Seven weeks ago my entire world changed. The moment the nurses put 7.8 pound Turner William Raby into my arms, my life began. Nothing before that moment mattered and the only that has mattered ever since is him. I fell into such a deep, pure, honest love and for the first time in my entire life, I felt whole. Just seven weeks and three days into the adventure, as a writer, I have decided to blog about the greatest adventure I have ever had.
Adventure is defined as an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous experience or activity, and that is exactly how I view motherhood, the adventure of a life time. Adventures are exciting, new, rewarding, challenging, and unpredictable and that is without a doubt how I have spent the last 53 days of my life. For my very first blog entry I will start at the beginning, the delivery.
The longest 36 hours of my life.
While many would argue that the journey of motherhood begins at conception, I had the most boring pregnancy imaginable. No morning sickness, no cravings, no swelling, no sleepless nights, no mood swings ( I understand this one is probably a matter of opinion), no anything out of the ordinary really. The nine months and five days I spent pregnant, aside from growing a belly, were like any other days.
Let me begin by saying that chid birth could not be any less like what you see in the movies, at least mine was not. There was no dramatic rushing to the hospital and grabbing a wheelchair, no water breaking in the middle of an important meeting, and nothing else that you see on the big screen, which was actual kind of a disapointment.
So my adventure began on a Tuesday, on Tuesday May 28. My due date was May 25th but I had not shown any signs of labor. I am a reporter for a newspaper in town, so I went into the office like any other day. I worked up until the day I was admitted into the hospital. In fact, the weekend before the 28th, Andrew and I had a big weekend out of town. Shopping, caught a minor league baseball game, even spent Sunday night at the dirt track.
I had a follow up doctor’s appointment scheduled for Tuesday the 28th. The previous Friday I went in for my 40 week visit and doctors told me my fluid levels were low, they ordered me back on Tuesday to check it again. I went to the doctor on my lunch break and after checking my fluid levels, decided I needed to be admitted into the hospital. Essentially, because of my low levels, my baby was out of room in the womb. Since I was already past my due date, doctors said there was no reason to continue waiting and sent me to the hospital to be induced.
I was told to be at the hospital by 7 p.m. that night. So after the doctor, I went back to work and finished out the day, then Andrew and I went home, packed and calmly went to the hospital. We didn’t tell anyone we were going to the hospital until we were on our way. We were worried about the delivery and just wanted to stay calm and get settled in without worrying family. Even after we told family, we still didn’t tell anyone else until after delivery was over.
When we got to the hospital they put us in the room. I was no where dilated and was still showing no signs of labor. Concerned about the baby, doctors decided to give me a pill to loosen the cervix on Tuesday night with the plan of starting pitocin Wednesday morning.
Wednesday morning I had still not made any progress and it looked like the pill hadn’t worked at all. I was maybe 1 centimeter dilated, but that was depending on which nurse checked me. Regardless, they started pitocin around 9 a.m. This is when I start the “36 hour” period of labor because I started feeling contractions. I never had them up until that point and I do not like pain, so for me, it counted starting then Even with the contractions, I continued to make little to no progress throughout the day on Wednesday.
Nurses kept increasing the pitocin dosage, but still no more dilation. Around 5 p.m. a nurse said she thought I was finally at 3 centimeters. I was on about as much pitocin as they could give me at that point and since I had started to progress, they decreased the dosage, hoping my body would take over and begin laboring on its own.
My water broke on its on around 7 p.m. I was in the hospital room with my family, in fact my mom was sitting on my bed playing with my niece and all of a sudden I felt a warm waterfall-like sensation on my thighs. It was less than pleasant. I rushed out of bed and gushes of water followed me all the way to the bathroom. Nothing glamours about it. And as unpleasant and awkward as it was, I was so excited because I knew it meant I was getting closer to getting that baby out!
Well, that is at least what I thought. After nurses cleaned up the crime scene that had just exploded out of my vagina, they checked to see how dilated I was. It was a different nurse than the one who had given me the 3 centimeter diagnosis and she said, she didn’t even think I was 3 then. Not the news I wanted to hear. So they increased my pitocin again and we continued the waiting game.
