We made it to 40 weeks! …then past 40 weeks and on to 41 weeks. Up until about 38 weeks it seems that time FLEW by but once 40 weeks hit then the days beyond that, Justin and I both had a really hard time. We had pretty much put everything on hold as Oliver could have made his grand entrance any day so we were home and going stir crazy. Our midwife sent us to get a biophysical profile (BPP) – which is a post dates ultrasound that checked on our guy to see how he was doing (fluid, tone, movement, etc.) to make sure that he was safe to continue cookin’. We had the first BPP done at 4o weeks and 6 days, it came back perfectly normal so I was instructed to rest, do a little walking and continue waiting. The second BPP was done on 41w and 2d, the fluid levels had dropped and the midwife sent me to Winnie Palmer Hospital for an evaluation. At this point, I was 2cm and 70% effaced and had been for about a week.
On Tuesday, we packed everything in the car on the off chance that we would have to stay there but fully anticipated coming home. Thankfully we were prepared to stay because 5 minutes into my evaluation I was told by the doctor that I should be induced (I was 41w and 3d). We went through the pros and cons and since I hadn’t showed any progression or signs of spontaneous labor, they said that I needed an extra push – my midwife agreed. I gave myself about 5 minutes to break down in an ugly cry because this was not how it was supposed to go. Our dream of a quiet and hospital-less delivery was not going to happen and I had a very short amount of time to come to terms and keep on. Justin and I went over the birth plan with the triage physician and to our surprise, they were very accommodating.
They moved me to an antepartum room and started me with a cervical ripener, misoprostol, at 10pm and at 2:30am I woke up to my water breaking. After my water broke, my contractions got INTENSE and became more consistent but not enough to put me into “active labor” (felt pretty active to me…). Because my water had broken, that showed some sign of progression, they put in an order for me to be transferred to a labor and delivery suite. The contractions continued to be way intense and I labored for another 16 hours before I was transferred to L&D. Showers and the exercise ball were what offered me relief (and squeezing the life out of my tired and gracious husband’s hand). At that point, I was dilated to 5cm and still 70% effaced – my contractions were still not consistent. I shoved my face full of food even though I had absolutely no appetite because I knew I would need the energy and I wouldn’t be able to eat in L&D.
Once I got to labor and delivery, we got settled, went back over my birth plan with the new team and I felt so empowered by the nurses – they continued to affirm me that I could do this naturally. Shift change came and I had another fantastic nurse, then another… They gave me a peanut ball (never want to see one of those things again), an exercise ball, and told me to get walking. I did, though I was growing more and more exhausted and increasingly more weak, I hadn’t slept since Monday night (36 hours at this point). At the 24 hour mark (24 hours after my water broke), I was still only 7cm and now at risk for an infection since it had been so long since my water broke. Justin and I decided that I was going to get Pitocin to get the ball rolling, I also got an epidural at this point since my body was going to begin creating contractions artificially and I didn’t know that my exhausted body would be able to handle it. The last thing that I wanted to do was to end in a c-section because I was too tired to push. I know my body and it’s limits so I broke down and got the epidural and I’m so glad I did. I slept for about an hour and a half, and steadily progressed from then on. 6 hours later and I was a 10 and ready to push.
The last person who came in to check me was a midwife who came in place of the doctor because they were all tied up. How it works at this hospital is that you get 3 doctors in your room when you deliver – 1st and 3rd year resident and the attending physician. This brought me so much anxiety to think about a full room of strangers in the tiny birthing suite we were in, that just sounded like chaos to me. I asked the midwife if she could be the one to deliver, she said yes. So, it ended up being Justin, my amazing nurse, and the midwife — silver lining. 29 hours of labor and 1 hour of pushing later, the wait was over and Ollie was in our arms. 8 pounds, 2 ounces and 21 inches of pure perfection born on Thursday, 11/3/2016 at 10:40am.
The plan was delayed cord cutting and skin to skin for one hour. However, I spiked a fever (they were concerned about infection) and so did Oliver – he was also grunting not crying when he was born so after about 2 minutes, Justin cut the cord and after about 5 minutes with me, they took him to try to get him to yell out a cry and he didn’t. They took him to transition, Justin went with him. From there, they started antibiotics on Oliver and his blood sugar was low so I was able to hand express colostrum for him to have and that got his sugar back up. He had to pass a series of tests in 2 hours in order to be released from the transition nursery and come back with us. After I was all taken care of I was able to go see him and thankfully, he did pass those tests and I finally the three of us got to be together in PEACE and I got to hold on to my baby.
We stayed for 48 hours to complete mine and Ollie’s antibiotics and then got to come home. I couldn’t have even thought up the way that our birth story went down – it wasn’t what I wanted but I truly wouldn’t change a thing. In the hours leading up to his birth and the first few days after, I’m reminded that ultimately, I have no control over how things go. Justin and I get to steward his little life to the best of our ability and there will be outside circumstances that we just won’t be able to control. So, before he even made his way into this crazy world, I’m learning from our little and I am sure it won’t be the last lesson God teaches me through his life. Justin and I grew closer in those 3 days than we could have in any other situation – he was my rock and I couldn’t have gotten through it without him. We have the most beautiful, healthy baby and I couldn’t ask for more.
Also, my very greatest treasure in life has been my sweet husband – second best? Seeing him as a dad.