If you’re interested in finding out how Emmett came into the world, grab a snack and make yourself comfy. It’s a long story…
On Thursday, August 12th at 3pm, we checked into the hospital to be induced. Emmet was five days past his due date and we’d had two doctor recommendations that we induce due to my increasing blood pressure. His time had come. As we settled into the room where our baby would be born, our nerves were actually calming down a bit and we were starting to get excited about meeting our boy.
Our first nurse was really nice; she loved the new iphone 4 as much as Chris does so they chatted tech while she tried to get my IV going. My veins do not like to be punctured, they always put up a fight and I always end up so bruised I look like a junkie. The first IV attempt didn’t go so well, fortunately the second one took and we were in business.
At 4 pm they started the Cervidil, which is a little tampon like thing that they stick up on your cervix with the hope that it will dilate you enough so they can start with Pitocin, which is when the real fun begins. The Cervidil is typically inserted for 12 hours and then they check to see if you’ve dilated. Apparently it is not uncommon to have to repeat the process a second time to get things going. Chris and I prepared ourselves for an uneventful night and started to watch a movie.
A few hours in, I got up to use the restroom and when I got back in bed, the baby’s heartbeat dropped from the 130’s to 50. The nurse came in looking a little concerned and had me roll from side to side to try and get it to come back up, which it did after a minute. We tried not to worry, but when the same thing happened about an hour later, this time two nurses came in looking much more concerned. The Cervidil was working too well and was not only was it giving me fairly strong contractions, it had also kick started my body into labor and I was having my own contractions. I had gone from no signs of labor to back-to-back contractions and 2-3 cm dilated. The nurses decided that after only 6 hours of Cervidil, it needed to come out STAT. Without getting too graphic or sharing too much of my anatomy with the entire world, the nurse had a hard time reaching up and getting the Cervidil out, so it was VERY painful for me. I was already crying because I was terrified that something was wrong with the baby, but now I was actually yelping in pain as she tried to quickly remove the medicine from inside me.
She finally got it out and after a minute his heartbeat came back up again. We were all shaken and on high alert, trying to figure out why this was happening and if he was going to be ok. I was only around 3 cm by this point so we still had a ways to go and the fact that he was already stressed was not a good sign. About an hour later, I had to pee again. Since all had been well for a while, the nurse reluctantly let me go. I walked to the bathroom and nothing happened, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Then I got back into bed and his heartbeat went down a third time. Again the nurses looked anxious, I was crying and Chris was holding my hand trying to stay calm for all of us. Like both times before, eventually it came back up, but it was now decided that I was not allowed out of bed for the remainder of my labor because for whatever reason, the baby really did not like it.
By this time my contractions were getting more and more painful and the nurse started talking to us about pain management. I really didn’t want to get an epidural this early on so I was reluctant to go down that path. The other option was an IV drug that starts with the letter F (for the life of me I can’t remember the name…), this would allow me to relax and ease the pain. The nurses were concerned that I was now so stressed out and not as able to deal with the contractions that this could cause further stress on the baby. We decided to take the F drug so I could relax and consider the epidural later.
The nurse left but came back without any drugs. She’d discussed with the other nurses and because Emmett’s heartbeat kept dropping, they thought it was a bad idea to give me something that would make him sleepy. If it went down again, he needed to be alert so my only option for any pain medication was an epidural. I have nothing against epidurals, but I had hoped to get a little farther along on my own. And then there’s the fact that anything going into my spine scares the bejeezus out of me and I almost would rather deal with the pain of contractions than have someone poking around back there. In between contractions I was fine and felt ridiculous for even considering an epidural, but then another contraction would come and I would change my mind. I didn’t know what to do, on the one hand I was in pain and wanted something, on the other I wanted to wait and I was terrified of the epidural.
I finally just asked Chris to make the decision for me, but he couldn’t so he called our doula (who up until this point was at home because we all thought we had plenty of time till any action started) and asked her what she thought we should do. She said it sounded like a good idea if I went ahead with the epidural because I was so stressed out and that she was going to come to the hospital to be with us. I was so relieved to have someone make that decision for me.
Wendy arrived soon after and it was such a comfort to have her there. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait long at all for the anesthesiologist to arrive with his magic needles and tubes. He was very nice and although I was still scared he made me feel a little better. A nurse, Chris, and Wendy all held my hands, petted me, and talked to me as he gave me the stingy numbing shot. Then he started with the epidural. Fail #1. More numbing shots. Ouchie!! Fail #2. Seriously?? Why of all people is this happening to me? The person more scared of an epidural than of labor pain! More numbing shots, more crying. I came thisclose, THIS CLOSE, to calling the whole thing off and saying, “Never mind, I’ll just deal with the contractions on my own thank you very much”. Luckily, the third attempt worked.
Once that was over with, I was very happy with my decision. Everyone in the room was laughing at how much my mood had changed. No more painful contractions, I could finally relax a little. What was really nice is that I wasn’t as numb as I thought I would be. I was under the impression that everything tummy down was dead to the world, but I could feel my feet and even move my legs a little, I just couldn’t feel the contractions. My right leg eventually did become a dead weight and had to be moved by others, but it wasn’t that bad.
