UrbanLe0: Sam's Early Arrival
Friday, March 19, 2010 4:37 PM
My doc said, "Do you even know what you just did? Most women take over an hour to do what you just did in one push!"
An early start
My Sam was born on the last Saturday night in February--almost two weeks before his due date! So much for my doc thinking I'd need to be induced. My story is proof that all first-timers DON'T have long deliveries--at one point that night, my doc definitely used the words "quick and dirty" to describe my labor!
First of all, let's start off with the fact that I went to the doc the Friday morning before--and was only 1 cm dilated and not effaced at all. As we were past 38 weeks, my doc started talking induction just after 40 weeks due to the slew of complications I'd had--nothing too serious, but nothing she wanted to drag out to 42 weeks. I was crampy that day and chalked it up to my first internal. I did lose my mucus plug that evening, though (a rather hilarious incident that involved it falling on my foot!). I started feeling some slightly "different" contractions on Friday evening--not lots more painful, just more regular--and went to bed at 11, feeling sure they'd go away as they always had before.
They didn't. By 2 am, I started timing them -- 5 minutes apart and a minute long. So, I got in a hot shower, sure again that they'd go away. Nope--so I walked back into the bedroom and told my husband that we should probably think about calling the doctor. We did, and the doc on call told us to come in.
Heading to the hospital
So, to the hospital we go. We stayed for 3 hours (6 to 9 am), and although I was definitely adhering to the 5-1-1 rule, I wasn't progressing. When the resident did my internal, I was still at the 1 cm I'd been the previous morning. Deflated, I heard him say it was probably early or latent labor, and to go home for a few days until the contractions were stronger. Basically, he told me to stop timing them entirely--"when you can't talk or walk, give us another call--and of course, if your water breaks, come back in right away, but I really doubt that will happen."
We walked home and crawled back into bed, as I hadn't slept at all. And then the fun began. The contractions became much more intense around 11 am, with pain radiating from my back. And, in the middle of one at about noon, I felt this wet gush as I was in bed. I crawled out of the covers and made it to the bathtub--and wow, that sac of waters went everywhere! Laughing with my husband, I got redressed and went back to the hospital around 12:30.
The docs couldn't believe we were back. Nor could they believe that I'd gone from 1 cm to 4 cm in less than 3 hours! Needless to say, the contractions were coming hard and fast--about every 2 minutes, over a minute long, all in my back. I could barely breathe. I always thought I'd have a long labor--you hear that all the time about first-timers, so I wasn't prepared AT ALL for things to progress so quickly. The back labor meant I could barely move my legs, especially during a contraction, so I was in a lot of pain. However, I knew I wanted to put off an epidural until at least 5 cm, so I kept trying to breathe through the pain. It finally got so intense that I was begging my husband to get the doc to check me again--no one thought I could have progressed that far, so they kept trying to put it off. When my resident came in, though, I was over 6 cm! No wonder I was hurting!
My epidural was absolutely perfect--blocked the pain but left me with movement in my legs and the sensation of pressure with each contraction. Thank god for dedicated-OB anesthesiologists! When they finally got it in place, I was at 7 cm--it was hard to stay still, but I concentrated on the baby’s heartbeat as my focus, and it was over quickly. Then, sweet bliss. I took a deep breath for the first time in 5 hours.
Moment of panic
Then things got a bit crazy. I was doing fine, feeling pressure from the contractions but no pain, even as the pressure got more intense. I spent about an hour on the epidural before they decided to start a light Pitocin drip, because my contractions were starting to "space out" since I wasn't in so much pain--they didn't want me to lose my active labor. About 30 minutes after starting the drip, I felt an extremely hard contraction--I felt the pressure through my whole body, even my eyes. My husband and I didn't think anything of it, but about 5 minutes later I saw him look at my fetal heart rate monitor and his eyes got really wide (he's a doc, too, so he was keeping up with our stats the whole time). He walked over to my bed and started fussing with my monitors, saying something like "baby, I think he moved, so this isn't picking up his heartbeat. I'm going to go get someone to reposition it."
I knew he was lying. He can reposition monitors. He knows the difference between a baby who moved and something being wrong. And I know that look in his eyes--he was terrified. But I stayed calm, because I knew I had no other option. As he walked away quickly from my bed, over a dozen docs and techs came bursting into my room. They rolled me over, started me on oxygen, and placed an internal fetal monitor on the baby. It was organized chaos--I was just trying to stay focused and do what they told me as I heard the heart rate get slower and slower. I thought I was headed for an emergency c-section for sure, and I started trying to find my husband to tell him just to keep the baby safe. Finally, his heartrate started to rise--a tiny little "ping ping ping" from the internal monitor. I only found out later that he actually dropped below 30 bpm. We were both fine--they don't know what caused it. It could have been the strong contraction, or something else entirely. My doc said it was probably like the baby was on a too-fast roller coaster-- I dilated so quickly that he literally dropped into the birth canal and onto my tailbone. Great -- I gave my son a concussion before he even arrived!
Ready to go!
When they were placing his internal monitor, they discovered I was already at 10 cm and 100% effaced (which I had tried to tell them). But, because of his drop in heart rate, they wanted me to put off pushing to give him some time to recover, which I did. It was agony. It was like someone was crushing my tailbone the entire time--but I just kept listening to that fast little heart rate and trying to keep my baby safe. The epidural kept me from feeling "pain," but the pressure was so intense it brought tears to my eyes. I finally reached the point that I knew I couldn't handle it any more--the nurse didn't think I was ready, but I was begging for the doc. And sure enough, when the doc came in, she said we were ready to go.
But, I could tell she was just appeasing me. It was like "oh sure, you can start pushing, but this is going to take a while." She didn't even put on gloves yet. My awesome nurse helped me into position (still on my side, but holding both legs), and I pushed through the next contraction. The doc and resident looked on with eyes wide--they started laughing, and pulling on their paper scrubs quickly. My doc said, "Do you even know what you just did? Most women take over an hour to do what you just did in one push!" Needless to say, they had to get everything for delivery ready quickly. I delivered Sam with just 19 minutes of pushing--about 7 or 8 contractions, with 3 or 4 pushes per contraction. He arrived about 7 hours after my water broke. I had 2 small second degree tears, nothing major at all. I guess those old dancer's muscles are good for something after all!
They placed Sam immediately on my chest. Those first moments with my baby were absolutely unbelievable. I don't think I can even describe it, so I won't. But, I will say they were moments full of terror and love, disbelief and awe. He was 7lb 8oz, 20 1/4 in, with a full head of hair and big ol' feet. I love him desperately. I can't believe he's mine.
And, just a word about my husband--he never left my side. He never let me get too scared. He kept telling me I could do it, even as I moaned that I couldn't. He fought for me with my docs, and he made sure I got the best nurse. He managed to be both a doctor and my husband and the father of our son that night. I love both of my boys more than words can possibly express.