WARNING: I go into not too specific details about my laboring and delivery, so if you don't want to read anything about dilations and such, just go ahead and skip this blog entry. I thought I'd share with those who are interested like moms who want to compare their stories with mine or other moms-to-be who are curious to read what they might soon experience for themselves. I promise it's not very graphic, but some would rather not read anything about any of it, so I'm just giving those people a heads up. So here we go.
Friday May 6th- At my appointment with the High Risk doctor, my amniotic fluid levels were lower than they had been and marked a concern with the technician and doctor. He concluded I should be induced into labor on my 38th week of pregnancy because there would be no benefit to Violet to stay in utero. My response to that statement was "That's next week." The doctor's response was "yep." He said he would submit the report to my OB and we would determine what day would be best. I left that appointment with a feeling of excitement and fear. I was excited to know I would be having my baby sometime the following week, but anxious about being in actual labor. It was imminent.
Monday May 9th- I went to work as usual. I already had an appointment set up for Tuesday with my OB, but wanted to try to find out, if possible, what day she wanted to induce. You know, to be as prepared as possible. The doctor wasn't at the office that Monday, so I couldn't get an answer, but spoke to her nurse. She said to come to my scheduled appointment, but be prepared to stay. Oh boy! So that night, Spencer and I spent the evening vacuuming and cleaning and double checking packed bags. We had his mom and Bill come out to the house to pick up Jezebel. We were ready, you know, just in case.
Tuesday May 10th- Spencer and I left for the appointment in the morning with the thought that we had done everything on our part to go ahead and have the induction that day. Of course my anxiety was making me wish I wouldn't, like I needed one more day. When we got to the hospital, my mood quickly started to change. What set my excitement off was our amazing parking space in the parking deck. We landed the absolute best space possible. Right in front of the walkway into the Women's Center. I said to Spencer that we just had to stay and have the baby so we could keep that parking space for a few more days. I took a picture of it before we walked in toward the doctor's office.
My appointment started like usual by peeing in a cup, and getting hooked up to the monitor, but shortly after I was told by the doctor, like we suspected all weekend, that she wanted me to go ahead and get admitted downstairs in Labor & Delivery. A rush of excitement went though us. We were gonna have a baby today, we thought.
After grabbing our bags from the car at our amazing parking space, we walked over to Labor & Delivery and got settled into room 5 at about 10ish.
The nurse started me off with a fairly heavy dose of Pitocin. The OB had difficulty gauging my level of cervical dilation for weeks, and that day was no exception. So she ordered the Pitocin to hopefully kick start my laboring and help get my cervix into a position the doctor could "read" so to speak. I was feeling fine for a little while. When I told the nurse this, she must have increased the juice because very quickly after, I was contracting every minute pretty heavily and I had to be given oxygen for a bit. Luckily my OB came in to examine me again and said the nurse could back off the Pitocin so I wasn't contracting so much. She still couldn't reach my cervix though. This all happened about 12:30ish. A few more hours go by (somewhere in there we watched a little bit of Rocky 3 on the TV) and they stop giving me the Pitocin because I was still contracting so quickly. I requested some pain relief at about this time and regretted it once it went into affect. The Nubain they injected into my IV made me flush, dizzy, and groggy. Sure it helped with the pain of the contractions, but I did not like how it made me feel like I was going to pass out, and the pain relief only lasted a few short hours. At the same time I thought I was going to die from an overdose of narcotics, Spencer's dad and step mom came to visit. I must have been a sight at that point with my head rolling about. I can't remember much about the visit to be honest. I think there was a cold rag on my head at one point and that seemed to help a bit.
