Arianna is now two whole weeks old and I've finally gotten around to finishing up this post! It was a lot of details to remember and I'm not entirely sure it even makes sense but here goes!
Friday, October 31st
I spent the first half of the day kind of hoping I wouldn't go into labour and have the baby on Halloween. I rested until about noon, and then ran around doing last minute things. I went to Costco and walked around the the mall. Leigh and I went out to the Keg for one last date night (we had a few of those, but this was actual the last pre-baby date night) and Leigh went to sleep fairly early.
I had a 41 week appointment at the hospital for an ultrasound and non stress test on Saturday November 1st. It was one day before I would be 41 weeks, and I thought about changing it but I went by my usual "everything happens for a reason" mantra. That night, I stayed up late making sure we had everything packed and ready for the hospital. I was honestly going to bring my bags to the hospital but we decided not to leave them in the car and if we needed them we'd just get someone to bring them. I think I knew deep down I wouldn't be going home from the hospital that day.
We got to the hospital at 11 and had the ultrasound first. The tech sent me up to labour and delivery with an envelope. They hooked me up to the nonstress test and at some point, a nurse came in and said your midwife wants to talk to you. I knew at this point that something was up. I wasn't worried that anything was wrong with the baby but I kinda just knew that they would want to speed this up now. I had been doing research on induction for months, and knew that the hormones they induced you with (Oxytocin) often ended up in a c-section because they cause strong, painful contractions that can put the baby in distress. If the baby's heart rate gets too low, they will do a c-section right away.
The midwife came and said that my amniotic fluid was a little bit low and she was recommending an induction. The hospital was on a diversion meaning they were turning people away so she was going to talk to the OB on staff and see what they thought. The OB came in and said that she recommended induction as well but that I could probably come back tomorrow. A few minutes later she came in and said actually we'd prefer to induce you today and we will do an inpatient induction. Which basically means you aren't going home unless you have the baby. Most people get given prostaglandin which is a gel they insert and they rest for an hour and are monitored and then go home until something happens. I had to stay in the hospital, in the assessment room with 3 other people because the hospital was so full.
They gave me the gel at 330, and I instantly felt horrible. It burned so bad, it upset my stomach, I felt hot and sweaty and it made my contractions stronger. I got through the hour and once I was able to get up and move around I felt a lot better. We hung around the hospital, walked around, I even got to leave labour and delivery and go to the cafeteria. I started to get stronger contractions at this time, which was probably around 9pm.
At 11pm, we were moved to a huge birthing room, which was awesome. Except there were no windows which felt really weird because I literally did not leave this room for 36 hours. What happened after this is a little bit fuzzy timewise. I was having a lot of contractions and I was hooked up to a fetal monitor every few hours.
Sunday, November 2nd
At 1 in the morning, my fetal monitor started beeping, I don't remember what happened if the baby's heart rate dipped low first or if it just went off the screen but I suspect that somehow the monitor had slipped off the baby. Regardless, I called for my nurse who came running in with that "code blue" kind of look on her face. She stayed very calm and got me back on the monitor but I could tell she was concerned. They decided to keep me on the monitor non stop rather than just checking on the baby every hour or so. I was also hooked up to an IV for fluid in case that caused the blip in her heart rate. That was an event in itself as I was shaking from the little episode so I ended up with two busted veins and blood everywhere before they got the IV in a 3rd vein that worked.
The funny thing was is that they were concerned that her heart rate was so high but from 10pm - 2am was ALWAYS her super active time when she would kick the crap out of me and this made me not really worry about it. Around 2am, sure enough her heart rate went way down and they were concerned it was getting too close to low. Again, I felt like she always calmed down so much and barely moved in my belly at that time like she was a super deep sleeper. Maybe this was just my way of making myself feel better but I honestly wasn't worried.
My contractions were so strong at this point and I'd been having them for several hours. I decided to ask for a morphine shot so I could sleep and rest. Remember, I wanted to do this all naturally. It was a hard decision to make but I really did get rest and sleep in between contractions and I think in the end it made a difference.
At some point, I think around 6 or 7am a new OB came in and checked me and I was 1.5cm dilated. It felt somewhat promising but after that much time, I thought more would happen. This doctor was amazing and I really trusted him. The midwives told me that they trust him completely and I could too. He gave me another dose of prostaglandin and a membrane sweep and said that he would only use Oxytocin as a last resort because it has almost a 50% chance of ending in a c-section.
I went all day with painful contractions every few minutes (but still not considered active labour because of the whole pesky dilation thing) and started to use a bit of gas to breathe through them which helped a lot. It didn't take away the pain but it helped me manage it.
