March 13th & 14th
Well technically, this really starts on March 12, 2012 rather than on March 13th. But I’ll just mash those two days together, since they’re about mashed together in my brain as it is, since I labored through both of them and did little else.
Well, on the 12th (Monday) I still managed to putter around the house some just to keep myself somewhat distracted from the contractions. We assumed they were still false labor, considering how erratic the contractions were. This continued into Tuesday, but I sent James into work since both of us were thinking that it was probably false labor.
I don’t really recall exactly when I called him at work, but I did. He came home to keep an eye on me and to bring me to the hospital at some point if things didn’t calm down again. My parents were scheduled to fly in that day, so the timing was really fantastic. I technically wasn’t due until the 15th. We were hoping to bring my parents out to Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle, before I went into active labor. I was even hoping that perhaps I wouldn’t go into labor until closer to St. Patrick’s Day. (Wouldn’t that have been cool!)
We managed to wait until my parents arrived here at the house (thankfully didn’t need to go pick them up, they were definitely a huge help because of their rental car). Even managed to hang out and catch up a little for about an hour or so before I really felt I needed to get checked out.
I believe we arrived around 5:00pm or 5:30pm and getting examined took about half an hour or so. I think I was admitted around 6:00pm. (The contractions were pretty distracting.) I was admitted at a stated 4-5cm dilated and 75% effaced. Not too bad, we thought. Especially the effacement. Seemed like it shouldn’t take long to efface more and get properly dilated.
So off I was shuffled into one of the birthing rooms, set up with an IV and hooked up to receive fluids. And from here, my parents got to witness the wackiness of me being in labor and making all sorts of funny sounds, faces and trying not to swear. Things seemed to be going well and progressing as they should, but every time I was checked, I wasn’t dilating and I wasn’t effacing any more. At most I eventually reached 5-6cm dilation (and they were being generous) and my effacement was staying the same.
I was hooked up to the monitors for tracking my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. We did watch the one for my contractions as much as possible, and noticed that my contractions were still very erratic and at times were coming back to back without going back to baseline. Talk about extremely painful and extremely tiring. We managed to track three contractions in a row without coming down to baseline. And many of them were going off the top of the chart, and remaining up there for quite a while. Some were quite short. It was extremely confusing, and frustrating and very tiring since there was no regularity to them. I believe that a regulated bout of contractions would have been easier to deal with, as they could be timed and I could adjust far more effectively.
Originally my intention was to only ask for IV pain medications if needed. I did ask for them once around 11:30pm. We had hoped it would relax my body some from the erratic contractions enough to continue dilating. Newp. Then, at about 2-3am on the 14th, it was suggested that I get an epidural for the same reason. My body was becoming so exhausted from the erratic contractions, that even if I were to eventually dilate and efface properly, I would have been too tired to push. And at this point I still was not progressing from 6cm/75%.
The epidural was not nearly as scary as I had originally thought, though I still wish I hadn’t had to go that route. But I can’t much help what my body will or will not do, and I’ve come to accept that as much as I can. ( I refuse to be judged, and I struggle not to judge myself because of it.) Though, contracting through the application of the epidural was certainly a bit nerve-wracking. It certainly calmed me down and allowed me to relax some. Unfortunately, it didn’t do what we hoped it would. I remained where I was, despite her head being extremely far down. So much so that they couldn’t feel the water sac between my cervix and her head. She wanted to come out, that is for sure. She was down there for quite a while, and I could honestly feel her shoving her little feet up into my ribs to push down. (She has some incredibly strong legs.)
Despite my contractions remaining erratic, we decided on breaking my water to see if that would kick my contractions into a more normal pattern. No such luck. Then we decided on pitocin (another thing I really didn’t originally want to do, but things just weren’t progressing) to see if we could kick my contractions even harder into a more regular and effective pattern. This was about 5am on the 14th. It was incredibly frustrating to have my entire set of expectations blown out of the water by something I never expected. But it certainly has been a learning experience.
I was worried initially because of miscarrying my first pregnancy, and the kind of history my mother had with childbearing. But we seemed to have a very good, very normal, very easy pregnancy. Which was extremely relieving. I’m sure anyone can understand that. I know I can’t really expect myself to anticipate all the possibilities when it comes to difficulties in giving birth. But at the same time, I sometimes feel like I should have expected this, instead of other things. Though…that’s impossible. I couldn’t have predicted my cervix being uncooperative. I thought I would have a normal birth. Not this. Not what happened.
But anywho, back to what happened.
We discussed C-section at about 6am. 12 or so hours after being admitted, with no real progression physically. They were also monitoring Zoe pretty diligently considering that during contractions her heart rate was dropping. Not that that is overly abnormal, but at times they seemed concerned with just how much her heart rate was dropping, and didn’t want to put any more risk on her with my complete inability (seemingly) to dilate enough for her to come out naturally. Again, this was disappointing to hear, and once again went against everything I wanted to happen. But as another “again”, we can’t really expect things to go perfectly all the time, or how we want them to. So, rationally, I know this. Emotionally, it’s still hard to deal with.
I was wheeled into the OR at 8:24am on the 14th. I knew if I didn’t just bite the bullet, so to speak, I would have been an emotional wreck going into it. So I resigned myself to the idea of it and somehow, calmed. I wish I knew the inner workings of that particular process, but I’m not sure I ever will. It was certainly an interesting experience, and I hope I never have to repeat it. But there is a chance that my cervix will continue to be unresponsive to labor in the future. Something I’m not really looking forward to testing, but… c’est la vie. I’d rather be prepared than not.
It was an incredibly strange feeling to be cut open, pushed apart, and something pulled from me. Well, three somethings. Zoe was officially announced at 8:57am on March 14th, 2012. My placenta came shortly after, which James said looked kinda neat but weird. Kinda wish I could have seen it. Then a bit later I was informed by James that my uterus was sitting on my belly. Moments before they started stuffing it back into me then sewing me up. It seemed the whole thing took far less than they said it would, but I was pretty preoccupied between zoning on meds and watching Zoe in James’ arms. Somewhere in there we were told that she was 7lbs 5oz, and 19.5 inches. My sweet little baby girl.
Unfortunately, Zoe tested RH positive, because of our differing blood types. Her bili levels weren’t what the doctors wanted, so she was put under bili lights (biliruben). If her levels went up too much, she would have jaundice and eventually be very susceptible to brain damage because of it. The bili lights are a Vitamin D exposure to help combat the mix of my blood in hers and to help her flush it out of her system. Her blood was fighting off mine, and the necrosis of my blood in hers is what would have caused the jaundice and possible brain damage.