My mom had the foresight to keep a log of the main events leading up to Declan's arrival. So glad she did! Helped me a lot with this entry.
I had a doctor's appointment on my due date (June 14), and of course I was hoping to hear that I had been in labor all day and had started dilating already. I wanted more than anything to go into labor naturally, then see how far I could get through it without pain meds. The last couple of weeks had been so uncomfortable. The swelling in my feet was getting more and more difficult to control. His pressing on my organs was pretty painful, and I could not sit or lie down (not to mention get up) without great difficulty and some pain. None of it was unbearable, but the persistence of the little things was driving me to understand what Sarah meant when she blogged, "By this point in the pregnancy, you do not care if the baby has to leave your ear sideways."
Needless to say, I was disheartened to learn that I still was not in labor that day. My doctor felt all around on my belly bump to determine his position and estimate his size. She said he was a big one - at least 8lbs. Then she expressed her concern about waiting too long to induce. She was concerned that the longer I waited, the lesser my chances of being able to deliver vaginally became. I knew that 8lbs was on the large side, but I also knew that lots of babies are 8+lbs, easy. Despite that... let me see, how do I put this? I saw her point. Large kid - small hole. I didn't want to induce, but I definitely didn't want to undergo major surgery and a lengthy recouperation.
The next day (Wednesday, June 15), I slept in, did a little work from home, and double checked my hospital bag. Ryan had woken up with a sore throat but went to work anyway. By late morning he decided that he needed to see a doctor. He went to the clinic and was diagnosed with strep throat. They gave him a shot of penicillan and told him he would not be contagious after 24 hours. This meant that he would not be able to stay the night in the hospital with me as I was induced, and he would also not be able to be with me during labor. Our only consolation was that he would be safe to join us after 3pm, and my doctor speculated that our baby would not arrive before Ryan was able to join us.
We were to arrive at the hospital between 6:30 and 7:00pm. I cried when Ryan held me and assured me all would be okay, and then Mom, Ruth and I headed out the door to the hospital, leaving him behind. This was not how I pictured this going at all. I had read that its important to be flexible with your birth plans because you never know what complications could arise, but never had I imagined having to do it without Ryan. I continued to sob the whole way there (still crying now just remembering it - wow hormones). By the time we arrived at the hospital, I was composed enough. We went to registration at the ER and I filled out the paperwork. The lady at the desk commented on how calm I was, and Mom told her I had been upset because Ryan couldn't come and of course I had to fight back tears again (pretty unsuccessfully).
By 8pm we were in our hospital room. They put me on an IV drip , put a monitor on my belly to measure the baby and the nurse, Sarah, checked me for dilation - I was still just 1cm. At 10pm they inserted a tablet behind my cervix to get it to start softening, and I was instructed to stay on my back and that I wasn't allowed to pee until midnight in order to keep the tablet from being dislodged. At 11, we got the ultrasound that my doctor ordered to get a better estimate of his size. We had hoped to get a glimpse of his face, but the tech was a rather grumpy old man who apparently didn't hear very well. He measured and measured. The screen was turned so I could barely see it, but I strained to see the numbers. I asked him, "Does that say 8lbs, 15oz?!" He muttered that it did and my mom and I stared at each other open-mouthed. Nurse Sarah came in around that time and told us the ultrasounds are not always very accurate, but she was going to call my doctor and inform her of the estimated weight, "To see what she wanted to do." I knew that meant my doctor might want to consider a c-section more seriously in light of this. I started to prepare mentally, but when Sarah came back she said we were going to continue with plan A and see what happens.
I slept fairly well, my worst complaint being the IV in my hand (such a pain!). At 4:20am I woke up with some real pain from contractions. The nurse had told me I could get some pain relief intravenously before going for the epidural. I sat up slightly to find the remote to call her when I felt two small pops and a little gush of fluid. The nurse came in and tested the fluid to make sure it was amniotic and it was - my water was broken! She also gave me something for the pain that made me feel a little woozy, but it helped me to sleep very well also. I was also 50% effaced and still just 1cm dilated at that point.
At 5:15am she started me on Pitocin to bring on the labor contractions. At 6:15 I got another dose of that wonderful woozy stuff. I liked it since it really did help with the pain and made my IV less bothersome, plus I slept like a baby!
At 7am my doctor arrived and I was dilated to 3cm. The show was on the road. At 8:30am my contractions were 2 minutes apart. At 9am I asked for the epidural - the contractions had gotten too bad for my woozy intravenous friend to handle. The anesthesiologist came in and I sort of broke down with fear of having a needle inserted into my back. They told me to sit on the edge of the bed, hunch my back, and hold very still. I was like, are you kidding me? I don't trust myself to hold still!!! Whitney had told me that they had her wrap her arms and legs around Jerod to help stabilize herself for this part. I missed Ryan so much then! And since he wasn't here were they really going to make me do this alone? I asked Mom if she would let me lean on her and they had a nurse step in instead, but it wasn't the same. I shook and when he was wiping the spot on my back with a cotton ball I practically leapt out of my skin because every nerve in my back was on and it tickled like crazy! I sat there and tried my hardest to calm down but my control was limited. I still don't know if it was the rest of my water gushing out or something else... This was the beginning of my dignity being totally lost.
After 20 minutes, my epidural had kicked in and I slept solid until 11. They steadily increased my Pitocin drip during this time, and by 1:30pm I was 7cm and had some nausea. I struggled with the nausea for a while but at 3:30pm I threw up. Nothing in my stomach so it was just bile, but again I felt awful for my mom and Ruthie, and now my inlaws who were in the room.
At 3:45pm I was at 9cm. My mom's notes end here so I'm not sure at what point I became 10cm, but I do remember that Ryan showed up sometime around this point and I was so happy to see him, but also reminded of how sad it was that he had to wear a mask. After I was officially 10cm, my doctor and I agreed that we wanted to wait a little bit longer to start the pushing. Her reasons were different from mine I'm sure... lol. She had a good medical reason - can't remember what it was. I was just afraid and wanted a few minutes to again mentally prepare.
The feeling and muscle control in the lower half of my body were loooong gone. My mom and mother in law hoisted my legs up into some kind of leg stirrups and Ryan held my right hand and supported my head. There was no mirror to watch what was going on down there, but it was over so fast I never thought to ask. I did 3 hard pushes for (I think) 3 contractions. My mom and MIL's squeals egged me on. Everyone counted with me together to hold my pushes to the count of ten. Ryan started leading the counts and his voice broke so we all had a chuckle over him being a little emotional. Doc looked up and said she thought I might tear and asked if I wanted an episiotomy. I couldn't decide and I did have some feeling down there so I was just afraid of feeling it. I hesitantly agreed and was glad when I couldn't feel any pain from it and we were pushing again. After a total of 15 minutes of pushing, I felt him slide out and everyone exclaiming, he was put on my chest and he looked right at me. I could not believe it. He looked so big and beautiful and healthy. I held him for just a few seconds before they took him to do whatever it is that they do and Ryan cut the cord. I heard Ryan tell a nurse, "Declan James," so that was that, and I was glad he was decisive about it. It's true, he is a Declan.
It's 1:43am ya'll, and my son's due for a feeding in an hour, so I'm going to get some sleep and I'll finish up with the details of our hospital stay when I get a chance. Goodnight!