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Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 5)

I was getting so excited! I knew that the hospital midwife was going to come and check how dilated I was and I was confident that I would be nearly 10 cms along (this is when it’s time to start pushing). Well, she checked and I was still just barely 4, which I had been since 8 am that morning. It was around 6:30 pm at this point, 7 is when the doctors switch shifts, I’ll explain why this is important shortly.

To give a little background, at my OB’s office there are 4 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners. Throughout your pregnancy you see each of the doctors and NPs randomly because you don’t know who your doctor will be at the time of birth. I of course had my favorites in the office so I was really hoping that I’d be fortunate to have one of them.

As it turned out my very favorite doctor was the doctor on duty all of Monday but she worked the morning shift and was scheduled to get off at 7. The doctor coming in after her was my second favorite (SCORE!) but I didn’t know this quite yet. My doctor came in and explained that I was currently maxed out on Pitocin and that I still wasn’t dilating very quickly. She stated that because I have high blood pressure that I would need to start considering that I may need a c-section. Seamus and I had discussed ahead of time whether we would be alright with a c-section and we agreed that we didn’t care how Emmett joined us, as long as he and I were safe.

The doctor was gone for probably 5 minutes when she and my second fav doc returned. They laid out my two options, 1- They could turn the Pitocin off which could cause my body’s receptors to turn back on and cause me to dilate further. They would check my cervix again at 11:00 pm but with this option there was a chance that I would STILL need a c-section. 2- I just went ahead and had a c-section. Since Seamus and I had decided we were okay with surgery and since there was a chance I may still need it anyway, we went ahead and chose to have a c-section.

From this point on, everything moved so quickly! By the time we had made the decision to go forward with the surgery, it was 6:30, there was an OR open and an anesthesiologist available. The nurse on duty started prepping me for surgery and gave Seamus a set of scrubs to put on for the operating room.

The anesthesiologist who I had for the actual section was different than did my epidural but was just as amazing. He was a soft spoken guy who at first glance you would assume he had no sense of humor but throughout the entire experience he’d crack these really funny underhanded jokes, it was great! He also took the time to explain what was going on and to reassure me, seriously where did my hospital get these guys, they were just fantastic!

I suffer from ocular migraines, so when the anesthesiologist was inserting the medication that I needed for surgery I started to get a blurry aura in my eye, a typical sign of an intense migraine coming. I made sure to tell him and I did start to freak out a bit because I knew the pain from a migraine would be tough to take on top of surgery, he assured me that once surgery was over that I would be given pain meds to alleviate anything I was feeling.

Before I knew it I was being wheeled into the OR and they were getting me all set for what was to come. I realized quickly that my favorite doctor as well as my second favorite were both in the OR. The doctor who was off at 7 had decided to stick around and assist with the surgery, I felt very lucky! At this point they have you move from one bed to another and then start setting the drape up over you. For most, a c-section is an awake surgery, so they put up a screen so that you are unable to see what they are doing to your body.

I may look like I’m asleep but I assure you that I am awake. I had my eyes closed because I was dealing with some intense nausea from the meds they had given me.

Once the drape was up and the meds had taken effect, my doctors poked me and asked whether I could feel what they were doing and whether there was any pain associated with it. With a c-section you feel them pulling and tugging and you feel pressure when the baby comes out but you should feel no pain.

Less than 15 minutes later, the doctor said, “Jillian you’re going to feel a lot of pressure now as we pull the baby out.” It was some pretty intense pressure but certainly nothing I couldn’t handle, especially knowing that at the end of it my baby would be in this world.

In case you missed them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.


Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 4)

The epidural. Oh god the epidural!

This was seriously the worst part of the whole ordeal, EVEN over my recovery (which I’ll eventually get to).

The anesthesiologist who came in to do my epi was just amazing. He was the kindest doctor I had ever met, which in my experience has been rare for an anesthesiologist. I’ve had one other surgery and the anesthesiologist was very curt and to the point, not friendly and didn’t take the time to explain everything. I wish I remembered his name but sadly I don’t, from the moment he came in he oozed calm, which really helped me.

Prior to my induction I had watched a video on BabyCenter about what happens during an epidural because I was pretty much clueless. I had an epi in my back for sciatic pain years ago but this is different and more involved and I like being prepared. The video made me nervous but I knew that having the epidural would be better than going through hours and hours of painful labor.

Since it has to be a sterile environment and Seamus was just wearing street clothes, they asked him to leave the room and to return in about 20 minutes. I was so scared at this point because Seamus had been my rock for all things painful up until then, I didn’t know what to do without him. Thankfully, I also had the most amazing labor nurse!

Each step the doctor took he explained what he was doing and what I might feel. He insisted that I stay as still as possible because he was working with needles in my spine, not something you want to jerk around with. Let me explain, I had level 7 pain with contractions but when he was putting the epi in, my pain level was above 10 (if that were possible). The pressure at times was unbearable but my labor nurse stood in front of me and had me rest my head on her chest and squeeze her hands to muscle through the pain. She rubbed my back when the doctor wasn’t working on me and kept encouraging me and telling me what a good job I was doing.

