Prologue: This was a trying pregnancy as I was dealing with a chronic inner ear/vestibular/balance disorder as well a panic and anxiety disorder.
I also had to have my gall bladder removed during the beginning of my second trimester and experienced a lot of “premature” and “false labor” towards the end of the pregnancy.
By the time January 3rd arrived, we’d already been to the Labor and Delivery area of the hospital about four or five times, during the week prior to D-day.
We arrived at the hospital on Saturday January 3, around 6 p.m., to find out that I was dilated between 5 and 6 cm. At about 8 p.m., the doctor on call broke my water, hoping it would induce more productive contractions as up to this point they had been completely random and not intense enough to do much. This also meant being placed on the “clear fluids” diet. After breaking my water, the bulge that had created the 5 to 6 cm. dilation went back down to 3 cm. However, they didn’t want me to leave the hospital afterwards, due to the possibility of infection.
Some time between when we checked into the hospital and the rupturing of my water, Andrew had a “deceleration,” which meant that his heart went below a certain heartbeat (my Hubby thinks was due to movement but…shrug! who knows!) which made me need to be hooked up to the exterior fetal heart monitor for the duration of the labor and delivery. (Yay… no walking, no Jacuzzi, no shower, nothing that was out of cord range of the monitor.)
At 10 p.m., the nurse came in with the doctor’s suggestion to induce labor, considering that I was still not having regular contractions and that the ones I was having were not productive enough. We decided to wait through the night and, if the contractions were still not strong enough, to induce me in the morning. Needless to say, I got about an hour or so of sleep and hubby didn’t do anything but doze.
At 6 a.m., the nurse came in and set me up with Oxytocin, the drug of choice to induce labor. After a few hours, the right dose of Oxytocin was achieved and labor was well on the way. I was doing all right at first, able to breathe through the contractions and rest/relax between them but as they became more intense, I found that it would be necessary for me to have some pain medication. Now, in order for you to understand this monumental decision on my part, you have to realize that I have severe anxiety towards taking any medication; I can give myself a panic attack over taking a couple of Advil pills (sigh).
The technician arrived to administer the epidural. Then came the fun part… He was trying to get me all set up for the epidural through contractions that were not being mitigated by any medication. Being placed on an epidural also made my diet go down from “clear fluids” to water chips.
He tried once….
He tried twice….
He tried three times…
At this point, everyone was thinking, “This is NOT going to work,” while I was thinking to myself — I have no idea how I was even capable of thinking about anything — that I was NEVER going to do this again, while screaming at the top of my lungs in pain. I’m surprised we weren’t getting any complaints from the neighbors…
Anyway, we tried a fourth time and this time Hubby held me in the position that the nurse and technician had been trying to keep me in. Given Rob’s experience with holding animals throughout various procedures during his Vet Tech years, we think that’s what got it done.
So the epidural started taking effect and I was more than happy just to be out of pain. By the way, between the first and fourth try to get the epidural in place, I dilated from 5 to 10 cm.
Sometime during the “relief” period, my best friend Kimberly arrived, and Rob, Kimber, the nurse, and myself chatted about a variety of things.
By then they wanted me to push, but the epidural was working TOO well… I couldn’t feel when to push or anything, and they decided it was a waste of energy to push because it was so nonproductive. They called the epidural technician back in and had my medication cut down. After a while, I was still not feeling anything. On the contrary, I felt like if I closed my eyes, I’d never wake up, so they called him back and again adjusted the dosage.
The doctor came in and said we had to do something soon as the uterus can only take so much, etc., etc. etc. Needless to say, we were this close to a C-Section when…
PUSH… Ok, this time I felt it coming.
So we proceeded to do the pushing thing again and got some real progress. Then Andrew decided to change position. Now we were talking about trying to vacuum him out and if that didn’t work, we’d go back to the C-Section “discussion.” We decide to try the vacuum.
By the time Rob was telling me that he could see the baby’s head, I was way beyond the point of really understanding how I was able to continue with all the work. I have no idea how I was able to get through the delivery itself because I kept saying I couldn’t do any more, and still they were telling me to push…
Thus, Andrew was born, and all I could do was fall backwards, be cuddled by Hubby and caressed and soothed by Kimberly, and cry from utter exhaustion and relief that it was all over.
Since the birth, Andrew has had severe jaundice, which was taken care of after spending 24 hours under lights at a local children’s hospital. Now he’s dealing with colic: Infant Acid Reflux Disease. But, as you can see from his photo, he’s a happy guy and we couldn’t be happier to have him join the family, while we do our best at taking up the reins of parenthood.
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