June was hot as ever and I still had another two weeks left of this huge belly. It was June 1, 2001, and the beautiful baby boy that my fiancé and I had been anticipating wasn’t due until June 13.
June 4, 2001: 10 a.m.
I am only one centimeter dilated and am having uncomfortable shallow pains that my doctor explains to be Braxton Hicks contractions. By 5 p.m. I’m in the Labor and Delivery area at the hospital, where I’m told to go home and relax. My due date is still a week and a half away, so that’s ok with me.
June 5, 2001: 9 a.m.
Back to the doctor’s we go. By now, contractions–or as I’ve been told a thousand times, “Braxton Hicks”–are coming every three to five minutes. I have the bloody show that speaks of dilation, but I’m still only 3 cm. dilated. Doc says he’ll induce me at this point if I want him to but this is my first labor experience and I don’t want to ruin it with induction. So I go back home to wait it out. At 3 p.m. I’m back at Labor and Delivery. My contractions are coming every two minutes and there’s no way this is Braxton Hicks! Unfortunately I’m still 3 cm. and there’s no sign that real labor has started, so they send me home again. We go out to eat, my fiancé leaves for work and I go to my grandparents’ house to wait out the night.
June 6, 2001, 2 a.m.
With the contractions still coming every two to five minutes, I’m in so much pain that I can’t take it anymore. Suddenly, it feels as though my bladder’s leaking, but I’m thinking that this isn’t it yet, when the water breaks it’s supposed to come out in a big gush, right? So I lay back down and again feel the so-called “pee.” I finally make the choice to wake my grandmother who’s immediately on full alert! Standing in the puddle of amniotic fluid, you can imagine my relief when my grandmother yells that my water has broken.
It takes us about an hour to get to the hospital. We arrive at 5 a.m.; I’m 4 to 5 cm. dilated and in true labor this time, there’s no way they’re sending me home. They insert internal monitors due to the instability of the heart and contraction readings that they’re picking up from the external ones, and this will eventually be a blessing.
At 7 a.m. the doctor breaks my water, the baby’s heart rate drops from 135 to 80 with every contraction. I can still hear my wonderful doctor apologizing about the C-Section ahead. “Although,” he says, “there is one more approach I’d like to try before we catheterize her.” They give me a drug to stop my contractions and the doc has me get on all fours with my rear end in the air for everyone to see, he reaches up into my uterus and says that the baby’s umbilical cord is caught between my pelvic bone and his shoulder. The doctor moves the cord and fills my uterus back up with saline to refloat the baby.
What happens next feels like two hours of having the doctor sitting beside me on the bed, doing what he calls “scalp taps” to keep the baby’s heart rate up until he’s stable. Alas! The nurse comes in with the dreaded Pitocin to get me going again.
At 11 a.m. I ask for the epidural. Unfortunately, because I’m overweight in the wrong areas, after 30 minutes of trying, the anesthesiologist is unsuccessful with the insertion of the catheter into my back. Nurse Angie (God bless this woman) brings me some Stadol and Phenergan, which helps me through the next two hours and 12 minutes.
At 12:20 p.m. I begin to have the urge to push. After an exam determines that I’m complete, Nurse Angie asks me to close my legs tightly so she can phone the doctor.
At 12:35 p.m. I’m allowed to start pushing, and pushing, and pushing. The doctor comes in and determines that after all I’ve been through already, this little guy is face up. This, in short, means I have to give all I have left (which is very little!) to those pushes to make them work.
Finally at 1:42 p.m., with a little help from a vacuum extractor, Keith Adam Jr. is finally born. I am so caught up in this little being, that I don’t even notice the 32 stitches the doctor gives me.
Adam is a bright and beautiful almost three-year-old big brother to his now 18-month-old little sister. Her delivery was like having cheesecake in the Bahamas! As for me, after this experience I went on to become a Birth Doula and childbirth educator.
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