It took me longer to write this than I expected and it already feels like it was a long time ago. I always figured that giving birth must not be that bad since people keep doing it but now I realize that time helps to erase all the bad memories. I had a pretty easy go of it but time has already made the hard parts seem so much easier.
Plus hanging out with this little girls helps
At 37 weeks, my doctor checked my progress and announced that I was 1 cm dilated and about 50% effaced. I was pretty excited to hear that since we still had a few weeks to go so I assumed that by my due date, we would be good to go (little did I know!). Fast forward to July 26 (my due date) and I was still 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced… Whomp whomp
I spent the last 2+ weeks of my pregnancy walking every day and going to the gym 4-5 times a week. I was determined to get my labor going but apparently this little girl is even more stubborn than I am. At my last regularly scheduled appointment, my doctor scheduled my induction for the week after my due date and warned me to be open to the idea that this labor might not go as I wanted it to since there was no sign of progress.
Sure enough, at 40 weeks and 6 days our baby was still hanging tough so we checked into the hospital to get the process started. The plan was to insert the Cervidil overnight and hopefully get some sleep because it could be a very long process.
Since our doctor said that we might be in it for the long haul, we brought a bunch of movies and kept ourselves busy watching them and talking. We had a great nurse who was more than happy to answer any of our questions and to joke around with us since Shane and I both prefer to laugh than to be too serious.
At 6 am I got checked again but unfortunately there wasn’t any progress. After speaking with my doctor, they decided to use a prostaglandin gel that lasts 6 hours. Luckily the gel meant that I could still walk around since I only had to be hooked up to the monitors every hour or so. We walked around, watched movies, visited with my family (including my brother and his girlfriend who flew in for the weekend), and just hung out. The day nurse was monitoring my contractions which were coming fast but not very consistently. I wasn’t feeling any of them so I was still comfortable except for the monitors and IV in my hand.
At the six hour mark, things had gotten pretty busy at the hospital and my nurse was called away to help with a delivery. At that point, 4 different nurses came and went from our room which is unusual for that hospital and I was starting to get a little frustrated because no one could really tell me what was going on. The original plan was to put me on another 6 hours of the gel since it had actually made me dilate another centimeter but my contractions had started getting very close together. The downside of the gel is that once it is in place, it can’t be removed so if something were to start going wrong, the only solution is another medicine which slows labor back down. Since my doctor and nurse had been unavailable, the monitors were able to show that my contractions were too close together so they decided to go with Pitocin instead. I thought we were pretty lucky that they were late so that we could make the right decision because if they had been in my room on time, we probably would have gone with the gel and that most likely would have not gone well.
The bad news was that once I got on Pitocin, I had to stay hooked up to the monitors which meant staying in bed. They tried putting me on the portable monitors but they kept losing the signal so back to bed for me. My contractions were starting to get more consistent but I still wasn’t feeling anything so they started upping my dosage more quickly. I was on Pitocin for over 10 hours and only felt mild cramping for about one hour. At this point I was getting fed up. There was no checkpoint in sight and everyone basically kept telling me that we would just see how it goes. As a goal oriented person, that is not exactly helpful. I really needed a time limit or a progress point to work towards and I was starting to feel very defeated. I really did not want a C section but my lack of progress was starting to make me think that I should start preparing myself. I asked Shane to look up celebrities who have had C sections (I needed to put a face to the procedure) as well as lists of pros for C sections over vaginal delivery.
After talking and joking about it with Shane, I started feeling more comfortable with the idea. My nurse (she was the same one from the night before) came in and gave me the okay to eat dinner. She made it sound like good news but I felt defeated because I knew that meant they weren’t planning on me having this baby any time soon. My mom came to visit us (and bring me French fries ) and I started getting upset because my body just wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. The Pitocin was wearing on me and I was so sick of just sitting in bed. I was nowhere near active labor and I felt helpless because there was nothing I could do to move the process along.
I had a minor meltdown in front of my mom and Shane so Shane went to get the nurse so that we could make a plan. Our nurse, Nicole, came in and said that the doctor was going to come and check me in less than an hour so we should just wait until then to make a plan. I wanted off of the Pitocin because I felt like it wasn’t helping and it was making me feel poorly. The doctor arrived, checked me, and told me that I still hadn’t progressed any further. She left and I lost it in front of Nicole, Shane and my mom. I was frustrated and wanted a plan that didn’t include me staying on Pitocin for another 24 hours and ended with me getting a C section (that was what I thought was going to happen). Nicole went and got my doctor and she told me my options: stay on the Pitocin overnight and see what happens or get the C section now.
Everyone left Shane and me alone so that we could talk. I couldn’t stop crying because I felt like it was all on my shoulders but no one was telling me the right answer. Shane tried to reassure me without pressuring me one way or the other and eventually we decided that we thought the C section was the way to go. We called my mom in to talk to her about it and she agreed (and she tried very hard to keep the huge smile off her face because she was about to meet her first grandchild).
