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Birth Story

When I got pregnant with Caroline I knew two things for certain. First,  I would have a big baby. Not freakishly big, but on the larger side of normal. I was a 9 pounder myself and given that I am very tall with a long torso and wide hips, I knew that my little parasite would have plenty of room to be all it could be in there. Second, I knew that I would be overdue. Not just because first babies are frequently late but more it was just something I knew.  So when I had my 37 week check-up and the doctor said it could happen anytime (despite the fact that I had had no contractions of any kind and no cervical changes) I just smiled politely knowing that maybe it could, but it wouldn’t.

I mean I wanted it to. I was chomping at the bit to meet my baby and since it was the end of the year we really wanted to be in and out of the hospital before the year changed for tax and insurance deductible purposes. It was a long shot though, my baby was due December 27 and even a few days late and we would have 2010 baby.

Weeks 38 through 41 went by with no contractions and no changes so inevitably, we started talking about inductions. I didn’t want one but by that time my scitaic nerve was so worked up that I was in excruciating pain 24 hours a day and that pain made my decision- not my brain. So on January 4, 2010 I ate what I thought was my last meal and entered the hospital thinking that I would have a baby either that day or the next at the latest. Ha ha ha, can you guess where this story is going?

After getting checked in and settled into my room waiting for the Dr to come in and start the show. I thought he would hook me straight up to some pitocin and maybe have a little cervadril.  Not so fast. Since my cervix was so “unripe” I was given Cytotec, a very anticlimatic 1/4 of a tablet to get things started. I downed the pill and was hooked up to what is now my sworn enemy, the fetal monitor. Oh sure, it was cool at first to watch the hearbeat and the contractions. Oh never mind there weren’t any contractions, so 4 hours later more cytotec and more nothing and again. At the end of the first 12 hours it became clear that nothing was going to happen that day, so he decided to put some cervadril in over night and then we would be ready to go the next morning.

The next morning came and guess what?! Nothing. Still no changes so day two went just like day 1 only now I had to be on the monitor ALL. THE. TIME. That thing was maddening. Everytime I moved it lost the heartbeat and here came the nurse to readjust and at 9+ months pg, with a painful back, lying on a hospital bed, do you know how many times I had to move and change positions. Argh. All day and all night.

At the end of day 2, the Dr. gave me two choices, I could have another night of Cervadril and start Pitocin the next morning or we could go ahead and start Pitocin that  night. I said, “start it now” and found out that he really wasn’t giving me any choices because he proceeded to tell me how that wasn’t a good idea and that I needed to get some rest because the Pitocin started labor would really kick in. Let’s all laugh together now. I couldn’t believe I was going into day 3 and was really no closer to having a baby.

The morning of day 3 the pitocin was started and I got some contractions but they were never more than a 2-3 on the pain scale and by the end of the day I was only 2.5 cm. Another night in L&D and of cervadil- I couldn’t believe it. It seemed like labor should be right around the corner but it just never kicked it. Luckily, the baby was doing just perfectly the whole time and was never a cause for concern.

Day 4 was the last ditch effort day. The Dr. broke my water and started pitocin. We knew that if I didn’t make any real progress by the afternoon, I would have to have a c-section. The contractions came and were quite painful. They weren’t unbearable but since I knew I wanted an epidural, I didn’t waste time getting it once they were hurting (after 3 nights in the l&d bed, I just needed some pain relief for the aches and pains). The epidural was great and I felt good for the first time in weeks. Plus with the catheter in, I got  break from the constant trips to the bathroom.

The Dr. came in at 3:40 and performed the billionth internal exam on me that week. I was only 3.5cm. I was crushed. He gave me one more hour to see if something could happen and put in an internal monitor to measure contraction strength.. My nurse talked him into cranking up the pitocin every 20 minutes instead of 30- after 4 days with me she wanted this as much as I did. She told us the contractions needed to be about 50 points above the baseline to cause dilation so we watched the monitor screen intently. After a few minutes of watching, my heart started to sink- the contractions weren’t anywhere close to as strong as they needed to be.

When the Dr came back in at 4:40, he shook his head. I was so sad, frustrated and honestly relieved at the same time. I broke down a bit but really had no time to get to upset. The team sprung into action and the next thing I knew I was on the operating table and Caroline Noelle was born at 5:36 PM on January 8. 8lbs 13 oz and 21 7/8 inches long. Amazingly I fell asleep when they took her away and they were sewing me up.

I still don’t really know how I feel about the whole induction/c-section thing. From the outside, it seems ludicrous to have let me go 4 days but when we were in the situation it always seemed like it was right around the corner and the baby was doing so well. I really didn’t want the c-section so I was willing to keep trying. I don’t really know what we should have done differently yet it is so frustrating to have gone through all of that only end up with the section.

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