Benjamin's Birth Story
Born May 22, 2008 (Thursday)
7 lbs. 14.9 oz.
Due date: May 17, 2008 – (40+5 weeks)
I had been having real, regular contractions since Sunday morning (May 18), but on Tuesday at the doctor's office, he said I was not dilated or progressing along on my own. The contractions were not doing anything productive, but I was indeed having real contractions. He did an ultrasound, and said the amniotic fluid levels were low, so we needed to set up a time to go to the hospital to be induced before the weekend. They told me Thursday was the day, and I was to call the hospital Thursday morning to arrange a time to come in.
On Thursday (May 22), we called the hospital at 7:30am, and they said we could come right in. They took us back to get settled, and the doctor said I was a couple of centimeters dilated! Woo hoo! This meant they could give me Pitocin to get things going. They started the Pitocin at around noon.
They also broke my water at some point to help me to progress.
I cannot remember at what time, but early in the afternoon, I asked for the epidural. It worked for a little bit, sort of. After I got the epidural, I was still in pain. But I was a first time mom – I didn't know how it was “supposed” to feel. I was told before that I should not expect it to take away all the pain. And it didn't. So I thought that was normal. And my bolus was not working at all. But the nurse, after seeing me in such pain STILL, said, “You should not be this uncomfortable after the epidural. I am going to call get the anesthesiologist.” He finally (I guess he was in c-section when they first requested him to come) came back and gave me a “boost”... which did help temporarily. But they told me I would SURELY have this baby by dinner time. (Well, I did not have this baby by dinner time, and the "boost" did NOT last through the entire labor and delivery.) The epidural overall was not as effective as it was supposed to be. (And I know this after having my second baby, where the epidural worked BEAUTIFULLY. But Joshua's birth story will be posted at a later date!)
At around 3:30pm, a friend of ours, who was a labor and delivery nurse, came in to help us through the labor. She took over for the nurse who was there when I came into the hospital. I am very thankful for her familiar face and her kind support through the rest of the labor and delivery. (In fact, she stayed well after the birth, probably until midnight to help me get settled.)
At some point in the afternoon, the doctor said that he was pleased with how things were going, and that we would surely have this baby by dinner time. Baby was doing wonderfully. I was hopeful that this would all be over soon and I would be holding my baby boy while I enjoyed a wonderful dinner!
By around 7pm, I was pushing. We found out that baby was in the posterior position (sunny-side up), making the labor incredibly long and difficult.
I can't remember when (the whole day was a blur to me), but baby's heart rate starting dropping sometime after I started pushing. This was very scary. The nurse was trying to hide the panic as she called for the doctor to come in right away. They had me turn in various positions (which is incredibly hard to do when your legs feel like Jello from the epidural), hoping to move the baby off of the umbilical cord. Nothing helped. I was on oxygen. They prepped the OR for an emergency c-section. At some point in all this, I threw up. I was exhausted, incredibly scared for my baby, and in lots of pain (let's remember: the epidural's "boost" had pretty much worn off at this point).
After over 2.5 hours of pushing, Benjamin was born at 9:37pm, with the help of forceps. I was able to birth him basically in the last moment before they would have had to take me to get cut open. I am thankful I did not have to have a c-section.
But I was incredibly exhausted from the difficult labor and delivery. It was somewhat traumatic for me, thinking something might happen to my baby, thinking I was not doing enough to keep him safe and birth him “right.” Because of the physical and emotional pain and exhaustion of the labor and delivery, I did not hold him for long after he was born. I got to hold him right away, after Keith handed him to me, but I was so exhausted and out of it, he was taken to the nursery shortly after. Not to mention, by the time I got cleaned up, stitched up, and everything, It was after 11pm. Long. Day.
I should also mention, a side effect I experienced from the combination of the epidural and the long, intense labor and delivery (and 2.5 hours of pushing), I had to have a catheter for 12+ hours.
Later, I found out that as my parents waited ALL evening in the waiting room (as they were also told I would SURELY have this baby by dinner), there was another family waiting to be taken back for a scheduled c-section. My parents overheard as this family kept getting pushed back, because there was a woman who may need to have an emergency c-section, for whom they had to keep the OR open for. That was me. I am glad that my parents didn't know that at the time, because I am sure it would have scared them as they waited. And waited. And waited.
My recovery was excruciatingly long and painful. It was 3+ weeks before I could walk without pain. Being in labor basically all week long (from Sunday-Thursday), being at the hospital for 13 hours before giving birth, and pushing for 2.5-3 hours makes for a long and difficult labor, delivery, and recovery. I have heard it said before, and I would have to agree: The longer the labor, the longer the recovery. People who have had very different birth experiences did not understand why it took me so long to recover. They would say to me, “But you didn't have a c-section...” Well, folks, when your baby is sunny-side up, and you have to push for nearly 2.5-3 hours to get your baby to turn into the right position, it takes a major toll on your body.
While I was in the hospital, I could hardly walk. I needed help in the shower. When I woke up Friday morning, my one leg was still completely numb from the epidural, meaning I could not walk on my own,
Then, of course, we had visitors all day on Friday in the hospital, which meant I got very little rest. Lesson learned. With baby #2, I did NOT make this mistake. (Joshua's birth story to come! Stay tuned.)
If I had known then what I know now, I would have insisted I wait a little bit longer, and forgo the induction process, as long as baby was safe. While I was incredibly anxious to meet Benjamin, I could have waited a couple more days. His amniotic fluid probably was not dangerously low, and I think things would have happened very differently had I not been induced.
That being said, I don't think that my difficult labor and delivery was a direct result of being induced. If I would have waited to go into labor on my own, it is possible that he would have changed positions, and his birth may have gone differently. But maybe not. We'll never know, and I am not wasting time focusing on the what-ifs. In the end, mother and baby were healthy, and for that, I am very thankful.
Stay tuned for Joshua's birth story at a later date!