First a tid bit of back story. I had a super easy, normal pregnancy and was planning on laboring at home for as long as possible with our doula and then heading to the hospital with only a short time left remaining to push out a baby, end scene. I prepped for natural childbirth with a ton of reading, exercises, classes, a supportive doctor, husband and doula. Caches had other plans. Foreshadowing anyone, anyone?
A day before my due date I had a doctors appointment. He told me he was going out of town in a few days. I had a breakdown. Then I had a meeting with is partner who would probably end up delivering me. I had an even bigger breakdown. You see, his partner was NOTHING like him. I LOVED my doctor and he supported me and my desire for a natural, uncomplicated birth. His partners opening words were, "I have very strong feelings about post date babies." He basically wanted to induce me, drug me and have MY baby on HIS schedule. Um, no.
My doctor was scheduled to go out of town on Thursday afternoon, I went into labor on Thursday afternoon,; Typical. This is a loooooong story, but I'll try to cut it down the the Reader's Digest version.
It was 1:15pm and I had just finished scrubbing the kitchen floors on my hands and knees followed by eating a spicy chili dog. What, I was desperate. I was sitting on the couch contemplating getting on the elliptical machine when I felt as though I peed my pants. I waddled to the bathroom and didn't exactly see what I was expecting. After talking to the doula and the nurse at the hospital it was determined that my water had ruptured and it was full of meconium. Caches shit his pants, and all over my birth plan.
You can read more about meconium here, but for blog purposes let's just say it's not a good thing and I had to go to the hospital way earlier than I wanted to.
We dropped the dogs off with my mom and arrived at the hospital around 4.
The next few hours were uneventful. Ryan and I walked all around the hospital (with 20 min. on the fetal monitor, 40 min. off) timing my contractions. I leaked amniotic fluid on the gift shop floor, we played Old Maid, I drank some beet, carrot, spinach, juice and agreed to a hep lock in my arm because why the hell would I want it in my hand!? Time passed surprisingly fast and before I knew it, it was tomorrow. I had already been in labor for 12 hours. No big deal, right? Wrong. You see, when there is meconium present you are on the clock. 24 hours to deliver. And if the clock runs out they start talking c-section.
I tried not to think about that and focused on contractions, relaxing and moving around as much as I could. Around 4am Caches started having what they call decels or heart rate decelerations. I wasn't worried because I knew this was a normal part of labor, but the nurse was worried because of the meconium. They decided that an amnioinfusion would be the best option and because of the risk of infection, I agreed. Well...having an amnioinfusion also meant that I had to be hooked up to an IV and wasn't allowed to walk around the hospital, get in the shower, move on the birth ball or do pretty much anything that I had planned to cope with contractions. FML
I did okay with trying to writhe around in bed and cope with contractions but to be honest, not being able to move during labor and being stuck in bed is the DUMBEST thing ever. Who's idea was it to lay women down on their BACKS, against gravity and have them HOLD STILL while in pain. I'm going to assume it was a man. Anyway, I was doing fine until about 7:30am when the doctor came in.
At this point I had already been in labor for over 18 hours, tick tock, tick tock, and I wasn't progressing as quickly as they would have liked. Again, not a big deal under normal conditions, I know labor can take a long time and I had NO desire to rush it, but that damn meconium was about to really fuck up my plans. I don't remember how dilated I was at this point, but it wasn't enough for them to realistically think that I would naturally deliver by 1:30pm (24 hours from water breaking) so my doctor dropped the "P" bomb. Pitocin. One of the things I absolutely DID NOT WANT!!
He explained that he wanted to start a pitocin drip and really get things moving so I would be sure to avoid a c-section and/or infection. At this point I felt powerless, like he was giving me an option but I really had no say at all. I wanted to cry and get pissed off all at the same time, but because I knew that there were real risks involved with meconium aspiration and I did not want surgery, I agreed to the pitocin. This stuff is no joke!
No wonder most women opt for an epidural and childbirth in the US is such a one size fits all, medicated, hurry up and get the baby out process. Contractions with pitocin are NOTHING like natural contractions and since most of the time women arrive at the hospital in early labor and we wouldn't want them just, gasp, sitting around hogging a room while they labor naturally, doctors order pitocin to speed things up. Well guess what pitocin fucking HURTS and so it's no surprise that they want an epidural which tends to slow things down so go ahead and pump up that pitocin drip and bam boom here is a baby, next!
This is not even close to what I wanted, but once someone shits their pants, all bets are off.
I was okay with the pitocin and the being stuck in bed for a while but as they increased the pitocin I felt myself tensing up and considering the epidural. More time and more pitocin. I asked for the anesthesiologist. He came in I have no idea how much later and started the epidural. Long story short, he missed the first time and BLAMED ME!! I don't really remember the exchange but Ryan was livid with him for speaking to me the way he did. He tried again and told me he got it. I did feel a small amount of relief and since I'd never had an epidural before I assumed this is what it felt like. I remember thinking why is this so wonderful? Why do the women on A Baby Story act like it's the best thing ever, I can still really feel my contractions. Oh, that's because he missed AGAIN!
More waiting, more pitocin, and being forced to stay in bed; super fun. Finally the
Finally I got some relief and was able to relax and come down from all of the commotion of the morning. Shortly after the third epidural I was fully dilated but because Caches was "distressed" I was not allowed to push. They wanted him to just kind of naturally make his way down without any extra pushing. Okay fine, but I can't feel myself breathing. Am I breathing? Turns out I was breathing but the medicine was creeping up my chest causing me to not feel my own lungs inflate with air! I wanted it OFF, OUT! No more epidural!
So now I'm sitting in bed, full of pitocin, no epidural and not allowed to push with contractions. Now if you have never been in labor you are probably like, annnnnd your point is? Not pushing with contractions is incredibly painful and seriously, almost impossible! You are fighting mother nature, and she's a total bitch.
Finally I pretty much demanded that I be allowed to push with at least every other contraction, and I totally snuck in pushes when nobody was paying attention. Then, after nearly 27 hours of labor, it was over. He was here, and he was perfect. He had no complications at all from the meconium and was able to go directly on my chest where he stayed for the next hour in perfect silence, staring, piercing my soul.
Ryan was concerned that I would be completely devastated because my birth plan, which was extremely important to me, was basically lit on fire and thrown out the window. And I kinda thought I would be completely devastated too. But I wasn't. I was too in love to dwell on what could have been. And while I will plan a natural, unmedicated birth with my next baby, I will not coulda, woulda, shoulda this birth because at the end of the day we are all healthy, safe and completely head over heals in love.
And tomorrow marks one whole year. I. can't. even. believe. it!