A Birth Story:
I was taken off Ibuprofen at 35 weeks, at 36 weeks, the plan was to go off bedrest and Terbutaline. By 35 weeks and one day I was having contractions that were 4-5 minutes apart and not stopping (that was Tuesday, November 23). On Wednesday, they were awful in the morning, and better by the afternoon. And then back to awful again Wednesday night. When I saw the doctor that day, she said that she was sure it would only be a few days. She predicted 48 hours. (That would put us at Thanksgiving or Black Friday.) Thanksgiving, they were tolerable, but steady. Friday, back to awful. By Saturday, my contractions continued to be very strong, but stalled at that darn 4-5 minutes again. I ended up calling my doctor and she recommended I go in to labor and delivery on Saturday night. There, they discovered that I had progressed from 1 to 2 centimeters and was 80% effaced. They gave me one shot of Terbutaline just to see if it would slow anything down (This was seriously about the tenth subcutaneous dose of Terb I had in the last three months). It didn’t do a thing. On the upside, it was my last dose of Terbutaline–hopefully forever.
I was admitted and it was presumed that I would go into “active” labor. My doctor decided that the following day she would come over to the hospital and if I had maintained my progression, my water would be broken and I would have the baby. As of Sunday morning, everything was moving along. The doctor said that she would come in later in the day to check my progression again as it coincided with another patient of hers who was going through a (very long, drug free) birth. That woman was literally in labor for something ridiculous like 38 hours. In the mean time, my contractions were still brutal and had escalated to about 2-3 minutes apart. After not having slept at all the night before even after a major dose of morphine, I was really tired and still in major pain because my contractions were so intense and had been for nearly five days at this point.
My doctor came in to deliver the other woman’s baby, she came in to my room first to track my progression. That’s when she discovered that despite all of my intense contractions, my progression had stopped entirely. She was still optimistic that it would start up again and I would be giving birth to my little surprise shortly. She decided that I would stay through Monday (11/29) morning because she was still sure that I would be delivering. After my very long and trying several days, I gave in to the nurses’ offers of pain killers and went into a deep, dark sleep from the Ambien and Percoset they gave me. When I woke up on Monday morning, my contractions had remained at the same pace with some back to 4-5 minutes apart, but still strong as ever. When my doctor came in to check again, we found out that my progression was still stalled. At that point, I started crying, because I swear, I felt as though after all of this bedrest nonsense and build up of trying to keep the baby in, it was some sort of cruelty that I was caught in this limbo of major pain, anxiety and stress. The doctor felt so bad for me, I thought she was going to cry, too. What a strange thing to go through after the crazy long end to my pregnancy.
The doctor’s recommendation was to go home and do whatever I could to enjoy the day that I had been waiting for for 11 weeks–I was off bed rest! (And felt like absolute Hell, go figure). Bryan and I left the hospital and decided to go out for lunch and then to some of my favorite stores. It was so nice of him to take me.
In the mean time, my contractions were still going insane. They were so strong I was huffing and puffing and walking slowly because it felt as though the baby would fall out the bottom of me, he was so low.
That evening, we got home and I was walking the house moaning with tears streaming down my face. Poor Bryan was lost about what to do. Of course, there was nothing to do at all really, other than have the baby. I somehow made it through Monday night and we decided that I should call the doctor in the morning because at this point, I’d been in labor (more or less) for a week. The strength and consistency of my contractions were incredible. When I called her, she was extremely sympathetic, she agreed that we had to figure out a plan of action. Tuesdays are not normally her office hours, but she said that she would meet me at her office to check my progression just on the off chance that my body had finally decided to help us all out. It was very nice of her to do this so that I didn’t have to go through labor and delivery (again!). At this point I thought there was no possible way that I had progressed any more, the contractions were still the same time apart and while they were stronger, it’s not like my water had broken or I had gotten any other indication that things had changed.
I decided to go to get a pedicure with my girlfriend before meeting her at her office because at this point, I’d been on bedrest forever and while I was miserable with the contractions, I was going to be miserable wherever I was. At the nail salon, I had tears streaming down my face, the contractions were so strong. Those nail techs definitely thought I would be having the baby in the pedicure tub. After my pedicure, my friend dropped me off at home and Bryan took me to the doctor’s office right away.
