September 20th was the best day! I want to remember as many details of this day for as long as possible. So today I’m sharing ours. This is a post about child birth, so it might be a bit graphic and personal. There are some things you just can’t get around no matter how hard you try. Here’s Jack’s birthday story . . .
Pregnancy was fairly easy for me. I was healthier than I have been in my entire life. I have been known to exaggerate. I’m not when I say that. So when at 34 weeks (beginning of September), my feet and legs which had not swollen my entire pregnancy grew larger and larger, my blood pressure went up and up, and every week the doctors checked my urine for infections because of the protein levels – we knew something was up.
At 38 weeks, I spent the entire weekend trying everything I could to dilate past 2 or get my blood pressure down. Guzzling water, walking miles, bouncing on the birth ball, eating spicy foods . . . turns out I love hot sauce. But nothing worked. So on Monday, September 19th they hooked me up to the monitors to check Jack’s movement and see if I had contractions. The nurse practitioner asked us if she could use it to show interns because it was EXACTLY what they hope for she said.
I was only a week away from my due date. Jack was perfectly healthy. There was obviously something up with me. So the doctors recommended I be induced. The risk of inducing outweighed the risk of waiting since things could change quickly. I had known this would happen if I didn’t get my blood pressure to go down over the weekend. I really wanted to do this naturally and when my body was ready to do it. In the end, I knew my anxiety and worry over the baby would only make the blood pressure worse over the next week.
So at 8pm they inserted a catheter to get to 5 cm as naturally as possible. It was uncomfortable. But nothing I couldn’t handle. Our nurse Debbie was from Indiana! I felt completely at ease. I decided that gravity would help move things along so I stood up and walked around for awhile. Then began the worst two hours of the entire thing. It hurt so bad I couldn’t stand up straight, I started to throw up, I got delirious and was dizzy, my knees would buckle. I’d catch my breath and 2 minutes later it’d be back. Bending over or laying down helped, but I was still dizzy.
I’ve had kidney stones twice which they say are worse than having a baby. I’d say it’s basically the same thing. They gave me a dose of stadol sometime around midnight. This is the part that I’m not sure I’m happy I did. I don’t know how I would have made it or what would have happened, but I was really groggy until about 7am the next morning. I don’t remember much of what happened, and a lot of what I do remember felt like I was drunk. At least when I woke up I was well rested.
Around 7am, I needed to use the restroom badly. The catheter fell out easily as I walked to the bathroom. I started to feel so much better! This is also when the doctors and nurses switched for the day, and my favorite doctor came in! The nurse with him kept mentioning that based on how big my belly was I either had a big baby or a lot of fluid and we needed to break my water. Dr. Bigay (pronounced big guy) agreed we should break my water, but assured me it was not a big baby. He was absolutely right – as he usually was during my pregnancy. I could see the surprise in his face at the amount of water. It felt like I was sitting in a bath.
The contractions came soon after, but they were manageable. I was debating getting the epidural or going back to as natural as possible. The very helpful nurse kept commenting that I was about to lose my mind now that my water was broken. Those were her exact words. I also remembered the pain from the night before so we scheduled the epidural for 9 am. It didn’t hurt much at all, honestly.
For the next 3 to 4 hours, my husband and I watched HGTV. Then the contractions started to come back. It felt like I had to poop mixed with sharp pain in my lady bits. So I called Natalie – our new nurse – in, I was only at a 6. But she showed me a button I could push to get more epidural meds that I had somehow missed. I pushed it twice while she checked some charts, helped me through a couple contractions, and then went to get the anesthesiologist to see what was wrong since pushing the button wasn’t really helping.
The anesthesiologist was in surgery so we had to wait. But during that half hour the contractions just kept getting worse. I moved from side to side, pulled on Scott’s hand, pushed on the bed with my other hand, and moaned through them as best I could. It just kept getting worse and worse. It got to the point where I couldn’t not push so Natalie checked me again. The pain was as bad as the night before except I didn’t have to throw up this time. While we had waited I was almost at a 9. Dr. Bigay came in and said ‘let’s push and see what happens’.
I had my husband put our playlist on. Then I started pushing! There were 3 other women getting ready to have babies at any minute. One of the others was also Dr. Bigay’s patient. I was the only one who hadn’t had a child before. Dr. Bigay kept going back and forth between the rooms, and after his 2nd visit – I think I was pretty delirious at this point – He said I was making really good progress I just needed to stop pushing with my face. Then he and Natalie started whispering to each other. I knew something was going on, but I was in so.much.pain. There was no way I had any pain meds I thought to myself. I couldn’t hear the music, I heard my husband encouraging me and I’d catch a few more tips from Dr. Bigay and Natalie. Mostly I foolishly focused on the pain.
I didn’t think I could do it and I started telling everyone. Between contractions and pushes, I was bawling my eyes out. Scott says I was getting delirious. At some point they gave me oxygen. I didn’t think it helped, but Scott said it was pretty obviously helping to everyone else. I found out later that I was making progress much faster than they expected. The pain I was in also made them aware that the epidural was not working properly. The whispering was because there was a good chance Dr. Bigay wouldn’t be in the room when Jack came out since his other patient had also started pushing.
Then Scott told me for the 400th time I could do this and I politely (not at all) told him to stop talking, Natalie told me to stop crying- it would make it worse- and I wanted to punch her, Dr. Bigay told me to push on his (the doctors) fingers, and like magic ‘push it’ came on my playlist. Then I realized those weren’t fingers he was telling me to push. The pain ended up being my savior. I could feel everything if I just focused on that. So I pushed incredibly hard for as long as I could. I wish I could say I was thinking of meeting my boy, but I was just thinking if I pushed hard the pain would go away. After those 3 pushes, I started to come to and thought to myself ‘head is out 3 more times and this is over.’
I obviously didn’t act like it, but my husband had been my rock the entire time. Just knowing he was there, hearing him in the background, and noticing occasionally he was doing all the things we had talked about – like putting peppermint oil under my nose to keep me from getting nauseous again. So I looked to him for a little more encouragement, and the look on his face told me Jack was here. Shocked, I looked down right as Jack was placed on my chest.
I immediately went into high mom mode and all those thoughts of pain went out the window. I started getting my hospital gown off my chest and the towel off Jack so we could be skin to skin – I realized at that point the birth plan I had written was never given to the nurses ha! Then I pulled Scott’s hand over so we could both cuddle our boy. As soon as Scott spoke to him, he craned his little neck looking for that voice he knew so well!
A few minutes later, I started to feel all the movement from the doctor finishing things up. I mentioned I felt pain and was pretty sure the epidural wasn’t working – and the nurses agreed with me. I didn’t want anymore meds so I let them take Jack to weigh him and all while I just pushed through the end of it. Scott went with him and was sure I heard everything that was happening. In what felt like no time, he was back on my chest and I was ordering a cheeseburger! That’s where we spent the next couple hours before we moved to our post partum room.
To be honest, our birth went about as I expected it to go. Scott and I had prepared for a natural birth as much as possible, and I think that helped me have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby boy. But since I have experienced kidney stones and I read a lot of birth stories, I always knew in the back of my mind it wouldn’t be completely natural. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m happy with our story. I listened to my body, I knew God was always in our corner through the whole thing, and in the end we got what we wanted – Jack William 🙂