A Much Anticipated Birth – Unity Point Health

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I had it set in my mind that I was going to have Baby B early.  I had my hospital bag packed at 34 weeks and I was ready.  I never once asked how far they would let me go over my due date or considered that I might still be pregnant on my due date. I had Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks prior to going into labor and often times felt panicked that I was in labor and didn’t know it.  I was nervous to go into labor with too many expectations, knowing that things never seem to go exactly as planned.  I knew I would eventually want an epidural, but kind of thought I would wait as long as I could before getting one.  I had my membranes stripped twice– the first time was on my birthday, 7 days before my due date and 8 days before Baby B was actually born. Dr. Bingaman said she was on call that night and was hoping she would see me later on.  I was hoping she would too.  It made for a crampy birthday, but no baby.  Then I had my membranes stripped again on my actual due date and set up a time to go into the hospital to be induced 1 week later.  I was miserable and felt like I would do anything to start labor.  Luckily we never had to make it to that appointment.

On the morning of Baby B’s birth I woke up and had a contraction.  I showered and got ready for work in case these contractions stopped like they had in the past.  This time the contractions seemed more regular.  I started timing them and they were every 7 minutes exactly. I called the after hours number that I had been given and as I was on the phone with the nurse my contractions seemed to be getting closer together–in 45 minutes they had gone to every 5 minutes. The nurse suggested my husband and I start making our way to the hospital. As we were driving downtown my contractions were still very regular but were now every 2-3 minutes after just an hour and a half.  We got to the labor and delivery floor and were put in a triage room where I was checked and told I was still only 2 cm dilated, the nurse said there was a chance I wouldn’t be admitted because the floor was full. They told me that a different doctor other than my OB was on call. I was bummed but prepared for that and hadn’t gotten my hopes up.  My contractions were becoming more painful and the table in the triage room was very uncomfortable. Then what seemed like the most wonderful thing in the world happened and Dr. Bingaman, my OB, came into the room and said that it seemed like a great day to have a baby– she was on that day, they were going to admit me, and my whole mood changed.

While I was still in triage waiting for a room, Dr. Bingaman suggested that if I wanted an epidural I “put my name on the list.” This kind of threw me, I had thought I would wait, but from what I had read and heard I knew I didn’t want to be at the point where I wanted an epidural and not have a doctor available to start it.  They gave me an IV pain medication right when I got to my room (which took the edge off but I could still feel the contractions), and then I told the nurse to let them know I wanted an epidural as soon as they had time.  After about two hours the nicest anesthesiologist came in, talked me through what he was going to do and started the epidural in less than 5 minutes. I didn’t feel anything and welcomed the relief from the pain of the contractions that it gave me. I was still able to move both of my legs and push myself up in bed if I needed to. Dr. Bingaman came in to break my water to help labor progress.  Baby B had pooped in utero and the water was meconium stained (greenish/brown) which scared me.  Dr. Bingaman was very reassuring that it was okay.  I remember the rest of the morning/afternoon being really exciting and relaxing.  My mom and dad came down to the hospital to hang out with my husband and I.  We watched the Cubs game on TV.  The only way I knew I was having a contraction was from looking at the monitor, I could hardly feel anything.

As the afternoon progressed and I became more dilated, I felt more pain which was not what I had expected.  I had friends who had told me that they really had only felt a little pressure– that was not my experience. I started to feel pain in my abdomen/perineum with contractions. I had a great nurse that explained to me that it was pretty normal to feel as much as I was and that it would probably even help when it came time to push.  Because of this she discouraged me from hitting the extra bolus on my epidural so that I could continue to feel some of that discomfort.  At 4:38pm I was 10 cm dilated, the nurse tried to call Dr. Bingaman into the room– but she was assisting in another labor. I really liked and trusted the nurse, so when she had me start pushing I just went with it. Originally my husband and I had decided that for the delivery it would just be he and I in the room with the medical staff, but plans changed when my husband turned as white as a ghost and almost passed out.  According to him: “I LOCKED MY KNEES WHEN I WAS HOLDING YOUR LEG!!”  My mom was a labor and delivery nurse years ago and was so happy to step in and help.  My husband would probably like it noted that after a quick apple juice he was back in the game.

Pushing went really smoothly and felt really natural.  Everything seemed to happen for a reason. Dr. Bingaman came in about 5 minutes before Baby B was born and encouraged me to push through the “ring of fire” or something like that. It kind of felt like pooping.  Baby B came into the world at 4:52pm– she was covered in meconium and not making as much noise as I had thought she would. They placed her on my chest and then quickly took her off of me and got her to the NICU nurses who were present due to the meconium stained amniotic fluid.  I didn’t really even realize what was going on but the nurses had to make sure that no stool had gotten into her lungs.  Typing that all out makes it sound scarier than it actually felt at the time. Dr. Bingaman was really reassuring that everything was okay, and it was. I had a second degree tear which the doctor stitched. I also had spiked a slight fever prior to delivery and the nursing staff had told me that Baby B may need to go to the NICU– but Dr. Bingaman felt like the fetal monitor had been very normal the whole labor and the fever had only come after I had started pushing so she made the call to not send Baby B to the NICU.

I loved my labor and delivery nurse, but after that the nursing staff seemed to not agree with each other and were very difficult to deal with (which is really tough to say, being a nurse and loving nurses). The staff thought that Baby B hadn’t urinated in the first 24 hours so they were very concerned about me pumping after each feed in the hospital and trying to feed her the pumped colostrum to get more fluids in her so that she would pee.  They were not warm or friendly and didn’t have a lot of experience in postpartum. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We got to stay in the same room throughout our stay, rather than moving to a recovery room or having a separate labor and delivery room.  If I had to do it all over again I would Try to worry less leading up to the day and not anticipate going early. I also may not have gotten my membranes stripped the first time; it seemed to just lead to a lot of cramping and discomfort, but at that point I was willing to try anything. 

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