This is going to be a long post seeing as Olivia’s birth story occurred over almost a one week period! Want a TLDR? Olivia was born!
Anyone freaked out about child birth or pretty much any man will probably want to skip this post. There will be lots of female body and labour details and many TMI moments.
I went to my regularly scheduled OB appointment. I was 39 weeks, 6 days at this point. I had told my doctor that Olivia wasn’t moving as much that past weekend as she had in the past. He checked me and I was only 1.5cm dilated. He then ordered blood work, an ultrasound (to check the amniotic fluid level and the clarity of the fluid), and a non-stress test due to the lack of movement and my elevated blood pressure. The blood work was clear and the ultrasound confirmed that the fluid levels were good and that the fluid was very clear (definitely a good sign – first time I’ve been praised for drinking enough water!). The ultrasound also confirmed that she was head down, but not yet engaged. It also confirmed that she was a BIG baby. Her head circumference was measuring bigger than usual (not something you want to hear when you’re close to giving birth) and she was already 20 inches long. The non-stress test (which is basically electrodes placed on your stomach that measures baby’s movement along with her heart rate – ideally her heart rate should increase at the same time that she moves) confirmed that she was perfectly fine, but that I just wasn’t feeling her movements as much given her size and that there wasn’t as much room for her to move around in there anymore. After waiting THREE hours for my OB to come see me after all my tests (he was doing a c-section and said it would be one hour), my OB told me that he was going to schedule an induction for Friday if I hadn’t gone into labour by then due to baby’s size and my elevated blood pressure and heart rate. I left the hospital feeling pretty good – I’d have a baby by Friday at the latest! I had to come back Thursday to get a foley catheter to help dilate me further since I’d been the same for my past several appointments.
I was instructed to call the Obstetrics ward around noon on Thursday to get a time. Tyler went to work with the intention of having to leave in the early afternoon, so I drove him to work that morning. I called the hospital right at noon (not that I was eager or anything!) and was told they were swamped and I should come in around 8pm that night. It was nice that Tyler didn’t have to miss any work that day, but it also meant I had to wait 8 hours for what I had read was not a pleasant experience. Trying to keep my mind off of it was almost impossible. Tyler and I went into the hospital at 8pm and I had the foley catheter inserted at about 8:40pm. For anyone interested, you can read about the foley catheter here (http://pregnancy.about.com/od/induction/f/foleycatheter.htm). Basically, a small balloon is placed behind the cervical wall and inflated with a saline solution. Then it bears down on the cervix and causes it to dilate similar to how the baby’s head would do it naturally. Then it simply falls out once you’re dilated to 3-4cm. I don’t want to scare anyone, but the foley catheter insertion was the worst part of my entire experience. It was painful and uncomfortable and made everything so much more difficult. Showering and going to the bathroom were very difficult experiences and walking around with a tube taped to your leg was very uncomfortable. For anyone ever getting one of these, some bleeding is normal. They did NOT tell me this and believe me, I was FREAKED when this happened. Apparently they usually cap the end so that this doesn’t really happen as dramatically, but they did not do that to mine and it was horrifying. I had to lie in a hospital bed for over two hours (usually it’s only one that they make you wait, but Olivia’s heart rate was elevated after the insertion and they wouldn’t let us leave until she had calmed down). We finally got to leave the hospital just after 11pm.
I got up at 6:30am and showered since my OB told me that I could get the call from 7am on on Friday. We waited by the phone and got frustrated when other people called us (despite us asking our family to call our cell phones since we were waiting for the call). At 4:30pm, my foley catheter fell out (which felt AMAZING) and we were still waiting for the phone call. We waited all day and didn’t leave the house. We went to bed around 11 thinking that the hospital would call as soon as we fell asleep.
We woke up and got ready again. I let myself sleep in a bit this time though. I called the hospital around 9:30am to see where I was on the list. The nurse said that it had been a busy night the night before and that there were still people ahead of me. She took my cell phone number and told me that she would call my cell when the time came and that I should go out for a bit to relax. She then said I definitely “wouldn’t get a call for at least an hour or two.” Tyler and I went out and did some shopping with my family. Then we got some lunch and came home. Then we had to entertain ourselves. We watched some TV and a movie and then played a board game. At 9:30pm, I called the hospital again to see where I was. I was second on the list and was told to “have a light snack and take a nap for an hour.” At 11:35pm, about 20 minutes after we had fallen asleep, the phone rang and we were told that our room was ready for us. We quickly got ready and added the final items to our “bug out bags” (as Tyler called them).
