Before and After – A St. Vincent Hospital Birth Story

Even though almost everything in this mom’s birth story happened before they thought it would, the after made it all worth while.

Before and after birth story, quick labor, champaign toast, roasary, carmel Indiana

I found out I was pregnant on September 30th, 2014. For the 5 days prior to that, I took pregnancy test after pregnancy test, exclaiming to my husband more confidently as each day passed “I think there are two faint lines!”. Being optimistically cautious, he was not convinced until that day when there was no denying it. Two pink lines. A little blue plus sign. And the word “Pregnant.” We were having a baby!

Throughout my pregnancy, my primary doctor was Dr. Nicole Bedore with St. Vincent Medical Group (Westfield location). For my first appointment, I saw Dr. James Teter at OB/GYN of Indiana. However, after talking with one of my friends, I decided to make the switch to Dr. Bedore because A) I wanted a female doctor, and B) the office was closer to my house. However, throughout my pregnancy I ended up being seen by six different physicians at St. Vincent. It was recommended to schedule an appointment with as many doctors in the practice as possible, being that there was no way of knowing who the doctor on-call would be the day of delivery! Overall, they were all wonderful.

My husband and I took the “Breastfeeding Basics,” “Newborn Care,” and “Childbirth Preparation” classes, as well as did a tour of the hospital. The “Childbirth Preparation” class was definitely most helpful. We did the 3 individual classes, but they do have a “Done in a Day” option which touches on everything, as the name suggests, all in one day. We kind of wish we had gone this route, just to save on time and trips back and forth to the hospital.

On Tuesday, June 2nd, I was just approaching 39 weeks. When I went to my doctor’s appointment that day, I was not dilated at all. Only about 65% effaced. This reaffirmed my 8 month long fear that my son (we found out that he was a boy through a blood test done at 10 weeks) was going to be late. I was convinced.

My husband was asked to be a groomsman in his friend’s wedding on June 19th. My son was due June 12th. This one-week window was way too close for comfort for me! I was so worried that my husband was going to have to bail on his friend, that I was determined to do everything within my power to get our little guy in to the world on time!

On June 4th, my husband and I went for a long walk and I did a little (key word LITTLE) jog, as recommended by one of my fellow mom friends. When we got home, he gave me a nice long massage. One of my client’s moms (I do home-based speech therapy) texted me to see if I was still planning on coming the next day and I replied “Yes ma’am, I plan on it!” Right after I pressed “send,” I had an inkling of a feeling that maybe, just maybe (*fingers crossed*), he would come the next day.

Fast forward to around 3:30 am, and I woke up with some cramping. Nothing too painful, but definitely uncomfortable. I figured they were just Braxton Hicks contractions. I started timing them while laying in bed using an app on my iPhone. When I realized they weren’t stopping, but only getting more intense, I woke up my husband and told him, “I think this is it!”

I called the doctor’s office and listened to the recording that I had heard dozens of times before: “If you are pregnant and in labor, bleeding, experiencing decreased fetal movement, etc……please press 1.” This had to be it. I pressed “1.” I spoke with Dr. Maret Cline, the doctor on-call that night. She said that when I felt like I needed pain medication, it was time to head in to the hospital.

All along, we were told that early labor would last a few hours. I expected to be in discomfort and pain for a while before making the trip to St. Vincent, and I did NOT want to go and then get sent right back home.

Sooo..in between contractions (which were about every 3-4 minutes at this point), I worked on progress reports for work! I had one left that I had been putting off and I didn’t want to have to think about it at all after my son came. So, with my husband and my dog on the bed behind me in the guest room, I finished the report.

Not having any family in our area to care for our dog (our beloved first baby!), I had tentatively booked him a spot at a kennel that was on our hospital route months before my due date. I naively thought that I would not mind having to make a pit stop at the Pet Lodge mid-labor. Even if that had been the case, the kennel did not open until 7:30 am.

At this point, it was around 5:30 am. The contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about 45 seconds. In our class we had learned about the 5-1-1 rule (contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for at least 1 hour). Since they were coming frequently, but not lasting the full minute, I thought I would keep waiting a little bit longer….

I was trying so hard to wait until the kennel opened so we could just drop off our dog on the way (crazy, I know). By 6 am, I realized…there was no more waiting. I was in more pain than I ever knew was possible. My husband tried to give me a rub while I was rocking back and forth like we learned in our class, but I did NOT want to be touched. Hunched over in the living room, I told him, “We need to go…now!” So the dog went in to his crate and off to the hospital we went.

One ran red light, a slight detour, and lots of screaming later, we made it to the hospital.

When we pulled up, I made my husband let me out at the front door and then he went and parked the car. I took the elevator upstairs and a nurse came out and asked if I was Erin. They were expecting me since I had called earlier.

Immediately I demanded an epidural. The nurse said I would have to wait to be admitted. After the first nurse took my weight and told me to put on a gown, another nurse came in to check to see how far dilated I was.

At this point, my husband was in the room. We were both in shock when the nurse said that I was already 7cm dilated! Come to find out later on, I was actually 8 cm dilated upon arrival. She just told me I was 7cm because she didn’t want to freak me out too much….(not that 1 cm would really make a difference…I think it’s safe to say I was freaking out, regardless!).

Typically they have people fill out paperwork once they get to the hospital, but I was already too far along. They wheeled me in to the labor and delivery room and I KEPT demanding an epidural. It felt like an eternity, but finally the anesthesiologist got there.

I was in so much pain, that sitting still was next to impossible. But somehow, by holding on to my husband and a sweet nurse, I received the epidural and relief was in sight. I was so worried that I was too far along to get it. I had always planned on the epidural, but I definitely did not anticipate getting it right away! During our classes we learned all about the relaxing music, exercise balls, and aromatherapy that the hospital offered to help with pain…but there was definitely no time for any of that!

It took about 10 minutes, but finally I could start feeling it kick in. By the time the epidural was in full effect, I felt like I was on cloud 9. The pain left and excitement took over. I apologized to my husband and nurses for not being the nicest person in the world pre-medication :).

Dr. Cline then came in. I had only seen her for one of my prenatal appointments, but I was so relieved that at least it wasn’t one of the doctors that I had never met before.

She assured me that it would still be a little while before push time, so my husband went home (about a 10 minute drive), got the dog, and took him to the kennel. He told me that when he walked in, the receptionist was on the phone and asked if he could wait. He told her “My wife is in labor!” and that sure sped up the drop-off process! Meanwhile, I texted my boss and the clients that I was supposed to see that day and let them know…”No therapy today, I’m having a baby!”

When my husband got back to the hospital, I tried to nap while he prayed the rosary sitting next to me. Dr. Cline had me lay on my side with a pillow between my legs to try to turn the baby. He was in the posterior position (back of his head in the back of my pelvis). This, in combination with Dr. Cline using manual rotation, helped get him in to a face-down position.

The next sequence of events is a little blurry for me. At some point, Dr. Cline noticed that my son’s heart rate was dropping with each contraction. She prepared me for the possibility that if we were unable to get his heart rate to stabilize, I would have to either have an emergency C-section, forceps delivery, or vacuum extraction. I remember being terrified. Fortunately, they put an oxygen mask on me and my son’s heart rate came back up.

When I was fully dilated, Dr. Cline broke my water (with what looked like a knitting needle). I remember feeling a little discomfort, but not much else. In doing so, she was able to tell that my son had a bowel movement because of the meconium-stained amniotic fluid.

When she came back a little while later, she said she thought I still had more time, but had me do a “practice push.” Immediately, she realized there was no more waiting…it was go-time!

I pushed for maybe 20 minutes tops. My husband said he could see lots of dark hair, and this motivated me to keep going. I could not wait to see and hold my son.

At 10:40 am on Friday, June 5th, Sean Matthew was born. He cried right away. Unfortunately, my husband was not able to cut the umbilical cord. Due to the risk of him aspirating the meconium, a pediatrician had to be in the delivery room to check him out right away. Dr. Cline whisked him off to the pediatrician as I looked on and frantically asked if he was okay.

And he was. He was perfect.

While the pediatrician was taking care of my son, Dr. Cline stitched me up due to some tearing. Honestly, I thought I was going to be a lot more self-conscious throughout the whole process, but when it came down to it, I was in so much pain/so concerned about him after he was born, I hardly noticed or cared that anyone was looking “down there.”

After being suctioned out and wiped off, I was able to do skin to skin with him and nurse him. My husband gave him a bath and he had his measurements/footprints taken. We were then wheeled into the postpartum room where we would spend the next 48 hours.

That first night, my husband and I did not want to send him to the hospital’s nursery. But even though we were still coming down from the biggest adrenaline rush of either of our lives, we realized it would be best if we were both able to get a little sleep.

At 4 am, the nurse came in to wake me up to breastfeed. I just remember being delirious and thinking for a second, “Where am I? What is this crazy lady talking about?” I still couldn’t believe that I was a MOM.

The time in the hospital was spent trying to get the hang of nursing, taking lots and lots of pictures, Facetiming family, and resting up before there would be no more nurses to help out with night-duty.

On Saturday evening, we ordered pizza to the room and my father-in-law got champagne. And there, in room 305, we all toasted to Sean Matthew and thanked God for bringing this beautiful baby boy into our lives!

Overall, my experience at St. Vincent was a good one. Dr. Cline was wonderful. The labor and delivery nurses were amazing. The mother-baby nurses were not as friendly, but still provided good care. I drive past the hospital frequently throughout the week, and each time, I think to myself “That is where I met Sean. That is where I met my little best friend.” St. Vincent will always be very special to me for this reason.

June 5th, 2015 was undoubtedly the most exhilarating, happiest day of my life. There are only a couple events thus far that I use as reference points for all others in between. I think back to a time and I think, “That was before ______” or “That was after ______.”

I have no doubt that the day my son was born will forever be the standard of comparison that can never be topped. The “Before I became a mom….” and “The after….”

And oh, how great the after 🙂

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