To recap from Part I: It was Saturday, the day before my baby-must-come induction date, Paul smoke a whole brisket while I was in labor at home watching college football, we ate said brisket, then Paul and I went for a walk before deciding it was time to go to the hospital.
The saga continues…
When we got back to the house, I grabbed the bag that I’d had packed for WEEKS while Paul decided it was about time to pack. Considering I was scheduled to be induced the next morning, it seemed a bit last minute, but, you know, there was that pesky brisket to smoke.
He’ll never live that down.
He also decided he wanted some movies to watch just in case while I was just omgshSOreadytogo!!! Now. We finally got the car loaded and headed off. My family and our friends stayed to clean up and wait until we told them to come.
On the way to the hospital, Paul and I talked about how different everything was than what we were expecting. Like, we were having real conversations rather than me being in tremendous pain and we were both cool and calm, albeit nervous. It was just so surreal. When we got there, we walked in, checked in (which felt like it took for-ev-er. Can that process PUHLEASE be streamlined) and headed up to labor and delivery. Once I got there, I was put in a gloriously huge room that felt like a massive hotel suite with a weird hospital bed on one side. I disrobed and robed and prepared to hear the verdict from the nurse.
I figured since I was 5 cm when I went into labor and I’d labored for 12 hours or so at home, then we MUST be like 8 cm and its practically time to push and I’m just one of those lucky women who labors easily and these hips are finally good for something and on and on and on. Logically.
Verdict: 7 cm. Hardy har har.
Ok, 7 was only 1 cm less than my goal of 8, but WHAT THE HECK HAD I BEEN DOING ALL DAY?!?!
Good news was, I was checked in and at the hospital to stay. So we began walking down the halls, hanging out on the birthing balls (my hospital was a dream) and trying to move things along. We walked and walked and walked and the contractions did really start picking up and starting to hurt more and more. They were hard to talk through and impossible to walk through.
Every once in a while, the nurses would come use the handheld heart rate monitor thingy (I’m not the doctor in the family) to check on Finn. Every time they did that though, I had to be super still and they had to maneuver the thingy all around to find Finn which left us both in pretty contorted positions. We knew Finn maybe positioned a little funny and the Doctor had had to maneuver the heart rate monitor around to find him at our last few appointments, but it was beginning to be difficult to get a solid heart rate read. Which just meant that it was taking SOOOO long to check on him and I couldn’t be that still.
Finally the we discovered that it was easier if I laid back on the bed and used the non-hand held monitor and laid reallyyyyyyyy really still. Tell that to my contractions. The nurses needed a longer read and I agreed to just stay in bed for a little while to make things easier. But, about 15 minutes after that, I started getting very cold, I was shaking, I couldn’t talk, my teeth were chattering, and I was beginning to struggle through the contractions more.
I couldn’t get warm and I couldn’t calm down. It was starting to really worry me. My goal had been to make it at least to transition without an epidural because I was worried an early epidural may slow down labor. I figured I’d try to manage transition without the epidural, but I’d use it if I needed to. My mom and Paul were starting to look at me with “worry/pity eyes” which are THE WORST because I knew I was worrying them. When the nurse came back to check me, she confirmed that I was about 8 cm which was good progress for the couple of hours I was there. It was about midnight and I was ready to stop shaking and feeling the pain. It was just too much while trying to lay still and I began to cry. I talked it over with Paul and figured I’d made it as far as I’d intended on my own so it would be ok to take the epidural.
The anesthesiologist was called and came in with a GIANT needle which totally freaked me out. He told me to be still and I was like “whatever you say” while he placed the needle. It scared me so much I barely felt a contraction while he was placing it. But oh the sweeeeet relief!!! It was great. My right leg was totally numb and I still had some feeling in my left but I didn’t feel much as far as contractions went. I took a nap and Paul’s movies came in handy for some entertainment : )
By the next morning around 8, I was still about 9 cm. ALL THAT TIME and 1 pesky cm. Ugh. But it had been some good rest time and the nurses pretty much left me alone most of the night. My doctor came in and decided to break my water to get things moving along. But as soon as she did that, everyone’s moods changed. There was meconium in the fluid so we’d need to have the NICU team on standby. Paul reassured me that it was not a big deal and that Finn probably hadn’t swallowed any and we would be ok.
Finally, I reached 10 cm at about 9:30 and it was time to push. I could certainly feel all the pressure and pushing HURT even through the epidural. My doctor touched me and said “push right here” and I was like “oh yeah…felt that! ok!” I could even feel all the contractions and told them each time it was time to push even before the monitor picked up the contraction. Some time through that, though, Finn’s heart rate began to drop. Paul and the nurse rolled me side to side for awhile to see if a changed position would help. My doctor said we’d have to get his heart rate up or we’d have to have a C-Section which I was desperately trying to avoid.
