Warning: This post contains details about labor and delivery. If you do not want specifics, do not read!! Do not say I did not warn you. Also- its very long!
Well here it is, the Birth Story....
I have put this off. Mainly because obviously the birth story is completely tied into the circumstances that unfolded afterwards with my son and thinking of all this just makes me an emotional wreck. But we will get to that. Lets start from the beginning, shall we?
Sunday the 17th, we got up and went to church just like every other Sunday. I felt the same I had for days. After church, we went to eat Mexican (I dont eat spicy food though, so dont go thinking it induced labor) like normal with some friends. Mr.Pate's Mom and Great Uncle came down too, so we then went back to Smiths Grove to unload some stuff they brought Dustin. After all the driving around, we went to Olive Garden. While we were there I started having these feelings in my lower abdomen, it kinda felt like Griffin was pushing out or something. But I noticed (from the outside) when it happened that my whole tummy was hard. Could this be a contraction I wondered?? This was 5 pm. After awhile I felt like they had been reoccurring, so I opened up my BabyBump app and started timing them at 6pm. We left Olive Garden and headed back to Smiths Grove one last time. These feelings were happening every 4 minutes or so I was pretty certain, but they werent super strong or painful. Mr.Pate's Mom was about to head back to Lousiville and I wondered if I should tell them, but since I wasnt sure I didnt.
I told Mr.Pate and we just decided to see what happened. We got home and he mowed the yard while I vacuumed. My contractions moved to every 2 minutes and were stronger. I had to stop moving during them. I was taken back bc they were so close together so soon. Weren't they supposed to take awhile?? At 7:30pm we called Dr.Gass to ask for advice. He wanted us to go in and get checked and have baby monitored since we were so far along, and then said if we were still 3cm then we could come on home if we wanted. So we grab our bags and headed in. We got to the hospital at 8pm Sunday night.
When I got checked, I was still 3cm and 90% effaced. The same as I had been for several weeks now. The baby's heartbeat looked great and he seemed to be just fine. My contractions were still 2 minutes apart and consistent. The nurse (Aimee, she was awesome!) said my bag of waters was bulging and would prob break soon. We didnt know what to do- go home or stay? If we went home, what were we looking for to show us it was time to head in?? We had planned on gauging when to go in based on how far apart my contractions were. Normally when they are this close it means you are close to having a baby! So we just decided to stay. (I also had not enjoyed the car ride over with contractions, so I wasnt eager to do that again)
We gave our Birth Plan to Aimee and I was admitted. She was totally supportive of me wanting to go natural and was just a blessing. I got my hep-lock in and finally was allowed off the monitor for awhile. Dr.Gass told her just to make me get on it 20 min of the hour, which is much better than he had originally told me- score! I was also allowed to drink gatorade or sprite all night bc I didnt have IV fluids, to keep me hydrated. Dr.Gass said he thought it would not be until the next night when I had the baby, so I need to try to rest. I just didnt know why it would take so long when I was having contractions so close together?? But ok.
We called our families and told them, but told them it would be awhile and they should probably wait. None of them listened and everyone headed to town. We sent my family to our house and Mr.Pate's family to Dustin's. No sense in coming to the hospital till we were pushing we thought.
So my contractions continued all night at 2 min apart. They were pretty intense and I had back labor too. We focused on breathing through them and relaxing all my other muscles to not make the pain worse (which works ps). I was surprised how the whole night I was in the zone. The TV was on and I never noticed it. I had no idea where my phone was and I didnt think about the internet once. Very unlike me. Ha! I constantly felt like i had to pee, and that was very uncomfortable. Most of the time I couldnt and just felt uncomfortable- this was bc of my bag of waters bulging down there. Contractions while I was in the bathroom were very hard for me. The toilet was tall and not very comfortable for me to sit on. Ugh.
At 1am I got checked again. No change. Are you kidding me?? What were these contractions doing?? One thing motivating me through this was that contractions serve a purpose- they dilate you so the baby can come out. If that wasnt happening then why was I going through this pain?? I was frustrated. Dr.Gass had suggested I take a sleeping pill to try to rest, so I did so. It didnt work and I couldnt rest. I couldnt lay down- super uncomfortable. I spent most of the night on my birth ball leaning onto the bed.
