I’m finally feeling up to writing this story down before I forget everything!
We were told to call the hospital at 4pm on Oct. 1st to see if they had room to admit us. They told us to call back at 8pm, so we watched “Meet Joe Black”. At 8 pm, they told us they would have a bed ready at 10:30pm. We ate Chipotle, packed up the car, and headed up to the hospital.
Upon arrival, we were checked in and the doctor checked my cervix. I was 1cm dilated and 80% effaced. She recommended we use the foley balloon to dilate my cervix as far as it would go before falling out and she said we didn’t have to use misoprostal to soften the cervix since I was already 80% effaced. (I was so relieved to hear this as all three of my miscarriages were induced with misoprostal and I really didn’t want to use it during my birth. It just has such a bad connotation for me). The foley balloon was inserted and blown up at 12:30am, I was placed on the continuous fetal monitor, and the induction timer was started!
The nurse then attempted to put in a massive 18 gauge IV in my hand and she missed. It hurt, and I was surprised she missed as I have great veins. She called for back up. The next nurse had no problems. They drew labs and then my husband slept. I tried to sleep, but having a huge balloon in your vagina is quite uncomfortable and I was crampy. I was reassured that my baby sounded great on the fetal monitor throughout the night.
They checked my cervix again around 8am, and I think I was at 3cm, so it was doing its job. I had breakfast, and then we were moved over to an actual labor room. It was a huge room with a beautiful view of San Francisco, which shocked me because the room we saw on our tour was tiny and had a view of a roof. Such an amazing surprise. The doctor can back to check me again and the balloon had fallen out meaning my cervix was dilated to 5cm! They cut the balloon and a bunch of water poured out. I asked how much water they filled it with and they said 50ml!!! I’m so glad I didn’t ask that when they put it in. A foley balloon in the bladder is only filled with 10mls, for comparison.
I was allowed to have lunch and then they started the pitocin at 2pm. They started it off at the lowest rate and were suppose to increase it every 30 minutes to get the contractions about 1 min in length and 2-3 min apart. Well then change of shift happened and they didn’t go up for over an hour. The baby was tolerating labor very well thus far. I was also given the first dose of penicillin since I was GBS positive. The dose was to be every 4 hours until I delivered.
I think the next nurse made it to 4 before I was checked again around 5:30pm. Still at 5cm, ugh! And I was starting to feel quite a bit of pain with the contractions. Because of the IUGR and now the pitocin, I had to stay on the fetal monitor, so I could not move very far from bed. This made it quite difficult to move around during contractions. At this point I kept wavering between wanting an epidural to just wanting some IV fentanyl to take the edge off. But I was scared to do the IV meds because I was scared it would affect the baby, who had been handling labor like a champ so far.
Then my nurse came in and gave me the second dose of penicillin around 5:45pm. I have never felt so much pain in my life as she ran the medication in my IV. It was way worse than my contractions and I was crying so hard. I managed to look up at the IV pole and I realized she ran the medication “wide open”, which means as fast as it would go. It was suppose to be run over 1 hour. I was incredible angry she did that. This was the point I decided to get the epidural after a dose of fentanyl to take the edge off of the labor pains.
After the fentanyl around 6pm, I felt loopy but so much better! However, the pitocin was making me contract every 30sec-1min so they turned it back down to 1, and there it stayed for several hours. So there were several hours before they turned it back up and things started happening again. My husband feels like this contributed to the extra long induction.
Then the nurses changed again and I had a male nurse and his male student. I always thought this (male nurse and a student of either sex) would bother me but I actually thought it was so awesome to have a student. He was so excited and kind. They assisted the nurse anesthetist in the epidural placement and then put in my foley. This was done between 7-8pm. The two of them were fantastic and I was so grateful for their wonderful care.
The epidural was incredible and I was finally able to doze in and out of sleep. Funny how I always thought I would labor naturally, but this entire process of getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and making it through the pregnancy complications has taught me to just go with the flow. I cannot control everything, as much as I would like to.
I was checked again at 10pm, and STILL at 5cm. At this point, the resident decided to break my water to see if that helped move things along. Finally they got the pitocin back to 4. My husband then slept again and I dozed in and out of sleep for several hours. The night nurse was the one who successfully placed my IV and she was great! Around 12:30am, I heard the baby’s heart rate drop for the first time. She recovered on her own but it was super scary. Luckily she didn’t do it again.
The doctor came back to check me at 2am and I had finally progressed to 8cm! I was so excited! Unfortunately, at this point, I realized the epidural was working too well on the right side of my body. I literally had a right dead leg. I could kind of feel and kind of move. My husband woke up (really I woke him up) to massage the leg and try to get feeling back in it. We were not very successful.
I had another cervix check at 4am and I was at 10cm! But the baby was still at -1 station so the decision was made to turn up the pitocin to 6 and see if the baby would come down any further before pushing. With the pitocin increased again, I could actually feel my contractions on the right side, since my epidural was pretty one sided. It hurt but only like strong period cramps.
The doctor came back at 6am and re-checked to find that the baby was at 0 station. It was time to push. Her and the nurse coached me through some practice pushes. And then we got to work. Side note…right after the practice pushes, I got super nauseated and I threw up. This was my first and only barf the entire pregnancy.
Once again the doctors and nurses changes shifts and the new doctor wanted to get a quick ultrasound to check the position of the baby. It was then confirmed that she was “sunny side up”. Normally babies present with their face toward the mom’s behind. My little girl had her face toward my front. This causes it to be much harder to push the baby out as she will basically take two steps forward and one step back with each push. The resident who ordered the ultrasound wanted to try and turn her around. Apparently this can be quite painful. Thank goodness for great nurses as my nurse says no because I was doing a great job effectively pushing her down, it was just taking longer.
Honestly at this point the whole labor becomes a blur. I remember being able to feel each contraction start on my right side, and then I could palpate it on the left so I knew when to start pushing. I remember pushing in clusters of 4 (10 seconds each) instead of in clusters of 3. I remember there was another male nursing student who was in change of holding my dead right leg during pushing and my husband held the left one.
(An interesting aside: it was the nursing student’s first time witnessing a birth and he was so excited. I distinctly remember the first brith I saw when I was a nursing student and that beautiful memory is still with my today. So that was pretty cool.)
I remember running out of steam and my husband encouraging me to keep pushing because she was almost out. I also remember hearing the doctors saying they needed to call pediatrics for fetal heart rate in the 80’s. They gave me oxygen. At this point I started freaking out because I was so scared something bad was happening to her. I started crying and asking if she was ok, I vaguely remember more doctors and nurses coming in as I sat up to watch myself push her out.
She was a bluish color and then I started hysterically crying. And then she started screaming and they placed her on my stomach. My hysterics turned into repeating “my baby my baby” over and over again as I finally got to snuggle her as she kept crying. It was the most beautiful cry I’ve ever heard. I looked up at my husband, who was also crying. He got to cut the cord and we all just marveled at each other while the doctors finished up what they needed to do with me.
Toward the end of our skin-to-skin, she was able to latch for a short period of time before they weighed her and did her shots/meds. Then my husband snuggled her so I could eat!
All in all it was an extremely difficult labor for me as it was not how I imagined labor to proceed. However, I am so thankful to have had the experience of carrying my beautiful daughter and then giving birth to her. I wouldn’t change anything about the experience, as it is a wonderful part of our lives. I have never felt such love for anything in my entire life as I love my baby, and I didn’t think I could love my husband any more than I already did.