Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baby Chocosaur!

I've been a really delinquent Pregosaur... I had my baby in November but things have been so busy for us, adjusting to life with a newborn, that I've been meaning to blog about her birth but just never got around to it. So, without further ado, here's how our little baby Chocosaur made her entrance into this world...

On November 6th (39 weeks, 2 days) I had an Ob appointment and my cervix was "soft" but I still wasn't dilated. We discussed a possible induction on either November 12th (40 weeks, 1 day) or November 16th (40 weeks, 5 days) because the doctor did not want me going beyond 41 weeks. She had me come back on the 10th and based on that visit, we were going to decide what to do. On the 10th I went in and she told me that I was now a fingertip dilated but the baby hadn't dropped all the way.

Honestly, there was a lot of temptation to go ahead and schedule the induction for the 12th because at that point I was just done being pregnant. I was huge and uncomfortable, had trouble sleeping, and I was just eager to meet my little one! That said, I really wanted what was best for the baby so I put my feelings aside and we decided that we would try to give her at least a little more time before inducing. The nurses had already scheduled us for a November 12th induction at the hospital to hold a spot, but we simply rescheduled it for November 16th, hoping the baby would come in her own time before then.

Later that night after my appointment, I started having contractions. I always wondered during my pregnancy how I would know when I was having real contractions. I had heard that real contractions are painful, and that "you'll just know." I hate to also say it, but you really do "just know" when you start feeling them because they are very intense and mild to moderately painful.

My contractions were coming 5 minutes apart and lasted for 90 minutes. (The doctor had said to call if they lasted for longer than 60 minutes, but given how many contractions I had in the past, I thought I would give it more time.) So when I finally hit the 90 minute mark I figured I should call the doctor and let her know. Of course as soon as I went to grab the phone, the contractions started to go away. I was still having them, but at sporadic intervals...every 6-10 minutes with no clear pattern of progression. So I decided to just wait it out until morning to call. When I called, they said just to come in to get checked so we came in as a walk in appointment. The office was packed and we waited for over an hour to be seen. I was still having contractions at this point, but only every 10-15 minutes or so. After a long wait, I was put in an exam room and the doctor finally came in and checked me - I was still just a fingertip dilated - nothing had changed from the previous day. So they sent me home to wait some more. I was so sure that they were going to say I was at least 2 cm dilated, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

So I went home and went about my day as usual. Around 6pm, I started having contractions again. Again, these were very sporadic, but there was a definite period of time where they were 5 minutes apart for at least an hour. But again, they tapered off and started coming in different time intervals again so I decided to just sit through them. Before going to bed, I showed Mr. Chocosaur the log I was keeping of contractions that night and asked him if he thought I should call the doctor again - he said no, since they were all over the place like the were the previous night. So I went to bed, or tried to get some sleep at least. I never did fall asleep - I had been having trouble falling asleep for quite some time from just being so big and uncomfortable. Add some contractions to the mix and I knew I wasn't going to get much sleep. Then the contractions started to become more painful. I had stopped timing them but they suddenly felt like they were pretty frequent so I started timing them again. This time, they were coming every 2 minutes. Because they were so intense and coming so close together, I decided to call the on-call doctor to find out if I should come in or if I should see if these last for at least an hour (at this point they had only been coming for about 15 minutes). The on-call doctor told me to go drink a bunch of water and get hydrated, then wait and see if they would continue to last for a full hour. If they did, he wanted me to call back and then they would have to go in to the hospital. This was at around 11:30pm on the 11th. I got off the phone with him and then proceeded to go downstairs to get some water. At the bottom of the stairs, I felt a small gush. Nothing huge, in fact it felt very similar to other points in the pregnancy where some discharge would come out. In the past, I had thought my water was breaking but went to the bathroom to check, only find it was normal pregnancy discharge. So this time, when I went to check, I was actually surprised to see that underwear wet with no discharge present - and when I wiped, it was bright red blood. It was a small amount of fluid though, so I wasn't sure if this was actually my water breaking or if it was "bloody show."

