August 18, 2012 Bry had just gotten off night shift. We had breakfast like usual and took a nap. When Bry awoke at noon we exercised and went for a walk. The entire walk I was having bad back pain. There was no break in the pain like contractions and I remember Bryan talking to me but there being so much pressure that I couldn’t focus on what he was saying. It was a long, miserable 2 miles and unknowingly our last as a family of 2.
We got home and I was having regular contractions, presenting namely as back labor. By 2:30pm I’d been regularly contracting for 2.5 hours. I was scared to go to the hospital because I knew it wasn’t “time” yet but at the same time I felt like something was happening and things were changing. I decided to call our doctor’s after hours line and spoke to the doctor on call, Dr. Morales. Dr. Morales told us to come in and to bring our hospital bags. Again, I was nervous about getting turned away and that the pain I was feeling was yet another set of Braxton Hick’s. I told Bry we’d wait an hour and see if they continued. In the meantime we laid in bed and watched Netflix. An hour passed and the contractions were still coming without a break and getting stronger. So we decided to pack our bags in the car and try our luck at labor and delivery.
When we arrived to L&D I was put onto two monitors: one to time my contractions and one to monitor Jackson’s heart rate. The monitors showed that I was contracting without breaks. I was 2cm dilated, 75% effaced as opposed to the 1cm/50% I’d been just 2 days before. The nurses came in and asked if we’d walked that morning and we told her yes. She said that sometimes that can cause an “irritated uterus” which was what the monitors were showing in the constant contractions. I was given 2 bags of saline (1000 CC each) and continued to be monitored to see if the contractions let up with hydration. 2 hours passed and finally my uterus was less irritated, my contractions calmed and I was still contracting on my own every 3 minutes which meant I was in actual labor. We were told to go home, eat, shower, exercise and come back. The nurse, Joy, told us Bryan needed to call off work and when I asked “so we might have a baby tomorrow?” she responded “Oh definitely!” I was shocked and despite the constant contractions didn’t fully believe her.
Despite being stunned, in a good way!, we followed directions. Our last meal was Boston market and it was delicious. By 11pm my contractions were even stronger and I felt myself tearing up in pain when I’d reach the peak of them. We decided to head back to the hospital and walk around for a bit to help things progress. As soon as we arrived at the hospital however, I told Bry I think we should just head to L&D. I was in a lot of pain and was waddling at this point. Bryan was working on 2 hours of sleep after working the night shift Friday night so we stopped at the 2nd floor for him to chug a coffee before we attempted to check in again. While he was chugging, I paced back and forth, rocking and waddling. I decided to try to run for a few paces and 10 steps in realized it was a bad idea. I was ready to get checked again and hoped we’d be admitted.
Again, I was placed on the external monitors which showed I was still contracting regularly and a cervical check showed I was now 3cm dilated 90% effaced. Despite the normal 4cm that it takes for a pregnant woman to be admitted, I was progressing fast and in active labor. The doctor on call, still Dr. Morales decided to admit us. This was it, we were going to have a baby!! We were ecstatic. Everything still seemed so surreal.
While we waited to be taken upstairs to labor and delivery I started leaking a lot of blood and felt incredibly wet “down there”. I didn’t feel anything pop and thought it was probably from all the cervical checks. The nurse took note and said I’d be checked by a resident once we moved upstairs. We proceeded to the third floor at around midnight.
Because of the amount of blood, the nurses were concerned I may have ruptured my bag of waters. A resident came in to check but the fluid I was leaking wasn’t amniotic fluid. The blood continued to leak.
During this time I was still on external monitoring. Jackson’s heart rate was in the 170s since we’d reached the 3rd floor and he was deemed tacky. There was a lot of concern that the blood I was leaking may be placenta abruption and with Jackson’s HR so high it was a danger to his health if we couldn’t bring it down to a normal rate.
Our new nurse, Sherriann, called Dr. Morales explaining the situation. They spoke for a while. When Sherriann hung up she turned to us with a very serious look on her face. “Dr. Morales is concerned about the blood loss and baby’s HR. She’s on her way down but wants me to prep you for a C-Section.” My primary goal of labor was to have a healthy baby but avoiding a c-section was a close second. I was stunned but tried to stay positive. I have to admit I felt like a failure. Jackson was in the perfect position (head down), everything else had been spot on during pregnancy and here we were in the final stretch and I wouldn’t even be allowed to attempt natural labor.
Before labor I thought I’d freak out a lot. I told Bryan that anything that happened in the delivery room I wasn’t allowed to be held accountable for. I had no idea what to expect. However, even facing one of my biggest fears, I remained positive and calm. This wasn’t at all what I wanted but the primary concern was our son. Bryan was very supportive and listened as I riddled off reasons a c-section was a positive in a last ditch effort to become more at peace with the situation. We’d get to see Jackson sooner, we’d know for sure he was OK. While prior to this we’d remained chatty and laughing, despite the pain, the talk of a c-section left the room quiet.
The first step was the epidural. It all happened so quickly. It was now 1am and within 10 minutes of the talk of a c-section, the anesthesiologist walked in. The anesthesiologist tech, a really nice older lady, first went over everything the procedure would entail. I have to admit, I blocked her out. I was shaking horribly by this time, uncontrollably and not from pain but fear. I didn’t know what to expect and it still felt so unreal. The tech placed some warm blankets over me and immediately the shaking lessened. She held my shoulders and told me to hunch over my belly while still out my back while the doctor prepped the area for the epidural. It was painful being in that position with my belly all the way up in my chest. I mentally removed myself from the situation and kept repeating “this is all for baby boy” while taking deep breaths with my eyes closed. The doctor explained everything as he went but it was like listening through a dream. I could hear him but I was removed.
