**Literally started writing this blog post on 12/29. That’s how much my time is not my own these days**
Just an FYI, this will probably be a long post. I want to document everything that happened during labor and delivery, which is shocking because part of me wants to forget all of it! It all started when we came into the hospital to be induced at 8pm on December 27th. Up to this point, I had only been dilated 1cm and was only 50% effaced. Since my due date was the 27th and it was clear I was going to go past that, we decided to induce. Justin and I checked into the hospital at 8pm and were put in room 337. Once there, my nurse for that night, Tina, did all of my admission paperwork, checked to see if I was still 1cm (I was) and started my IV fluids. After all that, she inserted the Cytotec pill that was supposed to further dilate me. She only inserted a portion of the pill and said that she’d come back at 1am to check me to see if I had dilated more. I watched a little Grey’s Anatomy on my computer and then at 11pm, finally asked for an Ambien to help me sleep. At 1am, she came back to check me, but I was not dilated anymore so she gave me the second dose. I should add that I was extremely disoriented because of the Ambien. I barely even remember her coming to give me another dose. It was like one of those times where you can’t remember if something really happened or if you dreamed it. But Justin assured me when I was lucid again that it really happened.
At 5:30am, I was put on the Pitocin drip. And it worked! The contractions that were happening weren’t painful just yet, but were very uncomfortable. Justin was constantly staring at the contractions monitor seeing exactly how intense they were getting and how far apart they were. At 6:40am, the on call doctor came in and broke my water. It wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be at all. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt a little, but it was very quick and more or less just felt…odd. STRANGEST FEELING EVER!!! To feel that much fluid exit your body….so weird. When the doc broke my water, she also inserted a monitor directly into my uterus to monitor my contractions so that they were more accurate than the ones that were monitored on top of my stomach. I was 3cm when my water was broken. Once my water was broken, they gave me a drug called Nubain. This stuff was FABULOUS! I couldn’t feel a thing and was VERY loopy! At 7am the next shift of nurses began and I lost Tina and gained Lindsey. LOVE LOVE LOVE Lindsey. She was incredible. Justin went down to the cafeteria to get breakfast because I was only able to eat ice chips and didn’t want to see him eating real food. The night before, I had a pop-tart at 10:45pm and that was all I had until after I delivered Carter at 4:45pm. 18 hours without food…..that was DIFFICULT!
At 8:30am I got my epidural, which also wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. They numb your back first so really the only thing that hurts is the initial stick that numbs the spine. It felt like any other shot to me except that it did go a little deeper, but it still wasn’t bad. I got a VERY VERY VERY bad case of “the shakes”. This was a side effect of the epidural that no one mentioned to me. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably and there was nothing I could do about it. Everyone that looked at me thought I was cold, but really it was just the medicine. Once I had the epidural, I also got my catheter since I wouldn’t be leaving the bed anytime soon. At 8:50am, I was 4cm. At 10am I was 5cm. At 10:50am I was 6cm. And then I stalled. I stayed at 6cm for almost 3 hours. Lindsey (nurse) said that at St. Vincent’s, if you stall out for 3 hours, they’ll usually just go ahead and do a section because if you were going to further dilate, you would have done it in a 3 hour period. In a last attempt to get me to further dilate, Lindsey cut down the Pitocin drip and planned to kick it back up. She said that doing this will sometimes jump start the contractions forcing dilation to continue. Once she decreased the Pitocin, Justin and his mom stared at the monitor the rest of the time, hoping for big numbers when contractions began again. Fortunately, the numbers got much bigger before she even kicked the Pitocin back up, indicating that the contractions were stronger, but we wouldn’t know for sure until they checked me again. At that point, my doctor came in to check on me and Lindsey told him about the stall out. He checked me and to my surprise, he said that I was 8cm and 100% effaced (I wish I had written down what time this was at, but if I had to guess, I’d say this was around 2pm, probably a little before). Shortly after that, Lindsey checked me again and I was 9 1/2cm so she told me that in 15 minutes I would start pushing. So Justin and I began saying goodbye to all the family members that were there and sent them to the waiting room so that I could begin pushing.
At 3pm I started pushing. At this point, I had been in labor for 9 1/2 hours and was already exhausted, not from pain, but just tired from being in the same bed since 8pm the night before with very little sleep…and now was the hard part where I had to find any extra reserves of energy I had left to push a baby out. I’ve heard stories about how tiring pushing really is. I know people that have fallen asleep during the process. In my mind I always thought “how the heck do you fall asleep during something like that?”. I know now….if you’ve been in labor for that long, and in the same hospital room for that long with no good sleep, it’s totally possible. Basically I pushed three times during every contraction. After an hour and 15 minutes of pushing, Lindsey started to get worried that Carter wasn’t going to be able to get past my pelvic bone (it seemed like for that entire hour and 15 minutes, I pushed and pushed and each time, Lindsey said that he was still in the same -1 or 0 station in my pelvis) so she had me use a towel to try to push Carter out. I grabbed one end and her and another nurse grabbed another and they pulled the towel towards them and I tried to pull it towards me. Baby tug-of-war :) I laugh about this now, but it was NOT funny then. I hated that method. It hurt my arms more than anything and I didn’t find it effective at all. Finally, she called down my doctor to have him take a look to see if they could get Carter out using forceps or if I’d have to go back for a c-section. The doc got there and said he thought he could get him out with the assistance of forceps. If you don’t know what forceps are…..here you go:
Use your imagination.
