**Warning, there are a few pictures below that show a little blood. If this makes you queasy, please do not continue reading this recap!**
Around 9 p.m., I received my final dose of cytotek. I was also supposed to receive another dose around midnight, but they were concerned about a few of the baby's heart rate patterns, so they held it. My night nurse was amazing...she was all about natural childbirth and helped me out like you wouldn't believe. I was allowed to walk the halls for a while, which really helped get my contractions going. She also hooked me up to a portable monitor they called "Monica" which allowed me to roam my room without having to be attached to the machine by the bed. (Imagine an EKG type setup on your baby bump with a portable device around your neck.) She also detached me from the IV fluids for a few hours so I could really move around freely. Did I mention that I loved her? Cause I did...
In our conversations, she told me that she actually delivered her sister's fourth child at her sister's home because the midwife didn't make it in time! WOW! I knew I was in good hands! :)
At midnight, I was checked again and informed that I was 80% effaced and baby was low in the pelvis! YAY! We were making progress!
Around this point, I knew I needed a little sleep because the par-tay was about to begin at 3 a.m. when the Pitocin was set to be hung.
At 3 a.m., I was woken up by a different nurse, one I'd never seen before. I remember mumbling something about how wonderful the Monica device was and she agreed. She also checked me again and informed me that I was 1 1/2 cm dilated and my cervix was "thin". I also remember her telling me that I had a "band" at the opening of my cervix and to bear with her while she attempted to stretch it. Yes, you read that right and yes, it was just as painful as it sounds. However, she gave me a bit of good news...since baby was low in the pelvis and I was already completely effaced, I should dilate "fast" and baby would be here in no time. Uhhh...yeah ok.
It was also at this time that the Pitocin began. They started it off at 1 ml per hour which was not bad at all and completely manageable. At 4 a.m., the pit was upped to 2 ml per hour and this was the point where I had to get out of the bed. I attempted to walk the room (definitely a no go), so my next strategy was to find a comfortable laboring position (which wasn't really possible). Comfort and labor do not go hand in hand....who would have thought, right?!
Now, hear me out on this one before you stop reading this recap. In my natural childbirth class, we were instructed to have something to focus on...whether it be calming music, scripture, a saying, a picture...anything to help distract our minds from our current situation. Prior to my whole childbirth experience, I knew I wanted to make my environment one of worship and praise. How better to get through pain than focusing on the one who makes life possible to begin with? Thanks to Amazon Prime/Amazon Music, in the weeks before my due date, I created a playlist and entitled it "Karen's Labor Music". Hah! The melodies of "You Make Me Brave", "Oh, How He Loves Us", "Through It All, My Eyes Are On You...It Is Well...", "No Longer Slaves", and many more played though headphones on a continuous four hour loop through the remainder of my labor process.
At 6 a.m., my night nurse came back in and upped the pit to 4 ml per hour. After an hour of enduring the pit at 4 ml per hour, I knew I couldn't take it at a higher rate. As my night nurse came in to say goodbye and my day nurse (the same as the one from the day before) came in to say hi, I told them both my thoughts - I couldn't handle the pit any higher. They both told me not to worry - the rate was as high as it was going to go and it wouldn't be upped anymore. Whew.
Anyone know how they titrate that rate? Is it based on the mom's tolerance or MD's orders? Also, is it given at a higher rate when a woman has an epidural since she can't feel the contractions? Just curious!
I was also incredibly happy to see that my nurse had changed the settings on Monica from "Early Labor" to "Labor"....just the thought that things were progressing really helped my mental state!
My "most comfortable position" was on the birthing ball at the end of the bed with two pillows stacked on the bed. My head remained face down in the pillows while I breathed through each contraction as we were taught in our childbirth class. I vaguely remember seeing a text from my dad around 6 a.m., but I didn't have the energy to even read it. (I now feel horrible about that.) Around 7 a.m., my dad arrived at the hospital because he was worried something drastic had changed overnight. He also came into the room with McDonald's biscuits (a weakness of mine) and I couldn't even stomach the smell. I don't think he expected to see me in the state I was in and I remember him patting me on the head to ask how things were going. I looked up at him, pulled a headphone out of my ear, told him "this sucks", then put my head back down. I also remember seeing the McDonald's bag and I asked him to take it out of the room because of the smell. I felt bad that he was there so early, but I know the anticipation of meeting his first grandchild was getting to him and he couldn't stand it. :) I was NPO anyway, so I couldn't have a biscuit even if I wanted one, but just the thought of food made me want to vomit.
Around this time, I woke Jason up as I just couldn't do it anymore on my own. He had no clue of the state I was in and immediately set up on the chair behind me to help me through my contractions.
We carried on this way throughout the rest of the day. He informed me at one point that he ate off of a breakfast and a lunch tray in-between my contractions but I was so out of it, I don't even remember that!
At 7 a.m., I was at 2 cm and around 10 a.m., I was at 3 cm. So much for things "going fast", right? Hah! Every time I got up to move and a contraction hit, I grabbed on to the IV pole, but my head on my hands, and breathed through it.
After a mid-day potty stop, I attempted to get on the hands and knees laboring position which was a NO go....so back to the birthing ball I went. I remembered a friend telling me that this was how she was most comfortable but it definitely didn't work for me.
