I loved reading birth stories when I was pregnant. It always fascinated me to see the events that led up to someone's baby being born. Even though Joe and I took Childbirth Preparation class and read the books, I still knew that birth was pretty much an unscripted thing and I loved thinking about how Landon would arrive. So now that he's here I'm so excited to share our journey - sorry it's LONG (and I was right - it definitely didn't go as the "script" would say!!)
We decided with our doctor to go ahead for an induction on Wednesday night, June 29th. Our doctor told us to check into L&D around 6pm and they would start the induction with Cytotech and then move on to Pitocin the following morning. That's about all we knew going into it. Oh, and I wasn't allowed to eat much that day. So I had two mozzarella sticks and a slush from Sonic at noon. I took Boomer with me and he sat in the front passenger seat of the car, we had the windows rolled down, sitting in the Sonic stall I remember thinking that this was going to be one of our last moments before the baby came.
Joe worked a normal day that day so he got home about 5:15. I had all the last minute bags at the door waiting. I asked him if we could take one last picture of the two of us while I was pregnant.
We loaded up into the car and left. On the way we talked to our parents on the phone. They all had originally planned to come into town the following morning or afternoon but at the last minute they all decided to come that night so we were coordinating who would stay at our house and when they would see us at the hospital. It turned out to be good that they all came earlier than planned (as you will see!!).
We checked in at the desk right at 6pm. This was not something we were going to be late for!! Ha! The nurse already had my file waiting and she asked us to fill out some paperwork. I remember having to sign something on the line that indicated "parent" and Joe and I had a little giggle about that. The nurse told us they were still getting my room ready so we would have to wait in the waiting room. We ended up waiting over an hour and it was the longest hour of my life! By this time I was starving so Joe made a little cup of coffee at the pot there in the waiting room and I sipped on that. I bet we looked ridiculous sitting there in the lobby with all our luggage. We watched as they turned one expectant mom away for not being dilated enough to warrant an admission. Joe and I joked that we would get her room. We also got a kick out of this.
Yes, we were definitely about to banish some belly "fat" very soon!
Finally at 7:30pm a nurse came to get us and took us back to our room. It was a big room with hardwood floors and purple lily wallpaper border. They immediately had me take off all my clothes and get into a hospital gown. Joe had to help me. I always put those things on backwards accidentally.
At 8:05pm, the nurse checked me and I was a 1cm and 60% effaced (same as I was the week before at my last doctors appointment). I asked the nurse, typically, when the baby was born in cases similar to mine. She said we'd probably have a baby this time the following night. I realized it was going to be a long night and day ahead. She also put an IV in my wrist and hooked me up to a contraction monitor. I was having contractions! I barely felt them and they were irregular but they were there!!
Then, the nurse for the anesthesia group came by for more paperwork signing. Joe already knew which attending was on call so he asked for that physician to place the epidural when the time came that I was ready for it. I think he would feel weird if one of his fellow residents did my epidural. I know I would probably blush when I saw them at this year's Christmas party.
At 8:30pm the OB resident came and said we were ready for my first round of Cytotech. I had done some online research so I knew it would be in the form of a pill. I don't know why I was imagining I would swallow the pill. No such luck. She placed the pill on my cervix (no fun). I was on a four hour window from this first dose. Two hours of bed rest and then two more hours and they would check me for progress. They said we could do up to three rounds before we'd have to move on to something else.
I started feeling my contractions pick up a little bit after the first dose of Cytotech. They were maybe a 1 or 2 on the pain scale. Joe and I talked to our parents on the phone some more. He took some pictures and I texted some friends. At 9:30pm Joe went across the street to get a Jimmy Johns sandwich. He asked me if he should eat it in the hallway since I wasn't allowed to have food (haha!). Of course I said no but I was starving at this point and it smelled so good.
At midnight Joe's family got to the hospital. My family was still there so it was a full room! Everyone wished me luck and there was so much excitement in the air :) Joe's family decided to stay in a hotel so they left shortly after to go check in and get some rest.
At 12:30am my four hour window from the first dose of Cytotech was up. The OB resident came back into the room and my mom and sister waited in the hallway while she checked me. NO changes to my cervix. I about cried. She inserted a second pill into my cervix, put me on another four hour window and left. My mom and sister came back in for a few minutes but I encouraged them to go back to our house to get a good nights rest. Nothing was happening here any time soon!
Almost as soon as the door closed behind them my contractions got SUPER painful. Like, off the charts, out of control painful. The nurses came in and they looked at me like "Oh, honey, this hurts? You're only a 1cm! This isn't even labor." Joe really had to step it up as "labor coach". I tried to use some of the breathing techniques we learned in class but honestly, I was feeling very out of control and they kind of went out the window. I ended up using my arm to push against Joe's and for some reason that pressure (that I could control) helped me. I told the nurses my pain was a 9 on the pain scale so they offered me some Staydol in my IV, which I took. It didn't help at all and I was still writing in bed from the pain, trying to focus and stay in the minute but feeling very out of control at the same time.
At 1:15 the OB resident came back in to check on me. I was a 2cm and 70% effaced. FINALLY some progress! I was glad to know the contractions were doing some work but getting to 10cm at this point seemed like such an impossible task. I was already in so much pain! The nurses encouraged me to take an Ambien so I could relax a little and try to sleep, again, knowing it was going to be a very long day. I took it but there was NO relaxing on my part. My contractions were literally one on top of each other. I remembered in Birthing class that our instructor encouraged us to use the breaks between contractions to regain control and focus. I told Joe something must be wrong because there was no breaks between contractions and I really think that's why I felt so out of control.
