By the time my due date arrived, I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to go into labor and would be induced in a few days. My doctor and I had even set a date. I spent the day relaxing- watching Scandal and coloring in my new adult coloring book. That evening, Colby worked late and I settled for a piece of leftover cheesecake for dinner.
I remember telling Colby as we went to bed at 11 PM that I felt a bit “funny,” but didn’t figure anything would happen because I was so sure I would be getting induced. It took me about an hour of tossing and turning, but about midnight I fell into a deep sleep. I woke up at 2:57 AM feeling like I needed to get up to go to the bathroom and was so annoyed. I had been sleeping really good! I rolled over and thought, “You have to be kidding me. I just peed myself. Seriously?” And then another little gush came out and I realized my water had probably broke.
I got up, confirmed my suspicions and then went to wake Colby up. His words, “are you sure?” I reassured him but told him that I was feeling no pain and didn’t think we were in a big hurry. It was hair washing day and I was taking a shower before we went anywhere. It took us about an hour and fifteen minutes, but I got cleaned up (including fixed hair and a full face of makeup) and Colby finished our packing. I was amazed at how calm he remained through the entire packing.
We live two hours from the hospital so I called ahead and told them we were coming in. As luck would have it, my doctor was actually on call all weekend and told the nurses to admit me as soon as we arrived. At about 5:30 AM we neared Amarillo and I called my mom. We needed to drop off Milo and pick up mine and Teddy’s hospital bags which we had left there the night before. By the time we arrived the entire house was awake. I decided I should probably eat something since I knew they wouldn’t let me have any food once I got to the hospital. Jamey, my thirteen year old sister, came into the kitchen as I was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and was amazed. She later told my dad, “Dory is having a baby, but is just eating her a PB&J?!”
We arrived at the hospital around 6 AM, I got checked in, they started an IV, and did all the standard questioning. I was having a few contractions according to the monitors, but nothing painful. They decided to start me on a tiny amount of pitocin to get labor started. It worked like a charm, but unfortunately I was soon dealing with back labor. I dealt with the pain for several hours, but decided to get an epidural about 10 AM. The epidural was an answered prayer, but I really enjoyed the catheter. It was so nice to lie in bed and not have to worry about constantly needing to visit the bathroom! That’s the real joy of modern medicine! Ha.
My mom showed up soon after I got my epidural. We settled down to wait out labor and passed the time watching Fixer Upper. Luckily, they were having an all day marathon. I’m pretty sure we watched about twelve episodes before Teddy finally made his arrival.
My body actually did a really good job progressing and they used very little pitocin. Unfortunately, by late afternoon, I was about a seven and my epidural was wearing off on one entire side of my body. Seriously, I couldn’t feel one leg, but could wiggle the other all around. I have since read that this happens to a certain percentage of women and my the anesthesiologist mentioned it might have been caused by the swelling I was suffering from at this point in pregnancy. They came in, adjusted my medicine and gave me another epidural.
The second epidural seemed to work for a while, but I was soon noticing that one it was wearing off on one of my legs again. By about 7 PM, I was almost completely dilated, except for one “ridge.” That ridge would plague us for the rest of the day. They had me labor down for a while, which is basically just waiting to see if my body would finish dilating, but eventually we decided it was time to start pushing.
When I started pushing, I immediately realized I could feel a lot of pain. The nurses kept telling me it was just pressure, but before long I had even convinced them that another epidural wasn’t working. It was fairly horrible, but I kept pushing, because what other choice did I have a this point? I kept thinking that the harder I pushed, the sooner it would all be over and I would be able to meet my little boy. At this point, everything goes a little fuzzy. I was in a lot of pain and kept my eyes closed between most of the pushes. They soon started giving me oxygen. Colby would later admit that this was because Teddy’s heart rate would go down every time I pushed and then go back up when he put the oxygen on my face.
The nurse kept telling me we were getting closer and then would admit that we weren’t quite through the ridge yet. After about three hours I was completely exhausted and realized that I hadn’t made much progress despite what the nurse was telling me. I demanded to talk to my doctor. He soon entered the room and told me that I didn’t have to give up pushing, but he thought it was probably time for a c-section. I readily agreed as long as they promised they would be administering something other than an epidural for the surgery. I was a bit terrified of being able to feel them cut into my stomach!
After that, things went quite quickly as they got me prepped for surgery. I was still feeling contractions and the need to push up until the point that my spinal block was administered. I could have kissed the anesthesiologist by that point. It was such a relief to not be in pain anymore. Colby soon entered the room and before long, our baby boy was pulled out. It took him just a little bit to make noise. As soon as I heard his first cry, I started bawling. I was so relieved that he was going to be okay!
Colby managed to take pictures like a total rock star. Looking back, these images are absolutely priceless to me- especially since I was basically out of commission and a little bit loopy on pain medicine.
Theodore James was born at 11:09 PM. He weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces, and was twenty-one inches long. Everyone agreed, he was absolutely perfect and totally worth the wait.
I got to hold Teddy a little later in the recovery room. Honestly, I don’t remember much about this time. I was exhausted and on some pretty good drugs. This is probably the worst picture of myself I have ever posted on the internet, but hey- it’s my little family of three!
The next several hours weren’t really enjoyable. Teddy had a low blood sugar when he was born and had to be monitored in the nursery. The nurses came in the room constantly to check on me. I demanded over and over to see my baby. No one got any rest at all and we were all too hyped up to see the baby.
If I’m being completely honest, I was a total pain in the butt. At one point, I told them I was going to walk to the nursery. The nurse told me I couldn’t and I exclaimed, “Look at me, I could dance if I wanted to,” while wiggling my feet around on the bed. The drugs made me very itchy and I refused to wear the oxygen thing in my nose. I literally pulled it out of my nose and tossed it aside. Oh well, I’m sure they probably deal with Momma Bear patients all the time who cannot wait to see their babies, right?
Luckily, I was eventually wheeled to the nursery to see him. I remember insisting I could walk and I was only about five hours post-op. Thankfully, everyone else knew better. By breakfast time, Teddy was allowed back in our room and I finally got to snuggle up to my perfect little baby.
Recovery hasn’t be a breeze. My body was basically put through both a vaginal birth and a c-section and I have had to deal with the after effects of both. My doctor explained that there was nothing we could have done differently that would have changed the outcome. Teddy was born with quite the cone head that proved just how hard I had pushed. Unfortunately, my pelvis wasn’t big enough for a baby of his size.
In the future, Colby and I have decided that I will probably skip right to a planned c-section since babies usually get bigger. I will be able to go into the hospital prepared and well rested. I will have the house ready for a major surgery recovery. I won’t have to ever push with a faulty epidural again. It sounds a bit blissful actually.
All in all, Teddy’s birth has taught me that no two birth stories are the same. I honestly never imagined I would need a c-section. Even ten hours into labor, things were looking great and we figured we would get to meet our little guy by dinner time. I am so very thankful that I was in a great hospital with a wonderful team of care providers that were looking out for our health. People like to preach about how natural is best and c-sections are overused, but honestly my baby and I would have died without that surgery. Thank God (and science) for c-sections and good healthcare!