The weeks leading up to Kate’s birth were particularly hard for me. My anxiety and depression levels were astronomical and on a sad number of occasions there were thoughts and feelings that made me want to give up and stop living. Through the help of warren and LOTS of prayer, we made it through.
I’d been being seen at the Doctors office twice a week since mid-December, so we had an induction date set for my own sanity as well as the fact that I’d carried incredibly high levels of amnionic fluid which posed a problem for my body being able to start labor naturally as Kate couldn’t descend and engage… Regardless of my induction date, I was sure she’d come earlier on her own. I prayed constantly that the Lord would bless my body with the ability to start labor. And boy did it start. Over and over it started into labor, sometimes even consistent for a number of hours at a time only to stop again and again. It was like that for a couple weeks. I tried everything in the book.Walking, stairs, bouncing on the exercise ball, eating pineapple, drinking raspberry tea, eating spicy foods, sex, prenatal pressure point massage, dancing around the house, taking hot showers, bouncy car rides… The doctors even stripped my membranes on two different occasions! All to no real avail.
The day of my induction came, and I was still only 3 cm dilatedand 50% effaced.
So, we had to be induced.
On Tuesday, February 5th, Warren went to work as usual. Mom had come to town a couple days earlier in hopes that the babe would come, so she was with me when Warren got home. We made dinner, ate and cleaned up… Then finally got ready to go in. Before anything else, Warren ran up stairs and dressed in a white shirt and tie to give me a blessing. It was lovely and strengthening, although I don’t remember many specifics of it. He changed back into comfy street clothing and we packed the car up with all the bags, pillows and even a blanket or two. Just as we were looking around the house to check and make sure we had all the things we wanted with us, a knock came at the door. Warren answered to find the bishop and one of his counselors standing there. They’d come to check on us and see when we were going to have a baby, and were happily surprised to find that we were just about to leave. BishopCall promised to return in a week or so with ice cream of course, congratulated us and left. Minutes later, we got in our cars and drove up to Maddison Memorial Hospital.
We got out at the temporary parking while mom went to park her car in the back. Warren and I rode up the elevator and spoke to the person at the desk to check in for our official eight o’clock induction appointment.He sent us though the big doors as mom caught up with us and the nurse brought us to our room. The corner room I’d told Warren I wanted when we’d toured the L&D a few weeks previously. Room 1008. The nurse checking us in chatted fora bit and gave us the spill, and to my happy surprise she informed me that my nurse that night would be one I’d met on one of my previous visits to the hospital, Kayla. I was quite happy about that because she’d been so kind and understanding to us before.
It took a while just to check in, answer all their questions, get set up in the gown and IV line, get hooked up to the contraction and fetal monitors etc. but we were finally on the way. And as an added blessing, my body was already contracting on its own, (again.)
After a cervix check finding I was still only 3 cm dilated, the doctor advised us to start induction with a Foley, (a balloon they insert and fill with liquid to put pressure on the cervix and therefore encourage dilation.)
I’ll let you in on a little secret; the placing of the Foley was one of the hardest parts of labor and delivery. It was particularly painful and quite uncomfortable. But, once it was in, things were underway. With that balloon putting on the pressure, my body picked up the contractions- longer, stronger, and closer together. By now though it was 11 or so at night so we sent mom home to sleep and Warren settled down on the horrible little couch bed by the wall. He set into snoring quickly, and I was alone in a manner of speaking.
I asked the nurse for a hot pack for my back, (contractions had started to really effect my back,) and juice for my stomach since I was a little hungry. I tried to doze through the night, but didn’t get much sleep with all the contractions and anxiety I faced.
Oh! Also, sometime in the night I asked to switch from the traditional fetal monitor to the wireless one so I could move about. The wireless involved these weird little square things being taped to my stomach, so not the most comfortable but better than being forced to sit throughout the entire night. They’re also waterproof so I got to take a (short, but well appreciated) bath in the middle of the night as well to relieve some of the labor pains. During said bath, Kayla my nurse sat and chatted with me, asking kind questions about the boys and my experience. Sadly, my bath was cut short since my wireless monitor was having trouble tracking things while I was in the bath. So,I returned to bed and tried to doze a bit more.
