The story starts the week of Thanksgiving (the week my awesome doctor was, of course, on vacation). I went in to see another doctor and on the way "ordered up" no dilation but a side of softening (of the cervix that is). When I got to the doctor she did the group B strep test and checked my cervix. My request was denied. I was 2-3 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced. I know that's not necessarily that dramatic, but remember this is my fourth baby and my others have all been very quick deliveries. And at that point I was 36 weeks and my doctor would not be back until the following week (I love her and really wanted her to deliver this "little" guy). The doctor I saw on that day ordered an amniocentesis for the following Monday with a specialist to check for lung maturity and also scheduled an induction for Wednesday (the 2nd)-the day my doctor would be in the hospital delivering all day! So, I went home with the goal of not getting any further than the 2-3 I was at. No Thanksgiving cooking for me-which at this point in the pregnancy game was just fine with me. I could barely walk.
So, fast forward to the specialist appointment on Monday (November 30th). I was not looking forward to an amniocentesis but had looked up enough information to know that there was not much risk at 37 weeks pregnant (worst case scenario is that it would put me into labor-which was why we were doing it anyway!) so I was going to just grin and bear it. First thing they did was an ultrasound to check on baby. He was doing just fine in there but they estimated his weight to be 8 lbs 14 oz!!!!!! Holy moly. The week before he had been estimated to be 7 lbs 12 oz. That was 1 lb 2 oz in one week! Yikes! But when the specialist came in he refused to do the amnio and was extremely rude to me. I left there very upset and went straight to my doctor's office to get an appointment with her the following day (I was going under the assumption that without the information provided by the amnio there would be no induction on Wednesday).
That night I decided that I would get things moving if it killed me. We went to Walmart and walked and walked and walked. When I had a contraction I would squat down right there in the store (to open things up more). I left Walmart in pain (hips, back, legs) just sure that nothing else had happened...
When I went in to see my doctor the next morning everyone was super sweet to me (from receptionist all the way to Dr Nowitzky) because of the way the specialist had treated me. First thing my doctor did was check my cervix. I was now dilated to a 5!!!! Ok, so the walking and squatting did some good! I did get more out of it than the soreness. At this point Dr N and I were both kind of shocked I think. Then she did something so cool. She treated me like a human with a brain in my head and we discussed the best scenario: try to get some more time out of me or go with the induction the next day. After discussing it for a while (she had no major reservations about the induction and doubted that she could get me to 38 weeks) we decided it was much preferable to get to the hospital in time for the delivery! So, she said she'd see me in the morning! Yahoo!!!!
Harold and I arrived at the hospital at 5:30-thirty minutes ahead of schedule, but hey? Who's eager? They were pretty quick at taking us up to the room-which happened to be the same room I had Haley in! They would not let him come back with me at first. Apparently they think women won't answer some questions honestly (like if your husband beats you) if he's sitting right there. I answered all of their questions and finally he got to come back. They got my IV started but couldn't start the pitocin (induction) until they had 30 minutes worth of the baby's heartrate on the monitor. Problem? He was moving and I had so much fluid that kept the thing from registering. Finally I had to lay in a really uncomfortable position for 30 minutes to get the strip but we got it. Too bad that was during shift change. Ugh. So, then we were ignored for a bit during that time-while I was still lying in that awful position.
They finally started it at around 8am I'd say. And I think I remember this from the other babies/deliveries...it seemed like it was very anti-climactic. I wasn't feeling much in the way of contractions at all. But don't worry. It soon picked up. Yikes. Then my doctor came in at 9:30 and (I just love her...don't know if I mentioned that!) broke my water. She was able to show the student nurse I had allowed to be a part of things what "polyhydramnios" is. LOL She told my husband and I that it was at least 2 to 3 gallons of amniotic fluid I was lugging around! (Sounded like Niagra Falls as she was pressing on my tummy to get as much out as possible! Crazy!) Even at this point I didn't realize how much/heavy that is until I came home from the hospital and lifted a 1/2 gallon of milk...thinking about picking that up multiplied by 4 or 6...!
As soon as she broke my water things really heated up. I had decided to go without the epidural if I could make it (more on my thoughts on that later). At that point (9:32) I was at 6 cm. After a short time I told Harold to get the nurse to check me because if I was not making progress we needed anesthesia in for an epidural ASAP. The nurse happily reported that I was 8 cm! Yowzah! At this point I think I was handling each contraction by taking a deep breath and moaning "owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" instead of blowing the breath out. My poor husband didn't know what to do for me (we never planned for a "natural" childbirth. We always wanted/planned for drugs!)-but I assured him later that there was nothing he could have done. He just needed to be there. My nurse was great in that she kept having me look at her and was very assertive. She would not let me look away from her.
I have no idea exactly how the timing played out. I was definitely not watching the clock. I do know that every time I felt the tightening begin again I would just want to cry.
The next time the nurse checked me I was 9 cm. "Don't push yet" Yeah right. That lasted about 2 seconds and I loudly informed them (in between yelling at everyone that I could NOT do this) that I WAS pushing. Sorry about their luck.
Harold says at that point the nurse began pushing the buttons on the wall yelling for my doctor to get there right away. She knew it would be a matter of a few minutes once I started pushing. (Oh, don't forget the part where I'm sweating profusely in the room that was minutes before frigid...and swearing to everyone that would listen that I was going to throw up).
My doctor rushed into the room and "suited up" and about 4 minutes later Nathan Pierce arrived in the world. Too bad I was still in pain. The placenta still had to come. Ugh. See? With an epidural you're blissfully unaware of everything that happens after the baby comes out. You're just looking at your baby.
We noticed he was blue and his head was purple (you might notice that in some of the pictures from my previous post). This, we learned, was because he was born so quickly that his face and head were bruised in the process. Poor guy. :(
He nursed like a little champ right there in the delivery room though-and still does!
My doctor came in the next day and wanted to know if that delivery was my choice or if I was pushed into it. I assured her that it was my choice. Again, she proved to me that she is her patients' advocate. We had discussed, during my entire pregnancy, a pain-free delivery. And knowing that was my desire she was very upset to think that I might have been coerced into a painFULL delivery. All is well that ends well though and my little guy is worth every minute of it. And hey, I have now experienced the whole she-bang. Not that I'd do that again...