I've been dreaming about writing my birth story for the last 9 months and now that I sit here ready to document one of the greatest moments of my life, I struggle at remembering all the little details and describing the intense emotions I hoped to have in my story.
I woke up Tuesday, January 25th at 5am feeling like perhaps I had wet myself. I continued to have a leak and when Morgan woke up, I told him that my water may have broke, but that there is a chance that I was just peeing myself. I called my midwife asking for advice and she said to hang out awhile and that it was likely my membranes that had ruptured. She said that I should start feeling contractions sometime within 12 hours from the time they ruptured. She said if I needed to, I could come in to have them test my fluids to see if it was indeed my amniotic fluid or that I could wait it out and come in around 4pm, which was approx 12 hours from when my waters broke, to see if a) I was starting to have contractions and go into labor on my own or b) test my fluids if I was not in labor.
We sat around the house all day hoping that contractions would start on their own so that I would not have to be induced with Pitocin. In the sense that I was anxiously awaiting for contractions, time went by so slow that day.. but it also seemed like my time to go into labor was quickly passing me by. 330 pm came around and I wasn't having any worthwhile contractions so we finalized our bags and headed off to the hospital not knowing what to expect.
We went to the 4th floor which is the triage/high risk floor and we waited for Anne to come into the room. She came in and explained that there were a series of tests that she would do to determine whether my fluids were from my waters breaking. She started with a physical exam where she looked at my cervix to see if she could see any pooling and the testing basically stopped there. Just by looking, she knew that my waters had ruptured. All I could do at that point is take a deep breath. She did the other exams as well and they confirmed what she already knew - I was going to have a baby. I started crying and expressed my concern and worry to her that my birth plan and my vision of welcoming my son into this world was crushed. I was terrified of Pitocin and have read my fair share of horror stories on what being induced can do to your body and your overall labor experience. She talked me through my worries and said that all we can really do is wait and see how my body takes to the Pitocin.
We packed up our belongings and were taken to our room, room 513 and it hit me like a wall of brick. Holy crap, this was really happening, by the time I left that room, I would have a baby in my arms. We sat on the couch in the room and it was obvious that both Morgan and I were nervous and anxious for what was to come. Anne said that she wanted me to have some dinner before they started my Pitocin so I ordered some "room service" and ate some french toast, turkey sausage and strawberries.
I finished my dinner and we waited for Anne to finish delivering another baby before starting my Pitocin. I laid there in the bed anticipating what was to come for at least an hour before 7:25 hit when they started my Pitocin.
So, at 7:25 p.m. they started my Pitocin. We didn't have arrangements for pet care if I were to actually be in labor, so Morgan left to pick up our friend Timmy to take to our house to watch the animals. We figured that things would progress really slowly so it was no big deal to have him leave and come back. He got back to the hospital around 8:30 or 8:45 and I told him that I had only had a few minor contractions but that they just felt menstrual-like. By 9:30 p.m. I was in pain. I went to pee and sitting on the toilet hurt so bad. I came out and the nurse was in the room and she asked how I was doing and I told her that I was in pain and that it hurt. She told me that I couldn't say that yet and that this was nothing and kept telling me that if I wanted to go natural like I mentioned, this couldn't be hurting me yet. My hopes were crushed. I sat there in the rocking chair rocking through my contractions crying because I figured there was no way I was going to be able to handle the pain of REAL contractions if what I was feeling was nothing. The look on Morgan's face when she was telling me this was priceless. You could tell her how bad he wanted to tell her to shut up and leave because she was doing nothing but discouraging me.
From about 9:30 to 11:30 I sat in a rocking chair rocking vigorously while crying and breathing through my contractions eating orange Popsicles and drinking water. Morgan suggested that we try a couple different positions since I seemed to be in great discomfort while rocking. Other than standing and basically slow dancing with Morgan, no other position seemed to help.
Around 11:30, Anne suggested they check me for dilation and that we get into the bathtub to see how I like being in the water and if it relived some of the discomfort I was experiencing. Anne never did tell me how far dilated I was and in the moment I was thankful for that. I sat on the toilet while they filled up the bath tub and my contractions really kicked in and I was really starting to feel horrible pain.
So, around 11:30 p.m., I got into the bath tub and my first thought was that the contractions weren't nearly as bad as they were out of the water. This thought lasted through about 2-3 contractions, which were about 2 minutes apart. At this point, I really started to doubt that I was going to make it without medication. I breathed, screamed and cried through my contractions. Morgan sat by my side through the whole thing pouring warm water on me and holding a cold wash cloth on my forehead because I felt like I was overheating. My fingers started to tingle and go numb and I thought I was going to die. I started telling Morgan that I didn't think that I was going to be able to make it. Telling him that I didn't think I was going to be able to do it quickly turned into telling him that I was not going to be able to do it and that I just wanted to get the epidural. Morgan politely ignored my statements that I wanted the epidural in a way to push me through one contraction at a time.
