So what's my excuse for not blogging for the past 8 1/2 months? His name is John Thomas, but we call him Johnny. Yep, my baby boy was born on September 3, 2009 at 11:54pm. That would be exactly 6 minutes before his due date...Virgo baby all the way. I am going to have to break down the last 8 1/2 months in several blogs. Today I'll share my birth story. I know this may cause most to shudder, but I'll go easy on you. It has been 8 1/2 months afterall, and I have mommy brain which is 10 times worse than prego brain, so I'm sure I won't remember ALL the gory details. Just kidding! I took notes during labor and when it got really bad, my Mom wrote them down for me. (Yes, I was THAT annoying in labor) Here goes:
As you read in my last post on August 31st, my fluid was up slightly and baby was doing great, but I was sent home to think about c sections and fetal distress. Anyhoo, I went back for another NST on September 3rd. I had no contractions, no more plug "issues" and nothing that led me to think the baby was coming. So of course on this day, I went to my appointment sans hospital bags, without shaving my legs, doing my hair or any makeup. (I know, I know...Murphey's Law...) So I get to the appointment at 7:30am and I'm just really happy to be in the cold air conditioning with my feet up listening to my baby's heartbeat. I got a cold bottle of water to get the baby to dance around. I was just chillin'. After we listened to the heartbeat, I was sent over for my ultrasound to check fluid levels. I was chatting with the nurse while she did the ultrasound check and she wasn't as chatty as usual. As a matter of fact, she wasn't saying anything to me, just rolling the ultrasound wand over and over my belly, pressing in different spots. I was keeping track of the fluid numbers in the first 2 quad sections, but noticed she hadn't added any from the other two. She called the other nurse over and asked her to take a look because she "couldn't find any other pockets of fluid." I am holding my breath at this point and keep reassuring myself that all is ok and I just heard the baby on the monitor (forget the fact that I'm watching him on the ultrasound monitor). The second nurse comes over, goes round and round on my belly, and says, nope, don't see any other pockets. The first nurse then looks at me and says "You're fluid level is 3.1. You're going to have a baby today." WHAT?! Um, I didn't shave my legs! My bags aren't packed! My hair and makeup aren't done! I can't have the baby right now. It's not part of my schedule today!
The nurse helped me up off the bed and said "I'm going to walk you over the Labor and Delivery. They are going to have to induce you." I almost cried, but thankfully, I held it together and asked in a very small voice "Am I allowed to call my husband?" She said of course and I speed dialed John.
The call went something like this: John: "Hey, how'd it go?" Me: "YOU NEED TO COME HERE NOW. I'M HAVING THE BABY!" (said in a very shaky, almost crying voice) John: "What?! You're having the baby NOW?" Me: "Fluid low, inducing, unshaved legs, no makeup, need bags, COME HERE NOW!" John: "What, wait, what is going on?" Me: "You need to come now. I'm having the baby now. They are going to induce me. Get off the phone, get the bags at home, get the birth ball, get some snacks and get over here!" John: CLICK
After that call, I speed dial my Mom. My Mom has been through this whole pregnancy with me just as much as John. I believe she deemed this the "longest pregnancy in history." I won't disagree with her there. So you would think that she'd pick my call up on the first ring on or around my due date. Um, not so much. I called and went to voicemail. I left a very calm, yet urgent message: "Uh, hi Mom. This is the call you've been waiting 9 months for and YOU'RE NOT ANSWERING YOUR PHONE. I'm at the hospital and they are inducing me, so head on down to the hospital when you have time." There, that'll get her attention, only I don't think she checks her cell phone messages very often. Great.
During this time, I am following the NST nurse to Labor and Delivery. I know it sounds very cliche, but it was the longest walk of my life. I had been waiting for this day for so long (my entire life) and now it was happening and I was walking the halls alone, with unshaved legs, not huffing and puffing through contractions or leaking water. I was following a nurse to L&D and it felt like I was going to the Principal's office. All these crazy (crazier than normal) thoughts were going through my head. My paranoia kicked into high gear. Was the baby ok? What if he died? What if I died? What if I had to have a C section? What if, what if, what if...
