Since this is an infertility blog, I have been hesitant to write about my pregnancy but want to share my birth story for those who are interested in how this part of our story ended. We plan to have a second and will be doing (hopefully only 1) an FET in about a year. Once we are ready, I plan to resurrect the blog and continue chronicling our journey. For now though, here is our birth story:
Sorry for my long windedness. I am still processing everything and writing it all out was therapeutic. The short version: I had a long labor that stalled, even with Pitocin, they could not get me to dilate past 4.5 cm. Baby girl was in trouble and my cervix was swelling so I ended up with a scary emergency c-section and a beautiful little baby girl.
On Sunday 3/20, I started having contractions midday. Since I had been having clusters of contractions that would suddenly stop, since Thursday, I figured that was what was happening but then, by about 2:30, I noticed that they seemed to be getting stronger and started timing them. The pattern was a little weird; there would be 5 or 6 that were 12 minutes apart but then there would be one in there that was 30 minutes from the others and it went on like for a few hours. Around dinner time, they started coming every 10 minutes and were very consistent but weren’t getting closer together, even though they were getting stronger.
Around 7 pm, I told DH that I wanted to take a shower, just in case. I figured that if I washed my hair and shaved, it would probably stop the contractions and we could watch TWD and go to bed. Nope, they seemed stronger in the shower and were getting strong enough so that it was hard to pay attention to TWD. After TWD, I told DH that he might want to go to bed because it was getting kinda real and I knew he would be a better partner if he had some sleep. He went off to bed and I watched TTD but couldn’t totally focus on it. Finally, I went to bed too and was able to sleep between the contractions that were between 8 and 10 minutes apart. At about 2:30 am they started getting pretty painful and I got up and walked around the house for a little bit, let the dogs out, stood on our front porch having hot flashes and was kinda shocked to see the pattern that emerged on my timing app: they were 6-7 mins apart! I thought about waking up DH but I could still walk and talk through them and I really didn’t want to jump the gun, so I got back in bed and waited. At 3:30 I had a really intense one that made me kind of writhe in bed. It was like a horrible pressure building up against my cervix and then a “pop” (I literally heard a pop) and then a release and gush of fluid! I literally thought “No way, that did not just happen! That was my waters!” and said out loud, “Babe, wake up. My water just broke.” I have to tell you, I feel like a freaking ninja. I was only wearing a pantiliner but I had just changed the sheets on our bed so I really didn’t want my waters all over the bed (even though I had put a puppy pad between the sheets and mattress). Somehow, with fluid gushing out of me, I managed to get out of bed without leaking fluid everywhere! (walking to the bathroom? Totally different story, it was like a snail trail because my sweats were dragging on the floor!) Oh and P.oise incontinence pads are a godsend for waters! I was gushing and once I put on a pad, I stopped leaking everywhere.
It was definitely go time. I called L&D and talked to the nurse and she said that since I had been contracting since the day before, AND my water broke, I could come in whenever I wanted. I told her I was going to try and stay home for a bit but at this point (3:38 according to my contraction timer), they were almost a minute long and were 5-6 mins apart so it wouldn’t be too long. DH made coffee and made a fire to warm up the house and I got out the hospital bag and started getting our chargers and all that good stuff, ready to go. I think we both figured we had a bit of time since my OB had said that we should wait to go to the hospital until I had a “tear in my eye and was holding myself up on furniture or the walls”. My MIL works nights so I called her at work and told her my water broke so that she knew she would need to come and take care of the animals. Our original plan had been that my parents would take care of everyone but they weren’t coming for two days so I was so glad that MIL insisted, just that past Saturday, that I show her how to care for the baby goats or we would have been up s**t creek! She was so excited, she left work immediately and her boss offered her the whole week off, which ended up being the luckiest thing ever as we assumed we would only be gone for two days.
