My blog has been on a bit of an auto pilot for most of January – thank goodness I had posts scheduled – although not as many as I would’ve liked and I’m sure some of you have realized that those scheduled post ran out a couple weeks ago. It has been quite the introduction to motherhood for me to say the least.
For those of you who don’t know my little girl decided to make her debut! I will say it was quite the ordeal getting her here! Hence this blog post. Then two weeks after she was born she ended up in the Hospital for a week – hence the blank space of posts for a bit. My baby girl will forever and always come before anything and everything I do and when she was in the hospital I just didn’t have the time to blog – that is an entirely different story (one which I will also blog about in the future).
My big take away from everything labor related is to make sure you push for what YOU think YOU need – don’t always take the doctors word for it and if you don’t like your nurse – ask for a different one! Both are things I wish I would’ve done – I think if I had the birth of Juliette wouldn’t have been as traumatic for her, myself and my family.
My entire pregnancy was a difficult one – I was considered high risk for most of it and was put on a bit of a modified bed rest from October until I delivered. By modified I mean I was told that I needed to rest as much as possible and to not do anything unless I had too. It actually was quite the foreshadow given everything that has happened since.
I went into labor on a Saturday – it wasn’t the *Screaming-in-pain-can’t-get-me-to-the-hospital-fast-enough* kind of labor but rather the initial *this-is-what-birthing-class-said-it-would-be-like* kind. Basically I was getting some contractions that were not pleasant – but tolerable to an extent. I remember just feeling weird – that was the only way I could describe it – I knew it was going to be an abnormal day from the second I felt my first contraction.
It wasn’t the best night – it’s hard to sleep through contractions – by the time Sunday rolled around I was getting contractions pretty regularly and I ended up going to the hospital in the afternoon once my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart. Of course when we arrived I wasn’t super dilated – so the nurses had my husband and I walk the halls of the hospital. I grabbed my cup of apple juice they gave me and off we went.
Walking the Halls of the Hospital
Two hours later – they decided to check and see if I made progress – much to my dismay I didn’t. I was still getting contractions less than 5 minutes apart but didn’t dilate any more than when I arrived. So they sent me home.
Sunday night was literally impossible for me to sleep! I ended up walking around my house while my Husband slept. Once it hit 2 am I decided to call my doctor – who yet again told me to stay home. After the disheartening phone call I had a snack and decided to take a shower to see if the hot water would help. It didn’t – labor class lied to me.
Around 5 am I woke Andrew up and told him we needed to get back to the hospital. Once we were there they told me I made progress – but not enough to admit me yet. So off to walk the halls for another hour we went. The problem was that my contractions were so close and so intense that about 30 minutes in I couldn’t walk anymore and had to use a birthing ball instead. After the hour was up I found out that – yet again – I didn’t make progress.
This is when the doctors decided to give me a mix of various medicines to try to help me sleep since I was going on well over 24 hours without any sleep at that point. This mix of medicine did nothing more than take the edge off – I *might* have been able to doze off for about an hour – and that’s being generous. It was supposed to help me sleep for at least 3 hours so they ended up giving me another dose and again it didn’t help me much. Maybe another hour of sleep tops.
Eventually, at the end of this 6 hours of supposed sleep I should have had, they decided to admit me – I finally made a bit of progress.
I was so excited – I called my family and within the half hour my mom, dad and sister were up at the Hospital. From that point on – between the three of them and my Husband I was never left alone. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system.
Once we were in the room I honestly couldn’t contain my excitement. I was so happy that I wasn’t being sent home that I’m fairly certain Adrenalin made me feel a bit better for a short period.
(Please ignore how I look in some of these photos – I was going on 2 hours of sleep over a 48 hour period of contractions)
At that point it was Monday Evening. Once I was settled in the nurse suggested using the Jacuzzi to try to help ease the contractions – it didn’t help a ton. After a few hours the doctors came in and gave me more bad news – not only did I not make much progress but my little girl was “Sunny-sideup”…kind of. It turns out she was facing my hip. This meant that I was getting the worst of both worlds – both front and back labor pains, simultaneously, with each contraction. NOT FUN!
Soon thereafter they suggested using pitocin which frightened me for a couple reasons. First my mom nearly died giving birth to my sister because she was given too much pitocin for too long and ended in an emergency c-section where they couldn’t stop the bleeding – she ended up in ICU with a myraid of other issues. Second I knew the drug would make the contractions more intense and mine were already pretty close together and pretty intense to begin with. Plus the front and back labor with each contraction concerned me too.