Our room did not have a chair that folded out into a bed for the guest, only rocking chairs. So poor Mr.Pate literally slept on the floor! The night was hard but manageable. The contractions were painful, but you knew they would come to an end and that helped you push through them. Once it was early morning I was losing some faith. I was telling Mr.Pate that if I hadnt made any progress next time we got checked then I wanted to think about pain meds. He just kept encouraging me and saying lets just see then.
Ours families ended up coming to the hospital at like 5 in the morning. Even though we told them not too. Because they didnt listen- they spent a long time in that waiting room! Ha!
At 7:30am Dr.Gass came and checked me. I was now 7 cm! I asked him if he thought I would get some relief from breaking my water, bc I was very uncomfortable down there. He said yes and we went ahead and did it. It did bring relief! Yay! I could pee! My water was meconium stained, so at this point we knew that we would need to watch Griffin closely at birth in case he swallowed some. (Side note: your water just keeps leaking after its broke. So bc mine was meconium stained, my bed had to be changed constantly. It was gross! But I barely noticed.) The NICU nurses would be on hand. Dr.Gass figured we would probably start pushing in about 3 hours. The baby's head wasnt in the greatest position and was not fully engaged. We kept on laboring. I was losing steam and did mention getting drugs a couple of times, but Mr.Pate would just say wait an hour and see where we are. So I would determine to make it another hour. It was effective.
At 9:30am they checked me and I was 9 cm!! Woo Hoo! We were so close! I just knew we would be meeting the boy soon! I had a second wind. His head was still not in a great spot, so I started doing knees to chest position to try to get him to move down and turn. This is when labor got really intense. All night it had hurt and been hard, but now the contractions were even more instense and the back labor was hardcore. My nurse (who was now Jamie- also awesome) told me to tell her if I had the urge to push. A few times I really thought I had the urge and called her in to check. Every time I was still 9cm. Ugh! The pelvic pressure was intense and made me feel like I would split in two. Suddenly my contractions were right on top of each other. No rest. And because of the back labor and the intense pelvic pressure my body was spasming in pain. I could not move positions because I would try to wait for a break in contractions, but they never came (you cant move during contractions, it is torture!). This was the only part of labor that was just unbearable. I began to flip out. I was in sooo much pain.
Somewhere during this time I let my sister come in (until then only Mr.Pate had been back there). I let Mr.Pate go eat bc he really needed it! Both of them could see how bad I was losing it. I started snapping at Mr.Pate and I started constantly saying I couldnt do this. Even if I made it to 10cm, I could not push. I was so spent. It hurt sooo bad. I tried so hard to relax and breathe through it, but since the pain never ended I just felt like I was dying. I really did. It was horrible!!
Dr.Gass came in and he could tell I was struggling. He suggested me getting an epidural to try to relax and maybe that would help me progress, and I looked at Mr.Pate begging him to say yes. He did and I jumped on it! I think it surprised Dr.Gass how quickly I said ok. I knew I was at the end of my rope. I have never experienced pain like that- it wrapped all the way around my body and never ended. I was worried it would take forever to get the epidural, because usually you have to have a whole bag of fluids in you first. But they started the fluids, and I am pretty sure I only had like a third of the bag maybe before I got the epidural. It was 12pm when we decided to get the epidural and it was actually administered at 1pm. As I was waiting for it, I was most worried about sitting up and getting into the position to get it. I had been laying on my side and could not move because of the pain! But I knew I would have to, so finally I just told Mr.Pate to move me. It hurt!!
To get an epidural, they make you sit up on the side of the bed. They give you a pillow to hug, and you have to make a c shape with your back and be completely still. I was nervous about that bc of the pain. But I was able to stay still. The epidural didnt hurt, it just stung like any other shot does. The guy said it would take 10 minutes to take effect and 30 minutes for the full effect, but I didnt feel anything from then on! It was sooo weird. I went from being in horrid pain to not being able to feel anything. I could not feel the contractions at all. I could not feel my legs but I could move my feet, which I thought was strange. I asked my nurse if this is what labor is like for people who come in and immediately get an epidural and she said yes. That reality was so strange to me because of what I had just been feeling for the past 19ish hours. But it was a welcome feeling after the past 19ish hours too. My contractions spread out to 4 minutes apart after we started the epidural. That would figure right?! Ha!
