If you missed part one you can catch up here – Zachary’s birth story – Part one
So when we left off I was admitted to the hospital Friday night, the doctor manually broke my water, and put me on some IV drugs to ease the pain of my overactive contractions. It was a long night to say the least. Anthony had the foresight to bring an air mattress and it was a life saver for him; he was able to get some sleep. Unfortunately sleep was not in the cards for me; the IV drugs were not working for pain management and just left me woozy. I would pass out for a minute or two and then wake up for a contraction. Also, I was running a low grade fever and my blood pressure was still rising and falling dramatically with every contraction. Thankfully the baby seemed unaffected and was doing well. The nurses offered me three rounds of the IV medicine but based on the reaction I was having, I stopped after two rounds and just powered through the contractions. I was nauseous and struggled to keep down Gatorade and crackers. In retrospect, I really wish I could have eaten something at this point because in the end I went over 30 hours without food or drink and it took a toll on me.
Around 11 am on December 1st, the new doctor on call came to check me and I was 5 cm dilated. It was pretty discouraging to know I had only progressed two centimeters over night but the doctor assured me that most first time pregnant women take a while to fully dilate. She was certain the baby would be here soon. At this point I practically begged for the epidural. Throughout the night my contractions would vary from 2 to 3 minutes apart and 4 to 6 minutes apart and I was exhausted by this point.
The epidural worked at first and I felt great. Unfortunately, after a while, I began to regain feeling on one side of my body. And, my contractions were now coming even faster. The nurses advised me to lay on one side to help the epidural spread correctly. Let me tell you, it is incredibly uncomfortable to lay on your side for a prolonged period of time at 40 weeks pregnant, while laboring. Every 30 minutes to an hour I had to flip to the other side. It was so uncomfortable that I was unable to really rest at all during this time. I had to lay on my side, alternating from side to side for the remainder of my labor.
Every couple of hours the doctor would come in and check me and tell me I’d made “some progress”. By dinner time I was almost at 6 cm and she was confident things would progress fast. At this point I was still struggling with the epidural wearing off continuously and I was going on 24 hours of no sleep and no food/drink. I was exhausted and really discouraged. Thankfully the baby was still doing really well.
Interestingly enough, they also had to stop my Pitocin drip because my contractions were back to back for several hours. For some unknown reason, I wasn’t dilating much regardless of the frequency or intensity of my contractions. I had been 100% effaced for almost 12 hours and the baby’s head was low. The doctor continued to insist the baby would be coming soon…I began to have my doubts. The doctor said she was going to come check me in a few hours and she hoped I’d be at 7 cm by then. She ended up having to attend to an emergency c-section and those couple of hours turned into several. When she came back to check me I was hoping to hear that I was almost there.
The doctor checked me and her cheery disposition finally faded. She basically turned to me and said, “I’m afraid you aren’t really progressing”. She gave me a 10% chance of being able to labor successfully and told me the baby wasn’t low enough (complete contradiction to several of her earlier statements). She also said she wouldn’t be able to help me with pushing because the baby was obviously” really big” and stuck. At this point I was also only a few hours away from the 24 hour window in which they broke my water. 24 hours post water breaking was an immediate ticket to the OR according to the hospital’s policy. I was given the choice to see if I could progress over the next couple of hours or to just accept my fate and go on with the C-section.
Anthony and I discussed our options and ultimately I decided to have the C-Section. It was so hard for me to admit defeat but, I had been laboring for almost 48 hours, it had been 40 hours since I had slept and over 24 hours since I had last eaten or drank anything. I was beyond exhausted and dehydrated. I also was under the impression that I had made no progress in 4 hours and was still around 7 cm dilated. When my nurse came in to prep me for surgery she asked me if the doctor had told me I finally made it to 8 cm. Yeah, the doctor conveniently forgot to tell me that when she said I hadn’t progressed. For a second I considered changing my mind and trucking through for those last two centimeters but I really didn’t think I’d be able to get to 10 cm in the timeline we had. It took me 36 hours to get from 1 cm to 8 cm, chances were I wasn’t going to reach 10 cm within the few hours I had before a C-section was necessary.
At 11:24 pm, the doctor delivered Zachary via C-section. He cried immediately and scored an 8 and a 9 on his Apgar tests. He was a big boy, when they finally showed him to me I couldn’t believe that he had been inside of me…he looked like he was several weeks old and he was beautiful. Even the doctor was surprised by his size and lack of newborn demeanor; she even called the recovery room to find out his measurements while she was sewing me up. He was 9 lbs. 1 oz. and 21 inches long.
My labor played out like my worst nightmare. I labored for close to 48 hours and in the end, at 8 cm dilated, I needed a C-section for “failure to progress”. I hadn’t slept for over 48 hours, I hadn’t eaten in over 30 hours, and I was downright exhausted. My recovery was rough that night and included more sleep deprivation and my body rejecting all food/drink for another 6 hours. I look back at those two days I was in labor and I find my memory of the whole event is hazy. I didn’t go in with a birth plan, and I’m so glad I didn’t because nothing went the way I expected/hoped it would. I was incredibly disappointed with both the doctors and the staff at the hospital. The doctor shouldn’t have broken my water so early; it ultimately set me up for failure to labor naturally by putting us on a 24 hour clock. I also don’t understand why the second doctor on call filled my head with all these positive comments during internals to ultimately determine in less than 5 minutes that my chances of laboring were slim to none. I am happy that they never forced me to make any decision but I do think they had their agenda. Ultimately, I’m not sure it mattered because I really don’t know if I could have ever successfully delivered Zachary without medical intervention.
I am 100% ok with the decisions I made. I didn’t want to have a C-section and we even overcame the breech position at 37 weeks and skirted a scheduled C-section. But it didn’t matter to me the minute I saw Zachary. He was a perfect healthy boy and I was in love. He was so healthy in fact that he scored a 0 on the test they do to determine jaundice levels; the vast majority of babies have some trace of jaundice and he had none. (My first proud mama moment for sure!) I’m proud of myself for trying as hard as I did to have him naturally and I refuse to spend time feeling guilty that my body couldn’t do what it’s made to do. I later found out at my post op exam with my doctor that my cervix was in fact severely tilted and narrow. Turns out that Zachary and I weren’t physically compatible for the whole labor thing in the end. But I’ve learned that all that matters is that we are perfectly compatible as a family, and we most definitely are.