But I was nearly into my 3rd day of labor and decided I needed to do something – so they started the pitocin and shortly thereafter my water broke. After another couple hours the doctors came in and told me I again wasn’t making much progress.
Here’s something labor class never mentioned – pregnancy shakes. Apparently they are a thing – I had no idea until about this point in my labor when I started randomly shaking like I was suddenly hypothermic. Controlling any movement was next to impossible when one of these ‘shaking fits’ took over. My teeth would chatter and my entire body would start shaking despite my best efforts to make it stop. The kicker of it was I wasn’t cold at all – I was actually roasting!
My last bump picture.
I ended up opting for an epidural early Tuesday Morning. 48 hours of labor was enough for me – I wanted a bit of relief. However I was terrified of getting one thanks to labor class – when the man arrived to administer it I was so tired and so scared I was shaking (a mix of fear and pregnancy shakes) – I don’t think I would have been able to calm myself down without my Husband’s help. He was my rock.
Once it was administered I remember telling the nurse I still feel everything. A couple hours of me screaming in pain every 4 minutes or so when a contraction came around the nurse finally believed me and decided to get the anesthesiologist back in and give me something called a “Bolus” which was basically a super numbing agent. This helped me out a bit . . . for a couple hours – then I was back to screaming like you would see in a movie (no joke).
It was at this point I started questioning the doctors on what could be done. I was going on 2 … maybe 3 hours of sleep over a 50+ hour period and hadn’t ate anything since Sunday. I was exhausted, hungry and needed help.
Turns out the epidural wasn’t in properly – and that’s why I felt everything. The anesthesiologist was called back in to re-administer the epidural. I’ll never forget when the guy walked into the room acting all burdened to be called back, telling me my “options” … 1. no epidural and go at it like I had been … or 2. re-do the epidural.
I opted to re-do the epidural.
As I sat on the hospital bed – knowing what to expect this time – one of these pregnancy shaking fits started. My nurse said we need to wait until it stops before anything could be administered. It’s at this point the anesthesiologist decided to tell me – a pregnant soon-to-be first time mom, who was now on her 3rd day of labor, dealing with a contraction, while uncontrollably shaking – to just stop moving. I know I was less than pleasant to deal with and I’m fairly certain my nurse was fearing I would turn around and just flip out on him – because after I yelled ‘you’re just going to have to wait’ my nurse told him it’s nothing I could control.
I was told that it would take a little bit for the epidural to fully become effective. Two or so hours later I called my nurse in (a new – less than spectacular one) and told her I still was feeling everything and ended up with another Bolus.
At some point midday on Tuesday (which was my official due date) it was just myself and my father. I had sent Andrew home to take care of the dogs and get some sleep while my sister and mom went to grab something to eat. The Bolus I was given had worn off an hour or so earlier and my contractions started getting more intense (I honestly couldn’t believe it was possible). I’ll never forget my dad trying to calm me down, tears pouring out of my eyes with each contraction as I was screaming at the top of my lungs. He was great – but there is only so much that he could do.
Eventually my nurse decided to show up and ask what was going on. I thought it was kind of obvious – I was in labor for 3 and a half days at that point, the epidural wasn’t working and the Bolus had worn off – but apparently I needed to explain this in between contractions.
This nurse proceeded to just stand in my room and look at me – like I was some sort of spectical – for about 10 minutes. It was obvious I was beyond agitated at her and my dad picked up on this right away. She clearly felt the tension because she eventually said “I guess I can see what we can do to help you” (as if that wasn’t her job already). I’ll never forget her face as she walked out when my dad said “Yea – you probably should!”
This is what I mean by if you don’t like your nurse ask for a different one. I should’ve done that!
I again called my doctors in and questioned what could be done – telling them this ‘wait-and-see’ crap wasn’t cutting it. This was promptly ignored and I was told to wait a little longer. A few hours later I called the doctor back in to check me – I was told that baby girl was officially in the birth canal – but I wasn’t any more dilated than before. They counted this as “progress” even though baby girl was still facing my hip despite me proclaiming that something else needed to be done and that I needed help.
So they gave me sugar water through an IV – not. even. joking.
Apparently they finally realized that 3 and a half days without food while in labor – might cause you to burn up all the energy you had. I guess Sugar water was the “solution.” That and another Bolus.
