A Thursday Morning in March...
Cincinnati Doula + Birth Photography
It was a rainy Thursday morning in March when I headed to my 40 week o.b. appt at 40 weeks and 5 days. I had been having prodromal labor for about 5 weeks at this point and consistent contractions 4-6 minutes apart all day, everyday as well. I was definitely over being pregnant and all of the false alarms, but was standing strong against any talk of inductions. My o.b. knew and supported this decision. My previous birth was an induction at 41 weeks and 3 days. My body reacted horribly to the pitocin. I got an epidural way before I had ever planned to even think about getting one and the epidural itself was a traumatic experience due to a very callous anesthesiologist. These things had me standing very firm on the side of no inductions this go around. My appt went pretty routinely, I consented to a cervical check as I always did even knowing that no, my cervix is not a crystal ball. I was dilated to a 3.5 at this point. For me, that was pretty crazy. I had never dilated on my own passed maybe a half a cm in previous pregnancies and my last birth at 3.5 I was getting an epidural placed (due to the pitocin reaction). I felt awesome. My body was doing something. I felt confident that I would go into labor on my own in no time. My dr scheduled a routine post date non stress test for later that afternoon. No big deal. I had a few of these my last pregnancy, I knew what to expect. I grabbed some lunch, went to visit my kids who were with my mom for my appts, and then went off to my NST. Contracting the whole time, I might add. The first thing that was done during my NST was monitoring the baby for 20 minutes. He was doing perfect in there. The next thing was to check the fluid levels. I had the nurse explain to me exactly what we were looking for in the levels and what would be worrisome. As soon as she started this ultrasound, I had a bad feeling. He didn't look like he had much to swim around in in there, but I kept my worries to myself in hopes that there was some fluid hiding somewhere else in there. There wasn't. I knew what that meant. I would likely be headed for an induction. I started crying. My nurse was so sweet and encouraging. She held my hand before calling my dr and telling her what she had seen on the scan. My dr, knowing I did not want to be induced, asked if I just wanted to be put on some fluids for awhile to see if that would help. I asked her honest opinion if that would truly be enough. She wasn't hopeful, but said we could absolutely try before jumping to induction. I just wanted what was best for my baby, so the next thing I knew I was being admitted and having an IV placed. This IV was supposed to be for fluids only until we decided that pitocin was necessary, if it was necessary. I had another cervical check once admitted. I was at 4.5! My body was obviously already doing its thing in preparation for this baby. I called my husband and family to let them know I was being admitted and that we would soon have a baby. My OB stopped by to check on me to see how I was doing. She truly is the sweetest woman. I could never imagine birthing a baby without her. We talked about the pitocin. The only thing I wanted was the ability to turn it off when things really got going. I did not want to be stuck on it and in the same situation as last time. She agreed and never said to start the pitocin.The nurse on my case however, must have gotten her signals mixed up because she started me on pitocin. When I asked why she was starting it, she said my ob ordered it. I trust my o.b. so I just said okay and kept bouncing away on my ball. About 3 hours later was shift changes, thank goodness. My new nurse came in and I asked about turning the pitocin off. She told me that wasnt something they could do and I got bgh understandably pissed. I told her what my o.b. said and she said she would ask, but had never heard of that being done before. I will admit that at first, because of this, I did not like this nurse, but she quickly changed my mind. She was so encouraging and supportive. She was there for anything I needed or wanted. She held my hand when I needed it and gave me my space when I needed that to. She distracted me with stories of other places she had been a labor and delivery nurse at and how different things were in different places. She loved the essential oils I had diffusing and laughed when my husband tried to find the right blend i needed in my bad. She quietly told me "great job, you've got this" through every contraction I got through. She was truly amazing. Between her and my husband I had the best support team I could have asked for. I know she must have had other patients, but I felt like she was always with me and i appreciated her so much. Anyways, shortly after that, my dr called to check on me. When the nurse informed her of how much pitocin I was on and how long I had been on it for, my dr immediately said "does she know she is on pitocin? She didn't want it and I never ordered it". She was so,so apologetic about the mix up. I hadn't progressed much in the few hours of being on it though, so I decided to just stay on the pitocin since I was doing just fine at that point. 2 hours later I was at 7.5 cm and the pitocin was turned off. By 2 a.m. I was at 9.5 cm! My baby would be here soon, or so i thought. I called my photographer, texted my parents an update. I was excited and ready to have this baby, med free! I labored in bed, on a peanut ball, walked the halls. I did all of the things this time and I was so proud of myself. I vividly remember telling my husband, mid contraction, that the next time I complained of menstrual pain I didn't want to hear anything about it because I had regularly experienced menstrual cramps worse than the contractions I was experiencing. I was shocked at how "painless" my labor was for a very long time. But after 3 hours stuck at 9.5 cm, over 15 hours of being in labor, my contractions were never closer than 4-6 minutes apart and things were starting to go down hill. I started getting that "I cant do this" feeling. After 5 hours of being at 9.5 cm i needed a break. I got an epidural. It was never my intention to have a med free birth. I have never felt the need to be absolutely med free, I never thought I could do it. To this day, I regret getting that epidural. I was so close, but I just needed rest. I was exhausted. The pain and exhaustian were taking over. So I got an epidural and justmy luck, it was done by the same anesthesiologist as last time. It was awful, again. But once it was over I slept for 3 hours and oh, did my body need that. I woke up at 10 a.m.and was ready to push. My sweet nurse from my NST was there and on my case now. I was so happy to see her. The epidural had worn off enough that I could feel when I needed to push. Even now though, my contractions were still about 4-6 minutes apart. It didn't take long to figure out why, baby was sunny side up. Same as my last birth. My babies always have terrible birth positions! My first was breech, she was a csection, and both of the following babies were sunny side up. I pushed for 2.5 hours. I followed my body's cues and didnt push on command, but that little bugger and his terrible positioning did not want to come out of his comfy little home. After about 2 hours of pushing I started getting sharp pains in between contractions. As someone who has had a previous c section, this pain can be a big concern. My uterus could have been rupturing. I was so scared. I knew the risks. I knew what could be happening. The o.r. was put on stand by. My o.b. looked worried for me. There was so much tension in the room. It felt like everyone was holding their breath. I was giving up on myself at this point. Everyone kept telling me he was almost here,but I didnt believe them. Obviously, I was wrong. My perfect little boy was born at 12:20 p.m. after almost 24 hours of labor. Except, he wasn't perfect. He was purple. And he was silent. I immediately asked what was wrong with him as I pulled him to my chest. I knew this wasn't normal. The nurses all told me he was fine and not to worry. They took him from me once his cord stopped pulsating and began to suction and put a mask on him. It was all a blur,but it was the scariest 20 minutes or so of my life until he finally started breathing properly and was returned to me. He was 8 lbs 8 oz and 20 inches of perfection. It didn't all go according to my "plan,not plan" that I had in my head, but I was so proud of myself and my body that day. It was hard, but I did it. I did it. I had a second successful vbac. I brought this baby into the world and he was mine.