Tuesday 11/8/11 (37 weeks, 3 days):
I woke up early that morning and took a shower which I NEVER do in the morning, I only shower at night. But I woke up feeling icky even after showering the night before so I got up early and showered anyway. I had a bit of an upset stomach throughout the day and used the restroom probably about 6 times before 3pm and figured I may have eaten something bad the night before. I had also been laughing a LOT and crying a LOT for no reason that day but that wasn’t too out of the ordinary, I had become more and more emotional and hormonal recently as well so I figured it was just par for the course, something normal with end stage pregnancy. (Denial much? I knew all this stuff was labor indicators but HUGELY in denial about it…) Then at about 3pm, I was at work and got up to take a break. I felt a small gush of fluid so I went up to the OB office to ask if I could get a PH strip to test the fluid and see if it was amniotic fluid or not or find out if I could buy them over the counter. I had been leaking fluid for about 2 weeks since I had lost my mucus plug. They wouldn’t give me a strip to check myself and said that I needed to be seen so they checked me in and I sat in the Dr’s office waiting for the Dr to come in. I waited nearly an hour on the table in the Dr’s office for him to arrive. It was a hot room and I had to use the restroom (again) while waiting but didn’t have clothes on and figured he would be in soon so I held it the entire hour. The Dr arrived and checked me and said there was a lot of fluid visible though it didn’t change the PH strip that he tested so it was “inconclusive” as to whether it was amniotic fluid or not. He told me to get dressed and meet him in the other room so he could do an ultrasound as he was concerned that I may have leaked out all of my amniotic fluid. He did the ultrasound and saw that and there was more than a normal amount of fluid in the amniotic sac as well and was concerned about it. He told me that I needed to go to the hospital right now and be checked out due to the level of fluid he was seeing, how much I was leaking, the inconclusive PH test and my elevated blood pressure. I argued with him and told him that I was fine, I just needed to use the restroom, calm down and go back to work. He told me again (a few times) that I needed to go to the hospital and get checked out and if it was just anxiety like I had suspected it was, they would discharge me and I could go back to work tomorrow. We continued to argue about it and I ended up leaving the office at 4:30pm telling him I would talk to Bo about what we should do and make the decision together. I had told Bo not to come to the clinic for the appointment assuming I would have been back at my desk working again by 3:15pm but he showed up just as I arrived back at my desk to finish the work day.
We discussed our options and decided I would have my blood pressure checked once again before leaving work by a nurse and again by one of the firefighters at the fire station later that evening to monitor that it had in fact gone back down and I was just fine. I had my blood pressure checked before leaving work for the day and it had come back down to 130/80 which was much better than it was while I was in the OB office (166/88 ) so I felt much better. Bo and I left and decided to grab a bite to eat on our way to our very last birthing class that evening. We attended birth class from 6pm-9pm and practiced some counter pressure techniques and relaxation techniques, asked the last of our questions, received the last bit of information and got some handouts to take with us and headed home. Here’s a picture of the 3 of us girls still pregnant in our birth class on Tuesday 11/8.
We stopped at the fire station at 9:30pm on the way home to get my blood pressure checked again which was 180/90. I told the firefighter that he was using the wrong size cuff and asked him to check it again with the larger cuff. He did and got 160/100 so I knew we would have to go to the hospital. We got home, dropped off Bo’s car, picked up the rest of what we wanted to take for our few hour visit to the hospital late that night and got checked in to the hospital at about 10pm.
While in triage (at about 11:00pm), I was sitting on the bed on a potty pad with no pants on (hospital policy) and started laughing. I told Bo to stop making me laugh but couldn’t control myself (though he had done nothing to actually make me laugh) and couldn’t hold back, I tooted a little. Then I tooted a LOT and really loudly. Then I peed the bed. Entirely. With a full bladder onto the potty pad. Then I started sobbing (while still in uncontrollable hysterics) because I was absolutely mortified that I had actually just peed the bed. I told Bo I needed to go to the bathroom and tried to take the sheets on the bed with me so the nurses didn’t find out that I peed the bed. Bo told me that there were probably 70 other women in the past month who had come in and done the same thing, it was no big deal, it happens to all pregnant women, blah blah blah, trying to make me feel better about it. I went to the bathroom while Bo and the nurse changed the sheets on the bed and I came back to a clean room and some fancy underwear and what they called a “maxi pad” that I needed to ask instructions on how to use: (note: the “maxi pad” was not in a wrapper, that was it…the actual pad itself-in my right hand).
