 7 cm dilated. The baby’s head was apparently able to be felt in the birth canal, and according to the doc, he was in the posterior position. Also known as “face-up.” Nurse Rachel did a perfect job explaining to us why this was a potential issue likening it to diving into a swimming pool. When you are face down, there is much less resistance when you enter the water. If you try to enter face up, things have more potential for getting log jammed. Oh swell, another road block. I didn’t handle this information very well and I’m pretty sure I “hit the wall,” as I remember sitting with Nick just sobbing uncontrollably. My husband, by the way, was absolutely fantastic the entire day. Continually reassuring me and reminding me that the end goal was near. We would meet our baby soon.
The next few hours were by far the toughest of the day. Around 8 pm, I was finally 100% effaced and 9.5 cm dilated. The contractions were becoming much more regular. My doctor came in and told me that within an hour, we should be able to push. However, it was also about that time that I started having A LOT more pain, mostly in my lower back. What the heck, I thought, isn’t this epidural supposed to take care of my pain?! I was told that it was likely because of the baby’s positioning. By that time, Nurse Angie had returned for the night, and she put a call into the anesthesiologist. A short while later he swung by and gave me a bolus of lidocaine/ bupivicaine, which took the discomfort away within minutes. I felt like a new person and thank goodness because I was very close to breakdown (again) prior to that. Every contraction was like a knife in my back. Once I was feeling better, it was time to push! The family stopped in for what they thought would be their last time seeing me preggo. Oh, if they even knew.
Around 9 pm we started pushing. And pushing. And pushing. My doctor tried to “flip” the baby so that he/she would be face down instead of up, hopefully making the process much easier. Unfortunately, he/she was still lodged pretty good into the birth canal. With each contraction, he would have me push while he grabbed the head and manually tried to turn baby inside. There would be a little progress, but the second the contraction was over and I stopped pushing, he/she would flip right back the way they were. This lasted for HOURS. On top of that, about an hour after recieving my lidocaine/ bupivicaine bolus, the back pain came back!! With that, so did the anesthesiologist, who gave me another dose to help me relax. Let me tell you, trying to push with that kind of discomfort is NOT fun. Another shout out to those who go through this process au natural.
By about 1130 pm, I was in the 9 cm range but the station (the level of the baby’s head) was not as good as it was before. Meaning, the baby was almost sinking back inside. He gave me a few options at this point. The first: keep pushing. I was doing great. Baby was showing absolutely no signs of distress. And he wasn’t really able to say that with a little more effort, the baby wouldn’t come out on his/her own. The next option: c-section. You’re exhausted. You aren’t seeing much forward progress. You want to meet your baby. He mentioned the possibility of forceps and suctioning, but with the baby sinking back inside, he (thankfully) didn’t recommend that at all. He left the room for Nick and I to discuss things. Hubs thought I could keep pushing, whereas I was OVER IT. Though I desperately wanted all my efforts of the day to result in a natural delivery, in my heart I knew it wasn’t going to end that way. And based on my doctor’s assessment, I truly believe that he felt that way too. In no way did I feel like a failure. In fact, I felt like I did well. I gave it all that I had, and it wasn’t my fault (anatomically or physically) that the baby was malpositioned. So when he returned, we told him we decided to proceed with the section. He reassured us about our decision, kindly went and spoke with our families, sent my parents in for one last visit, and got the surgical ball rolling.
I’ve never had major surgery. Wisdom teeth extraction has been the extent of it. So the idea of being cut open, while awake, was not overly comforting. But again, everyone was absolutely phenomenal – docs, nurses, everyone. I can’t even imagine how many of these procedures are performed in a given day. After being taken to the OR, I was positioned and given more spinal anesthesia. I had feeling from the chest down, but it wasn’t painful, just a pressure sensation. And very awkward. The hubs came in and sat down next to me while the cutters got cutting. Lots of pulling and tugging later, we finally heard the sweet sounds of our baby crying.
“It’s a boy!!!!!!!!!”
Going into the day, we hadn’t yet officially decided on a name. Obviously we had both boy and girl options, but we decided to wait to see what the baby looked like before deciding. After seeing his face, Nick and I looked at each other and nearly immediately agreed ~ He looks like an Emery. That’s Emery.
Emery James is here 🙂
Unfortunately, at a time where I should be crying tears of joy, I was crying tears of distress. Long story short, I lost A LOT of blood after Emery was born, and my blood pressure dropped quite low. I felt nauseated and told others in the room I was “going down.” More pitocin was given to me, which in turn made my blood pressure sky rocket, to the point where I had the worst headache I’ve ever had. I kept telling the anesthesiologist how awful I was feeling, and eventually with the help of more medical cocktails, I started to feel better. Thank goodness Nick was there, reassuring me and capturing the first moments of Emery’s life.
After returning to our room in L&D, Emery and I had an hour of skin-to-skin. So it was nearly 2 am before the extended family was able to meet our baby boy. It was SO special having all of them there and I am so grateful that they stuck out the day with us. Not that I expected anything less. By about 330 am, everyone but the new family of three had left. We were transferred to the Mother-Baby unit, room 4113, where we were met with a whole new set of amazing nurses. I dabbled in a quick introductory breastfeeding session and we got Nick a nice comfy hospital bed to sleep in. Before we knew it, we were all out like a light. For a few hours anyway before Emery was hungry again 😉
Wowza. What a day. Or days, technically. Though it was definitely not how I thought things would go (induction followed by c-section), things clearly happened the way they were supposed to.
Now the thank you’s:
- My Husband. Unbelievably supportive. Caring. Loving. Reassuring. Just amazing. Without having any experience in this area, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner throughout it all. And you know I cried my eyes out when I saw him holding our little guy for the first time. I love you!
- L&D nursing staff (Angie & Rachel). Absolutely wonderful in every way. Kept me up to date, always checking on me and giving me the latest and greatest.
- Our doctor. Perfectly perfect. Always honest and a very calming force. Thank you for everything!!
- Our parents. There from the get-go. For Mom reminding me to “Keep your eye on the prize.” For the constant laughter and smiles during the worst possible moments. And for all of the behind the scenes prayers near the end. We love you so much!
- Heather, Landon, Brendon, & Jadon. For sticking things out in the waiting room for hours while baby Emery made up his mind 😉 Thanks for being there!
- The rest of our family and friends. For the texts and constant check-in requests. Your love and support was felt even from afar!
Well, I think this suffices for now. More to come on the subsequent hospital days. Now it’s time to go snuggle with my babe 🙂