August 23, 2010, Marty and I went to Parkview Allina OBGyn for the 39 week checkup for the routine measurement and prodding. I mentioned I thought the baby had slowed in movement, so they hooked me up to the non-stress test monitor. Rather than give a definitive answer, it perplexed the nurse and the doctor – who sent us to the hospital for further monitoring. Baby’s heartbeat slowed during the braxton hicks tightening I was having, which made them nervous. They then sent me to the perinatal screening unit to have an ultrasound to see if baby was ok. Baby was completely fine – cord was wrapped around his neck, but he was healthy. This meant the decision was up to me – they recommended induction, I could refuse if I wanted. Bear in mind this particular August it had been 90 and muggy for so many days that I thought, yes, heck yes, let’s get this little boy on his way!
That afternoon, they started me on pitocin, and the antibiotics needed for the Group B strep, and then we waited. We told our parents, siblings and friends we were inducing, baby here soon! My sister came to the hospital to help with labor support, and we waited. I hadn’t eaten since Sunday night – my plan had been to eat right after our 8 am doctor appointment, but as so often happens, things weren’t going as expected.
I wasn’t dilating – so I agreed to let them break my bag of waters. It was done by an intern – who was lovely, but slow – and after that, every time they checked to see how far I had progressed, it caused IMMENSE pain. At that point, I elected to have an epidural. I had given up on moving, didn’t seem to be helping, and I was already hooked up to the machines for so many other things, why not one more thing?
Most of Tuesday was a blur due to the meds – I remember vividly getting to a 5 kind of quick, and then NOTHING. My parents arrived later on Tuesday, anticipating seeing a baby – no luck there. The latest changing of the guard was to a male Dr. Kopechy, who started talking C-section if we didn’t make more progress. Little sleep, no food, 3am prayers that SOMETHING would move, and at that point he said we wouldn’t wait past 5 am if we’d made no progress.
5am came, I was still at 5, so they said it was important to go ahead with a c-section. At this point I was too tired and hungry, suffering from serious heartburn to even care that this was the exact opposite of what I had wanted – I was ready to meet that baby.
Before panic could settle in, they turned up the epidural, and forced me to drink a noxious beverage to “Help keep me from vomiting” that actually later caused vomiting, prepped me, and hauled cookies to the OR. Marty had been dressed in scrubs, and described the insanity of watching me be cut open, stretched wider by several hands on either side of the incision, and watching the baby emerge!
I felt a ton of pressure – it made me feel ill, but didn’t hurt. They liberated the baby, and while Marty could see it all, I was stuck behind the curtain, and nobody would show me my baby! I was beyond angry – not even a peek? I understand he was having issues because of the cord around his neck and all that labor, non-movement and eventual ripping from my tummy, but it felt completely unfair. My baby didn’t come out the way he was supposed to, so I couldn’t even hold him once he had been born – and I had to demand he be shown to me – because when I tried to move the curtain, it was shoved back by someone in the OR. Once I got to look at him for a second or two, he was whisked away in my husbands arms, met his Aunt Tracie and got his first bath. I however, had to be stitched back up, puke a bunch from the anesthesia and that horrible beverage, and recover a bit before I could see my own baby again.
An hour or two later, they brought him back to me, and we attempted to nurse him – which was insane when you are that high on pain meds from major surgery – it was not successful and the nurse wasn’t super helpful. They took him back because I was so drowsy, and I threw up again.
After that, I was in my hospital room, feeling happy on pain meds, and finally able to hold my precious baby Royce. The meds were very strong those first hours, and nursing never really got more successful. The nursing staff was nervous about leaving the baby with me because I kept dozing off due to pain meds – but I managed to keep him with me as much as possible.
I was deliriously happy to have my baby with me, nervous about feeding him the way I had planned to, and just ready to go home from the hospital. Royce was here, healthy and beautiful, and I would have plenty of time to sort out how I felt about the birth going the way it had after I adjusted to the new baby.
This was two years ago, and I still feel so blessed that he was as healthy as he was, and even though he never nursed successfully, we pumped milk and he drank it like a frat boy guzzles beer, and grew like a weed! Today he is running around like a little person, talking – more and more understandable every day, working on using the potty, and since the beginning, momma’s good sleeper!
Now I’m waiting for his little brother to show up – not as hot, but definitely having just as many braxton hicks – and I pray that his birth story is less eventful, he is just as healthy as his big brother, and that we have a smooth transition into a family of four. Motherhood is full of blessings and difficulties, but the blessings FAR outweigh the pain of any difficulties.