The Dr was there ready to examine me again. He said he had good news, that I hadn’t peed the bed, that was amniotic fluid. I felt so much better and was so relieved. I got up ready to pack my stuff and go home to go to bed and asked how soon we could leave. He said we could leave after we had the baby since my water had broken. I didn’t understand, I had planned on going home and going to work the next day and said that I needed to get home so I could get some sleep before going to work. He said I wouldn’t be going to work tomorrow, I would be busy having a baby. Reality set in right about then that it was “time”. We took this picture:
We finally got settled in our own room at about 1:00am Wednesday morning 11/9/11. It was then that we finally had cell phone reception and sent a couple of messages out and called our families to let them know we were in the hospital. The nurse had mentioned getting me started on Pitocin at about 4:30am which we did NOT want (we spent good money and 12 weeks in a husband coached, natural childbirth class so we wanted to go all natural) so we told them we would try natural methods first instead. They left us alone for a couple hours during which time I sat in the jacuzzi tub, took a walk and attempted some other natural techniques for kicking your body into labor, none of which worked when we stopped actually trying them to see if the labor would continue. The nurse came back at 4:00am and said she was going to get the order for Pitocin so we could get my body going. Bo told her that neither of us had slept and if we were going to induce, I needed some time to rest first and asked for a few more hours. They agreed and said we could have until 8:00am to rest. So we did. We attempted some more natural methods which didn’t work and I took a nap. At 8:30am, the on call Dr came in and told us it was time to get serious, we had to get Pitocin started, sometimes labor doesn’t go the way you had hoped or planned for but for the safety of our baby, we had to do something, so we agreed.
At 10:00am on Wednesday 11/9 they hooked me up to Pitocin at 2ml/hr. The nurse checked me to see where I was at before starting the Pitocin and I was dilated to a 1, the Dr pretty much told me I could plan on having the baby on Thursday, this was going to be a LONG day. The hospital policy states they increase the Pitocin 2ml every 30 min until my body was having consistent contractions. I slept from 10:00am until about 11:00am when the contractions were picking up, by 12:00pm, they were really starting to hurt. The Pitocin was at 8ml/hr at 12:00 when I was unable to sleep anymore. They turned it up to 10ml/hour at 12:00 and I had enough. The contractions were not at ALL like I had imagined they would feel, a different type of pain in a different area than I had expected them and much, MUCH worse than I had ever imagined. They were also pretty close together and I felt like I had no break in between them at all. I thought I was relaxing through them pretty well and Bo was telling me over and over to relax through them and rubbing my back, we had a decent system going. Until 1pm when our nurse came in and saw how I was doing and sat down and got in my face and told me I wasn’t going to make it. She said I was in the VERY early stages of labor, I would have to find a way to cope with this because at the rate I was going, I would not be successful in having a natural childbirth because I was unable to manage my pain or relax through my contractions at all. She said my entire body was tensing with every contraction and I was going to exhaust myself very quickly. She said we needed to come up with a new game plan for what we wanted to do so I could last until tomorrow when we could expect baby to come. I was so discouraged, I was about ready to give up already. Bo recognized I was tensing up with every contraction and instead of just telling me to relax through them, he would touch my arm and tell me to relax my arm so I was able to recognize that I, in fact, was not relaxed at all, I actually was so tense and gripping the bed so hard my arm was about to dislocate so I was able to relax that and everything else Bo touched and told me to relax.
I knew I wasn’t going to make it until tomorrow without having any medication to help me out so I asked Bo to call our childbirth instructor Ruth to give us some advice. Truly, I just wanted her there because I knew if I caved and asked for pain medication, Bo would say no but Ruth may be on my side and help me to get what I thought I needed. Bo was more than happy to call her (for his own reasons – he thought she would completely talk me out of the pain medication idea) and she was on her way to the hospital to come and help us out. I don’t know when she arrived, I don’t actually know too much of what happened after 10:00am other than bits and pieces here and there but I do remember her being there and Julie the nurse sitting down talking to me as well. By 2:00pm I was in agony and didn’t want to do it anymore. I figured if it hurt THIS bad by now, I would literally be dead before tomorrow, there was absolutely, positively, no way I would make it having a drug free birth (or even a drugged birth, I would still be dead before tomorrow) at this rate and just wanted to quit at this point. I remember sobbing and begging Bo to please just help me and repeating it over and over and over again begging him. I begged Ruth, I begged the nurse Julie, I begged anyone who I could hear was there who could possibly help me and begged for a break, I just wanted the Pitocin turned off for a bit so I could get a break in between contractions because they felt like they were about 2 minutes long with about 15 seconds in between. I finally caved and begged for drugs as well. Bo told me to pray so I started begging Jesus for help, Bo said it made him laugh that my prayer was “Jesus help me” over and over and over and over. It worked for me for a while. I remember questioning Ruth as to whether I was in transition yet since I know that’s what hurt the worst, she didn’t answer me. The nurse finally told me she would check to see where I was at to see if pain medication was even an option at that point, she thought I was still too early in labor to be given any medication and needed to find out where I was before we moved on with anything. Ruth asked if that mattered to me, I said yes. She asked at what point would I not want to receive pain medication, I said I didn’t know. She said if I was at a 7, would I still want medication? I said I didn’t know. She asked 8? I said no. At about 3:30pm Julie checked me to see where I was at. I remember hearing her exclaim “I can not believe this!” I asked “what?” She called to have the Dr paged and told me I was dilated to a 9.5, it was time to go, time to start pushing! I asked again if I was in transition and Ruth told me I had flown right through that and it was already all over! WOO HOO! 2nd wind!
