We went to the hospital at midnight before our due date for a scheduled induction. Our baby was measuring big with a big head and we didn't want to take a chance of me having to deliver a really big head again (with Jack, it required a vacuum). Also there were the risk factors associated with having polyhdramnios – namely placental abruption and cord prolapse. Both of these risks are associated with your water breaking. With so much extra amniotic fluid in the uterus, there is an increased risk of the cord falling out before the baby is born (cord prolapse) or the placenta tearing away from the uterus (placental abruption). Both of which can be bad news for the baby and mother.
We arrived at the hospital shortly after midnight – we stopped on the way for some snacks. I ate a Twix bar as we drove up the hospital. We signed in at the front desk and waited for them to call us upstairs. Around 12:30am we were told that we could to go up.
Our nurse greeted us at the doors to Labor and Delivery. We noticed that the satellite hospital we were delivering at now had a NICU and we inquired about it. The lack of a NICU had been one of our initial concerns about delivering at Women's East instead of downtown. For a variety of reasons we stuck with East (Jack was also delivered at this hospital), so it was a relief to learn they officially had a NICU (just in case things didn't go as planned).
After signing more papers and discussing the induction process, my nurse gave me a gown and I hopped into bed to get things started. Around 1am, she finally started to slowly turn on the pitocin drip. Initially things were going fine. I had come in with contractions (that weren't painful) but was still only 2cm. We hoped my body would kick in on its own and the pitocin would be a minor part of this delivery.
After 10 minutes the nurse came back in to turn my pitocin up to a 6 (I think we started at 4, though I'm not entirely sure what those numbers mean). Almost immediately I started to get unbearable contractions. The kind where you feel like you are going to die. My nurse told me she would be back shortly and almost as soon as she walked out of the room my water broke.
I thought of the risks associated with your water breaking and immediately told Daniel to call the nurse. The water was gushing and the contractions were coming in waves without a break (very similar to my contractions with Jack after my water broke).
My nurse checked me and said I was already dilated to 5cm and I said I wanted an epidural as soon as possible. The contractions kept coming and the water kept coming. Another nurse came back in the room and they mentioned that there was meconium in the water.
Pretty soon the anesthesiologist was in the room. I made the mental note that he was the same person that had done my epidural with Jack. Between contractions he inserted the catheter and Daniel held my shoulders still while I tried not to move or cry. As soon as my legs were numb, the nurse mentioned that she was having a difficult time finding a heart beat for the baby.
Sometime during this process, my doctor had been called and the NICU had been called because of the meconium. My legs were numb but I continued to feel the contractions. My doctor checked me between waves of pain and I was already dilated to 8cm and things had only been happening for about 2 hours. The pitocin had been stopped since my body was doing the work on its own.
After getting checked my doctor mentioned that there was blood in the water that was gushing out and she was concerned about a placental abruption. During this time the nurses were turning me from side to side trying to find the baby's heart beat. As the minutes ticked by, my doctor made the decision that for the safety of the baby and me we needed to go to the OR. During this period my anesthesiologist never had time to leave my room.
They immediately began prepping me for surgery and quickly explained to us what to expect. I asked if Daniel could come give me a kiss before we went to the OR. Then I started praying that things would go smoothly. Before I knew it, I was being whisked down the hallway to the OR.
The room was so bright with white walls and huge white lights. Somewhere in the background music was playing. The OR filled up quickly and it felt like only a few minutes before the cloths were draped and Daniel was sitting beside me again.
My drugs were pretty strong. My arms were numb and I could barely hold my eyes open so I lay there and just drifted. I was afraid to fall asleep. Daniel held my hand and I opened my eyes to see that he had stood up to watch the surgery proceed over the top of the blanket. He watched the entire process.
Within a few minutes our baby was out and Daniel said, "It's a boy." Shortly after, our boy started crying. He cried quite a bit and then they gave him to Daniel. He was born at 4:16am, weighed 6pounds 12 oz (like his big brother), was 20.25inches long and had dark blue eyes. His apgar scores were 6 and 8.
At this point I was shaking uncontrollably from the drugs. My arms where out to my sides and they began to ache at the shoulders. Every once in awhile I felt like I couldn't catch my breath and the anesthesiologist would tell me I was fine and that my oxygen levels were still at 100%.
I looked at our son, but was still having trouble focusing so Daniel continued to hold him. I started pitocin around 1am and our boy was born at 4:16am. It was all such an unexpected whirlwhind. It took another 20+ minutes to stitch me up and then we were off to recovery.
I continued to shake and I have never felt so thirsty in my life. Before we left the OR the anesthesiologist took pity on me and had squeezed water from a wash cloth into my parched mouth. I am so grateful that he did that for me. It was another hour before I was allowed ice chips. While we waited in recovery, they covered me with warm blankets to help with the shaking and put compression boots on my legs to prevent blood clots (I am at a higher risk for due to a blood clot 7 years ago).
The boots were very confusing at first because I didn't know they were on my legs. As feeling returned to me body, my legs would alternately start tingling. The nurses eventually noticed my confusion and let me know that the boots were making my legs tingle.
While in recovery I finally felt like I could use my arms enough to hold our baby. He immediately started nursing with very little help from me. We actually stayed in recovery for over an hour while he nursed heartily.
I think it was around 6am when they wheeled us back to my room. The delivery table was in the hallway outside my door. Whether vaginally or a c-section I was definitely having a baby before morning. Daniel later told me that the plan was to let me push if I was fully dilated when we reached the OR, but in the end my doctor decided that the c-section was the safest delivery for me and our baby.
I am thankful for my doctor's quick thinking and that the surgery went so well. Back in my room they told me that I should get up and walk as soon as I could. I was able to sit in a chair later that afternoon.
I only stayed in the hospital about 2.5 days. We are home and recovering now. I can't drive for 2 weeks and am focusing on healing. It is hard to not over do it. For recovery you are supposed to get up and walk, while also resting as much as possible. Overall I feel pretty decent for having major surgery a week ago. I am confident that working out throughout my pregnancy has made recovery easier.
Read Jack's Birth Story here.