I wanted to share Abby's birth story, as a reminder for me to look back on, but also for other moms and moms-to-be because I love reading other women's birth stories.
Friday, January 18th, I went to my regularly scheduled OB appointment. I had my NST like normal and for the first time ever Abby actually passed!! That was super exciting, so then I went to just have a quick amniotic fluid check. The tech didn't say much during the check (which she usually does at least let me know if the fluid level is looking good, etc) and I went to meet with my doctor. Dr. Horton walked into the exam room and asked how I was doing. I told her that I was doing great, just feeling ready to meet our daughter but that it seemed like she wasn't quite ready to meet us yet! That's when the doctor turned to me and said, "Well, she's more ready than you think." She explained to me that Abby's fluid level was low. Anything under a 5 is considered low and my level at that time was 5.9. If we waited much longer or let her go to her due date that level could just continue to decrease and could potentially put Abby in danger. So, she recommended induction that day. I went home and called Dave, and he came home to keep me company for the rest of the day. Our scheduled induction time wasn't until 8pm that evening, so we had a while to wait! We got some dinner, finished up loose odds and ends, and then headed to the hospital. I was nervous but very excited thinking that we would probably have a baby the next day!
We got to the hospital and got settled and checked in. By 10pm they started me on a 12 hour dose of a cervical ripening agent called Cervidil. Within just a couple of hours I was having strong and frequent contractions. Because of the way Abby was positioned and the way I was laying in bed, my contractions were not registering on the monitor and the nurse didn't believe that I was contracting!! It was such a frustrating and painful night. I had to stay in bed hooked up to monitors all while being in excruciating pain. When the nurses changed shifts around 7:30am the new nurse immediately saw that I was ready for some kind of pain relief RIGHT AWAY. We had been in the OB special care unit, and the nurse called over to labor and delivery and had me transferred there. By 10am Saturday morning I had my epidural in place and was finally able to see straight. The epidural was a god send for me!! The bad news was that 12 hours of labor and almost continuous contractions did absolutely nothing, and I was still between 1-2 centimeters dilated and only about 50% effaced. The doctor on-call that weekend for my OB practice was named Dr. Thomas, and she was very young and friendly. We discussed options and she wanted to try a few rounds of a different cervical ripener called cytotec before breaking my water and starting pitocin. They started me on the first round of cytotec, and my contractions eased up almost immediately. I started contracting far less frequently, and even though I couldn't feel them because of the epidural, I could tell by the monitor that they weren't going to be very effective in helping me to dilate further. During that round of cytotec, Abby's heart rate started flat lining. She wasn't reacting to contractions at all and the nurses were getting very concerned. I had to wear an oxygen mask that stayed on for the rest of my labor. After the first round of cytotec I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. Not much progress, but Dr. Thomas believed that if I could just get to 100% effaced then I may start to dilate further. We tried another round of the cytotec and there was no real measurable change. At this point it was 24 hours into the induction. Dr. Thomas decided to break my water and start pitocin on the lowest possible dose to see how Abby would handle things. Six hours later I was still not contracting regularly, and with every contraction that I did have Abby's heart rate fell to levels that the doctor was no longer comfortable with. The worst news of all is that even after all of that, I was still at 2cm and 80% effaced, meaning there had been absolutely NO change in my cervix after 30 hours of labor. We were officially out of options. Abby needed to come out right then, so we signed the waivers, Dave got suited up, and we went off to surgery.
I remember being wheeled into surgery, and that's where things start to get a little fuzzy. Someone told me they had to shave me, and Dave came into the room finally but he had to put his hand on my face and tell me that it was him because I was completely out of it by that point. I remember thinking that my mouth had never felt more dry in my entire life, and all I wanted was some water! The doctors and nurses were all chatting away behind the blue sheet they hung up to separate me from where they were delivering my baby. At one point blood splattered up onto the sheet and that's when I realized that they had already started cutting into me! I nearly had a panic attack, but I was so loopy from the drugs that I couldn't make sense of things. Finally I heard someone tell Dave to look up and see our baby, and then I heard her cry!! Someone asked, "Is it a girl?" (it might have been Dave??) and I remember saying, "She'd better be!" and hearing the doctors all laugh. They confirmed she was indeed a girl and I told Dave to go to her and take pictures! Time whizzed by after that and before I knew it they were unstrapping my arms and handing Abby to me. My arms were so numb that I was scared to hold her! They told me that I had to hold her in my arms while they wheeled me to recovery. We got to recovery and I made Dave take her back because I was so scared that I was going to drop her! Originally I had wanted to nurse immediately, but I was still so out of it from all the medicine in my system that I ended up waiting until nearly 4 hours after her birth to nurse. Dave was so incredibly wonderful with her, although we were both still a little apprehensive because we'd never taken care of a newborn on our own before, plus I still had my catheter in and was bedridden for the first 24 hours of Abby's life. I finally fed Abby with the help of our nurse, and it was a trying process attempting to find a position that would work in the hospital bed without pressing on my incision. A little while later Dave went with Abby to the nursery for her first bath while I rested and made some phone calls. We had visits from both sets of grandparents later that day and everyone fell in love with our precious little girl! :) That first night was a bit difficult because I was still struggling with nursing Abby. Our nurse thought she might be a little tongue tied, which was confirmed by her pediatrician the next day. Thankfully once she had her frenulum clipped on Monday we slowly but surely got the hang of things. She was born early Sunday morning and my milk came in on Tuesday afternoon. She was much, much happier once she was able to have some food! We went home on Wednesday and things have honestly been going better than I could have ever expected! Soon I'll be doing a post about breast feeding and my first thoughts on being a mom. Here are some pictures from the hospital: