As the room got set up for delivery I remember asking Julie, “This means it’s close to being over, right?” I also asked her if the doctor would be there the whole time I pushed. She told me no and that we were about to start pushing now. She told Ryan and I how pushing was going to work. I was in a semi seated position. I would pull my knees back and out. Ryan would be on my left side holding my leg and she would be on my right. When a contraction came I would take a deep breath, lean forward with chin on chest and push for ten seconds. Take a deep breath and go again for a total of four pushes in a session. Then, I would rest taking big breaths until the next contraction ensuring baby got oxygen.
Now as she is telling me this I specifically remember the lady in our birthing class (which was at that hospital) saying they don’t do counts of ten anymore because it’s too long, they now do counts of eight. However, that lady wasn’t the one there at that moment so I decided to do what Julie told me to do.
With the next contraction we were pushing. Ryan was much stronger than Julie and I wished she was holding my leg as well as Ryan. I felt a little lopsided. Julie was counting and telling me to push again. She was telling me to push again before I could get a big breathe. I was trying to push again when she said to do so but I didn’t have a big enough breathe to go the whole count of ten. I think after that first set I told her that. She told me to make sure to get a big breathe then push. With the next contraction I felt like that set was much better and I understood how to do it right. As I pushed I felt my whole body tense up. I remembered about half way through each push to relax everything else and focus the energy where it needed to be.
Pushing took a lot of energy and focus, but overall was not painful. I for sure felt a lot of pressure and wondered how that baby was going to come out. I will say I felt like I was giving it every ounce of energy I had left. I also felt like I was going to bust blood vessels in my face.
Julie had asking me previously if I wanted a mirror to see and I said no. After a round of pushing or two she asked again and I said yes. The next contraction as I pushed I could look into the mirror and see just a tiny bit of baby’s hair. Honestly, I couldn’t focus on the mirror long enough while pushing as I felt like I needed to close my eyes to push. She then asked if I wanted to touch baby’s head and I said no. I think we did maybe four rounds of pushes with Julie when suddenly the doctor was there. I don’t remember her coming in, but she just appeared at the foot of my bed. The nurses began breaking the bed down.
The doctor said something about this baby has to come and it has to come now. I remember thinking, “Um, that is what we are doing and that is why you are here!” Ryan later informed me that my fever was at 100.6 at that point. She was saying a c-section was coming my way very quickly if the baby didn’t come. Julie spoke up in a manner that caught my attention at the time, which now makes sense. But she told the doctor that we had made great progress with pushing. Doctor took a look and seemed surprised. She commented that baby had a lot of hair. Then, more pushing began.
Again, we did the same kind of pushing that we had done with Julie. Ryan started counting for me as Julie was walking around the room doing something. She came back and told him to count a little slower at one point. Between contractions Ryan was reminding me to breathe deep. He reminded me I was giving baby the air she needed. I could hear in his voice the importance of this. After delivery Ryan told me that each time I would push the baby’s heart beat would slow or stop on the monitor then as I started breathing it would start up again. Hence why his voice sounded the way it did. I did not notice the monitors at that point. Which is kind of odd as I had been aware of them all of the other 18.5 hours.
At the end of one round of pushing I was experiencing what people call “the ring of fire.” This was nothing in comparison to when Julie was working the scar tissue previously. It did however burn. I remember repeatedly saying that it was burning. During each push Ryan, Julie, Doctor and Nurse all encouraged me on. It was very helpful to hear them all. After another contraction I heard someone say that they saw her eyebrows. Oh the relief of pressure when her head came out. I knew we were pretty much done. One more contraction and her body should be out. I should hear her cry. But nothing of the sort happened.
The next contraction came and I began to push. They all urge me to push with everything that I have. And I do. I pushed the hardest I could and my face felt like it might explode. (Laugh if you must, but seriously!) Then, a rush of panic entered the room. I knew something wasn’t right. Doctor is shouting. Julie is suddenly up on the bed pushing on my stomach in a way that felt like she was standing on me. Nurse is calling for extra help. Ryan is telling me to push. All I could hear was the fear in Ryan’s voice. I knew something was terribly wrong. And there was absolutely nothing that he could do about it other than encourage me to keep pushing. I try my best to stay calm, take a breath and push again but it was so hard not to panic. I knew I had no choice though. I had to keep pushing. All I could think was if something happened to our little girl it would be my fault because I was the only one that could push her out.
