Little did I realize that my last post would be the day before going into labor. Yes, baby boy has arrived way earlier than we ever imagined and we are completely in love with him.
Born Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 4:17pm
Weight = 6lb 13oz
Length = 19.75â€
20 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing
36 weeks 3 days into the pregnancy at birth
I knew with the cholestasis that there was a risk of pre-term labor but I certainly did not expect to go into spontaneous labor in my 36th week! What a shock. Fortunately, Andrew is relatively healthy and doing really really well for being a 36 weeker. Hereâ€™s my birth story and how it all startedâ€¦.
Before going to the hospitalâ€¦
On Monday the 17th, it was business as usual. I decided to work from home since I had no meetings. I was sitting on the living room couch all day but something felt off all day. I was feeling a little more crampy than usual and the weight of baby was killing my pelvis. I was noticing that laying back on the couch was not as comfortable as sitting up or standing which was odd, but I didnâ€™t think too much of it. Matt came home with Natalie at about 4:30pm and had a conference call before needing to leave for a hockey game at 6pm. At 5:45pm, I drove myself over to the Metropolitan Market to grab some dinner items. I remember needing to really hold my belly up while I was there and feeling crampy, thinking to myself â€œman, itâ€™s hard to walk around nowâ€. At 6pm, Matt left for hockey and I was alone with Natalie to deal with for dinner and such. By 7pm, the cramps were picking up and I recall my OB telling me to call if I felt menstrual-like cramps. I really didnâ€™t think much of it because my contractions with Natalie did not feel like cramps at all, rather major pressure in my tailbone (in retrospect, that is because I had back labor with her — now I know that there is a HUGE difference in the way contractions feel with back labor vs non-back labor!) My first thought was hoping everything was okay with baby and worried about needing to go to L&D to do a NST that nightâ€¦.but then the cramps seemed to come and go at regular intervals. I called L&D to get advice—they said to time things and call back. At 8:53pm, I sent a text to Matt:
â€œWorried about these being real contractions, getting worse. Just lost a lot of mucus plugâ€
He got home shortly after 9pm. At that point, I was attempting to get Natalie to bed upstairs but was having to breathe through some of these contractions and even moan out loud. Natalie was even saying â€œmommy, why are you crying?â€ I would say â€œI think baby wants to come out of the bellyâ€ and she was like â€œno no, baby canâ€™t come out. Heâ€™s in the belly!â€ In any case, Matt had another conference call planned for 9:30pm but upon seeing me, he cancelled it. In my mind, I still didnâ€™t believe I could be in labor and was just worried if baby was okay. I thought it would be good to take a bath to calm down the contractions, so Matt took over putting Natalie down while I did that. During my bath, I experienced 2-3 more contractions, which told me these were more real. I called L&D again to give them an update, they said to time things which I hadnâ€™t really been able to do. I started timing my contractions. They were 5-7 min apart on average. OMG. I called L&D back and they agreed it would be good to come in just in case. I still didnâ€™t think it was really happening but started packing up assuming this was the real deal.
I started to text girlfriends because my parents werenâ€™t in town yet. I knew Jigna was coming back from a family trip to Mexico that night. I also called Asayo and Sri. Jigna came over at midnight after I told her we were going to head to the hospital.
Thank goodness I had a half packed hospital bag. I threw together the toiletries and electronics in and Matt quickly packed himself a bag. Things with Natalie were crazy as Matt and I were a bit frantic between packing, calling L&D, Matt notifying work, etcâ€¦..but we finally semi-got her down after 11:30pm or so (I know, crazyâ€”our little night owl)
Arrival at the hospitalâ€¦
We got to the hospital about 12:30am and checked into triage. First things first â€“ internal check. I about dropped my jaw when they said â€œ6cm dilated and 90% effacedâ€. Thatâ€™s when it hit me that this baby was coming. We then called my mom, shocked her with the news so that they could make arrangements to fly to Seattle earlier. Then we moved into the labor & delivery room.
Things werenâ€™t bad (did I mention that regular contractions are so much easier than back labor contractions?) I got hooked up with IVs and monitors and labored on a ball.
Around 3:30am, we were exhausted just from lack of sleep and I decided to get an epidural. It took awhile to get it in just right but I finally got that tingly sensation in my legs and could relax. Matt took a much needed nap and I attempted to close my eyesâ€¦though honestly, there was so much adrenalin pumping in me that I unfortunately couldnâ€™t actually sleep.
In the morning, they checked me again and saw I was still at 7cm. Not surprising since my water hadnâ€™t broken yet. â€œThings will move along faster once your water breaksâ€â€¦but they wanted to be careful: with my polyhydramnios, there was risk of baby floating upwards when the water breaks and the cord prolapsing down, resulting in an emergency c-section. They had hoped for my water to break on its own.
9:45am â€“ decision to artificially break my waters carefully. With 2 residents working together, they poked a small hole while the other gently pushed down on baby from my abdomen to prevent him from floating up while the other guided his head to cover the cervix and watch for the cord. After what seemed like minutes and minutes of the water draining (remember I had A TON of amniotic fluid—it was â€˜quite impressiveâ€™ according to all the nurses and residents), they successfully broke my water and then inserted a catheter to monitor the strength of contractions.
My contractions were slowing down and not as strong so I was put on a small slow drip of pitocinâ€¦.started off at a 1, dialed up as far as a 6 and eventually settled on a 4 to get just the right amount.
1pm â€“ I was 9+ cm dilated and fully effaced but baby was still at â€“1. Even though Iâ€™d been changing sides every hour, we decided to sit me up as vertically as possible for an hour to see if gravity would literally help get him down.
2pm â€“ baby is now at at +2! The vertical sitting really helped. Time to push!
I pushed for over 2 hours. The first hour wasnâ€™t too bad but it was hard to tell that anything was happening. In the last hour, they brought out a mirror for me to actually see what was going on. That was sooo motivatingâ€¦.especially since I was getting absolutely exhausted by then. The lack of sleep from the night before was catching up on me coupled with the physical labor of pushing what seemed like every minute.
4:17pm â€“ baby Andrew emerged and it was absolutely amazing. They immediately put him on me and Matt got to cut his cord. It was sweet relief to be done and so joyous to finally meet our baby boy.
I got my desired VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and it was such a wonderful experience. I thank all the staff at UW Medical for being supportive of this. I credit taking things slowly and having me change positions frequently to the success.