When My OB came back again in the early evening, to see how things were going, my laboring had not resulted in much progress. The doctor decided at this point to keep me off the Pitocin for the rest of the night and instead insert a balloon catheter into my cervix to start dilation. It would do the work that the Pitocin failed to do. Since my cervix was difficult to reach, there was a chance this catheter might not work either. Spencer and I could tell from our conversation with the OB at this point that if the catheter didn't get me dilating, I would be facing a C-Section. I tried not to think about that possibility. It looked like we were not going to be meeting our precious Violet that night. At that point they allowed me to eat something for dinner. Oh, I failed to mention that I had not eaten or drank anything since the night before at about 9pm. It was left over spaghetti and Blue Bell rocky road ice cream. All I had through the day was ice cubes, and given the circumstances, they were amazingly yummy. But I digress. So the insertion of the balloon catheter was the most painful part of the whole laboring/ birthing process, and the contractions following it were worse than the contractions from the Pitocin. The narcotic from earlier had already worn off, and I had decided I didn't want that again. As a result, my night in the hospital consisted of trying to eat something in between contractions. Take a bite of fruit, stop for contraction, take a bite of PB and J, stop for contraction. Poor Spencer didn't know what to do with himself that night. He hated seeing me in pain, but there was nothing he could do. At one point he was trying to feed me my dinner, but I quickly shooed him away. I wasn't paralyzed, I thought, I could feed myself. Our choice of TV programing throughout dinner and pain, The Wrestler. The intensity of the contractions let up as the night went on. I was given Ambien to sleep and stayed up with Spencer to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Lights were out at 11pm and I was able to sleep the whole night through until 4am when Spencer got up to use the restroom and the nurse came in to wake us shortly there after. Spencer's sleep that night was more uncomfortable than mine. He had to sleep in that awful chair. I can't help but think the choice of having such uncomfortable chairs in the delivery room are intentional. If the mother-to-be has to be so uncomfortable, it only seems fair the father-to-be has to as well.
Wednesday May 11th- We woke at 4am and I was feeling a whole lot better than the evening before. I couldn't even tell if I was contracting still or not. We showered and dressed like any other day. I wanted to look as nice as I could because I knew I would be having my picture taken throughout the day. The nurse removed the balloon catheter and when the doctor came in at 7:30, I was told I was dialated to 4 cm. She proceeded to break my waters and the nurse started me back on Pitocin to get me laboring again. A C-section was less likely now and I was ectatic. At 9:00 I had moved to 5 cm and I was given my epidural. It was not really painful to be inserted into my spine especially compared to the pain I had endured the afternoon before. Shortly after, I was numb from my waist down. I could barely move my legs and didn't feel any pain what so ever. It was fabulous. At 10:00 I was at 6cm and the doctor wanted to insert an internal monitor to more closely gauge the contractions. It also would replace a bit of fluid in the uterus to help avoid the umbilical cord from getting constricted. At this point in the laboring the grandparents started getting antsy. They were wanting to start making their way to the hospital and I was afraid they would end up having to wait a long while before Violet would get here. Spencer was trying to let them know to wait a bit longer. The nurse had told us that typically for a first time delivery it would take about an hour to dilate one cm. I had four more to go.
11am started to come and go. The doctor wasn't going to check back until after lunch, but the internal monitor was giving weak signals and so the nurse wanted to check to make sure it was still in it's proper place. When she said she would check to see if it had moved, I said "yeah, maybe, because I could feel something different down below." I think that statement got her even more curious. When she checked me out, sure enough, I had dilated all the way to ten. I went from 6 cm at 10am to 10 cm at 11:15 am. The nurse announced I was ready to push. Holy crap, I though. Spencer and I proceeded to call all the folks and let them know we were about to start pushing. Spencer's dad and Phyllis show up outside the door right when I'm already in position and the nurse asks me if I want them to come into the room. I would like to have seen the look I gave her when she asked me that. I told her of course not, not in the position I was in. They would have to wait in the waiting area until after we were done. So I started pushing at 11:30am and at 12:21pm Violet had arrived.
Spencer cut the cord like a brave new father and she was placed on my chest for just a few minutes until they took her to get wiped off, weighed, and measured, and such.
She was brought back over and placed on my bare chest for about 45 minutes where Spencer and I loved on her and she attempted to nurse. This whole time either Spencer or the nurses were taking pictures, and I was even taking video at one point. Suddenly it was after 1pm and it was time to go up to our recovery room where I would be staying for the next few days and our friends and relatives would come to visit.
Looking back on the whole experience, I couldn't have asked for a better delivery. It started with the best parking spot, followed by an awesome RN, having a successful epidural, then being able to have a vaginal delivery, all the while being monitored by my OB doctor, not another that I only briefly met from the same practice. The absolute best part was seeing Violet for the first time, hearing how much she weighed and how long, and seeing she was 100% healthy. I was overwhelmed with joy.