Andrew’s birth story

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Andrew’s birth story definitely starts with a bang. I was a day overdue, measuring 6 weeks overdue and getting desperate to go into labor to avoid the c-section that was scheduled for Monday- just a couple of days away. On August 8th, Andy was estimated to be 9 lb 13 oz by ultrasound. I knew that was high but I didn’t know by how much and my doctor was definitely antsy to get him out of me. By the evening of Friday, August 18, I was ready to try a last ditch effort to make my body start contracting- castor oil.
I mixed 2 oz castor oil with a small McDonald’s chocolate shake and it wasn’t too bad. Definitely not the “Tasteless!” the bottle proclaimed it to be though. Down it went at 8:15 pm. I had read earlier that day that 57% of overdue women went into labor within 24 hours after drinking 2 oz of castor oil. I was skeptical.
We all went to bed at 11:00 or so. By 11:15 I was starting to get menstrual type cramps that soon became contractions 2 to 5 minutes apart. Here are the entries I made to my blog as the night went on:
It’s 1:45 am. I’ve been having contractions for 2 1/2 hours. Some pretty strongish, some not. The crazy thing is they are mostly 2 minutes apart but can be up to about 5 apart. My uterus does not completely relax between them and my back only has a small ache to it. I am feeling them way down low in front with the upper uterus pretty much remaining at least somewhat tight all the time.
The baby is very quiet. I got up 1/2 hour ago to drink some OJ in hopes he’ll start wiggling. I’m about to go back to bed and concentrate on that. If he’d move some I’d be doing the happy dance right now. I hope the contractions continue. It’s scary to be up in the wee hours alone and contracting! I don’t know what the h*ll I’m doing!!!
Oh, and no diarrhea yet. Hahaha.
No joking now
2:15- 3:15 am… things slowed down a bit…must’ve fallen asleep. Woke up to poo a bit.
3:45-4:05… the big “D”. OMG! Diarrhea wouldn’t have been too bad if it weren’t for the relentless contractions with it. They’re back with a vengeance. I rocked on toilet mostly.
Whammo! When a contraction hits… I have to stand up and do a little squatty dance around the room. They hurt!!! And are frequent! And all centered where you get menstrual cramps.
4:16:55- 4:17:55 Dance, dance, dance…
4:19:11- 4:20:06 dance with chin up in air… weird.
4:21:10- ebb a little but no break, 4:22:58- 4:23:37
4:24:55- 4:26:00
Every 2 minutes or so. Is this really happening?!
4:40 now… I’ve been on the toilet again and leaning against the counter in a kind of squat for contractions. Gonna go shower now. I feel yucky.
They’re 45 seconds to a bit over a minute, intense and every 2 or so minutes. I’m getting nothing done, lol.
My aunt Cathy is on her way to watch Brendan and the in-laws have been called.
The only thing impeding my joy is that I’m not feeling him move. I’m really scared about that. I didn’t want to go in early but this necessitates it.
Gonna call the dr as soon as my aunt arrives.
I woke Darrell up at 5:00 and he just sat there for a bit with a silly grin on his face… he’s cute. He keeps saying he should’ve laughed a bit less and paid attention a bit more to the labor class.
My Aunt Cathy arrived at about 6:45 am bringing Darrell and Brendan breakfast tacos. We left the house at 10 til 7:00 and arrived at the hospital at 7:15. I walked up to the counter where the nurses were and nobody even asked me what I needed- it was “let’s get you to a room.”
We got me into a labor room and I burst into tears. I was so afraid that the baby was gone because I hadn’t felt so much as a twitch in many hours. As soon as the nurse introduced herself (Karen) I was asking for a heartbeat check. And it was there. My whole body relaxed with relief. She determined that I must be dehydrated. Despite a large OJ around midnight and another that didn’t stay down a couple hours earlier, the what I considered not so bad amount of castor oil diarrhea must have been rougher on him than I thought.
At 7:30 I was checked- 3.5 cm and 90% effaced! A real change from the 1 cm and no effacement at my last OB appt a few days ago! The nurse confirmed I was definitely not going home without a baby. I got an IV started. Contractions were still powerful but not quite like what I had experienced at home and not quite as often. Still, the nurse was impressed with them. I was allowed ice chips (which were heavenly) and hard candy.

