On Friday, November 21st at 12:15 AM my water broke.
That entire Thursday we kept telling ourselves to go to bed early because we were scheduled for our second round of gel inductions at 7:30 AM, which means we needed to call the hospital at 6:30 AM to see if there was a room available for us. If there was no room, we’d be placed on hold until there was one. Our first round of gel inductions had proven useless. After roughly 12 hours at the hospital on November 16th, I was sent home with no baby but maybe no mucous plug, too. We were supposed to go back on the 18th, but I was far too discouraged after that wasted Sunday.
Let me back-up a little… My blood pressure kept reading high for the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Part of the reason I started my maternity leave a few days before my due date was because of severe (and painful) swelling in my legs and feet (so bad I couldn’t drive). On Friday, November 14th I got a headache that didn’t go away and when I woke up on Saturday my face was a bit swollen. So to the hospital we went. My blood pressure was consistently high while we were there on Saturday so the doctor wanted to start induction early (I was already scheduled for Friday, November 21st). Again, 12 hours later…nothing. I went from 1 cm dilated to maybe 1.5 cm and still only 50-60% effaced.
At our Wednesday, November 19th appointment, we had an ultrasound and everything looked great with the baby. While my blood pressure was still high when they took it the first time that day, by the end of the appointment it had gone down. So no worries.
So back to Thursday, November 20th when we were supposed to go to sleep early. We didn’t really do anything that day…just sat around, watched TV, took a Week 41 bump photo, paid bills, watched more TV, looked at our Christmas tree (we put that up on Wednesday). Yeah…nothing spectacular. The one thing I regret — I didn’t take a nap that day. So when my water broke at 12:15 AM, my head had just hit the pillow at 12:00 AM after watching some Parks & Rec (Ben and Leslie had kissed! They were going to get back together!). When I went to rollover after what I thought was hours of sleep, I noticed a trickle of fluid. I thought, “Crap…I’ve peed myself.” As I continued my 5-point turn, there was a gush. As I ran to the bathroom, I yelled at Jesse to get up because we were finally having a baby!
To the hospital we went! This time they couldn’t send me home without a baby.
By around 3:00 AM we are finally in a room. I still wasn’t dilated much beyond the 1.5 cm and only 60% effaced. So still not a lot of progress other than my water breaking so they started me on Cytotec (yes, that’s right, the “abortion pill” — it has more uses than I knew). The contractions weren’t awful — I wasn’t even sure I was having them — and they didn’t seem to be too regular after the first pill. BUT I was progressing! I took two Cytotecs that morning and then opted to not take a third to see if I kept progressing.
(This is where things start to get foggy for me…)
My sister showed up around 11:00 AM. At some point in there, they checked and I was at 4 cm. My cousin got there around 5:00 PM — I remember her mentioning traffic. Somewhere during the time after Vanessa arrived and before Beej got there my blood pressure started to go up. A lot. Nurses are really good at keeping calm and not letting the patient know what’s going on. Jesse and Vanessa are, too. I had no idea how serious the situation was, but Jesse overheard my doctor and nurse talking about stopping everything and just doing a C-section. This he told me later. Again, I had no idea how bad it was. I just knew I was hot and had a headache. They gave me Labetalol and my blood pressure started to go down. Yay! No C-section necessary.
After that situation, I requested an epidural. It was around 2:00 or 3:00 PM and I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept for more than a few minutes in over 24 hours by the time I requested it and the contractions were getting more intense. I had pretty much lost my will to breathe through them because I just wanted to sleep. Of course, I paid for that epidural because it ended up being a wet tap — I’ll get to the repercussions and remedy for that later.
Despite it being a wet tap, it was great! I could feel my legs and toes — I could even move them — but no more pain! I was able to sleep! For like an hour or more at a time!
At one point baby’s heart rate dropped significantly and lots of nurses rushed in. That was scary. I had NO idea what was going on.
And then later I spiked a fever so I had to be given antibiotics. I’m still not sure what Chorio is, but I got it.
Finally, after ALL of that, at 1:08 AM on Saturday, November 22nd, I was able to start pushing. By 2:11 AM on 11/22/14, Genevieve Louise was finally here.
So here’s the deal…birth plans are pointless. As our childbirth instructor kept telling us, they should be called birth “preferences”. Even then, it doesn’t matter. I wanted the cord to finish pulsing before it was clamped, well, the cord was wrapped around my baby’s neck so the doctor did what she needed to do so that it wasn’t. I didn’t want an episiotomy, but from what I saw in the mirror (yes, I looked) before I made them get rid of it was this: that head wasn’t fitting out of that hole. It wasn’t happening. In fact, I made them move it because I didn’t want to see what was going to happen when it tried to fit. So I had an episiotomy. I wanted to do all of it without an epidural, but I was flat out EXHAUSTED and knew there was no way I was going to be able to push a baby out after all those hours of labor (which ended up being 26 hours total…whoa, right?). Other women might be able to, but it wasn’t happening for me…so I had an epidural.
We were finally able to go home on the afternoon of Monday, November 24th. Jesse had to go to work the next day so I was home alone with Evie and it was tough. Because of the wet tap I had a crazy headache every time I did anything other than being completely flat on my back. To “cure” a wet tap you’re supposed to drink lots of fluids, including caffeine, and take pain meds. That seemed to work while in the hospital…not so much when I went home. By Tuesday night, the headache was fierce. The other “cure” is basically to get another epidural…aka a blood patch. When I went to the doctor on Wednesday she (again) recommended I get the blood patch. I didn’t get it while in the hospital because…well, it’s another epidural. I was poked more than once in the spine for the first epidural, it wasn’t something I was looking forward to. But we headed to the ER anyway.
The headache was so bad I was in tears. We get to the ER, there’s no bed. I have to sit. A nurse tells me, “You should take the baby home, there are a lot of germs here.” No shit, Sherlock. She’s FOUR days old, what the hell am I supposed to do?! It was a TERRIBLE experience. Instead of just giving me the blood patch, the ER does what the ER does — you know, save lives. So they start focusing on my blood pressure…which is high. Again. At one point they come back and tell me they need to do an in and out catheter and I LOST IT. I just had a freakin’ baby and they want to do WHAT? There is no quick and easy in and out down there at the moment. I flat out told them I would just go home and have a headache for the rest of my life.
They didn’t take that well…they started talking about signing a waiver because this was against medical advice. Finally, my blood work came back OK and I got the blood patch. They never did get a urine sample, but the ER doctor did tell my OB that they had…and partly because of that information we spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. The nurses on the Telemetry floor were really friendly and very excited to have a baby on the floor. They tried to keep me there until Friday, but my doctor compromised with us and they let me leave.
My hands and arms were covered in bruises for DAYS from the IVs, blood draws, and the blood patch (of course they need blood for that, too!). I was on blood pressure medication until yesterday. I still haven’t slept for more than 3 hours at a time (I know, I know, I won’t sleep well again for the next 18 years). BUT I’m home and I get to snuggle my baby.