Isaac made his appearance to the world at 10:16 pm after 40 hours of labor on Tuesday, August 20.
Abridged birth story: I went into the hospital early on Monday morning to be induced since he was a week late. After a round of cervidil, which took 12 hours, I made some progress. I started having regular contractions (yay!,) but then they stopped. We started pitocin to help speed things up a bit; Isaac didn't agree, though. After many hours, my Dr decided to break my water to help things along. After several hours of dysfunctional labor contractions, I decided an epidural was the way to go. I had an adverse reaction to the narcotics; it was a little scary for a while, but it all worked out. I finally made it to the pushing point & tried (really tried!) for three hours. The Dr. said my pushing was good, but his position wouldn't allow him to be born that way; he even has bruising on his head from where he was pushed up against bone. Isaac was born via cesarean.
Here are some hospital pictures.
|Only seconds old.|
|Daddy comforting a crying Isaac.|
|My first time holding him. :-)|
|Waiting for Mom in recovery|
|Happy (& swollen) Mommy|
Full birth story:
Isaac’s due date was August 13. For months I looked to that date and thought of my baby boy. I realized that it’s rare for women to actually deliver on their due date, but it’s still the date that stuck in my head. My mother had each of her babies late, so I knew that Isaac may be a bit delayed. My doctor wasn't too keen on me going over a week, though.
At my last pre-due date checkup my doctor stripped my membranes. I actually asked her to in hopes that it would get things moving. I almost passed out after I saw the blood. Please note that I’m normally one to look at the needle in fascination when donating blood. It wasn't the sight of blood that got to me. Instead, I remember thinking I may have been rushing this. “Why did I do this? This is wrong. He’s staying in there for a reason.” I had some contractions that evening, but not much more. I continued to
waddle walk as much as I could in hopes that it would get things moving naturally.
A few days later I had a stomach bug. Violent vomiting in the middle of the night is bad, but at 40 weeks 1 day, it is downright terrible. At my next appointment, my Dr. said she wouldn't strip my membranes again due to my reaction last time. I get it. We scheduled the C-section for Monday morning just in case Isaac didn't arrive before then. I had a few more contractions in the meantime, but not enough to go do anything about.
On August 19, I went into the hospital around 8:00 AM. One hour later, I was already hooked up to a bunch of monitors that track the baby’s heart rate & my contractions. The Dr. also gave me cervidil. This is an internal medication that is seriously uncomfortable. It sits up against your cervix and is supposed to soften and open it. The main problem is that it’s a square (seriously, who thought of this?) and when you're that preggers, you have to get up to use the restroom often, which can dislodge the long string that it’s attached to. Then, you have to call in the Dr. to put it back in place. I felt sorry for the resident that had to do this.
At this time we were feeling pretty good. The “we-can-do-this” mentality was going strong. We then heard something that quickly changed our mood. From the next room, we heard a guttural scream of pure agony. The kind that makes you want to run to see if you can help the person who is being bludgeoned to death. Were we not in the maternity ward, we would have thought the worst. That’s when it got real. Can we really do this? A few minutes go by and our nurse comes in. I casually mention that it seems pretty intense over there. She asks if I’m going to have an epidural. Yes. You won’t get to that point, then. Okay. This only made us slightly less scared.
While this stage was uncomfortable, it wasn't really all that bad (at least not in comparison to the lady next door.) I got to eat (lightly) and shower and watch TV with Alex. We talked to, texted, and updated people as needed. After the twelve hour round of the medication, I started having contractions. Hooray! But then they stopped. Boo!
Around 9:00 at night, they started me on pitocin to help speed things up a bit. Since I was only around 2 cm dilated at this point, they didn't expect anything before noon the next day. We were in for the long haul. The medication surprisingly didn't do much. I had some contractions, but they weren't consistent. Several hours later, my Dr. decided we needed to move forward. She told me she’s going to break my water.
I’m not sure what I imaged this would be, but I sure as hell didn't know what I was in for. She had a tool that looks oddly like a crochet hook. How innocuous. Oh, how wrong I was. This hook gave me by far the worst pain of my life. When she did this, I was on my back digging in with my heels desperately trying to move my body backwards away from this pain-inducing tool. My breath was gone and tears were running down my face. My lower body was seizing up and everything in my body was telling me this was wrong. Then I felt a release of warm liquid and I could suddenly breathe again. My Dr. and Alex are holding my hands. It was finally okay.
