Grab a snack…this is a long one.
I’d never heard of a labor & delivery story like mine. I know it’s not the most dramatic story to exist. But it’s unique & I learned a lot from it.
My doctor let me stop working after May 3 (even though my due date wasn’t until the 23rd). That next week was so nice. I got to clean my house up & get things ready around the house for the little girl that was quickly coming.
Week #2 was rough! I was in the hospital on Monday because I thought I was really in labor. At my appointment on Wednesday, my doctor told me she wanted to induce me Friday (6 days early). She was hoping to get me in the hospital Thursday night to get monitored & so that she could start my induction on Friday morning, but warned me that the hospital was full & they had cancelled another induction earlier that day. Sure enough, they were too full for me. There is nothing that can break a pregnant woman’s heart more. So she told me that if I felt “off” or knew I was in labor, to just go to the hospital between then and the following Tuesday night (when I would definitely check in for an induction).
The next day (Thursday) I truly thought I was in labor. Mike was at work so my mom came over and she thought I was definitely progressing. I ended up going to the hospital that night with Mike & they wouldn’t keep me. Again, breaking a pregnant woman’s heart.
Friday morning I called my doctor’s office to tell them that I had gone but I wasn’t far enough along for them to keep me. They called back 20 minutes later and told me to come to the hospital immediately. She was admitting me for induction. Basically, my doctor was the doctor on the floor that day & therefore responsible for discharging/admitting anyone & everyone. My mom left work & came to pick me up so that Mike could finish some stuff up at work before being gone for the foreseeable future. We stopped at McDonald’s so that I could eat something (even though I hate McDonald\s). We called a couple of people on the way to the hospital to let them know & then a couple more people once I got settled into my room. Mike got there pretty soon after that.
I got set up with IVs and medications and all the fun that comes with having a baby. They did more tests and looked over levels. My doctor came in and told me that I was “finally” preeclamptic. She had been concerned about this for about 6 weeks because of my symptoms. She told me that she was so happy I was getting induced & wasn’t leaving the hospital without my baby.
I still was having contractions. They really didn’t stop overnight – they just became irregular. I labored all day Friday with an IV of pitocin but didn’t progress much.
My doctor had told me I was dilated to 2 on Wednesday. Thursday night in the L&D triage room I was dilated to 3. The L&D nurse on Friday told me I was only 2. I was a bit confused how someone could un-dilate. But then again, I’m not a doctor. I believe I could sit in and hand the doctor the correct instruments because of my Grey’s Anatomy training. I’ve watched every episode at least a couple of times. In my head, I said of Addison or Arizona were there I bet they wouldn’t give me different numbers. I know they aren’t real doctors, but they are in my world.
Friday night my doctor clocked out for the weekend & a new doctor came to meet me. She told me that she would be there all weekend and would deliver my baby before her weekend shift was up. I was heartbroken. I love my doctor. Mike loves her. I trusted her.
She sent in the night nurse (who was super sweet) to try a new way of getting me to progress. Cervidil – it was absolute torture. Basically, it’s a piece of plastic covered in hormones that makes you efface and dilate more. They insert it and wrap it around your cervix and leave it there. This stayed in me overnight. This was by far worse than any contraction. Everything down there already hurt, but this was a whole new rodeo.
I got some medicine to help me relax and it helped some. I started watching the late night Friends marathon that plays on Nickelodeon. My cousin was watching Friends on Netflix. We played a fun game of taking pictures of the screen & texting them to each other so we could guess what episode it was. Neither one of us missed any picture. We’re avid Friends fans. It’s what we do. Don’t judge.
The next morning (Saturday) the doctor came in and said I was only dilated to 1. I started crying. I understand that checking dilation is subjective, but come on! There’s a big difference between 1 and 3 centimeters. That was the fifth time I’d been checked in 4 days and the number usually went down from the previous check.
