Note before I begin: I’m just going to be copying and pasting this on my various forums and Facebook to save time. So you don’t have to reread it if you see it somewhere else. Also, many of these locations are “ladies only” and we are a bit upfront with each other on everything, so parts of this may be a bit TMI for casual readers. Consider yourself warned.
If you want to skip straight to pics, you can find those on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...6&l=21290548c8
Also, a big thank you to the various contacts who helped share part of this story already so you all didn’t go crazy with anticipation. And a huge shout out to my mother-in-law who ended up enduring my other kids for much longer than originally expected.
Anyways…Pre and Early Labor
In hopes of getting something of a night’s sleep, I took a Benadryl the night before. Of course, it didn’t work out that way – between the kids waking up, general nervousness, and the hourly trips to the bathroom I didn’t end up getting much sleep. Got up at 430 to eat breakfast and finish getting ready to leave for the hospital. George’s mom came over at 530, and we left, stopping for donuts on the way down to the hospital.
Check in was pretty typical – answer a billion questions for the nurse and then most of the same ones for the anesthesiologist (they send someone in to explain the epidural before it becomes time to need one). I should have been tipped off that it was going to be a long day when I discovered there was no toilet paper in the bathroom when I went to give them their required urine sample.
The “gremlins” continued to plague Labor Room 6. For some reason, the labor and delivery floor was completely out of pitocin. So the induction didn’t even get under way until an hour after it should have. Then the pump refused to work – seemed like every time the nurse left the room it would error and stop flowing. After an hour or so they gave up and got a new pump.
Early labor was pretty uneventful. Once we got the pitocin working properly, things progressed. The contractions developed a good pattern but weren’t too painful. Unfortunately, despite turning up the pitocin several times, I wasn’t progressing – remaining stubbornly at the 3 cm, 70% effaced and -2 station I had been at since earlier in the week.
We decided to try breaking my water. The thought was maybe Caleb was “floating” too much to get into a good labor position, stalling things out. I was offered the epidural then, but decided to wait it out – I didn’t want to take the risk of stalling things further and wasn’t too bothered by the contractions yet. You know it’s not necessarily a good thing when your OB breaks your water and then goes “was that it?” because only a trickle came out. But that was it, as I got a small gush with every contraction after that.After the water breaking…
As expected, breaking my waters made the contractions more intense. Baby was handing them well – you could hear the constant thump, thump of the heartbeat on the monitor. But still nothing was happening. The nurse suggested bouncing on a birthing ball to see if that would open my pelvis more and bring him down. The “ball” they brought in looked more like a peanut – it was oval shaped with a dip in the middle. I straddled that and bounced around for a long time. Still no change.
Dr. Reider became concerned that the baby’s position (mostly posterior) was impeding his progress down and therefore preventing me from dilating properly. So we tried a hands and knees position on the bed for as long as I could manage being in that position. Caleb still wouldn’t really turn, though I did gain another centimeter from that. Every time I had a cervical check, they mentioned what a big round head he had.
During yet another trip to the bathroom, I found that I was more comfortable either sitting up or standing instead of reclined on the bed. So the nurses brought me some portable monitors, and George and I paced around the halls dragging my IV pole. It didn’t take long for the contractions to drop to only 1.5-2 minutes apart and intense enough that I had to stop and breathe through them. Another check, still no progress. I remember looking at the clock and realizing that we had delivered Athena by this point and time, and was starting to become discouraged. We decided to go ahead and get the epidural to see if that would help relax things and allow them to turn up the pitocin even more. They also wanted to place an internal monitor to see how strong the contractions really were.
The rest of the afternoon was relatively uneventful. They gradually increased the pitocin. Thanks to the epidural I didn’t notice it. Again, I noted passing the point where Shane was born and was discouraged that we were still not even to the point of pushing yet.
10 centimeters and the decision to have a c-section
Slowly, however, the pitocin did its job. I got to about 9 cm, stretchable to a 10, but Caleb still hadn’t moved down at all. Dr. Reider suggested trying a few pushes to see if we could move him down any and gain that final centimeter. I asked them to turn off my epidural so I could feel the contractions better to push. We tried pushing, and though I was pushing correctly he wasn’t budging. We decided to wait out the final centimeter in a sitting position to see if we could work with gravity to bring him down.
Finally at 10 centimeters, we tried pushing again. Caleb still wasn’t budging. Remembering that squatting was supposed to help open up the pelvis more and make it easier to push out a big baby, I asked if we could try that and they brought in a squat bar. The epidural wasn’t completely worn off yet, so it was a little difficult to stay in that position for very long, so I alternated between pushing on contractions and sitting back on the bed in between them. Still Caleb hadn’t come down at all. We tried a few other positions, including bracing my feet on the squat bar, wrapping a sheet around it, and doing a “tug of war” movement with each contraction to help put more force behind the pushes. Still no progress.
