As has been documented, Roger always measured in the 90th and above percentile, and while ultrasounds can be off by as much as 2 pounds we had every reason to believe that he'd be a minimum of 8 pounds but possibly over 10. I really hoped for a vaginal birth, plus I won't lie that I was feeling pretty antsy about the possibility of a stillbirth or some other past-term negative side effect. For those reasons we chose to induce at 41 weeks, so here's how it all went down :)
We got to the hospital at 7:30 am on Thursday, March 10. After all of the initial getting ready business, we started Pitocin because I had some signs of early labor but still no contractions. I was between 2-3 cm dilated and 50% effaced, which was discouraging because that was basically the same as I had been Monday, 3 days earlier, despite tons of bloody show and cramping all day Wednesday. The long story short of Thursday is that by about 6 pm they had the Pitocin all the way up to 16 (the generally accepted limit is 20--16 is REALLY high) and it took a LONG day of horrible contractions to feel like we weren't getting anywhere. I decided I was all for the epidural because I was so tired, in so much pain, and exhausted in a major way. I only got about an hour of sleep the night before because I was so excited.
So, around 6 pm I was finally to 4 cm, which is where you have to be to get an Epidural, but praise Jesus that He in His wisdom had a very patient on call doctor change up the plans. She felt that if we did that I was basically on the fast-track to an emergency C-section (and based on circumstances I'll explain later, she was right!) because even if I did progress the Pit was so high that the baby might not handle the artificially strong contractions well if he and my body just weren't ready to get him out. She felt our best plan would be to turn off the Pitocin, let me eat (while on the Pit you can only have clear liquids), get me into the jacuzzi to relax and rest, and let me sleep through the night and then see if my own body would take over the next day. The theory was that I'd be better rested, and that my body might be progressed enough to respond better to Pitocin if it hadn't taken over on its own.
And seriously, praise Jesus for her! We did exactly that, and started over the next morning. I was still only around 4 cm, and I think 70% effaced, despite some inconsistent contractions my body produced on its own in the middle of the night. I had been looking forward to my "last meal" in the form of breakfast, but the doctor got me right up on the Pitocin. This time, though, the contractions kicked in right away. And boy, were they the real deal. My body responded well and the hospital staff felt that my body and baby Roger were definitely ready for go time. The Pitocin reached at level 6 at one point, but for the most part they kept it at a 2-3 all day, primarily a 2. That's pretty impressive!
They put in the epidural around 9 am, and the contractions continued to get stronger throughout the day. By 11 am I was 7, almost 8, cm and they decided to break my water and put in an internal contraction monitor because the external one simply wasn't picking them (or Rog's heartbeat) well at all. Eventually they put an internal heartbeat monitor on Rog too, which was VERY useful; they held off because he was so super squirrelly (no surprise there!). Apparently I have an Olympic athlete's heartbeat in the mid-50's and the monitor that was supposed to measure his (which averaged 125) would pick up mine and freak the monitor out. We had so much more peace of mind when we knew he wasn't dropping below 60 beats per minute, which is very bad news for a baby in the labor process.The bummer is that it regressed my dilation to between 5 & 6 (the bag of waters pushing on the cervix can make it seem more dilated than it is) but the good news is that once the water breaks labor picks up a lot faster if it's that late in the game.
The contractions intensified, and by 5 pm I was almost fully dilated. Basically, I was 10 cm but there was a little "lip" left between the 8 & 12 position if you think of it round like a clock. The nurse had me do a practice push, just to see how baby and I responded, and Jason jumped the gun and posted that we were pushing on Facebook which got people way excited :) Rog's heartbeat dropped a decent bit during the push (though he moved down well, which was very encouraging that my pelvis was allowing plenty of room!) and it had been dropping quite a bit during the big contractions. It always responded really well and really quickly, which was good news.
At one point which I can't remember, Jason and I adjusted my position in the bed and 20 minutes later suddenly the contractions got HORRIBLE. Seriously, I went from feeling slight pressure to in tears within 3 contractions that were about 2 minutes apart. Come to find out we had accidentally unhooked my Epidural tubing up near my shoulder when we put my hair up, and so for about 30 minutes I had zero meds and felt EVERYTHING with contractions that were measuring in the 90s (that's HIGH, near the max). Apparently when you don't have an Epidural the body produces natural endorphins that help with the pain. My body wasn't doing that because it had the meds. I literally cannot describe the pain to you. The best I can describe it was like someone slicing my lower abdomen (where women typically feel menstrual cramps) with a knife over and over and over and over for 90 seconds with a 30 second break for 30 minutes. I just breathed as calmly as I could and prayed to Jesus that He would help me endure because it was truly awful. Thankfully they realized I was unhooked and got me caught up eventually to prepare for pushing.
