AlyssaJoy87: Nathaniel's Long Delivery
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 1:58 PM
"I struggled to continue through the pain, but I knew how close we were to meeting our little boy. I prayed for
strength and found the determination to push through"
Off to the hospital
My wonderful little boy, Nathaniel John, was born on December 30, 2009! In the short time that we have known him, Jonathan and I have fallen very much in love with our son and we feel deeply blessed to have him in our lives.
Jonathan and I went in for our 40 week OB appointment and saw the doctor. We discussed induction, given that our ultrasound estimated Nathaniel to be a 9 pound 11 ounce baby. Our OB agreed that we could attempt induction either that same day or December 31, depending on the Labor & Delivery schedule at the hospital.
Due to another high blood pressure reading at the clinic, we were sent over to Labor & Delivery at the hospital to rule out the possibility of pre-ecclampsia. We got hooked up to the monitors and they began the tests. We had been there for about forty minutes when I noticed that I was feeling a bit damp and I mentioned it to the nurse. She told me that it was nothing since I had just been checked for dilation and effacement at the clinic, but when I insisted that something was different, she checked me and announced that my water had broken!
At this point, Jonathan and I realized we were staying at Labor & Delivery until we had our baby and we were ecstatic! This was such a blessing for us- things had begun naturally, just as we had hoped and prayed for the past nine months.
Let's get this thing going!
About two hours after my water broke, the doctor started me on Pitocin to increase the frequency and intensity of my contractions. I labored in the bed for several hours watching HGTV with Jonathan. The contractions were coming more frequently but they weren't terribly painful so my Pitocin drip was increased several times. As the contractions became a bit more intense, I labored standing and sitting on a birthing ball.
After about ten hours of being on Pitocin, the contractions became excruciating. The nurse checked me to see if we had made any progress and we received the discouraging news that we were only dilated to about 1 1/2 centimeters- the same as we had been in the clinic eariler in the day. Despite all of the painful contractions, we had made no progress. In an effort to ease the pain, I chose to take meds through my IV and the nurse administered half a dose of Fentanyl. After waiting several minutes, we realized that it was doing nothing to dull the pain and I was given the full dose.
At this point, I remember laying on my side, squeezing Jonathan's hand as hard as possible. When a contraction would come, my body would begin shaking uncontrollably with the pain and it became difficult to remember to breathe. Jonathan coached me through each contraction, reminding me to breathe and encouraging me when I felt as though I couldn't do it any longer.
Around midnight, the nurse checked me again to see if I had made further progress. Again, we received the disappointing news that I had not progressed. At this point, Jonathan and I knew that if we didn't start to transition into active labor, that we would be ending the labor process in a c-section. Despite the unbearable pain, I couldn't imagine ending my labor via surgery and we continued to hope for a vaginal delivery.
Because I was not progressing, despite the fact that I was on a Pitocin drip, and due to the fact that the contractions were so strong, the nurse offered to call the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural. I knew I would not be able to continue to labor through my contractions for much longer without pain relief and I chose to take it.
The anesthesiologist came in and I was barely able to acknowledge him. The contractions were unbelievably strong and I was shaking and moaning through each one. He administered the epidural and I felt relief within several minutes.
A little bit of relief
With the pain relief, Jonathan and I tried to get some sleep and we were both able to fall asleep for brief periods. When I woke, I was faced with a new challenge: nausea. Between the exhaustion, hormones, and medications, my body was overwhelmed. This was the point where I realized that I had been blessed with an incredible nurse; she was very sympathetic and offered to bring me a few Saltine crackers to nibble on. Apart from the epidural, the crackers were the highlight of my entire night. I hadn't eaten in 22 hours and I was running on empty; the crackers gave me just enough energy to fight off the nausea and to continue laboring.
At 6:30 in the morning, the nurse returned and again checked my labor progress. For the first time, we had encouragement; I had dilated to 4cm and I was 75% effaced! Jonathan and I were thrilled that my body was beginning to labor more effectively and we realized that our hope of a vaginal delivery could become a reality!
We continued the labor process throughout the morning. Around 8:30, I noticed that my contractions were again causing pain. Like the night before, my entire body began shaking with pain as each contraction peaked. Jonathan continued to remind me to breathe and readily held my hand as I worked through each contraction.
The nurse checked me again and announced that I had progressed to 7-8 centimeters. Although I was so close to being done, I felt as though I couldn't continue through the pain. After discussing it with Jonathan and the nurse, I decided to have my epidural re-dosed. The anesthesiologist came in just before 9 and administered more medication. I waited for relief, but the pain from the contractions continued.
The nurse checked my cervix again at 9:15 and I had progressed to a 9. I struggled to continue through the pain, but I distinctly remember realizing how close we were to meeting our little boy. I prayed for strength and found the determination to push through.
At 9:45, the pain subsided and I knew that I had dilated to 10 centimeters. According to Jonathan, the difference was like night and day; I had gone from writhing in pain to laying calmly, completely relaxed. The nurse came back into the room around 10 and confirmed that I was completely dilated and ready to push!
Time to push
We began pushing at 10:10. It was a strange sensation to push since I was no longer in pain but the effects of the epidural caused my lower body to feel numb. I pushed as hard as I could, but I wasn't pushing effectively since I couldn't feel the "right" way to push. After about a half-hour, the nurse suggested that we turn down my epidural to help me feel what I was doing. The idea of again being in pain was frightening to me, but I realized that I needed to be able to feel how to push in order to meet my little boy.
My epidural was cut in half and I began to be able to feel myself pushing differently. Along with the change, I found that I was becoming very tired; the lack of sleep had taken its toll and I had little energy left. As we continued to push, I asked to push every other contraction rather than each one. The break between the contractions gave the me the rest I needed and I started to push more effectively.
The nurses noticed the difference and I heard one of them say that it was time to call the doctor. Those were the words I was waiting to hear; I knew that we were so close to meeting our little boy!
The doctor arrived within minutes and I began to feel a significant level of pressure and pain. Amidst the pushing, I looked up at the clock and saw that it was just after 11:30. I decided that I wanted to have my baby before noon and I set that as my goal. With the nurses holding my legs and Jonathan holding my hand, I pushed as hard as I could.
I heard Jonathan and the nurses encouraging me, telling me that I was almost there and I felt an immediate relief as Nathaniel was born. The doctor placed him on my chest and Jonathan and I saw our little boy for the first time.
The experience of holding my child was overwhelming; more than anything else, I felt a sense of joy and wonder that my baby had arrived and that he was safe in my arms. For the rest of my life, I will always remember that moment as well as the look on Jonathan's face as he looked at his son for the first time.
After holding Nathaniel for several moments, the nurses took him to the other side of the room to be weighed and measured. My little boy weighed in at 9 pounds 14 ounces and was measured at 21.5 inches long. The ultrasound had been accurate in that he was a very large baby; I ended up with an episiotomy and a second-degree tear from the experience. Looking back, it was all worth it; I would gladly go through every excruciating moment of labor and delivery again for my little boy.
The labor and delivery experience was exhausting and overwhelming but equally as amazing and wonderful. Jonathan and I are so in love with our little boy and each day we have spent with him is such a blessing!
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