My doctor and nurse came back in and we told them our decision. This was the part that was the hardest for me because I felt (and still feel) that they thought I was giving up. My doctor kept using the phrase “throwing in the towel” and if you know me, you know that calling me a quitter or implying that I’m giving up is the worst thing you could say. I put my ego aside and stuck by the decision that I felt was right for me, my body and the baby in that moment. After I put my foot down, things went so fast. There were people rushing in and out of our room, having me sign legal papers, pumping me full of antibiotics, and prepping me for surgery,
As soon as I walked out of the door to our room, I went into panic mode. I felt like I had no control and that I had no way out. Both Shane and my mom tried to calm me down but I was hysterical. I remember trying to think of all my options but I knew that there was no way out. I figured my choices were to sleep on it (and have to go through it tomorrow anyway), demand to go home (but there was probably a tiny chance that that was never going to happen), or just suck it up. With shaking legs and Nicole holding me tight, we walked down the hall to the OR. Everything in this particular labor and delivery unit exists in the same area. We got to stay in our same room the whole time and the OR is on site. I wanted to look back at Shane and my mom but I knew that if I did, there was no way I would walk through those double doors.
Nicole didn’t let go of me the whole walk there, she helped me up onto the table, held me while I got my spinal tap, and kept talking to me while she inserted my catheter. I was so shaken up and groggy from all the meds that I was aware that there were a lot of people in the room and that I was entirely naked from the chest down. People say that you lose all sense of modesty while in labor but it took everything I had not to absolutely freak out about being so exposed.
Soon Shane was by my side and we started talking and laughing. I could feel people pulling and pushing on me but I thought they were still prepping for surgery. Shane asked the anesthesiologist when he thought they would be started and he replied, “Starting? They’re almost done. The baby will be out in less than 5 minutes.” We looked at each other, stunned.
Before we knew it, we heard our doctor say, “Here comes your baby boy!” I practically gave myself whiplash looking over at Shane and both of our jaws dropped before I heard Nicole gently correct the doctor, “it’s supposed to be a girl”. Almost immediately after that we heard someone say, “well it’s definitely a girl!” The doctors and nurses were all saying, “Woah that’s a big girl” and “Wow, she has a huge head!”. I was a little nervous to see the monstrous baby that they were all describing. Shane went over to where they were cleaning her up and getting her measurements while I just lay there in a daze.
They brought her over to me and I just stared at her, shocked that she had just come out of me. She and Shane left with the nurses to get her situated while I got stitched up. I felt like I was in and out of sleep and before I knew it, I was being wheeled back to my room. Every bump that we hit, I could feel my newly empty stomach jiggling around which was a bizarre sensation.
My mom came into my room and told me that the rest of my family had come to the hospital (at this point it was after midnight) and that they wanted to see me and the baby. First Shane came in with our daughter and we decided that we were going to stick with the name we had picked – Kelly Anne.
Then my family came in and all took turns holding the baby. It was such a surreal night and I couldn’t believe that in the blink of an eye, we had become parents. Everything went so quickly that I realized I didn’t even know what day she had ended up being born on. It was so late when we went into surgery that I had no clue if she was out before midnight. She ended up being born at 11:28 pm on Friday.
That was a long recap and an even longer 24+ hours of labor but it was worth every minute. The rest of our time at the hospital was spent learning how to take care of a newborn and wondering how we could have made such a perfect little baby.
While almost nothing went the way we thought it would and it was far from the typical labor story, the end result was a perfectly healthy baby girl, 8 pounds, 21 inches, 13.5 inch head. Our doctor told us later that there was no way I would have been able to deliver her naturally because her head was too big and she hadn’t even started making her way down. I guess the upside of my C section was that she came out perfect- no smashed head or wrinkly features .
If anyone’s still reading at this point, I’m impressed!
I just want to thank my family who came by the hospital so many times to check on us and who were so excited that they came to the hospital in the middle of the night to meet Kelly, especially my mom who was constantly helping us, bringing us things that we needed, and being a great support for us, our family who wasn’t able to be there who all were calling, texting and emailing during the whole process, our friends who came to visit, and the hospital staff.
I especially want to thank Shane for being so patient with me the whole time. I know I wasn’t always easy to deal with and he never got frustrated or upset. Once Kelly was born, he stepped up and really took over. It wasn’t until he left the hospital for a couple hours that I realized how dependent on him I was. This little girl is very lucky to have him as a dad.
This didn’t end up being a typical labor story- there was no water breaking, no pushing, no crowning, and very little drama- but at the end of the day, our daughter was born and it was fairly easy and pain-free, what more could we ask for?