I’m going to start off by saying that almost everything went the complete opposite way I wanted it to. There were many interventions that happened, which I originally desperately wanted to avoid. That being said, I couldn’t have asked for anything more or less because I now have my baby here laying beside me as I type this, healthy as can be! I don’t resent my labour or birth or any of the choices I made during that time. If I didn’t do what I did, when I did it, I can guarantee my labour and birth would have been more traumatic and I would have looked at that memory with negativity and not as the crazy, emotional, amazing life changing experience that it was!
So it all started on March 29th. 8 days passed my due date. We had to drive from Sussex to the Saint John Regional Hospital that morning for a 9am appointment to get a dose of Prostin gel. At this point, my cervix wasn’t doing much of anything. The Prostin is supposed to help soften and prepare the cervix for dilation and what not. I was supposed to go in, get monitored for 20 minutes, get a dose of the gel, get monitored for another hour, and then I was supposed to leave and go back 6 hours later to do it all again for a second dose. After the second dose, I was supposed to be able to go home. Well…. After my first dose, and me returning a few hours later to be monitored for my first 20 minutes before receiving my second dose, they discovered that I was having contractions… Which I couldn’t feel at all. At first I was excited, because something was finally happening, but then I got nervous. Since my contractions were so close together, I couldn’t get my second dose. I was then told that if I got a second dose, I wouldn’t be able to go home, since we live over an hour away. So… we had to go waste a couple more hours before I was hooked back up to the monitor again.
At this point, we’ve been in the hospital for about 8 or so hours & we were heading back to the Labour & Delivery unit to see if there was any changes. After being checked, they told me I was about a finger tip dilated.
Woo.. freakin.. hoo.
Along with this news, they told me that since my contractions were still too close together, I couldn’t get the second dose of Prostin AND I couldn’t go home. So I was officially admitted into L&D. We really weren’t expecting to spend the night. I thought I would for sure be going home at the end of the day. I had an induction set for the next morning so they decided to keep me for extra monitoring since I was in fact, contracting. So we set up our beds for the night and went to waste some time in the cafeteria sine that was the only place we could get wifi. After a couple hours of that, we decided we should go to sleep.
So... I'm sleeping...and I wake up with bad period cramps. Woo these must be contractions! Every 5 or so minutes I'm getting these contractions. I ended up spending most of my night on my hands and knees with the bed propped up to almost the sitting position. I didn't bother waking Bo up at this point, because we didn't get much sleep the night before and I wanted him to rest as much as possible since I was supposed to get induced in the morning. Around 1 am I got up to pee, and there was some fluid on the bed that looked like it had a little blood in it. I called the nurse in and she just said "thats ok" and changed the pads on my bed for me. I continued with the mild contractions/cramping for another 3 hours. I woke up to what felt like, me peeing myself. I had assumed my water broke but I was just so tired from being woken up every few minutes, that I just changed my pad I was laying on, and went to sleep again, because I knew "they" [the doctor and nurses] would be back in a couple hours to check me again anyway. I should mention that I had been checked a few times at this point already, and I had only ever made it to the tip of a finger dilated.
When the nurse came back in the morning [a.k.a a couple hours later], I told her about me possibly breaking my water, or peeing myself. She laughed and took the pads I was laying on to test them. When she came back she said it wasn't amniotic fluid. Figures, right? So we got all packed up and we headed to the bigger birthing suite! It was so nice to be in there. It was so much bigger then then tiny room we had spent the previous whole day and night in. I took a shower/bath, the nurse brought me toast and peanut butter and apple juice, and I waited for the resident OB to come in to check me one more time before being hooked up to the Oxytocin.
I was at a whopping whole finger.
Seriously.. slowest labour ever.
So in went the IV, and the drip started. This is where things started going the way I didn't want. For starters, I didn't want to be induced. With all the research I did regarding labour and birth, I found out that trying to get through a medically induced labour without any pain medication was quite difficult and most women went through a snowball effect.... First you get induced, then you get an epidural, then your contractions are too strong and your baby goes into distress, and then you get a c section. I'm not saying its impossible... I'm just saying getting induced doesn't always give you contractions your body can actually work with. In the end, all I really wanted was to get my baby here safely, and to avoid was a c section.
