Disclaimer: This is probably the longest, most detailed birth story you’ve ever read. I didn’t mean for it to be this long, but it’s more for my own record than anything, so I won’t be offended if you don’t want to read this freaking novel ;)
I’ve been sitting here staring at a blank screen for about 20 minutes trying to take in everything from the last week. Usually when you read a birth story you only read about labor and delivery, but I think I’m going to share the timeline of our hospital stay as well. It’s more for me than anything. Writing has become really therapeutic for me, so if I’m able to record all my thoughts, it will help me process everything better.
Tuesday, November 28th:
10:30 a.m. - I got a phone call from the hospital to see if I could come in the next morning instead of that night because they were overbooked. I said that I already had someone set up to watch my kids that night, and I was also 8 days past my due date, so no, I’m not delaying my induction by 12 hours (I was very nice about it, but kind of wanted to say “are you seriously asking the woman who is 8 days past her due date?! Ask someone else!”)
8:00 p.m. - We arrived at the hospital and got situated in our room. I had noticed on our drive to the hospital that I was having contractions, but it wasn’t anything different from what I’d been having for the past 3 weeks, so I didn’t think much of it.
8:45 p.m. - An OBGYN from the office came in and said “I know you were expecting us to put the medicine on your cervix to ripen it, and then we would start pitocin in the morning, but since you’re already having contractions we are going to start you on pitocin tonight.” He also checked me and said that I was still only dilated to a 1, 50% effaced, and Sam’s head wasn’t engaged. Grant and I just looked at each other and said “ok! I guess this kid is going to be here a lot sooner than we thought!” Grant and I were both excited and also realized that we probably weren’t going to get a lot of sleep that night either.
9:15 p.m. - We started on pitocin. The contractions were still nothing to even think about, so I decided to try and get some rest while I could.
Wednesday, November 29th:
1:00 a.m. - I sent this text to my mom. “Things are going nice and slow over here. I was able ot sleep for about an hour. Contractions are just menstrual type contractions, so nothing strong yet. They haven’t checked me again either--I’m just taking it easy and trying to save up energy for later.”
Between 1:00 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. - The contractions were still very manageable, but I was starting to get uncomfortable. I also didn’t get a lot of sleep because the nurse kept coming in telling me to change positions. Even though Sam’s heart-rate was consistent during labor, there wasn’t enough movement in his heart-rate. I guess having the heart-rate move up and down within a range is good during labor because it shows proper oxygen is getting through the umbilical cord. I remember thinking “They are having me change positions a lot--I don’t remember them having to do this with Andrew or Hailey.”
4:45 a.m. - I had bloody show and my contractions were starting to get more intense.
5:00 a.m. - I woke Grant up and told him things were ramping up, and he jumped right into action.
5:30 a.m. - My nurse came in and I told her things were getting more intense. She checked me and said I was still only dilated to a 1, maybe a 2, but that if I wanted an epidural I needed to request one right then because it was about an hour wait. At this point I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to get an epidural too soon because I didn’t want to delay labor, but I didn’t want to repeat what happened with Hailey’s birth. I’m grateful for the wisdom of my nurse and Grant who both really encouraged me to request the epidural right then, because I know if I would’ve waited any longer it would’ve been too late and the pain would’ve slipped away from me.
6:15 a.m. - The epidural was placed.
7:00 a.m. - The nurses did their shift change.
7:40 a.m. - I called in my new nurse and told her that I was feeling a lot of pressure that I had to breath through, and I needed her to call my OBGYN. She made the call and then started to prep everything for Sam’s delivery. I remember thinking to myself “I hope I’m not over-reacting. Watch, I’ll probably be only dilated to a 5.”
7:45 a.m. - The OBGYN on call came in to check me and she said “Oh yea, you’re dilated to a 9 with a bulging sack. Your OBGYN is just walking into the hospital right now, so hang in there for a few more minutes.”
8:00 a.m. - My OBGYN came in with a chipper hello and I remember reaching out my hands with tears in my eyes and telling her how glad I was she was there. I didn’t realize how much I depend and trust my OBGYN until that moment. She was the one that delivered Hailey, has been there for me through countless doctors appointments, and has been a good sounding board. I know it’s crazy for me to drive 40 minutes one way to my doctor’s office, but to me, it’s totally worth it for a doctor that I trust completely. She then broke my water and had me breath through a few contractions to get completely dilated. At this point I was really struggling through each contraction, and my nurse asked me if I wanted to push the button for more of the epidural juice. I said no because I wanted to feel when I should push, but looking back that was a mistake. The pain got so bad that I threw up, but I felt much better after that.
8:20 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. - I was completely dilated, but Sam’s head was still not engaged. My OBGYN suggested that I try a few pushes to move him down the canal. We started pushing through each contraction, but Sam’s heart rate started to drop, so we stopped and got me on oxygen. I also remember telling the nurse to “push the stupid button” to get me the epidural. We then decided to wait and see if Sam would engaged on his own. With the epidural kicking in again, my doctor suggested I lay on each side for 30 minutes each with a peanut ball to open up my hips and help me relax.
9:40 a.m. - Sam’s head was down a bit more, but not fully engaged yet. We decided to wait another 30 minutes to give him more time since his heart-rate was looking good. I asked my doctor if she thought a C-section was in the works, and she said that she would use that as a last resort. She said she would tell me right away if she thought it would come to that, but that worst case scenario she was thinking she would have to use the vacuum to help him come out.
10:10 a.m. - Sam was finally a little bit engaged, so we started pushing.
