We're at camp for the weekend, my mother-in-law is holding the baby, I have warm food in my belly and a nap is sounding pretty good right about now. But I've been meaning to write up Kail's birth story for a week now, and this is the first chance I have to do a decent job of it. So I'll put the nap off for another 10 minutes and get this down. I also wanted to write a huge THANK YOU to everyone on Facebook for their warm welcome's and congratulations over the past week. As the sleep deprivation has built up my twitter/fb posts have gone down, but its so awesome to hear from everyone.
So at 41 weeks on Monday Sept 19th I was still pregnant. The cramps and pressure that had come on after my sweep the day after my due date had settled by about Thursday and I spent Friday pretty depressed. Then Saturday/Sunday I started getting a bit more action and was more hopeful. Monday morning dawned and the heating guys showed up to install the new furnace (yay!) and I was getting nothing. So I went to the midwives for my 9:00 appointment. Everything looked good, the baby was still -1 but my cervix had definitely stretched a bit since the week before. I was still a 1cm but very stretchy and now 80% effaced. Plus the head was transverse, so all looked good. Meredith did another sweep and I left the office hopeful.
Nothing much happened for the rest of the day. A few cramps here and there but not much. I had a non-stress test that afternoon at the hospital that my husband made it to. The heartbeat was a little sluggish at first, but soon as I got some sugar in me it perked right up. I hadn't eaten much all day, my stomach being somewhat unsettled. I had a biophysical profile booked for the next day at 2:45 just to keep an eye on things. The plan was that if nothing happened we would induce on Thursday. Meredith figured I'd be an easy induction because I was so stretchy - she figured we'd just break the water and wait a few hours, then if nothing happened start an oxytocin (pitocin) drip. So we went to bed that night figuring that no matter what, we would meet our Little Person within the next few days.
Then I woke up at midnight that night with a few cramps. Not much different than I'd felt before, so I hit the bathroom and went back to bed. I woke up again at 2 with things a little stronger. They seemed to be semi-rhythmic and definitely more powerful. I held off waking Kyle until about 2:45 when it became apparent that something was different. Things were more painful, but still semi-rhythmic.
Kyle got up with me and we hung out in the living room with the computer on. I started getting nauseous. I thought we had gravol in the house but we couldn't find any so I took my diclectin. It didn't do too much. Around 5:30 we called my mother to tell her that things were moving and also to ask if she had any gravol. She couldn't find any at first and promised to hit a drug store as soon as they opened. Meanwhile Kyle texted his parents to let them know that things had started. My father-in-law was on his way into work and stopped to turn around back to town for some gravol, but by then Dad called back to say that Mom had found some and was heading over.
My contractions were definitely present but still not regular. About every 7-15 minutes. Instructions from the midwives is not to bother alerting until ctx's are 4 minutes apart and regular or your water breaks during the day. But I wasn't sure how much gravol was safe to take after the diclectin, so I paged Buffy who was on call. She told me to take 100mg of gravol every 4 hours with 1000mg of tylenol. Mom got to the house and we started that protocol.
My in-laws showed up shortly after and it was pretty full in the house for a while. It was nice though, felt like I had a lot of support. Kyle called work and told them I was going into labour and he wasn't coming in. Then we spent the morning trying to keep my hydrated and get the contractions regular. Everyone made sure I had something liquid on hand at all times, but I was still horribly nauseous and wasn't able to keep much down. Since starting the gravol I hadn't actually thrown up, but I wasn't able to drink much. We tried walking to keep the contractions regular but I was getting really tired. We'd do a walk around the block and I'd be done. Knowing that this stage of labour can last several days, I didn't want to exhaust myself.
