I must say that I had a pretty great pregnancy. (Seriously, I didn’t even experience morning sickness.) That came to a crashing halt shortly after hitting thirty-four weeks, though. I ended up in the hospital for a week for what we eventually – after all kinds of exams, monitoring and tests – found out was a 2mm kidney stone stuck in my ureter that had caused trauma to the area. That’s a story for another day, but I will say that the pain from that kidney stone far exceeded that of my labor and delivery with Brecken. For the record, I had never had a kidney stone before, and I hope to never have one again.
During that hospital stay, before we knew exactly where my excruciating back pain was coming from, a routine scan indicated that I had borderline low fluid, so I was admitted and referred to an MFM during my stay. I eventually had surgery to remove the stone and was released a day later with a catheter. Talk about pure misery. Thankfully, Brecken was just fine during all of that, but from that point on, I had to see an OB in my group twice a week for monitoring and fluid scans until Brecken was ready to make his appearance. Between the low fluid issue, Brecken measuring big and the fact that IVF babies are inherently considered high risk, a decision was made to schedule an induction at 39w+2.
I was actually all for an induction. I’m a Type A planner through and through. I don’t like surprises, even if it’s the birth of my own child! The other benefit of me scheduling an induction was that I was guaranteed to be at the hospital that was, by far, my preference. I knew the risks and that many inductions, especially for first-timers, end in a c-section. I was just staying positive and hoping for the best.
Induction day was upon us in no time. In retrospect, my entire pregnancy seemed to go by in a blink. I still tell people that the days were long, but the weeks were short. One after another the weeks had passed by, hitting certain milestones along the way. The week leading up to Brecken’s big debut was filled with an enormous amount of excitement. Matt and I went to a couple of nice dinners to kind of celebrate and rejoice in our finals nights as a duo. I also thought about so many other random thoughts and “what ifs”, as I imagine most first-time soon-to-be parents do. “Do we have everything we need for him?” “How much do you even feed a baby?” “Is the house clean enough?” “Did we prep enough meals in case, you know, I can’t leave the house for months?” “Is it true that I will probably never sleep again? …but I love sleep!” “How will our girls [three dogs] react to him?” “ARE WE TRULY PREPARED?” (Too late now anyways! But, yes, we were.) Eventually, I quieted my thoughts and somehow managed to fall asleep that Sunday night before the induction.
Matt and I were up bright and early the next morning, like 5am early. It was reminiscent of all of the early mornings we had shared waking up excited to head out for a flight and kick off another vacation. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts so that we could both get a little something to eat. I knew that it could be a long time before I was able to eat anything. While we were driving to the hospital, I had this irrational fear that they wouldn’t have my information when we arrived. I was so worried about it!
We arrived around 6:45am. I am happy to report that they did have my information, a whole binder, actually, sitting front and center at the nurse’s station in the L&D unit. Phew! They showed me to my private room, and we settled in. It was around the time of the nurse’s shift change, so we just sat idle for a bit, but I was hooked up to monitoring and examined by my assigned nurse soon after. I had been sitting at about 1cm since 35w and was about 50% effaced the week or two leading up to my delivery. I went in to my induction being closer to 2cm and at least 75% effaced.
My IV was the next step. IVs and blood draws are extremely difficult for me. Truly brutal. To top it off, I have small veins, so I often have to be stuck multiple times. I always mention my issues to the tech or nurse, as most are very understanding. The nurse said she’d take a look. She saw a vein that had potential, so she proceeded. Matt stood on the other side of me and squeezed my hand. With tearful eyes, I looked the other way. The vein blew. The nurse felt horrible and immediately called an anesthesiologist because she didn’t want to have to keep poking me, as it was clearly agonizing. The anesthesiologist arrived; he stuck me in a different spot but didn’t get it. At this point, while he was trying to stick me, I felt something cool on my right hand. I glanced down and saw blood streaming down my hand as a result of the first poke. The nurse hurried over to get that under control. I was fighting hard to get through it, telling myself, “It’s almost over.” The third poke was successful. I took some deep breaths and Matt helped to calm me down.
