On Labor Day, I found out that I was #5 on the hospital's induction call list. Somehow the next day, I moved up to the #2 slot so I woke up extra early (not that I slept much the night before anyway, because I had THE WORST itching that night) to wait for the call. At 7:30, my phone rang and the nurse said that my induction was scheduled for 9 a.m. So, we got Kate out of bed, loaded up the car, took her to my mother-in-law's house, and checked in at Labor & Delivery. My mother-in-law predicted that I would have a six-hour labor. I thought she was crazy.
|Everyone should give birth with awesome views. Just saying.|
|Checked in and gowned! Excited to be meeting my baby|
We waited about an hour for them to get everything ready. There were questions to answer, protocols to go over, nurses to meet, cervix to be checked (came in at 2 cm dilated already, yay!), etc. Finally around 10:30, they started pitocin.
With Kate, I was determined, come hell and high water, that I would NOT have an epidural. Well after a night of cervadil and five hours of pitocin and no progress, I changed my mind. She was born ten hours after the epidural.
This time around, I decided very early on that I was going to be open-minded about pain relief. I knew that since it was more likely than not that I was going to have cholestasis again and therefore have to be induced early, it was probably best that I be more accepting of pain medication. I still practiced relaxation skills, like visualization and mindfulness, because they help with my depression/anxiety. My birth plan was this: healthy baby with as little damage to me as humanly possible. Having a high risk pregnancy really helps get your priorities in order.
After a couple of hours on pitocin, it was getting harder to manage the contractions. I knew that I couldn't handle much worse pain, so the next time my nurse came in, I asked for the epidural. When the nurse anesthetist came in with her cart, I said, "You know how happy I am to see you, right?" She laughed.
Epidural was administered, and within a half-hour, I was pretty much in heaven.
It was the PERFECT epidural. I could still move my legs, turn over on my sides, and feel the tightening of my belly...but I was NOT in the slightest bit of pain. I didn't press the button to increase the dosage once it was that good.
When I was pregnant with Kate, I read about calling contractions "surges" or "birthing waves" or even "pressure waves" as a way of pain reduction. Well, the contractions felt like birthing waves AFTER I got that epidural. Ha!
About an hour after I got the epidural, the OB on call came to break my water (the midwife on call was at another delivery at another hospital that was taking a long time). I only felt a trickle and had expected more.
My midwife, who was called Kathryn, finally showed up. She checked me (I was at a four now) and she looked up my birth report with Kate (isn't technology grand?). She said, "I think you'll have this baby in just a few hours. You had your first pretty soon after they broke your water." Again, I scoffed at this.
Then....I felt the gush. The student nurse came to check on me and I told her that either the catheter wasn't doing its job or my water broke. She checked, and confirmed that it had indeed broke. She brought the other nurses in and I was checked again--9.5 cm dilated. WHAT?!
Kathryn came back in with a smile, "Well, didn't I tell you that you'd go fast?"
Suddenly, the room filled with nurses and a respiratory crew from the nursery (the antidepressant I'm on is associated with babies not crying at first). Even though I wasn't quite complete, Kathryn had me try pushing anyway to see if we could get the last "lip" out of the way.
One push and Kathryn said, "Oh wow, this one has A LOT of hair!" They brought out the mirror like I had asked.
Two more pushes, and Livia was on my stomach.
She was only there for a minute or so when they said that she wasn't pinking up fast enough, so they took her over to the warming table where the respiratory crew started working on her right away. I know she got weighed and measured at some point. Weight: 7 lb. 5 oz. (two ounces bigger than Kate, but a good-sized 37-weeker like her). Length: 18.5 inches (a half-inch shorter than Kate). Total amount of time in labor: 5 1/2 hours.
They finally had to take her down to the nursery. Stephan didn't know whether to stay with me or go with her.
"Go with her!" I commanded. "I have people taking care of me here!"
So he did.
Somewhere in all of this, the placenta came out, I got stitched up (only four stitches, woo!), and then I was given a menu so I could order dinner. I ordered grilled salmon. Yes, grilled salmon. It was delicious.
At some point, Stephan came back with Livia and she was doing better. We were taken to my room, I was given drugs, and I tried to nurse Livia. Unfortunately, we were having a really rough time partly because I was exhausted and a bit out of it because of the drugs (why oh why did that nurse give me two percocet?). I finally asked for a little bottle to give her, praying that it wouldn't wreck nursing for us. 5 ml and she was out like a light. My mother-in-law brought Kate to visit, and oh boy was Kate excited to meet her baby sister.
When Kate and Grandma were getting ready to leave, my nurse came by again, and I asked if she could take Livia to the nursery. The nurse mentioned that she was probably going to take her anyway because Livia was grunting again. At some point, Stephan left, and I went to bed.
I was awoken in the middle of the night by my night nurse, who informed me that Livia had to be taken to the NICU. She was still grunting and her blood sugar had gotten low, and then while my nurse was giving her a bottle, her oxygen saturation levels were going nuts. It's a good thing I had sent Livia to the nursery, otherwise this would have gone unnoticed.
So the next few days, I spent trying to figure out how to nurse Livia and making it to feeding sessions. I'm really glad that the NICU was just down the hall from my room, rather than in a different place in the hospital like some are. I had hoped that Livia and I would be discharged at the same time, but it wasn't going to be. I stayed on as a boarder rather than patient on the last night so I could still nurse (nursing was finally starting to work well, thanks to wonderful lactation consultants and nurses).
We got to go home yesterday, and we are happy that she is here and that she is healthy. I am grateful for hospitals and good medical care--I don't want to know what would happen to my little family without it. Some people might blame me being induced early for Livia's problems, but honestly, it really was better to have her out than in. Plus, we got to meet some amazing nurses in the NICU and now I'm convinced that NICU nurses are angels in disguise.
Now to figure out how to parent two kids. I hope we don't mess this one up :)
For those who are curious, Livia looks like her daddy. She does have my mouth though :D