Tuesday March 12th 2013 started with a mix of excitement, trepidation, and nervousness – along with my wedding ring stuck on my ring finger. Yes – I made the dumb mistake of wearing my ring and my fingers swelled up so badly during the night, I started to lose circulation in my finger. It was red and swollen so Ryan paged the nurse, who clearly had seen this before so whipped out some mineral oil from a cabinet and we proceeded to twist and turn the ring off my finger. It was not easy and my finger took a beating but as she noted, “at least we don’t have to cut the ring off!”
So with that as the start of our morning, we then met the rest of our nurses and OB on rotation to start the day with a Pitocen drip through my IV at 9 AM. It turns out I had started contractions in the night (which was good news), although I did not really feel them, and the baby was dropping nicely and about 100% effaced. With that news, in my mind, the baby was coming in the afternoon (how wrong I was) so we went into the day looking forward to meeting our little boy.
We eventually met Dr. Davis, the OB on rotation we thought would ultimately delivery the baby, who was very nice and the nurses seemed to respect and say nice things about. We of course had never met her before so that eased our nerves slightly. Every twenty minutes, our nurse would come in and up the dose of Pitocen to ease me into stronger contractions. From 9 AM until about 2:00 PM, the contractions came and went, which I took in stride although they were becoming stronger and stronger. I was bummed out to be hooked up to so many devices (blood pressure, etc) as it limited my mobility and I essentially had to stay in bed – no walking around, sitting on my exercise ball, or using any of the techniques we had learned in our birthing classes. I could go to the bathroom in our room, which was very large and nice, and eventually become my private oasis whenever I needed a break or just a moment to get away from the bed to stretch my legs. I had to bring my IV pole with me and Ryan had to help me lift it over an annoying bump in the floor that the IV pole would not easily drag over. Ryan was extremely patient and a true partner in the experience and as the day eventually evolved, we began to doubt that the baby would come anytime soon.
Dr. David came in for a visit to see how far along I was dilated and to our dismay, I was barely 2 1/2 centimeters. So to move things along, she unexpectedly decided, while checking to see how far I was dilated, to “sweep my membranes”, which she actually did not tell me she was going to do. Let me tell you….that was the longest 60 seconds ever! It was very uncomfortable and poor Ryan was sitting on the sofa right next to me and had to watch me squirm in pain as she performed the procedure. Then, she right after this, decided to break my water for me and did that right then and there. So, by 2:15, we were a little stunned and of course hoped that these two procedures would really move along the process. The Pitocen drip continued to get increased from that point forward and contractions really started to kick in throughout the remainder of the afternoon. As the contractions came, my blood pressure continued to rise and eventually hit about 170/105 and the doctors were quite concerned so they gave me 10 milligrams through my IV of another blood pressure drug that would help bring it down, which luckily it did almost instantly.
So after four hours of pretty intense contractions, and no epidural or pain medications, Dr. Davis came back in to check in my progress, which at this point I had been on the Pitocen drop for about 9 hours straight. To our dismay again, I was still only about 3 centimeters dilated. Both the doctor, as well as us, were quite surprised given the strength of the contractions and frequency of them. I was getting quite tired and the pain was getting quite tough to handle as each contraction began to hit me like a big wave. She began to discuss with Ryan and I the option of an epidural, which I had been pretty against primarily b/c I had though the Pitocen would do the trick and I could birth the baby without dealing with a needle in my back. I decided to head to the bathroom, my private domain, and think through the decision – conveniently as I sat the relax on the toilet. The contractions were pretty intense so knowing I couldn’t really relax anymore to let the contractions do what they were supposed to do, I talked to Ryan about doing the epidural – he supported whatever would make me relax. My n umber one concern was the fact that I had started to shake and tremble quite frequently b/c of the pain as well as just nerves and that I would not be able to sit still during the very quick procedure. I was assured they could do it so they brought in an anesthesiologist, Monty Oppenheim, about 10 minutes later and boom – all was better abou 15 minutes later as the pain stopped and I was able to get into a better mental and emotional state quickly. Unfortunately about an hour later, I started to once again feel the contractions and even though you could click a button to up your pain medication, nothing was working. I paged our nurse and she brought in Monty to check my IV and he re-administered the epidural b/c for some reason, it had worn off.
At this point, we had another transition in doctors and learned that Dr. Nevin would rotate in as the OB to work with us. I was quite happy as we had met Dr. Nevin multiple times before both at the doctors office and when I had been admitted for emergency monitoring 3 weeks earlier. She had a loud laugh and friendly personality and turns out was a dog lover, with a few llasa apsos of her own at home. All was better learning that she to was a dog lover!
As the day started to come to a close, Ryan and I began to wonder if our baby boy was going to have another birthday, Wednesday March 13th, as we realized this baby was moving out of me at a snails pace. Dr. Nevin came into check and let me know that we were at 10 centimeters! Awesome news and that around 11:30 she was going to come back and we were going to deliver this baby. It was fantastic news so we had a few minutes to ourselves to get ready so we called Ryan’s mother to let her know, as she had just left the hospital an hour earlier to go to our house and get some rest as we thought it could be another day before this baby came. How wrong we were.
So around 11:30 the pushing officially began and after a few stops and start, along with another big dose of my epidural to keep the pain down, Ryan and our fantastic nurse Rebecca Franco, did about 98% of the work to get this baby into the world. Ryan was a real trooper as we originally planned for him to be more “holding my hand” during the process but instead he was fully part of the experience, holding my legs and working with the nurse to bring this baby into the world.
Almost 2 hours later at 1:27 AM, we welcomed Finn Timothy Sasse to the family!