So there I am, probably around 8am, all hooked up to an IV with my penicillin [for + Group B Strep] and my Oxytocin [to get my contractions going]. A few hours go by and oh my goodness, am I ever feeling these contractions now! And what do you know, I'm having back labour! Yay! Around maybe 11am, the resident OB comes in to check me again, this time I'm at a 3! YES!!! Finally.. PROGRESS! This really excited me but also made me scared as shit because that was a ton of pain for only 3 cm! They told me then, that I could get an epidural at 4 cm. I was still against it at this point. They said he would come back in an hour or two to check me again. This is where my timeline gets a little fuzzy because the pain completely took over at this point.
So from a 3 and on, I was having the worst back labour ever. I was on my hands and knees and every time a contraction would come on, which was every 3 or so minutes, I would grab onto the bed, inhale really deeply through my nose, and exhale through my mouth making a "whooooooooo" sound. Like an owl. haha! The nurse that monitored me from the beginning [her name was Julie, love her!] kept telling me how great I was doing with my breathing. It's amazing how much those words helped me stay on track with breathing. In that moment, all I wanted to do was hold my breath and grit my teeth... but I kept on breathing through them while Bo deeply massaged my lower back/butt. If I didn't have counter pressure on my lower back at the same time as a contraction, I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. I already had the shakes and that alone was exhausting. It had been about another hour, and my nurse told me that the doctor wasn't going to come back for another hour or two.
That's when I gave in.
I couldn't do it anymore. It was too unbearable! It was contraction on top of contraction, plus I hadn't slept for 2 days now. I was hardly getting a break in between to get myself prepared for the next one. I gave in and got her to explain my pain options again. Gravol, morphine, and fentanyl were my choices at that point. I chose fentanyl because it only lasted a short time and was less likely to make me groggy or nauseas. She gave me my first dose. Although it didn't take away the pain by any means, it took the edge off.... For the first half hour anyway. I was able to get 2 more doses after that which would mean I laboured for an hour and a half, since I could only get a dose every 30 minutes. The second and third dose worked even less then the one before it.
Finally around 1:30 or 2? Again, timeline is a little fuzzy. The doctor came in to check me and break my water. All I could think at that point was "if I'm only at a frikkin 4, I'm going to lose my shit". I remember telling Julie that I felt like Rachel on that episode of Friends where she's in labour with Emma and all these women come in and out while she lays there in the longest labour ever. Yah. I felt exactly like that. Especially since the nurses were talking about a woman who had just come in last night saying "she didn't know if she should be there or not" and when they checked her, she was an 8!!!! Seriously jealous is what I was after I heard that story.
So anyway, doctor comes in all prepared to break my water, and boom! It's already broken. I was so paralyzed in pain on the bed that I didn't even notice the wetness. In all fairness, I'm sure it broke at 4am and had just continued leaking since then. So then she checks me. Again, all I'm thinking is how I'm going to just die if I'm only a 4...."Looks like were at a 6!" Best thing I've heard all day. Epidural lady was then called and papers were signed. There was no way I could keep going on with labour without an epidural. I actually cried after I signed the paperwork for the Fentanyl and the Epidural. I felt like I was betraying myself and my baby. Bo did his best to reassure me that everything was fine and to not feel bad about not going natural... which now when I look back at it... there was no way I could have managed the last 4 cm without getting an epidural. You'll read why.
So I had to wait a little longer for the epidural lady to come and during that time I threw up twice from the pain. When she arrived, the worst part of getting the epidural was her wiping my back down with antiseptic stuff! It felt like she was scraping my skin off! It must have been a combination of the rough thing she was using to clean my back, Bo rubbing my back for the last few hours really hard, and the back labour itself. Ouch. I barely felt any part of the epidural because I was having contractions the whole time and could only focus on that. Once it started to kick in, I really felt how tired I was. I think it was about 2 ish in the afternoon and I was exhausted! I ended up throwing up again. I was laying on my left side at first but had to roll over to my right to get the epidural to kind of drain over to my right hip. Everything was completely numb except my right hip. Let me tell you... that was some rough pain. Threw up again. I remember looking at the machine that was monitoring my contractions earlier, when I still cared about looking at machines....and the numbers were in the high 50's and 60's. At the moment everything was numb minus my hip, the numbers were somewhere around 120 I think it was! I was beyond thankful when my right hip finally went numb with the rest of my lower body. It was at this point, I was able to fall asleep.
Thank baby jesus.
I napped for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half... something like that. I woke up to Bo saying he was going to the cafeteria to get a tea and then come back. Just as he left, the nurse said the doctor was going to come in and check me again. She came and checked and to my absolute complete surprise, she said I was fully dilated and fully effaced. She looked at me and said "lets have a baby!"
That was such an exciting but terrifying moment. For starters, Bo wasn't back, he had literally just left... and second of all, I couldn't feel a damn thing. I couldn't lift my legs, I couldn't feel contractions.. Nothing.
All of a sudden, my room was being filled with nurses and doctors. They got me on my back and got my legs all propped up into position. The doctor told me that on my next contraction, we were going to do a practice push, just to see how well I was able to push with absolutely no feeling. Julie told me I was having a contraction, so I took a deep breath in, released it, took another deep breath and PUSHED HARD, deep breath, PUSH, deep breath, PUSH! Right after another.... & with those 3 pushes, I brought the baby all the way down. The doctor was so impressed with my pushing skills and said I did a really good job. At that moment I said "I'm not pushing again until Bo gets here!!" 2 minutes later, he came running into the room. He said when he got buzzed back into the Labour and Delivery ward, the nurse at the desk told him he better hurry because I was pushing!
So, at this point, all I'm focusing on is Bo & Julie. Bo had to tell me all about what was going on a couple days later, because I had no idea it even happened. Little did I know, the baby's heart rate was going all over the damn place because my contractions were so strong. It would go really high, and then really low... so they had to put an internal fetal monitor on his
big little head [another thing I didn't want to happen during my labour but totally necessary]. When they told me that I needed to push hard, I really put all my effort into it. It was such a weird feeling not feeling anything. That being said, THANK GOD I couldn't feel anything because that boy was sunny side up and the doctors had to literally [beware of these next few words...] reach their hands inside and turn him to face the right way. Hence the insane back labour. Like I said earlier, I was focused on Julie, and Bo. All I was listening for was "ok push!" and then I would push. So after they turned him, they decided that they were going to use a vacuum to help me out because he needed to come out NOW [yet another thing I didn't want to happen, but again, necessary]. Bo said the doctor said I was literally 4-6 minutes away from getting a c-section. Every time they told me to push, I would push as hard as I possibly could and I would do a minimum of 3 pushes back to back.
I needed to get my baby out.
From my first push to my last push, it was about 10 minutes total... and then he was here. 4:10pm.
I originally wanted to do immediate skin to skin & delayed cord clamping.. but that was NOT an option anymore. Bo didn't even get to cut the cord right away but he did get to trim it later. I didn't even get to see him before they took him to the warming bed.. the only thing I saw was his head full of dark hair. I looked at Bo and told him to go with him. They took him straight to the warming bed and used an electric sucking machine thing to clear out his nose and mouth. I laid in my bed anxiously waiting for his cry. It didn't take long before I heard that first squeal. I immediately broke down in tears. I couldn't stop crying. It was the most amazing sound I had ever heard in my life. Not too long later, just a couple minutes, they brought him to me and we did skin to skin.
It was such a surreal moment to have my baby on the outside of my body, in my arms. Hearing him cry gave me butterflies. He had such a good set of lungs on him! He had all his fingers and toes, he had a full head of dark hair, and he was the cutest thing I had ever seen. I said "hi" to him right away and then I said "happy birthday!" to which some other people in the room said "happy birthday" to him as well. Bo was taking pictures with my iPhone, thankfully! Taking photos was the last thing on my mind, but I'm glad he was on the ball, and he even got a couple videos.
While I was falling in love with my baby, the doctors were stitching me up, which I couldn't feel thanks to the epidural! Seriously so thankful I got that thing. Considering I just pushed out a baby that weighed 9 lbs 6 oz and in under 10 minutes, I only had first degree tears! I overheard the doctor saying "I'm good!"... to which she was referring to the vacuum I think.... and then one of the nurses said "no, thats a good vagina!" haha! I love whoever said that!
It's amazing how quick the room clears out once you and baby are ok! The lights were all turned down and there was peace in the room again. 20 or so minutes later, I put the baby to my breast and he latched on right away and nursed for a good 5-10 minutes! Julie brought me more toast and peanut butter and some apple juice too. When we were done this, I handed the baby to Bo and my nurse helped me to the shower. I was wheeled into the bathroom on a wheelchair and was told to sit on the chair in the shower but I had to stand up to wash my hair and vag properly. I think I gave my nurse a heart attack. Epidural and all... probably shouldn't have been standing. Oops. Oh my good god, the shower felt so nice! Once I was done in there, I came out, dried off, got dressed, sat in the wheelchair and Bo gave me the baby. Julie and Bo packed up all our things and she wheeled me to the mother and baby recovery section of the floor. I spent the rest of the night cuddling the most adorable little human in the world <3
So that's that!
Hunter Rylee Jardine
March 30th, 2015
9 lbs 6 oz
21 inches long