At roughly 9:25am on Friday August 19th, 2016, I was laying in bed, having a heart to heart with Jesus. Not even joking.. 9 days past due (my second due date was August 10th, originally it had been July 30th, however an early ultrasound and fairly certain conception date gave us the 10th.) Anyway, I was starting to get a little concerned. Thoughts of, will the baby ever come?? Is something wrong?? Will the super crunchy natural birth I planned backfire?? After going through all possible scenarios I finally admitted that I would be okay with whatever path we had to take to have our baby. After admitting this to myself, I rolled over in bed and my water broke. Not.Even.Joking.
FINALLY! I thought, as I slowly rolled myself off the edge of the bed and rushed to the bathroom. After getting over the light colored tile, I realized my water was green and not clear. I knew exactly what was going on, my water broke and there was meconium in it. I instantly knew I was not going to have the labor or kind of birth I had been hoping and planning for. I called my midwife, informed her that my water had broke and there was meconium in it. Typically if the baby poops inside the womb, it can be a sign of distress. She came right over, took my blood pressure and listened to the baby’s heart rate. Both were normal. My contractions were very short and fairly far apart. My husband had gotten home that morning at 7am, so I decided to let him sleep as long as possible. My midwife left again and I cooked a late breakfast, not knowing the next time I would be able to go eat a real meal. Around 2pm my contractions began to pick up and my midwife came back over. She checked me and I was only 1cm dilated and not yet 100% effaced. I decided to wake my husband up, we needed to decide what we were going to do next. We decided it was time to head to the birthing center. I quickly and calmly revamped the hospital bag, having a feeling we would be there for an extended period of time. Somehow managing to pack a package of Honest Co Diapers and wipes. I Was not about to put Pampers on my fresh newborn… if I had anything to do about it!
We checked into the birthing center around 4pm. My contractions were picking up and I was having stronger and stronger back pain with each contraction. The nurses were trying to get all that of my information from my midwife as my husband was massaging my back. The nurse took my blood pressure and it was slightly elevated. (It was normal every time my midwife took my blood pressure at home. #whitecoatsyndrome.) They strapped a fetal monitor onto my huge belly and told be I could go as far as the cord would allow. Then the labor and delivery room phone began to ring, the hospital was needing our insurance information from my husband. Our midwife began to massage my back with the next contraction as I hear my husband trying to explain to the birth center billing department that we have two different insurance providers. He hangs up and switches with our midwife, making sure I was eating/drinking in between contractions and massaging my back. A little while later, the phone rings again, my contractions have picked up and are getting longer, stronger and closer together. Our midwife answers the room phone, the billing department was needing to talk to Andrew again. I told her, to tell them this was a really bad time and they would need to call back later. (The nurse also chose to ask me “hospital” questions when I was having contractions, like really?!) No wonder my blood pressure was high! Jeez!
Sometime between 9-10pm, I think.. Im guessing haha, my body decided there was no more room for anything “else” inside my body. As I rushed to the bathroom in the corner of our L&D room, the contractions started up again. Crying for my husband, he followed in behind me and continued to massage my back as everything (other than a baby) left my body. (Andrew really deserves a gold medal, I would have thrown the towel in by now if it wasn’t for him. Between the pain and mostly the disappointment that I wasn’t having a serene water birth, I needed all of the support I could get.) For hours the same scenario played over and over again. My contractions got stronger, Claudette and Andrew continued to trade off massaging my back. While one would massage, the other would sleep. The nurse would come and go, checking my blood pressure and the fetal heart rate monitor. My blood pressure continued to be slightly elevated and baby’s heart rate continued to be fine. (I never had high blood pressure once during my pregnancy… just sayin’.)
