On July 5th I was officially a week past my delivery date.
In Belgium they typically wait 10 days to induce overdue mothers, but my gynecologist, after doing my exam, feeling that I was still only 1 cm dialated and hardly effaced (the exact same as the week before) and seeing that I had lost about 5 pounds that same week, decided to go ahead and schedule me for induction on the evening of July 6.
The point was to induce slowly as it was my first pregnancy and those labors can take much longer, they were trying to keep it as gradual as possible. Piet brought me in at 9 pm and I was given my first pitocin insert around 10 pm. Piet spent the night and woke up around 5 am the next morning. No labor had started, nothing had changed, so I got my second insert, which got things moving fairly quickly after that. Piet went home to shower and do some quick errands and I noticed some definite contractions starting around 6 am. By 7:30 I couldn’t read my book anymore and I was still waiting for Piet to come back, so I called him. Fortunately he had just entered the hospital and was on his way back up to my room.
The contractions escalated quickly after that and I was given an oral tablet to keep the labor going. Pretty soon I was having contractions less than a minute apart and the pain was pretty much beyond what I’d initially thought it would be. The midwife who was checking in on me kind of encouraged an epidural, which I’d hoped to avoid, but eventually I agreed to having one.
Really, the pain got so bad I would just start crying and be pretty much unable to focus at all on breathing, which obviously wouldn’t be productive when it came time to push the baby out, so I said yes to the epidural. Because the contractions had sped up and intensified so much, the decision was that another pill wasn’t neccessary, but once I had the epidural they were going to give me a drip of something to keep the contractions going (epidurals can slow the contractions and since mine had to be induced in the first place…you get where I’m going I guess).
For the epidural to be inserted I had to scoot across the bed, sitting with my back facing the anesthesiologist and hunch over as much as possible, I guess to give the most access to my spine as possible. The midwife was in front of me, basically bracing me and pushing down on my shoulders (cause I really wasn’t able to hunch much over 41 weeks of pregnant belly and boobs that have swollen to an H cup) while also helping me breathe during contractions since I couldn’t move while the needle was being inserted.
So there I was, by that point already stripped down to just a hospital gown and a port in my wrist, the midwife in front of me and the anesthesiologist behind me, reinserting the epidural (I felt the first insertion attempt so she removed it, gave me more anesthetic and tried again) and all of a sudden I got a contraction.
Suddenly fluid started pouring out and no matter how much I tried to stop, it just kept coming.
“Oh no, I’m peeing all over the nurse,” was my first thought, but then I realized my water had actually broken.
At this point, with a tube in my spine, a woman trying to fold me in half, my uterus spasming and what felt like a gallon of liquid spreading out underneath me, I admit, I was unable to come up with the right word for amneotic fluid in Dutch, so I just groaned.
“Are you thirsty?” the midwife asked?
I shook my head and kept repeating, “water, water” trying to think of how to say that my water broke in Dutch until finally Piet said, “Just say it in English.”
So I did, although at that point it really didn’t matter. The epidural was in and I was hooked up to a monitor to measure the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. When the midwife removed the soaked pad from underneath me I noted it was yellow and thought “dammit, I did pee on her.” Until Piet asked about the color and they told us the baby had just pooped in-utero basically, which happens often when a baby goes past 40 weeks.
Anyway, I was hooked up to a monitor and when the epidural took effect the bay’s heartrate dropped down below 100 bpm for a minute or two. They decided to wait for his heartrate to regulate before opening the drip to stimulate contractions. After ten minutes or so they started the drip and his heartrate dropped again so they stopped the drip and we waited.
In the meantime the midwife had checked the state of things and I’d effaced and dilated to 4 centimeters but an hour later when my gynecologist came in to check again, my contractions were still 4 minutes apart and I hadn’t dilated any further. Between the lack of progress and the way the baby had reacted to the epidural and the contraction stimulant, the gynecologist recomended I have a c-section.
I’d gone into this pregnancy hoping to have a natural childbirth. No epidural, if possible, no c-section, if I could help it. Now here I was, overdue, induced, with an epidural and being told I should have a c-section.
I don’t ever do anything in my life the easy way, even if I honestly intend to.
Anyway, within minutes arrangements had been made in a surgery room, two extra midwives had come in, put pressure stocking on my legs, taken the internal sensor off of the baby’s head, hooked up whatever bags I would need dripping through my port, given Piet some scrubs and before I could really wrap my brain around the turn of events I was being whisked off to the operating room.
They moved me over to the operating table and they set up a sheet so I couldn’t see anything below my chest. By the time the oxygen mask was on my face I was as close to an anxiety attack as I’ve been in a long long time, although with my arms strapped down and the majority of my body numb there wasn’t much I could do but cry . Some of the nurses reassured me and then Piet came and sat by my head and stroked my hair while I tried as hard as I could to calm down.
Having a cesaerian section was probably one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
Being able to feel pressure while the noises of cutting and suction eminated from the other side of the sheet made me gag. Knowing what was going on, despite not being able to feel it was still terrifying. Waiting to finally, finally hear my baby crying was torture.
Wanting so badly to see Piet and have him hold my hand through the operation while my arms were strapped down and all I could see where surgical masks was awful.
But then I heard them tell Piet to grab his camera and they told me the baby would be out in just a second and I heard the shutter snap and then our baby crying.
And the tears of angst suddenly morphed into sobs of complete and total relief and joy.
Piet leaned over and whispered that our son was out and healthy. They cleaned him up and Piet brought him over to me to see, although I couldn’t hold him until they’d sewn me up.
At this point the story gets a little fuzzy for me as I began to get feeling back while they were closing me up and the anesthesiologist gave me something and I promptly passed out on the table until they were wheeling me down to recovery.
And that’s how our son was born, on July 7th at 1:04 pm weighing 3.64 kilograms and measuring 50 centimeters. I won’t be using his real name on the blog and I think I’ll call him Tay here, but I’ll be posting a few pictures and maybe you’ll be able to see his real name that way.