Written July 2009
So, if you want details continue to read. WARNING: some may find this to be TMI so if you're not interested in ALL the details please stop reading NOW!
I went in for induction Saturday night May 30th. I was to begin taking a pill to thin my cervix every 4 hours with the hope that it would also start contractions. Before the meds I needed to be monitored for 1/2 an hour and then for an hour once the pill was in. So, at about 8:30 the whole process began, 1st dose and hooked up for 1 1/2 hours. The contractions started coming about 45 min. after the pill was in, I didn't really pay any attention to them at first until my Dr came in at about 10:45 and was asking about them (how close they were). After he left I started paying attention and realizing very quickly that they were one to two minutes apart and becoming very strong and painful. When the nurse came in at midnight to hook me back up for the initial 1/2 hour monitoring she said if I continued to have contractions that close together they couldn't give me another dose. So, I did not get another dose until around 4:30 because the contractions had slowed to 5 minutes apart and we were trying to prevent having to have pitocin.
When she came in at 4:30 I had her check me because I had been having such hard contractions for so long and they were so close together, to my extreme disappointment I had only dilated to a 1 1/2. So, after more meds & monitoring I again asked to be checked after the nurses changed shifts around 7:30. I WAS STILL AT 1 1/2. I was beyond exhausted because except for 1/2 hour period I had contractions for 8 1/2 hours every 1-2 minutes and they were beyond strong. My nurse thought it may help to sit on the birthing ball, but when we tried that we could not find the baby's heartbeat, so back into bed I went and after some nerve wracking moments she finally picked it up. I needed to stay hooked up to the monitor though which made me even more uncomfortable because I couldn't stand and move through my contractions. Finally, the decision was made to go ahead with an epidural so that I would be able to rest and relax. After a blown vein and several attempts to find a good one the fluid was started and we just had to wait for the Anesthesiologist to come. He arrived shortly after being called and placed the epidural and I was finally able to sleep for 2 hours.
When I was checked the next time I was at a 3 and VERY thankful I had made some progress! The Dr decided to break my water. The baby/amniotic sac was still so high that the nurse had to lay on my belly and literally shove it down so the Dr could reach it. After my water was broken I started to feel a tad uncomfortable and wondered why I was feeling contractions I shouldn't be feeling? The nurse gave me a bolus (which is a shot of extra medicine through my IV). That helped take the edge off once again and I was able to relax, however that was short-lived. I started to feel very, very strange and Chad ran out to grab a nurse. My blood pressure fell so I had to get a couple shots of ephedrine to get it back up. All the while my epidural for whatever reason is beginning to really not work well at all, I am feeling more and more of my contractions. When the Anesthesiologist was called back in to examine me he determined that I needed to have the epidural redone. Unfortunately the second one did not really do a whole lot, except cause my blood pressure to crash and baby's heart rate to drop. Ever so slowly during all of these hours I dilated little by little, feeling most of my contractions and more pressure than I could possibly imagine I tried to be as brave as I could and just breathe and concentrate on getting to a 10 so I could push.
Finally at about 3:30 I was ready to begin pushing, with all of us in the room believing that it would take very little for baby to appear. I could tell after the 3rd or 4th push that something was not right. I couldn't feel the baby making any progress whatsoever. So I continued pushing with each contraction with my nurse on one side and Chad on the other each grabbing my leg and pushing it back towards my face to make more room for baby. I was getting frustrated and upset and probably made my Dr really sick of me during this time because I kept asking if the baby was making any progress, were my pushes doing anything? I was so exhausted and knew that I probably wasn't pushing as effectively as I should be. I tried to rest during some of the contractions but I was SO uncomfortable I needed to push even though it really was not doing any good. I knew things were starting to get a little tense when they turned down the monitor and I couldn't hear the heartbeat anymore. So then I started asking about the baby~constantly concerned that something was wrong. I was always assured that the baby was fine, although I am sure by now my Dr did not know what to do with me. THANKFULLY I have an awesome, incredible Dr and even if he was frustrated with me I would have never known.
This baby definitely did not want to come out. The Dr tried vacuum extraction with no luck. It was then that the OB was called in, but I had to wait. I really don't remember all of the details after this point. I was physically and mentally gone. I couldn't stand to rest during my contractions but I couldn't stand to push another single time. It seemed like an eternity for the OB to come, he told me a few days later that he was speeding down the highway at 98mph!!! The baby was posterior and his head was sideways. (Turns out that has a name, it's called Asynclitic birth). The OB tried to turn him with forceps and help the baby come down. I do not think I have ever screamed so loud in all of my life, or felt that kind of pain. I tried so hard to be brave but I probably scared the whole maternity floor as well as the Dr's that were standing outside of my door waiting in case they were needed for myself or for baby. I felt so weak and helpless at that moment that I wasn't able to do what I was supposed to do, what I had done 4 other times.
After an hour and a half of attempting to deliver this baby it basically came down to I had to push with everything that I had in me, we NEEDED to get the baby out. So, with 3 or 4 last pushes and a HUGE cheerleading team surrounding me Caleb Matthew was born. He has a huge hematoma over pretty much the whole side of his head from birth trauma. Chad later told me his heart rate dropped to as low as 60 when I was having contractions toward the end but it would always come right back up. I on the other hand did not fair quite so good. I had a 2nd degree tear and episiotomy but the worst was the 4th degree tear. I really did not know how bad a 4th degree tear was until I did some research online about it. I couldn't understand why the nurses kept asking if I wanted stronger pain meds over and over~until I realized just how bad things had been. I also have some nerve damage in my leg from the forceps, a very sore tailbone and sore hips. My Dr told Chad and I that it was one of his roughest deliveries in 20 years of practicing and that the pendulum was swinging in favor for an emergency C section. Obviously no one knew Caleb was presenting this way during labor otherwise I am sure we would have made the choice for an elective C section.
I know there are details I missed but you at least now have a picture of why Caleb's birth was not only the most difficult thing I have ever gone through but also why my recovery has been the most difficult thing I continue to battle. I have come a long way, but I have such a long way to go. Every single day I am affected by his birth. I am thankful every single moment of every day that God kept Caleb and I safe. Things could have turned out very, very badly.
The road I am on is not an easy one but I refuse to give up, give in, or just sit idle and feel the way I feel. I am counting on God to heal what needs healing and I know it will be in HIS time, not mine. I am still so very, very blessed and I would do it all again to be given the gift I have been given.
***Thanks to everyone who faithfully covered us in prayer and continues to do so!***
This picture captures what I could never say in a million words...
2 Hurricanes, 1 Tropical Storm
8 hours ago