Hello blogosphere! So sorry for my long vacation from blogging and social media… I know it was pretty ill-timed, but I really felt like I needed to settle in (and get some sleep) before recounting everything that has happened over the past two weeks. Which, btw, is quite a lot.
In case you haven’t heard, I’m a mom! Enough about me, though, let’s get to the little guy that everyone is really here to see:
So I know I already posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook, but I just can’t help but use it again. Is he not the sweetest little boy? I just love him.
James David Everton
Born March 2, 2013 at 11:47 pm
8 lbs 2 oz
So let’s get down to business, shall we? If you are a little squeamish, you should probably stop reading now… Also, this is probably the longest post you will ever read. I’ve been working on it since I was in the hospital. True story.
Saturday, March 2
I got a call around 5:30am telling me to come in for my (second) induction. It was a tad bit anticlimactic, considering that I had received the same call for the same situation just three days earlier, but I figured my doctor wouldn’t let me leave without a baby this time around.
My very last belly shot at almost 42 weeks. That’s a good time right there. And please note the neon orange bra showing through my shirt. Classy classy.
After checking in and getting a really impressive IV stuck into one of my really impressive veins, the doctor came in and checked my progress. Now, over the course of the three days since my first induction, I had been having a lot of cramping and a little bit of bleeding, so I was really hoping for something significant in terms of cervical dilation. Unfortunately, it was stuck at 1.5 cm. Still. After 2.5 weeks.
Obviously that thing was determined to stay closed.
So doctor decided to force it open. Which, by the way, is just as fun as it sounds. He used a cervical ripening balloon, which is a long tube inserted through my cervix into my uterus and then filled with saline. Once that first balloon was filled, a second balloon on the other side of my cervix was filled with saline as well so the two balloons squeezed together, forcing it open.
Pretty much they left that bad boy in place until my cervix opened enough to allow the balloons to slide on out, which would be when I had dilated to around a 4 or 5. If this sounds incredibly painful, it’s because it was! Painful and uncomfortable. At least with contractions you get a break between them (kind of), but those balloons huuuuurt the entire time.
Me, trying to look cheerful while the balloons did their worst/For the curious, this is how they worked.
Much to everyone’s surprise, after several hours the balloons dilated me to between a 4 and 5! They hurt like you can’t even imagine for about six hours, but they got that cervix to open a little. I had no idea how sensitive cervixes (cervices? cervii?) are, but wow. Pain, pain, pain. Fortunately I was able to walk around with Michael while they were working their magic, which helped to distract me. I also chewed a LOT of sugar-free bubble gum to pass the time.
After the balloons were removed, my doctor pulled out all the stops. He broke my water and then started Pitocin to stimulate contractions. I had always heard that this drug causes really hard contractions, so I was a little terrified of what it would do (and not a little opposed to it initially…), but my nurse started it at a really, really low dosage and then came in every half hour to increase the amount, which simulates the natural release of oxytocin and mimics natural contractions. After several hours I was definitely in labor and having really painful contractions.
Breathing through contractions like a boss.
I seriously underestimated just how painful hard contractions would be. But I guess there really is no way to know what’s coming if you’ve never been in labor before. At first I felt like I had them under control, but after a few hours, I was really having to concentrate on breathing and relaxing through them.
Part of my initial birth plan was lots and lots of walking around. I just know that I deal better with pain and discomfort when the scenery changes and I have something different to focus on (in case you’re curious, it’s for this exact reason that I haaaate running on a treadmill). Unfortunately, my nurse told me I had to stay hooked up to the monitor in my room because my water had been broken. Boo.
After sitting in the same position for a few hours though I started to lose it. It got harder and harder to make it through them without tensing up, so my nurse brought in a birthing ball. Just getting out of bed and changing positions helped so much! It helped to get me in a better place mentally and feel like I had more energy and tolerance to deal with the rest of labor. I sat on the birthing ball with my upper body draped over the bed while Michael lightly rubbed my lower back and helped me to feel comfortable.
Right when I was starting to feel like I was getting on top of the contractions, my doctor came in to check my progress (now, remember that it had been about eight hours since he had broken my water and I had been in hard labor).
At this point I started to realize that there was a lot going wrong. After the balloons had been taken out, despite eight hours of hard labor, my cervix had stayed exactly where it was. Not only that, but my little guy’s station was a -2. In case you don’t know, a baby’s station refers to how far down the pelvis he has descended. Since I was dilated between a 4 and 5, he should have been at least at a 0.
When I learned that during the last several (excruciatingly painful) hours I had made absolutely zero progress, I almost lost it. Honestly, if I had progressed even a single centimeter, it would have made all of those contractions worth it and I would have been happy going on for several more hours.
My water had been broken.