So I called the doctor back and told him I wasn't sure if my water broke or if it was bloody show - he didn't really answer my question. He simply said, "Well, if your water broke, you should go in." I was a little annoyed by this but was glad that it was late enough in the night that I was pretty sure he wasn't going to be doing my delivery. So, I went and got my hospital bag, packed up the last of the toiletries that I had held off on packing, and we were at the hospital by about 12:30am (about 1 hour after my water broke). When I went to the admissions desk, they recognized my name and asked, "Weren't you supposed to be here tonight for an induction?" I smiled and told her that I was, but that we had decided to reschedule the induction to give the baby more time to come on her own.

Once I was admitted, a nurse came in to check on me. I was still just a fingertip dilated (I couldn't believe it!) and the nurse wasn't sure if my water actually broke or not because she said she had trouble feeling my bag of waters. She said it could have also been the bloody show, but couldn't say for sure. But they went ahead and hooked me up to a fetal monitor and a contraction monitor, took some blood, and started my IV. The nurse told me to get ready for a very long night, because first time moms tend to have very long labors. At this point, Mr. Chocosaur and my mom decided to go home and get some sleep and return in the morning. Before leaving, my hubby told me to try and get some rest - I told him there was no way I was getting any sleep while I was having painful contractions every 2 minutes!!

The nurse told me that I could get the epidural at any time I wanted it. I asked her how much it would slow down the labor and she said it would slow it down some, but not a lot. The nurse also informed me that if your water breaks, the contractions tend to be much stronger than if it has not. I tried really hard to deal with the pain for as long as possible, but with the contractions coming every 2 minutes and hours of labor ahead of me, I finally asked for the epidural around 3:30am. The nurse told me she'd just call and wake up the anesthesiologist and I'd feel better in no time. It didn't make me feel great that he'd be tapping into my spine minutes after waking up, but what choice did I have?

The anesthesiologist came quickly and then they had me sit up in bed with my legs dangling over the edge. I always thought that epidurals were administered while you were laying on your side (like a spinal tap) but I guess not. I was terrified about what it would feel like but it wasn't too bad. The worst part was having to sit still while he was doing it even though I was having contractions. They don't pause while you have the contractions, they just keep going. The nurse told me to lean over the edge of the bed with my back hunched over and cross my arms and breathe through the contractions but they were so painful I had to take my arms and brace her shoulders to get through it. The lidocaine stung a bit going in and when he went to give me the epidural I could still feel it going in! I screamed and he stopped; then he casually said, "I guess we're going to need some more lidocaine." After the second injection of lidocaine I did not feel any pain as he inserted it, but I did feel some pressure. There was another brief moment of pain as he did things. I have no idea what all he did but at one point he said, "You're going to feel a back cramp now, totally normal," and when I yelped he said, "good, that's what we want." Ha! Shortly thereafter, the drugs started to kick in and all the pain from the contractions was gone... it was wonderful. I could still feel slight pressure from each contraction, but all the pain was gone. This was around 3:45am. From then on, I was able to doze in and out of sleep. I wasn't ever able to get any really good sleep, as the nurse kept coming in to check on me, adjust my monitors, etc. Plus the blood pressure cuff was checking my blood pressure every 10 or 15 minutes and it would wake me up.

Around 6am the nurse called my Ob who was thankfully on-call that day - this is why we had scheduled the induction on the 12th in the first place. She wanted to go ahead and augment my labor with pitocin because once your water breaks, you need to deliver within 24 hours or else the risk of infection gets really high. So the nurse came in around 6:30am and checked my cervix one more time before starting the pitocin. I was 2 cm dilated (finally), so at least I was progressing a little bit. At this point, the pad they had put under me was soaked and there was meconium in it so the nurse said that it was definitely my water that had broken and wasn't just bloody show earlier. I was a little worried at this point due to the meconium being in the amniotic fluid - the whole reason we had discussed induction was to decrease the risk of meconium aspiration which goes up after 41 weeks. There was nothing we could do about it though, except wait and see.

So they started the pitocin in my IV - I couldn't really feel any difference in the contractions but from there on out, I was happy to see that I was progressing exactly as I should be. By 7:30am I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. By 10am I was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. By noon I was 6cm dilated and 100% effaced but the baby had not totally dropped so the Ob was concerned about that. If she didn't drop, I wouldn't be able to deliver her vaginally. Furthermore, the doctor felt like the baby might be tilted a bit to where part of her head was face up. She said that babies that are "sunny side up" are more difficult to deliver so she wanted to try and reposition me to see if we get the baby to turn. So they had me labor on my side, with my leg elevated straight out in a stirrup. By 2pm I was 10cm dilated and the baby had dropped completely and turned over on her back - laboring on my side had worked! I was so relieved to hear this. The doctor said we could go ahead and start actively pushing so the nurse started setting everything up. She wheeled in a table and set it up with tools to assist in delivery (vacuum, forceps, etc) as well as instruments for an emergency c-section if needed. By 2:30pm the nurse let me go ahead and start pushing.

