My birth story below was originally written on December 31, 2011.
The past two weeks have been a complete blur – it’s a little surreal that I’m typing this post as Emmett’s in the next room being held by his halmunee (grandmother). Outside of a few forays out into the world to take Em to the hospital, it feels like our home has been our whole universe the past couple of weeks. Kind of by choice ( kind of not… you’ll see why), we’ve been staying away from the Internet and posting up too much. So this is me scrambling to keep our family and future Em and friends up to speed on what’s been going on.
It started on December 19th, 2011 (one day after EmJay’s due date) sometime in the middle of the night. I would’ve been tempted to say that the whole process seemed to have been a series of unfortunate events, except the end result was our beautiful baby boy and I can only praise God for allowing things to unfold the way they did. Anyway, is there such a thing as a smooth delivery? There’s gonna be some pain and trauma at some level for every mom-to-be. Well if there is, don’t tell me; I don’t want to know. ;]
Around 2-4am: I started having upper abdominal pain again – lasting 11 minutes long, 15 minutes apart. We made a call to the L & D hotline and they made the recommendation that we come in right away.
6am: Arrived ta Kaiser Emergency Department. Checked in and got blood pressure taken and blood drawn.
6:40am: The pain turned out to be upper abdominal gastric pain caused by preeclampsia. Not contractions, go figure! Turns out, the only cure for preeclampsia is to give birth, so despite only being 0.5 cm dilated at the time, the strong recommendation was that we induce labor that day to avoid increasing the risk of me developing eclampsia.
8:40am: Got stuck with my first IV with magnesium sulfate to temper the pre-eclampsia and pitocin to induce contractions. Side note: one side effect of magnesium sulfate is that it makes you incredibly weak and lethargic. Side note: pitocin brings a world of pain – no way I wanted to deal with that mess. Right away I asked for an epidural. I’m still dealing with the upper abdominal pain at this point.
9:00am: Anesthesiologist came in with some of the worst news ever. According to my blood test, my platelet count was at 70. Most doctors refuse to administer epidurals to patients with levels lower than 100. At this point, I was throwing up some major prayers up to God.
9:15am: Felt two pops – my water finally broke.
9:20am: The contractions started coming in waves.
10:30am: The nurse (a God-send, really) came in and let us know that she noticed that my platelets were clumping. She told the lab technician to count my platelets by hand instead of sending it through the machine. With that, she delivered the best news of the day: my platelet count was at 101, praise Jesus.
11am: The anesthesiologist came in to give me the epidural. Stuck me in the back and missed a couple times before successfully getting the catheter into my back.
12pm: 4 cm dilated
1:25pm: 8 cm dilated
1:40pm: Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory came on the teevee (haha).
3:20pm: 9.75 cm dilated. Nurse came in to tell us that we’d start pushing at 4:30pm.
4:35pm: Though I hadn’t been feeling much pain from the contractions up to this point, the pressure was definitely building down there. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like you really have to relieve yourself, numero dos style.
At each contraction, they were having me give 3 pushes, 10 seconds each. For about two hours, I was pushing and pushing away. Though I was giving it every exhaustive effort, the truth was, there wasn’t a lot of progress being made. Mr. M said it was quite sad because despite my best efforts, the magnesium sulfate had made me so weak that each gigantic push that I thought I was giving was actually the equivalent to the pressure you’d give when pushing an elevator button. Sad. Anyhoots… the nurses were all super encouraging and didn’t let on that not much was being accomplished, though Mr. M said it was obvious I was getting weaker after each push.
After around two hours of pushing that way, a new doctor came in – the energy level in the room instantly amped up a little – she meant business. Three nurses and this new doctor surrounded the bed, holding my legs and coaching / cheering me on. My hubbie faithfully administered ice chips and whispered sweet-nothings to help me keep going.
A few minutes into it, the doctor looked up and said in a brisk tone, “This isn’t working. We’re going to have to move to a C-section.” Em was stuck just underneath my pelvic bone, and it was looking to everyone like I wouldn’t have the strength to push him beyond that point. My eyes widened and I became alert for the first time in about an hour. I looked at Mr. M and he looked equally chagrined. The doctor turned to me and said, “It’s your choice. Would you like to have a C-section, or try a little bit longer?” I squeaked out, “Please, just a few more pushes.”
And the rest is history. Mr. M said it was like the fear of the C-section woke something up inside of me. At each contraction, I was giving 4-5 pushes about 12-15 seconds each. At that first strong push, the C-section doctor said, “If you can give me more of those, we might have a chance.”
She was merciless, but I’m so thankful for her working with me. At a point, they tried to vacuum Emmett out, but they weren’t able to fit the machine into me (that was excruciating). She gave me an episiotomy, which I initially didn’t want – I preferred to tear naturally, but figured that was a better option than surgery.
Mr. M. was holding up okay up until this point – actually watching most of the delivery process though he claimed he wouldn’t be able to. He would always joke that they’d need to cart him in the bed next to mine. But this doctor was ruthless – I won’t go into detail here, but it was at this point that Mr. M couldn’t watch anymore, hahaha.
7:33pm: After about an hour of that, I felt a warm gush slide out of my body, and an instantaneous relief of pressure. The nurses and doctor cheered. I don’t remember Mr. M’s and my reaction. But does it matter? Emmett was finally here!
They placed him on my chest for about 5 seconds before whisking him away – the magnesium sulfate had made him lethargic too and they needed to help him catch his first breaths.
After the craziness died down (placenta delivered, stitches stitched, etc.), all the nurses and doctors left and it was just Emmett, papa and me. We were given a full hour of bonding time.
We’ve been head over heels for little Em ever since..
Stats: 7 lb, 10.5 ounces. 21 inches long – two inches of that were from his awesome conehead. Full head of hair =).
I wish I could say that’s where all the craziness ended, but that’s just Part I. I’ll update Part II today with some pictures of our trooper.