DansLuckyGirl: Cooper's Induced Delivery
Monday, March 23, 2009 1:33 PM
"I was exhausted and knew I couldn’t take much more. I don’t remember much about what was going on -- all I could concentrate on was getting enough energy for the next push..."
Taking every precaution
Looking at Cooper now, I know that he is a strong baby; but at 29 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with pregnancy-induced hypertension and was put on bed rest for the last two months. My blood pressure was dangerously high and I was told that the effects could cause complications for the baby including intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, and placental abruption. I also had an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia, an even more dangerous condition, since the hypertension came on so early in the pregnancy. So I spent the next two months on bed rest, recording my blood pressure three times per day, and leaving the house only for weekly visits with my wonderful obstetrician. At the doctor's office, I'd get biophysical profiles that included urine and blood tests, blood pressure monitoring, internal exams, and ultrasounds to monitor the baby.
Luckily I had chosen a fantastic obstetrician that I loved and made me feel really comfortable, because my doctor and nurse became my social life for two months!During the doctor visits, my doctor and the sonogram technician kept commenting on how strong my baby was because he continued to grow so well despite the restricted blood flow and oxygen levels due to the hypertension. My blood pressure continued to climb to dangerous levels and I was sent to labor and delivery three times during my last trimester for non-stress tests and monitoring. I was continually warned that if I didn’t take it easy and keep my blood pressure down that I would have to be induced early. On top of that, the ultrasound measurements were showing that I could expect to deliver a nine pound baby.
My doctor and I began discussing my birth plan because I really didn’t want a cesarean section. My doctor assured me that she would do everything she could to give me the birth experience that I wanted, but big babies increase the risk for c-section. Each week, I prayed for the baby to stay in a little longer. My original goal was 36 weeks. As I got farther along, I increased the goal by one week. Finally, at 38 weeks, we scheduled an induction date of Friday, January 23, 2009. I would be 39 weeks 2 days at that point. The plan was for me to check into the hospital on the evening of Thursday, January 22 so that they could insert a drug called Cervadil into my cervix for the night. The Cervadil would ripen my cervix and help it to soften and dilate. I couldn’t believe that I had made it so far into the pregnancy and my baby was finally about to be here!
Off to the hospital
On the evening of January 22, my husband, Dan, and I grabbed the bags that had been packed for weeks in case of early delivery and headed for the hospital. I checked in at 8:00 p.m. and they inserted the Cervadil. At that point, I was 1 cm dilated and 70% effaced. I prayed for progress overnight because I was terrified of a failed induction that would lead to emergency c-section. Dan and I spent the rest of the night trying to relax and get some sleep. We were so excited that we would finally be meeting Cooper the next day.
The next day, January 23, I woke up around 7:00 a.m. and took a hot shower to try and relax before my big day. At 8:15 a.m. the nurse came in to remove the Cervadil. I waited in anticipation while she checked me, praying that I had made at least a little progress. I was 3 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and the baby was at the -1 station. The Cervadil had done its job! My doctor came in and asked if I wanted her to break my water since I was already progressing so well. She warned me that if she broke my water we would definitely be having a baby that day because she always delivers her babies within 24 hours of the water being broken, even if a c-section was needed. She didn’t think that would be necessary in my case, though, since I had already progressed so well. I agreed to have my water broken, so they broke it and started the Pitocin to start contractions. I was surprised at how hot the water was. We would definitely be meeting Cooper that day. Yay!!!
Almost immediately after having my water broken, the anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself and to let me know that I could have the epidural whenever the pain started. Even though I wasn’t in terrible pain yet, I asked for the epidural around 9:00 a.m. because I could feel the contractions starting. The epidural was put in at 9:15 a.m. It felt strange as it was going in, but didn’t hurt. The worst part was the injection to numb the area and that didn’t feel much worse than getting the flu shot. As soon as the epidural was in, my blood pressure went from very high to pretty low, so I was put on oxygen while they adjusted it. I was pretty dizzy and dopey until they got my blood pressure regulated, but as soon as they did I felt pretty good. I couldn’t feel any pain or pressure at all. My stomach and legs were tingly, but I could still feel them and move my legs around.