By 8:30 I was given permission by the on-call OB to walk the halls at my request. My IV bag was attached to a pole and we went and visited the nursery. I stopped and held my head against the pole with every contraction. I could tell the walking was helping to keep them strong and frequent. We were given until 9:10 to walk until we needed to be back for a check.
At about 9:45 the anesthesiologist came in and did his best to talk me into an epidural. In the event of an emergency I wouldn’t have to be put under if I already had an epidural in place. No thanks. My nurse had warned me that he would pressure me so I was ready. He took a long time discussing my previous epidural and said it was probably the Duramorph that had caused my itching. Duramorph is an injection of morphine that is added to the epidural to give pain relief for the first 24 hours after birth. He said I could refuse it if I wished. Afterward he left, we called to check on Bren. He was having a ball with his Aunt Cathy and some new toys.
By 10:00 we were ready to walk some more. I was feeling the need to get out of bed pretty badly because my contractions were losing strength again. Just as we got up, the on-call OB came in and introduced himself, Dr. Debois. He was an intense person and while very willing to let me try this VBAC, it had to be HIS way or NO way. He made that clear. I gave an internal sigh but was happy enough to be getting a chance at all. I was still quite shocked that this labor was happening.
At 10:15 he broke my waters despite me wanting to walk some more first. On a happy not though I was now 6.5 cm! He said I was very stretchy but the baby was high. He was worried about the baby not coming down with all the strong contractions I had had- about 11 hours worth by this point. He gave me 2 hours to make some more progress or I’d have to have a c-section. My walking privileges were gone since my waters were now broken.
Sure enough, at 12:15 he was back… no change. He asked me my opinion about pitocin and I said I was comfortable with a small amount. He agreed and I was set up with that plus an internal monitor for the baby and to better monitor the contractions which were still getting weaker and further apart. I knew this was an option my own OB would not have allowed so I was thankful. My nurse however was reluctant about it.
Not long after, Karen discovered that the doctor had totally missed the baby’s scalp and had inserted the monitor into my cervix instead! Her efforts to remove it were unsuccessful so she cut the cord short and left it hanging. She inserted a new one into the baby.
Right before 1:00 my nurse discovered that she had “accidentally” forgotten to turn the pitocin on. My starting amount of 1 unit/hr was hardly ever increased despite orders to raise it by 1 unit every 20 minutes. By 2:00 it was only up to 3.
At 3:00 I got a new nurse, Carolyn, who raised the pitocin to 4. At 3:25 the doctor came in for another check. No good- no progress. They can stretch me to any measurement they want but there is no head descending. I have to have a c-section. I bawl.
Just before 4:00 Darrell gets geared up in his paper scrubs. Just after 4:00 I was in the OR getting the epidural. Knowing what to expect this time made getting it put in much easier. Apparently I was calm enough to not even get my arms strapped down, a good thing since my nose itched incessantly. I reminded the anesthesiologist that I did not want the Duramorph. Mostly they all thought I was nuts to not want the pain relief but I was not worried about pain- I WAS worried about a repeat of the awful itching I had had for a day and a half with Brendan and how the drug to dull it had made both him and I continuously sleepy. I asked Dr. Dubois if I can watch the entire surgery instead of just the birth and he was fine with that. Darrell was ushered in.
At 4:30 pm on August 19, 2006, my second son was born, Apgar scores of 9 and 10. He’s beautiful!!! And big!!! I watch in fascination as they sew me up while Darrell steps just out of my view to be with Andrew. He carries him over and immediately tells me he also has a tight frenulum. Can’t win ‘em all.

Soon after 5:00, I am in recovery and breastfeeding is going great. Andy has quite a suck on him! By 6:30 the nursery nurse comes and weighs him- 9 pounds 9 ounces!! Big, but not the 9 lbs 13 oz predicted 11 days prior. He’s 20.5 inches tall. He gorgeous and wonderful and we are feeling very blessed!

6 thoughts on “Andrew’s birth story

  1. Yea!! Hooray!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this. How WONDERFUL that you experienced real labor, Jen. Those pictures are awesome.

  2. I check your blog every Tuesday night since DH is gone til after midnight… I have a lot of time then! Congrats again on your beautiful baby boy! 🙂

  3. Wow! That’s quite a story…all those “oops, we didn’t do x right” parts are pretty annoying! I know it didn’t go quite the way you wanted it to, but I am glad you got the chance to feel the labor. Did they give you any idea of why he wasn’t coming down the birth canal?
    Oh, and I am not one for OR pictures, but the shot of him coming out with his arms open wide and all “here I am!!”…I love that picture!!

  4. What a great story I am so sorry he didn’t decend for you that little guy just liked it all snuggly up in mommy! And love the pics…you did great Jen!!!!!

  5. Great birth story! So glad all went well with this delivery, sorry that you didn’t get your VBAC, but you did get to experience a little more this time around. Maybe next time 😉

  6. Great birth story! Seems like you were so close to going natural, sorry you didn’t get the VBAC you wanted so much. Next time 🙂 Congrats again, he is a beautiful baby!

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