When we got in to see her, my contractions were as strong as they had ever been. She timed one that lasted three minutes, but the spacing still remained at 2-3 minutes apart. During her exam, she said, “Hmmm. Yes, it’s…” and Bryan and I were holding our breath, it sounded a lot like she was going to say that it was the same. Finally, she said “Okay. That’s it. You’re 3-4 centimeters. You’re done, you’re going in and you’re going to have a baby.” I couldn’t believe it. I started sobbing on the exam table, and I’m talking ugly crying. I just wanted the baby out. out. out. We headed right over to the hospital (but not before I started screaming and made Bryan stop the car so I could get out and walk). Thank the Lord, the anesthesiologist was at a nearby grocery store and he came over within about 20 minutes of my admittance.
After the epidural, I seriously felt like a new woman. That might sound dramatic, but I hadn’t gone an hour without feeling a contraction in literally months. Bryan was such a champ, he went home, gathered up our things and brought them back and then proceeded to hang out with me.
It was also a huge blessing that I was able to pick out my nurse. She stayed up with me all night on Saturday when I had been in the hospital. She was so lovely to me, I was really happy to have her with me as I delivered. After about an hour, my contractions were intensifying, but still remaining the same distance apart. I had only progressed a little bit more so my doctor broke my water. About another hour later, I hadn’t progressed too much more so they put me on a drip of pitocin. It was a 2 and you can get up to 40, so it wasn’t very much. Maybe two to three hours after that, I was ready to go. My labor and delivery photographer and my doctor had both come in the room at about eight. We literally sat around, joked and laughed about who knows what for an hour and a half. I am so lucky to have such a laid back, caring doctor. My L&D photographer was also hilarious and someone I can see being a good friend to me–my doctor recommended her–go figure. We had such a great time. They continued to check me periodically. I could feel pressure, but that was really all. After a while of hanging out, I could feel a lot of pressure–still not bad, I just knew we were ready to go. I actually suggested they check because again, I felt like he was just going to pop out.
She explained how I was going to go about pushing, which I had some reservations about because it’s not like anyone ever feels like they “know” what to do. However, I will say, it seems like while your brain might not know, your body does. I was able to get him out in only 29 minutes. The doctor had the lights dimmed and it was so relaxing and laid back, it was really nothing like I ever imagined a delivery room would be like. We literally laughed and joked the whole way through, but it was serious and emotional as well.
My favorite part was feeling his head. The doctor asked me if I wanted to and at first I said no, but then I rethought it and decided I would. What an amazing feeling that is. Again, I broke down in tears. Bryan was so helpful and proud, it was such a great time to share together. It was particularly touching because he was really concerned that he couldn’t handle the delivery room and instead, he was a total champ; he helped me out a lot and was even able to look down to see the baby emerge!
With all the serious and heavy moments going on during birth, the comic relief happened when I was thisclose to getting him out. My doctor can be heard in the video saying, “he’s right there. he’s right there” and with one nice long push, there is a popping sound and a spray of water that literally shot all over the room, it was like his head was the champagne cork and he was making his entrance–obviously he’s our kid. Seriously, seeing this on the video is priceless.
Because the sex of the baby was a surprise, we had told the doctor our two name options (they were tightly held secrets to everyone else). When he was out, she lifted him up and announced, “He’s an Everett!” It was such an amazing moment. I was able to hold him on my chest before the (slightly overzealous) neonatal nurse took him away. It was nice to have my photographer and my doctor bullying her back a little bit so I got to hold him as long as possible. My doctor kept insisting he was perfect and to leave him be with me, but the nurse was a nervous nelly because Everett was a preterm baby.
Bryan got to go with the nurse and watch as she performed various tests and she taught him how to change his first diaper. (And his second, third and fourth!) My favorite part was when Everett was brought back to me, I don’t even remember where Bryan was at this point, but he wasn’t in the room. They handed him back to me and he just stared at me, straight into my eyes. It was the first time he had opened them and he just looked right into my eyes like he’d been in a hurry to come out all this time just so he could do that very thing. It was the most special moment of my life. And it’s even more awesome that I was able to have a photographer there to catch the moment:
Everett Christian. Born November 30, 2010 at 10:02 pm. 5 lbs. 11 oz., 19 inches long.