So here it is, the obligatory birth experience post. I was induced at 38 weeks due to gestational diabetes, and I’m writing this on my 40th week. Happy due date.
I was told to report to Labor and Delivery on Sunday evening (Nov 2) at 5pm to start the inducing process. I had to change into a hospital gown (boo, didn’t even get to sleep in my own clothes before labor truly kicked off) and get the IV started. Let me tell you, the IV hurt so much! I had no idea. This is one of those things no one had on their “things I wish I knew about labor” list. I couldn’t take off my rings because by the time I realized it would be a good idea, my fingers were already too swollen that far into my pregnancy. Well, with the IV in my left hand, my little fingers turned into sausages, and I was a bit worried, but we didn’t have any issues. I tested positive for Group B Strep, so I was on antibiotics the entire time I was in the hospital, even before they started me on Pitocin. The antibiotics burned so bad through the IV into my hand, and seriously by the time it was all over I couldn’t make a fist anymore. It hurt to flex my hand for at least a week after. IVs are no joke!
Anyway the nurses started me on Cervidil to ripen my cervix, since I really wasn’t all that dilated or effaced yet. At this point I realized how much of a sissy I was going to be during this labor process because the insertion hurt. More than I expected. I don’t like pain. Anyway I was told to sleep so hubby and I watched some TV and then tried to get some sleep. Poor guy slept on that little couch thing they have in the room. It wasn’t all that comfortable, but he was going to stay with me the entire time. Our doula also met us and hung out with us for a little while and made plans to show up the following morning when the show got started. Part way in the night I woke up due to some really bad back pain and asked for some of the lovely IV pain medication. I think it was Stadol. It made me dizzy and drunk, seriously. Then I was able to sleep.
In the early morning, 3 or 4 or so, I was allowed to get up and take a shower if I wanted, and change into a fresh gown. I was also given a breakfast! Well, you know, broth, Jello, some orange juice. But still, food! I was thinking I wouldn’t get to have any food until after baby was born. I did eat a big meal before going to the hospital, but still, I’m used to eating every 3 hours. We packed a lot of Gatorade for this reason. Anyway, after that the Pitocin got started and my doctor came to break my water. This is when the labor got going, but I don’t really know when to start counting the hours.
At first my contractions just felt like a menstrual cramp and I was doing alright. I even was allowed to get out of bed and move around a bit, as long as the fetal monitor stayed on. The baby kept moving though and hiding from it, so the nurses had to keep coming to readjust it. I used the birth ball for a while, and that really helped with my back pain, but hubby had to hold the fetal monitor in place and keep moving it around to keep the baby’s heart rate on the machine. We knew if we kept losing the signal the nurses would probably make me get back in bed.
Sometime mid day the contractions started getting a bit too much, and I knew it was going to get worse from there so I asked for my epidural. Yes that meant no more walking around, but I was getting tired and wanted to lie back down anyway. Getting the epidural wasn’t all that scary or painful. I barely felt the needle go in, and they allowed hubby to stay in the room with me so he helped distract me from thinking about just how big that needle really was. The rest of the afternoon was a blur. I seriously slept for a few hours through the rest of my dilating. It was wonderful.
Later I started getting back pain again and actually wanted to see if they could increase the epidural, but the nurses checked me and said I was complete and was ready to start pushing. Here’s when it got bad for me. I couldn’t feel much except for that one spot of pain in my back so the nurses decided to turn off my epidural so I could start to regain feeling. They told me the epidural would wear off slowly and I would just feel enough pressure to know when to push. THEY LIED!!! They made me wait a half hour before starting to push so that the epidural could start wearing off. My doctor had told me at an earlier appointment that they could turn the epidural down if I had trouble during pushing, but apparently they needed to call the anesthesiologist back to do that, and for whatever reason they decided not to, and all the nurses were allowed to do was turn it off. So for the next two plus hours of pushing I felt everything (except my legs, they were still noodles). I felt all the contractions and back pain and I still couldn’t figure out how to push properly. I seriously made some negative progress a few times. I was not prepared to feel that much pain, so rather than being able to isolate the pushing muscles, I just tightened everything and gave myself a massive headache. I also ended up hurting my back. Hubby and the doula helped raise my legs and I had to do a crunch each time I had to push. I had to take a deep breath and hold it while pushing and counting to 10, which was hard because I just kept feeling like my lungs were going to burst and my head was going to explode. They put me on oxygen to help me out, but I really don’t think it helped. Or, if it did, I’m afraid to know how much worse it would have been without the oxygen.
But, at 7:36pm Monday evening I finally succeeded in pushing the (not so) little guy out. He weighed 8 pounds 1.3 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long. He tried coming out sunny side up so that’s what caused me all the back pain. Hubby said the doc grabbed his head and turned him as he was coming out to get him facing the right way, and then pulled him out of me. His first words to our son was “welcome to Texas” hehe Hubby said he got pretty freaked out when the doc grabbed the baby’s head and turned him like that.
The rest happened pretty quickly. One of the things on my birth plan was I wanted to do delayed cord clamping, but unfortunately our doctor went on autopilot and clamped the cord before we even had a chance to react. We were pretty disappointed about that. Then they wiped the baby down and put him on me very quickly, so I was a little distracted for the afterbirth part. I did feel the placenta slide out of me but I don’t know if I pushed it out or if the doc did something to make it release. I took a good look at the placenta before they disposed of it, and it was about as yucky looking as I thought it was gonna be. I’ve seen it glamorized a lot but it really does look like a bloody chunk of tissue. I do know that when the doc massaged my fundus I cried out. I actually have a photo of me holding the baby, the baby is crying, I’m crying out, and the doc is squeezing the top of my uterus. That isn’t just uncomfortable like people say, it hurts! The next thing I remember was I saw the doc holding some scary metal hook thing in his hand. I asked him what he thought he was going to do with that, and he said I tore and he has to sew me up. So yea, that was great. I felt that too. Ouch.
I guess the part my readers are now wondering about is: what did we name him? Well, we decided on Henry “Hank”. I think it fits him quite well. The next thing I’m sure people are wondering is “where are the photos?” Well, I’ve decided to do my best not to publicly display photos of my child. I am posting them on my personal Facebook profile, but the privacy settings are friends-only and I’m not sharing the photos on my public Instagram or Twitter accounts. I might share a few here that aren’t as obvious, but I’m going to do my best to protect him and not plaster him all over the web without his consent.
I do wonder when baby Hank would have wanted to make his appearance if we hadn’t been induced. I also wonder how much he would weigh. I guess there’s no way to know but I am glad we didn’t fight the doctor’s plans to induce. Since I had a hard enough time as it was pushing his giant head and 8 pound self out, I don’t know how much harder it would have been if he had been allowed to get up to 9 pounds or more. Big babies run in hubby’s family and Hank is definitely getting some height from that side. I’m sure he’ll be taller than me by the time he’s a teenager. So welcome to the world little guy, I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you.