Soon after there was a shift change – God had sent me an angle for a nurse and a doctor who was actually willing to make a plan! This doctor walked in with my new nurse, looked at me and said “You’re having this baby on my shift one way or another.” Literally a Godsend.
About 5 hours later – baby girl was stuck in the birth canal – still facing my hip – my water had broken well over 24 hours prior – and I hadn’t dilated past a 7. The Doctor came in and said she wanted to do a C-Section given the circumstance.
It was like a whirlwind broke out – Doctors were coming in – I was getting prepped to go get prepped (apparently that’s a thing) – my Husband was putting on a suit for the O.R. – my family was trying to pack up all my stuff – and I was a mixed of relieved and terrified.
This is what many don’t realize – you get to have one person in the room with you during the C-section. However Prior to that – it’s just you – laying on an ice cold table – looking at the ceiling – trying to process what just happened and prepare for what is about to happen.
While I was laying there cold and surrounded by doctors and nurses they gave me a much stronger Bolus – this one numbed most of me. How this was tested was by poking me with something sharp and cold (I couldn’t physically see what was poking me) and asking if I felt it.
As they were poking me they seemed surprised that I could still feel them poking me on my right side so they upped the anti on the Bolus. At some point my Husband was allowed into the O.R. taking his place right next to me on my side of the curtain. They started cutting and I remember saying that I felt what they were doing. The anesthesiologist told me I would feel pressure – but I wasn’t feeling pressure – I expected to feel pressure. I was feeling myself being cut!
Past that is when the blur sets in. I remember having an out of body experience.
My Husband later told me that once they started cutting I started violently shaking to the degree that they had to stop cutting because they would’ve nicked an organ. The doctors stopped, looked at the anesthesiologist, and told him to make me stop shaking (I’m guessing I went into shock because it turns out that my epidural was lopsided and only blocked feeling on my left side – leaving me to feel everything that was happening on my right side). I was given something that made my entire body go limp. Then seconds after I went limp I started screaming.
I remember seeing bright lights and feeling myself being cut. I could hear myself screaming in pain – but I couldn’t remember screaming – I only remembered hearing myself scream.
I knew they told Andrew he had to leave at that point – but I didn’t understand why. They were trying to rush him out of the room and I remember squeezing his hand and not letting go. I remember looking into his eyes completely terrified – not wanting him to leave me there alone but knowing they were making him leave. And finally I remember thinking “I love you” as he left. Apparently I was saying everything I was thinking because Andrew told me he heard me say that as he was being pushed out of the Operating Room.
Past that I remember next to nothing due to the cocktail of drugs they gave me… then I was knocked out completely under general anesthesia.
What I do know from my family is that they rushed Andrew out into a waiting area and he texted my family to let them know what was happening. All of a sudden they said it started to eerily feel like the night my mom had my sister and almost died.
My family was in the waiting room outside of Labor & Delivery because they were told they couldn’t be back at the O.R.
What these doctors didn’t realize was the sheer love and will power of my mother for her own children. My mom waved a pass she had in front of the front desk to let her into Labor & Delivery – upon which she promptly made her way back to where they sat Andrew down. As she walked up she snapped this photo. It will forever and always break my heart.
Andrew was left out on that bench for maybe 5 min before my mom got back to him. He tells me it felt like hours. About 30 minutes after Andrew was rushed out of the O.R. no one had informed him what was going on. My mom went up and starting inquiring because she knew just how fast C-Sections were – especially Emergency C-Sections like this. Shortly thereafter they brought out Juliette – my baby girl – and placed her in Andrew’s Arms.
When she was born she wasn’t breathing on her own and she had to be bag breathed for the first few minutes of her life. Once both Andrew and my mom realized she was ok they were waiting on me. My mom had told me after she knew that my baby girl was ok – she wanted to know if her baby girl was ok.
I was eventually rolled into the room and extremely groggy – still waking up from the general anesthesia and trying to understand what had happened. My dad and sister were allowed back and everyone was able to meet baby girl. All was good, happy and exciting.
For the next two weeks I thought that labor was the single hardest thing I had ever gone through – but then my daughter was admitted to the hospital for a week and suddenly I understood the true meaning of difficult – but that’s a post for a different day.
My advice for any mom-to-be is to just push for what you want. I should’ve made the doctors come up with a plan sooner – if it hadn’t been for the new doctor on the last shift change I probably would still be there! And don’t be afraid to ask for a new nurse if you don’t like the one you have. This is a big moment in your life – the nurse you have should realize that and not just treat you like someone she has to babysit until she can clock out!