Well, it has been over 6 months now. I'm obviously horrible at keeping this blog updated. Recently, my online mommy group uploaded a document with links to their birth stories. I realized that I needed to get this thing written.
I'll start by saying that I was tracking ovulation. Based on my ovulation date my EDD was December 2nd. Because of when my LMP was, my doctor's marked my EDD as 11/29. Certainly not very far off. I knew from the beginning that Noelle would hold out until December.
I went to my 40 week appointment and my BP was pretty high. The actual number escapes me. I was beyond devastated. It had been so good up until this point. I cried hysterically during the appointment....my poor doctor! He told me we would do some blood work, schedule an ultrasound for next week, and that I should not be pregnant much longer. The blood work was normal, and though my BP was higher than desired, there was still no reason to induce. I was not dilated or effaced at all.
At exactly 41 weeks, I went back to the doctor and had an ultrasound/biophysical profile. Baby checked out great. It was clear that my placenta was still functioning beautifully. I did however, still have a high blood pressure. My doctor stripped my membranes (without telling me.....yikes!) and sent me to labor and delivery to be monitored. During the course of monitoring, my BP started to come down to a healthy level. The doctor at the hospital left the decision up to me....I could be induced or go home on bed rest. I had happened to bring the hospital bag with me, my favorite doctor was working the next day (when I would likely deliver if induced), and they had managed to get an IV in me which is no small feat. The IV issue alone made me decide to just go for the induction. They did a round of cervadil over night. I got no sleep, but did have a bit of contracting. Much to my dismay, I had still not progressed. I think I was about 30% effaced and at 2cm. Then I had a round of pitocin. I had some very mild contractions, but nothing too big. By the end of the day, I decided to go off pitocin for a bit....get a shower and real food, and then try cervadil again. The cervadil was placed for the second night stay. This time I did not contract at all and zero changes in the morning. It was devastating. It was also clear that my body was not ready. Thankfully, we talked with my doctor, asked to go home....and we were discharged. I am so relieved that I had a doctor that was open to that. It's not that csections are horrible, terrible things. They have saved many lives. But if I was going to have a csection, I wanted it to truly be necessary. My BP was still a little high, but nothing dangerous.
A few days later, they wanted to see me back at the office for another ultrasound. My BP was great, and baby continued to look AWESOME on the ultrasound. She was just happy as a clam in there. (We didn't know it was a she at that time!) They scheduled another induction to occur on December 12th (Our 2 year anniversary!) at 9pm. This was the 42 week mark and the latest that they would want me to continue this pregnancy. I would go in and have another round of cervadil. All three rounds of cervadil were simply terrible. That was BY FAR the worst part of being induced. So painful having it placed. So, so painful. The third round of cervadil didn't do a ton, but seemed to help a little. I was about 2.5 cm by this point, and 80% effaced. We started the pitocin the morning of December 13th. I think it was around 8 or 9 am. The first few hours of pitocin were doing nothing. Not a single thing. After about 4 hours though, I was sitting on the birthing ball (okay, okay, it's really just an excercise ball!) reading my book and started having some stronger contractions. They were fairly strong, but I thought after all of this, I was probably just being a baby so I held off on being checked for some time. The nurse kept telling me the doctor was on his way and they would look at seeing where I was and breaking my water. It was an eternity before he got there. Once he checked me, we were at 6cm!!!!!! That was such an amazing moment. The pitocin was FINALLY working. I had a chance at having a vaginal delivery! I had really talked myself into thinking I was going to need a csection. At that point, I continued to labor a while longer before getting an epidural. I progressed pretty quickly. I had always planned on getting an epidural, and was proud of myself when I had made it to about 7 or 8 cm before getting it. To be honest, the pain was still managable but I was just so relieved that it was working I decided to go ahead and get the epidural. At about 8pm, I was a full 10 and ready to do some practice pushing. In some ways I regret my epidural, and in many ways I am glad I had it. I could not feel the contractions which made pushing hard. I also was more limited in my movement. Also, while on the epidural I was very, very shaky at first. I didn't like it at all, and preferred the pain of the contractions to this feeling. Eventually though, the shakiness did wear off and I was relieved to not be feeling any pain. I continued to push for 2 hours. Noelle had changed position on us, and was sunny side up. I was pushing for a long time on my side to change her postion, but to no avail. At this point, the nurse started preparing me for the possibility of a csection. I was devastated. I was pretty certain that I had enough feeling in my legs to try to push on my knees to give Noelle another shot at moving position. Luckily, the doctor came in, took one look and said this could easily be a vaginal delivery with the assistance of forceps. I was absolutely okay with this. The medical team prepared everything, and about a half hour later, at 10:50 pm on 12/13/11 Noelle Christine was born! 6 lbs, 13 oz, 19 inches long!
