This is a birth story... therefore, there will be talk of dilation, fluids, and poop. I make no apologies for sharing the way my son was brought into the world, so this is your fair warning. Also? I am long winded by nature, and this is not a shortened version of that 17 hours. enjoy!
I had been experiencing contractions for a few weeks, but they hadn’t yet been regular or painful by any means… still very sporadic. I went to my 39 week appointment on Wednesday (August 22nd) and discovered that I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced, which was substantial progress from my check a week earlier. Like the previous weeks, he was still sitting extremely low as well. Due to my consistently high blood pressure, my doctor decided that she did not want me going far past my due date. She scheduled me for an induction on Wednesday, August 29th… which would give Ronin exactly a week to make his move.
We finished up the work week like normal, but by Saturday (August 25th), my contractions had slowed down to a dead end. I hadn’t had a contraction since Friday afternoon – I was convinced that this kid was just NOT coming out on his own and I’d end up having to be induced on Wednesday. I decided that I might as well take advantage of the day and ventured out for a manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow wax. I joked in the nail salon that an extended and intense foot massage might just send me into labor, and that I’d even pay extra for it. HA! I also went to GNC and picked up some Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap, which was recommended to me to help with the itching from PUPPPS.
I got home in the late afternoon and lounged around the house until it was dinner time. We ate some shells & cheese and chicken tenders and watched some TV for a while. All of a sudden, I felt a contraction – FINALLY! The pressure continued for a little bit and then subsided, only to return a few minutes later. I let this go on for about 30 minutes before deciding that I should start timing them. At around 9:00, they were 6-7 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds long. I decided to get up and do some cleaning in hopes that they would continue and increase in strength… I was worried that they’d stop if I stopped moving. At around 10:00, Sean was starting to get a little worried, as the contractions were now getting harder to talk through. They were coming regularly and getting stronger, so I figured I’d get up and take a shower and pack some last minute items into the hospital bag.
We left for the hospital around 11:30 and I called my OB’s office on the way. The answering service paged the on-call doctor and she called me right away. As soon as I picked up the phone, I felt another contracting coming. She helped me breathe through it and when I told her that they were coming about 4-5 minutes apart, lasting a minute or so, and had been continuous for 3 hours, she gave me the go ahead to leave for the hospital (haha, too late, lady!). The car ride wasn’t too bad – I continued to contract, but I found that taking long, deep breaths really helped to work through them. I called my Aunt Susan (my mom’s sister) from the car and let her know that we were heading to the hospital, but that she shouldn’t leave the house until we know they will admit me. We arrived at the hospital and walked into labor and delivery right before midnight.
After I signed myself in and got all my bracelets, they set me up in triage with a monitor and blood pressure cuff as the nurse went through the laundry list of questions that they ask every time. This is when I handed over my birth plan to be placed in my file… which was not unreasonable by any means… just simple requests and preferences that I knew I’d forget had I not had them on paper. The nurse then checked my cervix – 4cm dilated. WOO! More progress (remember, I was sitting at 3cm only 3 days prior)! Unfortunately, the on-call doctor didn’t think it was impressive enough for me to be admitted, so she requested (via the nurse) that I walk the halls for an hour to see if I’d dilate any further.
Let me just say… that shit SUCKED. My contractions were coming even more quickly at this point and they were becoming unbearable. I could no longer talk through them and it was almost impossible to breathe through them without succumbing to tears. I was so angry that I had to walk around in a paper thin gown while stopping every 3-4 minutes to writhe in pain, despite the fact that 80% of the birthing rooms were vacant. I had a contraction bring me to actual tears while walking my last lap around the labor and delivery floor. We returned to our room in triage and were thankful to discover that I had progressed to about 4.5-5cm dilated – apparently that was enough for Dr. Lett to give me a room. HALLELUJAH!
Finally, at about 2:00AM, we were taken to our room. My Aunt Susan arrived around that time as well… she obviously decided not to wait until I was admitted to leave the house, haha. I was in extreme pain, both from the contractions AND the two back-to-back cervical exams (why doesn’t anyone ever talk about how painful these are?), and I was ready for some relief. I also knew that I had to try to sleep at some point if I wanted to have the energy to push this child out in a few hours. Needless to say, I asked for the anesthesiologist to come in and administer the epidural. I’m not sure how it is at other hospitals, but Sean was required to either sit in a chair right in front of me during the placement of the epidural, or he had to leave. He decided to take the latter option. I wasn’t nervous at all about the epidural, so it didn’t bother me one bit. The anesthesiologist came in around 3:00AM and I was sitting pretty and pain free in a matter of 20 minutes or so – I didn’t feel a thing and it took effect immediately (aka the perfect scenario possible). Sean’s parents had also arrived during this time.
The rest of the morning/day was a bit of a blur. Once the epidural took effect, a catheter was inserted to collect my urine, which of course, I didn’t feel at all. I wanted to try and sleep, but I didn’t have much luck. Because of the numbness of my lower half, I kept thinking that my foot was asleep. I would try to shake it out to “wake it up” only to discover that it was still tingly. Between Sean’s snoring, my blood pressure cuff tightening every 20 minutes, and the nurses/staff coming and going, sleep was just not in the cards for me.
