WARNING: If you are uncomfortable with what happens during birth then you may not want to read any further. I’m not sparing any details.
Ever since we found out about Nolan’s heart we had been planning on inducing around 39 weeks. On January 4, the induction date was officially scheduled for January 18. It was nice having a plan since nothing else had really been going according to plan. I had put off packing my hospital bag for so long because I didn’t really need to pack until the 17th of January. My mom and dad told me I should have stuff packed just in case, so I did, but I really didn’t think I’d need to worry about it.
January 10 I had noticed a decrease in Nolan’s movement, but it didn’t really worry me so I didn’t think too much about it.
January 11 I had my last prenatal appointment. I was glad because Johnny was going to be working nights so he was able to go to this appointment. Before the appointment I started getting this weird feeling. I told Johnny that Nolan hadn’t moved much since Sunday afternoon. He hardly moved at night which was when he was most active. Because of the weird feeling I decided to just pack up my last minute items for the hospital. If nothing was wrong then I could always unpack them but I was being cautious…something wasn’t right. We went to the appointment and my NST was looking good. Nolan’s heart was responding well and he was moving more than he had been. I still had a feeling that something was off, though. When we went in for the ultrasound Johnny said Nolan hardly had any room to move around because he noticed a decrease in fluid around Nolan. When the doctor measured my fluid she even said it was really low. Then she said she was going to recommend delivery…. so instead of having a week to prepare we had 3.5 hours. I thought I had a whole week to clean and prepare the house so I was a little stressed. But I was also scared. At 7 o’clock that night I was being induced.
We went home and Johnny quickly packed his bag. I cleaned the dishes because if I couldn’t come home to a clean house at least I’d have an empty sink. We called family and let them know and I think it stressed all of them out. I didn’t think I’d really be able to eat dinner because I was so nervous but I actually ended up not being able to STOP eating. We got to the hospital and were ready to check in. They didn’t have any of the orders because something got confused between day shift and night shift. It didn’t take long to sort out and we were given a room. After two hours of sitting in the room and answering questions I finally got the Cervadil. I wasn’t dilated at all so I was hoping this would get me to a 3… wishful thinking. I had minor cramping but was able to sleep through it. I slept until 5 am and waited until it was time to take the Cervadil out. When they took the Cervadil out they checked me again and I was still at a 1.
After I got the Cervadil out I was allowed to take a shower but I couldn’t eat. I could only have “clear liquids” so I had orange jello and chicken broth. Once I had the pitocin I could only have ice chips. The pitocin was turned up every 20 minutes. I was expecting to be in some crazy pain but it never really happened. I had some contractions but nothing was really regular and they were pretty manageable. I was able to take naps and I was talking and laughing. It was easy! I had heard such horror stories about pitocin but I have no idea what they were talking about. I didn’t have a hard time at all.
Around 6 pm the doctor came in to check me again. I wasn’t hoping for much because I had been having such easy contractions. Sure enough I was still a 1. I became incredibly discouraged. I told Johnny that my body was not ready for this and it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I was never going to progress and I was going to end up having a c-section. In fact, I considered asking if they would just do a c-section so I didn’t have to deal with the disappointment of NEVER progressing. I had no problem with effacement but I just wouldn’t dilate. Since I wasn’t dilating the doctor had to put in a Foley balloon. (Apparently you shouldn’t Google this!) It’s a catheter that they fill up with saline on the inside of the uterus and the outside. It’s supposed to help you dilate. I was really nervous about this so I looked up what it felt like online. Most people just said you feel some pressure but nothing worse than having your cervix checked. There definitely was some pressure!! As soon as they filled both sides up I immediately started having more intense contractions. They still weren’t very regular which was, again, very disappointing. The nurse told me it was okay and it was normal. We were starting from scratch so it was going to take a while.
My mood was completely changed with this balloon. I didn’t really want to laugh or talk. I wanted to lay down and cry. It hurt a lot and it wasn’t even doing anything. The nurse said when you get to 5 cm the balloon would fall out. Every time I got out of bed I waited for it to fall so I would know that there was some progression. It never did! The nurse gave me some laughing gas but all it did was make the back of my throat hurt. Then she gave me some demerol so that I could sleep. At about 2 am the nurse came in and turned my pitocin drip off. My doctor wanted to give my uterus some rest and it allowed me to get a little more sleep. At 4 am my pitocin was turned back on and I was able to get a couple little naps in.
