Olivia’s Birth Story (Very long!)
Due to my high blood pressure and the risks to baby we agreed to an induction, which was to take place on Wednesday, August 17, when I was estimated to be 40w2d. We arrived at the hospital late Tuesday evening to fill out all of the paperwork and to settle in for the night. I got my wish and the female OB from the practice was attending. At midnight I was given a cervical ripener and sleeping pills, which I was assured would work within 15 minutes. An hour later I was still trying to fall asleep. Although I did eventually fall asleep I didn’t get very much rest at all and was already fairly tired when they checked my progress at 8:45am (3cm, 70% effaced, -2 station) and started pitocin. I was having plenty of contractions that were unpleasant, but I couldn’t seem to establish a good labor pattern. Changes in position from the bed to the birth ball to walking all seemed to change the pattern and intensity of contractions. The pitocin dose was continually increased in the hopes of getting a good pattern started, but by 12:25pm I was only 4cm dilated and baby had moved to a -1 station. The midwife from the practice had Wednesday off, but she was out running errands and stopped by the hospital to check on me around lunch time. At 2pm there had been no change and the pitocin dosage was getting higher and higher. Eventually I was at a dosage of 29, with 30 being the highest they go, and I still didn’t have a good labor pattern going. I was exhausted from strong contractions, but they didn’t seem to be doing much of anything.
At 5pm the doctor offered to break my water. I agreed, so they turned off the pitocin and she broke my water and it immediately made a difference. Unfortunately there was meconium present and I started to dwell on all of the possible things that could happen. Labor really picked up at this point and soon after the wonderful nurse that had been with me all day had to leave. I apologized for things taking so long that she wouldn’t be with me when the baby was born. Her replacements were just as wonderful, though, and since I was now the only patient in the maternity wing I had as much of their attention as I needed. For the next 3 hours they brought me hot towel after hot towel to ease the pain of the contractions. At one point Olivia started showing signs of distress and the nurse immediately had me on my side. From that point on I was strapped to the monitors and confined to the bed. Being strapped to baby heart rate monitors, a blood pressure monitor, with an IV, and stuck in bed was so hard and I started to feel trapped. Once I took the gown off and was naked I felt better. I think I just needed to control something, and being able to shed the clothing was so helpful.
At 8pm the doctor checked me and said I was at about 7 or 8cm. I could tell that she meant I was at 7, but was trying to encourage me and keep me going by giving me hope that things were closer than they were. About an hour before she was born I started telling Marc that I thought I was going to need something for the pain. He knew I didn’t really want anything, and I didn’t mention meds between contractions, so he held off on telling the nurses. At some point I felt like pushing and Marc ran to tell the doctor and nurses. They rushed in and checked me and I was still only a 7 or 8, but very stretchy. Doctor Allen told me to try to push and she would see if she could stretch me a bit. Unfortunately that didn’t work and I started to feel extremely discouraged. She suggested that we turn the pit back on at a low level and see if that would give me just the little push that I needed. Well, it worked, but the pain was so awful and I just totally lost control. My blood pressure also sky rocketed. Marc said it was 190-something over 100-something at one point. After not very long I begged Marc to ask them for pain meds. They all knew that I really didn’t want anything and that I was at the point where anything they had to offer wouldn’t offer much relief anyway. I think they knew that I was so, so close to delivering but were afraid to say anything to me in case I wasn’t as far along as they thought. Well, I was. Doctor Allen said she wanted to check me before she gave me anything for pain. Oh, wow, was being checked at this point awful! I ripped the oxygen monitor off of my finger, threw the cool washcloth across the room, and probably screamed. But then Doctor Allen said, “Her head is right here! I bet if you give me a push or two you’ll have this baby right now.” So I pushed twice and her head was out. They told me to push one more time and at 10:19pm out she slipped. I have never felt such relief in my life.
And then they put this tiny baby on my belly. I was certain I had just given birth to a 9-pounder, and there she was….all 7lbs 3oz of her. She was covered in vernix, far more than my 37 and 38 weekers were. Her ultrasound estimated due date had to be wrong! Despite the meconium, her apgars were 9 and 9. And because of her lack of engagement until it was nearly time to push she has the roundest head of any newborn I have ever seen. She is absolute perfection.
Our birth plan made it clear that we wanted to spend at least the first hour alone as a family if all was well. So while Olivia hung out on my bare chest I delivered the placenta and the doctor checked for tears. I had only one small tear, which she didn’t think needed stitching, and for the first time I didn’t hemorrhage after birth. So they turned the lights down and left us to get to know each other. Olivia latched right away and spent 30-45 minutes nursing. After an hour or so the nurse came back and took footprints and put Olivia’s hospital band on. Then Marc went off with her to the nursery to be weighed and measured. (7lbs3oz, 19.5” long, 13.5” head, 12.5” chest) They got me up to use the bathroom and get dressed and took me straight to the nursery instead of my room. One of the nurses transferred all of our bags to my room so Marc didn’t have to leave us to do it himself. The only thing that I regret is that the boys had gone home with my in-laws and it was too late and too far for them to come back once she was born. They came to the hospital as soon as they could the next morning and I couldn’t ask for better big brothers! They are so completely in love with their baby sister.
We came home after 24 hours. Driving home at nearly midnight in a rainstorm and fog with a newborn baby is an experience for sure! We went about 40 or 45 the whole way. :-) We took her to our family doctor for a check-up yesterday as requested by the hospital since we left so quickly. She weighed 6lbs 12oz and he declared her absolutely perfect. My milk came in last night, at almost exactly 48 hours after her birth. Since then she has been so content and I finally feel like I’m re-entering the land of the living……otherwise known as those who actually get to sleep. I already feel like the bleeding is slowing significantly and although I’ve had some afterpains, overall I barely feel as though I just had a baby! I suppose it’s only fair that I have an easy recovery after such a rough pregnancy!
Here she is today at 3 days old.