I’ve sort of been putting this off – writing Jack’s birth story – because well, it wasn’t ideal. But however it happened, Jack is healthy and that’s what matters. So here goes…
I started having painful contractions Saturday morning, March 24th. They were all over the place, some 5 minutes apart, some 20 minutes apart so I downloaded a contraction app on my phone to keep track. That’s pretty much all I did on Saturday since I couldn’t really think or focus on anything else. That night they got stronger and more predictable – about 7 minutes apart. Needless to say I got absolutely no sleep because every 7 minutes I was wincing in pain. I was hoping at some point they would become 5 minutes apart so I could go into the hospital but no such luck. Sunday morning rolled around and finally by the time D woke up, my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart. We decided to call the hospital and get our bags ready. I managed to take a shower and blow dry my hair (by a miracle!) Getting ready was actually more calm than I imagined it would be although thinking back D was a little more anxious than normal :). I was so focused on the contractions that I’m not really sure how all my stuff got packed haha.
We arrived at the hospital around 10am. I got into triage right away so they could check to see if I should be admitted. I was praying I was more than 1-2 centimeters dilated. Finally after what seemed like forever, the midwife checked me and said I was 4 centimeters dilated and that they could admit me. Yay! At this point my contractions were very painful but what helped was D breathing with me through each one. Another thing that really helped was the midwife pointing out that the more relaxed I could be through each contraction, the faster I would make progress. That was worth it to me so I tried to stay as relaxed as possible and thought I was doing pretty good considering how much it hurt! The midwife gave me the option to either get a room with a tub or go straight to get an epidural. At first I thought I would try the tub but after some really painful contractions and talking it over with my mom and D, I decided to go ahead with the epidural. Getting the actual epidural was definitely not as bad as I had read it was for some women so I was relieved about that! The midwife checked me again and this time my water broke. I had progressed to 7 cm! The nurse and midwife were thrilled with my progress and told me I would probably have a baby in my arms by 5:00pm!
Well 5:00 rolled around, I was checked again and was still 7 cm. I was disappointed but the midwife told me they would try a low dose of pitocin to help me make a little more progress. At this point, Jack was responding more to me laying on my right side than my left so they made me lay on my right for what seemed like forever. Because I was laying on my right side for so long, the epidural was wearing off on my left side and I was feeling the contractions on that side. I tried to sleep but I was so uncomfortable from laying on one side and was in too much pain to rest. The hours at this point seemed to drag on although I couldn’t tell you when what happened, it just seemed like I was waiting forever to make progress. They checked me again I think around 7 or 8pm and was still 7cm dilated. They upped the pitocin, kept me on my right side, and then discussed what we should do if I was still at 7 cm when they checked me again. I knew that a C-section was not out of the question but I prayed that I would be 8 or 9 cm next time she checked me. Around 10pm she checked me one last time, and again 7cm. Not only was I still 7cm, my cervix had swelled on top of that. I was definitely deflated at this point. The midwife told me it was time to start talking C-section. She bought in the OB team and they outlined the whole procedure to me. They made it clear it was my choice but I definitely didn’t feel it was anyone’s choice at that point. I just wanted to do what was best for Baby and the midwife and OB team recommended I go ahead with the C-section.
Once it was decided, it happened pretty fast. They wheeled me into the OR and the anesthesiologist started making adjustments to my epidural. There were tons of people whisking around but I was pretty focused on the fact that I could feel everything on my left side. I told the anesthesiologist that and he started testing how much I actually felt with a little pin. I was supposed to feel the pressure but not the prick. Well I felt the prick all the way down to my toes on my left side. He tried his best to make adjustments but I continued to feel his prick when he tested me. I was pretty scared at this point because I knew I was going to feel things I shouldn’t feel when they actually got started. They got Jack out pretty fast without too much pain on my part and I got to see his little scrunched face but I didn’t hear him crying. I asked someone why he wasn’t crying but didn’t get much of an answer. After more tugging and pulling, I started feeling burning. Through tears I told the anesthesiologist I was feeling intense burning. They ended up giving me laughing gas and morphine but I still felt the burning. D came back to be with me after seeing Jack and despite my best efforts I told D to tell them to put me out. It was just too much to bear.
When I woke up, it didn’t get much easier. I couldn’t breathe due to congestion and my throat being inflamed from the breathing tube. I tried to cough but because of my incision, it hurt too bad to cough. I ended up working through it by clearing my throat a million times. Then they brought me him. I told D I wanted his name to be Jack. I remember he was so alert and wanted to eat right away. I was amazed that it seemed like he knew me. It made my heart melt. After holding him for not very long, they took him back and D explained to me that Jack had a rough start. I found out that the reason I wasn’t hearing Jack cry in the OR was because his lungs were full of junk and the doctors thought he had a collapsed lung. They were about to transfer him to another hospital when he started coughing it up on his own. They wanted to keep Jack in the Level 2 nursery overnight to monitor him but they said he was going to be okay. I was so relieved. So thankful. Jack was healthy, I survived, and now D and I were parents! Praise God!