Around 1pm my water started breaking slowly. It was hard to tell but as it was happening with each contraction I was pretty much sure that was it and the nurses tested it and confirmed it was. Around 7pm the OB came in around then and checked me again. I was now 2 whole cm dilated. I wanted to cry. Why wasn't my body reacting to the gel? I was so frustrated. He recommended that we start Oxytocin. Even though it was exactly what I didn't want, my midwives told me this doctor was amazing and I could trust him. I said go for it. I already had the IV for the fluids so they just had to add it to the IV. They assured me that they monitored it closely and I'd have a nurse with me 24/7. They also upped the doses very slowly to make sure the baby was okay at all times.
I asked for another shot of morphine to help with the pain of the oxytocin. The nurse told me that people rarely can handle oxytocin without an epidural but I wanted to try. I'm not sure how long I lasted but this was another blurry time for me. There was absolutely no way I could handle that pain until labour and then still have energy to push.
I knew it was the right decision to get the epidural. The baby was doing great and she needed me to be strong for her. They administered the epidural and I was incredibly drowsy and relatively low pain until the early hours of the morning.
I also need to add that my mom and Leigh stayed with me pretty much the whole time, only leaving to grab food or drinks (which I wasn't allowed anymore, that sucked) or quickly run errands. Leigh slept in a chair that kinda reclined out and my mom made a bed in the birthing tub. Yup, that happened. Everyone that came in laughed, it was kind of genius actually.
Monday, November 3rd
At 6am, the same OB came and checked me. I was only 3cm after almost 12 hours of oxytocin. Not good. He said he would come back and check me in two hours and if I wasn't 4 cm he said he would have to recommend a c-section, based on the low fluid, baby's little blip the night before, and the fact that my water had been broken for awhile now.
My contractions were getting painful again even with the epidural. It was manageable but I really had to breathe deeply through each one. They were very close together now. I asked the nurse if she thought I was in active labour and she said I think it's safe to say you are. Now I just had to hope I was dilated.
Around 8am, my midwives came. One midwife and one student midwife. I was so excited that there was going to be a student because midwives are so high demand, it made me happy one was going to be there for my birth. They checked me (both, since the student was learning all these things) and they excitedly said that I was 6cm. I seriously cried. This meant that I would probably not have to get a c-section unless things stalled again.
Side note: I was on oxytocin right up until delivery. They normally go up to a level 20, and because the baby was doing totally fine they had to keep upping it until I was at a level 28. It's crazy to me that the one drug I didn't want I ended up with a crazy high dose of it.
The midwives left to go do paperwork. I fell asleep for a few minutes and woke up with an incredibly intense pressure in my pelvis. I asked the nurse what was happening and she said that was a good thing I was probably progressing further. The midwives came back around 930 and said I was now 9cm, and they thought I was almost 10cm.
I was soo happy this was finally happening the way I wanted it to. In my mind I wasn't in the clear until I had her in my arms, but I knew that if I came this far I should be able to deliver her.
Because I was still able to move my legs quite a bit and had a lot of sensation despite the epidural, they set me up on a birthing stool in the hospital bed with a bar to start pushing. I don't even know how to describe pushing the baby out but it was the craziest thing I've EVER done. Leigh was such an amazing coach, he talked me through the whole thing and kept me motivated. The midwives kept complimenting me on how good I was doing at pushing. It went by so fast, it felt like I was pushing for 5 minutes but really it was about 2 hours. After awhile pushing on the stool, they laid me back down on the bed. I kept my eyes closed the entire time. I already can't remember the pain but I remember what it felt like, if that makes sense.
She came out at 1145 and the midwives announced "Here's your baby!" and placed her on my chest. I finally opened my eyes and looked at her. She was so beautiful and she was already wailing as if to say "I wasn't ready to leave my nice warm home yet!". . I couldn't stop staring at her. I don't think I spoke for the entire time she was on my chest. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing (to deliver last minute nutrients and iron to the baby) they cut the cord and took her to be weighed ect. She weighed 8lb 2oz and was 20.4 inches long.
I took my gross hospital gown off and put on my nightgown right away. The nurses laughed at me but I'd been in hospital gowns for 2 days and I was done.
Leigh got to hold his daughter for the first time, after 41 weeks of me carrying her.
My mom came in to see her, shortly followed by Leigh's mom and dad and my sister. My dad came by later on the way home from work to see his brand new grandaughter and birthday buddy.
The rest of the day flew by with visitors, resting, and staring at our new baby.
We got released from the hospital around 2pm the next day. We were both doing great and couldn't wait to get home. Especially poor Leigh after 3 nights of sleeping in a hospital chair.
All in all, I ended up having to face all these choices I never wanted to have to make, but each one I made I knew it was the right decision. It was the first time I'd have to practice mother's instinct, and it worked out well that I followed my gut. I don't regret any of the decisions I made. I'm so thankful I didn't have to have a c-section, even though I had to have various drugs to get her here, I ended up with the exact birth experience I wanted. Giving birth to our daughter was probably the most amazing experience of my life. I still can't believe I did that and she's really, really, here after all this time. So worth the wait!