Pre-labor had been going on for much of the last week between the bloody show & occasional contractions. It actually seemed like I'd have contractions during the evening but then they'd stop overnight. Thursday evening they were picking up, enough that we wondered if David should go teach his classes Friday. Friday morning I decided that things were calm enough and that I could handle Augie myself. He came home early afternoon and things started picking up as we got ready for trick or treating. We went trick or treating to about 10 neighbors and then drove to about 5 other houses of friends. By this point we were fairly sure things were going to be happening overnight, so we took Augie's bag with us & our last stop was at the house of the family who was babysitting Augie. We got there and Augie took off to play with the boys and toys without a backward glance. As we left about 10 minutes later, he barely acknowledged that we were leaving. This family has 4 boys ages 7 to 1, a dog & a cat so Augie really enjoys visiting there to play with other kids & he just loves dogs.
We got home about 8. We had left our candy bowl on the front step & I still just left it there because I didn't want to deal with answering the door bell. I'd been in contact with my doula, Carrie, already and she got to our house around 10 as we had arranged. Contractions were 6-10 minutes apart lasting between 30 & 60 seconds. We stayed up until about 11:30 when Carrie suggested that we all go to bed because things weren't that intense at that point. She thought things could go either way, we could have an uneventful night or things could really get going.
I never fell asleep as contractions did start picking up when I was laying in bed. I was trying to time the contractions, but it was too distracting. I just knew I couldn't lay in bed so I got up around 1. Carrie started a warm bath for me & I stayed in there for about half an hour. We then spent the next 2 hours doing various relaxation things, she timed my contractions for me (I'd tell her when they started & stopped, partly based on my breathing). David got up sometime in there & was wondering if we should go to the hospital. I didn't want to go too soon & get put on the clock, but certainly didn't want to wait too long either. Carrie was supportive of waiting and was able to help David be comfortable with that as well. I was occasionally feeling nauseous, mostly if I felt like my stomach got squished by slumping over, so I tried to avoid that. Around 3:30 or so, though, I did throw up. Carrie asked me then if I wanted to go to the hospital & I said yes - it really felt like time. It took a little to get everything organized but we got there around 4.
We got set up in the room and the nurse checked me - I was at 3 cm and mostly effaced. They had to do the GBS antibiotics & hook me up to the monitors but I was able to be out of bed & move around (as much as the cords allowed). When I was in bed, I laid on my left or right side, but I found contractions a lot easier to handle out of bed. I was tired, since I hadn't gotten any sleep, so part of the time I sat in the rocking chair & tried to doze between contractions.
I think it was around 9 when they were having a hard time getting the baby's heartbeat with the external monitor so my doc came and told me that she would like to do the internal monitor - so breaking my water & doing the scalpel on the baby's head and also putting a probe in to monitor the contractions. I asked if I would need to be flat in bed after that and she said no. She said the cords restrict you a bit more than the external monitors do, but I could still be up if I wanted. So I said yes to that. My doc checked my dilation and I was at a 5 & fully effaced. She broke my water (clear fluid! she was also concerned about that since I was 41 weeks) and put in the probes. They had to wait between contractions a few times. They were impressed that they were able to do this with me since they had never done the probes on someone who didn't have pain meds. I did stay in bed after this, mostly because it was easier I think, but I was always on my left or right side with my lower leg straight out & my upper leg at a 90 degree angle & propped with pillows. Carrie always made sure of that. At some point I started having a lot of pressure on my perineum during contractions, and sometimes lots of pressure on my rectum during contractions. Carrie said that was good and suggested having the nurse check dilation (I had requested minimal vaginal exams so they were only going to check me if I asked). The nurse checked me & I was at a 7. Carrie had me get up on my hands & knees & lean over the top of the bed. The head of the bed was raised, I had a couple pillows & I would lean over the top - resting between contractions & pushing myself up during them. Carrie & David & the nurse, Julie, were supporting me & massaging my lower back & hips during this. I continued to do this and started getting an incredibly intense urge to push. Carrie & Julie worked with me to breathe through those contractions - luckily the urge to push didn't happen every time I got a contraction. The nurse called my doc who came back & checked me. I had to be on my back for vaginal exams which was horrible. I could hardly stand it. Things are rather fuzzy, but I think this is when my doc said I was at an 8. I obviously shouldn't be pushing; I'd just cause the cervix to swell or tear & lots of other bad things. But the urge was so overwhelming I couldn't stand it. There is just no way to breathe through that. So I asked what I could get for pain meds. My doc said the only option at that point was an epidural. I said "Get me an epidural".
