Kathryn Olivia- 39 w 4 d, induced to avoid 4th of July craziness
Andrew William- 40 w 4 d, induced... but only after begging and promising my body could totally handle induction before 41 weeks
In Utah, they are just ready to pop your baby out once you hit 39 weeks. My experience in Michigan was very different. Whenever I mentioned setting up an induction at 39 weeks my OB would deflect and talk about the importance of not letting women go longer than 42 weeks. Ahhhh! With a bit of luck and a lot of asking, I secured an induction at 40.5 weeks. This was my longest pregnancy by a week, but it felt like an eternity! Whether it was the hot Summer or the exhaustion from chasing two other kids I was ready to have the baby.
With Kate I went in the morning of my scheduled induction. They cranked up the pitocin, totally supported my choice to get an epidural, wouldn't let me eat or drink anything, immediately bathed and cleaned her following brief skin-to-skin, and let me stay in the birthing suite until I got over the shakes and nausea. Keep that in mind when you see how different my experience was in Michigan.
I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. The clock was ticking and nothing was happening. I had been prepping the kids and told them they would meet Andrew on the 15th. With the slow start I was concerned that he wouldn't be delivered early enough for them to visit before bedtime (these were my worries at 8 in the morning! geeze!).
We got the green light and started the pitocin... at the slowest rate ever! I didn't realize there were 2 methods for using pitocin. In Utah they used a high dose to really get things going and would turn it up every 30 minutes. In Michigan, they started with hardly anything and took decades to increase the dose. I wasn't aware that a low dose could be just as effective so I became increasingly anxious about the timeline for the day.
My nurse was a hoot. She was a good mix of quirky and nice. She didn't hide the fact that she was more into natural births and whenever I brought up an epidural she would give me different options: bouncing on a ball, walking around the room, leaning on top of a ball (awkward!), applying pressure to my back, etc. When she went on her lunch break Paul spoke up and said now was the time to get an epidural before she could "push me" into another method of coping/relief. I cannot tell you have thankful I am that Paul advocated for me. Often the doulas and support are given the spotlight for natural births, but in this case he saw that what I needed was pain relief and rest, not another go on the ball. The epidural was a breeze and I was instantly much happier.
Holy cow, I almost forgot to mention that they let me drink sprite and eat jell-o! During my first two labors I was so weak by the end and I attributed it to being NPO the entire time. I took it easy and only had sips of pop and one jell-o, but it made all the difference! Another difference was not having a foley catheter once receiving my epidural. I thought that was totally weird and was worried that my bladder might explode or something but (spoiler alert) I was just fine.
I'd been there since the night before and I was almost dilated to 5 cm. With the epidural going my doc stopped in and broke my water to speed things along. You guys, I am glad I got my epidural first because within minutes of breaking my water, I felt so much pressure! I hesitantly asked my nurse if something was going on because I already felt like I needed to push. I felt so stupid because just minutes before I was hardly dilated.
Lo and behold, I was a 10 and the baby was coming! It was like less than 30 minutes that I went from a 5 to a 10! All of the sudden things got real and I could hardly believe that after all of the waiting, it was time. My nurse did a practice push with me and instantly told me to stop because the baby was almost there. She asked if I wanted a mirror. That was something I didn't want to see so I declined. Remember how I told you she was quirky? She rolled the mirror over and said, "I'll leave it here just in case you change your mind and want to look." Haha! That lady just cracks me up. She was so certain she knew what would give me the best experience and she wouldn't take no for an answer. Had it been something like totally denying me an epidural I'd be ticked, but since it was just odd things it provided a good laugh.
The room filled and it was time to meet my sweet baby. Since there was meconium in my amniotic fluid we had extra staff on hand prepared to take care of any potential respiratory issues when the baby was delivered. The delivery went incredibly fast and before I knew it Andrew was laying on my chest and all I could do was say, "I love him. I already love him. I love him so much." With his birth brought all of the precious memories of my two previous babies. I could already feel how much I was going to grow to love him over the years.