By this time I’d made it to 4 cm but my contractions were no longer consistent. They would come every 2 minutes, then every 4 minutes, etc. So we decided to start a little Pitocin help move things along. I’m not sure how much time passed, but nothing was happening and there was concern that laboring too long could stress the baby out and his heart rate would drop again. My doctor came in and told me that they were going to break my water and give me 2 hours to progress. If things were not moving along, we’d have to get the baby out “one way or another”.
This is what I had feared most of all, the dreaded C word. Shit, crap and everything else.
My doctor broke my water and we all crossed our fingers. Not long after I started to have a pain in my left side that didn’t go away. The nurse said it was probably the baby pushing on a nerve. It hurt like crazy, and keep in mind, this is with an epidural. Then I started to have real contractions on top of the side pain and I was like, “Excuse me, I went through a lot to get this mother effing epidural and now it’s not even going to work when I need it?? I demand a refund!” Then the real fun began, I started to shake uncontrollably and threw up. After all I’d been through this had me completely freaking out because I had no idea what was going on. Then they checked me; I had gone from 4 to 9.5 cm in 1 hour!
Hurray, we were going to have this baby after all! No c-section!! Everyone celebrated and cheered. By this time the pain was subsiding a little and we were all gearing up for some pushing and for this baby to be born.
I was all ready to go, feet up in the stirrups and gearing up to push, when my doctor mentioned that I was on the small side and asked my permission to perform an episiotomy to help make room for the baby to come out. I agreed, and waited for the pinch of the numbing medicine but never felt it. Apparently she had decided to let me push awhile and see how it went. From this point on I knew that it was going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to deliver this baby on my own.
My right leg was completely numb, so my doula and Chris had to lift it and pull it back every time I had a contraction. I could feel enough of what was going on to know how and when to push, and the nurses said I was doing a great job. Still, after two hours there was not much progression. They could see his head coming out but only barely. My doctor told us his head was not coming straight out, but at a slight angle, and not only that, but the bony part of his head was hitting a bony part of me, making it even more difficult.
To make matters even worse, after every few contractions his heart rate would start to drop and I’d have to stop pushing for a few minutes to let him rest. Finally my doctor told me I had 2 pushes left. I had 2 pushes to make some progress and get this baby out or we’d have to have a c-section. I pushed with every ounce of strength in my body. I tried so hard, for my baby and for me, but it wasn’t enough. After the second push my doctor came to my side and held my hand. She told me that I’d done a really good job, but the baby was stressed and needed to come out now.
All I remember is feeling totally defeated. After over 20 hours of labor I was still going to have to have a c-section. I started sobbing then and there. I had tried SO HARD, I gave it everything I had. I knew that it was the right decision to make, nothing was more important that getting Emmett out safe and sound, but it was still a blow and I was really upset.
After that everything happened very quickly. Chris put on his scrubs, another anesthesiologist came in, stopped the epidural and started my spinal. I was wheeled over to the operating room to be prepped and Chris would come join me later. They started the surgery pretty quickly, before Chris was even in the room and I remember worrying that he was going to miss it. After all the physical and emotional stress I was completely exhausted, so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open. I kept getting irritated with myself because here I am about to give birth to my first-born and I’m falling asleep! After what seemed like hours, we finally heard him cry. Chris ran over to go see him and came back a minute later with pictures of our tiny 6 pound 8 ounce baby boy and then shortly after they brought him over to me, a little face bundled up in pink and blue hospital blankets. I wanted to kiss him but I couldn’t reach, all I got was a picture of me smiling next to him and then he was off to the nursery with Chris while I got stitched up.
This is where things become a total blur. I had to ask Chris several days later to tell me what happened so I could fill in the blanks. I dozed off while they put me back together and woke up feeling some pain in my abdomen so the anesthesiologist gave me more pain medication. I remember crying a little because it still hurt, so he gave me even more pain meds. I later learned that my c-section had not been routine and had taken much longer than normal, which is why I started to feel pain and needed more meds. Because I had been in labor and pushed for so long, the baby was low down in my pelvis and this made the surgery more complicated. It took longer to get him out and I lost a lot of blood during the c-section.
Finally it was over and I was wheeled out to recovery, where I stayed for the next 2 hours or so being monitored by the anesthesiologist and a nurse. They were concerned because I’d lost so much blood, so I had to be monitored for a long time. My doula met me there (Chris was still in the nursery with Emmett) and held my hand the entire time. I started shaking again and was given something to make it stop. After awhile Chris started to worry about me and came over to check on me. He showed me more pictures of Emmett, but it still didn’t really click that he was my baby. I hadn’t even touched him yet.
Once they were confident that I had stabilized and was doing well, Chris was allowed to wheel Emmett over in his little plastic bassinet and I got to hold him for the first time. As soon as they put him in my arms, nothing else mattered. Not all the worrying and stress, the pain, the disappointment of having to have a c-section, none of it mattered. He was finally here and he was perfect in every way. What more could I ask for?