Eventually, around 12:30 a.m., I told him that I do want the epidural and to go ask the nurse how far dilated I was. He went out and asked her and came back in and after a few contractions, I asked how far dilated I was. FOUR centimeters. Really? My world crashed. He said that I was 4cm, 100% effaced and at 0 station. After hearing that news, I told him that I really couldn't do it and to have them call in the epidural. He asked whether or not I was really sure and after I told him yes, he went out and they called in the anesthesiologist. Anne came into the room and talked to me and told me that it was my labor and that if I really want an epidural that she would support that but asked if she could check me again.. she told me to let her know when my contraction ended so she could check my progress. At that point, I couldn't tell whether or not my contractions were even ending as they felt on top of each other and I had no real break in between. While the pain during contractions was excruciating, I was still feeling a great amount of pain in between.
So, she checked me and said that I was at 7.5 cm. Now, that's some progress. In about an hour, I went from a 4 to 7.5. She told me that she wanted me to give her 10 more minutes to see if something happens and if after 10 minutes I really can't make it, she would tell the anesthesiologist, who was waiting in my room, that I was ready for the epidural. I snapped at her and told her that I was going to make no progress within 10 minutes. She insisted that 10 minutes would make a difference. Somehow, I found the strength in me to make it through 5-6 more contractions. She said she wanted to check me again and at that point I was a 9.5. So, that meant that I progressed a whole 2 cm within 10 minutes. At that point, she said that we were going to have the baby right there in the bath tub. Gulp.
Within minutes of her telling me that, I felt an incredible amount of pressure and told her that I needed to push. She felt confident that my body was ready for me to push. The pushing was horrible and I wondered if I was even going to be able to make it through. I remember thinking that I wished they would just take me out of the tub and do a c-section so I didn't have to worry about pushing him out. After just a few pushes she said that he was right there and that she could see his hair. My first question was whether or not he had red hair! When he started crowning, Morgan started crying and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that it was almost over.
I continued to push for 15 minutes and his body was in the water at 1:14 a.m. on January 26. He had his cord wrapped around his neck twice and just when I started to panic, the cord was released and his squirming and screaming warm body was laying on my chest. He opened his eyes within the first minute or two and remained alert throughout the rest of the labor. I will never forget how wide eyed he was and how his eyed moved around looking at everything around him - it was one of the most amazing moments of my life. All Morgan could do was cry and tell me how proud he was of me and thanked me for bringing me him into the world the way that I was able to.
I don't think I have ever been as proud of myself as I was the moment he was placed into my arms. While I give myself credit for what I was able to do, I know that without Morgan by my side, I wouldn't have been able to do it. As well, with Anne telling me to give her 10 more minutes, that gave me that last ounce of strength I had left to push and hang in there.
After his birth, we had to deliver the placenta. Anne told me that this was the easy part and it would be like pushing a piece of jello out. I had to get out of the water to deliver the placenta. I laid on the hospital bed with Lachlan in my arms while he made sucking motions (he was so ready to eat at only a couple minutes out) pushing to get the placenta out. After a few pushes, I realized that we were not making any progress. We keep trying and Anne eventually told me that I had a retained placenta and they were going to have to call in the chief physician to manually remove the placenta. They said that if they were unable to manually remove the placenta I would need to have a DNC (surgery) to remove it. With luck, they were able to manually remove the placenta. I will leave out the gorey details, but as Morgan explained it, they were savages, and that may be an understatement. The removal of the placenta was easily worse than any part of the labor and pushing.
More than anything, if we go through pregnancy and labor again, I will be most scared for delivering the placenta. While the agony and pain of labor was pretty horrendous, at being almost a month out and being as in love with Lachlan as I am, I've forgotten the intensity but feel as though I will never forget how I felt when they were removing the placenta.
When they got the placenta out, they were inspecting it (which I guess is normal) and Anne said that the placenta was very "tough" and small and it was likely a good thing that I had been taking baby aspirin throughout my pregnancy. She also said that it is likely the cause of all of my abnormal lab results as well. Who would've thought? Either way, I am glad that although my placenta seemed to be "defective" that it was able to provide life to my son for 39 weeks and 5 days.
While my pregnancy may have seemed rough and proved to provide some hurdles along the way; in the end I got what I wished for, a perfect and healthy baby boy. I've learned so much about my body, myself and Morgan throughout the last 10 months. I've put myself to the ultimate test and was able to succeed and persevere through one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. Miracles do happen and what a miracle Lachlan is.
See you soon.
No longer a mommy to be,