Wednesday, November 16, 2016 was the best day of my life. After 3 years of struggling to have a baby we finally got to meet our beautiful daughter. I will never forget all the emotions of that day as long as I live. Our birth story did not go exactly like I thought it would at all. I guess that’s just another life lesson for me as there is so much that’s out of your control. You really have to be prepared for anything. I always thought I would go into labor on my own when the time was right. This is what they talk about in all the birth classes and in the books. My Mom and my sister both went into labor on their own too right around their due date so I just thought that’s what would happen for me too. I really thought I would go into labor on my own when it was time and I would go as natural as I could for as long as I could. If I couldn’t go natural the whole labor at least I planned on going as long as I possibly could. Getting induced and having an epidural completely freaked me out. Plus I was afraid of the pitocin as many girlfriends have told me once this is in your system it will make the contractions so much harder and more intense and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go natural with these drugs in my system.
Well as my due date came and went and I went into 41 weeks I had to be monitored daily with a non-stress test (NST) due to my age and my history. At each appointment we had my membranes sweeped to try and help labor progress and they talked to us about possibly inducing. I was about 1.5cm dilated since 39 or 40 weeks. Having your membranes sweeped is certainly not fun, it was very uncomfortable but the most natural way to help labor progress on it’s own. After a few days of the NST and membrane sweeps my body would still not progress and I was stuck at 1.5cm. At each appointment the doctors would talk to us about inducing as it was getting more risky to keep waiting for baby to come on her own, which may or may not ever happen. After a couple days of weighing everything out my husband and I decided it was in the best interest of baby and me to proceed with the induction. If we kept waiting baby was just getting bigger which would mean a harder labor for me and they were worried about the placenta not being as good the longer we waited.
So on Monday, 11/14 we decided to proceed with the induction. We had brought our hospital bags to the hospital with us for our daily NST and were admitted Monday night. By the time we got to our room and got settled it was about midnight and they started me on misoprostol to help soften my cervix. These pills had to be given every 4 hours until the cervix was soft enough. I was starting to get crampy around 7am and I was checked to see if I dilated anymore but unfortunately I was still only at 1.5cm. The doctors said they would need to insert a small balloon on top of my cervix and fill it with a saline solution to help put pressure on the cervix and manually dilate me to 4cm. Once you get to 4cm the balloon would just come out on it’s own. Well, none of the doctors or nurses prepared me for how uncomfortable this process was. It made me extremely nauseous and it was very crampy and uncomfortable. I had to have this balloon in for about 6 hours. During this time I could feel the contractions picking up and I had to focus on my deep breathing and different positions we learned in our birth classes. We tried to walk the halls as well but it was very uncomfortable to walk and I really did not want to see anyone in the hallways. After about 6 hours I was dilated to 4cm and the balloon could be removed. Unfortunately my contractions slowed down and my body did not kickstart labor on it’s own as I had hoped so at this point we had to start on pitocin to catch my body up to the 4cm I was manually dilated to.
The rest of the day we worked through the contractions using the medicine ball, massaging techniques and changing positions. By about 9pm the contractions were getting a lot stronger and I had a lot of back labor. Our hospital room had a huge tub with jets and so my hubby and I got in the tub for about an hour to relieve some pressure and relax us a little bit before bed. The jets were absolutely amazing and it really helped to take some pressure off. My contractions were still going on but I was able to breathe through them pretty well so we decided about 10:30pm to try and get some rest as we knew the next few hours things would really intensify. At midnight I woke up in really bad pain and drenched in sweat. It was very uncomfortable to lay in bed so I got up and walked all around the room trying to breathe through the contractions. The pain was getting worse as the hours went by and my contractions were coming about 1-2 minutes apart. The doctor checked me and I was 7cm dilated. I breathed through as long as I possibly could but I was shaking and sweating and completely losing my breathing. They do offer nitrous oxide at my hospital to help take the edge off the contractions. I tried this option first but the pain was just too intense. I knew I still had hours of labor to go to get to 10cm plus however long the pushing phase would last. As much as I hated to do it I asked for an epidural. I felt disappointed in myself for not being able to go the whole way on my own but in the heat of the moment you know what you can handle and what you can’t. Looking back now I’m so glad I made the choice to get the epidural when I did. I was surprised the epidural didn’t even hurt and once it kicked in I could actually relax my body and mind a bit. So by about 4am we could finally relax a little bit.
The doctors came back to check on me at 6am and I was dilated to 9cm! I couldn’t believe it! We were getting so close to meeting our little girl! My husband called my Mom and she was able to get down to the hospital to be with us for the pushing phase. Sometimes a girl just needs the comfort of having her mom there. So by 8am we were dilated to 10cm and ready to begin pushing. They let me rest for about an hour while they prepped the room and got everything ready. I was actually having trouble pushing because I was so numb from the epidural so they had to decrease my medicine to get some more feeling back in my lower body so I could effectively push while increasing my pitocin dosage to make the contractions come closer together. After pushing for about 6 hours the doctors and midwives advised me that they didn’t think I was going to be able to push the baby out on my own. I wasn’t able to get her over the pelvic bone no matter how hard I pushed. She was just too big. I remember them them talking about needing to use forceps or vacuum and if they did not work we would be looking at a C-section. I remember having a breakdown thinking about all the work my body just went through for all those long and painful hours, and then to end up with a C-section. It seriously broke my heart. Nothing I planned on happened and I felt like I just couldn’t catch a break.
After consulting with several doctors and midwives we decided it was in the best interest of me and the baby to proceed with the forceps. My doctor was pretty sure that would work and I wouldn’t need a C-section. By this point the only part of my birth plan that was still able to happen was skin to skin contact immediately after birth. I remember crying and begging the doctors to not take that away from me. At least let me have that. They said as long as the baby was breathing on her own when she came out that they would be able to do skin to skin. After several long and hard pushes they were able to get my baby out and put her on my chest immediately. I will never forget that moment as long as I live. She was so big and long! I was expecting this little tiny baby and she was huge! haha! My husband and I had a few seconds with her on my chest and we cried and held each other and thanked God for this little miracle we had been blessed with. She was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen and she was ours! It was the most surreal moment of my life. Our little Olivia Rian was born at 3:50pm weighing in at 8lbs 10.3oz and 21 3/4 inches long.
I guess in the end it’s ok that everything didn’t go exactly as I thought it would. Baby and mommy are both healthy and that’s all that matters. We gave birth at one of the best hospitals in the country and I’m so grateful for every one of those doctors and especially the nurses for getting us through. These last couple weeks have been some of the best of my life. I just stare at my baby all the time and think about how lucky I am to have a beautiful, healthy little girl. Good things really do come to those who wait. We are never given more than we can handle and it’s always worth it in the end!