- September 2014
- First Baby
- Mom’s age: 31
- 3 Days Late
- 10 hours from breaking of water to birth
- Vaginal Delivery
- Canton, Georgia
- Northside-Cherokee Hospital
- Dr. Najia Lawrence with Northside Cherokee Women’s Specialists
After many months of trying, and finally seeing a fertility specialist, my husband and I conceived our first child. I was 31 and very excited. The pregnancy was pretty normal—my son measured 1-2 weeks ahead the entire time, and for a couple of months the doctors thought I had placenta previa, but thankfully it cleared and everything else was normal. Our son was due to arrive on September 27, 2014. On September 26, I went for a routine check and told the doctor that I felt like my boy had not been moving as much as usual, so they put me on monitors for a non-stress test and wanted to do a Biophysical Profile, or BPP, but the ultrasound machine in their office was not working. So, they asked me to head on over to the hospital so they could do the BPP there, and depending on the doctor who was on call at the time, they told me to expect to be induced that night. I was NOT interested in an unnecessary induction, but we went on over to get checked in just in case.
After several cervical checks for dilation (0.5cm according to one of the nurses, 1cm according to the doctor), I was having some mild contractions and the nurses asked me to do some hall-walking while we waited on the BPP. Finally, about 5 minutes after they started an IV, the hospital’s ultrasound tech arrived and was very quickly able to determine that the baby was totally and completely fine and there was nothing unusual going on. We were given the choice of staying and being induced or checking ourselves out—so out the door we went! I spent a good part of the next day, a Saturday and his due date, walking around a local arts and crafts fair and did not have a single contraction. Sunday, I took it easy at home—again, no contractions.
On Monday, we went back to my doctor for a follow up visit, where they did another ultrasound. As soon as the images started showing up on the screen, my husband and I could tell something was different, but couldn’t really pin down what it was. Shortly after, my doctor told us that our son’s amniotic fluid had become cloudy and they believed he had taken his first poop in utero and that the time had come to induce. Even though I really didn’t want to be induced because of the increased risk of c-section, our son’s health and wellbeing came first, so we headed back to the hospital. The nurses inserted Cervadil to help soften my cervix at about 6PM on September 29—it had to stay in for 12 hours, so that would set us up to start Pitocin early the next morning. We got as much sleep as we could in our hospital room (hahaha) and sure enough, bright and early the next morning they started me on Pitocin.
I could tell I was having contractions, but they were not painful at all. I watched them peak on the monitors and thought that I was a total rockstar—they were peaking off the screens and I didn’t have any pain at all! I might not need that epidural I’d been planning on after all! And then at about 10AM, the doctor came in and broke my water (which did, in fact, have meconium in it), and they cranked up the Pitocin. And not only did I discover that I was NOT a rockstar, I was pretty sure I was going to die. Things get a little fuzzy for me at this point, but according to my husband, I started screaming for drugs. That was not part of what we planned for—I intended to get the epidural but did not want any other drugs prior to—but apparently, in the heat of battle, I changed my mind. I got a couple of IV meds that did not do much but make me feel groggy while we waited for the anesthesiologist, who arrived around noon. I did not feel the needle for that amazing procedure at all and was very soon pain free and relaxing.
Unfortunately, I realized that my arms were going numb and the numbness was moving up my chest as well—the epidural had gone high. Based on what the nurse told us afterward, it just happens sometimes, it’s not the result of anyone doing anything wrong necessarily. As the numbness increased, my blood pressure tanked (as did my son’s heart rate) and a crash cart was brought in, along with at least 12 nurses and 2 anesthesiologists. After 15-20 minutes of being dosed with I’m not even sure what, they got my blood pressure back up and adjusted the epidural so that it performed the way it should and all was right with the world. It wasn’t very scary for me, but the nursing staff was prepping to do an emergency c-section and things were much more serious than I realized. It worked out fine as both baby and myself were fine, and once they got the epidural adjusted I had no pain AND could move my legs on my own.
Once that was squared away, I was able to just relax and wait until it was time to start pushing. At about 6:30 or 7:00 that evening, it was time to get going. I could feel pressure with each contraction and the nurses and doctor guided me through pushing and making sure I was doing it as efficiently as possible. As my son began to crown, I started to feel what I considered pretty significant pain and may or may not have aggressively accused the nurses of turning off the epidural. They hadn’t, of course, there’s just only so much the epidural can do. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime of pushing, my son was born at 8:30PM on September 30, 2014, weighing nearly 9lbs and 22 inches long. They placed him on my chest and let us see and hold him for quite a while as the placenta was delivered and he was evaluated and wiped down.
I was fortunate to have a great doctor who applied counter pressure as I delivered and I did not tear at all. We spent the next couple of days in the hospital recovering, not sleeping, and enjoying our son. Everything went really well and I could not have been more pleased with the experience. The only thing I wish I had known ahead of time was all of the things that could be “wrong” with my baby—he was 0.3 ounce shy of 9 lbs, so they had to do extra tests to make sure I did not have undiagnosed gestational diabetes (I didn’t, he was fine); also with the meconium in his amniotic fluid, a respiratory team had to be there on standby, just in case (he was fine, no issues with this at all); he had a heart murmur (resolved itself before we were discharged); he was jaundiced (we went home with a light box for a few days and all was well); and he failed all of his hearing tests and showed no response to sounds at all (this went away around 7 or 8 weeks—until then, we really believed he was deaf). It was just terrifying to have thing after thing pop up with him that we did not expect. But everything worked out fine and he’s now a happy, rowdy toddler who will be a big brother in just a couple of months. The only thing I plan to do differently this time is to really hold out on not getting the IV pain meds prior to the epidural; I hope everything else goes just as smoothly!