A bit of background, you might remember I had Callie via c-section when I was 37 and a half weeks pregnant. She was breech, blah, blah, blah... I have her birth story recorded somewhere, maybe I will post it here soon.
Anyhow, I figured I would be pregnant with my second kiddo for a month longer, since I had Callie so early and I was hoping for a vaginal birth after cesarean (vbac) this time around. Usually it is better to not induce, especially in a vbac situation because pitocin, cervidil, etc. increase the risk of uterine rupture. Since I knew the baby might come early I did try to get the most important stuff ready before the 37 week mark. I had already set up the bassinet, found the carseat, washed the baby clothes (but not put away because Jeff was working on refinishing a dresser for the baby's room) and I had a pretty good stock of diapers & wipes handy. But I really thought all that stuff was going to just make me go crazy because I figure I had a month left.
Which brings us to October 4. I was 37 weeks 4 days pregnant and I had a groupon that would be expiring the following week for a fancy dinner out. I figured it would be our last date before the baby came. My good friend Michelle who was due 3 days before me had agreed to baby sit Callie while we went for our date Thursday night and I was going to watch her kiddos so she and her husband could go on the hospital tour the next night. Sidenote, since DMC doesn't guarantee private rooms we were hoping to possibly go into labor the same time so if we had to share it could at least be with a not weirdo!
Jeff and I went out to a great dinner at Papapavlo's. I had a steak, with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. I figured with delivery coming soon I needed to make sure I had lots of iron :) I think I finished Jeff's dinner too, it was some kind of pasta dish. We left to pick up Callie and I noticed Michelle kept looking distant and pausing. I asked if she was having contractions and she said yes, but it didn't feel like anything was going to happen. Then I realized I hadn't had any contractions for the whole day, which was odd because the week leading up to our night out I had been having contractions, but
not too regularly or too painful, they would just cause me a moment of
pause. I told her if things started moving for her she could give me a call anytime during the night to watch her kiddos until her mom could arrive from a few hours away. But I was still planning to make good on my promise to watch her kiddos on Friday night so the could go on the tour.
We headed home and got Callie to bed, and Jeff and I were both asleep by around 10 pm. At which time the waking every hour to pee commenced. At midnight (October 5) I started waking up to go to the bathroom quite often. I think the contractions were probably waking me up and I just assumed it was because I needed to use the restroom. At around 2 I realized I was having regular contractions, but I laid down and I tried to sleep as much as I could. By 3 I couldn't lay down anymore and I wasn't falling asleep anymore so I got up and messed around on the computer and read birth stories and timed contractions for a bit. They were about 5 minutes apart and about 1 minute long. I decided I was still faring okay and I wanted to give myself the best chance at a vbac so I chose to labor at home for a while, but I still wanted to have enough time to get the antibiotics because I was group b strep positive. I took a shower at around 5 and then my feet started hurting from standing up so I decided to switch to taking a bath. I was thinking that would be the make it or break it test to see if I was really in labor. I thought the contractions would probably just fizzle out at that point. I did wake Jeff up before I got in the bathtub at around 6 because I was worried I might need his help to get out again. During the night he had woken a few times and was aware it might be labor, but I kept telling him to rest while he could. After he got up he timed a few contractions at the contraction master website while I was in the tub I would tell him start when one began and then stop when they ended. He also came and refreshed my water when it got cold a couple times. By 7 it was time to get Callie up, so I got out of the bathtub and mostly just watched Jeff get her off to school. My mom called that morning at around 7:30 and Jeff told her I could be in labor. He also called a few members of his family. At 8 he dropped Callie off and told her teacher that another family member would likely be picking her up.
After we told a few family members several people called in the 15 minutes Jeff was gone taking Callie to school. I answered the phone because I knew if I didn't they would freak out and think something had happened while Jeff was gone taking Callie to school. I wanted to hang out at home until around noon, but my mom kept telling my husband that her labors went quickly and I needed to make sure I got to the hospital with enough time (in her defense my sister also has a history of precipitous labors, the first was about 3 hours from start to finish and the second was less than 2 hours).
