Warning: ** This blog will have lots of gruesome details about birth.  There will be words like vagina and details of nurses sticking things into me.  If you have issues with things like this, you might as well stop reading now.  Also, this will be a very emotional blog.  There are parts of Olivia's birth that broke me down emotionally, and were rather traumatic to me.  I am incredibly grateful to have my little girl, and I would have gone through much worse to have her... but there are some parts of this that will be hard to read, and even harder for me to write.  So if you're brave enough to continue on reading, then here we go.

I was laying in bed on the night of Monday, May 27th, 2008, when my water broke.  It was right around midnight.  I had rolled over to lay on my other side, and I felt a gush of warm water come out of me.  The only way I can describe it is that it felt like I had peed the bed without actually peeing.  I said, "Uh oh."  Dave looked at me and asked, "What uh oh?"  I said, "Umm.. I think my water just broke."   He pulled back the covers and sure enough, I had soaked the sheets.  Dave got me some towels to sit on, since once your water breaks it continues to gush for hours afterwards.  He went upstairs and woke up my grandma, and my grandma called my mom who was still at work.

After my water broke, I didn't have any labor pains.  We had planned on me laboring at home as long as possible, so I sat and waited for the contractions to start.  I was wearing a huge thick maxi pad, and sitting on towels with a plastic trash bag underneath to protect the chair I was sitting on.  I had to get up and change the pad quite often, because I kept leaking through them.  The water had been clear, but about 2:00 am I noticed it had turned yellow.  I was worried at this, because I thought it could be a sign that Olivia had passed her first bowel movement inside of me (called meconium), and that I still hadn't gone into labor. 

We made the decision to go to the hospital.  We got to Summerlin hospital at 2:30 am.  They had me lay in bed to get the initial monitoring started, to see how far along my non-existent contractions were, and to get my pulse and blood pressure, as well as monitor Olivia's heartrate.  Olivia's heartrate was very high, and so was my blood pressure.  I have never had high blood pressure in my life.  It's always on the low side of normal.  Needless to say this alarmed the nurses.  They also saw the yellow water, and thought it could possibly be meconium, and said they would watch for further color change (to brown or green).  Because of the high blood pressure and baby's heartrate, I had to stay on the monitor for awhile to see if they would go down (they thought it might be my anxiety).  They also took bloodwork to check for signs of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure that only happens while you're pregnant).  They got Dr. Kneesel on the phone, and put her through to my room so she could talk to me.  She said we would wait and see what the bloodwork said, but that if the high blood pressure continued that she would want me to start on Pitocin to induce my labor.  She said it would not be safe for me to have the intermittent monitoring I had asked for, and that I would have to stay on the monitors strapped down in the bed.  I was okay with that.  They put in the start of an IV so that they would have it just in case.  She also said that if Olivia's heartrate doesn't go down, that I may have to have an emergency c-section.  After hearing about the high blood pressure & Olivia's heart rate, my mom & grandma both came down to the hospital to sit with me.

At 3:30 am they got the bloodwork back, which did show signs of pre-eclampsia.  My blood pressure had gone down a little bit, but was still too high.  Olivia's heartrate had calmed down.  The nurses called Dr. Kneesel, and she said to start the Pitocin.  I had been against inducing labor, but at this point I knew that it was the right thing to do.  Pitocin is a synthetic form of Oxytocin, the hormone that causes labor to start.  Because it is a synthetic, it causes the contractions to be much stronger than they would be on their own.  At 4:30 am, the drug kicked in, and the contractions began.  They were very strong, but still bearable.  But over time, they became so painful that I couldn't breathe through them, I could only scream through them.  I still didn't want the epidural, so I asked them for IV narcotics to help me deal with the pain.  They gave me a dose of Dilaudid, which all of the nurses assured me was some good stuff.  It certainly was.  Minutes after they injected it into my IV my head was spinning and I was very drowsy.  It did really help with the contractions and made them bearable again.  I was so drowsy I was able to sleep through them. 

Drugs though, eventually wear off.  The contractions began to become horrendous again, and I asked the nurses for another shot.  She gave it to me, and once again it calmed the pain and I was able to get some sleep.  This process happened one more time, and after my third shot of Dilaudid, the contractions never calmed down.  The medication didn't work anymore.  That's when I finally gave in and asked for the epidural.  It was now 10:00 am, and I had been in labor for 8 hours.  The contractions were irregular, and I was still only dialated to 5 centimeters.  I knew I would not be able to take that much pain for as long as it might take me to get all the way to 10 centimeters (which at this point I thought was only a couple hours away at the most.)

