Friday, August 17, 2018

Hammer's Birth Story

Disclaimer: Hammer is the nickname my son has had since I was 8 weeks pregnant. Also, this will be long so bear with me!

I gave birth to my first child a month ago yesterday. I really want to have his birth story somewhere so I can remember it in detail when mom-brain makes me forget. Let's see what I can remember...

On Sunday the 15th of July, I began having pretty regular contractions. They weren’t very strong or close together. My husband and I worked on finishing up Hammer's nursery that weekend. I had a scheduled obstetrician appointment on the 16th. At my appointment the previous week, my OB had said we would need to schedule an induction if I hadn't gone into labor by the 16th. I wanted the nursery to be ready for the baby to come home should I be induced.

Around 11:00 PM, my contractions became closer together, but were still around 7-8 minutes apart. They were lasting a minute or longer, though. In order to be sent to labor and delivery (L&D), the contractions needed to be five minutes apart lasting a minute or longer for an hour or more. I was able to fall asleep for a bit.

I woke up around 1:00 AM with stronger contractions. I couldn't sleep through them anymore. I began timing them with an app on my phone. They were ranging from 4-6 minutes apart and lasted over a minute each. Around 1:30 AM, I woke my husband because I needed him to help me breathe through them. They were getting closer and closer together. Some were only 2-3 minutes apart! We decided to wait until 2:00 AM to call the after hours number for my OB's office. When I called, the OB said to head to L&D so we gathered our things and did. Let me just say, contractions while riding in a car for forty minutes are not fun.

We arrived at the hospital just before 3:00 AM and got situated in our room. The room just happened to be the same room I delivered my sleeping twins in back in September... I guess the universe was giving us a way to replace sad memories in that room with happy ones. At this point, I was two centimeters dilated and 50% effaced with the baby's head at -3 station. (For information on what I mean by station, please click here.)

Just before 5:00 AM, my nurse said the on call doctor told him if I hadn't had any cervical changes they would be sending me home. Nothing had changed. He came back within about half an hour and let us know they would be keeping me for observation for another two hours. Since I live forty minutes from the hospital and baby was at an A- on the monitor and not an A+, they weren't confident with discharging me. We later learned his heart rate was flat and didn't have the peaks and dips most babies have, but it wasn't a huge concern at that point. My mom had arrived by this point.

Another cervical check was completed around 7:30 AM. The nurse declared I was now three centimeters dilated and 50% effaced with baby at -2 station. The doctor came in shortly after this and said since my labor was progressing and I would probably be induced that day anyway, they wanted to augment my labor. We agreed.

She used a Foley balloon and pitocin on the lowest setting. I asked for an epidural immediately because I know how painful the contractions are with pitocin. I experienced a few of these intense contractions while waiting for the epidural. When a nurse tried to adjust my Foley balloon around 10:00 AM, it came right out which meant I was dilated to at least four centimeters. About fifteen minutes later, the anesthesiologist came in and did my epidural.

I don't remember much after that in regards to time. I know I napped some. I know the nurses turned off my pitocin and reduced my epidural because baby's heart rate would drop with my contractions and stay low for too long. I remember my contractions came back really strong and I had to get a bolus from the anesthesiologist. The bolus made everything more numb than the original epidural did. I know the doctor came in and broke my water because my labor had stalled with them shutting off the pitocin.

My doctor was getting ready to recommend a c-section, but I told my nurse I felt a lot of pressure and pain with each contraction. She did another check and determined I was ready to push. I pushed for 30 minutes, but was getting worn out. The nurse let me "rest" for about 30 minutes. Her hope was the baby would work his way down on his own. I was sobbing through each contraction and telling my husband I wasn't sure how I was supposed to rest when the pain was so bad. My mom was massaging my back while my husband attempted to help me breathe through the pain.

The nurse came back and told me to push again. The pain was terrible with each contraction. I kept having to stop because I felt like I was going to throw up. I cried almost the whole time saying I didn't know if I could push him out. I remember saying over and over I never wanted a natural childbirth and the pain was too bad. I know I said at least once I was never wanted to go through labor again. Eventually, I did throw up due to the pain. I'm not sure how, though, because I hadn't had anything to eat in over 24 hours. Throwing up helped me though because I was able to push harder after that.

The doctor came back and said she could see the baby's head coming out. She said it looked like he was stuck under my pelvic bone and, if I could get his head under it, he would come out really easily. Baby appeared to be under distress. There was a lot of movement once she said this; the bed was raised high, the end was taken off, and stirrups were brought out. Once I was in the stirrups, pushing was so much easier. I wish they would have set the bed up like that to begin with!

With the next few contractions, the doctor tried to use a vacuum while I was pushing. Unfortunately, it popped off the baby's head twice. The next time I pushed, she pulled and the baby's head came out.  I pushed once more and felt immediate relief! I heard a little squeak and my husband asked if I had heard the baby. My husband had planned to cut the umbilical cord, but I heard the doctor say, "Sorry, Dad. I had to cut the cord. We need to take care of him." 

The nurses took the baby to the warmer and began working on him. He starting crying loudly. My mom and husband went to see the baby while I was laying there getting my second degree tear stitched up. I heard the doctor say he came out sunny side up which is why my contractions were so intense and why he got stuck under my pelvic bone. The nurse the doctor was talking to said my epidural had failed, too.

My mom asked if I wanted to see a picture of the baby. I told her no because I wanted to see him. A few moments later, a nurse brought him over to me and I got to see my beautiful baby boy. He was born at 9:50 PM on July 16th which is also his paternal grandfather's birthday. He weighed 6 pounds and 15.5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

I later learned from my mom that, when he was born, he was very limp. The nurse would pick up his arm and drop it, and his arm would fall to his side. My mom was very worried, but the nurses kept telling her he would be okay.

I held him for a minute or two and the nurses took him to the nursery to give him some fluids. Shortly after, he was brought back to breastfeed for the first time. They took him back to the nursery when he was done and the L&D nurse finished with my post-delivery checklist and moved me to the postpartum floor around 11:30 PM.

I will write soon about our first night together and Hammer's stay in the NICU.

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