(Please note - I am not a doctor....if you feel as if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, please contact your healthcare provider! There are so many resources and support groups available!)
Now, onto Brayden's birth story! I'm breaking this up into separate posts because it's long and I don't want to leave out important details! :)
I didn't initially share this with many people, but I went into this whole labor and delivery process with the idea of a natural, as medication free as possible childbirth experience. I discussed my wishes with my OB and she agreed to allow me to go a few days beyond my due date, as long as my blood pressure and baby were still ok. We tentatively scheduled an induction date for Monday night, April 4th for cytotek followed by pitocin and delivery on April 5th, which would put me at 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. She wasn't very optimistic that I would go into labor on my own but I wanted to give my body the full chance!
Prior to my due date, I spent the weeks and months taking natural childbirth classes, watching videos on youtube, and reading blogs of others experiences. I also had dinner with and discussed in depth details with several friends of mine who had medication free childbirths.
The weekend before Brayden's birth, I tried every old wives tale in the book to help induce labor (minus drinking castor oil...gross) as I truly did not want to have an induction. I walked with my husband, mom, and dad, climbed stairs two by two at my parents house, gave myself a foot massage, made labor inducing cookies from a recipe found on google, drank red raspberry leaf tea, ate spicy Mexican food...I even had my dad take me for a ride up and down a local street full of dips and bumps!
Despite my efforts, nothing seemed to be working. Going into the whole thing, I was barely effaced and only 1 cm dilated per my previous OB appt the week before.
On Sunday night, I had Jason take a final picture of me in my weekly getup, this time at 40 weeks pregnant. Somehow, I knew in the back of my mind that something would take place that night!
I also posted this picture to instagram on Sunday night, knowing it was our final night at home as a family of four (me, Jason, and our two doggies) as I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital on Monday evening at 8 p.m. to begin the induction process.
However, at 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning, I woke up to use the restroom and after freaking out over what I now assume was my mucous plug (sorry if that's TMI), my water broke. With my adrenaline pumping a hundred miles an hour, I debated waking up my husband. It was so crazy for me to think that our lives were about to change forever! I did wake him up to let him know what was going on but I told him not to freak out as I was planning on counting contractions for a little while.
My initial plan was to labor at home as long as possible, count contractions, and go into the hospital when they became at the 5:1:1 rule. I also knew I was in a race against the clock as I'd always heard that once your water broke, you had 24 hours to deliver.
Mild contractions did begin, ranging from 6-8 minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds each. I kept track of them on an app on my phone while eating a few peanut butter crackers. If all went as I expected it to, I wasn't sure when I would be allowed to eat again.
After a little walking around my living room, I decided to try and get a little more shut-eye as I always read of the importance of sleeping during early labor.
However, after counting contractions for an hour and a half, I drifted off to sleep and was startled awake 12 minutes later when I realized I HADN'T had a contraction in a while. Crap.
After walking around my living room, I couldn't get them to resume. At this point, it was 5 a.m. and after texting a friend of mine for advice I woke Jason up again and told him it was time to go into the hospital.
Bags packed, ready to go!
Leaving as two....returning as three. It hit me as I walked out of this door for the last time, that my husband and I would soon return with a little one and that thought blew my mind! How crazy the past 40 weeks flew by so fast!
We arrived at the hospital and as funny as this sounds, we had no idea where to go. Since my water was broken, should we go to the ER or just day surgery as planned? Well, my logical side won out and we ended up in the Day Surgery/admitting area around 5:45 a.m.
After waiting about 10 minutes, we were called over to the desk by a very puzzled receptionist as it had in the computer that we weren't supposed to be there until 8 p.m. that evening. The look on her face when I told her my water broke was quite comical and that's when the ball began rolling!
In no time, I was assigned a room on the labor and delivery floor which was conveniently located near the waiting room.
After being hooked up to the monitors, I was informed that I was indeed having mild contractions that were around 5-6 minutes apart although I couldn't feel anything.
They started an IV and IV fluids and had the doctor on call come by to see me. I was sad my OB wasn't in town that day but was told that the on call OB was good with "natural" patients. After being checked, he informed me that I was barely a 1 cm dilated and hardly effaced at all (same as the week before). He wanted to do a swab check to be sure my water was indeed broken, so they ordered one and it definitely returned positive. I was also informed that my water broke on what they call a "green" or "unripened" cervix (although nothing I did the day before "caused" my water to break...it's just something that happened).
I was given several options by the on call OB:
#1 - Do nothing but hang out at the hospital and see if my contractions picked up throughout the day on their own. (Definitely no going home since my water was indeed broken.)
#2 - Start cytotek to get help my cervix thin out and see if that would jump start my labor.
#3 - Begin pitocin and deliver that day. (He said, "you're 40 weeks, aren't you ready to be done??") Hah!
I honestly didn't care for ANY of those options but knew I was in a race against the clock. I was also shocked to find out that he was willing to give me 48 hours of labor prior to delivery despite my water being broken since I was in a "controlled" environment and could have antibiotics if need be. My biggest fear was that my OB would return the next morning and say "oh, your water has been broken for more than 24 hours...let's do a c-section". Thankfully, I was reassured by the nurses that my OB wasn't like that and all should be ok.
I began taking cytotek at 8:45 that morning, then spent a majority of the day walking in the room, napping, and hanging out on the exercise/birthing ball. Cytotek is a pill (I didn't know that) which is given in divided doses throughout the day.
We also spent a good portion of the day watching baseball as it was opening day! The Astros were supposed to play that day but the game was delayed until the following day due to rain.
I was so hopeful that the cytotek would really get things moving along but should have known something was up when a lunch tray was delivered to my room. *sigh
My dad came up at lunch time with a miniature glove and baseball which was SO incredibly cute (it was opening day after all)! We decided it would be fun to have Brayden's visitors sign the baseball once he was born!
After realizing that the fun wasn't actually happening that day, my dad went back to work and Jason and I spent the remainder of the afternoon napping.
Around 4 p.m., I was checked and informed that the cytotek was working (I was feeling contractions, too) and was 70% effaced, still 1 cm dilated. The cytotek was given in divided doses throughout the day, every four hours.
I also had a few afternoon/night time visitors who stopped by to say hello. At this point, I was having occasional contractions I had to breathe through but it wasn't bad at all (as you can see by my face)! Hah!
I also wore my Goofy challenge headband to remind myself I COULD do this! With the support of my husband and the nurses, I knew I was in for a long night but stayed positive and took it one moment at a time.
Stay tuned for part 2, when the REAL fun began!