Suddenly she is out. But there is no sound. I don’t even see the doctor hand her off to the NICU doctor. All the emotions are there to cry, but no tears are coming. I look to Ryan to ask what is wrong or what is going on. I honestly don’t remember his response, but it was something someone says when they don’t know, yet they are trying to stay calm for the sake of the other person. I just remember his face. Exhaustion. Unknown. Fear. I try to look over at our baby but all I see are medical staff. Medical staff tending to me and medical staff tending to her. I ask the doctor what is wrong. She doesn’t really respond. Again I see unknown and fear on her face. She is looking back at the NICU doctors. She is scared. A vision flashes in my mind of Ryan and I returning home without a baby. A vision of me walking back to the nursery in the days to come and crying because there is no baby to be placed in the crib. I look back at Ryan and we lock eyes. That is all we could do. Then, the most relieving, joyous noise we have ever heard. Baby began to cry! She was born on July 5th at 5:06pm.
Once baby began to cry I saw a wave of relief come over the doctor. She slowly began to talk to me. She told me that baby girl got stuck and wasn’t breathing (Ryan later told me the nurse was counting seconds. Once they got to the minute mark is when the panic happened. When little one came out she was limp, lifeless and pale.) Doctor told me that when she was pulling baby in attempt to get her out she heard a pop. That she might have broken her shoulder. She then looks back at the NICU doctor and tells him she heard the baby’s right shoulder pop. I quickly responded that I didn’t even care- that our baby was alive. Doctor went on to say that the cord was wrapped around baby’s neck, but it was also in a knot. The nurse showed me the knot in the cord. Then, doctor summed it all up with our baby was going to be okay.
In the beginning I was a bit bummed that my water had broken sending us to the hospital and also that there was meconium in the water. However, now looking back on the situation it was a blessing. The NICU staff was required to be there since the meconium was present, but they were there to help after the rough delivery. During the panic more help was called for, but never came. Thankfully NICU was already there!
As they checked baby out they reassured us she was okay. I was trying to see the scale to see how big she was but it was in grams. They later told us that she weighed 8 pounds and 3 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. Ryan went over with baby to take a few pictures with her. The doctor was working on delivering the placenta all this time. The NICU doctor said baby looked great and could actually probably stay with us. He then starts asking field questions to verify that she could. Once he found out that my water had broken over 18 hours ago and that I had ran a fever he said she had to go to NICU and receive antibiotics for 48 hours. He said they would also check on her shoulder.
They wrapped her up and let me hold her for just a minute. Ryan took a picture of us. Then the nurse took a picture of the three of us. I’m looking at this baby so glad that she is alive. She gasps a bit and she has bubbles in her mouth which makes my heart skip a beat. But she is fine. She is alive. Then, they take her away. Ryan goes with her.
The doctor continues to work on delivering the placenta. I asked Julie how long we were pushing and she said it was only about 30 minutes. Much better than two hours! And it went by rather quickly. The doctor was pushing on my belly and slowly working the placenta out. They gave me more Pitocin to ensure the bleeding stopped. I remember asking them if it was going to make me have more contractions. They said no and it didn’t. I also remember joking with the doctor saying that it was taking longer to deliver the placenta than it did the baby. At this point I was going on 36 hours of no sleep with a 19 hour labor and delivery that was quite dramatic. Let’s just say I was exhausted and only remember parts of the events. Suddenly I felt my body bare down and expel the placenta. Behind the placenta was a gush of more water that went everywhere!
Now for the second part of the labor and delivery that was the worst. I am not sure which one hurt worse. When Julie was “massaging” the scar tissue through contractions or this. The doctor put her hand inside of me which felt like she was about elbow deep. She did this several times. I think she was pulling out blood clots. She or the nurse pushed down on my belly as her hand was inside of me. It was pretty painful. But it only lasted a short time. I then had to get four stitches where baby’s shoulder got stuck. She gave me a local numbing shot and stitched me up.
Another nurse then got me cleaned up while others where cleaning the room. I told them all several times what a great job they did and thanked them. I told Julie she did awesome and was so thankful for her! When I read about natural birth stories they all talked about this high they had. Granted our birth was not “natural” and it was pretty dramatic, I did not experience any high. Since I did not take any pain medication I for sure experiences a lot of different sensations, some painful and some just different. It was really quite crazy to feel how my body just took over. I can imagine how a labor without Pitocin would progress. There was no high, but instead pure and utter exhaustion physically and mentally.
All my mind could comprehend was: get to recovery room, see baby girl in NICU, go to sleep. I thought this would all happen in a few hours. Little did I know I wouldn’t get to touch our baby again for another 15 hours!
Until Next Time- Truly Love,