January 19, 2016 was the day I hoped for and dreamed of for the last several years…only it wasn’t.
On the 19th I woke up at 4:30am too excited and nervous to sleep any longer. My induction was scheduled to begin at 7am. My husband was not surprisingly already up and buzzing around doing last minute things like writing instructions for my mom on how much and how often to feed each of our pets. I got up and got dressed and we settled on the couch to watch some Nurse Jackie before heading to the hospital. Despite getting up super early we ended up being 30 minutes late to the hospital which had me flustered because I hate being late.
I was given some medication to help me dilate and get things started and when my water broke 8 hours later I was started on a pictocin drip. Soon afterwards I began feeling contractions and they became stronger and stronger as the night wore on. I started the whole birth process with a vague idea of a birth plan but I wasn’t too invested in it because I knew there could be (and was) tons of factors outside my control. I was in labor for about 7 hours before I asked for some pain relief. Between my natural contractions and the ones brought on by the medication they were coming about 15 seconds apart for hours on end which made it really hard to breathe through them. The narcotic gave me a small amount of relief and I was able to sleep for a couple minutes at a time.
It was another 13 hours before I gave up and asked for an epidural. Adam sat in the chair next to my bed and supported me the whole time. Unfortunately a short time after the epidural the baby was showing some signs of stress. I was put on oxygen and turned on my right side because he seemed to like that position the best. 29 hours after arriving at the hospital I was only 4cm dilated, between the stress on the baby and labor not progressing the way it normally should I was asked to consider a c-section. Now before I went to the hospital I was 100% against a c-section and I asked my husband to help support me in my fight for a vaginal birth since approximately 1/3 of the babies born at that hospital were born via c-section. I was nervous about being pressured to do something I didn’t want to do.
I was really upset and cried when we discussed the c-section. I was so set on a vaginal birth but there was something deep down that really felt like the only way he was coming out was with a c-section. I very reluctantly and nervously agreed to the c-section and was taken back for the surgery within about 20 minutes. It was kind of crazy how quickly everything got thrown together, my mind was reeling. The next thing I knew I was in the operating room with tons of people moving around me. Dr. Ashley, the resident, came up and asked me how my anxiety was and all I could muster in response was “not good.”
I did really well while they were taking the baby out though. I knew I was going to get to meet my son or daughter soon and I was too excited to really admit how terrified I was. Adam held my hand until the baby was out when he stood up and peeked over the curtain to announce the baby is a boy! I instantly had tears in my eyes. I had a son. I was a mom. My little Theodore had finally arrived!
He was taken into a small room and cleaned off and accessed quickly before they brought him out and put him on my chest. He was cone headed from trying to be born the old fashioned way but so beautiful. I couldn’t believe how much I loved someone I just met. January 20, 2016 at 2:06pm it was love at first site.
My joy only lasted a few minutes though because my body started to feel weird. I felt lots of pressure, then some burning sensations, then pain, lots and lots of pain. When the burning started I asked Adam to take the baby but he insisted I keep him because they had him skin to skin with me and I was keeping him warm. But the pain got more intense and I looked at the nurse and begged her to take the baby I was so scared I was going to drop him. Once the baby was safe I started to freak out a little bit, they promised me I wouldn’t feel any pain but it was awful!
Then my eyes started rolling back and they couldn’t focus. All I could see was the bright florescent light on the ceiling and then nothing for awhile before the light came back. I looked around wildly asking barely decipherable questions. I asked my husband if I was dead. Why was there a baby in the room? Who is the nurse anesthesiologist? I didn’t know her, why was she there?
I was in the recovery room before any of it really started to make sense to me. They gave me Ketamine to knock me out. I wish they would have told me about the possibility of needing Ketamine before the surgery because hallucinations are very common and had I known it was a possibility I probably would have been calmer. I literally thought I was dying though. That Teddy would have to grow up without a mom. It was probably the worst feeling I had ever had up to that point in my life.
But I lived to see another day and was thrilled to get to hold my little Theodore while we were in recovery for 7 hours. Yes, 7 hours. Typically recovery is 1-2 hours but my blood pressure was out of control after my near death experience (or so I thought) and I needed IV blood pressure medicine. I later read that increased blood pressure is very common with Ketamine. Still every bit of it was worth it to get to hold Teddy in my arms and look at his beautiful face.
I couldn’t believe how amazingly perfect he was. His little fingers, little toes, angelic face. He was finally here and I finally felt like a mom.
While I was out the doctors were talking to my husband and it turned out I wasn’t dialating because Teddy’s umbilical cord was between his head and my cervix. So basically I never would have been able to dilate enough to push and it would have definitely ended in an emergency c-section if I had chosen to wait longer.
While we were in recovery, Teddy started to get a little shaky. He was not able to drink enough milk (we got some donated breastmilk) to keep his blood sugar up. I had been on a dexatrose (sugar water) and insulin drip for my entire labor and Teddy was born making too much insulin in his little body to compensate. My mom and our two sisters were able to come in and briefly see him before they decided he needed to go down to the NICU…and that was the beginning of our 8 day NICU ordeal.