She removed the awful implant and started pitocin again. She wanted me to get up walking again. She even mentioned that they might do that treatment again that night if I hadn’t progressed enough. I just remember crying. I told Mike and my mom that I couldn’t go through that again. I told them both that I felt like I would end up in a c-section. I just wanted my little girl to be ok. I never cared if she came via c-section or normal delivery, as long as she was ok. I just didn’t want to go through that same procedure from the night before all over again & then end up in a c-section.
She ordered for me to get an epidural and break my water. She started pitocin again. She was hoping that this combination would get things going. I was terrified of the epidural (but I always planned on getting one). Honestly, it was nothing. I had a contraction as the lady inserted the first needle, but the needle itself didn’t hurt.
The nurse for the day shift on that day came in during the afternoon and told me she’d be checking my dilation for the doctor. I told her that I didn’t mean anything towards her, but I wouldn’t allow her to check me. I explained that I’d been checked numerous times and never had the same person check me twice. I told her that no one could agree on how dilated I was and since the doctor had checked me a few hours before that, I’d like her to check me from that point on. After all, the same person has to use the same measure of subjectivity each time, right? She completely understood. The doctor came back in and I was dilated to 3, but close to a 4! I was so excited.
It felt like things were finally turning around. I’d been checked in for over 24 hours, but I was progressing. I’d been contracting (regularly and irregularly) before my stay in the hospital, but I was progressing! I got to eat all the popsicles I wanted that day (because I hadn’t eaten since about 10 AM on Friday and it was now Saturday afternoon).
I got checked around 7 PM again and I was at 5! Half way! However, baby girl still needed to drop a little more. I’d always heard that things really sped up in the last few centimeters so I was super hopeful. I wasn’t in any pain because of the epidural. I could barely feel the contractions.
At 10 PM the night nurse checked me (which I didn’t object to because the doctor & everyone knew I was progressing). She said I was fully dilated. I was in complete disbelief. So was Mike.
She brought in another nurse just to be sure. This nurse said I was only at 6. Here we go again. Someone needs to invent some sort of standardized instrument to check dilation.
As the doctor walks in, she calmly but aggressively tells my nurse, “This is why I don’t let you check my patients.” This was absolutely not professional, but we were obviously a little preoccupied with getting the actual number. The doctor says I’m fully dilated, fully effaced, and should be pushing soon. Remember when I said baby girl needed to drop a little more? No one mentioned that, and we didn’t realize that no one had mentioned that. Mike went to tell my parents and everyone came back in to say their goodbyes & good lucks. She also ordered them to turn my epidural down so that I could feel my contractions.
My nurse basically got everything ready immediately and had me start pushing. She explained that the nurses get every delivery going and then the doctor comes in to finish the job out. After about an hour, the doctor comes in and asks why I was pushing. We were a little shocked by that question. Apparently, she wanted me to wait a little longer before pushing. Looking back, she wanted my epidural to wear off a bit so that I could really feel when to push & feel how I’m pushing. The doctor works with me for a bit and then heads out. She said she would be back soon and to keep going with the nurses.
After another hour (2 full hours of pushing), I inquired when the doctor was coming back. Someone paged her and we heard over the radio that she was sleeping. I fully understand that she needed to sleep at some point because she would be there the rest of that night (Saturday) and all day Sunday. However, we had been told all day on Saturday that I was the only mom in labor on the whole floor. I would think nap time could’ve waited a little longer or happened earlier. Also, a delivering mom or expecting dad should NEVER hear that the doctor was sleeping while she’s pushing. I would have much rather them lied to me and said she was handling something else and would be right there.
I was in a lot of pain so the nurse upped my epidural and hit the quick release button to give me immediate relief.
She finally came back a little later and kept working with me. At some point I remember saying that they just needed to use whatever means necessary to get this baby out. I just knew that I was tired & didn’t feel like I could do it anymore. It had been over 3 hours at this point. She was upset that my epidural had been turned back up that I couldn’t feel anything. I was completely numb – no pain, no pressure. They had to tell me when I was having a contraction so that I could push. I was just exhausted.