At this point I was thinking to myself that having a baby wasn't all that bad. I had painful contractions from about 11:15pm to 3:45am but after I had the epidural, the laboring had been a breeze. Don't get me wrong, the contractions were painful enough that I was desperate to get the epidural as soon as they would let me (we had to wait on the bloodwork results and for me to get enough IV fluids), but I could take them. Well, we tried pushing for about 15 minutes but I didn't "know" what muscles to use to push since I couldn't feel anything down there thanks to the wonderful epidural. Even though I knew this was normal, it kind of bothered me because I thought child birth was supposed to be "natural" and that I would just "know" how to push my baby out!

At that point, they decided that we'd have to turn off the epidural so that I could feel again and push more effectively. So we waited about 10-15 minutes for the epidural to wear off. This was the point where I gained an utmost respect for those moms who choose to labor med-free. The pain from the contractions was SO painful... I would even go as far as calling them unbearably painful!!! I expected pain, but not THAT kind of pain. It was so painful that I was crying - actually sobbing - with each contraction. This was not the labor that I had envisioned for myself.

In any case, the plan worked because once I could feel again, I was able to push more effectively. "More" being the key word - I was pushing, but not pushing hard enough for the baby to advance through the birth canal. Nonetheless, the nurse and doctor kept encouraging me and pushing me to keep going. At one point the nurse tried to tell me how she could see the baby's hair and that I just needed to push "a little harder" so she could come out. In order to try to get her to progress more with each push, they used a special technique with me while I was pushing. They said that if I lean over and hunch over my belly while pushing, it would help compress my belly and apply more pressure to get her to come out faster. So they took a bed sheet and had me hold onto it and they would pull me forward with each contraction/push (there was no way I was staying in that position on my own through that much pain!). They also elevated my legs and pulled them outward in order to get my pelvis to open up as much as possible.

So I pushed...and pushed...and pushed... my hospital gown was soaked in tears ...the contractions were coming every 1.5-2 minutes so I was pretty much sobbing non-stop. Nothing helped. Holding my husband's hand, trying to focus on meeting my baby, taking deep breaths, etc.... none of that helped with the pain. After about an hour and half of this, after I thought I was going to die of pain, they decided to turn the epidural back on a little bit to see if that helped. I am not sure why they didn't do this in the first place (I guess they thought I needed to feel everything in order to figure out which muscles to use...and with partial numbness I would have trouble doing so?) but once I had some pain relief, I felt much better and was able to push harder. In fact, the doctor said that those pushes were the strongest and most effective pushes I had made since we had started.

At 5:00pm, after I had been pushing for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, the doctor stopped everything and said we needed to reassess the situation. She said that with first time moms, if the baby isn't out after 2 hours of pushing, it probably isn't going to come out. She said that after 2 hours, the third hour of trying usually isn't very effective because the mom is just so worn out. She then stated that we could continue to try, and if I could just get the baby out a little bit further, she could try to pull her out with either a vacuum or forceps. However, she said that she herself had had a forceps delivery and as a mother she would not recommend that because the recovery is hard on both mom and baby. She also reached in to feel the baby and unfortunately she had turned back over and was sunny side up again, which was one more factor that was going to make it harder to deliver her vaginally.

She then turned to us and asked us what we wanted to do. Mr. Chocosaur turned to me and asked me what I wanted to do. At this point, I was SO worn out and tired of hurting that I did not have the energy to even think about this (they even put an oxygen mask on me to help me get through the contractions). I told him that we could do whatever he wanted to do and that I didn't care anymore! He said it wasn't his decision, but mine... we asked the doctor what the likelihood was of continuing like this and delivering the baby okay - she said about 20%. So then we both kind of decided that we would just go ahead with the c-section. This was at 5:04pm and I remember looking at the clock and asking the doctor, "So this means I'll have my baby and this will be over with before 6:00, right?" My doctor smiled at me and said, "Oh yes, definitely. It won't take long at all." To which I replied, "Great... can I have some more drugs now?" Everyone in the room burst out laughing at this comment and the doctor said, "Yes, we'll get you taken care of."