We weren't sure what to do about the biophysical profile (a special ultrasound to look at how the baby's doing) so we paged Buffy again. She told us to come to the office and see her around 2:00, and then we'd decide then. Kyle and my Mom took me in. By that point I was in pretty bad pain. Not only did I have the contractions, which weren't all that bad, but I had started to get this terrible hip pain. It felt like both my hips were burning and being forced apart. It was constant and getting worse. Walking sometimes helped and sometimes didn't. I still couldn't keep down much fluids and I hadn't eaten nearly anything all day.
Buffy examined me (ouch) and said that I had changed a little. I was now a slightly larger 1 cm. Not the news I was hoping for. She also said the baby had gone into OP. That means occiput posterior and says the baby is 'sunny side up' instead of OA (occiput anterior) which is the better way to come down the birth canal. OA means the smallest diameter possible is leading the way, OP means the largest. Buffy said that was probably why my hips were burning.
She said to keep on the gravol/tylenol combination and try laying in the bathtub on my side to encourage the baby to spin. She also said to keep my fluids up. We got home and I got into the bath. It felt like heaven. My contractions decreased but the hip pain got better and I actually fell asleep for probably 40 minutes. Kyle get trying to get me to drink but I just couldn't. By the time he convinced me to get out of the tub I was a pink raisin, but I was comfortable. I laid down in bed and tried to keep on my side to get the baby to turn. I slept a bit more but soon as I was out of the warm tub the hip pain came back.
We went for another walk around ... probably 5:30, 6:00. Once around the block felt pretty good and I wanted to keep going. We got ten steps past the house when I felt horribly sick. I threw up everywhere. Kyle's Dad had just pulled up to the house and I had him on one side and Kyle on the other help me back into the house. I felt absolutely awful. I was practically in tears. I just wanted everything to be over and the baby to be out. I could have had a c-section on the spot. I was done.
We paged Buffy and I tearfully told her that I needed help. I needed an IV and some goddamn demerol. I felt like a failure to be calling, I knew my contractions were still irregular, still about 7-15 minutes apart, but I wasn't getting anywhere. Buffy said not to worry and that she'd meet me at the hospital. I probably needed some fluids and there was no point keeping me in just for that - we might as well admit me and work at getting the baby out. She'd check me and maybe break my water.
Mom, Kyle and my in-laws brought me to the hospital. We got admitted and were escorted to the last room left at the inn, number 6. Half the nurses recognized me and wished me good luck. We got settled and Buffy arrived within minutes. She checked me and said I had definitely progressed and was now 3cm, but the baby was still OP. She proposed breaking my water and stretching me to 5 cm. Said she'd give me a 'free few centimeter's'. Knowing how much stronger my contractions were likely to get after she broke my water I (tearfully) asked if I could have an epidural first, but she said no. And I knew that. The anathesiologist's won't give an epidural if you're only 3cm, you need to be at least 4 and in active labour. I was active, but people can stay 3cm for days. So I agreed to the plan.
Holy God and Goddess - it hurt. Not the membrane break, but the stretch. It was awful, but it worked. Despite my calling out profanities, Buffy got me to 5cm. She left to tell the nursing staff to get the anathesiologist and my mother and Kyle were left to deal with me in crippling pain. Apparently I was pretty zoned. The contractions got a lot stronger and seemed to come on the heels of each other. I felt like I didn't have a break between them, and my hip pain got worse. It was agony.
Thank every God, there was a resident on anathesiology and she got there fast. I have no idea what time it was, but it didn't feel like more than forty-five minutes later and she was there. I had been nervous about an epidural before but by this point I was beyond caring. She positioned me and Mom held my shoulders while Kyle stepped out of the room. That man is not good with needles! I held as still as I good and pretty much zoned out. Everyone said I did a great job of staying still even through the contractions, but I honestly think I was half out of my head during the procedure. I didn't have a focus point, I just zoned. It helped.
The resident did a great job, I think she got it on her second pass. I lay down and felt better knowing the epidural would start soon. Within minutes my contractions were less intense.