Around noon, I became incredibly nauseated and couldn't hold the few sips of water I drank that morning anymore. Lets just say I was very thankful for those little blue hospital nausea bags. :)
My OB came to my room around 1 p.m. to say hi and check me. Poor thing...I threw up on her, too. Well, not technically ON her but it happened nonetheless. She offered Zofran to me and I accepted it. My day nurse also informed me that I had Stadol on order once per hour if I wanted it. YES, at that point I definitely needed some relief! I received my first dose of Stadol at 12:45 p.m. and for the first time in hours, I felt some relief from my contractions and was actually able to doze off a little. I woke up at 1:30 p.m. and asked for another dose which I received at 1:45 p.m. My nurse checked me again and that dose of Stadol helped relax my body so much, I jumped from 5 cm to 8 cm in 1 hours time. At 2:30 p.m., I woke up again and the contractions returned with vengeance. I began feeling the urge to push. After being checked, I was at a 9 cm, but wasn't progressing to 10 cm because of a lip located on my cervix.
For the next hour I laid in bed in misery, resisting the urge to push. The only way I could describe it to Jason was as if you ate rotten Mexican food and had the worst urge to have a bowel movement but were stuck in a car for an hour with no restroom and you had to hold it in. This is where I'm not happy that my room was so close to the waiting room - my family and friends had to hear my misery right along with me.
Jason went out to get my dad or mom to come give me some encouragement. My dad came in and prayed with me but didn't stay long as I could tell he was upset by my state. A bit later, my mom came in to check on me and all I remember her saying is, "You know you can get the epidural"! My response..."no no no...get out of here with that!" Hah! I made it that far, I wasn't about to turn back!
Through all of that, the urge to push kept getting stronger and stronger. I told Jason if the doctor didn't get in the room, he was going to have to delivery the baby himself. Hah! Thankfully, my new 3 p.m. nurse came in to say hi and asked if I wanted her to stay with me and help me through the contractions. She also turned the pitocin off, which actually helped those final few contractions be more manageable. You have NO idea how much of a help and comfort she was to me. Simply having another member of the healthcare team in the room with me made me feel so much better. She was also a former Lamaze coach, so that helped a lot as well!
In the meantime, this giant light was lowered from the ceiling and a blue table was rolled into the room!
I remember hearing my nurses mumble something to each other about Brayden being in the posterior position. Unfortunately, I knew what that meant...posterior is what they call a "nosey" baby or "sunny side up". Babies are supposed to be born with their heads tucked and their face down - when Brayden moved into the birth canal, he turned face up. This means when they pass through the birth canal, their necks are craned back with their chin up. It IS possible to delivery babies vaginally this way, but it's much more difficult on the mom, baby, and healthcare team.
If it had to happen to someone, it was going to happen to me...of course.
Almost go time!
Around 3:30 p.m., my Doctor arrived and we began attempting to push. After several unsuccessful attempts, she stopped and mentioned a few other options - either an epidural to help me labor down some more on my own or a c-section due to the baby's posterior presentation.
Here's where my respect level for my Doctor rose to an even higher level - she didn't even give me a chance to answer. She said no, she didn't want to do that to me since I had labored naturally for so long on my own....so for the next hour and a half, she sat there with me while I pushed, tried new positions, pushed, and pushed some more through each contraction.
Eventually, I remember her saying that she could see the head and I jokingly asked if she could just use the vacuum to get the baby out. I had reached the point where I felt as if I just didn't have anything left in my tank. Her response? "Oh girl! I ain't going nowhere near that vacuum!" HAH! Brayden's heart rate remained incredibly stable through it all and he never once had any problems during the delivery process.
At exactly 5 p.m. on 4/5/16, Brayden Paul made his grand entrance into the world!
After he was born, my nurse warned me that she was turning the Pitocin back on to help with the delivery of the placenta. The thought scared me to no end. I looked at the IV pole and noticed that the rate was now at 75 ml per hour where as it was at 4 ml per hour before (when I could barely stand it). I remember making a comment to the nurse about the new rate and how crazy it was that I couldn't feel it at all!
The nurses also convinced Jason to cut the cord and I was VERY proud of him! We'd talked about it all through my pregnancy and he always refused (blood and guts freak him out), so I was incredibly shocked when he said yes. Yay Jason!!
I vaguely remember the next part but I know I laid there a bit longer while I was being stitched up. They also gave Brayden to me for a little skin to skin contact. I've heard that you forget the pain once you see your baby's face...well let me tell you - I didn't forget and I still haven't forgotten! Hah!
I had to laugh at the shape of his head. Poor kid....sunny side up baby!
About half an hour after he was born, Jason and I were given a little alone time with Brayden. We didn't spend much time alone though because we were so excited to introduce him to all our friends and family who were anxiously awaiting his arrival!
Our parents holding Brayden for the first time. So sweet and special!
Before long, it was time for his bath and we had to give him back. He did not like and still does not like baths! Hah!
About 2 hours after his delivery, our room was packed up and we were taken to the postpartum area. Oh yes, my labor and delivery nurse from the night before was back for another shift and came in to say goodbye to me. She gave me a huge hug and told me that she was proud of me. I thought that was really sweet of her!
While being wheeled to my postpartum room, I commented to my nurse how grateful I was for my Doctor. She agreed and said that not many Doctors would have done what mine did with me. Most would have taken one of the alternate routes like mine mentioned during delivery. So. Grateful.
Not only was Brayden born on 4/5/16 at 5 p.m., but he was also born on the Astros first game of the season which they won 5-3 against the Yankees! I think 5 is Brayden's lucky number! :)
This is getting incredibly wordy, so I'll complete the third and final part of his Birth Story Recap tomorrow! :)
Thanks for sticking around and following along! :)