|Hello, big new world!|
|For the record, RN Anita was the BEST!|
At 7:51 pm on March 11, 2011, my sweet son Roger Nehemiah was born. He was 8 pounds, 13 ounces (he was 4,000 grams exactly, which highly impressed all of the nurses!), 21 inches long, and had a 14 inch head (oof! I'm still feeling that!). We discovered that the cord was not only wrapped around his neck but it was also around his body like a sash from shoulder to hip. With every contraction the cord would be cut off around his body by my uterus and then to top that off when I would push then the pressure on his head in the birth canal would cut off the cord around his neck. That was pretty terrifying to hear. He was a tiny bit stunned when he came out, so it took him a little bit to cry, but he was healthy and wonderful and it was so amazing to have him on my chest. We have that moment on video and I'm so glad. He got an 8 and a 9 on the Apgar test, which is good, in spite of being stunned and having the rough cord issues.
So yes! My boy was born! It's sad that he was born the same day as the horrific Japan quake and tsunami; his dad was born the day Mt. St. Helens blew up so it makes sense. Poor boy has the birthday of the Japan tragedy and his half-birthday is September 11. That said, our prayer has been that he'll live up to his namesake of being one who brings comfort to people by pointing them to Jesus so perhaps those things are prophetic. Either way, he's my sweet boy and I adore him!
Post-delivery was rough, in that not only did I have to be sewn up for almost 70 minutes, but after my epidural wore off we discovered that my round ligament was pretty roughed up during delivery since I couldn't feel how awfully it was being stretched out to warn the nurses to try and get me into a less damaging position. It was horribly scary--I couldn't walk because I couldn't lift my legs. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to walk and wondered if I might have even done permanent damage. It was literally almost like being paralyzed from the waist down because not only could I not walk but I couldn't even move myself around in bed--rolling over, scooting up or down, none of it.
|My heart is no longer inside my chest.|
One other rough moment was that I figured I'd be fine after Roger was born. When I had gastric bypass surgery I literally was the most impressive patient they had ever seen for getting up and walking around. It's not like I'm better than anyone--I just simply recognize that healing is most encouraged when you get up and get moving and help your body get back into go mode. I figured labor and birthing would be like this, too, and I'd just get up and get back to normal. Well... nope. Not only was there the ligament issue, but I wanted to shower and somehow the combo of the heat and soothing water and the fact that I leaned my head to rinse out shampoo, since moving was hard, and got water in my ear, messing with my balance, caused me to get light headed. Plus, I lost a lot of blood. Not enough to need a transfusion, but enough for the nurses to ask the OB if I needed one. My shower / getting up was only about 4 hours after giving birth, so things were still adjusting for me. Anyway, I got light headed, asked a nurse to come help me dry off and then when we tried to get me back to bed they decided to have me sit on the toilet (right next to the shower) and I passed out. Thank God I was sitting down!
We finally were ready to go home Sunday afternoon after working on my movement (and they hooked me up with heavy narcotics though I hate them, but they have been helpful in rough moments). Driving home was everything you think it is--everyone is the enemy, a car that might threaten to crash into us and kill our baby! But we've adjusted and drive a little more normally now :) But being home has been wonderful and we're learning the ins and outs of parenting. Rog took a 4 hour nap this late afternoon / early evening, giving mama and daddy long naps, too, and we're super excited to have grandparents coming into town this weekend. Grandma Sherry will be here during the day all next week and this mama is so looking forward to getting some naps during the day since Jason will be working his last 2 weeks at UPS (from 3-9 am, basically) and going to his other job from 9-6 during the day. Eek. But then he'll only work his software job from 6am-3pm each day and we can get into our family routine. Yay!
|Daddy loves his son!|
So... I'm not sure where to stop since it's a week later but it sure took me three attempts at sitting down to write this to get 'er done and that's WITH Jason home with me. But it's all good. I love my boy!
You can follow him on Twitter because, well, Jason and I are super awesome that way.
Proof that I'm a tired mama now, though? I'm not going to read over this too quickly check for glaring typos, so if they're there... sorry! I wouldn't be surprised if I started sentences and forgot to finish them, as I'm so tired! But I'll only forget more of this sweet time as we go if I don't write it now, so yay that it's getting posted!