So after I got the epidural I was ordered to sleep! So I gladly did. At 1:45pm they decided to start pitocin to try to get my contractions closer together again and finish dilation. The baby didnt seem to like this, probably because it was too many changes close together (the epidural lowers my blood pressure and then the pitocin too) so we stopped the pitocin at 2:20ish and gave me oxygen. Griffin did great after that. They also made me turn on my side to help him too, and I couldnt feel my legs enough to turn. Mr.Pate and the nurse turned me, but I kept going because I did not think I had turned. I almost feel off the bed! Ha! Once we did this the baby was fine. At this point we started letting family and friends who had been waiting outside forever come in to visit.
At 5:20pm I was still at 9cm with some cervical lip showing. Dr.Gass and my nurse decided I should push to try to move the lip out of the way. So Mr.Pate and my sister as well as the nurse were my cheerleaders and I started pushing. I could feel nothing, but pushing is hard work because of the breathing (or lack there of!)! Even though I could not feel, Dr.Gass said I was a great pusher. I pushed for about 20 or 30 minutes 3 different times with some breaks in between. The cervix would move, and then once we stopped it was right back. The nurse told me I get an award for strangest cervix ever. Yay.
After the last bout of pushing, I could tell Dr.Gass did not look optimistic. I just said, "Dr.Gass, is this going to happen? Am I going to be able to do this?" He looked at me real honestly and said he had his doubts and that he would feel better about me and the baby if we did a c-section at this point. I told him I was ready, that I just wanted my boy out and safe. And so we began prepping for a c-section. Mr.Pate was supportive and felt it was what we needed to do. Dr.Gass kept encouraging me that I had given it the best effort. I surprisingly wasnt sad or nervous, I felt calm and ready. I think my body knew it was just time.
We ended up going into surgery around 7 something. The room was sooooo cold! They put warm blankets all over me. The screen they put up (like in the movies) was like only 2 cm from my face, I was surprised it was so close. And it was hard to hear in there. I could barely stay awake and I felt very detached from what was happening. They finally let Mr.Pate in (they make them wait in some room until everything is prepped) and he was in a chair next to my head, but I didnt even know it at first. I couldnt feel anything. After what only felt like a few minutes, I heard a baby crying and knew my son was born. 8:21pm. He sounded like he was quaking!
Dr.Gass brought him over to me to see, but I didnt have my glasses on so I could barely see him! Then they took him over and were suctioning out his lungs. Mr.Pate took some pictures and then they let him take him to the nursery. I of course was still there getting sewn up. Afterwards, they took me to recovery. They had told us before that I would be there for an hour. But when I got there and asked the nurse, she said more like an hour and a half. Turns out I was there for 2 hours. I drifted in and out of sleep and begged for water. I was sooo thirsty! She wouldnt let me have any yet. Anyhow, my numbing wore off and she pressed on my stomach every ten minutes to prevent hemorrhaging.
While I was in recovery, my nurse got a call from the NICU. She then came over and told me that Griffin was admitted to the NICU for breathing problems. Strangely, I didnt freak out. I knew lots of babies were admitted to the NICU for short periods bc of this, and I figured this would be the same. Not quite. When it was finally time for me to get out of recovery, they wheeled me down. My family was in the hallway waiting on me. I stopped and got my glasses, then Mr.Pate made them wheel me into the NICU in my hospital bed! Griffin was on a bed thats called a giraffe, so it was tall. I could barely see him. He had the CPAP on him and wires everywhere. I reached out and held his little hand and just couldnt believe this was my baby. He was beautiful. And apparently sick. I felt confused and out of it and really didnt know what to think.
After that I got taken to my room. To be honest, the next few days are somewhat blurry. I was still on meds and sleep deprived and it all runs together. I started pumping every three hours that night. By mid-day the next day I got to get up and go down to the NICU to see Griffin. I got to hold him either that day or the next day. And the rest I think has been blogged.
This is Griffins birth story. It was nothing like I could have imagined. I am still processing through all of the emotions that come along with it, so that will have to be another blog for another day. For now, this is what I have. I praise the Lord that He kept me and Griffin safe. It may have been hard and different than I wanted it, but I am sitting here today with a healthy boy who is about ready to eat. How can I complain??