I can finally sit long enough without significant pain to commit to writing down our birth story.
I had hoped that my OB appointment on January 23rd would be my last appointment...well, actually, I had hoped that I wouldn't make it to that appointment. I was huge, getting very uncomfortable, and at term. It was time for this baby to come! Sadly, at my appointment on the 23rd the Doctor told me that I was no where near ready. My cervix was still long and closed, though it had softened a little. I was sure that all of the increasingly intense Braxton Hicks contractions were doing something to my cervix...but sadly it seemed not to be.
At this appointment we discussed the very real possibility of a c-section. 2 weeks earlier the baby had measured 8lbs 14oz at an ultrasound. The doctor was worried that an induction would fail since my cervix seemed nowhere near ready and and he was concerned about letting the pregnancy go much longer since the baby measured large but with a small head. He called and made an appointment for me to get one more sizing ultrasound for that Wednesday.
I hoped and hoped I would go into labor before that time.
I went to bed on Tuesday night anxious and worried about the next day. I woke up a lot in the night with many strong Braxton Hicks contractions. No pain...but very significant tightening. I thought....maybe this will turn into labor...but when I woke up at 5am with a million and one thoughts running through my head the contractions stopped completely. No contractions from 5am-6:30am. I figured they really just were Braxton Hicks contractions.
We got up and ready and hustled over to the Pasadena office for one last ultrasound. I had strong Braxton Hicks what felt like every 5-10 minutes the whole way there. Strong....but absolutely no pain.
The ultrasound revealed that my baby had not grown in the last two weeks. This worried the Ultrasound specialist a good deal and he said that it looks like my baby is no longer thriving and he highly recommends inducing....like, today. He sends us right over to my OB....worried, anxious, and hopeful that we would have a baby very soon.
At about 12pm the OB checked me again and said....well, you're 3-4 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Why don't you head on over to the hospital. !!! WOW! I guess I was in labor after all. Rich and I headed home to grab my bag and make a few calls before heading over to the hospital. The contractions continued without pain every 3-5 minutes or so.
We arrived at the hospital at about 12:45pm. I was hooked up to all the monitors to see if I really was in labor and indeed I was. I didn't even feel some of the contractions. They checked me and I was 4 cm and baby was nice and low. The OB arrived after a bit (times start to get fuzzy at this point) and he broke my water. OUCH! That was not pleasant. I knew that now that my water was broken the contractions would start to get painful. They did....and were frequent. I managed and enjoyed the contractions until they were coming every minute and getting rather painful. I had planned on an epidural but wanted to go for a good time without it. I started to worry that if I didn't get the epidural soon it would be too late so when the contractions were one on top of another I called for my epidural.
Just like last time, the epidural procedure was the most difficult and unpleasant part of the birth. It's so hard to lay still like that when you're experiencing the worst pain ever. Sadly, this time the epidural didn't immediately take away all my contraction pain...in fact, it seemed to have little effect beyond making my legs tingly and making me shiver. The contraction pain continued and intensified. I know the epidural must have had some effect, but I was in a good deal of pain, moaning and trying very hard to breathe and relax through the contractions. Finally, they gave me a boost to the epidural which really did them in. My legs became completely numb and I couldn't feel a thing. Even my arms started to tingle. I began to worry if I was going to be able to push when I was this numb.
They checked me at about 5pm and I was at 9cm and 100% effaced. It was almost time! They lifted my lead weight legs into the stirrups and had me begin pushing at about 5:15pm. I couldn't feel a thing and kept asking if I was pushing right. For all I knew I was just laying there. They assured me that I was. The mood in the room was light and cheerful...until.... I heard the baby's heart-rate slow. The baby really didn't like the pushing. Everytime I pushed the baby's heart rate slowed below 70bpm. They had me stop pushing. Everyone became very serious. There were lots of people rushing about the room...there was talk of getting people from the NICU and of C-section. They decided to first try finding a position that the baby might tolerate better. They turned me on my left side. Amazingly, at this time some of my feeling came back. I could feel and move my legs again and I could feel all the contractions again. I was very worried about my baby, but so happy that I had feeling and would be able to better push this baby out.
Once the baby's heart rate stabilized I began pushing again, this time on my side. Baby tolerated this much better for a while. I was able to push effectively now that I could feel and really enjoyed the process this way. The baby's heart rate slowed again, but the baby was very close...so they had me turn to my back again. A few more pushes (and an episiotomy GRRRR!) and the baby was out. No cord around the neck, no apparent reason for the low heart rate.
They placed him immediately on my chest and after a few moments....I got to hear the most beautiful sound in the world....my newborn baby crying. I don't know his APGAR score, but he looked good. There was no need for NICU or anything special. I felt overwhelming joy, relief, elation...and this amazing euphoria. I just kept saying. "I feel so good"
Baby James is so amazing. I'm so in love and can't believe how much I'm enjoying this newborn stage. I had such a hard time with Nathan as a newborn that I was preparing myself for the worst. This week has been just beautiful and so much fun. I hope he can keep his sweet and easy going personality throughout what I expect to be the very difficult casting process that begins tomorrow. I hate that I have to subject my happy and perfect boy to the discomfort of casting...but it must be done.
Here are some photos from the hospital. Sorry there are tons!
1. Rich took this....obviously moments after the arrival of my little boy. The birth ended up being slightly traumatic as my boy's heart rate was seriously dropping for the first half of the pushing process. There were a lot of very worried looking nurses in my room. The tone changed so dramatically from silly and fun to very serious quickly. I was SO relieved when he started crying, I can't even tell you!
IMG_4476-Edit copy FACEBOOK by amberbella, on Flickr
6. James was being checked out by the pediatrician and I just loved the light here so grabbed the camera. This is the foot that was supposed to be the normal one. You can see James' clearly clubbed foot at the bottom of the frame. It looks like this foot may be slightly clubbed as well. It's SO cute though!
IMG_4582-Edit copy FACEBOOK by amberbella, on Flickr