The doctor ordered my nurse to stand and watch the baby’s heart rate. All of a sudden, an entire team of nurses comes in decked out in surgical gear. I looked up & immediately freaked out. Mike asked the doctor who all of these people were and why they were there. She explained that it’s standard procedure when forceps are going to be used. She tried forceps and told me that if they couldn’t get her out with forceps she’d take me for a c-section.
After almost 4 hours of pushing they told me how long I’d been going & that I was going back for a c-section. I was instantly so scared & just kept asking if baby girl was ok. I made Mike go talk to my parents because it had been basically 4 hours since they left and didn’t really have an update.
As soon as the doctor said c-section, everything went really quick. I had to sign a couple documents giving them permission while they were changing out medications and fixing everything up. Mike came back from the waiting room and started gearing up. While they were wheeling me to the OR, I told a nurse that something was wrong with my arm and it was very painful. My IV blew. My entire arm was swollen and purple. It was like a doctor’s glove that you blow up like a balloon. They had to bring in an ultrasound tech to find a new vein because I had so many IV’s over the last week & several veins blew.
They got a new IV in & immediately started the procedure. No one went to get my husband even though they told us they would! He came back to the OR and asked when someone was going to get him, and they just let him walk in.
I was so incredibly sick during the procedure. I think it was a combination of all the medications and my nerves. I was so scared! I remember telling Mike to talk to me about absolutely anything to try and occupy my thoughts. I was throwing up during the whole thing. I remember telling the anesthetist that she had to give me something for my stomach & she told me that it would make me drowsy. She was trying to talk me through everything and keep me ok until baby girl was here safely. I remember someone saying “baby” and then I said “give me the drowsy medicine”. I woke up some time later (still in the OR – I believe I was only asleep for a few minutes because I was still open) and Mike was holding our sweet girl next to my face.
My sweet girl was born at 2:47 AM on Sunday, May 19, 2019.
She weighed 6 pounds & 15 ounces. She was 20.5 inches long. She was the tiniest baby I’ve ever held. She looked (and still does) just like her daddy’s baby picture.
I don’t remember much from the c-section. Other than meeting my baby girl, I don’t want to remember what I do. I remember being sick. I remember being scared. I remember my legs falling off the table. I remember the doctor telling me “well you’ll always have a c-section now”. I know this isn’t true, but I will always schedule a c-section for any future children because of this labor & delivery.
After I got closed up and was getting ready to be wheeled back to my room, the doctor went and spoke to my parents in the waiting room. She told them that the baby was fine. My mom asked how I was, and the doctor was visibly angry that she asked. She told my mom that it was a courtesy that she even came out to talk to them.
I know that inductions can be grueling. I know that a first time mom can push for several hours. I know that some births do end in an emergency c-section. I knew all of this before my delivery.
What I was not prepared for was the miscommunication that went on between the nursing staff and the doctor. All of this allowed for the mishap with my epidural, pushing too early and for a long time, and my baby girl’s heart rate to become erratic.
On Monday morning, my OB’s office did their rounds and I got to see her colleagues. The physician’s assistant who came in asked how I was doing and I laid everything out for her. I said I just wanted everything recorded by my doctor’s office. She was shocked. She started giving my daytime nurse orders about labs to run and medications to give. I finally felt taken care of.
On Tuesday, a different physician’s assistant from my OB’s office came in & did her rounds. She said they had talked my OB and explained what happened. My OB was concerned and checking in on the labs they were ordering. I was incredibly swollen, more than I had been my entire pregnancy & I still had a really bad headache. My blood pressure was stabilizing though.
We finally got to go home on Wednesday.
In the last 3 months I’ve thought a lot about what I would have done differently, if anything. I couldn’t have foreseen any of what happened. I wish my doctor would have been who delivered my baby girl. I wish the nurses and doctor I was assigned would have communicated better, and not argued in front of us. Part of me wishes I would’ve had my mom in the delivery room with us. Maybe she would have known something was wrong and could have aided us somehow. After all, she delivered 2 babies.
The greatest part of this entire ordeal was sweet Avery. She is the best thing I’ve ever done.