Once he tried to use the forceps, he realized why Carter wasn’t coming out on his own with just my pushing. The umbilical cord was tied tightly around his ankle and was keeping him from descending past the pelvic bone because every time I pushed, he would come further down, but the the cord around his ankle pulled him back. I never even had a shot at getting him out without intervention from the beginning. It was almost devastating to realize that I pushed for over an hour and a half when I should have just had a c-section from the beginning. However, my doc thought that he would be able to get him out without going to c-section, but only if he cut me. A 4th degree cut mind you. I had no idea what a 4th degree cut was until after I delivered Carter. Apparently it’s the worst cut you can get. I choose not to describe it on this blog. Feel free to Google on your own. So moving on. After cutting me, I kept trying to push and to no avail. The doc gave me one more contraction to push and he said that if I couldn’t get him out after the three pushes in that contraction, that I would be taken back for a c-section. Imagine my thought process at that point. I had just pushed like crazy for almost two hours, gotten cut up apparently the worst you can get cut up and now I was about to have to go back for a c-section???? Kill me now please.
I should also mention that I threw up a couple of times during the push process. I was pushing so hard for so long (which is also what was further exhausting me to the point of where I could have fallen asleep) that I threw up. Didn’t have any food in me to throw up though, so it was just water. I should also mention that the blood pressure monitor around my arm was driving me crazy when I was pushing, so I asked the nurse to take it off and they did, which is probably why no one realized my blood pressure plummeted. So I had three more pushes to get him out. Nothing on the first. Nothing on the second. The doctor said “ok Marcie, this is our last shot”. Carter made his entrance on the third push. I didn’t hear him cry initially, but I knew he was out because I heard the nurse yell “16:45”. So I knew he was born at exactly 4:45pm. Then I heard his sweet cry. I was uncontrollably BAWLING.
Now at this point I had developed an extremely bad case of “the shakes” due to the epidural, worse than earlier in the day when I was just in labor. I was also ABSOLUTELY FREEZING. The nurse had to warm up three blankets for me to put them all over me. I couldn’t even hold Carter I was so cold. I had to wait until some blankets were put on me to warm me up. Turns out, my blood pressure had dropped to 65/43 and I had lost A LOT of blood (should have kept the blood pressure monitor on my arm). I even tried to sit up in the bed to hold Carter and the nurse said “No, no no…you’re blood pressure is too low for that. You have to lay down”. Justin texted our families that were in the waiting room to let them know Carter was here and I know they all wanted to come back as soon as they knew we were done, but I told Justin no. I was still in recovery even though I hadn’t had a c-section. My blood pressure had plummeted and I was so delirious that I couldn’t even hold my own son and I was not ok with anyone else holding him before me. It took two hours before I was back to somewhat normal and allowed our families back in the room. I feel so bad. They waited for 4 hours in the waiting room. But the look on all of their faces was priceless. Justin got a video of everyone seeing him for the first time.
First, my sister Lindsey came back by herself to get some pictures of Carter. I wanted her in there first so that she could also get pictures of everyone else’s reactions when they came in to see Carter. She’s working on editing those pictures now and actually sent me a text yesterday saying to “get the Kleenex ready”. She said they would probably be ready around Friday, so I’ll share as soon as I get them. Actually, I should say that first I made my mom and other sister, Jennifer, go to McDonald’s, which was directly in front of the hospital, to get me some food. I needed food so badly to keep some kind of energy up. By the time I finally ate, it was probably 20 hours that I went without food. But they just gave Justin the food and he brought it to me. Lindsey was still the first person to see Carter out of everyone.
The doc finished stitching me up and cleaning the floor of all the blood (sorry, TMI - one of the nurses even talked about how much she was slipping on the floor because of it) by the time I finally got to eat something. I was also put on morphine for pain so I actually felt fine once they gave me that. That was when Lindsey came in and took pictures of Carter and talked to me for a bit. Then the grandparents came in and Lindsey took pictures of them seeing Carter for the first time. After the grandparents (my mom and dad and Justin’s parents) came my other sister and Justin’s sister, Justin’s grandparents and Don Cross, our pastor. You can see the video Justin took of our families meeting Carter here.
So that’s my labor and delivery story. Hope it’s not too scary for those of you that are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant. I’m totally fine now, but it has been a long week of recovery. It’s very difficult to come home from the hospital with a newborn that needs your constant care and attention yet at the same time, you have to take care of yourself as well. I have no idea how single mothers do it. I can’t imagine this past week without Justin’s help. He’s been amazing with Carter and amazing helping me heal as well. I’ve been healing slowly…have passed several blood clots…but other than that, everything is healing up fine. I’ll post more about Carter now that he’s a week old in another post. This post took me 5 days to write. Hopefully the next won’t be like that!!