Finally we get to my room. The NST nurse wished me luck and leaves the room. I look around and see the baby warmer, the labor bed, the IV pole...OMG this is really happening. GULP. WTF did I get myself into? Then a nurse comes in with a plastic bag and says,"Get undressed and put this robe on. I'll be back in a little while to get you hooked up with the IV." Ok...sure, no problem. So I go into the bathroom and start undressing. I start to weep. Then I get a whole different feeling. I have to poop. Yep, whenever there is something stressful going on in my life, I poop. (seriously there is no TMI in a birth story, so get over it...) So there I am weeping and pooping in the bathroom when I stop weeping and think how lucky I am to be pooping now so hopefully there will be no "accidents"later. All the while John is speeding his way from work and my Mom is...where is my Mom?!
A nurse comes in then and starts asking me the hundreds of questions they've already asked, but need to ask again and input into their system. She takes a break from the questions to start my IV. As she's prepping my arm, John comes flying into the room. He's huffing and puffing, sweating and has this crazy, wild look in his eyes. But forget all that...he was lugging all THREE bags PLUS balancing the birth ball on his head. I about died laughing. Gotta love my man. He takes absolutlely no direction. Yes, I had three bags. One for labor, one for hospital stay and one for baby. All labeled with specific instructions on which bags were needed when. Well, in his rush to get to me, he couldn't think of which bag needed to be there for labor (again, they were all labeled...) so he brought them all. The nurse looked at him and said, "you can put ALL your stuff over in the corner or in the closet." Basically, get that crap out of the way. Then she looked at the birthball and said, "Oh, you won't be using that. Once you get induced, you need to stay in bed." WHAT? Um, that was not part of my birth plan. I wanted to bounce on my ball, have John massage my back with the tennis ball sock I made at our lamaze class. I wanted to walk the hallways leaning on my husband and my Mom while they told me how brave I was for walking through my contractions. So I grabbed my labor bag and took out the 10 copies of my birth plan that I had just for this kind of situation and handed the nurse one copy and threw the others on the table. She gave it a quick look over and said, "well, some of this just isn't going to happen." That whole image I had had in my head for so many months was gone...up in smoke...poof...bubbye.
But I digress. I sat back down and had her hook up the IV in my arm and laughed at John who was closing his eyes in the corner trying not to faint at the sight of the needles. Boy, he sure didn't know that was going to be NOTHING compared to what was to come. So the nurse goes back to the computer and starts with the questions again. Finally, my mom calls and she sounds a bit confused. I explain again that I'm being induced and I'm pretty sure she had gotten in the car and was already on the freeway by the time we got off the phone. At least SHE had her bags packed and ready in the car. Whew, Mom was on her way, all was right in the world again.
Then the doctor on duty came in. I immediately grabbed my birth plan and shoved it in her face. "See? No C section, no Cytotec." I'm sure she thought I was a nut job, but I figure most pregos are, so I had a get out of jail free card. She went on to explain what the induction process entailed and gave me the option of a foley catheter. I was so grateful and loved this doctor. She never once said anything about a C section and didn't bat an eyelash when I said I didn't want Cytotec. She checked me and I was 1 1/2 cm dilated, 60% effaced and -3 station. I had a ways to go.
The nurse was getting the catheter ready when my Mom arrived. Now I was ready. Game on, let's do this. They put the catheter in at9:30am. No problem, didn't feel a thing. Now for those of you who don't know what a foley catheter is, I'll give a brief explanation. It is a catheter that has a balloon at the end. They insert it into the cervyx and the balloon helps to put pressure on the cervyx and open it up. It can take a while to progress, so they usually add pitocen ot the mix. I had read so many horrible things about Pitocen so I was really nervous about having it in my IV, but I was ready and trusted the Doctor and of course I was thinking of my low fluid level. The way they know the catheter has done its job is they tug on it and if it falls out. "How "scientific." This usually happen when you're dilated to 5cm.