At 9:45 a.m., they inserted a catheter and put a Foley bulb in to monitor my contractions internally. They also checked my progress. I had progressed to 3.5 cm and 90% effaced, but the baby was still at -1 station. I didn’t like having the Foley bulb in. The way it was positioned caused some pain and they never could get it positioned to where it wasn’t uncomfortable. I spent the next few hours visiting with my husband and parents and trying to ignore the contractions. The epidural worked wonders to numb the pain, but I could still feel some pressure each time I had a contraction and the pressure became worse as I progressed further along. The nurses came in frequently to up the Pitocin dosage to keep my progression going. I got increasingly more uncomfortable each time they upped the dosage, but I was determined to have a quick and successful induction so I encouraged them to increase it as much as possible.
By 12:30 p.m., I had progressed to 5 cm, 100% effaced, and the baby was at 0 station. At 2:30 I was checked again and was at 8 cm and the baby was moving toward +1 station. At this point, I was definitely feeling the contractions, but I wouldn’t say they were unbearably painful. There was just a lot of pressure in the area of the birth canal. The anesthesiologist came in and upped my epidural so that I wouldn’t feel the pain from the Foley catheter or as much pressure from the contractions. Even with the epidural increased, I was still feeling a lot of pressure, so my doctor came in and checked me at 3:15 p.m. I was 10 cm and ready to push! We quickly cleared the room, and I began pushing at 3:20 p.m.
Pushing... and pushing and pushing!
My doctor insisted that I was pushing really well and she could see the baby’s head, but he was having a hard time moving down. She could tell that he had tons of hair. Luckily the baby was tolerating the contractions and pushing well and didn’t seem stressed by the experience at all. After almost two hours of pushing, I was exhausted and asked the doctor how it was going. She said that it was still going to be a while since the baby was having a lot of trouble moving down.
She asked if I wanted to use a vacuum, which I agreed to after hearing that it would probably be at least an hour more of pushing without it. I was exhausted and knew I couldn’t take much more pushing. It hurt quite a bit while she was inserting the vacuum. She tried using the vacuum for the next couple of contractions, but it just wasn’t working. She said that he had so much hair that she couldn’t get a good suction on his head. I was very discouraged at that point and past the point of exhaustion. Between pushes, I would lay back and fall asleep for a few minutes. Dan was helping me on every push by holding my back up and pushing with me. I don’t remember much about what was going on because all I could concentrate on was getting enough energy for the next push.
After a few more pushes, it was evident that the baby was not going to come out on his own. Despite my original fears of a c-section, I began asking for one because I couldn’t handle the thought of pushing for much longer. Luckily I had picked a wonderful doctor who continued to remind me that I didn’t want a c-section and that we were going to get this baby out by pushing. She was very encouraging and assured me that I could do it. At this point the room had become crowded with nurses and doctors. One of the nurses suggested that we try a different kind of vacuum to help him out. I agreed to try it for a few sets of pushes. My doctor was really coaching me on and reminding me that we didn’t want to have to do a c-section. This kept me going for a few more sets of pushing and finally Cooper came out all in one big push at 3:16 p.m.
It turns out that he was getting stuck on the way out and the doctor had to give me an episiotomy that resulted in a 4th degree tear to get him out. I didn’t care at that point because all I wanted was the baby out. Cooper Daniel arrived at 5:16pm on Friday, January 23. He weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20 ¾ inches long. We ended up having to stay in the hospital for an extra day because Cooper had a fever right after birth and developed jaundice the day after he was born. Six weeks later, we are both doing great and Cooper is a happy, healthy baby. I am so proud of how strong he was throughout the entire pregnancy and delivery. Looking back on the past few months, all of the bed rest and seemingly never-ending pushing was worth it for my beautiful baby and I would do it all over again.
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