Around midnight my contractions started to get shorter and farther apart, my labor was stalling. The nurse hooked me up to a bag of fluid, concerned that I was dehydrated and that the dehydration could be contributing to my labor stalling. After finishing the bag of fluids via IV my labor picked back up, but not enough. Finally, around 1 or 2am (it is now Saturday, August 20th,) the nurse checked me to find out I was only 5cm dilated. I had been in labor for 16-17 hours at this point, my water had been broken, with his meconium in it for the same amount of time. The nurse talked with the Doctor on call, and they decided it was time to start an intervention. They wanted to put me on pitocin (a synthetic form of the natural hormone, oxytocin, that helps labor progress.) I knew from all of the research I had done during my pregnancy that I did not want to be put on pitocin. Pitocin makes the contractions, longer, stronger and closer together. Causing the mother even more pain and can potentially harm or stress out the baby. Not knowing what stressed the baby (remember, we still did not know if we were having a boy or a girl at this point if I refer to Liam as “Baby”) to pass meconium in the first place, I was very reluctant to be put on pitocin. I knew that if I was going to be put on pitocin, I would need an epidural. I was already in so much pain, was only 5cm dilated, and we all knew my labor was not going anywhere anytime soon. The anesthesiologist had been called in for another mother, and who knows how long I would have had to wait if he had left before I decided. Looking at Claudette and Andrew, I could tell they were both exhausted. (My husband had worked a 10 hour graveyard shift and was on less than 5 hours of sleep at that point.) I knew that I was not going to be able to continue on without them, and if they were both exhausted they would not have been much help. I first told the nurse, “If i’m going to end up with a c-section, can I just get one now?!” I was slightly joking, but also being dead serious. I finally agreed to the pitocin and the epidural. The anesthesiologist rolled in all of his gear, answered all of my questions (poor guy) and began to prep me for an epidural. Sitting on the bed, with the anesthesiologist behind me, and my husband in front of me. Andrew was holding both of my hands as a squeezed the life out of them. I was SO afraid, everything I had heard about epidurals were… “Only half of my body went numb,” “It didn’t work,” “The needle almost paralyzed me,” etc, etc, etc. The anesthesiologist finished up, the nurse helped me get comfortable and I began to feel the effects of the epidural. Not long after the nurse said, “you might throw up”…. I did. Between the north and the south end of my body there was nothing left. After the epidural kicked in, the nurse hooked me up to pitocin, and I never felt anything after that. Andrew and Claudette were both able to fall asleep. However, I did not, the drugs from the epidural made me feel so awake and alert, I did not sleep at all. This is why you shouldn’t do drugs kids…
At some point the next morning (after I had been in labor for 24 hours,) the staff came in to inform me that I needed to move to a different L&D room. I was currently in a room with a birthing tub, that clearly I was not going to be able to use. I think at this point I was 7cm dilated, my contractions were very strong and very close together. (I only know this because after they gave me the epidural, they had to hook me up to a machine that monitored the contractions.) My BP was still elevated, however baby’s HR was still doing great. Unfortunately, because my water had been broken for 24 hours, they diagnosed me with Chorioamnionitis, also known as intra-amniotic infection, which is inflammation of the fetal membranes due to a bacterial infection. It typically results from bacteria ascending into the uterus from the vagina and is most often associated with prolonged labor. Hello! They pumped me full of antibiotics and told me to get some rest, yeah right! At this point not much was happening, and I didn’t need much assistance. I could only drink “clear liquids” and could not feel a thing. Claudette drove home to take a shower and change, Andrew found some food, and I decided we should probably tell our parents that I was in labor! Sorry Mom and Dad! When my water broke the morning before, I told my sister in law, because she was on doggy duty. However, at that point, Andrew’s brother and his wife were the only ones that knew that I had gone into labor. When my water broke with meconium in it, I knew that things were not going to go as planned. I did not want to tell anyone and have them worried when the 24 hour mark hit, and still no baby! The day progressed, and I continued to try and sleep, (I even managed to pack my own pillow, night guard and eye cover before we left the house.) I was very comfortable between my pillow and the drugs, but between the beeping monitors and the nurses coming and going I got ZERO sleep.
At roughly 4pm I was told that I was fully dialated to 10cm and I could begin to push. Not being able to feel my contractions, I had to watch the monitor to know when they were happening. I pushed for 5 hours, trying multiple positions that mostly required a team of people to help me achieve. I was surprised how “quiet” the pushing stage was. Movies and TV always shows woman screaming at the top of their lungs as they push. They actually had me take a deep breath, hold in the air, and use my full lungs to help me “push” as I beared down as hard as I could. I would like to point out, at this point I had been in labor for 30+ hours, and I actually remained fairly pleasant. (I swear i’m not making this up, my husband agreed.) I was actually shocked I had not bitten the heads off of everyone around me like a black widow spider. HAHA! There was only one time, on a “shift switch” where I asked the nurses to take their conversation outside, there were too many people in the room, the volume was rising and it was beginning to stress me out. (…and that happened around hour 33.) Around 9pm the infection was taking over my body, I had a fever and not much more strength to push. The doctor came in and explained to me that it was time for the next intervention, (I had been in labor now for 35 hours, my water had been broken for 35 hours and I had an infection and fever.) He said we would “try” the forceps, and that there was a 75% chance they would work, and if it did not, I would need a c-section. At first I questioned his 75% chance that “they would work”…. Like 75% chance the baby would live?? 75% chance what?? I told him a 75% chance in my book was a C.. and not good enough. HAHA. What he meant was, there was a 75% chance we would put the forceps inside of me, and be able to use them. After sticking 4 paddles (they looked like the ice cream scoopers they use at cold stone) inside of me, he decided he was not going to be able to get the baby out. Apparently after he stuck the 4th paddle inside of me I shouted “Oh Shiiiiit….take mushrooms.” He removed the forceps and headed to the OR and his team also moved from our L&D room to the OR (they had a team ready to resuscitate the baby, because my water had his meconium in it, they assume he aspirated it, and would need to be resuscitated.) At about 930pm I began to feel the contractions, confused, I look up to find out that the epidural had ran out, and no one noticed! I had been wondering why a couple hours before I felt I would feel one of my legs!
