You. Guys. I am so very excited to announce the birth of my beautiful daughter, Amélie. Born Saturday, December 2nd at 12:48 AM. Weighing 8lbs 7oz, and measuring 21.5” long. In the past week and a half, my life has changed drastically, and I will never be the same. She is SO perfect.
Becoming a parent isn’t something that everyone has planned. With this being said, if this is something you are currently going through, there are always options such as visiting a Portland pregnancy resource center (if you live near this area) to get advice from specialists, who can help you through this time in your life. This way, you’ll be able to make a better decision as to what you want to do. But for us, this pregnancy was planned and we couldn’t be happier.
Be prepared, this is a long post and it may be TMI for some people. However, I wanted to share my experience with you all and document it for personal history’s sake.
Our Unplanned Labor Induction
My maternity leave at work was scheduled to start a week before delivery, and we were talking about inducing on the 5th of December so I started leave on Tuesday, the 27th of November. As this was something I had already discussed with work, I wasn’t worried about taking maternity leave. With that being said, there are some people who may take it too far and abuse the system. So it comes as no surprise to find that some companies may find it easier to manage staff attendance with a timesheet app and be able to notice if something doesn’t seem right. Anyway, that day I also had an appointment with my doctor, who looked at me and told me she didn’t feel comfortable waiting until the next week due to my high blood pressure. I’d wanted to wait due to some other scheduling things, and since I’d been planning to get a bunch of stuff done and ready between leave start and delivery, but I told her I’d do what she thought was best. She looked at me and said, “Okay, how do you feel about inducing tomorrow?” I started crying.
I Was Scared
Suddenly it was all too real, and luckily my doctor was very sweet and gave me a big hug and a tissue. I immediately called my mom and best friend so they knew the plan (both wanted to be there), and started getting things ready for the hospital the next day. When I woke up on Wednesday, the day of induction, I was even more terrified. I looked at C and said “Do we have to do this? Can’t she just stay in there?” But she couldn’t, and at 8 PM that evening we headed into the hospital to start the induction. It’s safe to say all that fear of labor didn’t help my blood pressure, so the nurses were checking me every hour to make sure it didn’t get too bad. I was even threatened with a magnesium drip (which they say is an awful experience) a few times but luckily didn’t have to have it in the end.
Prompting Dilation and Labor
Since I was not dilated at all, or experiencing any contractions, the first plan was to get my cervix to open before starting active labor. I checked into the hospital, got everything set up, and they started the process. My body was not cooperating, and the baby was still sitting pretty high up.
Attempt 1: Cytotec
Wednesday night after we checked in, they started me on an oral pill named Cytotec that you tuck into your cheek and let dissolve slowly. You have to take it every three hours for three doses, but by the end of three doses, I was still firmly closed so they even threw in a fourth dose. Even with checking me every few hours, as of Thursday around noon, I was still firmly closed with 0 dilations. In spite of not dilating, contractions did start and were running pretty close together. They were only slightly painful, and they didn’t seem to have any urge to push or anything.
Attempt 2: Cervidil
After the oral pill they tried a medication called Cervidil, which they tuck behind your cervix for 12 hours to get the cervix to open. They decided to give me a little break so we didn’t get the Cervidil put in until around 3PM. Since it was so late in the day, and 12 hours would have put us very early in the morning, they decided to check a little early around 10 PM that evening.
My Water Broke
During the attempt to use Cervidil my water ruptured on it’s own-which was a huge surprise! Throughout my entire pregnancy my amniotic fluid was showing very high, so they told me if it did break I’d expect to feel a good gush of water rather than a slow drip. I felt a pop, and a gush, and called the nurse in to check. Sure thing, my water had broken. She sent me into the bathroom to clean up, and at that point the real gush happened. I kid-you-not, it was so much water it just poured out of me and overflowed those huge diaper pads they have you wear. It was a small flood, and it required a mop and several towels. It was like the movies, or maybe more so than you see in the movies! Haha!
At this point the nurse decided it was time to get my epidural as contractions started increasing in pain and they were planning on putting in the catheter. They also expected the epidural to help loosen my cervix and help with progression since my body would relax.
Attempt 3: Cook Catheter
Even with my water breaking, when the nurse checked at 10 PM and I was still firmly closed. My doctor came into the hospital at that point with a plan to move on to Cesarean since my body wasn’t cooperating. She had everything set up and people on staff to help with the surgery, but decided to check one last time. Surprisingly, she was able to get through the cervix and call it a 1 dilation, which opened us up to the option of the Cook Catheter. The Cook Catheter is a small balloon that they put through your cervix and fill with water in two bulbs on each side of the Cervix. These bulbs of water then push together to encourage the cervix to dilate further. This was placed late Thursday evening, and came out Friday morning when we were excited to find that I was finally dilated to a 5. I was so excited!
Attempt 4: Pitocin
At this point they felt good about starting a Pitocin drip to help encourage further ripening and contractions to get labor moving along. After an hour or two I dilated to a 6.5… Then I stayed there for 8+ hours with no further progression. At this point I had a break down and started crying. I’d gotten my hopes up with the dilation, and it was so frustrating to be moving into my third night in the hospital with no more progression.
Failure to Progress
At this point my doctor came into the hospital to check me herself. As it turns out, not only was dilation not progressing, it was actually going backwards. My poor cervix was so irritated that it had started swelling shut instead of dilating more. There wasn’t another option, and after 50 hours of labor my doctor called it and said it was time to talk seriously about a Cesarean. I was even more afraid because that is major surgery, and she’d made it seem like it was a really scary option with my blood pressure issues and my weight, but there wasn’t another option at this point. At that time, another mother had come in dilated to a 9 with a breach baby, so we had to wait for the OR anyway. We decided to give my cervix another 2 hours to see if anything progressed further, but it did not.
Surprisingly, through the whole ordeal I stayed really positive. The nurses kept complimenting me on my attitude and telling me that I was such a joy to work with.
At midnight my doctor woke me and we headed into the OR. Everyone was very kind and the anesthesiologist metaphorically held my hand through the whole procedure, while C held my hand physically. I was really touched by their sweetness, and how they tried to calm me down.
How it Felt
The meds they put in during the C-section made me so nauseous, and it’s extremely hard to vomit while on your back. But vomit I did, and you kind of just have to tip your head to the side and aim for the little bag they hold out for you. It’s also strange to be so numb from the chest down, but you can still feel the pressure as they work on your abdomen below you and smell the cauterizing of your own flesh. Really weird.
Welcome Baby Amélie
At 12:48 AM on Saturday, December 2nd 2017 they pulled my first child out of my open abdomen. They invited C to stand up and see her as they pulled her out, and when she made that first little squawk upon hitting the air and finding her lungs I cried. Then I looked at C and he was crying to. I couldn’t believe how good it felt to hear that first little mewling cry and know in my heart everything had just changed forever.
A Healthy Baby Girl
They passed baby Amélie through the window into the next room and invited C to follow them to keep up with her progress. I was left while they finished suctioning my uterus (the suction smells oddly like the suction at the dentist haha!) while they took care of her in the next room. They said she had a problem with her breathing for a minute and they had to clean all the fluid out of her lungs, but after that she was healthy and safe. They cleaned her up, swaddled her, and brought her back into the OR with C following behind. He sat next to me holding her while they finished closing me up. Once I was safely transferred from the surgical table to the bed they placed her on my chest for the first time. I cried again.
Welcome Baby Amélie!
We’re so in love with her!