Where to begin… life really isn’t kidding when it says that nothing goes according to plan. The way Finn’s birth went was never in the cards, but somehow it snuck in! And then it only got worse from there. But he’s healthy and happy and that’s all we really could ask for. Here goes long post #1:
Our last check up with the doctor was Friday afternoon on the 16th. Things were somewhat progressing, but not really. I think I was 2cm dilated but 0% effaced and at a 0 station (somewhere I would remain until he was delivered!). So, doctor scheduled what is called an outpatient gel induction where I would go in and they would insert a gel that would help me dilate and efface more. She called the hospital right there and scheduled it for 8pm that night. The plan was that we would go in at 8, they’d do 3 stages of the gel and if there wasn’t any progression I would go home 8 hours later and wait out the rest of the pregnancy for Finn to decide to come. My best friend Crystal was in town at this point and had been all week where she cooked and baked for us everyday. We ran some errands, picked up some green nail polish in hopes of having a St. Patty’s day baby the next day, went home, relaxed, Crystal painted my toe nails and waited until 7pm when I was supposed to call the hospital. We called at 7 and the hospital told us they were really busy that night with a lot of deliveries so they would call me when I could come in, but not to stay up because it could be in the middle of the night. We were bummed but just went with it. Finally at midnight they called and said they spoke with my doctor and so I was to come in the next morning at 7am. So, we tried to get some sleep until then. At about 3am I was getting some really bad cramps which I thought was weird. They persisted until my alarm went off at 6am. It wasn’t unbearably painful, just annoying. We got ready, got to the hospital, I changed into a hospital gown (something I wouldn’t take off for many days!) and the nurse hooked me up to all the machines and right away said, “You’re already contracting!”, me: “What? Is that what those annoying cramps are?”… lol. The gel had only a 20% chance of actually putting me into labor, so the fact that I was already contracting was good news for us. Early labor had begun. We were really hoping a St. Patty’s Day baby was a possibility.
The first stage of the gel was put in and Dan and I took a nap since we hadn’t gotten much sleep that night. Crystal came later in the morning so the 3 of us played games on our phones, talked, joked and just waited for more progress. I was told to walk the halls, move around, sit on the birthing ball, just try to get things going.
Here we all are doing our thing. I’m sure it was not very fun for Crystal or Dan to just be sitting around. Nor was it fun for me, but at least I was preoccupied. ;)
Here’s to prove that I actually did try to look presentable for the birth by doing my hair and make-up. 48 hours later, “presentable” wasn’t even in the cards! We did the next 2 stages of the gel over the next 8 hours. Dan was the best, obviously. Held my hand through any and every contraction which by this time (maybe 5pm?) were very close together but not hardly painful at all.
We thought everything was going along swimmingly because the nurse came in sometime in the early evening and said that my doctor decided to admit me. We thought it was due to the contractions being only a couple minutes apart as well as the fact that I was now 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. Boy were we wrong! Our new nurse came in at the start of her shift at 7:30pm and said I was being tested for Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) because my blood pressure readings were kind of high. Okaaaay…. whatever, do what you have to do, we thought, let’s just get this baby show on the road before midnight! I had a lot of blood work done and we continued to wait for about another hour. Then things took a turn.
The anesthesiologist came in at about 8:30pm and said that if I wanted an epidural we had to do it right now due to my “blood pressure and platelet issues”. “Huh???” was our immediate thoughts. The anesthesiologist continues to explain the epidural process and got me quite anxious. Not only because the epidural sounded terrifying (but of course there was no other option, I would not give birth without it!), but I also had no idea what platelet issues he was talking about. So, after he was done talking about a mile a minute because he does this multiple times every day I asked him what he was talking about and how it affected an epidural. That’s when the nurse spoke up and explained to me that I was found to be extremely anemic and my blood platelets were dangerously low. The anesthesiologist explained that platelets are needed to help the blood coagulate, so having low platelets means that I would be at risk for an epidural hematoma which is bleeding between the inside of the skull and the outer covering of the brain (called the “dura”) and could be deadly. So, he did the epidural by 9pm and right after, I had no feeling so I felt pretty good. Because you are a fall risk while having an epidural, they don’t allow you to get up and go to the bathroom so a catheter was put in. Immediately, it did not feel right.
