Life with Lily: Our Birth Story

So now that Lily is one month old, I figured I’d better get around to writing her birth story!

On August 31, Josh and I went to Athens for my regular, weekly checkup with the OB. At the last appointment I’d made basically 0 progress, so I was really hoping that I would at least be a little bit effaced or dilated. Alas, when the very unpleasant cervix check happened, I had still not made any progress. This was discouraging, because all of my pregnancy ailments were steadily getting worse. My right hand was basically numb and painful 24 hours a day, and the splint wasn’t helping anymore. In addition, I was beginning to experience numbness and pain in my left hand as well. This, along with these random dizzy spells and overall moderate to extreme pain was enough to worry my doctor enough to induce me. I was not complaining at all. Looking back, I realize that a lot of the pain that I chalked up to pregnancy discomfort was a lot worse than the norm. I just think my body did not like being pregnant and the longer it went on the worse it got. So anyway, after doing a quick ultrasound to make sure she was still head-down, he said that we could schedule the induction for THAT NIGHT. Josh and I were both like, holy crap yes let’s do it. So we scheduled it for 8 PM that night. I was…a nervous wreck. I knew exactly how the induction process worked and I’d watched enough birth videos to be able to deliver a baby myself, but even armed with all that knowledge, I was still nervous. Josh was cool as a cucumber, of course.

We decided to eat at Ted’s Most Best because we knew it would probably be a long time until I could eat again. I ate my entire pizza and I think a piece of Josh’s. I’m glad I did because it was a looooooooong labor. We got to the hospital at checked in. I didn’t end up getting my first round of Cytotec until around 11 that night, but my nurse was so fabulous. I told her I was pre-med so she walked me through everything she was doing and even quizzed me on a few things. We didn’t end up seeing much of her that night except for her to put in more Cytotec. Josh and I didn’t sleep much that night, not because I was in pain or anything but I think it was a mixture of nerves, excitement, and just being in an unfamiliar environment. I started getting regular and fairly intense contractions around 5 AM. I walked around the labor and delivery floor all day long because I noticed that when I was in motion the contractions got closer together and more intense. However, even though they were about a minute and a half apart, after four rounds of the Cytotec I only really got to about 2 cm.

I think around 7 PM that night, I was in so much pain, and I was in tears after the last cervix check I’d got. My cervix was kind of posterior, so when the nurses would check me they kind of had to dig and it was so miserable. So, even though I was only 2 cm I decided to go ahead and request an epidural. I’d been awake for around 36 hours and decided that sleep was more important that sticking it out through the pain. Around that time they also started pitocen, and I got stadol (an IV painkiller) to hold me over until the anesthesiologist could get there. The stadol was so hilarious. It made me feel like, drunker than I’ve ever been. I think I ended up being able to get a little bit of sleep when I got that, but I’m not sure. That part is a little hazy! The anesthesiologist came around 9 or 10 I think, and he was…grumpy. He couldn’t seem to understand why I wanted the epidural, because I was only 2 cm and my water hadn’t broken. I was in too much pain to care much about what he thought, but still. Why would you be mean to a woman in labor?! But, he did administer the epidural and I was able to sleep from about 12 AM to 2 AM that night.

However, I think getting the stadol, the pitocen, and the epidural all really messed with my blood pressure. I remember looking at the monitor at one point and saw that it was about 50/60 (normal is 120/80). I remember thinking that was really low, and then I noticed that the nurses had gotten very quiet. They kept asking me if I felt okay, and I really did, but I remember thinking that I shouldn’t feel okay with my blood pressure being that low. They were giving me blood pressure medication through my IV for a while, and they also gave me an oxygen mask. I never really clued in that something was even wrong until my doctor showed up. Apparently Lily’s heart rate had been really erratic in response to my low blood pressure. They’d gotten both her and me stable, but he came in just to talk to me. He felt terrible that I was hooked up to so many machines, and he said that things were looking okay at this point for a vaginal birth, but if things got wonky again he was going to do a c-section. I was fine with whatever he wanted to do because I knew he had my best interests at heart.

So, at this point, the nurses had been moving me from one side to another for a few hours to find a place that made Lily’s heart rate more stable. I ended up being on my right side for a long time because that seemed more favorable for her, but because of that, the epidural started working only on my right side. That…sucked. I stuck it out for most of the night, but after a while the nurse asked me if I wanted to call the anesthesiologist back. It turned out that there’d been a shift change and it was a different guy, and he was SO nice. So the new guy came and he did his best to fix it, and it like, sort of worked? I was numb in both legs and on both sides, except for this one little strip right between my hip bones, where I could feel 100% of everything.

After what seemed like forever, around noon on Friday they told me it was time to push! While it seriously sucked that I was in so much pain, being able to feel the contractions helped a lot with knowing when to push. I have to say, I’m super proud of myself. I pushed three times per contraction, for 10 seconds each. I did that for every single contraction, for 2 1/2 hours. I didn’t take a break, because y’all, I was so tired. I’d been in labor for 32 hours and I just wanted it to be over, and I knew that if I could just power through the pushing it would be over sooner.

When my water broke (I don’t even remember when. Sometime the night before), there was meconium present, so they let me know that when the baby was born they were going to have a respiratory team present to suction out her lungs. I totally understood, but I was a tiny bit disappointed because I wanted to have immediate skin to skin with her, and I’d also wanted delayed cord clamping. I got neither of those things, but the well-being of my baby was way more important to me, and honestly by the time she came out I was too tired to really care about not getting my birth preferences.

So at 12:42 PM on September 2, Lily Suzzane was born! 8 lbs, 20 3/4 inches long. Despite it being such a long labor, everyone at Athens Regional was so wonderful and helpful, and they made labor a great experience.

So that’s my birth story! Or, at least, everything I can remember from it!

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