Once this happened, I was on the clock. When that membrane breaks, the barrier between the uterus and the outside world is removed, which means that bacteria can enter and cause infection, making a c-section necessary and increasing the risk of a whole lot more complications. I think if I had made any progress at all, my doctor would have allowed me to continue as I was, but he came in and told me my options:
1. Get an epidural. The idea behind this was that it could potentially relax the muscles in my pelvis and help my little guy begin to descend and open up my cervix.
2. Have a c-section. A quick evacuation, if you will.
One thing I just love about my doctor is that he has been on the same page as me throughout my entire pregnancy. He had told me his number one priority (aside from making sure me and my little guy are healthy) is to do everything he could to help me have a vaginal delivery. We had talked about this a few times, so when he came in and gave me my options I knew he believed there was no way my labor would progress on its own.
I took option number 1.
After he left I just kind of gave up on my contractions. They weren’t doing a single thing to get my baby out and were just causing excruciating pain. I was pretty ticked off at this point. I really got discouraged and couldn’t help but think that the last few days had all been a waste because I would likely end up having a c-section anyway. When I realized this, I couldn’t wait to get the epidural so I could stop feeling all of the pain.
Fortunately, my first attempt at induction had failed (though I didn’t appreciate it as a good thing at the time. Remember this emo post?), which allowed me to start to come to terms with the inevitability of a c-section. Part of the reason I was so disappointed on Wednesday was because I knew that there might be a bigger chance than I had thought of having one. By the time the anesthesiologist with a terrible bedside manner came into my room, I had just accepted that it was going to happen. I would be so happy if the epidural worked, but I thought the logic behind it was pretty shaky. At the very least I would be prepped and ready to go for surgery.
For some reason the epidural hit me pretty hard. I felt really loopy during those few hours so I just tried to get some rest. No one was terribly shocked to hear the same news when my doctor came back in to check me: no progress. So I waved the white flag and got ready for surgery.
Rocking the IV-induced double chin. It’s a pretty great look.
Having a c-section is probably the weirdest experience I have ever had. I was splayed out on the operating table for the world to see while the afore-mentioned anesthesiologist gave me even stronger drugs to make sure I wouldn’t feel a thing. I should have seen this coming because the epidural made me so loopy, but the second round of anesthesia hit me hard. Michael is probably the most squeamish person on earth and I knew he was kind of freaking out about what was going on on the other side of the drapes, so I tried to stay awake to talk to him and keep his mind off of it but I just could not. I was really knocked out. The few moments when I wasn’t asleep felt like a really weird dream.
All of a sudden (and I am so glad I was able to open my eyes for this), there was a slimy, screaming baby being held above the drapes. That was the most surreal moment of my life. Surreal because of the drugs and surreal because I was seeing my baby for the first time. That is one thing that I wish I could change about my birth story. Seeing my baby for the first time is a pretty hazy memory. And I may or may not have started sobbing the moment I realized what I was seeing…
Mister James, not terribly thrilled to be outside of me. I guess he was just suffering from a classic case of Buster Bluth Syndrome…
Another thing that makes me a little sad looking back is that I didn’t get to hold him right after he was born. But I do love that Michael was the first person to hold him🙂 I just know those two are going to be such great pals.
I love these two boys so much.
One thing I will remember for the rest of my life was the moment Michael held James’ little face up to mine for the first time. Our faces were about six inches apart and he just calmly and curiously looked into my eyes and examined my face. It only lasted for a few seconds but I felt like he was looking into my soul. That moment made everything worth it. The failed inductions, the hours of contractions that didn’t lead anywhere, the haze of the epidural, and finally having a c-section. None of it mattered anymore.
Even though I wasn’t the first (or second) person to hold my sweet little guy, I finally did get to hold him🙂
Maybe I should have held out for longer before I got the epidural and maybe I should have waited before agreeing to the c-section, but I was exhausted (more mentally and emotionally) from hours of unproductive labor. I also could not stop thinking about women in my situation around the world who do not have the ability to go to a hospital for delivery. Or women who had this problem before medicine was equipped to handle it. Looking back, my labor did not follow my birth plan at all. In fact, literally everything I wanted didn’t work out. But I feel so incredibly blessed.
I have a happy, healthy little boy who just melts my heart every day (but not so much at night… he doesn’t exactly sleep at night).
I am alive. Thanks to modern medicine.
I have probably the sweetest husband on earth who was so supportive during pregnancy and labor and is becoming quite a great dad. That has probably been my favorite thing to watch.
And with that 2,000 word post, I will leave you for today. More coming later, there has been a lot going on in the past few weeks (including, but not limited to, a call to the paramedics, 24 hours spend under light therapy, and a baby who has peed in his own mouth multiple times).
In the meantime, here are some pictures of the little monster🙂
We were relieved to learn that his lungs are incredibly healthy.
Coming home! There should really be a more open and honest discussion about the bloating effects of IV fluid… Just so you know, I have lost 15 lbs. since this picture was taken less than 2 weeks ago.
I have the cutest baby in the world. True story.
Mister James, post-bath. His right eye is a little stubborn and likes to stay closed…
We just love this little boy🙂