At 36 weeks, after a very easy pregnancy, a regular check-up showed that my baby was positioned in what is known as a "transverse lie," meaning the baby was sideways in the uterus, with the head on one side and the feet at the other. It puts the child in danger of presenting shoulder-first, which almost always leads to an emergency C-section.
My doctor scheduled me for a version–a procedure in which the physician attempts to reposition the baby by applying external pressure on the mom's abdomen. My husband and I were informed of the slight risks involved: the pressure on the abdomen can sometimes cause the water to break, and there was a slim possibility that the manipulation of the fetus could put the baby into distress. In either of those cases, the baby would have to be born immediately. We scheduled the procedure at 37-1/2 weeks so if the baby needed to be born, it would be full-term.
On the day of the procedure, I was very excited and I brought my bag with me just in case the baby would be born. At the hospital I was hooked up to a fetal monitor, and when the doctor came in to do the preliminary ultrasound we discovered the baby had turned on its own! My husband and I were sent home with mixed emotions–we were happy the baby didn't have to endure the turning process, yet slightly disappointed that we were going to have to wait longer to meet her.
My due date passed and I had my 40-week check-up on a Friday, one day after I was due. My doctor said I was about 1-2 cm. dilated, but the baby still hadn't really dropped. She scheduled me for an induction the following week. She also performed what is known as "membrane separation" by running her finger around the edge of the base of the uterus, pulling the amniotic sac away from the uterine wall in an attempt to "get things going." Some people think it works, some don't. It didn't work for us.
That weekend we attended a wedding and I danced (much to the amazement of the other guests!) all night long. The next night, we had Chinese food for dinner and went to bed. I had gotten up at 2:00 a.m. to use the bathroom and noticed my shorts were wet and thought my water had broken. I was really excited but wanted to make sure it was really amniotic fluid, so I camped out on the couch and eagerly awaited that first contraction. I was definitely leaking fluid slowly and needed to use a pad for the leakage. I called the doctor's office and they said to just come to the hospital in the morning since I wasn't having any contractions, and to try to rest.
At 4:00 a.m., my husband got up for work (he's the co-host of a morning radio show) and I told him my water had broken and that we would be having a baby that day. Since I wasn't having contractions, and his office is near the hospital, I went to work with him. He and his co-host joked all morning about how they had a woman in labor in the studios. They interviewed me on the air, which was really fun, and we all had a few good laughs! I was really in a terrific mood, especially since I wasn't in a bit of pain. The leaking continued though, and I did have to keep changing my pad every twenty minutes or so.
At 9:30 a.m., we went to the hospital and a resident confirmed that I had "grossly ruptured" my membranes. We checked into our room at 11:45 a.m. We waited and walked, and waited and walked. The doctor put me on a fetal monitor so they could watch the baby's heart rate and the barely-there contractions I was having. My doctor said if I wasn't progressing, she would give me Pitocin, and at 5:00 p.m. they started the drip. My contractions got slightly more intense, but the baby's heart rate dropped into the nineties so they took me off Pitocin and kept monitoring me. At 6:00 p.m. they administered IV antibiotics to fight off the chance of infection because my membranes had been ruptured for nearly 18 hours, and it didn't look like I was going to deliver anytime soon.
My doctor's shift was over at 7:00 p.m. and before she left, she instructed the nurses to restart the Pitocin on a lower dosage, and that when she came back in at 7:00 a.m. I would probably be close to delivery. The Pitocin drip was readministered and I finally started having contractions. By 8:30 p.m. they were getting very close together and I really had to focus. Again, the baby's heart rate dropped slightly (but not like before), and I had to breathe with an oxygen mask. When I was examined, I was four cm. and 50 percent effaced.
An hour later I had a pain like never before–I yelled for a nurse because if it was going to be that bad I wanted some drugs immediately. But when the pain came again I recognized that it was the "urge to push" I had heard so much about. The doctor came to examine me and I was 10 cm. and 100 percent effaced–a drastic change from where I had been an hour before! I didn't need pain killers, I needed to push!
Just thirty minutes later my daughter, Reagan, was born. The umbilical cord was the longest cord the doctor and nurses had ever seen, and it had been wrapped around my daughter's head and neck three times, and around her torso once. She was very pale and had a bruise across her back from where the cord had squeezed her, but she was otherwise healthy and happy! She was seven pounds, two ounces and 20 inches in length. She had a permanent smile on her lips, even though everyone said she was too young to know how to smile.