Abbie’s now 13 days old, and I can’t believe the time has already gone so fast. She’s already changed so much in such a short time. It seems like she was just inside me, and now I can barely remember what it was like. Here’s her birth story – I forgot to bring a notebook to jot down the times, so they may be a little off. As with all birth stories, remember that some details may be gross!
We went in for induction on Thursday, December 20. I know a lot a people are worried about inductions, but I really wasn’t – Abbie wasn’t showing any signs of coming out on her own, so it was time to kick her out! People have inductions all the time, so I was pretty laid back about it. We had to be at the hospital at 8:30 pm, so Chris’ mom took us out to dinner beforehand, knowing that I wouldn’t have a good meal for a while. We went to one of my favorite places, Coastal Flats – and I was so glad later that I had eaten. After dropping his mom off (and checking my hospital bag about a million times), we took a final bump picture and then set off for the hospital. We arrived on time and got registered. While we were registering, another couple walked up, obviously also for an induction. We didn’t talk, but Chris gave the other husband a nod, sort of like, “yep, this is happening.” (I wasn’t really paying attention, but Chris got a kick out of this). After we registered, we headed upstairs to get checked in to our room.
There was some sort of backup upstairs, so it took a while to get into our room, number 303. The labor and delivery rooms at our hospital are really big, but we were lucky enough to get a corner room, which meant it was a HUGE room. In addition to the labor bed and a sleeping chair for Chris, we also had a couch, a bench, and a window. I was glad to see we had so much space since my mom was coming later in the evening.
We finally were settled in about 9:30 or so, and the nurses came in to draw blood and put in my IV. Normally, doctors and nurses have no problems finding my veins, but I was so swollen from pregnancy they had to try multiple times to get a good vein. 10 days later, I still have a huge bruise on my right arm, which they tried first to no avail – it’s just now starting to fade. Once the nurse FINALLY got my IV in, the doctor on call came in to place the cervidil in my cervix (since they were just placing medicine, it wasn’t a big deal to me that it wasn’t a doctor from my practice doing it). At that point, I was dilated to 1 cm. By about 10 or so, we settled in for the night of waiting. My mom got to the hospital at about 11pm.
Shortly after the cervidil was in, I started having pains, and started to look at the clock every time I had them. My nurse dismissed them, saying that cervidil sometimes causes cramps. I had my doubts, as the cramps were coming about every 20 minutes or so. Mom and I started timing them, and we now have no doubt that I was having contractions – my body had decided to go into labor after all! I was so glad to already be in a hospital when they started…I can’t imagine having been at home when they started. I knew I was already in the best possible place and didn’t have to travel anywhere. We were scheduled to start Pitocin at 7am.
So with contractions starting, I tried to sleep. After a while, I kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t actually have to go most of the time – I think my body just liked the change of position for dealing with the contractions. I didn’t sleep much, and neither did Chris or my mom. Just before 6, the nurse came in to check on me, and I asked if there was any way we could get things going a little sooner. Thankfully, we did. Someone (I don’t remember who) took the cervidil out and gave me a few minutes to get situated again.
About 6:30 or 7, the nurses started my Pitocin drip, and at that point my contractions got more regular (looking at my tracker, they were about every 2-3 minutes) …and I immediately asked for my epidural. The anesthesiologist was doing a c-section at the time…and while I understood in the rational part of my brain, I really just wanted to whine and cry – I was SO uncomfortable and exhausted. I think it was around 8 or so when he was finally free, and my mom left the room so I could get my epidural (they only allow one person to stay with you at that point, so of course Chris stayed.
The epidural – well, I was equal parts scared of and ready for it. The anesthesiologist started by telling me something I’ve been dealing with my whole life – that my short torso and extra weight would make the epidural difficult to do, since the bones in my spine are close together. (Cue me remembering how difficult sit-ups always were in gym class and how Pilates is really difficult for me…damn short torso.) He told me to round my back as much as I could and stay really still..and I held on to Chris and tried to stay as steady as I could. After a few adjustments on my part, I was in the right position and the epidural was in…and the pain started to go away.
I have to be honest, I was always pro-drugs in the delivery process, and I’m totally glad I made that decision. I’m all for supporting women who want to give birth without drugs…but I’m just not one of them. The epidural was GLORIOUS. The pain subsided, and I was actually able to sleep for a few hours, which was much needed after my mostly sleepless night.