So after I answered the phone a couple times Jeff came home and I decided I needed to eat something before we headed into the hospital. Most hospitals and doctors have a no food/drink policy for vbac patients so I wanted to fuel up while I could. I asked him to make me some dry toast. I ate about half a piece but the contractions were coming too quickly to chew and swallow before another one started so I agreed to head into the hospital. I asked Jeff to pack the last minute things, like my hairbrush, toothbrush, camera, etc While I swayed through contractions in the living room. Just before we left I mentioned he should call Michelle and let her know I wouldn't be able to watch her kiddos that night.
So we loaded the birthball in the backseat of the car and headed for the hospital. On the way we passed a friend from our ward who noticed the birth ball in the backseat of the car and she texted us to see if we were headed to the hospital. I texted back I might be in labor. The reason I said might was because the moment I got in the car my contractions spaced out from consistently 3 minutes apart and lasting about 90 seconds to only having 3 in the 20 minutes it took to get to the hospital. Jeff was going to pull up to the doors like they tell you to do when you go on the tour, but I said no, I can walk it. Then another car took the last available parking spot in the birth center parking area and I didn't want to hike in from the parking garage and another contraction hit. I told Jeff take me to the door I have to get out of this car. I went to check in and had several bad contractions while waiting to be called into registration. The benefit of pulling up to the door is that I got to go back before the other girl whose family took the last parking spot in the birth center lot. I felt like I was in more pain than she looked like she was in, so I didn't feel too guilty about it.
If you get squemish about words like: blood, mucous, and episiotomy this is probably about where you want to stop reading.
We got to a room, I put on the gown and the monitors and the first nurse who came in to help got a call while we were with her where we found out that 3 nurses had called in sick and there were quite a few people in labor that day. When the nurse checked me I found out I was 4-5 cm, 60% effaced, and she could tell from the monitors I was having regular contractions. After my cervical check I felt fluid dripping down my legs and assumed my water had a leak, but when I mentioned it to the nurse she said it was bloody show and no big deal. I was surprised how much blood it was. I answered all her millions of questions all while bouncing on the birth ball and then swaying through the contractions. About the time she finished all her questions up my mom and sister arrived. She also had me sign the consent for the vbac and she wanted me to sign the cesarean consent at the same time, which I was hesitant to do, but for some reason it didn't print so I didn't have to sign it. I had let her know I hoped to labor naturally as long as I could and I told her I would ask for medication or an epidural if I felt like I needed it. I also knew I needed an iv to administer the antibiotics for the group b strep, but I requested a hep lock so I wouldn't have to be so tied down. Unfortunately the first nurse couldn't place the iv, so a new nurse was called in. She failed her first try too, so someone else came and they helped the second nurse find the best vein for it, in my right hand.
I was dying of thirst so I asked for ice chips, something I had cleared with the doctor before my labor. My new nurse, Starr, denied me and said she would have to wait for an official order from the doctor.
My doctor arrived at noon to check me and reported little change from my check at 1030. Still 4-5 cm, but now at least 90% effaced. He ordered the antibiotics and gave the okay for ice chips, so I got hooked up while they gave me the antibiotics. I kept having to pee. It felt like I needed to go every 5 minutes, so I would disconnect all my monitors (which I had to wear the whole time because I was a vbac patient) and waddle over to the bathroom where I would commence to squeeze out a few drops, wipe off all the blood and then waddle my way back to the birth ball and bed where I would hook up the monitors again to just get to disconnect them in a few minutes so I could pee again. It was quite the ordeal really.
Around 1230 my mother in law showed up to say hello and she stayed for a while. By 1:00 there were no breaks in the contractions and I couldn't move anymore. With the belts and wires and iv I was miserable. At 2:30 I realized I had been laboring for over 12 hours and I was starting to lose it. I asked for an epidural. I didn't really want one, but I didn't think I could handle several more hours of the pain I was feeling. I had hardly slept the night before and I was really not in a good place. The doctor had encouraged me to get one as had the nurse (who we hadn't seen for quite a while, I assumed she was busy with all the other laboring ladies). As soon as I asked for the epidural they put it right in motion. She started pushing fluid into my iv really fast and called the anesthesiologist. She asked if she could check my dilation and I was in a lot of pain, but agreed to do it after I used the restroom again. I got up to use the restroom and I could tell she really wanted to check me, but I needed to go pee and by this point I wasn't moving all that quickly. By the time I got back to the bed so she could check me she said she would just wait until after the epidural was placed. I was fine with that at the time.