My mom and dad came in later that night to help pass the time. I remember saying something to my nurse several times that night about me feeling the catheter and it was really uncomfortable. She kept assuring me that some women feel them and some women don’t. As the night progressed it became very painful. I told my mom how much pain I was in due to the catheter, as well as the fact that I was starting to feel really intense contractions. I was so unbelievably uncomfortable at this point, it was not a good night. I was crying to both Dan and my parents as well as the nurse every time she came in to which she always said the same thing. Finally my mom went out to the nurse’s station to talk to the other nurses and there were several differing opinions. Some said I shouldn’t feel a thing and some said it’s possible I could feel it. We kept wondering what the point of an epidural was if I was still in excruciating pain. I could tell Dan, Crystal, and my parents just felt so sorry for me. Finally my nurse said that maybe I was allergic to latex and she was going to try a latex-free catheter. Umm no, I’d know if I was allergic to latex by this point in my life. But she did it. No improvement. At this point I was just miserable and couldn’t even think straight because of all the pain I was in. We asked her if she could just take the catheter out – I wasn’t even feeling the effects of the epidural at this point so walking to the bathroom would have been very simple. She called my doctor who agreed that it could be removed but that I still couldn’t get out of bed (don’t think it was stressed to her how much the epidural was NOT working) so there had to be “other arrangements” which I won’t detail. I should also probably mention that once you get an epidural you are forbidden from eating anything until after it wears off. So, no food since 9pm Saturday night.
It rained all day Saturday and all night and throughout the morning on Sunday. Dan and I slept at the hospital while Crystal went back to our house to feed Penny and let her go potty, etc. She returned in the morning. My parents were “on call” in case labor progressed any more on Sunday. We spent most of Sunday just waiting around. Me still feeling every contraction and not getting any answers why. My new day nurse thought it was really abnormal for me to have this much feeling and decided to call the anesthesiologist back in the assess the situation. He explained that he could take this one out and put a new one in to which I agreed because at this point I was just terrified that I would have to go through labor without one, feeling every painful contraction, push, and movement. I signed all the waivers again about how I could be paralyzed and they aren’t responsible, etc. Whatever, get rid of this pain! He really had trouble getting this next one in. The day before it took him about 5 or so tries. This time he took about 10 tries and then decided to call his partner in, another anesthesiologist. He decided to try one last time before letting his partner and it worked. I immediately felt great – again. No feeling, hooray! The nurse put the catheter back in and I couldn’t feel it. Happy day. An hour later my doctor came in and decided to break my water. This was about 3:00pm. After that it was just a matter of time. We could be having a baby very shortly that evening! Here I am right after, just sucking on ice chips with my hair still somewhat decent looking.
I don’t really remember the exact time but at some point that night, I started to feel again. Very gradually, but it was happening. Thankfully the catheter wasn’t bothering me too much this time around, it was the contractions. Since I was between 3 and 4 cm dilated and almost fully effaced, the contractions were STRONG. My support group of Dan and Crystal were great, they encouraged, consoled, and made me laugh at all the right times. Dan held my hand through pretty much every single contraction.
At about 11pm my contractions were 2 minutes apart and I was almost ready to start pushing. We said goodbye to Crystal as she waited in the lobby, thinking we were going to have a baby within the hour. Yeeeeahhh… that didn’t happen. Contractions got really strong, I was in a lot of pain, again, which shouldn’t have been the case. So, my nurse called the anesthesiologist in who injected another bolus into my epidural which numbed me up real good again. Then a bit later I was ready for some pushing.
