Warning: This story is long and graphic.
Saturday 5/5/2012 at 3:10 am we went from team green to team blue as we welcomed our son, Griffin Steven L. into the world after a very complicated labor and delivery experience.
It all started when I was supposed to be induced on Thursday due to high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy. It had begun to creep up the last two weeks of pregnancy, so my doctor and I agreed it was best to help get baby out to avoid the risk of an emergency c-section. When we arrived on Thursday the hospital was full and we had to return Friday morning instead.
We arrive Friday at 7 am and I was still 2 cm and 60-70 % effaced (no change since appointment Monday). We got checked in and settled and began fluids and antibiotics due to being GBS+. At 8:30 the pitocin was started. My doctor gave the antibiotics a few hours to get into my system and broke my water at 1 pm. At this point there was still no change.
My contractions started picking up at this point, and since I was confined to bed being monitored I decided to go ahead and get my epidural. At this point I was 4 cm and 80%. The anesthesiologist got to my room at 1:20 to administer my epidural. He tried in the regular spot and was unsuccessful. Apparently my spinal cord is very tight and it is very difficult to get in between the bones of my spine. The doc decided to go up one vertebrae and try there. After a few minutes of him digging around I got a terrible pain that shot up my spine and into my head. I told him something was wrong immediately and described what happened. The doctor acted like I was crazy and told me he had no idea what would be wrong. He finally finishes up and starts pushing meds through the epidural and lays me down. This is when he tells me that the reason I was in so much pain was because he accidentally went through the vertebra and hit my spinal column so I now had a spinal headache from leaking fluid.
Well after about 15 minutes of me telling him I was getting no relief and was in more pain then when we started he finally realizes that he must have missed, and that the catheter was not even in my spine. He then tells me I have to make a choice, either continue naturally, or he could attempt to do it again, but he could not guarantee that it would be successful due to my tight spine. I have the nurse check me again and I had made no progress. I decided to have him try again.
He decided to go back down a level and go in from the side and is successful. at 3:00 I get the sweet relief and lay down. My legs never went fully numb and I was able to comfortably move them around and relax.
Right after shift change at 7 pm I begin to feel pain breaking through, and I keep pushing the pump and not getting relief. The nurse was hopeful that maybe I was going through transition. She checked me at 7:30 and no luck. still 4 cm and 80%. We tried to bolus the epidural a couple times and nothing was working. This is when we realized the epidural was no longer functioning. At this point the pitocin was all the way maxed out and contractions were 1 minute apart and very painful.
The new anesthesiologist was in with another patient and was unavailable, and at this point they were not sure if they would even be willing to try again. We tried a dose of nubain with no luck. I was then told that since pain killers were not helping me that at this point if I did not progress i would need a c-section and would have to be put under and no one could be there for the birth.
Finally at 9:40 the new anesthesiologist came up and agreed to try once. So for the fourth time I am prepped and he gets it in on the first try. After they check me and I was up to a 5, then checked at 10 and I am at a 6. I fell asleep for a bit and woke up at 11:20 in pain and trying to push. The nurse checks me and I am between 9-10 and big surprise... the epidural has stopped working. My doctor was in an emergency surgery so I was not allowed to push.
For an hour I have to breath/moan/yell through contractions to keep from pushing. This wore me out a ridiculous amount. At 12:28 I am told I can start to push! Finally! Oh wait, baby is face up so I need to push to try to get to the right position. So I push, and push, and get baby to flip only for baby to flip again and again and again. After 2 hours of pushing my doctor asks me if I would rather have a section or have assistance with vacuum and maybe forceps. I decide to try to avoid the section since I have already torn anyway.
I keep pushing, He tries the vacuum, no success. He then inserts the forceps. So much pain! and finally after 3 more terrible painful pushes I hear that baby's head is out and that the cord is wrapped around the neck which is why the presentation was face up. After 2 more pushes baby is out and my husband tells me we have a son at 3:10 am. He weighed 8 lbs even and was 22 inches long.
The doctor had to completely cut me to the 4th degree to get Griffin out. It took a long time and I am not sure how many stitches to close me up. Since he had to use the forceps we had to have a neo-natalogist on hand to check him out, but luckily he scored an 8/9 on his apgar. After what seemed like forever I got to hold my son. His poor face was covered in bruises and his scalp was incredibly swollen from the vacuum and forceps. He would not latch and fell asleep for the next 15 hours.
It is now early Monday morning. Griffin is latching, but due to all the bruising and swelling we are supplementing with formula to avoid him becoming jaundice. We are able to use this tube system though so he is still having to latch to feed, and he is doing great! His swelling and bruising is going down, and he is just fantastic! I on the other hand, not so great. The worst part is the spinal headache. Due to how difficult my spine is they wanted to attempt just treating it with meds to see if it would heal up on its own, but that was unsuccessful. At some point this morning I get to go down and get a blood patch. This is where they take blood from my arm and place it in my vertebra to seal the hole that the fluid is leaking from. With my issues this normally standard procedure is going to have to be done with the guidance of an x-ray.
My stitches do not hurt as bad as my head, but they are sore. We are going home after my procedure this morning.
Overall it was a terrible experience, but I got a healthy, strong, beautiful son out of it. He makes my heart melt, and his strength helps me get through my own pain.
Proud Dad and angry Griffin:
Snuggle time with mom, bruises starting to fade: