Aright, everyone! Ashley here! Following Kailly yesterday, I am going to share the story of when Baby C was born. :) My pregnancy was a difficult one, and was labeled high risk due to my POTS and EDS, and I was followed by a specialist (a few, in fact) throughout my whole pregnancy. We also took Bradley Method classes with our Doula. For those of you who don't know what the Bradley Method is, it's a method of helping couples approach and attempt natural child birth. I had decided I didn't want an epidural for several reasons, but one being that a side effect is lowering blood pressure. As someone with consistently very low blood pressure, I saw how this could potentially cause me harm or make things difficult. But I'll get to that. Anyway... Here's my story:
Well, my due date was Sunday, the 9th of December. But it came and went and nothing happened. I was just trying really hard to stay patient, as I was miserable. So I continued with walking and birthing exercises and anything else I could think of. Monday, the 10th was a long day, but I tried to just take it in stride. All day long, I was having contractions every few hours. Nothing too intense, but they did start to get closer and closer together. By about 6:00 pm, my contractions were definitely stronger and were about 15 minutes apart, lasting about 1 minute long. So we called our Doula and she was on her way! MH and I continued our routine, eating dinner and then I took a bath. My contractions continued, getting stronger and stronger and closer and closer. Unfortunately, my Doula was 3 hours away, visiting family. So we knew it was gonna take her a while, because she also had her little boy with her. She said she was going to take him home and then be on her way on her own. Apparently, that's when MH called to tell her that my contractions were stronger, about a minute long, and 7-9 minutes apart. So... She headed straight to our house instead. She finally got there at right about midnight... Just in time for my labor and contractions to stop completely. We were so frustrated! I woke up several times throughout the night with contractions, which was even more frustrating, because they were so spaced out, yet I was getting very little sleep. But I had a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning, and MH decided to go with me, just in case.
So, the morning of the 11th, we grabbed all of our bags and things for labor and delivery, just in case. It was a good thing! At my appointment, my OB said I had made zero progress! I was so frustrated and just didn't understand. However, I was just DONE and my OB mentioned my blood pressure being very low and suggested induction. And I agreed. So she sent us right over to the hospital and we called family to let them know, and I was admitted at 10:00 am. The biggest problem, was that I was not dilated at all, so I needed to be given meds to help start thing. (This was SO not the natural birth I wanted!) Anyway, I was given three doses of meds, as well as antibiotics since I was positive for GBS. I contracted on and off throughout the day and tried to get around on my feet as much as I could, to help things progress. Still, by bed time, I was only 1cm. However, I was 90% effaced. That was a little more encouraging. I was given something to sleep, and crashed out for a few hours from about midnight until 5:00 am, when I was woken to take a shower and then start pitocin.
The contractions with pitocin started to get intense pretty quickly. Or at least, that's how I remember it. I continued on with my plan for a natural birth and used the Bradley method for pain management and relaxation through contractions. I was so determined to get baby C here no matter what it took! Our doula was great and so was MH! They took turns supporting me physically and encouraging me, as did my parents, since they arrived as soon as they could that first day. As things continued throughout the day, I felt very in control and utilized all of the techniques I could think of. Eventually, I started to use low moaning - and when breakthrough pain was starting to hit, a sort of exorcist growling - to get through contractions. So I was checked again, and I remained at 1 cm, with 90% effacement. This was at about 7:00ish, I wanna say.
I had been laboring (total) for about 49 hours by this point. My doc suggested that breaking my water was the best idea at the time, because if I didn't deliver before midnight, I would need an emergency c-section. I consented, and the contractions immediately intensified. I was desperate and exhausted and asked to speak with MH in private. I wanted something for pain. But I still did not want an epidural. We had a "code phrase" if I was serious about pain relief. It was "banana pancakes". So... I told MH, "I think I need banana pancakes... But I don't want an epidural!!!" I was terrified of getting one. Our nurse came in and discussed using Fentanyl or Nubain, but then found out that the Nubain was out of stock completely for the hospital, so if I wanted IV pain meds, my only option was the Fentanyl. I agreed. It set in and I felt more relaxed. Unfortunately, it only lasted about 20 minutes, when my contractions got even worse. I couldn't do it anymore... I was starting to hyperventilate through contractions, despite my best efforts. My nurse said I could get more fentanyl, but it was gonna wear off again, and probably too soon. I said "I want an epidural", after being reminded by my doula of all the risks and talking seriously with MH. They both agreed that it was my decision completely. The anesthesiologist showed up 30 minutes later to administer the epidural, and I had started shaking uncontrollably as I had already hit transition. My nurse had to stretch me to 3cm and I had dilated to 3.5... Not much and still 90% effaced. My body just wasn't doing what it needed to and I couldn't relax anymore. The anesthesiologist gave me the lidocaine, which he said was the worst part of it all, but compared to my contractions, I couldn't see how it could be considered painful at all. He hooked me up and he was SPEEDY! Within three more contractions, I was starting to feel much better, except for a spot in my hip and groin on the left. The nurse tried pushing the button to administer more of the meds, but nothin'. So the anesthesiologist came and gave me some more lidocaine in my IV. In about 5 minutes, the numbness was even and I felt incredible! But he noticed that my blood pressure was low. REALLY low... 93/30! Everyone kept asking me if I felt alright. Other than feeling a little nauseous and tired, I remember feeling pretty fantastic! Haha! I breathed through contractions, but all I felt was cramping in my butt! :) after 2 more hours of laboring, my doc came to check me and was shocked to find me at nine! She was so shocked, in fact, that she had my nurse check me too! Lol my nurse agreed and said that I was 100% effaced! I was thrilled!!! So... We called all of our family so they could come back to the hospital, since they had all left to get some rest. My nurse immediately got me ready to push and in twenty minutes I was fully dilated and effaced and completely ready to push. We did some practice pushing with our nurse and I was told that I had excellent control! My doc showed up just in time to deliver C. It was odd, because at this time, my contractions actually slowed and I was shaking even worse than before and felt like I was going to vomit! Anyway... I pushed for about an hour and had C out in about 6 pushes. I watched the whole thing in the mirror and felt his head when he started to crown, and it was amazing! As soon as he was out, MH and I both started crying tears of joy. C's cord was super short though, so he couldn't be put on my belly until MH cut the cord. He cut it and my little man was put right on my belly! C certainly had a good set of lungs and he screamed right away and made it know that he does not like being messed with! After almost 54 hours of laboring, he was born on 12/12/12 at 10:54 pm and weighed 6lbs 8oz, measuring 20 inches long.
Because C was born so late at night, we were kept until Friday morning, when we FINALLY got to go home! :) It was the longest, most amazing week of my life!
^My favorite before and after "bump" photos! ;)