At approximately 8:45am, my doctor arrived to break my water. Because I had lower fluid going in, there was no big gush. It was actually pretty quick and painless. They also inserted a line of constant fluid to keep Brecken safe. That was very odd because I felt like I was peeing on myself the entire time. After my doctor left, my nurse started pitocin through my IV. That’s when the action started! Within about fifteen minutes, I started having really strong contractions consistently about every minute or two. Things went from zero to sixty in almost no time. My nurse told me right away to let her know when I wanted my epidural since I knew going in that I was getting one. (I actually had an epidural during my kidney stone surgery since they couldn’t put me under because of the pregnancy. So, at least I knew it worked for me.) I was in pain immediately, but I thought I would wait it out a bit. To be honest, I didn’t really know what the “normal” epidural protocol was, but I didn’t feel like I should ask for one right away. “I can manage for a bit,” I thought. I dealt with the painful contractions for about three hours total before the epidural kicked in. I had requested one after about two hours, but it takes time to get the anesthesiologist to the room and get it going. Matt left the room during that time to grab lunch, since he couldn’t be in there anyways.
Once the epidural kicked it, I was feeling much better. The nurse had me lie on my side with a “peanut” between my legs to help me progress. (The “peanut” is like a medicine or yoga ball, except peanut shaped.) I switched sides over the next few hours. This time was pretty uneventful. I desperately wanted water but settled for ice pellets. I asked Matt to sneak me a couple of pretzels. The nurse would periodically come in to check my progress. I was, indeed, progressing well.
Around 7pm, shortly after shift change, my new nurse was in the room. I embarrassingly told her, “Sorry this is TMI, but I really feel like I have to poop.” To which she exclaimed, “That means it’s time to push!” …Ummm…what?! Like, right now?! We’re going to start pushing right now? The nurse did another check and got a second opinion. I was ready. Brecken was ready. It was time to push.
I pushed during every contraction for about 1.5 hours total with Matt and my nurse by my side. (I had chest muscle soreness for a couple of days from pulling and holding myself up during each push.) To be honest, things became a bit of a blur towards the end. I recall that all of a sudden my doctor came in with a bunch of other people, lights came down from the ceiling and carts and tools came out of hidden storage closets in the massive TV console. My doctor immediately took over, and she meant business. She was instructing me to push and would make me start over if I took a breath. She wasn’t doing it in a mean way, rather a let’s-do-this way. At one point she yelled out, “I’m going to have to cut you because you are tearing.” That freaked me out quite a bit, but I didn’t feel anything thanks to the epidural. After a few more pushes she yelled out, “He’s coming! Here he comes! Push! Push! Push! Here he comes!” I then felt the biggest release (gush, really) of pressure and fluid as our son Brecken was pulled out. At that exact moment, I let out a loud, deep cry of relief. Matt vividly recalls me crying out because even he could sense my amazement, relief and joy all in that moment. She held Brecken up briefly and then passed him to a nurse. Brecken arrived only fifteen minutes after my doctor had entered the room. Thankfully, my placenta followed with one additional push. Shortly after Brecken’s arrival, I became very light-headed and felt like I couldn’t breath, so I was put on oxygen immediately. I think it was all just very overwhelming.
While the nurses took care of Brecken and gathered his Apgar scores, I had to be stitched up. It took about forty minutes for me to get stitched up in two different places. It felt like a lifetime. Again, I was very grateful that I could only feel the pressure and not the pain. At some point while this was happening, I asked how much he weighed. I was so curious because he kept measuring so big. A nurse also brought him over for a quick minute so that I could see him. I asked for water and Sprite immediately because I hadn’t been able to drink anything all day; I was so parched. I quickly guzzled both down.
Once my doctor was done, I was able to hold Brecken. Our son. I was going to hold our son. After finally becoming pregnant through IVF, I managed to grow this beautiful being inside of me, and now I was about to hold him. A nurse put his tiny body on my chest, and I wrapped my arms around him and kissed his sweet forehead. He was already trying to lift his little head. He looked up at me, and it was love at first sight. He was perfect. Better than anything I could have imagined in my wildest dreams. Our life as a family of three had just begun.
August 28, 2017 — 9:04pm
7 lbs. 11 oz. — 21″