It all started this summer when I was measuring small. The doctors panicked a little and sent me for ultrasounds. This happened several times. In fact that's how they discovered Emmett was breech. That's also how they decided my amniotic fluid was low. In that last month it was quite low. Then normal (but on the low end of normal). Then low the week before my due date. I had several non-stress tests, which we of course passed with flying colors, so the doctor's let me keep going. I was stressed out and sick (stupid head cold), and I just had a feeling that at my last scheduled appointment on 10/22, the results would not be favorable. So I called it quits at work on 10/21. Wednesday morning I went for a walk with the dog and then to my appointment where I learned my fluid was at 2cm (not good). Because I had passed a NST on Monday night and fetal heart rate was good, doc told me to go home, eat a good meal, gather my stuff (and my husband), and head to the hospital. So that's what I did. We picked G up from school, dropped him with my mom, and got checked in at Saint Mary's.
It was all very familiar since I also was induced with Graham. I'm a little sad I never went into labor on my own, but it did make for a calmer trip to the hospital. I was only 1 cm dilated and maybe 50% effaced, so rather than start pitocin, I was given a round of cervidil, which is a topical treatment on a suppository meant to soften the cervix to make conditions more favorable for induction. Though it's not meant to start labor, it can (especially if this is a second delivery). It was put in at 3pm on Wednesday and then we waited. And waited. And waited. And then were told it had to stay in for 12 hours. In the evening I was advised to take a sleeping pill and get some rest before the induction, so I did. I got a few hours before waking up around midnight feeling very uncomfortable; I had started to go into labor!
At 3am on Thursday, they removed the cervidil and the nurse suggested I get up and walk around before starting pitocin, so again I took her advice. The contractions started to become more regular and when my cervix was checked around 4:00 I think I was about 4cm dilated! Pitocin was administered around 4:30am and that's when it got real! At the time, it felt like a long labor, but in reality things moved quickly. At every check I was more dilated and effaced. I was doing good with my ujayi breathing and using the birthing ball to get through contractions. But as baby kept dropping it became more and more painful. At one point, I felt a pop during a contraction and my water broke. At the check where I was 5cm dilated, I felt like things were moving too slowly for the amount of pain I was in, so I decided to get administered Stadol, which in retrospect I don't think helped. Contractions were still painful and I felt totally loopy and sedated between contractions. At around 8am, I decided to throw in the towel and ask for an epidural. I cried because it hurt and I cried because I again felt like a failure not being able to deliver a baby without medication.
Here's the catch: the anesthesiologist was in a C-section and unavailable until 9am. Again I cried not knowing how I could possibly make it another hour. And it turns out things would just get more and more painful in that hour, which I spent on my hands and knees on the bed while Jeff and the nurse rubbed my back and assured me that not only could I do it but I WAS doing it.
At 8:45 I used the bathroom. At 9 I decided I needed to pee again and as I sat on the toilet it was if my body was taken over by some other force and it felt like the baby was going to burst out of me. So I think I yelled, "The baby is coming now!" The nurse and Jeff each grabbed one arm and they whisked me to the bed. The weird thing is, I suddenly felt calm and the contractions stopped hurting, despite the fact that I was surrounded by chaos as the nurse was yelling for the doctor who on rounds and the baby nurses came in to receive my boy. I could hear Jeff breathing heavily and quickly as he became overwhelmed by this turn of events. Apparently at this moment, the anesthesiologist came in and proclaimed, "I guess I'm no longer needed." A resident told me not to push; they were concerned about me tearing and they were still trying to find my OB. Once she arrived, she told me she was going to do an episiotomy and said I could get baby out in just a couple pushes. "Really?" I managed to mumble. I still was feeling a little disconnected from my body and from the reality of the situation; probably the combined effect of the Stadol and the relief from the contractions. Yes the "ring of fire" stung like hell, but truthfully it felt better than the previous hour of labor. Sure enough, just a couple pushes and only 20 minutes after I announced that baby was coming, out he came.
Suddenly I was snapped out of my stupor. When Graham finally came out after 4 hours of pushing, I sobbed because it was finally over. When Emmett came out so quickly, with no epidural, I exclaimed, "I DID IT!!!" I felt overjoyed because my sweet Emmett and his full head of dark hair arrived at 9:21am on October 23. I felt grateful (in hindsight) that I had to wait that excruciating hour for the epidural it turns out I didn't need. And I felt relieved that despite the last month of worrying about having a too small breech baby with complications due to low fluid, I had this totally normal, healthy averaged sized boy in my arms (and no longer pushing on my tailbone). Like with Graham, I was instantly and completely in love.
My mom brought Graham over to the hospital and Jeff brought Graham in to be the first to meet his new brother. He was nervous and very concerned about why I was in a strange bed, wearing a strange hospital gown, and with an IV port in my hand. But he did great. My mom and dad were next to meet him, followed in the afternoon by my dear friend Jess and by Marsha and Harold.