Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Norah's Birth Story: Part 1

(Part 2)

Norah’s birth story will probably end up being the longest, hardest to write post I’ve ever shared here, so I think I’m going to break it up into two (still super long) parts. I don’t want to overwhelm myself, and I want to make sure I include every detail possible. There might be a few TMI moments, but I was obsessed with reading other’s stories during my pregnancy, and I appreciated people who wrote with transparency. Hearing other’s experiences really helped me feel prepared. Even though honestly, nothing in this universe could have prepared me for what was to come.

 The last belly pic I have of myself. 40+ weeks. Almost 41!

I guess our story really starts at my 40 week OB appointment. I actually had this visit on a Thursday when I was 39 weeks and 6 days along. I’d made progress since my last visit, but was showing no signs of actually going into labor. At 39 weeks 6 days I was 3 centimeters dilated and 80%-90% effaced. My OB scheduled me to come back the following Monday when I'd be 40 weeks and 3 days to have an ultrasound, another non stress test, and schedule an induction date.

I made it through the weekend, and come Monday morning, was still very pregnant.

When Will and I got to my appointment on Monday afternoon, I was nervous and excited. I knew there was a possibility that I’d be sent right to the hospital from there to be induced. My NST (non stress test) results hadn’t been the best at the appointment on the previous Thursday mentioned above, and if the OB didn’t see as much movement as they liked this time around, I knew they’d send me to the hospital then and there to be induced. Scary, but I was also secretly hoping for this. Norah had other plans.

The ultrasound looked great and we found out baby weighed somewhere in the 7lb range. When we got to the NST, things were another story. It took the staff quite some time to get the baby to move and have the heart rate along with the movements that they wanted. We were this close to being sent for an induction, but at the end of the day it was determined I could wait until something could be scheduled, rather than just showing up and waiting for a room. It was a really popular week to deliver in Cincinnati and my doctor was afraid we’d end up just sitting in the waiting room for hours and hours. We took the next appt available, which was just about 3 days later, Thursday morning at 2:00am.

This was bitter sweet to me. So many feelings were going through my mind as we walked out of the OB’s office, I had to ask Will to give me a few minutes of silence to let it all sink in. I wanted to meet her ASAP. I was concerned about my NST results, even tough the doctors said they were ok. I was hopeful I’d deliver on my own before the appointment came along. My doctor said he wouldn’t be surprised if I did go into labor on my own before the induction, so overall I was just happy we’d be meeting our baby sooner rather than later.

I kind of already forget exactly what I was thinking those couple of days that we spent just waiting for the induction appointment to arrive. I expected to feel a huge wave of relief and excitement once we had something scheduled, but I just had an overwhelmed, almost negative feeling about the whole thing. Maybe I really did want to go into labor on my own? Maybe I was just scared about labor? I hadn’t allowed myself to fret over the actual pain of delivery much throughout my pregnancy, so I attributed most of the feelings to that.

The next 48 hours came and went. I felt a few Braxton Hicks contractions, but I knew I was more than likely going to end up delivering this baby after being induced that night. Wednesday when Will got home from work we relaxed, did a few things around the house, repacked our bags, and waited. He decided to take a nap and I tried to do the same, but I don’t think I was able to fall asleep for more than a few minutes.

Just before we had to leave for the hospital around 1:00am, my mom and sister arrived at our house from Chicago. I was so happy to have them in town to take care of the house and our dogs, it made the whole scenario a little less nerve wracking. During this time, since about 11:00pm, I started to feel what I thought were “real” contractions. Nothing painful like I expected. To me they just felt like my stomach was getting really really tight, like the baby was trying to bust out or had somehow just doubled in size. More uncomfortable than painful really. Turns out they were real, and that discomfort would turn to excruciating pain before I knew it.

The ride to the hospital was calm. There aren’t many drivers out at 1:00am on a week night, so we had a peaceful 20 minute or so ride. We pulled into the emergency entrance, unloaded our bags, and headed inside. I was so excited and nervous. A little in shock too.

Once inside we headed up to the maternity area, got checked in, and were back to our room within minutes. I will do my best to recount the rest of this in order, with times or how long it took included, but things start to get a bit hazy at this point.

After making it to our room I changed into my hospital gear, got hooked up to an IV to start fluids and antibiotics and tried to relax. I think all of this started happening at about 2:30am. Maybe a little later. I’d brought my DSLR camera, so I had Will take a few pictures of me and the room. Being the middle of the night, it was pitch black outside. We had a big window to look out of, and it was actually pretty peaceful. The hospital I delivered at has very nice labor rooms, and besides the medical equipment, it felt kind of like a hotel.

Around 3:00am or 3:30am the nurse came in to tell me they’d be breaking my water and starting Pitocin soon. I was terrified of both of these things, especially the Pitocin. I knew it was “necessary”, but was terrified none the less. Also around this time the anesthesiologist came by to talk to me about an epidural. He said I could get it whenever I wanted, but warned that many first time moms experienced slow labors, so I should to be cautious not to get it too early as there was a risk it could wear off before I got to actually pushing.

A few things here. 1) My contractions were getting intense at this point. Not unbearable, but they hurt like hell. I thought about asking for the epidural right then, planned on it, and in retrospect- I totally should have requested it at this moment. Unfortunately I was scared by his warning, and I assumed I had plenty of time, so I decided to try and hold out at least another hour. 2) I was still just 3 centimeters dilated. Or so we thought. I hadn’t been checked since I’d arrived an hour or so before, but no one thought much would change in an hour. 3) I honestly believe if they wouldn’t have broken my water or given me any Pitocin, I would have still had my baby then and there. I could just feel myself going into labor before the induction process started. I almost asked them to turn off the Pitocin because I could feel my natural contractions intensifying, but shit hit the fan before I got the chance.

Anyway, back to the events. The anesthesiologist left, Pitocin got started, and my water was broken (it felt similar to having my cervix checked). The gush of water was super weird and pretty disgusting and I am SO GLAD that didn’t happen to me at home/work/in public. There was A LOT of fluid and I probably would have freaked out. It was probably 3:30am-4:00am at this point, 2 hours into my labor, and I was FREAKING OUT. My contractions were coming closer and closer together, with very irregular spaces of time in between them, so I didn’t even know when to expect one. There was still the tightening feeling, but this time it was more like someone was wringing my insides out like a dishtowel. Imagine the worse period cramps times a billion, and the pain wrapped all the way around my abdomen (and huge belly) to my back. I put my hands on my belly and could feel how tight it was, and it really scared me that my baby was in there while all this craziness was happening.

I started to have issues breathing or talking through the contractions. Will really had to remind me to remain calm and remember to breath. I threw up around this time and that made me feel even worse. I couldn’t believe this was how horrific the pain was at a measly 3 centimeters (or what we thought was 3 centimeters). I started to panic at what they’d be like when I was 4-5 centimeters (when I planned to ask for the epidural). About 5 minutes after thinking “I’ll give it another hour”, I knew I couldn’t wait. I had the nurse call the anesthesiologist and I started praying for some relief.

Part 2 here.

Allison said...

Like you I enjoy reading other Mom's birth stories. Is it weird that your story makes me more excited for labor? Maybe it's just knowing that you have your baby afterward. Haha. Off to read part 2.

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