Whew…we are officially three weeks postpartum, and I’m sitting here watching my bundle of joy sleep peacefully in his swing. Still pinching myself that I am a MOM; it’s truly surreal. And now, I am finally taking time to blog about our traumatizing eventful labor story. It is an extremelyyyy long story, because ultimately things did not go as planned.
For starters, David and I went to our (almost) 41! week appointment on Friday, April 11th. At that point, I was still only a fingertip dilated..womp womp. Since I was almost 41 weeks, we went ahead and scheduled our induction for the following week. With both of us being tax accountants, we were adamant about not giving birth on April 15th! So, we scheduled to be induced the night of the 15th and then welcome our son on the 16th. I shed tears over the thought of being induced. It was not at all what I wanted, for a variety of reasons. I felt like my body was failing me for not going into labor on my own, I was terrified about the increased risk of c-section, etc. But, there were also risks if we went much further than 41 weeks, so..our induction was scheduled.
That Friday night David and I went to dinner at Chatham Tap. We sat outside, and truly just had a wonderful evening talking about how drastically our lives were about to change. We had such a great date night and we are soo thankful in hindsight that we decided to go out that night. That night we went to bed around midnight, and per usual I had a hard time falling asleep until probably 1 or 1:30. Then, I was woken up unexpectedly around 3:45am with cramp-like contractions, feeling very different than my old friend Braxton Hicks. David woke up, asking what was wrong but he quickly fell back asleep, just assuming that they were BH’s. I however stayed wiiiide awake, feeling these contractions coming roughly every 10 minutes. Around 4:45am David woke up again to see me hunched over in bed in pain. I explained to him what I was feeling and we both sort of realized that “this could be it.” So, at 5am we headed downstairs so David could actually finish up some things for work, while I bounced on my exercise ball trying to breathe through contractions and watch CMT music videos to distract myself. One of my huge fears during pregnancy was how I would know when I was in labor. Especially since I had Braxton Hicks contractions for such a large part of my pregnancy, I really questioned whether or not I would know if it was the real deal. And while I did second guess myself at first, it didn’t take long for me to be sure that this was actually happening. So, around 7:15 we finally called the dr. because my contractions were now coming every 5 minutes or so. The dr. said it sounded like I was definitely in labor, and that we should go ahead and get our things together and head in, but didn’t need to rush. Then, 45 minutes later I went to the bathroom and I was shocked to see blood. Initially it really freaked me out, so we called the doctor again and he said it was totally normal, but that we should probably start heading in. So, I continued the process of taking a shower, finishing packing, doing make-up, etc. I swear I felt like it took me foreverrrrr to get ready because I had to pause every 5 minutes to hunch over in pain. Not to mention I felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack because I truly couldn’t believe this was happening. My prayers had been answered that I had gone into labor naturally! I remember I kept freaking out thinking that if we didn’t leave soon I was going to end up having Noah in the car. I felt like my contractions were getting closer together, so I was really freaked out.
Around 9am we (finally) headed to the hospital! We knew that there was awfulll construction on Meridian headed to the hospital. So, we went ahead and decided to take a back way. Well, as fate would have it, the Carmel half marathon was going on, and we came to a detour!! We had no idea how to get to the hospital, so we pulled up to a cop directing runners. David quickly said “my wife is in labor, how do we get to the hospital?!” The cop looks in the car, sees me holding on to the passenger side handle, in the middle of a contraction and proceeds to ask if we need an ambulance, haha. Eventually we made it to the hospital, and we are put in a triage room to be monitored and confirm that I’m in labor, etc. I specifically remember the sweet nurse checking me and telling us that I was 4 cm dilated! Immediately I burst into tears because I was SO happy/excited/relieved, that my body was doing exactlyyy what it was supposed to. At 10:15 they moved us to our labor and delivery room, got me hooked up to the monitors, administered the IV, etc. I just continued to labor on my own, breathing through contractions. Around 1pm I finally decided I was ready to get my epidural. I was only 5 cm, but I was so proud of myself for making it this long on my own. But, I was ready to be able to rest (or so I thought). Now, I was terrified of getting the epidural. I had serious fears of becoming paralyzed. But, the whole process was super easy, and the anesthesiologist was wonderful, telling me exactly what I would feel and what he was doing before he did it. Before I knew it, I was done, and laying peacefully in bed! I could feel when the contractions were coming just from pressure, but there was zero pain; it was great! David was obsessed with monitoring my contractions on the screens, it was so cute and funny to me. Just when I was feeling great from no longer being in pain, I started shaking, violently. I kept saying “I have the chills,” because that’s what I thought was going on. I was literally convulsing and I looked like I was in the Exorcism. My teeth were chattering soo badly, and my whole body was shaking. It reallyy freaked me out, but my nurse assured me that it was completely normal and some women end up with “epidural shakes.” Lucky me. They eventually subsided (thankfully!), and around 1:45 the doctor checked my progress. I was still only 5cm, a huge letdown that I wasn’t progressing quickly at all. So, at that point they broke my water assuming it would help things progress. Well, at 4:30 I was still only 5 or 6cm. So, at that point we decided to start me on pitocin to hopefully finallyy get things moving.