While I was putting the last few things in my hospital bag and gathering things up, my contractions changed. They had been like bad cramps with tightening of my ute and were totally bareable but they turned into a vice grip and my back hurt like nothing I have ever felt. I remember, a while back, someone mentioning that they heard back labor was horrible and said that it was something they feared more than any other part of labor. At the time, I thought: well, it’s labor so it’s gonna hurt! But this was like nothing I anticipated. My back was on fire. At this point, I could neither talk nor walk during contractions and I had the shakes, really bad (annoyingly, these would continue for the next 24 hours) and DH went into high gear getting stuff into the car and getting the show on the road. I kinda wanted to stay home a little longer, at least until MIL got there but my contractions were only 4-5 mins apart and were a full minute long. I felt like I wasn’t really getting a break between them and with every contraction I was gushing fluid, which was a really weird and uncomfortable feeling. I had thought that I would be excited at this point but I was actually more scared. I really didn’t like that no matter how much I had prepared, I didn’t know what to expect and I felt very out of control. DH was very sweet and comforting but I struggled the entire labor with not losing my shit because I couldn’t control and/or predict things.
We left the house around 5 and the contractions were 4 minutes apart during the very bumpy car ride to the hospital and I felt like things were moving very quickly. We went into the hospital and got checked in, got changed and hooked up to the monitors (I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hospital uses a gauze band and movable monitors, rather than those horrible belt ones) and the nurse confirmed that I was having pretty strong looking contractions that were about 3-4 mins apart. I had high expectations for dilation. Too high. The nurse checked me around 6:30 and I was only 2.5 cm but was 60% effaced. Baby was still super high, so high in fact that it seemed like the nurse had to reach in up to her elbow! My doctor came by at this point and he checked me as well and said the same thing. I was pretty disappointed considering the fact that, due to back labor, I felt like I was going to die. My doc ordered fentanyl and the nurse pushed it quick but it did nothing to help the pain (just made me high as a kite, which was kinda fun lol) so they gave me more but it still didn’t do a damn thing for the pain. Since my doctor didn’t have any patients for a while, he hung around and watched the monitors from the nurse’s station and then checked me again at 8:40 before he left for the office. I was still at only 2.5 but was 100% effaced and baby had dropped a lot, no one had to climb inside me to check me this time. I was bummed about the lack of cervical progress but happy baby girl had dropped and doc said we could just go ahead with the epi. My contractions were 1 ½ to 2 minutes apart, I was in agony and could not stop shaking and while we weren’t having dilation progress, progress was being made. He said he expected that the epi would help me relax and we could expect that my body would start focusing more on dilating.
The anesthesiologist was in surgery so we had to wait a little while but he finally showed up (two hours later) and became my savior. Honestly, by the time he got there, I was a mess. I was in so much pain I couldn’t talk, except to tell DH that I couldn’t take the pain and that I couldn’t do this, I just moaned as one contraction came right on top of another. At one point, a very nice nurse had come in to give my nurse a break and she was trying to talk to me about visualization and positive thinking and I wanted to kill her (FTR, I didn’t let her know that, but my thoughts were unpure). The epi they do at my hospital is actually an intrathecal or “walking epidural” and it is so great, I highly recommend. You can still move your legs and you can still feel the contractions but they are dulled a ton. So, basically, like normal period cramps at most; not bad at all. The best thing is that, when it comes time to push, you can still feel the pressure so they don’t have to turn them off to get productive pushes. I was a happy, happy girl. Once coherent, I started asking a ton of questions and learned that everyone expected a good amount of progress at my next check, when the doc returned from lunch. My contractions were regular and close together and seemed to be pretty strong.
Doc came by, we talked, things were looking up and then he checked me. I was only at 3! Everyone was really surprised, we all expected more. It was progress but not good enough and I felt like my body was betraying me once again. Doc said he wanted the nurse to check me in two hours and if I wasn’t progressing, we’d start Pitocin. Next check? Still a 3. Maybe a 3.5. Two hours later? The same. Doc ordered Pitocin and I was so ready to get the show on the road. At this point, I had been contracting regularly for 27 hours and my body was getting tired. The contractions had slowed and lessoned a ton, I had even stopped shaking. My OB was interested in seeing just how strong the contractions were and inserted an internal monitor so they could ascertain the actual pressure and they were pretty weak. I asked Doc what the plan would be if the Pitocin didn’t work, always the optimist, he said it would so we didn’t need to worry about it. He said he was going home for dinner and would be back to deliver baby girl in a few hours.