At about 5 am, they decided to start me on a very low dose of Pitocin to help regulate the contractions I was having, and a couple hours after that the doctor came to check on the Foley. To our relief, I’d dilated to a 5 with the help of the Foley, and the doctor could now remove it and break my water.
The doctor was very cautious and made sure to feel up inside there and see that the baby’s umbilical cord wasn’t going to slip through the birthing canal before her head. It was a relief he was so thoughtful. My new nurse (the nurses changed shifts at 6am,) was smart enough to prep with a small mountain of towels before this of course, and let me tell you- it was all necessary. Warren even made a joking reference to Lord of the Rings because of just how much water was flooding out, (the nurse didn’t laugh, but the doctor did smirk a bit.) But it did the trick. In the hours following, labor began to progress regularly. They lowered my Pitocin dose from 2 to 1, (whatever units they use in the IV,) and by noon I was contracting every minute. Another couple hours later, the contractions had become strong enough that I began to question my own ability to deliver without the assistance of pain medication. Around 2:30 I consulted with Warren about an epidural, and decided to get one.
It felt like after making that decision that it took a lifetime for the anesthesiologist to come. When he finally did, he was a silly and cocky older man who boasted about his track record. (“in twenty-five years of epidurals, I’ve never had a complication…”) It was honestly reassuring to me to hear his confidence. I had to sit on the side of my bed and hold perfectly still as he prepped my back for the needle. That was one of the other hardest parts of labor and delivery, sitting still through the contractions while the epidural was being placed. But it was done, and slowly my left side was feeling relief, but in my right side I could still feel the contractions, and most especially the back labor. So, the nurse had me prop up the left side of my body with pillows to encourage the epidural to spread to my right. It took another 25 minutes and a brief check in from the anesthesiologist again to get the epidural really working fully and by then the nurse was ready to check my progress. As she checked she sounded a little surprised and said, “You’re complete, I’m going to get the doctor.”
A few minutes later the nurse had the room delivery ready and the doctor was there with us to start pushing.
Dr. Allred had to reach up a bit and encourage Kate to face the right way before I could really start pushing. While there, he found a cyst of some sort on my vaginal wall which explained some of the extra discomfort and trouble we’d had during the induction. It was a blessing to find the cyst so that it can be taken care of at my six-week post-partum appointment.
The first couple pushes seemed not to advance her far enough, and the doctor worried we’d need the assistance of a vacuum. Hearing that made me even more determined to get her here without that awful thing hurting her head. It worked because just a few minutes later, she was placed on my chest.
February 6th, 2019 at 3:32 pm
She was quiet and calm, which worried me slightly and the nurses started patting her back and bum while sucking the liquid away from her mouth and such. And then she cried out one little wail, and the nurses were satisfied.
I think I cried then too, holding on to her, feeling her warmth and her spirit.
Mom cut her cord, (Warren didn’t want to.)
They delivered the placenta- without much of my noticing to be honest. And stitched up my tiny tear.
I was completely infatuated with the ball of beauty on my chest.
She slept there with me for a little, then mom and Warren got to hold her for a bit.
Recovery went really well, especially compared to the recovery after the twins delivery.
I’d only been on the epidural for maybe an hour before they removed it. The nurse helped me shower off the bloody, sweaty stuff and change into a nursing friendly hospital gown to ride over to the mother/baby unit for another day. There we had our visitors come and such.
A few details I missed;
- Mom fainted while I was getting the epidural. Although she’s been to countless deliveries, she’d never experienced an epidural. Poor gal.
- After leaving us a good hour to bond with Kate, the nurse came back in to weigh and measure her—8 lbs even and 20 ¾ inches. Big girl! Especially for being delivered at 39 weeks and 3 days.
- I had the epidural for such a short amount of time that they didn’t even place a catheter.
- In total, I pushed for a little less than 20 minutes and she was out. Maybe that’s why I got lucky with a beautiful newborn… (That or I, like most other mothers, am blinded to anything other than my belief of her perfection…)
Overall, the experience was healing and liberating. No matter how much faith and trust I had in the Lord that she would really come, it was always hard to imagine a LIVE birth… I am so thankful to have her here with me and to have her big brothers watching over.