After the doctor put the catheter in, she said "well, you should be in labor sometime tomorrow. This is a really long process, so try to rest." Um, TOMORROW?! I look at the clock and it's only 9:30am! This was gonna be a long day. I turn to John and my mom and say "I'm hungry." It WAS gonna be a long day. The great thing about being on lock down, was I got to hear the baby monitor the entire time. I love that sound. And how incredible it was to think there is a little human inside of me. I still can't believe it. So as I'm laying there, John turns on the TV and my mom sits by me, watching me. Nurses come and go and I am just listening and watching the baby monitor. The nurse comes in after about an hour and has a look on her face. The baby's heartrate was dipping a bit, so she asked me to lay on my side. Of course, this makes me watch the monitor even more intently and the paranoia kicked in. I'm feeling some cramping, but nothing painful, and I could care less because now I'm worried about the baby's heartrate. So we sit and sit and sit...finally a few hours later, the cramping is really kicking in. I am having contractions that I feel now. I tell the nurse that I'm feeling some cramping and she kept dismissing me and saying that it was way too early for me to be dilated, but when she sees the doctor next, she'll have her come in and check. So we wait a little more, John is going stir crazy and my mom is still watching me. Contractions are still there and I find that if I do deep, steady yoga breaths, my little boy's heartrate is nice and easy. If I did any huffing and puffing, his heartrate would decel.
Finally at around 2:30pm, the doctor comes in and acts like she's going to humor me by checking me even though she insists it's way too early. I should expect to be in labor tomorrow. So she "tugs" on the catheter and it drops right out. Apparently, the reason I was having so much discomfort was that the bulb was in my vajayjay and NOT my cervix because I was dilated to 5cm! Hmm, I still wonder how long I was dilated and blown off for. So the doctor was naturally surprised and became Captain Obvious by stating "wow, you dilated really quickly." I was 5 cm dilated and 70% effaced and -2 station. Still a while to go, but what progress! I was very happy. At this point, they increased the pitocin a bit and gave me an oxygen mask to wear to help with the baby's heartrate.
At this point, I thought John would actually climb the walls and both he and my mom were hungry. My mom went to the cafeteria and got some dinner. When she came back, John got out and bought a computer at Costco, because that's what all fathers-to-be do while their wife is in labor, right? I really wanted a handheld Itouch, but he comes back with a laptop...bigger is better I guess. So I promptly have him sign in and get me on Facebook where I sent regular updates about my labor progress. What else was I going to do? John also ordered a pizza for delivery.
Contractions came at a decent rate and pretty hard a little after that. John would watch the monitor with me and tell me when another was coming. The annoying thing about that is I already felt them! Derr, it was my body and don't you think I could feel the contractions. I had another Captain Obvious on my hands! John would also state things like "Yep, that was the biggest contraction so far, waaaay bigger than the last one." Thanks babe.
The contractions became so intense that I found it hard to continue with my yoga breathing without hitting my hand on the bedrail. My mom told me not to ball up my hands into a fist or it would cause me to be tense everywhere (great advice!) so I made a point to wave my open hand in front of my face, eyes closed, while I breathed through the contractions. Man, they were coming pretty quickly and my little boy's heartrate was up and down. The nurse kept asking me if I wanted an epidural and if i was in pain. I kept telling her that I don't consider this "pain" but I would consider it "uncomfortable." To me, pain is a really bad paper cut. The nurses, and my mother, were getting annoyed with me feeble attempt at trying to give them a pain level of 1-10. I kept it at a 5, but it was more like a 7 or 8. My mom saw right through me. So finally at around 4:30pm, the doctor came in and checked me. I was almost 7 cm dialted. She asked if I wanted an epidural to which my mom promptly replied yes. I guess my hand waving and breathing technique was not going over well. I said ok, since I was afraid I'd wait too long and wouldn't have the option (oh the horror!). So she called in the lovely anesthesiologist. Only one person was allowed in with my while it was being administered. John jumped up quickly and exited. Yep, he truly does faint at the sight of needles. So at 4:45pm I sat on the side of the bed staring at my mom, breathing and nervous that by sitting up, my boy's heartrate was going to go wonky. Thankfully, the doc was quick and I was hooked up quickly and back on my side.
The doctor came in around 5:15pm and broker my water. Since the baby's heartrate kept decelerating, she also had the nurse put a monitor in me internally. They screw a small monitor onto the baby's head so that they can get a better listen to the heartbeat.