10:23 a.m. - Sam’s head was born, but my OBGYN said that the cord was wrapped around his neck pretty tight. She cut the cord and told me I had to give one last big push right then to get him out.
10:24 a.m. - Sam was out and was placed immediately on me for skin-to-skin, but he wasn’t crying and his color wasn’t that great. I remember I instantly started rubbing his back while the nurse was suctioning out his mouth. I just kept repeating “Cry cry cry cry cry, I need you to cry Sam, come on sweetheart, I need you to cry.” After about 30 seconds they took him off me and placed him under the heating lamp. After about a minute I heard a few whimpers and then he started to cry and I took a huge sigh of relief. They then weighed him because we were all wondering how big he was (I didn’t think he would be over 8 lbs, and my OB didn’t either). We all started laughing when the nurse said he was 8 lbs 10 oz. I remember saying “He was that big?! No wonder I was so uncomfortable!” As my doctor was stitching me up, she said “Ok, so if you ever have another baby, can we just agree to do an induction at 39 weeks?” to which I laughed and said “Uh, absolutely. I’m not ever pushing a baby that big out again!”
Sam was pretty upset for a good hour to an hour and a half after he was born. Nothing really seemed to calm him down. I knew he would cry a lot under the heating lamp, but I figured that once he was doing skin-to-skin with me and hearing my voice he would calm down. Nope. Not even close. I think because he was so stressed in utero with the cord wrapped so tightly (hence me having to change positions a lot during labor and him not engaging), he was trying to handle the stress he had just gone through. He finally began to relax a little bit, and we were moved up to the mother/baby recovery room around 12:30 p.m.
12: 30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. - Trying to breastfeed this kid was awful. Every time I would put him to the breast he would start crying and get so frustrated. I remember thinking to myself “This kid is inconsolable. I’m going to have a colicky baby. As my third child. How in the world am I going to handle colic when I have 2 other kids?” I was mildly freaked out. I finally hand-expressed some colostrum and gave him some through a dropper, and it was like he was a completely different baby. He finally took a deep breath, laid on my chest doing skin-to-skin and was just looking up at me. I thought “Oh...he was just hungry.” Every attempt to feed him after that was still just a frustrating for him. The lactation consultant was even a little stumped. He does have an upper-lip tie, but it’s not so severe that he can’t flange out his lip properly. She said I should just keep trying, but I didn’t want Sam to be frustrated. Hand expressing as he “nursed” seemed to be working, so I was confident we could get him breastfeeding within the next day or two, especially after my milk came in.
11:00 p.m. - Sam was in the nursery while I was getting some sleep, and my nurse came in and said that he had just spit up neon green vomit. She said the color was really weird and so they were ordering an x-ray to make sure everything was ok. Everything came back normal and Sam came back to the room with me.
Thursday, November 30th
4:30 a.m. - The nurse practitioner wanted to do one more x-ray to make sure everything was still ok with Sam. This time, she said it looked like something was inflamed in his intestines and she wanted him to come down to the NICU for further observation and to order an upper GI to make sure there wasn’t an obstruction in his bowel. I told her that he had pooped 4 times already since being born (he actually pooped ON me right after coming out of the womb--thank you child), so that didn’t really make sense to me. She said she would just rather err on the side of caution, so down to the NICU he went, but I couldn’t feed him until after the results of the GI.
9:00 a.m. - I was down in the NICU with Sam when his nurse came in. I asked her when he would be seeing the radiologist, and she said “it all depends on when they have time for him. He will be there by Noon.” I have the utmost respect for NICU nurses--they are angels and are CONSTANTLY doing something. They literally never get a break. So I do feel a little bad about this, but I kind of got on her case and said “Look, my past-full-term baby has not been fed since 3:00 a.m. He is hungry, and by the time he sees the radiologist and we get the results of the GI it could be 1:00 p.m. and he’s going to be starving. He is not a premature baby who will be pacified to just sleep through his feedings--I’ve had a premature baby! I would know! You are going to call the radiologist RIGHT NOW and explain this to them and get him in as the first appointment.” I was trying to be nice about it, but I felt like I had to say something.
10:00 a.m. - Sam saw the radiologist and everything looked good.
11:00 a.m. - We were able to start feedings again, but even though I had been pumping in lieu of being able to nurse, I know my supply wasn’t keeping up with his demand. The nurse in the NICU said I could breastfeed him, but I also know from experience that he would be in the NICU longer, which I didn’t want. My ultimate goal was to get him home ASAP--hopefully with me. So we started him on the bottle while I continued to pump.
10:00 p.m. - Sam was discharged from the NICU and was able to return to mother/baby with me.
Friday, December 1st
2:00 p.m. - Andrew and Hailey were finally able to meet Sam and we were discharged from the hospital.
Since Sam’s been home, my milk has thankfully come in, and we are continuing to pump and give him breast milk through the bottle. I’ve tried quite a few times since my milk has come in to get him to nurse, but he’s not having any of it. Luckily, I have plenty of pumping experience with Andrew (I was able to pump with him for 5 months), so the plan is to get Sam through flu-season before we switch over to formula. It’s not AT ALL what I had envisioned with my third baby. That hospital stay was a complete whirlwind and incredibly stressful and unexpected, but I know that Heavenly Father is watching over us and that this experience will be a good growing opportunity. I’m grateful for those who watched the kids while Sam and I were in the hospital so Grant could come be with us, for friends who dropped dinner off, for friends who have texted (I’m so sorry if I haven’t responded--we’ve been in full-blown survival mode over here), and especially for my mom who flew into town on Friday and has been a complete saint. We feel very blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful support system, and we are excited (and somewhat nervous) about beginning our adventure as a family of five.