Things never go exactly as planned. I took Bradley classes and wanted an unmedicated, vaginal birth. My due date was May 18th, but I was scheduled for an induction on the 10th due to polyhydramnios, and thrombocytopenia. My platelets had dropped so low (53k) that I was put on steroids 2 weeks before my induction date to try and bump them back up to an acceptable level. I was told that if the platelet count was less than 80k, I would not be able to have an epidural (a hematoma in the spine can cause paralysis). I wasn?t too concerned about the pain aspect, because I wanted an unmedicated birth anyway, but if the platelets were that low and I needed an emergency c-section, I would have to be put under for it because they would not risk the epi or a spinal. The baby was also measuring very large, so I had lots of reasons to get him out a little early.
May 10th, DH and I arrived at the hospital at 5:00 and I was admitted to L&D. I was only 1cm dilated, so my doctor planned on inserting a balloon catheter to open up the cervix a bit more before starting the pitocin. She did a betadine scrub (which was most unpleasant, kind of like being scrubbed out with a bottle brush) and put the balloon into my cervix. After about a half an hour, I started having real contractions, which was a shock to me because they hadn?t started the pitocin drip. They were definitely uncomfortable, but nothing I needed pain medication for. They ran a platelet count I was at 92k, thank god!
Around 10:30 p.m., the balloon came out, my doctor checked me for progress and I was at 4cm. This was good, since the balloon is usually birthed around 2-3 cm. She said she would hold off on the pitocin and see if my body would take care of things on its own. I told her I wanted to try and get some sleep and I would buzz the nurses if I needed anything. I didn?t really get any sleep that night, the contractions were coming about 6 minutes apart. The doc came back at 8am and checked me for progress. I was still only at 4 centimeters! They started the pitocin at 9:00 and within an hour the contractions were coming 3 minutes apart and I was feeling them much more. They ran my platelets again and they came back at 108k. They asked me if I wanted the epi and I declined it. I was still doing ok without it, although I would have been much better if I could have walked around. I hadn?t been told that with the induction I would have to be on a constant fetal monitor and could only move about 2 feet from my bed because the wires wouldn?t stretch any further.
I labored all morning and into the early afternoon. At 2pm my doctor came in to see how I was doing. Contractions were about 2 minutes apart and definitely hurt. Progress check- this one hurt like hell and I was still only at 4 centimeters. I could not believe it. How could I be having such hard contractions so close together, but not be progressing? She told me she wanted to break my water to speed things up a little more and I told her to go for it. So, out comes the giant knitting needle and she started poking around. It took forever, but finally I felt a huge gush, and then another gush, and it just kept on gushing. The entire time I was flooding the bed and the surrounding floor, my doctor was yelling ?This is not mild polyhydramnios! This is moderate! He (the perninatologist) was wrong!? I just laughed at her and watched in awe as my stomach visibly deflated with each gush of fluid. She asked me again if I wanted an epi, and I said no. It didn?t take long for the contractions to become more painful and I was really starting to rethink the epidural.
At 6pm, the doctor came back and checked me again. Guess where I was? Still at 4 cm! She told me that there was a large possibility that I would be sent in for a c-section if I didn?t progress and that I should consider the epidural if I didn?t want to be knocked out for the birth. The pain I could have handled, but I didn?t want to miss my son being born, so I told her to call for the epi. The anesthesiologist was in my room within 5 minutes. He gave me the standard speech and got started. When I sat up and leaned over the edge of the bed, the amniotic fluid started gushing out again and I wondered how much more I had in me. At that point, housekeeping had been in twice with a mop! The needle didn?t hurt at all, but as soon as the line was in, I got really dizzy. My blood pressure dropped to 60/40 so they started really pumping me full of fluids to bring it back up. The good news was that I was feeling no more pain! The only way I could tell I was having contractions was by watching the monitor. I was glad I couldn?t feel them because they started coming every minute at around 10 p.m. I laid in bed watching the monitor and talking to DH until about 11:00. Then I started having severe pain (in my rectum, of all places!) with each contraction. My doctor came back to check me and I told her that I was in a lot of pain. She told me that ?pressure? is normal and that I was probably going into transition. I tried to tell her that I was feeling more than pressure, but she kept brushing me off. She tried to do another internal and I just about went through the ceiling and told her she had to stop. She said ?Oh! I think your epi wore off! We?ll get anesthesia to come down and top it off for you.? All I could think was ?Duh, I?ve been trying to tell you!?
Anesthesia came back to top me off at 11:30, my blood pressure dropped again and they pumped in more fluid. The doc came back in to check me and?. Progress! I was at 6cm! At this point though, the fetal monitor started doing weird things and the doctor said ?Uh oh. The baby doesn?t like the pitocin, I think we are going to have to go in for a c-section? It really sucked to finally hear I was progressing, only to have her decide on a C two minutes later. However, at this point it had been 30 hours since the induction started and I was exhausted, hungry and just wanted it to be over.
I was wheeled into the OR at 11:50 and they got started. I remember feeling lots of tugging and pulling, and all of a sudden I felt a huge weight come off of me. DH was peering over the drape at the surgery and said ?He?s out!? and I said ? I know, I felt it!? I looked at the clock on the wall and it was 12:07 a.m. I couldn?t see the baby because of the drape and I was holding my breath waiting for him to cry. When I finally heard it, I burst into tears. The neonatologist took Shane to get him cleaned up and give him the Apgar tests, which he scored an 8/9 on. Then they called DH over to see him. I was still being sewn up and kept joking with my doctor to hurry it up so I could get up and see my baby (not that I could have actually stood up at that point, I couldn?t feel my legs!). Once he was done being cleaned up, one of the nurses brought him over to me. I couldn?t hold him, but they hadn?t strapped my arms down so I was able to touch him. He actually lifted his head up and looked at me, which really surprised me! He was also much bigger than I was expecting. He weighed 8 lbs 14oz and was 21 inches long, and I swear most of that weight must have been in his cheeks!
After they finished sewing me up, I went to recovery where I got to hold him for the first time and try breast feeding. He latched on ok, but kept falling asleep while he was nursing (5 weeks later, he still does this!). I wound up having to spend almost 7 hours in the recovery room because of blood pressure drops, fainting and vomiting, and by the time I was wheeled into a normal room, I was beyond exhausted.
The first few days of recovery were rough. Family kept coming to visit, the nurses wake you up every two hours to check vitals, and the nursery kept bringing the baby in to BF every two hours (why they couldn?t coordinate this timing with the vital checks, I have no idea). I got almost no sleep while I was in the hospital. I was incredibly bloated from all of the fluid they had given me, not to mention the swelling I had before the birth from the steroids. I looked like the stay-puffed marshmallow man! I was able to stand up and walk around a little the first day and they took the urinary catheter out. Unfortunately, the morphine left me unable to empty my bladder on my own (why didn?t anyone tell me that could happen?) and they had to put it back in, which meant I had to spend more time in bed. They took it out the second day and I was finally able to pee on my own, but my blood pressure kept crashing and I kept passing out any time I tried to sit up. Needless to say, by day 3, I was desperate to get out of bed and get into a hot shower. Once my blood pressure was under control, recovery wasn?t too bad. The incision site didn?t hurt too badly unless I was trying to sit up from a laying position. They gave me Percocet for the pain, but I stopped taking it on day 3 and switched to Tylenol instead. The pain got better each day and by 10 days after the surgery, I was getting around with no pain. All in all, I have no complaints. My baby is here and healthy and that?s all that matters to me. J
So, that?s my (very long) birth story!