Pretty soon after this, I started having full contractions. I got up, walked around, bounced on a birthing ball (with a towel on it, b/c I'm still leaking at this point), and breathed through them. I remembered wanting to lift one leg as baby felt a little lopsided. Then the contractions started to get more intense. I told myself to wait as long as possible without an epidural. I did this because I want to dilate more and hurry the process up as much as possible. The problem was that I had dysfunctional labor contractions. This means my contractions were coming one right after another instead of having downtime in between. Instead of contraction, rest, contraction, rest, it was contraction, contraction, rest, contraction, contraction, rest. I couldn't catch my breath. I put my arms around Alex's shoulders and he put his arms around me (no easy task!) during the contractions. He supported my weight as my whole body tensed up. He was working as hard as I was!
I finally had enough as I was exhausted. I called for the epidural about 1:30am. The anesthesiologist came in to prep me. After getting into position on my side, she injected me with the medication. That’s when it got scary. My blood pressure dropped. My vision blurred. She kept on asking me questions and I couldn't answer them. These were easy questions like my name and my birth date. I didn't know them. I should know them, but everything was fuzzy and I couldn't think. I couldn't talk. I remember Alex by my side hugging me and they told him to step back. I wanted him near me, but I couldn't say that either. All of a sudden, about 10 doctors were in my room. They were all talking, asking me questions, one was on the phone with a Dr. from another hospital, and several more were checking vitals. They thought I had a stroke. But why would a healthy 31 year old have a stroke? I was able to say a few things like “frustrated” and “no.” I only became scared when I couldn't remember Isaac’s name. I remembered it was a Jewish name, but that’s it. I cried. Finally a young doctor came in. I couldn't follow their conversation well, but knew I was in good hands. They kept on talking about me and drugs and alcohol and being a “cheap date.” I thought they were accusing me of doing drugs or drinking while pregnant. I started getting mad. What was really happening is that they were asking Alex if I used any recreational drugs before I got preggers. No. Did it used to take me much alcohol to get tipsy? No. Hence, I was a cheap date. The young Dr. finally figured out that I was just incredibly high. They gave me the drug that takes people down off their highs and I was almost instantly okay. Everyone, including the doctors were extremely shaken up, but relieved. After a change to my epidural medication, I was okay. They think my very-rare reactions to the narcotics was in part due to me being a red-head. I’m almost positive I’m in a medical journal somewhere as the anesthesiologist was typing up a report in my room for a very very long time.
I finally got some sleep. I’m sure Alex was too keyed-up to sleep and kept a watchful eye on me the whole night. Early the next morning I still was only at 4 cm. The contractions came and went and everything progressed slowly. Isaac’s heart rate dipped a little and they decided to insert a tube into the placenta sac that replaced liquid to take a little pressure off him. About 2:00 in the afternoon, the contractions kicked up a notch. I could really feel them now, but they weren't super painful with the epidural.
A little after 4:00 PM, I was 9.5 cm dilated, but it was a couple more hours before I made it to 10. Finally I could start pushing. At every contraction, the nurse, Alex , and I held my knees towards my chest and I pushed down. I kept at it for three hours. My Dr. said I was doing well and she could see the top of his head when I pushed. The problem was that whenever I wasn't pushing, he went back up. He was stuck. At 9:30 my Dr said that he wasn't going to be born that way. We started prepping for a c-section. Since I was running a fever, they removed my epidural and gave me morphine instead. This also meant that I couldn't save the cord blood. I was bummed at this, but mostly I was exhausted and ready for him to be born. The morphine numbed me from my chest down and I remember thinking that it was odd that the epidural was just waist down.
On the operating table, I felt the pressure of the scalpel. I guess I wasn't expecting that and it startled me. After telling them, they gave me a bit more medication. I could feel the Dr.'s working, but I couldn't see anything over the sheet. This was just like the movies where they hang the sheet up so you can't see what's happening. I'm sure there's a medical reason, but at the time, I was too exhausted to give it much thought. Isaac was born at 10:16 pm on the 20th weighing in at 8lbs 6 oz and 21 inches long. He was out, but wasn't crying. I thought all babies cried right away. They cleaned him off & he started to whimper a bit, then he really cried when he was on the table. I remember he turned to me when I spoke, which I thought was pretty cool. Then they gave him to Alex & the Dr. took pictures of all of us. I finally got to hold my little boy, but I was so tired that I was afraid I might drop him. When they were cleaning out the placenta, I got sick on the table. Twice.
After that it’s a bit of a blur. I was in recovery for a while, but I was so completely out of it. It was up to Alex to look after Isaac, update family, and sit with me until I woke up again. When I finally did, we were all exhausted, but healthy and happy. Our family just grew and we couldn't have been happier.