Once I woke up from my nap, (I think it was about 10am) my doctor checked me and I had progressed to 4 centimeters. I was so thankful to finally have some progress! I continued to have contractions and my mom was timing them and helping me through them. I felt my water break at about 11am, and I definitely had the big gush people talk about – there was no doubt that it was my water, and I was glad it broke naturally. After my water broke, my doctor checked me again and I was at 7 centimeters.
At that point, things start to get a bit hazy for me. My blood pressure had been a little on the high side during my pregnancy (but at that point not enough for concern), and during labor, my blood pressure continued to climb. I also developed protein in my urine, and had hence developed preeclampsia while in labor. For the first time during labor, I was scared, for both me and Abbie.
I don’t remember a ton in this time frame. I know doctors and nurses were going in and out, and I was just trying to breathe deeply to try to calm myself down – it was the only thing I could think of to lower my blood pressure. Chris said my doctor brought in another doctor to consult on my blood pressure, and apparently at that point the thought of a c-section had come up. Thank goodness for that consultation – the other doctor suggested that the amount of activity in the room was stressing me out, and advocated taking as many people out of the room as possible, dimming the lights, and trying to let my body calm itself down. They did just that, and thankfully my blood pressure went down.
Before I knew it (about 12pm), my doctor checked me again and I was at 9.5 centimeters – I couldn’t believe it. She suggested starting to push to help dilate that last .5 centimeter, so we geared up to start to push. While the epidural had taken away the pain, I could definitely still feel pressure – and strangely it was in my left buttocks – not sure why I felt it there! The first bit of pushing dilated me the rest, and I pushed for about an hour and a half . Our daughter, Abigail Ann, was born at 1:30pm (my mom of course noticed later that the two clocks in the room weren’t in sync, and says she was born at 1:26pm – only my mom would notice that).
I was so glad that both Chris and my mom were in the room. I heard Abbie cry, and breathed a sigh of relief that she was out! I think I said something along the lines of “I can’t believe I did it!”
While they ran Abbie’s tests and weighed her, my doctor started to deliver the placenta…and it did not seem to want to come out. It took some poking and prodding, but I finally delivered the placenta and my doctor started to stitch me up (I had a second degree tear), but because of the epidural I couldn’t really feel her doing it.
Finally, I got to hold Abbie again, and my mom left the room to call my dad and sisters. Chris called his mom and she left for the hospital. I couldn’t believe she was finally here – there is truly nothing like meeting your child for the first time.
I wish I could end this here with all happiness and rainbows, but that wouldn’t be the truth of what happened. My blood pressure was still really high, and they had to put me on a magnesium drip along with another blood pressure medication to try to regulate it again. That also meant a catheter – and that I was still stuck in an uncomfortable bed for who knows how long.
If you ever need to be on a magnesium drip, let me tell you – it makes you feel horrible. I was tired, still in pain from being in the same position for hours, and upset because I was stuck. I also wasn’t allowed to keep Abbie in the room with us without someone else who was awake and alert there with me – so I didn’t really get to spend a lot of time with her immediately after birth. My mom stayed with me while Chris took his mom back to her hotel and ran home to shower. He also took a blanket Abbie had been wrapped in home to the cats (we had read that bringing home a blanket that smelled like the baby would help them adjust). Once he got back, my mom left for home.
When we were making plans for delivery, we had every intention of Abbie rooming-in with us. I knew I wanted to start breastfeeding right away, and I couldn’t bear the thought of her being separated from us so soon. My medical condition changed things, and Chris and I made the difficult decision to send Abbie to the hospital nursery for the night, even though that meant she’d be getting formula instead of breastfeeding. Looking back, I know it was the right decision since she was well cared for and I felt so horrible, but it was hard to do.
Saturday morning I was finally starting to feel better, and I can’t tell you the relief I felt when they finally took me off the medication and took the catheter out – I could move again! We settled into our room in the Family Centered Care unit and the nurses brought Abbie back to us. (Cue happiness and rainbows again!) We settled in for the day and Abbie had her first visitors – my friend Lindsey was home for the holidays, and Chris’s family came as well.
So that was Abbie’s arrival into the world – not exactly as I expected, but I guess nothing is with parenthood, right?