At this time, David and I watched August Rush, a movie we both love! After that we entertained ourselves with the Masters and the Darlington NASCAR race. I tried a couple of times to get some shut eye, but I realized that I felt like absolute crap. I felt so sick and feverish, and sure enough I had a fever of 99.8. This really freaked me out and made the rest of the day completely miserable. The nurse and doctor both assured me it was okay, as long as it stayed below 100. So, every time they checked me, it was somewhere around 99.6-99.8. So, technically things were okay, it just resulted in me feeling like crap. Around 7:20, I still hadn’t progressed past 6cm. So, we opted to put in a transvaginal catheter to monitor my contractions. They wanted and needed to see just how strong my contractions were and see if they were actually doing their job. This also allowed them to continue increasing my pitocin dosage. Well, come 9pm I had only progressed to 7cm. It was definitely extremely discouraging. Especially because in the 12 hours we had been at the hospital, I had only moved 3cm. I was completely miserable, and absolutely starving. Not to mention I was still dealing with my fever. Well, come 11pm, I started feeling great! My fever broke, and I was in a much better place physically and mentally. When the doctor checked me I was now 9cm! I felt like I was finally getting there and it wouldn’t be much longer! So, an hour later, Carly came back and I once again was feeling horrible. I told her I was pretty sure my fever was back, and sure enough it was. This time it was 101.5! Not good news, at all. She immediately went and got the doctor to come check me. David went to the restroom at this time. By the time he got back, the doctor checked me and told me it was time to push! It was an absolute whirlwind. I remember looking at my doctor when she said it was time to push and asking “So, these are just practice pushes, right?” She laughed and told me this was the real deal. Even though neither the nurse nor doctor said it was urgent to get Noah out, you could tell that my high fever really made things move quickly.
So, around 12:15 I started pushing, and kept pushing, and kept pushing. It was absolutely exhausting. I had major fears of passing out. At this point all I’d eaten was a banana in the past 24 hours, I was so dehydrated, I had a really high fever, and was having to hold my breath and push so incredibly hard. It was rough. My doctor and nurse were great. They were counting to ten with every push and being so encouraging by cheering me on. But, after over an hour of pushing, the doctor realized that Noah’s head was turned, and he was not coming out with my pushes alone. At this point she said forceps were going to have to assist in getting him out. Even though it wasn’t explicitly stated, it was essentially either we go for a C-Section (the ONE thing I did not want, for many reasons), or we use forceps. This was never, ever something David and I discussed. We always just assumed I would have him vaginally, unassisted, or have a C-section. I truthfully didn’t fully grasp what all forceps would entail, and man was it eye-opening.
As soon as we were a go-ahead for the forceps, the whole room was transformed. During my time of pushing, it was a dark, peaceful room with just David, my nurse and my doctor. It was hard work, but the atmosphere was calming. Within a matter of minutes, my doctor now had scrubs on, I had a sheet over my legs, the room was extremely bright and there were 5 additional people in the room; the NICU team, which is required when forceps are used. So, my doctor opened the forceps and inserted them inside me and it was completely traumatizing. Despite having an epidural, I felt everything related to the forceps, because there was so much pressure when they were inserted. I remember bracing myself and just repeating “are you done, are you done?!” After they were securely in place, the doctor and nurse just kept saying “push exactly like you were before” (meaning pushing for a count of 10, for a set of three). Well, in the moment, I literally had no idea what I was doing. I was partially in shock, and so confused. They all stopped counting, so I had no clue when I was actually supposed to push. I looked up at my nurse with sad eyes and said “can you please count again for me?!” In the midst of my haphazard pushes, my doctor is yanking and pulling the forceps to try and get Noah out. In talking with David afterward his description of it was “violent.” I was literally screaming while pushing. I always thought women who scream during labor are overly dramatic and ridiculous. Well, I now understand why they do it, the screams came out of nowhere. On top of not remembering how to push, and being totally traumatized by the forceps, I had no idea how close I was to meeting my son. Thank the Lord for David. He always said he would never be able to watch Noah come out, but in the moment it all changed. He looked down and saw his sweet head. David and I looked at each other and he told me “his head is riiight there, you are SO close!” That was the motivation I need to finally get him out.
At 1:48am, after 22 grueling hours of labor, I finally pushed out our son. The doctor quickly put our purple, “little guy” on the sheet covering my legs. It was such a surreal moment, and not at all what I imagined. The doctor was about to cut the cord when I quickly asked if David could do it. She handed David the tool, looked at him and said “do it NOW.” No sooner after did they wisk Noah away to the NICU team in our room. Within seconds we finally heard him cry – seriously the best sound in the entire world after him not breathing and being so purple when we first saw him. The NICU team examined him, and praise the Lord he was perfect. All 9lb, 4oz and 22.5inches of him. We were all in disbelief as to how he was SO big! He had really bad bruising on one side of his face, and his head was all misshapen, all due to the forceps. But, he was finally here; his coloring was perfect and he was healthy! David watched the NICU team and was able to snap some pictures of his first moments, while I was getting stitched up from my 3rd degree tear. Finally, after all the madness we were left to briefly bond with our son before our sweet nurse gave Noah his first sponge bath. Then, some time around 4:00am my mom and David’s dad came in to meet our little bundle of joy. After their short visit we were finally moved to our recovery room where we stayed for the remainder of our hospital stay.
We had essentially zero sleep on Sunday, but I was completely on a high from everything that it didn’t hit me until late that night! We had several visitors on Sunday, which was great! We are so blessed with awesome families who love our son so much! Unfortunately, our little man had trouble peeing for the first time, so after the 24 hour mark the nurses had to give him 20mL of formula to help out. Thankfully he finally peed at 9:00am on Monday and was able to be circumcised at 10:30! He was such a champ!
We truly can’t say enough wonderful things about the staff during our hospital stay. We were obsessed with all of our nurses and they all made me feel so comfortable and were just all around wonderful. While my first labor was not at all what I imagined, at the end of the day we were so blessed with a wonderful and perfectly healthy son. I was healthy, and survived the traumatizing day. David and I are so completely head over heels in love with Noah that it truly made all the pain and struggles so worth it. I wouldn’t trade my little guy for anything 🙂