March 27, 2012

The Birth Story*

Baby Boho has made his appearance y'all!

Yup! We had a beautiful bouncing baby BOY!! Lucas Cutler was born Thursday, March 22nd at 12:06 am. He weighed eight pounds on the dot and was a whopping 21.5 inches long! Our birth story is LONG & complicated, but in the end was so, so worth it. I love this kid more than life itself. He is amazing & perfect & so, so wonderful in so many ways.

When I last updated, we were waiting for something ... ANYTHING ... to happen to get things started with this labor process. I was five days past my due date & growing more & more uncomfortable. That Thursday, I went back to my clinic to do another non-stress test & an ultrasound to continue to make sure that baby was doing well [he was]. Unfortunately, there was still zero progress on my end. I was still sitting at 1 cm & about 20% effaced. Blech. My midwife & I started talking about the induction process. I was one week past my due date and we had talked about waiting until two weeks before doing anything, but under the advice of my midwife, we decided to give it the weekend to see what happened. If nothing, then Monday morning [the 19th] I would call Labor & Delivery at the hospital to get in for an induction.

The weekend came & went with not even the smallest of a contraction, or any other indication that baby was coming on his own, so Monday morning at 6:30 AM we called L&D [expecting to go in at 7:30] only to be told they were full. No REAL surprise there. This is a military town. There are two hospitals: civilian & military. We chose to have our wee one at the civilian one which delivers about 400 babies a MONTH. [No joke. There were 11 other babies born the same day as Lucas] So we spent the day trying to stay busy, calling back to check in & all around getting antsy about what was to come. In our minds, our little one was going to be there soon. VERY soon! It was scary and surreal and awesome all at the same time. So as the minutes ticked by before we got the call, it all seemed to move very, very slow.

Around 2:00 in the afternoon, L&D finally called us back, saying that they had a bed available so to come on in. So we looked at each other, had a quick moment of panic and headed off to the hospital. We were taken to our very large delivery room where we set up camp.

The Proud Papa on Monday Afternoon
I should mention that ideally, there was a birth plan. I had a very grand idea about what I wanted to do. Natural birth, no drugs or epidural, saline block only with no IV, monitoring of baby only when necessary, freedom to walk around and labor the way that I wanted to, not cutting the chord right away but waiting until it stopped pulsing. I was completely flexible on all of these things & my midwife & I had talked in detail about the things that were most important to me, but I was going into labor [prior to being induced] knowing that things would likely change and that "going with the flow" would be important to make my delivery as smooth as possible.

It is safe to say that every single thing, aside from NOT having a c-section, was tossed out the window. My birth plan? Now just a lovely stack of papers and a dream of what could have been!

When we got to our delivery unit, the plan from my midwife was to take 25 mg of C.ytotec, a drug that would help thin out my cervix and hopefully get me dilated a little more since I was still sitting pretty at 1cm. We would repeat that four hours later, and then four hours after that, give it the rest of the night to work and reevaluate in the morning.

This is what it looks like when you think labor won't last very long ...
Unfortunately, the on-call doctor had other plans. Since it was late in the day, and I'm assuming because I wasn't his patient, he sort of decided that he didn't want to deal with me. I took one dose of C.ytotec at 4:00 and then our nurse came in saying the on-call doc had cancelled the rest. My midwife explained to me the  next morning that she had a feeling that would happen because he is very "hands off" but it was frustrating none the less. The nurses were kind enough to give me an a.mbien to help me sleep and we called Monday a bust.

Tuesday morning we resumed the baby producing activities. I was given another dose of C.ytotec at 8am and was started on p.itocin at 10am, since I was still, shocker, at 1 cm. And not just a little dose of pit, but over the course of an hour my dose was knocked up to 42ml. Eventually the contractions started, and we barreled our way through it. They were slow and steady and far between, definitely in no way comfortable but they were there and to me, a good sign. Unfortunately, my body did not get the memo, despite the drugs telling it what to do. At 4:00 we checked me again to see what kind of progress had been made after being on the p.itocin all day and the help from the c.ytotec. The hope was that I was progressing enough that my midwife could come in and break my water for me to help things along.

Two whopping centimeters. And maybe 30% effacement. Essentially, after all day of being on a high dose of p.itocin, my body did nothing.

So. We regrouped. The nurses talked to my midwife and we decided to take me OFF the p.itocin to give my body a rest, and to give me some c.ervidil overnight to again, HOPEFULLY, help my cervix progress a little. Another ambien was taken. Another night was spent in the labor and delivery unit.

Another night wasted. Upon being checked first thing in the morning, I had only dilated to 3cm. To say that I was incredibly frustrated at this point was a HUGE understatement. It was more than annoying that things were not progressing. So once again, we started me on some more p.itocin and waited for things to take off. This time around, I reacted much better to the pictocin and the contractions picked up. Quickly. Almost too quickly. I was having contractions about 30 seconds long every five minutes apart. Because of the p.itocin, they were a little intense and somewhat painful. Obviously, contractions are meant to be painful, but this was at a level much higher than what they would have been at 3cm without. Around 11:30 my midwife came in and broke my water for me, which we discovered was full of meconium. We discussed the idea of an epidural, for the pure fact that not only was I starting to be in intense pain at only 3cm, but PRIMARILY for the fact that it may have been just what my body needed to relax and really get going. She suggested waiting an hour to get it, but left it up to me to think about and decide.