The epidural was a breeze.  Because of the Dilaudid, I didn't even feel the thing go in.  The only pain I had with it was a very small prick of the shot of local anasthetic that they gave me.  Right away it made my legs numb, and I could no longer feel the contractions at all.  I was still drowsy from the narcotics, so with the epidural I was able to get a good amount of sleep.  I woke up on occasion when the nurses came in, but for the most part I slept most of the day.  Every few hours my dialation would proceed a centimeter, although I was stuck at 8 centimeters for 4 and a half hours. 

The day nurse's shift ended at 7:30 pm, and I was back to the night nurse that I had had when I first arrived.  I was still stuck at 9 centimeters, and not making much progress.  The epidural was still working, but it was starting to wear off.  The nurse told me that since I was getting close to the big finale, I should try to let it wear off so I would be able to feel the pushing.

Olivia's head was presented, but my cervix just did not want to open to ten centimeters.  It took a couple hours, and by then it went up to 9 and a half centimeters.  Finally another couple of hours later I was at ten centimeters.  But by this time, the epidural had worn off.  They had upped my Pitocin in hopes to get me to ten quicker, and without the epidural I couldn't take it.  So I had to BEG for another one.  I was screaming in pain.  I have an incredibly high pain tolerance, but this was just too much.  I knew with this amount of pain I wouldn't be able to focus on pushing at all.  The pain itself was wearing me out.

The nurse obliged and gave me another dose.  My legs went numb, and I couldn't even wiggle my toes.  They decided to finally try to push, but the nurse noticed that Olivia's head was stuck behind my pubic bone.  She thought that with some good pushes we should be able to get her farther down the birth canal.  So this was it!  We finally started pushing at around 10:00 pm.  Dr. Kneesel would come when they called to let her know that I was crowning.  So I started to push.  I couldn't feel anything, but the nurse let me know when I was having a contraction and I would bear down & push as hard as I could.  She was surprised at how good I was doing for not being able to feel anything.  Dave and my grandma had to hold my knees up for me (since I had no feeling in my legs), and my mom was videotaping.  The only problem was that my contractions were still only ten minutes apart.  So I would push, but then we'd have to wait.  This gave Olivia alot of time to move back up the birth canal.  She would move down very little by little, and got a little past the pubic bone.  The nurse could see the head if she held open the lips of my vagina, so she wasn't truly crowning, but she was close.  She said she thought that my OB should be able to get a vaccuum onto Olivia's head from there and that they would be able to pull her out.  So they called in the doctor.

Dr. Kneesel arrived shortly after that, and she confirmed that she would be able to use the vaccuum.  She told me that she could only try the vaccuum three times safely without causing any damage to Olivia.  The first two times she couldn't get a good seal, so she didn't count those.  The next contraction I pushed and she got a good suction on Olivia and was pulling.  She could move her down, but the seal broke and Olivia was still in there.  We waited until the next contraction, and I beared down like no other.  She got a great seal, and had Olivia's head almost out.  My mom said later that Olivia was almost out, but when the seal broke Olivia's head got sucked back in really fast.  The doctor turned to the head nurse and asked, "Did you see that?"  The nurse replied, "Yeah... turtle effect."  I started crying then because I knew we only had one more try, and from the sounds of it I wouldn't be having this baby vaginally.

The third try was the same thing, just a no go.  It was then that I became hysterical.  I had been through 28 hours of labor, and I was so close to delivering her vaginally.  The doctors and the nurses all tried to tell me about how I had to have the c-section because it was the only way to get her out.  I was uncontrollably crying.  I have never been so upset in my entire life.  I just kept saying how much I didn't want it.  A c-section in my mind was just unthinkable.  I had never even considered the possibility of having one.  I had had a completely healthy pregnancy, and I was 100% positive I would be able to deliver her on my own.  I had even considered having her at home by myself.  I cannot describe to you how emotionally broke down I was by this point.  The day that was supposed to be the happiest day of my life had turned into the worst.  It was like I was in a nightmare.  The anesthesiologist came in and asked if I had any questions.  I said no.  My mom & grandma, all the nurses and the doctor.. all were trying to tell me to think positive and be happy about it.  That I was doing what was best for the baby.  I finally told them all to shut the hell up.  I was upset.  This wasn't going to change.  The only one who understood was my wonderful husband.  He held my hand the entire time and told me that he knew how upset I was, and that he didn't want a c-section either.  He just kept telling me that everything would be okay and that he wasn't going to leave me.

