So our little pumpkin (name will not be used for privacy reasons. I’ll have to think of a cute nickname) decided he didn’t want to wait and graced us with his presence at 34 weeks.
Thursday Oct 4th – in the evening I had some serious bleeding. I’ve had bleeding issues in the past, but this was an ALARMING amount and it happened right after what I thought was the baby pushing up on my belly. I told hubs we needed to go to the hospital just to be on the safe side. On the way to the hospital, I noticed that what I thought was the baby pushing up was really contractions because they were happening in like 8 min increments. I get to the hospital to Labor and Delivery and they check everything out, cervix is closed, baby vitals are good, but I DEFINITELY was having contractions (at this point I was 33w 6d) and they weren’t sure where the blood came from. So first things first, they put me on fluids and magnesium sulfate to control my blood pressure (which was through the roof for the first time during my pregnancy) and slow the contractions. I was admitted so that they could keep an eye on me. Ultrasound came back with low levels of amniotic fluid as well so they wanted to watch that.
Friday the 5th – I was seen by the high-risk pregnancy doctor (even though up until then I had no indication of it being a high-risk pregnancy). While getting another ultrasound and talking to me about my day leading up to the bleeding (which was literally me lying around in bed with my legs elevated), she determined that my water actually probably broke at some point (and was leaking slowly so I didn’t notice) and I would need to be induced because the risk of infection is high at that point. She also said that the baby was measuring only at 32 weeks, so I might have had a problem with my placenta and it was my body’s way of telling me the baby needed to come out for help. (That part is still not 100% clear to me). So, after visiting with the high-risk doctor, the head of the OB practice I go to came in and talked with me. I had been going to see someone else in the practice up until this point, so it was a lot of going over my [lack of] birth plan and having him understand that because I have a history of pancreatitis due to adverse reactions to oral antibiotics & pain meds, I can’t have an epidural and if I do HAVE to have a c-section what would our game plan be. The normal drug used for a c-section is in the same class as lidocaine which caused my FIRST bout of pancreatitis so my OB and I had discussed if an emergency c-section was needed I would be put under general anesthesia. This made the head of the practice (who ultimately would deliver the baby) as well as the anesthesiologist SUPER nervous. So while they consulted and discussed things with me SEVERAL times, I was given IV antibiotics (to help prevent infection to the baby) and Cervidil to soften my cervix to prepare for labor. Keep in mind I was still having contractions despite the magnesium sulfate (which I ended up having to stay on because of my blood pressure). It was mid-afternoon by the time I was given the Cervidil and I was EXHAUSTED already. I was warned that after being induced that it could take several days to actually go into labor, but by 7PM I had already dilated 3cm. Then shift changed happened and not saying that it had anything to do with the nurses but the night was AWFUL. My contractions where getting SUPER strong but were still 10 – 15 mins apart and no one checked to see how far dilated I was after 7PM. By 2AM my body was SOOO exhausted for no food, no sleep, and just worn out from painful contractions that NO joke I fell asleep and my labor just completely stopped.
Saturday the 6th – 7 am shift change new nurse comes in and means business. She’s like we are getting this baby out of you TODAY. She starts me on Pitocin to restart the contractions (despite what everyone says about Pitocin contractions being the worst, up until I was actually about to deliver, the contractions from the night before were WAY for painful). Around 10 she comes in checks my cervix and I’m at 6cm. She has me flip on my right side and sticks a peanut shaped yoga ball between my legs. By 11 I’m at 8cm my contractions are like 5mins apart and pretty painful but I’m able to breathe through the pain (keep in mind I’m pain drug-free AND this was the day I was supposed to take my birthing class so I wasn’t even sure if I was breathing correctly). She has me flip to my left-side. By 11:30ish I’m crying & screaming bloody murder, and at some point, my hubs is crying telling me it’s almost over and I’m thinking in my head WHAT THE F*CK are you crying about, but instead I’m screaming GET THE DOCTOR! HE’S COMING. Both hubs and my mom are like don’t worry they’re tracking your contractions, they know when to come in. I’m like NO GET HIM NOWWWWWWW!!!! My dad goes and gets the nurse who’s like oh yep he’s coming. Next thing I know the room is flooded with people, they’re trying to flip me back on to my back and I’m screaming (because trying to move during a contraction is awful). They finally get me into position and the doctor is like ‘oh yeah’ there’s his head. 3 pushes later baby boy was here and I totally understand what everyone means by you forget the pain the moment they give you your baby. Don’t get me wrong, I remember being in pain but I don’t remember what it felt like. In fact, I remember hearing the Dr say “We’re gonna put in a few stitches you’re gonna feel a pinch”, but I actually didn’t feel a single thing since he did it while I was still holding the baby. If we’re gonna be honest, I think the contractions hurt more than the actual pushing, but my baby was TINY (barely over 4lbs), so it definitely could be that I was just lucky and because he was so little there was not a lot of damage.
Advice for labor and delivery:
- Pack a hospital bag WAAAAY in advance… I hadn’t yet because I figured I still had a month and half, and it resulted in hubs having to leave to pack as much as he could find and me struggling to describe to him what I’m talking about and where to find it.
- IF given the option, DO NOT get magnesium sulfate. (You will not have an option if your blood pressure is high). I could NOT feel or move my legs for by Sat and couldn’t feel them until they took me off of it (12hrs after delivery). My face was STILL fuzzy 4 days after. It was not okay.
- GET THE PEANUT YOGA BALL if the hospital has one. No seriously. When contractions start to get REALLY strong, your instinct is to shut your legs and tense up. With the yoga ball preventing you from doing so, your cervix widens faster and the labor progresses extremely quickly.
- If the hospital won’t provide food because you’re in still in labor have someone sneak you some snacks if you’ve been there awhile. I hadn’t eaten since Thursday afternoon, and I wasn’t fed until Saturday afternoon. I was SOO hungry by Friday evening that I was throwing up acid. Throwing up while having contractions is terrible and just overall not fun, ESP when you can’t move your legs enough help push yourself into a sitting position and choke because you ended up throwing up basically lying down. BTW I was given Zofran and another medication for nausea and they both did absolutely nothing so I told them to stop giving them to me.
- When the contractions are strong but you’re not quite there yet, deep breathes in through your nose, out through your mouth. Once a nurse told me this, managing my pain was a LOT easier (except for when people were distracting me and I couldn’t focus on breathing). When the baby’s head is basically at your cervix but you can’t QUITE push yet, short breathes through your mouth (like you’re blowing out candles rapidly), helps your cervix stretch slowly & open gently so you don’t tear anything. I had a mild tear because when the nurse said it I could barely understand what was happening. Once I did understand what I was supposed to be doing, I could physically feel the difference down there and why it was supposed to help.
- If you don’t feel connected to your nurses and you feel like they aren’t helping you, ASK FOR A DIFFERENT NURSE. Preferably one with lots of experience. I LOVED most of the nurses I had while I was there. They checked on me gave me advice on how to progress my labor, were actively concerned for me. The only times I didn’t quite connect with my nurses (and it’s not that they were bad, they just weren’t as attentive as the others I had) it was when my labor completely stopped. I’m pretty sure it was a mental state of not only being exhausted, but being frustrated that nothing was progressing and not knowing what to do about it and my body responded by shutting down.
That’s all the advice I can give right now (while it’s still fresh in my head). If I remember anything else, I will let you know. I honestly wish these were things I knew about in advance.