About 9 p.m., with no progress whatsoever, the nurse convinced me to have an epidural. She said that the anasegiologist that was on call lived in Asheville and was about to head home for the night. She said if I didn’t get it then, if something was to happen during the night and contractions began stronger and more painful, it would take him an hour to get to the hospital and it would be best to go ahead and get it. Don’t get me wrong, I was in pain. I had been contracting for 12 hours. And they were not fun. They hurt, they hurt bad, but from all of my google searches, I had read that epidurals could lose their effect and stop working. Being the wuss that I am, I reluctantly agreed to the epidural, but only AFTER the nurse promised that now epidurals are given through an iv, and as long as I had the iv drip, the epidural wouldn’t stop working…. yeah right.
Well, besides answering his cell phone while literally in the process of sticking a needle in my back for the first (yes, I said first) epidural, it seemed to go ok, except for the fact that only my right side went numb. Almost perfectly down the center of my body over to the right was numb, I couldn’t wiggle my toes or anything, but my left side was untouched. Instead of redoing it, they upped the drip and gave me injections as well. My right side was so numb I couldn’t breathe and my oxygen levels dropped because literally from my neck down was numb.
After that sensation started to go away, the anastiologist gave it another go. Luckily my second epidural took, and all seemed well…..for now. Thursday morning by about lunch time the second epidural, having been given about 14 hours earlier, stopped working. With high doses of pitocin, I had started to dilate very little and was having what I would consider deathly painful contractions. I felt every ounce of it. I can not even begin to explain the feeling. Worse than knives slicing up my insides. The most intense pressure imaginable. As if the Hoover Dam was about to be drained through my thighs but no one would pull the plug. Each contraction took my breath away. Just not fun.
The trouble continued when my body continued to refuse to labor on its on and I could not increase the pitocin to speed up the process because the more pitocin, the stronger the contraction, and when the contractions got too strong, the baby’s heartbeat would drop. So I was stuck, and remember, at this point I had no pain medicine and was considering pulling the baby out myself to stop the pain. Doctors decided I needed to start pushing. I was still no more than 3 centimeters dilated, but nothing else was working, so hey, what the heck.
We did it all. Every position, every trick, at one point in time I was on my side with my leg hiked up on the tray they bring your food on grasping the side of the bed pushing harder than an obese man with a fiber-free diet after a visit to a buffet. I hated everyone. This was the only point that resembled anything you see in the movies. I was drenched in sweat. I didn’t want anyone to touch me. I didn’t want anyone in the room, not even Andrew. I was on the road to being a mom and the only thing I wanted was to see my own momma. I cussed Andrew up and down. Not sure why, not sure what I said, I am sure I looked and sounded like something off the exorcise, but I was in the process of pushing what I could have sworn was going to be a full grown child through a considerably smaller exit and was less than pleased about it.
Doctors started giving me the run around.. at 12 they said they would give me a csection at 3, at 3…with still NO progress, they said I needed to keep pushing and they would induce me at 6. I was screaming, I begged, I pleaded. I am confident at one point in time I just screamed get the baby out of me. Doctors had fought with the baby to turn him so he would even be deliverable. He was turned sideways and with two women elbow deep between my legs, I could feel them inside of me trying to turn the baby’s head… but every time they thought they had him turned, he would turn right back.
I had had enough. I was exhausted, my body was giving out of me. I was at the point that I could not have physically pushed any longer. I finally just told the doctor… more like screamed in complete tears that I was done. I was not going to push again and they had to give me a csection. At 6:30 p.m. the doctor called it and ordered an emergency csection. Thank God.
The next three hours went back really quick. I was rushed down to surgery, screaming the entire way because they wouldnt give me my third epidural in the hospital room, I had to wait until I was on the operating table. Finally, when the doctor began the procedure, she said that I was finally 10 centimeters dilated, a little too late for that. Thirty-six hours after it all started and about a 6 inch incision later, it was all over. The csection process only took a couple minutes, but I was exhausted and was going in and out of sleep.
On Thursday, a little after 9 p.m., I heard the sweetest cry and a few minutes later pure perfection was placed in my arms. At that moment everything made sense, it was all worth it, and if asked, I would gladly do it for another 36 hours if it meant that the end reward would be that feeling of holding Turner in my arms for the very first time.
Afterwards the doctor apologized and said she should have sent me to surgery Tuesday when I was first admitted. Not only was Turner on his side, when he got enough room to move he turned “sunny-side” up, the only undeliverable position. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and from being upside down in the birth canal for so long, his head was 19 inches around in the shape of a cone. Turner had no intention of coming out on his own, he just simply was not ready.
Those 36 hours, as tough as they may have been, were the beginning of my adventure into motherhood. Just getting Turner here was nothing short of a challenge and even though I am just 53 days in, i am sure the rest of my life will be just as unpredictable, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.