Andrew William Hannibal was born at 4:38 pm on September 15, 2016 weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and "measuring" 19 inches long (insert quirky nurse while measuring the baby, "what!? He can't only be 18 inches... I'm going to say he's 19 inches")
I was expecting Andrew to receive a bath but in Michigan they don't give the baby a real bath because it increases the chance of taking home "extra" bacteria from the hospital. So he was gently wiped down with a towel, Paul put on Andrew's first diaper, then he was wrapped up and returned to me. I was given time to nurse him and bond through skin-to-skin while the doc taught some youngin' how to sew me up.
The kids were able to make it in time to visit but the circumstances were less than ideal. My nurse didn't have anyone coming to replace her so I felt rushed to make it up to my recovery room. Meanwhile, my post delivery nausea was in full force and because of that wonderful jell-o and sprite, there was actually something to hurl this time around. So with my mom and kids in the room, I sat there puking while trying to show them how excited they should be about the new baby.
They moved me upstairs and I let my family stay for a little longer before my head hurt so bad and my stomach was churning so violently that I asked them to let me rest. With the lights off and the baby by my side I began to recoop and recover from the terrible awfulness I feel after every delivery.
I loved the different emphasis they had on breastfeeding. It wasn't about how long you nursed the baby, it was about how many times they would suck and swallow. This made me feel more relaxed about the process. I didn't have to stare at the clock and freak out because the baby fell asleep again. There were no repeated pokes to check his blood sugar and no pressure to supplement with formula. It was so nice! But do you remember how there was meconium in my amniotic fluid? To ensure he didn't get any stuck in his lungs they suctioned him vigorously after he was born. This created an aversion to anything in his mouth afterward and he didn't really want to nurse because of it. I was blessed with the best lactation consultant who gave me the confidence I needed in such an emotional time. It took some practice but within a few days we worked through it and overcame the trauma from all of the suctioning he went through.
Since this wasn't my first time at the rodeo and everything went relatively well during my delivery, I was itching to leave the hospital. Andrew cried the entire drive but stopped the moment we got him out of the car seat. The kids were thrilled to have him home and constantly wanted to hold him. My Dad even surprised us with a visit (on his birthday, no less) to see Andrew and spend time with us. It meant a lot to me that he would travel on his birthday and be away from his own home so he could be with us at such a special time. I also can't imagine how rough the transition would have been without my mom there to help us survive. Thank goodness for family!
Here's the play by play that Paul recorded for me:
2100: Arrive and register at the hospital, change into gown, blood draws, IV in
Waiting for doctors...(for 3 hours!)
0000: 1.5 cm dilated, 70% effaced, -1 station. Start Cytotec.
0400: 2 cm dilated, 70% effaced, 0 station, cervix in middle (no longer posterior, not yet anterior), 2nd dose of cytotec
0530: Experiencing some contractions now, got maybe 2 hours of sleep that night
0830: After waiting to hear from the doc we started Pitocin at 1ml/hr
0930: Pitocin @ 2 ml/hr
0945: Bounced on birthing ball for 20 minutes
1015: Pitocin @ 4ml/hr
1050: 3 cm dilated, 70% effaced, -1 station (she took away my 0 station!)
1105: Pitocin @ 6 ml/hr
1315: 3.5 cm dilated 70% effaced, -1 station. Feeling discouraged about lack of substantial progress
1325: Contractions are getting more painful. Tried laying on ball on hands & knees with Paul putting pressure on back
1355: Libby: "I don't think this is a good idea."
Paul: "...Having a baby?"
Libby: "Yeah" *quickly nods head with concerned face*
1415: Anesthesiologist in for epidural
1430: Epidural in and working! Relaxing while we wait for Dr. Rhone to visit
1530: 5 cm dilated, 70% effaced, -1 station. Dr Rhone breaks water
1545: Begins feeling pressure, asks nurse to check but hold off to reduce introduction of bacteria
1609: Feeling urge to push but resisting it, check by nurse- Completely dilated & effaced, baby descending
1620: Room set up, practice push, mirror incident
1636: Head delivered after one push. Cord around baby's neck (like Vincent)
1638: Baby born! Dad cuts the cord, skin to skin with mom, then Dad puts on first diaper
Do you see that?! Just over an hour from 5 cm dilated to delivery!