They wheeled me down the hall to the operating room.  It looked like an operating room, all white and sterile, with big bright lights on the ceiling.  The stark reality of what was happening hit me like a brick wall.  I couldn't take it, and I just put my hands over my eyes, trying to block out all the light.  I was crying uncontrollably still, to the point where I could barely breathe.  Dave was holding my hand and trying to soothe me, but at this point there was no soothing.  The doctors had to strap my arms down to boards on both sides of me, and the anesthesiologist was nice enough to put a blanket over my eyes so that I didn't have to see anything.  Dave held my hand tight the entire time, and we prayed to the Goddess together for strength.  In this sterile man-made environment I couldn't feel her presence though.  I know she was within me at that time, making me strong enough to endure this traumatic experience.

The surgery itself was relatively short, and only took about ten minutes.  At 1:25 am, I finally heard Olivia's cries.  I didn't think of myself as much then, and just listened to her.  I couldn't see her, but I could hear my beautiful baby girl.  That was enough to give me the strength to make it through.  Dave left my side at that time so that he could go see our little girl.  He kept coming back and forth between me and her, giving me reports on what she looked like.  The doctors finished sewing me up, and let me know that she had been wedged tightly behind my pubic bone, and confirmed that no amount of pushing would have gotten her out vaginally.  Dr. Kneesel said that it was even hard for them to get her out surgically because of how tightly she was stuck.

After getting me moved over to the bed to take me back to the labor & delivery room, they finally gave me my Olivia.  I got to hold her on the ride back.  When we got back to the room, I was able to breastfeed her right away.  There were no nurses or doctors, just my husband and my family.  Olivia latched onto the nipple right away like a champ and started to suck.  I mean a perfect latch.  Thank god one thing during that day went as planned LOL. 

The nurse from the NICU came in to check on her, and he gave her a bath & dressed and swaddled her.  Everything about her was 100% healthy. 

I was in the L&D room for another hour.  I breastfed her that entire time.  I fell in love with her immediately.  She is my light and my world, and will remain that way all the rest of my life.

I stayed in the hospital for 3 days, and over that time my husband stayed with us.  Watching them together makes me so happy.  She is alot like her daddy, and looks alot like him as well.  I would get up out of the hospital bed and lay in the cot with my husband to snuggle, and we'd both snuggle Olivia between us.  Breastfeeding proceeded exactly as it should, and so did my recovery.  They took the staples out of my suture the morning we left, and the time here at home has been amazing. 

No matter how much I bitched during pregnancy about morning sickness, heartburn, back pain, hip pain, and just being generally uncomfortable and miserable, it was all worth it.  Even the 28 hours of labor followed by that horrible time during the emergency c-section, totally worth it.  I would have gone through even more than that for her.  Even though it was very emotionally hard on me, I found out that I was strong enough to make it through anything.

"There's a secret in our society, and it's not that childbirth is painful.  It's that women are strong!"

 

 

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Comments:

marie...
Jun. 3, 2008 at 1:11 AM

What a beautiful story & baby!

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gusti...
Jun. 3, 2008 at 1:15 AM congrads!!! she is so cute

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Cryst...
Jun. 3, 2008 at 1:15 AM

AWWW! She is so cute! Thanks for sharing your story. Bless your heart! I laughed out loud and woke up my little girl  when you said " I finally told them to shut the hell up!"  BWAAAAAAA !  SNORT!

Congratulations on your gorgeous baby girl!

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Maddi...
Jun. 3, 2008 at 3:25 PM Congtats To you! I am so sorry things did not go as planed. It made me think of Madelynns birth and How I had planned my whole pregnancy to have Natural child birth and then I had to have a C-section I was sad too But you know what She was there and safe and thats all that mattered... Then I had My second C-section with Jaelyn! I am glad your doing well and Now al the fun begins!!! :)

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SlapI...
Jun. 3, 2008 at 3:34 PM Wow, I'm so sorry.  I don't understand why they induced you if you were already in labor.  Things would have progressed better on their own.  It is not considered "turtling" when the DR is using a vacuum.  The vacuum is what causes it.  I hate that you were robbed at your chance for a vaginal birth.  I'm so sorry.  Your dd is beautiful!

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doulala
Jun. 10, 2008 at 2:37 AM Congratulations to you!  That's quite a moving and intense story!  Whhhheww!!   I am sure it through you a bit!  I also had PROM but it was clear, fortunately.  It's crazy to leak and not be in labor.  What happened with the meconium concerns?  Was there any after all??

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