This time a different anesthesiologist came in to give me the drugs for the c-section. As she began to pump me full of a different concoction of drugs, she asked “when was the last time your drank something?? We don’t want you to throw up and choke.” Hi…. NOT what you say to someone who has been in labor for 36 hours and about to be rolled into an operating room. I’m not sure the difference between the drugs that were the epidural and the drugs they gave me for a c-section, but they were not the same. The epidural drugs made me very alert, I probably could have taken the SAT and scored a 2600. Whereas the drugs they gave me for the c-section, made me VERY paranoid. The majority of my labor I had been in a semi-reclined position in a cozy hospital bed, dimmed lights, my own pillow. They wheeled me into the OR, (the brightest lit room, I have ever been in) and laid me flat, on my back, on a cold… flat… operating table. At this point all I could think of was, am I going to throw up or choke and where the heck is my husband!?? I’m crying, freaking out as I hear one of the nurses say, “We better get her husband in here.” I wasn’t upset that my natural birth had taken a complete 180 degree turn, that I was ending up with a c-section, it.was.the.drugs. They made me paranoid as heck.
They continued to prep me as i’m crying, asking for Andrew. A nurse asked, “would you like a clear drape so that you can watch?!” I’m sure my response was…. “Do you want me to throw up and choke?!” Again…. Thank you Ms Anesthesiologist. By the time Andrew was next to me, the Doctor had already begun to cut me open. I was actually so drugged that it took me a couple minutes to realize Andrew was actually sitting next to me. They had him “scrub in” and all I could see were his eyes. After they cut me open, and after I insisted that the Doctor walk me through everything he was doing, I think I started to calm down. Andrew will probably beg to differ. The Doctor said, “Okay, you are going to feel some pressure.” (Apparently as he pushed the baby out I shouted “EARTHQUAKE!!” Enter laughing emoji with tears here.) After the “Earthquake,” the baby was out and HE was crying! So I instantly went from crying out of fear to tears of joy. If you need me to remind you, my water had meconium in it for 36 hours at this point. In the operating room was a team fully ready to resuscitate my baby. They assume that if your baby has passed meconium, that they have swallowed/breathed it in, and that they will be born not breathing. So Praise the Lord, that he was! Liam was born on August 20th at 10:03 pm after 36.5 hours of labor.
They let Andrew look over to announce the gender, and he said “It’s a boy!” I actually thought he was joking, we had been so certain that we were having a girl! I actually had to look over and see his swollen junk to realize… it.is.a.boy. A boy that then continued to poop all over the nurse holding him. After they cleaned him up they handed him to Andrew, as the Doctor began to put all of my organs back in place and stitch me up. I was actually unable to hold Liam until I was back in the Labor and Delivery room, I didn’t feel strong enough to hold him because the only part of my body that “worked” were my arms, and there was not much operating table below them.
The nurse walked Andrew and Liam back to the labor and delivery room while the Doctor finished up. I was reunited with my husband and son (and our midwife!) about 30 minutes later. Back in the labor and delivery room Claudette and Andrew helped me get comfortable while the nurse measured and weighed Liam. He pooped two more times before she was able to weigh him, he weighed 8lbs 14oz (this was after he pooped inside of me, twice in the OR and twice in L&D, so who knows how much he actually weighed inside of me.) He was 21.5 inches long, and I wish they had measured the circumference of his head. After the nurse was through Andrew placed Liam in my arms for the first time and he latched right on and began to breastfeed, (and clearly never stopped because he is currently 3 months old and 20 lbs!) I was very relieved that he was able to breastfeed so soon. My research indicated that most woman who ended up with a c-section had a much harder time breastfeeding than those woman who had a vaginal birth. We were in the L&D room for another hour or so, they took Liam away for only a few minutes to put and IV in his arm. (Enter sad face emoji here.) Due to the infection I had during labor, he needed antibiotics as well. We were discharged from post-partum recovery 4 days after we checked in. Let’s just say I got home and my house plants needed some major TLC!
Even though the birth of my son didn’t go as planned, in the end we had a very healthy baby and that’s all that mattered! Despite passing his meconium, Liam never needed to be resuscitated or taken to another facility with a NICU. We did eventually find out that the reason he was unable to pass through the birth canal was because his hand was wedged between his head and my pelvis. Typically, labor starts, and baby gets in “very comfy labor position” to come out. That morning, Liam had been asleep (because I had not felt him move at all) and when my water broke it dropped him down in the position that he was sleeping in. To this day Liam still sleeps with his hands up by his head!