We left for the hospital at about 12:15am and arrived at about 12:35am. We parked the van and made our way to the Obstetrics ward. We checked in and waited in the waiting room for a few minutes. Then we were taken to our room. I changed into my gown and they took some blood. They put my IV in (probably the second worst thing about my entire birth experience – I still have some minor pain where they put it in) and started me on oxytocin to induce labour. Tyler and I got comfortable and I finally convinced him to get some sleep. I could not sleep at all though and spent some time just lying there and then some time talking to my nurse (my first nurse was AMAZING). I went to the bathroom at 5am and came out and found the anesthesiologist there to do my epidural since my contractions were starting to hurt. My nurse told me to have my epidural when they were just starting to hurt because it takes almost an hour from the time you decide to have your epidural until it is completely effective. I then sat up on the bed and had my epidural. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it still wasn’t pleasant. They then had me lie on my side for 30 minutes at a time before rolling over to the other side. Once I had my epidural, they tried to put in a regular catheter. When I exclaimed how much it hurt and they did the ice test (where they run a piece of ice from just under your breasts to your knees and ask you where you can feel it), they realized my epidural did not work AT ALL. I could still feel everything. So, despite having two needles shoved in my back, I was still feeling everything. My nurse called the anesthesiologist again, but he was assisting with a c-section and I had to wait about another hour. This is when shift change occurred and I got a new nurse. She was competent, but I would’ve given anything to have my first nurse for the entire experience. When I had my first epidural, I still had my first nurse and she was so amazing. She knew how scared I was and she held me while they did the whole thing. She made me feel so safe. It made it a bit more bearable. The anesthesiologist came back to my room around 8am and did the ice test again with a big bag of ice instead of just a piece. He didn’t seem to believe that my first epidural didn’t work. I felt every single thing that they were doing to me. He finally believed me and I had to have a SECOND epidural. I was so terrified of having one epidural and having to have a second one was quite traumatic for me, but I got through it. This one took effect almost immediately, but it hurt more. I think because my nurse was watching from the back whereas my first nurse was literally holding me in a giant hug. From there, they increased my oxytocin dose to keep me dilating and had me roll over onto my side every hour to ensure the epidural was evenly distributing everything throughout my whole body. Then they broke my water. Not an entirely pleasant or unpleasant experience. It felt great to finally feel like things were moving along, but it also kind of feels like you’re peeing yourself. I then drifted in and out sleep for a few hours. My mom and sisters came to visit me and brought Tyler in some lunch. The nurse woke me up every hour to check my blood pressure since it was a cause for concern in my pregnancy. They were having trouble getting a steady heartbeat from the baby, so they put an electrode on the top of her head to monitor everything and then continued putting tubes in for me various reasons. I continued to progress until about 12pm and got to 5cm dilated. It was at this point that things got interesting. I stopped dilating. Completely. No changes from noon to about 7pm. We later found out that my nurse had turned down my oxytocin dosage because she thought I was progressing too quickly. At 9am, they had told me that I would likely have the baby around 2-3am the next day. By noon, they were telling me she’d be here by 9pm. The OB on-call continued to check me every hour and found that I was not progressing at all. She first mentioned a c-section at about 3pm, but said it wasn’t even a real possibility at that point because my body would likely keep going. Apparently getting to 5cm is the hardest part and then your body kind of takes over from there. Apparently my body did not want to cooperate. I continued shifting around and willing myself to dilate until about 7:30pm. The doctor checked me again and said that it was a cause for concern that I still wasn’t any further dilated. She then stated that I would likely need to have a c-section because the baby was kind of stuck behind my pubic bone and I had been on oxytocin too long to continue until I gave birth naturally. This is when I started freaking out. Luckily Tyler and my Mom were there and were able to calm me down. I was ADAMANT about not wanting to get a c-section before we got to the hospital, so you can imagine how upset I was when they told me this is exactly what was happening. I was terrified. I think it was even worse that I had to wait 3 and a half hours until my surgery because the baby was perfectly safe and happy in there. Her heart rate was steady and strong and she was moving around. I then had to sit and wait over 3 hours before going in. At just before 11pm, they came in and told me it was my turn. They made me say goodbye to my Mom and Tyler while they prepped me for surgery. Mom went to the waiting room and was told she would see me in about an hour. Tyler put his scrubs on and waited until they called him in. They took me into the operating room and I began to cry. I was so scared at this point. My anesthesiologist and respiratory therapist were