Part one of our birth story ended with me finding out after 7 hours on pitocin I was still only 3 cm dilated. The contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes and I was shaking from all of the pain. I tried to focus on my breathing but I felt like I couldn't catch my breath and wasn't getting enough oxygen. Babies heart rate started to go down and they put me on oxygen. I ended up staying on oxygen throughout the rest of my labor. At 1 p.m. I decided to get an epidural. I couldn't fathom being in the pain I was for an indefinite amount of time. It took me 7 hours to get to a 3, so who knew how long it would take for me to get to 10 cm. Once I asked for the epidural it took the anesthesiologist an HOUR to get to me. There was an emergency he had to attend to first which I totally get, but I was miserable. Even the nurse kept calling and asking for updates as I was told if I decided on an epidural I would have one in about 15 minutes.
The anesthesiologist finally arrived and was a 'break the ice with corny jokes' type of doctor. Within 5 minutes the epidural was in place and I started to finally be able and relax. A few nurses told me an epidural hurt less than getting the IV in and they were 100% right. I didn't feel a thing and I am SO happy I decided to get it!
The next few hours were better, except my temperature started to rise and the OB was getting a bit concerned that my water had been broken for 24 hours. Babies heart rate would start to go down about once an hour and I ended up spending a few hours laboring slightly elevated and laying on my left side. Around 9 p.m. I was checked and at 9 cm. I stalled there for a while and the contraction pain was starting to get worse so I finally used the push button they gave me to get more of the epidural medicine. I was trying to hold off getting too numb as I wanted to be able to feel the sensation to push. I had good control of my legs the whole time which felt great. I thought I'd be basically paralyzed from the waist down.
Around 10 my OB checked and said I was still at a 9 with 'just a lip' of cervix left. She said we could start trying to push soon. I spent the last half of my labor with my eyes closed almost the entire time so a lot of the pushing is a blur. I pushed for two stinking hours with everything I had. I tried to stay as fit as possible while pregnant for this exact moment. I knew I'd need to use the same muscles I used in hiking, walking and squatting to push babe out.
I'd push 4 times through each contraction and the OB had me try so many different pushing positions. On my back, on my side, on the edge of the bed, and nothing was working. There were a few new nurses in the room who came in to help reposition me since I wasn't able to totally move on my own. Babies heart rate kept dropping so the OB said we were on a time crunch. She had the squat bar brought out. Basically the labor bed could be divided into two sections (upper and lower) and the lower section could be lowered to the ground by about 2 feet. The squat bar was put on the end of the bed so I could sit on the top part, and squat down on the bottom part while holding onto the bar for support to push in a squat position.
Getting myself into a squat while on an epidural was a feat. Baby would make great progress descending but then rise up again when the nurses would pull me back up to rest. His heart rate plummeted and the OB said I had 10 minutes to push him out or we'd go to an emergency c-section. She yelled at Travis to jump into the bed behind me so he could physically hold me up at the bar between contractions instead of me sitting down to rest. He couldn't believe he was playing such an active part in delivery! He jumped in, and for the next 3 or 4 contractions I stayed at the squat bar. His head started to crown and the OB told Travis to jump out of the way so I could lean back. I felt the ring of fire briefly and then a HUGE sharp stabbing pain (I honestly thought the doctor had shoved a pair of scissors into me.) Finally I felt him come out and they threw him on my chest!
I was in shock, and all I could think was that I hadn't heard him cry yet. They started rubbing him on my belly to stimulate him and finally I heard a tiny little cry. They took him away to the baby station right next to me to take some vitals as they were concerned about his low HR and my high temperature. Within a few minutes a nurse brought him back to me and this photo was the first time we saw each other.
My OB told me the next day why labor was so rough. He was in potentially the worst position possibly. The fancy term is asynclitic occiput posterior. Basically he was born face up, and at an extreme angle. His head was severely misshapen at birth. Only 5% of babies are in this position during labor and 75% of them end up being born via c-section. Poor Travis saw his head and thought that was just going to be what he looked like! He fell in love with him at first sight anyway and didn't even realize it was temporary until the next day when I said his head should be looking normal within a few days. That's when he told me he thought he was just going to have that head shape forever. So cute. \
When my OB checked on me the following two days she kept saying how impossible the odds were stacked against me. I mentioned debating on ever having kids again because of how hard this labor was and she said if baby was positioned right he would have been out in 5 minutes. She couldn't get over what a great pusher I was, and said virtually anyone else would have had to end with a c-section. I'm just glad she didn't give up like many OB's would have and kept trying whatever she could to help me deliver vaginally.
I did have a second degree tear. It's pretty nasty. About 2" long and in a very, very unfortunate spot. Recovery has been challenging. Every single muscle in my body ached the next day, but especially on day three. Even my cheek muscles were throbbing. They pumped me up with so much fluids that I've only lost 5 pounds so far (at 4 days postpartum.) I'm so swollen it's ridiculous. I can't even fit into some of the clothes I was wearing at 9 months pregnant! Travis has been in Alabama with the movers so I've spent 2 of the first 3 nights with the baby alone. To say it's been hard is an understatement. I think I've had maybe 10 hours of sleep since Saturday. My parents are helping out so much but it's just not the same as when Travis is in the room with me all night and can help with handing him back and forth so we can take turns sleeping. Babe didn't sleep at all last night. At all. I try everything I can; feed, burp, change, swaddle, rock, etc. He will start to fall asleep but the second I put him down he starts wailing. I feel so bad for the little guy.
Travis will be here tonight and I've never been more excited to see him. We have 9 precious days together as a family before he leaves for Alaska and I won't see him (or my fur babies) for a month. I can't wait to start our lives together as a family in Alaska!