Dr. Papnickalas arrived and easily placed the epidural at about 3:00 and then he and the nurse hung out for quite a while. I was surprised because no one had time to come check on me or offer support before the epidural and then afterwards I had a full entourage. There was a nurse or doctor in the room with me from that point until I was taken to my postpartum room.
Just after the epidural was placed, Starr checked my cervix and said I was 8 cm. I was a little mad. If I had known before the epidural I was an 8, because I wouldn't have asked for one. And it would make sense that I was at the point where I felt like I couldn't go on any longer when I got to transition.
At 4:30 it was time for the second dose of antibiotics, they pushed those right through and then offered to break my water. The nurse said it could make me dilate the rest of the way quickly or it might cause the cervix to close up a bit if the bag of waters was holding open the cervix. Turns out the latter was my story and after Dr. Yip broke my water I went from being almost a 10 back down to an 8-9. At 5:15 Starr checked and I was declared fully dilated and instructed to begin pushing. Dr. Yip stopped in and let us know he would be hanging out waiting for the delivery. Using my hand I felt my stomach until I would feel a contraction coming and then I would push. As the baby moved lower the monitor would stop picking up the babies heartbeat and then the nurse would get all worried and come over and mess with my belts until she found the heartbeat again. At one point Dr. Yip came in and told Starr he was watching it all on the monitors and he was aware of what was happening. It was all weird to me, because whenever the heartrate went down I could tell it was just picking up my heartbeat because I could hear my pulse on the monitor in time with feeling my pulse in my neck. I was thinking I still might not get the vbac I hoped for. (A random thing I discovered in the pictures is the monitor they were worrying about says not to use it during the second stage of labor on a huge sticker on the side of it, I don't know why they aren't supposed to, it just says not to)
By 6:00 the nurse told me she was starting to see the babies head when I pushed and then when they could see the babies head between contractions the action started (at around 6:15). The extra team of nurses arrived to help with the delivery and the lights were turned on in the isolette, the doctor got suited up, and I finally started to believe the vbac was going to actually happen.
About two pushes before she arrived Dr. Yip asked for a pair of scissors. Earlier I had heard the nurse explain that I wanted to avoid an episiotomy, but he was going to cut one anyway. I stopped pushing and yelled "no scissors!" Dr. Yip told me he could tell I was going to tear and I could either tear or he could cut an episiotomy. I said let me tear, much to my mother's dismay. She asked why I wanted to tear and I yelled "just because it is what I want. Now isn't the time to get into this."
At 6:35 PM she was born. She was beautiful (of course). I was surprised that she came all in one push, my sister told me later that the doctor helped the process along by pulling quite a bit. Jeff cut the cord and I got to hold her while they cleaned her up. The placenta came along just a couple minutes later ( I am guessing with a little help from the dr again--though I don't know for sure because I was a little preoccupied at this point). There was a bit of repair work to do because I did have a second degree urethral tear. (I don't know if I would have torn so badly if she had been allowed to
come in a couple of pushes rather than being pulled out so quickly,
especially because at that point her heart rate was showing no signs of
Jeff's family was in the waiting room and hanging outside the hospital when our friends arrived for their hospital tour at 6:30 pm and they got to tell them the happy news of her arrival on their way out.
7lbs 12oz, 20.75 inches, and healthy!
The tear wasn't too bad for recovery--certainly better than the c-section. I will say that about 6 weeks after the delivery the tear reopened and I had to go to the doctor where it was caterized with something and that hurt a good bit, but it has since healed the rest of the way.
And there are probably more details I would write if I don't just publish this now, so here it is, in all of its minimally edited at midnight glory :) A bit long yes, but those of you who know me know I am pretty much the opposite of concise;)