It took about an hour before I felt the epidural kick in, but when I did, the worst thing happened: I could not feel my legs. At all. I still felt contractions and had to do my yoga breathing, but I had lost all feeling in both legs. I reallllly hated this feeling. So much so that when the contractions were coming, it wasn't the pain I was yelling at my mom and John about, it was the fact that my legs were numb. I kept yelling at them to rub and cycle my legs. John had both legs working like Lance Armstrong and my mom just massaged me. It helped, but I was really aggitated by the loss of feeling. That and probably because I still felt the contractions pretty strongly. I kept thinking about all those Bringing Home Baby shows I watched daily and how the woman were all smiles and able to sleep after having an epidural. How the hell could they sleep?! I laid there and watched and felt everything, worrying about the baby.
At 6pm, the nurse came in and said they were going to do an amnio infusion on me. I guess they were taking precautionary measures since they had broken my waters and they wanted the baby to keep fluid around him so there was no cord compression. While she was adjusting the amnio infusion catheter and my other catheter, she accidentally pulled the internal monitor off the baby's head. Smooth move Ex Lax! Yeesh...so this meant she had to screw another freakin' monitor into his head! I was not pleased.
And then we waited, I breathed, the baby was up and down, John was cycling my legs and my mom was watching me and massaging my legs. The doctor comes back in and says "great news! Your doctor is on duty now, so she'll be able to deliver the baby!" Oh geez...I was not as excited as her because I knew my doctor was gung ho on a C section for me. Did I really have to go through that debate in the middle of all this? I was not in the mood. All I could muster up was "Great."
Dr. Flores, my OB/GYN, came in and started in about how the baby's decels were something to keep in mind and watch, and if they didn't improve, we would have to seriously think about a C section. At this point, I wasn't going to debate, I just caved and said if she really thought that the baby was in trouble, do whatever needs to be done to get him here safely. I had my preferences, but I wasn't going to be so strubborn that my baby would suffer from it. Boy, I was really thinking like a mom, wasn't I? So she said she'd watch the monitor and we'd wait and see.
At 9:30pm, a midwife came in and checked me because I was really feeling contractions and quickly. She checked and sure enough I was 10 cm dilated. It was time to push. My doctor was in surgery doing a C section, so they said that I could do a practice push to see how the baby reacted. Ok, whatever. So I move to my back and they take out the stirrups and tell me to put my feet up. Um, I can't feel my legs. The nurses helped put me into the stirrups. John was appointed the "Counter" and stood on my left side at by my head and my mom was just in front of him holding my left leg. The nurse was on my right holding my other leg. Now I had watched so many births on TV by now, I just knew I was going to push the baby out in one push. So when they gave me the instructions, I was all ready to go. At 10:35pm, I took in a deep breath, pulled on the back of my thighs, tucked my chin and pushed like I hadn't pooped in a month. I could bear down with the best of 'em. John counted to 10, pretty quickly thankfully, and the nurses kept telling him to slow down. After the first push, complete madness ensued. It seemed like within the blink of an eye, every single nurse on the floor ran into our room, they were yelling at me to scoot up in the bed and roll over to my side. I was yelling at everyone that I couldn't move my legs, nor pick my body up with my arms alone. WTF was going on?! Then some dumb ass nurse yells at me "You need to scoot up and lay on your side! Do it for your baby!" Don't you think if I could I would?! As quickly as I could I pulled myself as far up as I could and rolled to my side, which is no easy task with dead legs and a big ole belly. Then in an instant another nurse grabs my arm and yells in my face that she's going to be injecting me with Tributiline. I guess what happened is the baby's heartrate dropped from 160 to the low 70's. My contractions were coming so quickly, he didn't have time to recover from them. The tributiline makes the contractions stop or lessen. Thankfully, it worked. My baby was recovering, as was I. I was totally shaken up. My doctor came in after her surgery and I told her to just take the baby by C section if that's what was needed. I was not going to mess around. That whole crazy incident scared the crap out of me.