Once the epidural was back on fully, I felt SO much better. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me some additional drugs, then checked to make sure I was completely numb up to my chest. By 5:24pm they were wheeling me over to the operating room. I remember being so cold from being exposed during the labor, plus all the cold IV fluids that they were giving me (I think I had received at least 2-3 liters by then!). I was shivering uncontrollably even though they put blankets on me. I am not sure if it was the drugs or just the sheer exhaustion of having been up for so long and having labored for so long, but the rest of the evening was a bit of a blur to me...

I remember them transferring me from the hospital bed to the operating room table and the nurse anesthetist talking to me and giving me drugs. I was still shivering uncontrollably at this point - I remember wishing I could warm up so I could feel a little more relaxed (even my teeth were chattering). I am not even sure exactly when they started but I remember thinking to myself that they weren't even waiting for my husband before making the initial incision. I heard them ask for someone to go get him, but I think they started cutting immediately thereafter. Once he was by my head, I asked him what the burning smell was and he told me it was the cautery they were using. I remember thinking to myself, "great, I can smell myself burning." Minutes later, at 5:42pm, they pulled her from my belly and I could hear her crying immediately. The first thing my Ob said was, "Oh she is just beautiful! So beautiful." Before taking her to get cleaned up and everything, they brought her by for me to see her and I immediately started crying. Mr. Chocosaur asked me what was wrong and I told him, "Nothing's wrong. I'm just so happy she is here and this is all over now." After that, they cleaned her up, weighed her, and I heard them give her an apgar score of 8 and then 9. She was 7 pounds, 4.4 ounces and 20 inches long.

My Ob actually told me that once they were in there, she could see that my pelvis was too small and that's why she wasn't progressing when I was pushing. She said I could have pushed until I was blue in the face, but my baby was not coming out except via c-section. She said that my pelvic outlet (which she could feel on her internal exams) was big enough, but my pelvic inlet (which she couldn't see until they opened me up) was way too small for her head to fit through. I just thought to myself, "Well, that would have been nice to know 24 hours ago!!"

After the surgery was done they wheeled me back to labor and delivery so I could recover and spend some time with her before she went to the nursery for her first bath. I remember feeling so groggy during this time that I don't even remember trying to breast feed her. I remember them undressing her so we could have some skin to skin contact before breast feeding, but that's it. Still, I remember how great it felt to finally have her snuggled up against me! I just looked at her and could not believe that this tiny little perfect baby was mine! It was a wonderful ending to very very long ordeal...

I know this is a very, very long post, but I always enjoyed reading other women's birth stories so I hope some of Pregosaur's readers have enjoyed reading mine. I suppose this will be my last post to this blog, as I am no longer a "Pregosaur." Life with a newborn has been crazy exhausting, stressful, and amazingly wonderful all at the same time. I'm not quite ready to transition over to Littlesaur just yet (don't know where I'd find the time!), but maybe someday when baby Chocosaur is a little older! It's been a pleasure being a contributor to this blog, and I wish nothing but the best to all the other Pregosaurs and readers of this blog as everyone makes their journey to motherhood!


  1. Congratulations! Welcome to the world baby Chocosaur! Thanks for sharing your labor story with us. The details are very helpful in preparing the rest of us. All the best for your expanded family!

  2. I also had the same situation with the birth of my daughter, many hours of labor only to be told she never would have come out that way! nice work and I hope it all is going well. Welcome to motherhood

  3. Congratulations Chocosaur! I am so glad that everyone ended up healthy and safe. Thank you for sharing your story I did enjoy reading it.

  4. Thanks Chocosaur! What a great post :) I loved hearing your story, and I'm so happy for you that everything turned out well!

  5. Congratulations! I can't believe you pushed for that long. Once I got to the pushing stage things went pretty fast for me and my baby was born within the hour, but even that seemed unbearable and exhausting so I take my hat off to you for pushing that long and getting nowhere. So glad things worked out in the end. Enjoy your baby!!