The anesthesiologist was in the building (had to be since I was a VBAC, I think). They had to start a bag of fluids which they said was going to take half an hour - I couldn't imagine how I was going to get through that. But Carrie & Julie & David kept working with me - they'd say I could do it every time I said I couldn't - or even if I started the pushing groan which I fought doing but could hardly help. With their help, I would end each contraction thinking "I can handle one more of these" even though I really doubted that I could as I dealt with the actual contraction. The anesthesiologist came in with the consent form & was going through the risks in detail - while I was dealing with contractions. He'd say "I don't talk to ladies during contractions" as he talked to me during a contraction - and everyone else in the room knew I was having one. David kept politely telling him to shut up. I kept thinking "shut up & just let me sign". He did finally let me sign the paper. Finally they decided there were enough fluids in me to start the epi & I had to sit on the side of the bed. Sitting still for that was also excrutiating. He did the procedure and finally, about an hour after I requested the epi, I had it. This was at noon.
Then the anesthesiologist informed me that he'd missed the epi space & I now had a spinal with an 18 gauge needle rather than the much finer 25 gauge needle they'd normally use. I commented on my head feeling funny so my bed was lowered. Carrie still made sure I was on one side or the other with my lower leg straight out & my upper leg at 90 degrees & supported. Carrie & Julie had to actually move me as I had no feeling at all from my tummy down. This is supposed to help make sure the baby keeps moving down. My BP went way down, I think it was around 90/40 at one point, so I threw up a few times. They got enough fluids in me that I started to feel better. I was able to relax now so that the nurse and my doc said I was at a 9. So I continued as I was for a couple hours. After about 2 hours or so, I started feeling things again. Not painful at all, but I could tell when I was having a contraction & started feeling the pressure on the perineum again. So the anesthesiologist gave me a booster. I also noticed on the monitor that the baby's heartbeat was in the 160 range where it had been in the 120-130 range. The nurse checked me again, still at a 9. She went to report to my doc and came back to say that my doc (Dr Vroman) and the doc on call for a c/s (Dr Michael, who was scheduled to do my c/s Monday if I didn't have the baby before then) were coming to talk to me. I knew exactly what that meant. David & I were prepared to ask for more time as long as there were no concerns with either my health or the baby's health. They got there & said that they felt it was time to do a c/s since I was still at a 9 after a couple hours & since the baby's hb was in the 160 range - the hb that high meant baby was working too hard and going into tachycardia. All medical people left the room and David, Carrie & I discussed it. We all agreed that if there were concerns about the baby's health that we want to do the c/s. Just as we were deciding that, the nurse came back in & said that Dr Michael was concerned about how the hb had dipped during the last couple contractions. I said "well, we've decided to do the c/s". So things got rolling from there.
David & Carrie were both able to be in the OR with me. I got some additional booster in the OR for pain. There was a lot of tugging going on when Dr Michael was trying to get the baby out, it was hard for him to get the baby out I guess because of how baby was stuck. Finally Dr Michael got the baby out & David said "There are uncomfirmed reports - Yes, we have a boy!" I was really surprised since I kept thinking it would be a girl. They very quickly showed him to me, which I had requested, but he wasn't really crying yet so they needed to make sure everything was fine. But his 1 minute APGAR was 8 and the 5 minute one was 9. David went with the baby to the nursery & Carrie stayed with me.
Alexander Eugene Earle was born at 5:19 p.m. weighing 8 lbs 2 oz, 20 inches long, with a head size of 14.25 inches. Alexander was picked just because we like it (although David has said that there are Alexanders way back in the Sturrock family). Eugene is David's maternal grandfather's name. Earle is David's paternal grandmother's maiden name (and also David's middle name & one of Augie's middle names). We will be calling him Alex.
They said he was sunny side up and had the cord around his neck. They keep saying he wasn't going to come out. Dr Vroman said she would have been more concerned about his shoulders than his head. But how he was looking & the cord meant he just wasn't going to drop further & put more pressure on the cervix for dilation.
As much as I wanted a vaginal birth, I am fine with what happened. I tried. I did everything I could. All the medical people and Carrie keep saying how impressed they are with how I handled everything. This is just how it was meant to be. I certainly wasn't going to risk the health of anyone just to get the vaginal birth experience.