The Dr arrived at about 4:00pm, they prepared the bed and everything they needed and got me ready to start pushing. I know Bo was there, Ruth was there, Julie the nurse and the Dr. (not our Dr, she was the on call Dr for the day). I have no idea if anyone else was in the room. I started pushing and fought with the Dr about how long to push and how many times to push during a contraction. I pushed how I felt most comfortable and blew her off, Bo was proud. Bo told me that he could see babies head, I was so excited! I said “I’m crowning!?!?!” and he said “no, not yet, just playing peek a boo right now.” So I knew I was close. I pushed a couple more times, Bo encouraged me to give it all I had, push 1 more, a little harder, etc and I felt baby SHOOT out of me. I opened my eyes just in time to see the Dr, Julie and someone else hitting the floor at the end of the bed. I was scared to see them all diving for the floor since I felt baby shoot out of me quickly but Dr caught him by the leg before he hit the floor and placed him on my chest. She immediately clamped the cord (which was against our wish but oh well) and had Bo cut it.
Another argument ensued between the Dr and I about medication options for the “repair” she needed to do (sew me up) and I ended up getting a local anesthetic rather than IV narcotics since I had just successfully had a medication free childbirth, I didn’t want to screw it all up and have drugs after baby came out just to get stitched up when it was over with. Dr did the repair and I snuggled baby boy from his time of birth 4:21pm until about 7:00pm when they finally took him to the other side of the room to get his weight and measurements. That’s about when we decided on his name as well.
Elijah Michal Bradshaw
He is perfect. And quite the snuggler. We snuggled for hours then ordered pizza. Bo and I were starving, we hadn’t eaten really since Tuesday and it was Wednesday night now at about 10pm. The hospital cafeteria was closed so they told us our only option was for Bo to leave the hospital to go get us something or have something delivered. We called pizza hut and had a pizza delivered. I had 1 slice, Bo had about 5 and we went to sleep. Early Thursday morning Elijah got checked by the pediatrician and was fantastic, I got checked by the OB/Gyn and was doing great and he wrote up the discharge papers since we wanted to get out of there and go home and we went back to sleep while we waited. Then I actually woke up at about 8am and was SICK. Sick with food poisoning and a killer sore throat… Bo was too when he woke up. Within a few hours, I was unable to function, I couldn’t even get out of bed anymore, I was vomiting, had diarrhea (after giving birth and being sewn up… ouch…) and was hurting, dizzy, nauseated, clammy, just felt awful. Bo was throwing up so violently they sent him to the ER to be seen down there. He returned about 8 hours later in a drugged stupor and slept for the next 14 hours straight. They had cancelled our discharge and we stayed until Friday since we couldn’t care for our newborn, let alone ourselves.
Friday we got to leave the hospital around 12:00pm though my killer sore throat had turned into a pretty nasty cough. We stopped at starbucks on the way home to get a good cup of coffee. Having had gestational diabetes, I hadn’t had a mocha in MONTHS so I got one on the way home (decaf of course since I’m nursing). It was so good. We made it home safely and had a bunch of people at the house on Saturday, there were people here from 10am until 5pm. I didn’t even have a chance to go pee or feed the baby all day long since we had company and was absolutely exhausted and felt awful by Saturday night. Sunday my sore throat turned cough got nasty bad and went up into my head as well. I saw the Dr on Monday who said it was just a cold and to let it run it’s course. 2 weeks later, I saw the Dr for a second time who finally gave me antibiotics for bronchitis and a sinus infection and I finally started feeling better 16 days after giving birth.
That’s the readers digest version of our birth story. It wasn’t what we had expected but it was wonderful, painful, but wonderful and we’re so thankful for the birthing classes we had taken, the support of our families and friends, our awesome nurse Julie and amazing birthing class instructor (now friend), Ruth. We couldn’t have done it without all of them though I joke with Bo, I think we could have done it without the doctor!