Many of my friends and family have asked about how my labor and delivery went, so... here is our birth story! Its been three months since Riker's birth, so I will try to remember the details as best as I can.
My due date was Wednesday, September 17th. The whole time I was pregnant, I thought that he would come early. I was even told by one of our doctors that he would probably come early or on time, but not late (and she guessed he would weigh around 8 lbs).
Well, my due date came and went, like it does for most first time moms. I actually had a doctors appt on my due date... and I was dilated 2cm, and was about 60% effaced, but wasn't having any contractions. Because there was still no baby, we made an appointment for the following week (on a Tuesday), and also scheduled me to be induced on that following Friday (in case he STILL wasn't here).
A few days after that appointment I started having strong braxton hicks contractions, but they never turned into real contractions... and after two or three days, they stopped.
At my next appt (on Tuesday, Sept 23rd), the nurse taking my blood pressure said that it was very high, and that I needed to relax. Now up until this appointment, my blood pressure has been great, EXCEPT for the last time she took my vitals several weeks prior (see, my doc was getting married in Spain around the time of my due date, so at each new appointment, I would see a new doc, with a different nurse, just so I could meet all the docs in the practice. Eventually I circled back to docs and nurses I had already met). She took my blood pressure three times, saying it was very high each time. When the doctor came into the room, she immediately said that she wanted to send me to the hospital to run tests on my vitals and to probably be induced (due to her concern of preeclampsia). I immediately panicked (internally). I was prepared to be induced on Friday... not today! And now I was concerned for my baby. (Although both my husband and I wondered if the nurse maybe did her counting/math wrong when she checked my blood pressure, because up until then I had great blood pressure, and I wasn't stressed out... just uncomfortable).
They let us run home to grab our hospital bag and the car seat. I am not going to lie, I cried as we left the clinic to run home. I was worried about our baby. I was worried about labor. The surprise of being told I may be induced in the next hour or so put me into a bit of a panic! But I told myself that it wouldn't do any good to panic and let those anxious thoughts get the better of me. My husband and I got our things from home, prayed, told our immediate family what was going on, and then we headed off to the hospital.
By the time I walked into those hospital doors (around 12:30 or so), I felt much more calm about the situation. I got all settled into a room so they could monitor my blood pressure for a while. And just as we suspected, my blood pressure was just fine. Although, I was having contractions that I wasn't feeling. The doctor on call came into the room and gave me the option of going home, and coming back Friday to be induced, or to just go ahead and be induced now, since I was already there... and to monitor my blood pressure just in case there had been something wrong while I was in the doctors office. The doctor encouraged the inducement. After a little discussion, my husband and I decided to just go ahead and be induced. We decided on using the cervical gel Cervidil for induction, instead of petocin. (Cervidil is a vaginal insert, as opposed to a drug that is introduced into your body intravenously. TMI ALERT: Think of a cotton string with gel on a mesh strip at one end. It is inserted up the vagina, with the mesh strip/gel in the opening of the cervix. The string hangs out like a tampon, for easy removal).
The cervidel was put in around 5pm. I was told that if I wasn't dilated enough after 12 HOURS, then they would switch to petocin. (At this point Im thinking, "Man, I don't want to have to wait 12 hours, and THEN have to be put on petocin and wait LONGER before I get to have this baby!!!!! I'm going to be here forever!").
I felt fine for about an hour, then all the sudden I started getting bad contractions. I couldn't talk through them... I just had to close my eyes and focus on getting through the pain. (I just breathed through it and imagined the pain as being really warm/hot water that enveloping my stomach - like slowly being submerged into a hot tub. That actually helped a lot. And I didn't let myself tense up anywhere... not my eyes or my hands or anything. Tensing up your body can actually cause more pain). After only a few really painful contractions, the nurse came in and asked me what I would like to do about the pain. I immediately (and nicely) requested an epidural as soon as I was able to get one (thinking it could possibly take a while before the anesthesiologist could get to me). But the "stars [were] aligned", as the nurse said, because the anesthesiologist was available right now and could get the epidural in in just a few minutes. They sat me up, injected the numbing medication, and got that epidural in in no time. The anesthesiologist was great because she calmly told me what she was doing every step of the way... just so I was aware of what was going on. They laid me back down and now it was just a waiting game.
Shortly after I got the epidural I got the shakes, mostly on the lower half of my body. They stopped after a little while. I still had the use of my legs a bit (I could use them to help adjust how I was sitting on the bed, if I needed to scoot up or roll over...etc.). After some time the epidural started to wear off. I was able to get two extra doses of some drug to help, which it totally did. I got the shakes again, but all over my body this time, and they lasted much longer. It was pretty unpleasant... but I wasn't in pain. After a few more hours my epidural started to wear off again, but this time it felt different... I was getting horrible pain on my left side only, right under my ribs. It felt like a very very severe side ache... and I thought I felt Riker's little feet kicking my ribs on that side as well. I was given another two extra doses of that same med and that helped SO much. My pain was virtually gone again. My labor nurse said that the pain I was describing was strange, and so she decided to take out the cervidil to check on things. Right as she took it out she saw that my water had broken. And when she checked my cervix, I was at 9 1/2 centimeters! TIME TO PUSH!
At this time, It was about 1:30 am. Now, because they had JUST given me that extra dose of medicine in my epidural, I had ZERO feeling down there. I felt absolutely nothing, and no longer had any control over my legs. That made it VERY difficult to push. My labor nurse was AMAZING though, and was using the big bar that goes above your bed and wrapped a sheet around it and I'd pull on the sheet for leverage and I'd push and push. Then after a while she would stand at the foot of the bed and hold one end of a nursing blanket and I'd hold the other end and I would push and push. After a while they checked on Riker and noticed that he was "Sunny Side Up". This means that his face was facing up toward the sky, instead of down toward the floor. When babies are sunny side up, it can make delivery much harder, and most of the time you end up getting a c-section because they cant turn them around (thank goodness I didn't know that these situations often ended in c-sections. I thought this was a fairly normal thing - them having to try to turn him). So they had me lay on my side and push for a while... then they had me back on my back, and with every contraction (and with the docs hands on either side of his head), they slowly turned him. I'm so lucky they were able to turn him all the way around!
So I pushed some more, and my epidural was starting to wear off again at the top of my uterus, so I was starting to have that strong pain again with every contraction. After pushing for a while longer, I noticed his heart rate dropping a little. I kept asking if he was ok and they assured me he was doing fine. But at one point, the doc said to me "You have done a really good job, and you should be really proud of yourself." I'm thinking "Oh no, don't tell me after all this I need a c-section!". But she continued with saying, "I think at this point we need to use forceps. I am very confident using them. But, sometimes me just mentioning that we need to use them will get moms to push their babies out. What do you want to do?". I asked that she let me push a few more times to get him out. We pushed with each contraction a few more times and then she firmly said, "We need to get him out. Don't stop pushing between contractions, just keep going.". I pushed as hard as I could a few more times and felt lots of wiggly pressure way down there. Next thing I knew the doctors were telling me to look down cause my baby boy was finally here! They held him up, he purred a sweet little purr, and then he cried a little when they wiped him off. They put him in my arms, he cuddled up and stopped crying, and I cried out of pure love, and relief that he was finally here and was healthy. (He actually ended up having shoulder dyscocia - which is where his shoulder gets stuck - but they were able to get him unstuck without him having any injury).
After 4 hours of pushing, Riker was born at 5:56am at 9.58lbs and 21.5 inches long.