I made it 20 minutes after she left before I asked for it. At this point, my contraction were almost a minute long and about 2-3 minutes apart from one another. And INTENSE. On top of the quick contractions, I was also shaking violently every time I had one as a side effect of the drug. My body was being forced to do something it wasn't wanting to do, and I wasn't reacting well. Once the epidural kicked in, it was a welcome relief. Although I could still feel the pressure of every one, the pain for the most part was gone.

However, we then came across our next hurdle. Every time I had a contraction, little man's heart rate would plummet. Because my contractions at this point were so close together, he had no time to recover before the next one would start. For good reason, we were worried and after a lengthy time of watching his heart rate pattern, we decided, once again, to take me OFF the p.itocin for the time being, to let the little guy get better. We watched his heart rate closely making sure that even though it dropped a little when my contraction started, that by the time the contraction was over, his heart rate was back to normal. It was a couple of hours before the nurses [mainly our AMAZING nurse, Katy, who was beyond fantastic the entire day & night] were happy with what they were seeing and agreed to put me back on the p.itocin. At this point I had SUCCESSFULLY dilated to about 5cm so we knew things were moving along.

Then shit got real, real fast. I started to dilate faster and within the next couple of hours, I had reached 10cm with some incredibly intense contractions. Even with the epidural, I was in some pretty intense pain and the urge to push was more than I could handle. Insert next road block: although I had reached 10cm, my cervix had not dropped to where it needed to be. At 10cm dilated I was told, you cannot start pushing yet. You need to wait.


Other moms out there will probably tell you that when your body hits that point, the urge to push is uncontrollable. It is what your body is naturally wanting to do. So at a moment like this, fighting nature is hard. And painful. And for an HOUR AND A HALF, I "didn't push." And by didn't push, I mean I suffered in some pretty extreme agony for that hour and a half. I would make it halfway through the contraction and then all hell would break lose. Every time. At one point, I was given a booster for my epidural because the pain was more than I could tolerate.

After that hour and a half, I was finally told that I could start pushing. YAY!!!!! Now we were talking! Except this is me we are talking about ... one hour into pushing and the little guy had not budged. Not even a little. At this point his soft spot was swelling through the cervix [he still has a lovely bruise] but the rest of his head decided it didn't want to make an appearance yet. I fully believe at this point, any other medical team would have sent me in for a c-section because I had been laboring so long & so intensely. Not to mention my kiddo's unwillingness to descend. But you know what guys? My team was amazing. The OB from my clinic was on call that night [at this point, we are WELL into the evening] and he let me keep going.

And it was here that the little guy finally started to do what he needed to do to come down that birthing canal. Unfortunately [again, this is me] I had spiked a fever of almost 101 degrees, so I was put on antibiotics [which I stayed on through Thursday night] and oxygen. But we were making progress! PROGRESS! And one hour later [yes, another whole hour of pushing!] at 12:06 am on Thursday morning, Lucas Cutler made his appearance into the world.

Little Man, getting some work done. Poor baby!
Lucas came with his own set of problems in all of this as well. It's suspected that he had three or four bowel movements while hanging out inside. I mentioned the meconium in the water earlier, but towards the end of my pushing, I am told that it was essentially straight  meconium that was coming out with him. It's safe to say that he was a lovely shade of green upon arrival. His chord was also wrapped around his neck upon exit. I had already been told in advance that because of meconium alone, the NICU team would be standing by waiting to whisk him away, and that's exactly what they did. The chord just made things worse not to mention he had swallowed a ton of the meconium fluid which needed to be sucked out. On top of those two things, his breathing was elevated and his color was a little pale. He was given an IV right away as well as some antibiotics because of my fever. My husband did not get to cut the chord because of the meconium but the NICU team was in the room with us so he was able to stand by the side of our little one through the whole after process.

After about 30 minutes, they brought my little green monster over to me and it was of course, love at first sight. Hearing "It's A Boy!" was completely surreal. He was beautiful and wonderful and everything that we had worked so hard for over so  many years. Having him in my arms, despite EVERYTHING that we had gone through over the last three days was worth it. The pain. The misery. The tears. Worth every single minute of what we went through. My husband was a ROCK through the whole thing, telling me to keep going when there were MANY moments where I wanted to give up. Same with my friend Jenny, who was there with us the entire afternoon and evening, through the thick of it. Without them, I would have given up. There was a brief moment where I thought a c-section would be a welcome relief!

What almost 48 hours of labor looks like! Worn but so, so happy

The proud, proud papa!

But this guy? He makes my heart melt. I love every piece of him.


Beth said...

Congrats on your baby boy!!!!!

Wife of a Sailor said...

He is so, so sweet and adorable! Congrats! And your husband? Could he HAVE a bigger smile? LOL So proud!

BreAnna said...

Congratulations! He is adorable. I'm sorry that your labor was so long and difficult, but relieved to hear that every bit of it was worth the result.

Heather said...

Congratulations! Sorry the labour was so long, but you did survive and the little one was totally worth it. :)

Megan said...

Congratulations, mama! He's beautiful. I'm sorry your labor was so long but I'm sure it was so worth it.

Sunny said...

Congratulations!!! Our babies have the same bday! Wishing all the joy and bewilderment of parenthood. I bet he loves his mobile!

Tsoniki Crazy Bull said...

Whew! Great job Mom!!

Rhe Christine said...

Yay!! I am so behind on your posts! I'm finally getting to read this one.