The doctor told me we'd try again as it seemed baby's heartrate had recovered and normalized. She asked if I wanted a mirror to watch....DUH...of course I do! I had them place a mirror right behind the doctor so I could watch everything. John and my Mom made a point to keep their eyes on my face as I don't believe they wanted to see all the goriness that would follow. So here we go! Saying I was nervous to push again was the understatement of the year, but it definitely took any/all pain away. I didn't think about the pain for one second. She had me get on my back again around 11:15pm. Everyone got back into position. John did the counting and the nurses did the re-counting. I love John for counting so quickly because I could only keep up with his count, not the nurses. Pushing was a lot harder than I thought. I really felt nauseous after every push because I had to hold my breath. Now I thought that was counter-productive to getting oxygen to the baby, but I wasn't in the mood to debate the subject at the time. So I pushed for about 45 minutes. The doctor kept telling me to look in the mirror to see all the hair the baby had. I could barely keep my eyes open while pushing, but I did see his head and it kept me motivated. My doctors face was very intense which made me think the baby was having a hard time and she was really demanding me to push harder and get the baby out quickly. I pushed with all my might and finally, she said that my last push would be it. I could see the baby's head out, all I needed was a little more of a push and he came right on out. On that night, September 3, 2009, at 11:54pm, the doctor laid him right on my chest and he looked right at me. Then he cried. What a beautiful sound. What a beautiful baby. I felt like a million bucks. Now, I really thought at this moment I would be crying and sobbing and emotional, but I'm thinking the lack of oxygen from pushing made me a little crazy. I started singing Happy Birthday to the baby and laughing. I was giddy. My son was finally born and he was perfect. Sharing that moment with John and my mom was the best feeling ever.
I look over at John and he's sitting down in the chair that was placed right behind him during the pushing in case he fainted. Well, thankfully it was placed there because he used it all right. Apparently, he watched in the mirror and saw everything. And apparently he was also taking pictures of it all, so when the baby came out, he saw the blood and got a little light headed. So he enjoyed our little boy from the chair. He turned to me and said "You can name him anything you want." I chose to name him Johnny, because he looked just like his Daddy. My mom stood right by me the whole time.
About five minutes after baby was born, the nurses took him off me and said he was too hot and that he and I both had very slight fevers. So they took him across the room to clean him up and take his vitals. I yelled for John and my mom to go stay with him and talk to him. I didn't want him away from familiar voices for one second. While they were taking his vitals, my doctor was taking care of me. She looked at me and said "Well, things will never look the same down here. You have a 2nd degree tear in a Z formation." Sweet. My answer was "Doc, all is right in the world. I have a son. And honestly, it wasn't bad at all. I'd totally do it again." Lack of oxygen, remember? She just laughed and continue to sew me back up. I kept my eyes on the baby.
As they took measurements, my Mom was yelling the stats out to me: 7 pounds 7.4 ounces! 19 1/2 inches! 32 cm chest! 32 1/2 abdomen! 35 cm head! Wow, couldn't get anymore perfect than that. Finally, he was all wrapped up and ready to come back to Momma. I held my baby and we stared at eachother. I couldn't take my eyes off this perfect little person that came out of my body just minutes earlier. I tried to nurse him but he wasn't interested and I wasn't in a very good position. So I continued to just hold him. John was uploading some pics to FB and sent some emails out to family and friends. My mom called my brother and sister-in-law and Grandma to tell them the news.
A few hours later, the nurse came in and said we'd be moving to our post pardem room soon, so we had to pack up our things. They brought a wheel chair and asked if I could feel my legs enough to walk. I slowly moved my legs to the side of the bed. They were so tingly and noodly feeling, but I was determined to walk to the wheelchair. I made it safely and had them put the baby right back in my arms. Yes, I was a baby hog...but I waited my entire life for the little tyke, I wasn't giving him up just yet. So John and my Mom were saddled down with all our bags and they wheeled us down the hall to our room. On the way there, John got to push the new baby button Kaiser has. It plays throughout the hospital everytime a baby is born. Very sweet.
We get to our room and I promptly sent my Mom to our house for some rest. John was going to stay on the couch in our room. He was already asleep by the time my mom left so it was just me and Johnny. Now at this point, I hadn't seen anything but his little face swaddled in blankets. So I unwrapped him on my lap and looked him over, counting his fingers and toes, checking his cord, looking at his perfect little belly, popeye arms and skinny little legs. Perfection! I wrapped him back up and laid there the rest of the night with him in my arms. I couldn't put him down yet. Nurses came in to check our vitals all through the night and kept asking me if I had put him down yet. They kind of laughed when I said no. I just wasn't tired at all.
Very early the next day, my doctor came in to check on me. She asked if I was sore. I was slightly sore because the epidural had competely worn off by then, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I had my baby now afterall...what else was there?
To be continued....