This post has been a long time coming. I only have little snippets of time to get on the computer and write.
Monday, June 18th, I went to the doctor to have my membrane stripped to hopefully get things going and avoid induction by other methods, i.e. cytotec (my google search on this scared the hell out of me). I was still a "fingertip" but my doctor was able to push through my cervix and shake things up a bit. It was super uncomfortable. I'd had about 4 hours of sleep, so I was super tired on this morning. I had woken up super early at 4am and could not fall back to sleep. I opened the blind to our front door and there was a young buck staring straight at me in our front yard. I think this was a sign that baby was coming.
After the membrane strip, my husband and I were starving and the only place near the doctor's office was a Sonic, so we got chicken tenders and tator tots, so this was the meal that put me into labor :) I'm glad I ate greasy fast food, because it was my last meal for a while.
We got back to Oxford and I immediately fell in the bed for a nap. I had a couple of stronger braxton hicks, like menstrual cramps, while laying in the bed. I got up from my nap and decided I needed to go for a walk in the nearby park to see if I could get things going, even though it was 90 degrees outside.
I did a 20 minute loop in the park and I felt something leak out of me. At first, I thought it might be urine but I could not control it. I went into the bathroom to check and my panties had watery blood on them. I had walked to the park and did not have a phone, so I had to ask a stranger if I could use her phone. I called my husband and immediately started crying and told him to "come get me" but before I could get out where I was he had hung up. The nice woman offered to drive me to my house. My husband was already home by the time I got dropped off and we started running around the house getting our stuff packed in the car to head back to Tupelo. I was still leaking a little bit, but nothing dramatic.
When we checked into labor and delivery, they needed to confirm that my water had broke and they were not able to do this, even after a speculum exam. Very strange indeed. They did not officially "admit" me but they put me in a labor room after a couple of hours. My doula came and I think by 10 pm my contractions started to get more regular and stronger. By midnight (I think) they were were pretty painful and I had developed a migraine. So between contractions, I was having to deal with the head pain, which really sucked. I really lost track of time, but I know by 8 am Tues, my migraine was gone probably due to all the endorphins that had kicked in because my contractions were awful.
I was having alot of back labor and the only thing that really helped was getting in the shower. My birth plan specified intermittant monitoring, so I only had to be on the fetal monitor for 20 min out of an hour. I took five 45 minute showers during my labor. My doula and my husband would press the sides of my hip bones during the contractions and that helped some. I got really nauseous from the pain and vomited some, they had to give me zofran which actually helped. I labored until 4 o'clock Tues afternoon and then got an epidural (after a 2 hour wait) because the doctor wanted to give me pitocin to get my contractions closer together and I knew I would not be able to handle stronger, more frequent contractions without meds (maybe I could have, but at the time I felt like I couldn't).
The epidural worked, but my left leg was alot more numb than my right, so I did have some break- through pain on my right hip. At 5:00 pm, they checked me and I was 5 cm. At 6 pm, I was a 6. and then was still 6 cm at 9 o'clock at the max level of pitocin. At this point, the doctor on call said that they would like to see me progressing more since this was the "active labor" stage and he started the c-section talk. The doctor also said that his head seemed to be sideways in the birth canal. He said I could wait it out, but it was not looking good. At this point, I was so exhausted and emotional and just wanted to get my baby out safely. At the time, my baby was looking good on the monitor, but had had a couple of decelerations. I was worried about risk of infection due to my water being broken for 24 hours and the possibility of meconium staining if he were to get in distress. I could tell my doula was thinking the doctor was jumping the gun, but I had pretty much abandoned my "birth plan" by this point. My baby's health was taking precedence over any natural birth experience I had envisioned.
So my husband and I decided to go with a c-section. The anesthesiologist came back to numb me up a bunch more. The fentanyl, a narcotic in the epidural, made me feel awful. Very loopy and drunk. I was a basketcase and so messed up feeling when they prepped me and wheeled me into the OR. During the prep, my nose started bleeding, so I had to contend with that. They strapped me on the table and my nose and eye were itching from the narcotic and I could not scratch them. They had oxygen prongs in my nose, but my nose was so stopped up from crying and the nose bleed, I couldn't breath through my nose at all and I remember my mouth being so so dry, because they wouldn't let me drink anything before the surgery. My time in the OR was pretty much an unpleasant blur.
They pulled him out of me at 11:48 pm, June 28th. He let out a short cry and then was quiet and then was immediately transported across the room where they had to get him going. I kept asking my husband "Is he crying, can you hear him?" Finally, W started crying in earnest. His apgar score was 5/9, which I think is typical for c-section babies.
In recovery, I started the involuntary shaking from all the meds. I remember crying alot. They asked me if I wanted to see my baby and at first I said no, because I was so upset, but then I changed my mind. And I am so glad I did. The minute they handed him to me, but body stopped shaking and I felt immensely better. We did skin-to-skin contact and he stayed with me about 30 minutes before they wheeled me into a post-partum room. And then the after birth pains started which was like being in labor all over again.
We stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and felt like we were in good hands. Good nurses and a great lactation consultant who met with me about 3 times. The lactation lady noticed he was tongue-tied, so we had his frenulum clipped by an ENT. Nursing is still not painless, because I think his tongue is still short, but alot better than it would be. Baby W was a little jaundiced, but not enough to make him stay another day in the hospital.
We also decided to get him circumcised after everyone in both of our families were not supportive of our decision not to. If we lived in a more progressive part of the country, like Colorado, maybe we would have stood our ground, but we live in the South and the vast majority of boys are circumcised and we don't want him to feel different when he gets older and we don't want it to deter him from playing sports, etc. We went with the plastibell method which seems the least invasive. We did it on Thursday at 9 days old. He was fussy for a few days, but it doesn't seem to bother him now. The plastic ring fell off yesterday - hallelujah! His umbilical cord fell off on day 10.
Right now, I am still very conflicted about the membrane stripping. Would it had been better to just let my body decide when it was ready to deliver? I think this procedure made my water break which started the clock and increased risk of infection. Why didn't I just wait it out? I feel like I was pulled in so many different directions. Should I trust what my doctor recommends, should I trust what the internet says, what natural birth proponents say? I was just so confused. He was getting big and so I felt damned if I do, and damned if I don't.
It is really hard to encapuslate in words what the last 2 weeks of my life have been like. My emotions have been all over the place and my body had gone through alot. Most of this is from the dramatic drop in pregnancy hormones, sleep deprivation, recovering from major surgery and the hard work of breastfeeding. W has the sweetest little face and body and he really is a good baby - only gets fussy at night. We are doing some co-sleeping in the bed which my husband does not like, but it is the only way he will sleep at night. He does not like his arm's reach co-sleeper that attaches to the bed. I don't think he likes being flat on his back because he has alot of nasal consgestion. We are meeting with the lactation consultant at the hospital today to work on a better latch. I just drove my car for the first time in 2 weeks to get a 20 minute chair massage.
Right now I as I type, I am looking upon my newborn son asleep in his litttle swing and I am in complete awe that he is mine. Even though a part of me is a little sad about not feeling him inside me anymore, I am so happy that I can hold him in my arms and feel his little body on my heart.