So we arrived in Labor and Delivery Saturday evening around 7:00. I didn't really know what to expect and was anxious to see how far I had dilated since my last check earlier that week. My husband and I were both very excited to finally be at this point. The feeling was surreal and I kept asking myself was it really happening? We were all checked in and ready to go!
The nurse checked me and I was only about 1.5 cm dilated. I was having fairly nice contractions on my own, so the doctor decided to let me labor naturally for awhile and see what would happen. So that is how my night continued for the next few hours. My husband was amazing (as I knew he would be) and was there for me through every single contraction. Having him was my only comfort.
I knew I was going to be checked again at 11:00 p.m. and we started discussing when I would get my epidural. I knew I was going to have one, so it was just a matter of when did I want it. At my next check, I was 2 cm dilated and at that point we decided to go ahead with the epidural. I told myself why continue to put myself through that pain when getting the epidural was inevitable for me anyways.
So the anesthesiologist came in and gave me my first push of the epidural. He had me lay on my right side for this, which was different from what I had seen on all the Labor & Delivery shows on TV. I was very nervous and asked the nurse, "What happens if I am having a contraction when he administers the epidural?" She told me that happens all the time and to just try and remain still and breathe through it. This was something again I wasn't used to from what I had read about and seen on TV. I always thought the body should be relaxed when administering it. The epidural did not hurt as much as I had expected it to. I felt a good pinch and towards the end a jolt down the right side of my leg.
Minutes after he left, we had one of thee biggest scares of our life. The baby's heart rate disappeared and the nurse on duty could not find it for the life of her. I could tell she was starting to freak out and kept quickly moving the monitor all over my stomach looking for it. She had me move to my left side and did the same thing. I seriously felt like I was in the middle of a nightmare and just unable to wake myself. up. I remember that I started pleading for my husband crying out "Baby....baby....". I looked across the room to where he was sitting and he was literally unable to move. Him and my sister looked like ghosts. My husband couldn't move, speak, or breathe. Seeing him in that state freaked me out even more, as he usually is the calm one. The nurse called her team in and about 3 other nurses walked calmly in the room. They had me change positions in the bed. I remember asking the nurse, is there a heart beat at all? She told me they had found it but it was very low. My husband remembers seeing "64" on the screen when they first found it again. The team then began internal fetal heart rate monitoring by connecting an electronic transducer directly to the fetal skin. A wire electrode was attached to the baby's scalp through the cervix. They did this to get a more accurate and consistent heart rate.
Once the nurses got that in place his heart rate came back up and the nurses continued to monitor it closely. I cannot express to you how hard this was on my husband and I. I felt as though I was losing everything - like all my hopes and dreams for a life with this little guy were being torn away from me - straight out of my heart. I've never felt a hurt like that before.
After the scare, they checked me again and I was dilated 4 cm. I couldn't help but thinking that we lost his heart rate as a response to the epidural. I remembered feeling that jolt and how tense my body was during the administration of it since I was contracting. The nursing staff felt it was a combination of the epidural along with how quickly my body had transitioned to active labor/the transition stage. I had went from 2 to 4 cm very quickly. I'm still not convinced either way what it was. The epidural, the way I was laying, transitioning to active labor, or ...?
At this point, it was time to rest. I slept on and off for the next six hours. My next check I was 6 cm dilated and the check after that I was still 6 cm dilated. This is when we started the pitocin. We started at a very low dose and my nurse kept coming in and increasing the dosage throughout the day. When I was 9 cm the doctor told me she really didn't want me to have anymore boluses of the epidural, so I would be able to properly feel when to push. By about 2:30 p.m. I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push. I pushed for 3 hours straight after being in labor for hours upon hours. They set up a mirror for me so I could watch too. We could see our lil boys head, but he didn't ever make it to crowning. In between contractions, his heart rate continuously accelerated and was in between 160 and 170 bpm. When I was pushing, it would dip all the way down to 100 bpm. At 5:30 p.m., my doctor gave us three options: 1- keep pushing, 2- use the vacuum to assist, or 3- move on to a c-section.
I really felt as though I had given my all and I hadn't made any progress pushing for the past hour. Hubby and I went back and forth between the vacuum option and c-section. The doctor informed us of the risks of each and pointed out that the vacuum may not even work and we could potentially end up with a c-section anyways. We weren't comfortable with the risks of the vacuum and decided to move forward with the c-section. At the time, we didn't know if we were making the right decision and it was an extremely emotional time for us.
As soon as we decided on the c-section, the team worked fast. The anesthesiologist was back and prepping me. Nurses were in and out preparing for surgery. I was shaking uncontrollably from the meds. Our parents came in to wish us well. It was really hard being wheeled out of that room leaving my family behind. I was supposed to have given birth right then and there. I was supposed to have been able to hold my son after birth. I felt let down and that I was letting everyone I loved down too. I know I had tried my best and given it my all, but I couldn't fight the feelings I was having. I was terrified being wheeled back into surgery.
Me while they were prepping for surgery
Hubby waiting to be called back ...we were both very scared
Once I got back there, they had to make sure I was fully responding to the medication/s before hubby could come back by me. I remember just asking over and over "Can my husband come in yet? When will someone go get my husband?" After numerous ups in medication, I finally couldn't feel her poking on my stomach anymore and they were ready to get started. Hubby arrived and it was a matter of minutes before it was time to pull him out. While my doctor was performing the surgery, she assured me that we had made the right choice by having the c-section. She told me that his very large head was tilted in the birth canal and most likely wouldn't have come out with the vacuum. Our son miraculously came into this world on August 19th at 6:10 p.m.
MAJOR scare #2 ...he had a really rough start. Instantly, when they pulled him out there were 4 women working on him. He needed help breathing and they were also working on getting the meconium out of his system as he had a bowel movement while still in the womb. I couldn't breathe!!! My husband was videoing the whole thing and I just kept asking him, "Is he okay? Is he breathing? What are they doing?". I felt SO helpless laying there and not being able to do anything to help my son. One of the nurses asked the doctor, "How's his heart rate?" and the doctor replied "Not good." I heard the nurses say someone should call the NICU to inform them he would be coming. After the longest 4 1/2 minutes of our lives, our son let out his first cry. It was not a very powerful cry - more of a whimper, but indeed a cry.
At that point, he was considered more stable and they let my husband come over and take pictures. I was still crying and pleading across the room to my husband asking if he was okay.
Hubby with Ari in the NICU
Ari receiving his security band in our room