Things start to get really fuzzy for me here as far as timing. I think we finally started pushing sometime after 12am (I think) and I did a few pushes with the nurse until she told me to stop. She told us that the baby had passed his meconium and she was going to call the doctor. I had heard of this during all my reading in pregnancy and I was a little worried. I know it can be very serious as far as causing breathing problems, but the baby is usually okay. Doctor showed up 20 minutes later and we did a few more pushes, to no avail. She said my pushing was great, the baby just wasn’t moving down at all and was still at a 0 station. With him passing the meconium into the amniotic fluid he was at risk for aspirating it and she didn’t want to take any more chances seeing as how my labor has already gone on for so long. She told Dan and we needed to do a c-section right away. Immediately nurses started coming in and prepping me before I even had a chance to say anything. The anesthesiologist came in and started getting me ready for the spinal block I was to have to completely numb me from the chest down. They threw some scrubs at Dan and told him to “scrub up”, which he did. Dan and I never even had a chance to say a word to eachother beforehand. It was the quickest process I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know it at the time, but Dan was extremely worried about me at this time. I was so drugged up and in pain that my immediate thought when she said c-section was of relief. I wanted it to be over. It was such a long weekend of so many complications that I was exhausted and just wanted to hold my baby already. So, the thought of a c-section actually didn’t sound so bad. I saw later in his eyes in this pic how distressed Dan really was. He was clearheaded and was able to grasp that I was about to have major abdominal surgery. I think now it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t able to comprehend that because it probably would have made it much worse for me. Instead, poor Dan had to deal with the emotional trauma of that himself. :(
Moments later I was wheeled into the c-section room. Dan was told to wait outside while they finished prepping me and moved me to the surgical table which was extremely weird because my whole body felt like it weighed a thousand pounds and I couldn’t feel a THING. Something that would have been very nice the rest of the weekend!
My view during the surgery was of this big blue sheet. I know I look(ed) terrible, but for posterity’s sake – here I am as my lower half was being cut open and a human being removed from my body! Dan was sitting right beside me. It felt like it was only seconds later that I heard these little cries, which sounded more like coughs of a baby. My baby. He was born at 2:58am on the 19th. I heard exclamations of “Looks like mama!” and I remember just sitting here fighting off the zzz’s as I was so tired from the whole weekend and on top of it all of the narcotics I was on. I wanted to see my baby before I finally fell asleep. I remember wondering why they weren’t bringing my baby over to me to see. Every c-section story I’ve ever read or video I’ve seen they immediately bring the baby for mom to see. Turns out Finn had aspirated some of his meconium so they were over there shoving tubes down his throat to suck it out of his lungs and cleaning him off. Oh and the reason Finn wasn’t budging every time I would push and remained at a 0 station the entire time? The cord was wrapped around his poor neck! Doctor said it was good that we did the c-section when we did for that reason.
Dan got to cut the cord and moments later Dan showed up at my side holding Finn all wrapped up in a blanket with tears in his eyes and said, “He looks just like you.” It was a wonderful moment that I really will cherish forever. I had to continue to sit there while the doctors and nurses sewed me back up. The pediatrician took Finn back from Dan and continued to do their thing.
We got back to our hospital room in the Labor & Delivery ward and I was told that due to my anemia, low platelets, and loss of blood during the c-section I was to get 3 blood transfusions, so that was started as well as the continued fluids I had already been getting all weekend. I was so completely numb I barely knew I still had a lower body. I held Finn very briefly until my arm got too tired and I was afraid of dropping him or him rolling out of my arms off the bed. Dan was just beaming. His face and eyes that night were unforgettable. He was so happy. As was I! I couldn’t believe it was all over (so I thought) and we were now a family of three! I couldn’t wait to be more awake so I could cuddle my little Finn and just be a mommy.
It wasn’t over from there… the pediatric nurse took him once we were done with our first pics and she weighed and measured him and then gave him his first bath to ensure there was no other meconium on him. He was 8 pounds, 2.6 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long! He was a big healthy boy, thank goodness! Due to me having a c-section and my body being under so much stress he was fed formula right away because I was just too weak to even attempt to breastfeed, my doctor didn’t want me to even think about it that first night. And she still doesn’t want me stressing about it 3 weeks later!!!
Once we were alone in the room it was time to call our parents and go find Crystal out in the lobby. Poor girl left at 11 thinking we were gonna have a baby within the hour and over 4 hours later she finally found out all that had happened. Dan called my mom who was noticeably upset to hear that her daughter had just had major abdominal surgery. She said she would be over first thing in the morning after a few more hours of sleep for all of us. Which she did. Dan and I tried to get some sleep, but believe it or not, even with how tired I was I could not fall asleep. So I basically laid in that bed and watched Finn in his little bed until my mom showed up about 8am-ish. Dan had been snoozing off and on but he had a hard time due to having to comfort Finn each time he needed it since I was still unable to walk. When my mom got there she took over and let both Dan and I get a few hours of sleep until we finally woke up and were all able to visit and enjoy our new little one!
And that’s just part one… what happened over the course of the following week just blew all of our minds and I am so thankful and lucky to be here!