Eventually his heart rate got up, but not long after, I broke out in a fever. Paul kept trying to give me a cold towel and I kept thinking I was telling him to GET.THE.TOWEL.AWAY but apparently I was just moving his hand and he didn’t pick up on the memo. At some point I yelled at him to stop and there may have been some curse words… oops. Sorry, Paul!
Then I got super nauseated and that was also awful. Ugh.
About an hour and a half into pushing, my doctor said “he’s got a little hair!” So we were getting close…right?!?!?
About an hour later she said “he’s got a little hair!”
Side-eye emoji forever.
I think I hollered back “YOU SAID THAT AN HOUR AGO! Reach in and pull him out already!!”
She responded, “the third baby is easier!”
Side-eye emoji for infinity.
Really!?! This isn’t helping!! In truth, she was freaking awesome and I may just fly to Indiana while I’m in labor with the next one (if its like Finn, I’ll have plenty of time) just to have her again. She sat with me the ENTIRE time I pushed and was so sweet and kind and I’m pretty much in love with her.
BUT, I wasn’t thinking that at the time. About 15 minutes shy of 3 hours of pushing, she told me she really didn’t want me pushing longer than 3 hours. The nurse holding my right leg (obviously a fitting description) had pushed for 4 hours with hers, so they told me I *could* if I wanted to, but since Finn’s heart rate had dropped and I’d been feverish and there was meconium in the fluid, they really didn’t think it was safe. So I had 15 minutes to get this baby out or it was on to suction cups and then I had 3 pushes with that or it was on to a C-Section.
Exactly 15 minutes later, he was out. The moral of the story is Finn hates ultimatums. Tell him induction is coming, I go into labor the day before. Tell him suction cup or C-Section, he comes at the eleventh hour. Stubborn from day 1.
But all wasn’t well.
At some point while I was yelling at people, the NICU team came in so they were all in the room while I was spread eagle and making a splendid first impression and I didn’t even realize they had come in. One of my finer moments.
Finn had in fact swallowed his meconium so he was given straight to the NICU team while my doctor dealt with me. Paul was rotating in pediatrics and with the NICU at the time, so he knew everyone in the room and just stood back by my side to let them work their magic. For the first couple of minutes, Paul kept saying “he’s ok. He’s ok” and he was talking to me. But, after the first couple of minutes, I could tell he was saying it to convince himself and I started to really really worry. About 5 minutes after delivery, they finally intubated Finn to get him to breathe, brought him by my head so I could sneak a quick “hello” an a kiss on the forehead before they rushed him to the NICU.
Paul followed Finn and the NICU team and our families saw him march by the waiting room. Then they all started to worry.
My doctor finished dealing with me and left me with my nurses while she went to check on Finn. So, after all of that, it was just me and my heaven-sent nurse. I was crying and she asked what I needed. I told her to go get my mom. But that meant that I was all alone in this hospital room worried about my baby while she went off. And ohhhhh the tears!!
Finally, Paul came back and said Finn was ok. He was very acidotic (the PH of his blood was off) and the NICU doctor had rushed in (the PAs had taken care of the rest) but they had caught it and it was under control. The NICU doctor finally came to see us to reassure us that all was going to be ok. I cried some more (duh) and they finally got me ready to go see my son. It was tragic and heartbreaking and the greatest moment of my life all at the same time.
I was wheeled into the NICU and Finn’s private room (have I mentioned how awesome this hospital is?). I couldn’t pick him up, but I got to hold his hand and cried and cried and cried. But, since I was still a patient, I had to eventually get checked into my room. I did and I showered and I pumped so I could send some breast milk off to the NICU for Finn. After a visit from my doctor where she prescribed some drugs for my fever and my super swelling and blood pressure that was not improving, I was off to see Finn again. We spent the next couple of nights like that: back and forth and back and forth.
It was so weird and heartbreaking to spend the first 2 nights away from Finn! NICU moms will forever be in my prayers. Those are some strong women. I was finally discharged and then spent 3 days in the NICU with Finn. He was on room air by the night after his delivery and had his feeding tube removed by day 4. Whew. We are forever and ever and ever grateful to the NICU team. Finn has no long term complications and there was great potential that his acidosis could cause some life long problems. In fact, a few months after Finn was born, Paul was at the hospital and ran into our NICU doctor. The Doctor asked Paul how Finn was and Paul told him that he was great. The Doctor said that to that day, every time he saw PH numbers like he saw in Finn, he thinks of him and how lucky we were to catch Finn’s and get him help so quickly. He said Finn is his reminder that kids with his level of acidosis CAN be ok sometimes.
Like I said, forever and ever and ever grateful for the team that helped our son.