amazing though and tried to calm me down. They gave me more medication through my epidural and numbed me from my breasts down. They did the ice test again and then hooked me up to a whole bunch of monitors – one that took my blood pressure EVERY TWO MINUTES, which was annoying, but also gave me something to focus on. I was told they would tell me before they did each step, but they never did. They tied my arms down and gave me some morphine, which made me shake uncontrollably. I felt so cold. After a while, they brought Tyler in and he had to sit in this rickety old kitchen chair beside my head. At that point, I thought they STILL hadn’t started because they never said anything, but apparently they had already made the incision at that point and were “unpacking” things to get to the baby. Tyler then rubbed my head while we waited. At 11:24pm, we heard a little cry and then the doctor held the baby up over the screen that separated my head from the rest of my body. I got to see my little girl for the first time! They then took her to another room and checked her over and cleaned her up. After about 2 minutes, they called Tyler in and he got to hold her. He brought her over to me and sat with her throughout the rest of my surgery. They then started to close me up. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to feel anything, but I definitely started feeling stuff at that point. I could feel them pulling my skin trying to line everything up to stitch me shut. Tyler had to get the anesthesiologist to give me more medication and then I started to feel like I was going to vomit, at which point they gave me MORE medication to make me not vomit because the motion would disrupt the surgery and could mess things up. It was after 12:30 at this point. It seemed to take FOREVER for them to close me up. I remember just lying there thinking that it couldn’t possibly be much longer, but it was. They just kept going and going. We heard them count all of the instruments and tools several times (to make sure nothing was left behind) and every time, I thought they were done and then they STILL kept going. Finally, at about 1:25am, they told Tyler to take Olivia into the hallway while they finished the last step of my surgery and moved me back over to my bed. I distinctly remember them lifting me over and that was when I looked at the operating table I was on (BAD IDEA). They then wheeled me into the recovery room and checked everything over AGAIN. They had me feed Olivia for the first time and continued to check all of my vitals again. After I’d been in recovery for about an hour, the OB who did my surgery came in to see where I was. Apparently he had walked through the waiting room and asked the nurse if she needed anything in a joke-y way. My mom and sister were in the waiting room and my mom apparently said “You can do something for us! Where is my daughter??? She was supposed to be out of surgery two hours ago!!!” (If you know my Mom, you know how much she was FREAKING out at this point). The OB then said he’d check and let them know. He came into recovery and asked if I was up for visitors (I had already asked for my Mom about 10 times at this point). He then said that there were “two very irate women” in the waiting room. Yup, that’s my Mom and my sister, lol. They then came in and got to hold Olivia. There is a picture below of Rachel holding her and the smile says it all! After a little visit, my mom and sister went home and I finally went to the mother-baby unit. They set everything up for us and completed another full check of me and Olivia. They then told us to get some sleep. Tyler got a little bit, but I just stayed awake watching Olivia. She slept most of the night, but woke up to nurse a few times. I couldn’t believe that I had grown this little miracle inside of me. It was still so surreal. I was pretty frozen still, so Tyler had to get up and pass her to me every time she squawked, but we did pretty well. We then stayed on that ward for 3 more days. They continued to check us all the time and checked my incision regularly. The nurses were okay. Some were better than others. Some seemed annoyed with me for some reason. Maybe because they’re used to people only staying for 24 hours or maybe because I was grouchy from being bedridden for 4 days straight.
I cannot thank Tyler enough for everything that he did in the hospital. He was SO AMAZING. He had to change every diaper and get up every time she squawked because I couldn’t leave the bed. He took care of her when I finally got to shower and made all the phone calls and did everything for me. He made sure that I ate and had to be coaxed to leave my side. I am so proud to call him my husband and the father of my child. He is truly the most amazing person I have ever met. He stepped up in a way that I never imagined he would have to, but he did it with a smile on his face every time. Even when he had been up for over 24 hours straight and had to get up every two hours to bring Olivia to me so that she could nurse. Thank you for everything sweetheart. You have given me the best gift I could ever have asked for.
A special thank you to my sisters as well. They took such good care of me and Olivia when Tyler made his brief trip home each day to shower (they wouldn’t let him use my shower or even my bathroom – RIDICULOUS!!!).
Sorry if this post seems ridiculously long, but it was a ridiculously long few days for me. It was a completely different experience from what I expected, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Welcome to the world baby girl. Mommy and Daddy love you more than life itself.
Olivia Sharon Anne Doan