After two weeks of on-again off-again contractions, Desmond and I went in to the hospital for a cervidil induction at 41 weeks. It was a Wednesday night, we pulled up to the hospital around 8:30. I was 1cm dilated, completely effaced, and to be honest disappointed about the induction BUT ready to meet our girl. After almost two hours of paper work and getting settled, the nurse inserted the cervidil around 10:30pm. This is where Des and I are supposed to get some sleep…
Typically, the cervidil goes in for 12 hours, then they start a Pitocin drip (artificial oxytocin) through an IV if labor hasn’t started on it’s own, but after about two hours Lucy’s heart rate dipped. The nurses rushed in, took the cervidil out, and started moving me around to stabilized the babe’s heart rate. Apparently, the cervidil was over-stimulating my uterus. On the plus side, it was enough to kick labor into full swing. My contractions stayed consistent, then steadily, started to get more intense and closer together.
Even though we were incredibly sleep deprived, Des and I (of course) found a second wind. This was finally it. We’d be meeting our little lady soon. We labored just the two of us for a couple of hours. Natually, our Bradley Method techniques and comfort measures we had practiced in the weeks leading up to the due date, started coming into play. Basically, there was a lot of slow dancing like junior high students, and low voice moaning. Which, to my surprise, helped the most. I was so proud of Des, he stayed incredibly calm and in control. I know he’s my husband, but his touch and smell were so comforting. All I wanted was for him to be close to me while I was working through the contractions.
Des contacted our doula, Samantha, to keep her in the loop with everything and asked her to head to the hospital around 3am becuase of the rapid progress I was making. Sam lives pretty close to the hospital, so I remember her joining us not long after Des contacted her. One thing I specifically remember was how Sam jumped right in when she got there. All of a sudden she was in the room, talking me through the contractions and reminding me to release my tension. I couldn’t have asked for a better labor team. Sam and Des worked together squeezing my hips, helping me to the bathroom, changing my position, etc.
Our L&D nurse was super excited for us because she said she’d never seen an unmedicated labor before. Every time she would check-in, she would wait for my contraction to end and say, “You’re doing it, keep going, you’re doing it all on your own” in the most sincere and supportive voice. I was super disappointed when she came in to tell me her shift was ending and a different nurse would be taking over. I’m pretty sure I asked her not to go, and to stay with us.
The timeline is all a blur for me at this point. I know Des contacted my folks and told them to start heading to the hospital, and to pick him up coffee. I know I had and internal exam and my cervix was at 7cm dilated. My mom and sister joined us in the delivery room at some point. I remember laboring on the toilet, on the birthing ball, and on my hands and knees on the hospital bed. Somewhere in there, the new nurse came in and was trying to talk to me about something during a contraction – of course I repeatedly shushed her. (Seriously lady? Clearly you don’t see unmedicated labors very often. If I shush you once then stop talking…) I also remember asking for a different nurse because I really didn’t like her energy. All in all, we had a beautiful 12 hour labor. The room was dark and calm. We had a pre-made playlist playing on our speakers with albums from Junip, Jose Gonzalez, The XX, Ben Howard, Bibio, and a few other random tunes. Everything was flowing really well. My body was showing signs of progress and I was looking forward to the moment when I’d be pushing Lucy out into the world…
The delivery, unfortunately, was quite traumatic. I was stuck in the transition phase of labor at 9cm for a couple of hours, with Lucy’s head at 0/-1 station and not moving down. The doc broke my bag of waters in hopes of moving Lucy’s head down more, but no luck. Then Lucy’s heart rate dropped to around 60bpm for 2-3 minutes. They turned me on my side, and had me change positions just in case she was on her umbilical cord, but her heart rate wasn’t coming back up. They called for an emergency c-section.
The next 15 min were completely chaotic. They put me on my back, shaved me, shoved a catheter in, and strapped an oxygen mask to my face all while I was having my most intense, unmedicated contractions. I fell out of my zone, lost my focus, and I’m pretty sure I was hyperventilating. I have flashes of Des and Sam talking to me. Des was assuring me the babe was okay, but she needed to get out now. Then I remember laying on my side and my mother came over to the bed. If I wasn’t already crying this definitely did it. She held my hand and got as close as she could. It was almost as though she was cradling me. There is nothing like a mother’s comforting touch and words of encouragement, especially while feeling so defeated and vulnerable.
They wheeled me into the OR. I had one last contraction sitting-up while the anesthesiologist had his ways with my spine. Then they moved me onto the itty-bitty operating table and strapped my arms down and out to the side. The curtain went up separating my top half from my bottom half. Des scrubbed in, and came to join me on the upper half, ready with our camera. He excitedly asked me if he could watch the surgery. They told me I’d be feeling some pressure and tugging, and then she was born. I was lucky I had time to get a spinal versus having general anesthetic, this allowed me to be conscious and hear my little one cry on her way out. I’ll never forget the moment I heard her little cry. I was sobbing and shaking, and was just barley in view of the warming table. Des immediately went to Lucy’s side and started snapping photos. I watched from a distance as he talked to with a big smile on his face. Watching the two of them melted my heart over and over again. After she was cleaned up, he brought her over to me, where the three of us shared tears of joy. The OR nurse agreed to unstrapped one of my hands as long as I kept it on my side of the curtain. This was the first time I held Lucy.
Since the epidural didn’t have much time to cross the placenta, Lucy was was not drugged. In fact she was very alert and ready to eat as soon as I was back in the room. My little Lucy latched on right away, and has been breastfeeding ever since.
My husband is amazing. He went above and beyond his duties as a husband, birth coach, and father. I can’t even put into words the way this experience has changed us. I feel as though we’ve entered a whole other level of love and intimacy. There is no way I would have been able to make it through the labor without him. He kept me going when I was in despair, and never once stopped believing in me. I could not of asked for a better partner and father to my child. My recovery has been slow with some road blocks, and he has been at my side the entire time.