At first, the Pitocin seemed to be doing its job, although the contractions weren’t as strong as they had been earlier in the day, they were building again and we were hopeful for progress. But baby girl didn’t like the Pitocin and was getting tachycardia. All day, her heart rate had been in the 140-150 range and it had jumped up to 170 and was just holding there. They put me on oxygen and had me changing position often to get it back down which worked and we breathed a sigh of relief. My nurse checked me and it was encouraging, I was a 4, maybe a 4 and a half and the strength of my contractions was good but could be better so they bumped me up with the Pitocin. Baby girl seemed fine but then, I started to spike a fever that just kept climbing. By 8 pm, my fever was 101 and baby girl’s heart rate was up in the 180s and holding, which they didn’t like. My Pitocin was at an 8 and the contractions were nice and super strong but neither of us were tolerating things well. My intracathal epidural was wearing off and I was feeling things pretty intensely. All of the sudden my pain went from a 2 to a 500 out of no where. It was horrific. They got the anesthesiologist (a different, very sweet and funny one) in the room and he gave me, what he referred to as his “special sauce” which was a much stronger dose of meds but I couldn’t feel my feel my legs. Still, it was better than feeling the pain. While all that was going on, baby’s heart rate went up to 190, I got checked again and my nurse called the doc. Around 10:30, in walked my OB, in scrubs :( Of course. Why would anything go as planned for me!?! Doc checked me and then said that I had lost a centimeter due to my cervix swelling. Labor had stalled due to baby being sunny side up and crammed into my cervix and she was not doing well. We were headed for an emergency c-section.
I was so proud of myself. I stayed so calm and accepted that we just needed to get my baby out. So we were off to the OR. DH, on the other hand, not so much. He wasn’t feeling well, like, poop your pants unwell. He was having some serious stomach pains. But he kept it together for me. (Later, we learned that due to a strong antibiotic he was on, he had developed C. Diff, a horrible intestinal infection that would land him in the hospital four days after we brought C home) In the OR, I still kept it together until they did the prick test to be sure I couldn’t feel. I COULD FEEL IT. I could tell them exactly where they were touching and what it felt like. Then, I was terrified. The baby was not doing well and they needed to get her out. They decided to go with a local and get started and the anesthesiologist was going to up the power of my spinal. The problem with doing that is; it made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. I was breathing just fine but I couldn’t feel myself breathe so I panicked. And vomited. The entire time. And I could feel them doing stuff to my body and I was scared and I totally lost my shit. DH and my wonderful nurse, as well as the anesthesiologist worked really hard to try and reassure me and keep me calm but it was not an easy task. At one point, my OB said: "WOW, she is really wedged in there, she would have never come out the way she is!" Finally, Charlotte was out and crying and DH leaned down to me and said: “Our little Chuck just said her first words!” He was so cute! Apgars were 8 and 9 and she weighed in at 8 lbs, exactly and was 20 ½ inches. They brought her over to me and she was screaming but as soon as I spoke, she stopped and looked at me. It was amazing. Even though I was vomiting, and hurting and scared, I was in awe of her.
Breastfeeding did not start out well. After being in recovery for an hour, I was finally brought to the PP floor and hubs brought baby girl in to me. We did skin to skin and she seemed to latch on like a champ but was kind of chewing on my left nip, rather than sucking. I let her do it, even though it hurt, because I just thought BFing was supposed to hurt. By the next day, I had a big split on my nipple and it was incredibly painful. Three weeks later I am still trying to heal it but with the help of the awesome nurses, we at least fixed her latch and she is getting her BFing on like a champ.
We were released from the hospital on Friday, after a couple worrisome days of jaundice monitoring and although I am still sore, I am healing and feel better every day. I was happy to spend the four days in the hospital because my nurses were awesome, our room was a family room and we had lots of space, couches etc. and the movable bed was so helpful in aiding in my getting up and down to take care of C.
So basically, I had the exact opposite of the experience I had hoped for. It was painful and scary and nothing went according to plan but it doesn’t matter. I have the most beautiful, healthy, daughter and that is all that matters. Breastfeeding is going well, although it is painful at times but it is so worth it. The fact that I get to hold my beautiful little girl in my arms, after six years of longing and wishing and hoping for this, is so amazing it is difficult to put into words.
Again, sorry for the length, I just really needed to get this all out to process. If you made it this far, you deserve an award! I hope you will settle for pictures of my sweet girl.