At this point the epidural had worn completely off. I was feeling every intense contraction. I was exhausted and depressed. As a 4th time mom, we all agreed that we should at least be seeing some progression, and we weren’t. We’d tried everything that I, my OB, and even a midwife who was also working the delivery floor could think of. We all finally conceded that despite our best efforts, Caleb simply wasn’t going to come out the natural way.C-section
I wish I could say that the idea of having a c-section was a relief or at least that I was at peace with it. To be honest, I was scared out of my mind. They gave George some paper scrubs to put on, and then he had to wait outside until they had finished prepping me.
I’m not sure how much time passed at this point, but I don’t think it was more than 15-20 minutes, yet it seemed like forever. A million thoughts and concerns were rushing through my mind – I simply didn’t feel prepared for this turn of events. And even though I had a rough idea of what to expect, it is still a totally different thing to have them actually done to you. There must have been a dozen different people in the delivery room – a sea of face masks and surgical hats and people telling me they were doctor so-and-so and they were in charge of something or other. They had to strap my arms down, which started to panic me, and then they put up the drape. Then one of the doctors tried to put an oxygen mask on me, saying it was to help the baby get enough oxygen – I think I was hyperventilating at that point. I couldn’t tolerate it though and started having a mini panic attack. Since both our vitals were good, they allowed me to take it off and just laid it on my chest. They finally allowed George to come back in and sit next to my head.
Being totally numb from the waist down is sort of disconcerting. I remember not being able to move or feel my feet, which was really upsetting and weird at the time. The c-section itself was a series of weird sensations – the actual cutting felt like someone was writing on my stomach with a pen, and then there was a lot of pulling and pushing. Caleb started crying right away.
They cleaned him up, took his Apgars (9 and 9), weighed him, and so forth and then George got to hold him. He was a very big boy, significantly bigger than his brother – 9 pounds 11 ounces in weight, 22 inches in height, and 36.75 cm for a head circumference. By this point the medication they had given me was causing me to shiver violently, even though I wasn’t cold. It seemed like it took forever to stitch me up – at least three times as long as it took to get the baby out.Recovery
Once I was finally closed up they wheeled me back to the delivery room. They helped me (since I was still shaking) get him positioned to breastfeed. Like the others, he had a bit of a latch problem, but as soon as we got a nipple shield he was at it like an old pro. George had to go home to take care of the other kids, as it was now past their bedtime and his mom had been there since 530 AM, and Caleb and I stayed there until close to midnight when they wheeled us upstairs. The next 24 hours I was scarcely allowed out of the bed without the assistance of the nurse, and I had to ring for someone every time Caleb needed to eat. On one hand it was nice to have the extra assistance, because even with pain medication I was still in a lot of pain, on the other it is quite humiliating to have to have someone else help you put your underwear on.So what went “wrong”?
Apparently, I get to be in the lucky small percentile of women who do grow babies bigger than they can birth (without an outside influence like gestational diabetes causing them to grow larger than average). Caleb quite literally got stuck in my pelvis, hence why he never descended prior or during labor. If you look closely in the baby photos you can see a purple bruise on his left cheek where he got stuck. He also had purple bruising along both upper arms. His head had coned from the pushing as well, just not enough for him to get through. Even if by some miracle we had gotten his head out, his shoulders and chest would never have made it, and we would have been in serious trouble then and could have caused him more injury.
Dr. Reider said the reason closing me up took so long was because he took extra time to insure that a VBAC would be a possibility in the future when and if we decided on more kids. I also found out (through joking with him that I hoped his wife wasn’t too upset he missed dinner) that he was actually supposed to have been off, but didn’t know the doctor coming in very well and so stayed to do the surgery himself. We are very grateful for that! He also said that in the event we had another child and wanted to attempt a VBAC, they would monitor the size closely. If it looked like we were baking another baby close to 9 pounds, then they would send me for an amnio to test lung maturity and deliver him or her sooner by induction so this wouldn’t be an issue in the future.
Emotionally, I’m still torn on the whole issue. We have our baby safe and sound, and I am fine besides the typical recovery complaints, and that is most important. I’m upset about having to have had a c-section – to some extent it does feel like a “failure” to not have my body be able to do what it is supposed to do naturally – but on the other hand relieved that it was not really my “fault” since there was no way he was coming out that way (I would have felt worse had he been a 7 pounder), so there is at least closure. And I do still consider it as giving birth, though I know some women don’t agree that a c-section is the same as giving birth, because my baby was born that day – albeit not by the traditional method.