Labor & Delivery

This post is more for me than for anyone else. I wanted to write down all my memories from Kane’s birth before I forget all the details. If you are interested, bear with me, as it’s quite long and somewhat disjointed, but here goes…

September 12, 2016 – Due date

September 19, 2016 – Doctor’s appointment where I expect to be able to schedule induction for Thursday. No can doosville. I get a call back saying the only time available for induction is the next day.

I was very caught off guard by this and had a hard time accepting it. I wanted to give Kane until Thursday to see if he would come on his own. I was initially against drugs and wanted everything to happen as naturally as possible. However, you’ll see how my opinions on this changed over the next 48 hours. I was terrified about the induction, but also excited to meet Kane. We went on one last jog/walk that evening to see if I could encourage him to come out on his own. Again, no can doosville. He was apparently VERY comfortable!

September 20, 2016

9:30am – We leave the house and head to Chick-fil-a for breakfast and to the grocery store for gatorade.

11am (or slightly before) – Arrive at the hospital and get checked in with our first nurse, Joanie.

12pm – I’m in a bed, hooked up to an IV and all set. The first drug, Cervidil, has been ordered. This is supposed to help with effacement (I’m 1cm and 50% effaced).

2:30pm – The Cervidil is finally delivered to Labor and Delivery and is in place.

This drug takes 12 hours to work, so the waiting starts. We pass the time by watching Friends on Netflix and playing cards, 500 rummy. We walk the halls with a remote monitor and learn how to work the machines (somewhat). One of the screens in our room shows all the monitors on the hall, so we watch other’s contractions and try to guess what’s going on.

10pm (ish) – We decide to quite down “for the night”, knowing that at 2:30 in the morning we are going to be awakened to see the results of the Cervidil and start the Pitocin. I start to get uncomfortable just as we are trying to go to sleep – perfect timing. I wouldn’t say I was having contractions, but was definitely uncomfortable.

September 21, 2016

2:30am – Our second nurse, Laura, comes in to determine the results of the Cervidil. She optimistically says “awesome, you are 1cm and 50% effaced!” Having been at the hospital for 15+hours now, I was not amused (see my status from 12pm).

Laura offered a small break from the drugs and encouraged me to shower and confirmed that I was allowed to eat before starting the Pitocin. Jason wrangled some pizza and fries from the cafeteria with the help of our good friend who is an oncology nurse at the hospital – her visit was more than welcome at 3am!!!

4am – Started Pitocen

5am (ish) – Dr. Ponder breaks my water – very weird sensation!

7am (ish) – Our third (and favorite) nurse, Dee, comes in and immediately takes charge of making me feel comfortable. With her self-proclaimed degree in “pillow-ology” she gets me propped up with pillows, rolled up warm blankets, and a peanut ball. I immediately feel better and contractions have definitely started – they aren’t strong or painful, probably a 3 out of 10 on the pain/discomfort scale. Dee encourages me to think about this scale and at what point I would considered the pain unbearable. She reassures me that there’s no medal, t-shirt, or trophy awaiting me if I decide to do this without pain medications.

It was great to have Dee come in and just take charge. Never having done this before, I didn’t know what I needed or wanted, other than that I needed/wanted someone else to tell me what I needed/wanted.

10am – The pain/discomfort has been increasing all morning and I allow Dee to give me some IV pain meds and to alert the anesthesiologist that I’m ready for an epidural whenever they are available. I was still pretty down the dumps at this point and it didn’t take much convicing to start the drugs. I was disappointed that I’d had to be induced, that the induction happened earlier than I’d wanted, and that the Cervidil hadn’t done anything – essentially wasting my first 15+ hours at the hospital. However, I immediately know the drugs are a good decision. The room starts spinning and I’m in an excellent mood – yay!

11am – The anesthesiologist comes in to deliver the epidural – he looks exactly like my friend Alex (I confirmed this with Jason afterwards to make sure it wasn’t the drugs making me see things). For me, one of the best parts about getting the epidural was not so much the pain relief (I’m not sure I really pushed my limits there), but the reduced self-consciousness. Wearing and open and baggy hospital gown is so uncomfortable in the first place, so finally not being able to feel that was such a relief and allowed me to relax.

Now, the timestamps get a little hazy for me, thanks to the drugs, so I’ll do my best to outline what I remember…

Dee has been checking my progress all morning and she’s really great about it. She makes a guessing game out of it by setting a level at which she would be “happy” if we were there – we typically met or exceeded that goal. Around the time we hit 4-5cm, the Pitocin was cranked to where I was having a contraction almost every minute – this is apparently a bad thing, so Dee cut the dosage down to be safe. This, unfortunately, slowed things down.