It took about 20 minutes for the anesthesiologist to prep the area, inject local anesthetic and insert the epidural. I was so relieved when it was done so that I could move and not be hunched over my ginormous pregnant belly anymore. I still had full mobility and tons of flexibility despite the epidural but could no longer register pain. I felt pressure with each contraction, could wiggle my toes and move my legs but pain was no longer there.
Before labor, I wanted to try to labor as long as possible on my own before getting an epidural. I was probably in a level 4-5 pain when I got my epidural however it was the right move and without it I know we’d have ended up having a c-section. The epi allowed the contractions to spread out giving Jackson the break he needed to normalize his heart rate in between. By the time Dr. Morales showed up at 2am to assess the situation his heart rate was strong and steady in the 140’s. I was now 4.5-5cm dilated and 90% effaced still. She checked my bag of fluids however it wasn’t there. I had indeed already broken my water on my own. She checked the blood as well and determined it was slowing and that the blood was likely a mix of scar tissue being irritated and lots of bloody show from when my water popped. She couldn’t see the placenta which meant that I was in the clear…for now. She gave us an hour timeline and she’d be back to check on us.
At 3am she returned and I was now 6-7cm dilated. Despite being a first time mommy and having an epidural I was progressing fast on my own! I was so proud of my body. We were given another hour deadline and told to rest. I’d need it for pushing. However I couldn’t sleep. I kept watching Jackson’s heart rate on the monitor willing it to stay strong and steady and not to spike.
At 4am I was 8cm dilated, completely effaced and given another hour. By 5am I was still 8cm dilated but baby was moving down. Dr. Morales ordered a whiff of Pitocin to continue to move things along. Another hour timeline was set and we were again instructed to sleep. We’d be pushing in no time. The room was completely prepped for Jackson’s arrival and despite everything, it still felt like a dream. I could feel intense pressure with each contraction but was still laughing and smiling through it all. I couldn’t help it! I was about to meet the most important person in my life.
At 6am I was complete. 10cm dilated, 100 effaced and baby was at a +1 station. Dr. Morales wanted us to begin pushing but our nurse decided to labor me down. I was put in a more upright position to allow Jackson to come down further on his own, shortening the pushing time. In the meantime I was getting incredibly nauseous from the Pitocin. I was given Zofran to help. The last thing I needed was nausea and puking while I was supposed to be focused on pushing. At 7am the meds kicked in, Dr. Morales arrived and our nurses switched shifts. I was nervous. Here we’d labored for 7 hours with Sherriann just to have a new nurse right before it was time to push. However, our new nurse ended up being Joy, the nurse who was responsible for getting us this far along, the nurse we’d had from the very beginning, 14 hours before. She came into the room all smiles “guess who gets to deliver the baby?!” Bry and I both lit up with excitement. Everything was prepped, Dr. Morales put on a face guard, I was moved down into stirrups and instructed on where to hold my legs as Joy held my left leg and Bry held my right. I reiterated our desires to wait for the cord to stop pulsing before cutting it and for Bry to cut it, the only thing on our birth plan that ended up going as planned.
At 7:30am, it was time to push. The first contraction came and in a series of three consecutive 10 second pushes baby moved significantly. The second contraction came and he began to crown. I was told to STOP! I could feel the intensity of pressure where Jackson was and was so thankful there wasn’t pain associated with it. I could truly just enjoy the experience. With each push I focused not on the pressure, not on what was going on but just on giving it everything I had and focusing it on a distinct spot in my back. Whatever I did, it worked. First time mommy, epidural and in the third contraction as I pushed, I brought our son into the world. Just 6 minutes of pushing and baby boy was here. I guess he’d listened when I joked all pregnancy that it was like a slip n’ slide and when it was time he should slide right out 🙂
I started to cry and shake as he was thrown on my stomach. I couldn’t believe he was here. I was real. He was so big! Where’d he come from?! This was the little boy I’d walked, ran and swam with for 9 months. The little boy with the point feet he loved to kick out on my right side, who got hiccups all the time and loved to have his back patted even through the belly, who I loved from the first moment I saw those two blue lines on the pregnancy test. This was what I’d waited my whole life for, the little boy I’d loved my entire life who in an instant became my whole world. I was oblivious to the shuffle of Bry cutting the cord, and everything else that happened with the after birth. I was focused on the only thing that mattered, our son, Jackson Wyatt. After 20 minutes, which felt like an instant, he was taken away to be weighed, measured and wiped down. I told Bry to go with him and watched my husband tear up as he felt that same instant love I did. We’d created this perfect little being. What a miracle.
It wasn’t at all the labor I envisioned or planned for but it was the perfect labor for us and the results were more than we could have ever hoped for.
A perfectly healthy baby boy with bright blue eyes, 7lbs 6.2oz and 20.5 inches of pure perfection.
We made a perfect team throughout the entire pregnancy (I forgive you for the 3 months of constant morning sickness little one) and that continued in labor. Instead of a c-section I walked away with only 3 superficial tears (I’m looking at you Bry for giving our son a big ol’ head 😉 ) And here we are in our second day as a family of 3 and he continues to amaze us.
He’s such a sweet, cooperative little boy.
He loves to nurse, loves to be rocked and has the most amazing big eyes that he’s begun to open and explore with more and more.
I can’t remember life without him and at 7:36am on August 19, 2012 I realize my life was really just beginning.