At one point the doctor explains that I may feel some electric type shocks radiating through my right or left leg. That it would feel like short electrical shocks flowing through me. Oh boy! That hurt soooo badly and lasted much longer than I had anticipated. Eventually it stopped and we were getting closer to the end (thank goodness)!

Once he finished, he explained that the contraction pain wouldn’t go away immediately, that it would probably take about 15 minutes or so but that the pain would gradually become less and less. He also explained to me why my epidural hurt as much as it did because it is not something that should normally hurt that much. Apparently the gaps between my spinal column are very close together, closer than most people’s which means it’s harder to find and enter a needle into the exact spot. In addition, apparently my spine is slightly twisted so he had to enter from a weird angle which added it’s own set of challenges.

All I knew is that it was O-V-E-R! Seamus could come back in and I could relax.

In the end the whole thing took almost an hour to complete, normally it’s about 20 minutes but the pain from the contractions did lessen and eventually disappear.

Epidurals are weird. You don’t lose all sensation in your legs or at least I didn’t. I was still able to move them and even moved myself from one bed to another when I had to. The nurses kept raving at how strong I was and what an amazing job the doctor had done on my epi. Actually, I think their exact words were, “Dr. (so and so) did the most perfect epidural!”I think I heard that phrase from the nurses and then from my OB probably 10 times over the course of 6  hours or so.

The second worst part of the experience was when the nurse inserted the tube for my catheter. It was so painful and irritating to my urinary tract and my bowels. The second it was in, I started feeling like I had to poop. The nurse suspected that I really didn’t need to, that it was the pressure of the baby and catheter but that she’d grab a bed pan just in case. She was gone for about 10 minutes and by the time she got back my innards had settled down and I was finally relaxing. Finally!

As I waited for them to check how far I was dilated, my anticipation grew more steady. I knew that I was getting closer and closer to meeting my boy!

In case you missed them –

Birth Story (Part 1), (Part 2) and (Part 3).

And because I hate posts without pictures:

Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 3)

Finally after waiting around, twiddling my thumbs, it was time to head to the hospital!

Once we arrived there, things started moving pretty quickly (in the beginning). They had me get changed and into the bed right away and then worked on getting all of my information. Once they had inputted all my demographic information and insurance info, they put the IV line in and got me hooked up to the heart monitor for the baby. The IV is pretty painless but it was different. I’d never had one before and what they do, is take a large needle with a hole in it and put it into your vein so that they can hook the medicine drip up to it. It stung for about 2 minutes but eventually it stopped and I couldn’t feel it other than the contraption being on my hand.

 Around 8 o’clock PM in they inserted the Cervidil and at that point I wasn’t allowed to get up and walk around for two hours. No big deal, right!? Well, of course when you’re told you can’t get up and pee, that’s all you can think to do. Thankfully I had my iPad and there was some good TV on so I was able to distract myself. Plus, I had plenty to talk about with Seamus. We were both very excited!

Around 10:30 they gave me some benadryl to help me sleep but I did not sleep. I was hooked up too the infant heart monitor and Emmett was being a little punk, every time I’d roll over they’d lose his heart beat and the nurse would have to come in and find it again. This led to me trying to lay in one spot and doze off, it didn’t happen! Seamus had to sleep in a reclining chair but I think he got more sleep than I did. Around 8 AM I finally started feeling exhausted and was able to sleep for a short time, just as the nurses were beginning to make their morning rounds. Ugh! I was starting out (almost) motherhood on a depleted sleep bank.

As the morning wore on they started my Pitocin (oxytocin injection) drip, which helps speed up contractions which will hopefully lead to the baby being delivered. They literally start you out with one drip for the first 45 min to an hour and then slowly increase it every hour until you’re at the max amount. This isn’t a quick transition, it took from 8 AM until just before 7 PM before I hit my max.

They also decided to switch from external baby monitoring to internal because they were having such a hard time keeping Emmett’s heart beat on the speaker. This didn’t mean that anything was wrong with Emmett, it was more likely that he just kept moving around. If you are interested in the difference between external and internal fetal monitoring, please read this article. I actually preferred the internal monitoring because it kept track of E’s heart rate on a more steady basis.

Throughout this time the contractions started getting worse and worse but weren’t quite bad enough to cause me to need the epidural yet. They pulled out the birth ball, which is essentially and exercise ball, for me to sit on and hopefully assist in moving Emmett down the birth canal. I felt very fortunate to have Seamus there with me, he was so attentive. Every time a contraction would hit, he would sit there and put pressure on my lower back (like they taught us in birthing class), which helped the pain tremendously.

During the time while I was in Labor and Delivery, every time the nurse would enter the room she would ask my pain scale. Well since I had never had a baby before, I didn’t really have anything to base my pain on so I was telling her I was a level 7 (out of 10) early on, but I very quickly realized that what I had been feeling was more like a 4.

When I finally did reach pain that was definitely at the 7 level, I asked for my epidural.

To Be Continued…

If you missed them, Part 1 and Part 2.

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