The contractions continued to be pure torture. I can't even describe the pain to someone. I was rocking and moaning from the pain (very unlike me - I'm usually pretty quiet when I'm hurting and I have broken a hip without so much as a tear for goodness sake!!). At 1:50am my water broke during one particularly bad contraction. I was so outside of myself that Joe says I very matter of factly said "my water broke." Since the contractions were so frequent I just laid there in the fluid and it continued to leak with each contraction. It was miserable but I tried to remind myself that we were getting a baby at the end of this and it was all worth it!
It was so bad at this point that Joe kept asking me if I needed the epidural. Of course I needed it! But I told him there was no way our doctor would let me get it since I was only a 2cm. I didn't know how I would get to a 4-5cm like they recommend but I figured there was no way they'd let me get it so early in the process. I remember during this time the nurses would come in and seem a little shocked that my contractions were so frequent and painful. This was definitely not the standard process from Cytotech alone. Joe asked the nurses to consider giving me the epidural (I think in some ways it was almost harder on him. I remember this look in his eyes like he was totally helpless.) The nurse used the phone to call my doctor from my room. I remember praying to God to let her approve the epidural. The nurses told her I was in a lot of pain. She said yes! Oh sweet baby Jesus! They immediately called the anesthesia attending to come and place it. It was the best news of the day so far! Haha!
I finally got the epidural at 2:45am. There was no break in my contractions for him to place it, so they said I'd have to lie completely still regardless. At the time I didn't know if I could do it. Joe pulled a chair up next to the bed and I remember focusing on his eyes. Actually studying the pattern of his iris to get through the pain and to be completely still. The attending asked Joe if he wanted to put my epidural in and of course that didn't seem funny to me at the time! The attending told me that usually the relief from an epidural was immediate because he places it during the break in contractions so by the time the next contraction comes around there was pain relief. Then he said I'd probably have quite a few painful contractions before I felt any relief. They were just coming that quickly. I think I counted ten more painful contractions but I finally got some relief about 15 minutes later. My legs started to feel very heavy and numb and the nurse checked my numbness on my tummy. It was definitely working. As Joe would say, that epidural was dense!
Right after the epidural started to set in I started shaking uncontrollably. I laughed about it (my mood was lifted!! Haha!) but the nurses said that can be a sign of major progression so they decided to check me again. At this point it was 3am and I was a 4-5cm! Halfway there! The nurses acted pretty impressed with how quickly things were going so I felt really encouraged! The nurses told Joe he should take a nap so he pulled out the bed on the sofa and they got him a blanket. He fell right to sleep. Snoring and all. It had been a long 6 hours or so. I hung out in bed, watching my contractions on the screen (not feeling them!) and trying to relax.
An hour and fifteen minutes later, at 4:15 the nurse and OB resident were both in the room to look at my charts, etc and went back and forth on whether to check me again. The nurse reminded the OB that I had just been checked an hour prior and I was only a 4-5 but the resident decided to check my anyway. I watched her face (as I always did when she checked me) and as soon as she got "down there" her eyes got really wide. She laughed nervously, looked at me and said "you're complete!". Joe sprung out of bed (he says he heard the word complete and that woke him up! Haha!). I couldn't believe it! I had gone from a 4-5cm to a 10 in a little over an hour!! I laughed and told Joe that we wouldn't be having a night time baby after all! At 4:24am Joe called our parents to come back to the hospital - that this was all happening much faster than we anticipated! The OB resident called my doctor from our room and then tons of nurses started piling into the room with carts of tools, turning on lights, etc. It was pretty overwhelming!
About 10 minutes later my doctor walked in. I laughed to myself because her hair was a mess in back and she had mascara smudged under one eye. She had a big smile on her face and told me she was impressed with how quickly we progressed! I jokingly asked her if I needed the pitocin. She rolled her stool over to the bed and she and the nurse pulled out the stirrups. They asked me to put my legs in them but my legs were too numb to move so they had to help me. Funny sidenote: one of my stirrups was broken! It wouldn't lock in position so the nurses were acting worried so Joe swept in and manually held the stirrup in place and my leg in it.
My doctor asked me to do a "practice push". I couldn't really feel anything but I tried to think about pushing like I was taking a bowel movement, just like our instructor said in Birthing class. Joe and my doctor looked at each other, I didn't know what was going on but apparently the baby's heart rate dropped during my push to the 80s. The doctor called for the "assist cart" to be brought to the room. I still had no idea what was going on. I had another contraction and I pushed again, the doctor telling me I was doing very good although I couldn't feel anything. Then she said they were going to use the vacuum to get the baby out. Apparently, his heart rate dropped again. During the third push, they placed the vacuum on the baby's head and basically pulled him out. Three pushes and I was done! I had wanted to immediately hold him but they rushed him over to the incubator to make sure he was okay. They didn't even announce the gender and I barely saw his "male parts" as they whisked him off and said "it's a boy!!!" I was totally shocked. Joe and I both thought the baby would be a girl! He also had a ton of black hair and all the nurses immediately told us they loved his hair. He barely cried while they got him to the incubator and gave him his bath. He was so sweet and just looked around.
Joe grabbed the camera and took pictures and kept bringing the camera back over to me to show me his little face. I was on the bed for another hour while three doctors (including mine) stitched me up. I finally got to hold him (while I was still being stitched) and I remember just being so in love with his little face. He was perfect.