But then his heart rate dropped. I had my eyes on the numbers and they dipped below 100. Buffy came in and repositioned me and reassured us that that can be normal as the epidural causes a transient dip in my blood pressure, which tends to make the baby's heart rate drop. We repositioned and the heartbeat recovered. All seemed better. I became capable of actual conversation again, and both Mom and Kyle said it was like I was waking up from a coma. I was more myself again. I felt a lot better.
But then his heart rate dipped again. Buffy and the nurse came back in, repositioned me and put on the oxygen mask. It really dipped on my left side so we tried my right. It seemed okay for a bit then dipped again. Things were better on my back and then unhappy again. We played that game for a few minutes before Buffy declared she was Not Happy. She said she wanted to go talk to the OB on call. I was all for that plan. I did NOT like seeing the heart beat that low.
The OB came in (I was glad it was her on call) and recognized me. She checked me and said I was still 5 but that the head had regressed from -1 to -2. That is he had slid back up a little inside me. She wasn't happy that I hadn't progressed from 5cm despite good contractions and that the heartbeat wasn't happy. She said we could try starting a drip and maybe turning him with forceps, or we could go to c-section.
I didn't hesitate. I said C-section. I just wanted him out and safe. I didn't like the idea of forceps, and I really didn't like the idea of stressing him more with a drip. The OB said she thought that was the best choice and when she left to go get things set up, Buffy said she agreed. She wasn't happy with his heartbeat and the fact that he hadn't turned. Usually with an epidural as I relax the baby shifts into OA, but that obviously hadn't happened here.
Kyle said he was totally on board as well, he was with me - just get him out and safe. His heart beat settled and they restarted the epidural (which had been turned off when he dipped really low). The anethesiologist came back in to adjust the epidural, as I wasn't frozen enough for surgery on my left side. Within forty-five minutes they had the OR prepped and were wheeling me inside.
Once in the OR his heart rate dipped again. Really dipped. He was under 100 for 7 minutes, though they wouldn't/didn't tell me how low it got. I was REALLY glad at that point that we had chosen C-section and we're ready to go. We only got his heart rate up once Buffy did head stimulation. By that point I had dilated to 8cm but he obviously wasn't happy about it.
We got the section going and Kyle came in with me. My in-laws had gone home by this point because they weren't allowed on the floor. Dad was waiting downstairs and Mom was allowed to stay in the waiting room. They are very strict about visitor restrictions since that baby abduction a few years ago.
The section went well - everyone did a great job and my old family medicine preceptor showed up to assist the OB. When they pulled the baby out of me both Kyle and I held out breaths for his cries. I heard them suctioning him and worried that he was okay. Then we heard the baby cry and the OB said it was a boy. They cleaned him up and bundled him. The NICU team watched him for a few minutes. There was a tiny bit of meconium in the amniotic fluid, which said he was under some stress in utero. But after a few minutes during which his breathing was a little low, he perked right up. The NICU team cleared him and handed him off to his father while they finished cleaning me out and stitching me back up.
Kyle was glowing. I could see the top of his head from my position on the table. He looked beautiful. When they finished they wheeled us over to the recovery area and I slowly regained feeling in my arms and legs. I was able to hold him and Buffy wasted no time teaching me to breastfeed.
Over the next hour we stayed in recovery and my parents came to see him. They got a quick glance and then had to leave. We were moved into a semi-private room and began our transformation into Parents.
It was pretty wild. It still is. Every time I see him its a rush. We decided to name him Kail, and took a while to settle on the spelling. I thought Kael looked pretty cool, but Kyle was worried about pronouciation. Kale is apparently too much like the vegetable. It took a few days, but Kyle won me over to the K-a-i-l spelling. And now its pretty set in my brain.
Kail. Second name 'Kyle' after his father in the Norwegian tradition. 8lbs 2oz (I have no idea where I packed him all! No wonder he couldn't turn, there was no room!). Born Sept 21st at 2:10am. My son.
Pretty cool, eh?