Dee had also helped reposition me a couple for times and at one point seemed a little concerned about my little man. It seemed he didn’t like it when I laid a certain way and his heart rate dropped. Additionally, my blood pressure is consistently pretty low, but at some points dropped to a level low enough to set off the sensors – a little concerning.

At some point later in the day, Dee’s shift ended and I believe I had two nurses tag-teaming my room – I cannot remember their names. There was also a student observer from WSSU, who was very sweet and was basically stationed outside out room responding to the call button within seconds – fantastic! Warm blankets, check! Sprite, check! Jello, check! Chicken broth, check!

It was during the shift with these two nurses that I really started feeling sick – I think the IV drug was wearing off and I hadn’t quite figured out the right ratio of pushing the epidural button for extra meds. I’m sure the low BP didn’t help things either. I had to stop the game of 500 rummy between Jason and my mom because I was feeling so ill. I ended up throwing up at least once… thank goodness for cold towels, but also warm blankets. There were points where I felt like I wasn’t all there. I felt faint and had no idea how I was supposed to focus and push when I felt so out of it.

By this point the docs and nurses were aware that I was a runner, triathlete, and IRONMAN. I think most of them hoped their shifts would last long enough for Kane to arrive because they anticipated an easy delivery (once we got to that point). But, the two nurses were soon replaced by Kirstin and Dr. Ponder headed home replaced by Dr. Ramsey. When Dr. Ponder left, he was telling me that Dr. Ramsey had been a ballerina at one point, but had also served in the military and overall was a pretty darn awesome woman!

By about 5-6pm we were making good progress, somewhere around the 7cm mark, and I began to refuse visitors. I was ready to just “do the thing” and didn’t want any more distractions.

In addition to Kirstin, we also had another nursing student observer, Brandon. He was from App State and was a really nice guy. I believe his “shift” had started with the previous two nurses, but when he realized that I would be delivering very soon after their shift ended, he opted to stay (he’ll make a good nurse!). He’d never seen a birth before and seemed pretty stoked about it.

8pm – FINALLY! It was time to start pushing. Kirstin did one final check and determined that “we could have a baby right now,” so she let Dr. Ramsey know to head towards our room and we did some preliminary pushing. Everyone was pretty excited about being about to see the top of Kane’s head and Jason got the music going. I only wanted two songs on repeat – Enter Sandman by Metallica and Lose Yourself by Eminem. These are the two songs that pump me up the most when running or working out and I was about to do the workout of my life!

When Dr. Ramsey entered the room, it was officially go time. She had me holding my own legs, with Jason and Brandon helping out between pushing. My arms were on fire! Jason said he’d never felt my arm muscles like that before – totally ripped LOL! With all the excitement about how well the pushing was going, Dr. Ramsey encouraged me to turn the mirror around so I could see and better focus on what needed to happen. I had originally been resistant to this, but agreed. Initially, I was very disappointed – seriously, THAT is was all the fuss was about – I thought there would be more to see. But now, Dr. Ramsey was able to more easily articulate the “goal” and where we need to get before Kane would be here.

8:28pm – Kane is born! Soon he is on my chest and one of the very first things he does is grab my thumb, I’m immediately hooked on this kid! There’s a lot of rubbing and wiping going on – he starts crying and works the fluids out of all the places they aren’t supposed to be since he is now a part of the air-breathing world. As Dr. Ramsey stitches me up, we make our first attempts at breastfeeding – I had no clue what to do, but luckily Kane was more in-the-know and it seemed to go ok. He gets weighed and measured – 8lbs 6.4oz, 21 inches long! That’s A LOT of baby!

Finally Kirstin helped us get ready to head down to the Mother & Baby floor. Jason packed up all of our bags (we brought WAY too much stuff) and Kirstin (who luckily had experience as a PT) helped me and my still numb legs into a wheelchair.

That’s pretty much it from the L&D floor. Just under 33 hours from check-in to baby and the rest is history.

I plan to post about our time on the Mother & Baby floor as well as our first few days at home some other time. From what I understand, there’s also some interest in what I’ve done in terms of post-partum exercise and getting back into running, so I’ll be sure to cover that in the near future as well. But I hear the little man starting to stir, so it’s time to wrap this up for now. Cheers!

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