At 6 am the doctor came back in to take the balloon out. It’s only supposed to stay in for about 12 hours and we had reached that 12 hours. I felt such a relief when the balloon was taken out. My contractions slowed down and I felt okay again. Since the balloon didn’t fall out on its own I knew I hadn’t made it to a 5. I figured that, at best, I was 3 cm dilated. Then the doctor checked me and told me I had dilated all the way to a 6! I was so relieved. I had finally progressed and would be having my baby at some point that day. The doctor broke my water. It was the weirdest feeling ever. First there’s nothing and then you feel a warm liquid almost like you peed yourself. Pretty soon after my water broke I started having AWFUL contractions. I felt so bad for the nurse. She was trying to adjust my monitor and keep it in a place that she could monitor Nolan’s heartbeat but I couldn’t stay in one position. I wanted to be on my hands and knees one moment and the next I wanted to be on my side. I tried so many different ways to ease the pain during contractions. I remember feeling like I wanted to rip my face off!
I had made the decision that I wanted to give birth naturally. I wanted to prove to myself (and my mom) that I could do it. I have a low threshold for pain but I wanted to be able to say I gave birth naturally. There were a couple times the nurses would ask if there was ANYTHING they could get me. I won’t lie, I was tempted to ask for an epidural but I was too stubborn to actually do it. I was going to give birth naturally!!
At 7 am, it was shift change. The new nurse came in and was WONDERFUL! She started rubbing my back and showing Johnny where he could put pressure. She was very encouraging and kept reminding me to breathe through the contractions when I would hold my breath. She found a way to adjust my monitor so that they could monitor Nolan’s heart beat and allow me to be in a position that was somewhat comfortable, then she left the room. Shortly after she left the room, around 7:30, I got up out of the bed. This was the ONLY time Johnny was NOT calm. I started spinning around trying to get out of my wires but just ended up tangling myself more. Johnny wanted me to sit down because he was worried I’d pull my IV out. I told him I couldn’t sit down and that I needed to go to the bathroom. Then I realized I really needed to push. He called the nurse and told me to wait until she got there. I don’t know what he was thinking. There was no way I was waiting so she would just get there when she got there. The nurse came in, looked at me, and called the doctor. The doctor got there and told me to wait a second because she needed to get dressed. HA! I continued to try and push on my own. The doctor and nurse got me all set up and my mom got there just in time.
I pushed for about 30 minutes. It took me a couple times to figure out how to push effectively. I had to take a deep breath and then hold my breath for 10 seconds while I pushed. I wasn’t getting deep enough breaths so it was hard to hold for 10 seconds. In between contractions I tried to relax. My mom said I would get so relaxed she thought I was going to fall asleep. Everyone kept telling me they could see his head and I just had to push a couple more times. At one point I felt a pinch and shortly after I heard the sound… I had to have an episiotomy. I realized that the pinch I felt was the lidocaine shot. Pretty soon after that I realized the doctor was holding Nolan! Johnny cut his umbilical cord and the nurses took him to check him out. My placenta was delivered about 2 minutes later. I asked if I could see it but I guess the doctor forgot because I never saw it.
While the nurses were making sure Nolan was okay I was getting stitched up. Unfortunately I was able to feel the stitches being put in. It wasn’t too bad. The worst part about that was the tugging. I was told that Nolan’s pulse ox was 65 so I wouldn’t be able to hold him. They brought him over so I could at least see him before they took him to the NICU.
Nolan Robert Stephens was born January 13, 2016. He was 19.5 inches long and weighed about 6 lbs. 9 oz.
A couple people asked me about the pain I felt and I can honestly say I don’t remember it. I remember that I WAS in pain. I remember that it was pretty intense and like I said, I wanted to rip my face off. But I don’t remember exactly what it felt like.
Right now I’m feeling like my stitches are the worst pain ever. But as far as birth, I really think you don’t remember for a reason. The pain isn’t what’s important. After you see your baby nothing matters and any pain you may have felt doesn’t even register anymore. I’m so glad I got to do it and I’m so glad I’m a mommy to the sweetest, cutest, most perfect little boy ever!