They placed her on my stomach immediately and she looked at me with her beautiful eyes. She didn't start crying right away, so they did need to take her right over to the bassinet (in the same room) to make sure she was okay. She was. It took about 30 minutes for everything to get cleaned up and for the doctor to stitch up my 2nd degree tear. The tearing and the forceps assisted delivery is the reason why, in the end, I am glad I had an epidural. I was not doing so well during some of this time. I was terribly nauseous, and Phil describes me as having all of the symptoms of shock. I was actually relieved that I was not doing skin to skin just yet. It was actually even better to just watch Phil with her. I never thought I would feel like that, as doing skin to skin the whole first hour had been really important to me. I did still get to do skin to skin and nurse her just a half hour after her birth, though.
Around 1am, they moved me to the post partum room. Finally, I was able to have some gingerale and crackers. That was such a relief. My first trip to the bathroom was awful. I thought I would be able to walk there with the assistance of a nurse. It was a scary, scary walk those few feet. I was so lightheaded and Phil was completely knocked out. It had been a long day for him too. The nurse walked me to the toilet and I literally passed out while sitting there. I woke up to 3 nurses looking at me with the smelly salt things (man, those sure do work!). They wheeled me back to my bed. That night, was the scariest feeling. Noelle was crying, I was weak, Phil was sleeping, and I just didn't know what to do. Luckily, Noelle fell asleep and I got 2 hours of rest. The next day, in the hospital was good and bad. Noelle was doing great with nursing. There were just so many people in and out, all day though. It really affected the time I spent breastfeeding. By the second night in the hospital, when Noelle was just past 24 hours old things really fell apart. I nursed and nursed, and nursed for hours and she just screamed. It was awful to watch her. Nothing was helping. Finally in the depths of the night, I decided to sign the "supplement waiver" they have and give Noelle just 5 ml ( 1/6 of an ounce) of formula. This was enough to give her just a little rest. She clearly was truly hungry. I so did not want to supplement, but in my heart of hearts as a mom, I felt like I was letting my newborn cry it out for food. I know newborns don't need a lot of food, but she clearly did need some. She was showing all the signs of hunger. I'm so glad I went with my mom instincts on this. We both got a little bit of much needed rest. The next day was still hard, because my milk was not in and she was still very fussy. I powered through, however, without supplementing anymore. We went home around 3pm on December 15th and it has been really smooth sailing ever since. She broke her birth weight and was up to 7 lbs, 1 oz by just 8 days old. It was such a proud mom moment knowing that breastfeeding was working! Noelle is a beautful, wonderful, and frankly...pretty easy baby. She is the light of our lives.
Next time around, I am considering going natural. The only part that really terrifies me is feeling the tearing, so I am not sure what to do about that. I absolutely loved my doctors at the practice. The hospital was filled with some really wonderful people and is an absolutely gorgeous facility. I do wish that the nurse who helped deliver and was with me through most of labor had been more proactive in getting me in different positions and encouraging me to move a little more before I got the epi. Also, just a little bit after birth they had to get my blood because it was possible I would need more rhogam and that would help them know the right dosage. Thats what they told me anyway. It took 3 or 4 attempts and they barely got any blood. The tech was rude. It was a terrible thing to go through just after the birth of my daughter. I really wish I had advocated more. As it turns out, Noelle is the same blood type (AB-......hello rarest blood type) so it wasn't needed anyway. There was absolutely no reason why that could not have waited until the morning. Despite that one unfortunate event, I am really happy with the hospital and my doctors. I can't wait to give birth with them again!