My new nurse, Stacy, arrived in my room at about 6:15AM – she was early for the shift change, but wanted to come in and introduce herself to me. I loved her right away – she was telling me how she couldn’t believe I made it to 5cm before getting pain medication and that she was begging for it by 3cm with her last child… which was also her SEVENTH child. SEVEN children were birthed by this woman and she was complementing me on my strength. BFFs, folks. Anyway, she checked my cervix and I had only progressed to 6cm since having the epidural (3 hours ago). I should also mention how bizarre it was to have my vagina man-handled and to NOT FEEL ANYTHING. So weird. She said she’d call Dr. Lett and let her know, since she should be coming in soon anyway.
At that point, the family came back in to chit chat and hang out. I called my dad (I had called him on the way to the hospital also) to give him an update and he said he’d head up to the hospital in a little while. The on-call doctor, Dr. Lett (who is not my OB, but she rotates rounds with her) arrived around 7:30 and introduced herself and we chatted about how things had been going up until then. She performed a cervical check… I was STILL only at 6cm after relaxed laboring for 4.5 hours. Ronin’s head was completely flush against my cervix, which meant that breaking my water was not an option because she could harm him with the tool used. She suggested starting a Pitocin drip in order to increase the strength of the contractions and help dilate me more quickly. I gave her the A-okay and Pitocin was added to my IV at around 8:30AM (12th hour of labor).
To be honest, my labor was REALLY boring. I just sat in the bed and played on my phone, talked to several family members who were visiting, and keeping friends updated via text. Dr. Lett came in a few hours later (maybe 10:30AM) to check again. To my dismay, I had not progressed at all. However, Ronin had moved and his head was no longer against my cervix, so Dr. Lett made the decision to break my water. I didn’t feel the actual sac break, but I did feel the fluid leak out.
Once my water was broken, my contractions went into overdrive. They were so intense that I started to feel them again. I didn’t know if the epidural was wearing off or if it just wasn’t strong enough. Either way, I was beginning to feel pain and I did not want that. Sean called for Stacy, who then rang in to the new anesthesiologist who was on shift to up the meds or give me something else entirely. She administered Fentanyl through the epidural port and it was heavenly. I don’t know what medicine I had through there before, but this shit was amazing. I was finally able to get about an hour of sleep after that.
Dr. Lett came back into the room at around 12:00 to check again and HALLELUJAH, I was at 9.5cm! Thirty minutes later, I was fully dilated to 10cm. I had a little bit of a freak out moment at that point… I was going to finally meet my son after taking care of him inside of me for 9 long months. I knew I was ready, and the thought of seeing his sweet face brought me to tears. It was just so surreal that we were going to be parents.
The doctor raised the bed and propped my legs up so that we could try a few practice pushes. Stacy was holding my left leg and another nurse was called in to hold my right leg. Sean counted to 10 during each push and encouraged me the whole time. After the third or so push, she told me to stop pushing because she could see his head starting to come down and she had yet to set up her table with the tools she needed and whatnot. She also noticed that my fluid had changed color, which meant that Ronin had passed a bowel movement before making his exit. Yep, my kid pooped in me. It’s totally normal and happens all the time, but the NICU team would have to be called into the room to assess him just to make sure he didn’t ingest any of the fluid.
While the staff got ready for me to deliver, Sean and I just looked at each other and talked about how he was going to be here so soon. The doctor rolled out a table with various tools and put on her mask and scrubs. She told me to let her know when/if I was feeling a contraction and she’d have me push. I glanced at the clock… it was 12:45PM. I was feeling a contraction coming (just the pressure, not the pain) and they told me to go ahead and starting pushing. I pushed three times per contraction, and was administered oxygen through a mask between contractions. After only 45 minutes of pushing (about 6-7 contractions), Ronin Robert made his way into the world. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life, and as soon as he emerged, I lost it… sobbed like… well, like a baby. I looked up to see that Sean was crying too.
The NICU team took Ronin right away to the little newborn set up in the room. I cried listening to his cry and I remember telling Sean it was the best thing my ears had ever heard. They only had him for 2 minutes before letting me know that he was absolutely perfect. They called Sean over to cut the cord and then brought him over to me all bundled up. They were right… he WAS perfect, and easily the most beautiful little being I had ever laid eyes on. He made eye contact with me right away and was so alert for just having been born. Although I had never met him before that moment, he was familiar to me… like I had known him my whole life. It was love, instantly.
As for the dirty details, there aren’t many. I sustained a natural 2nd degree tear, and I barely felt it when the doctor stitched me up. While she was working on my repair, I asked the important question: “did I poop?” And thank the baby jesus, I did not (note: pooping while pushing a baby out of your vagina is really common, but I didn’t want to be one of those people for any other reason than knowing my big mouth husband would tell the entire world). I didn’t feel much during afterbirth either. All in all, I had a breezy labor experience, and although the pain of healing has been less than desirable, I’d do it again in a heartbeat to have this tiny human. He is the love of my life.
|our last photo as a family of two - taken about 5 minutes before push time!|
|love at first sight, for real.|
|our little seal.|