November 19th 10:00p.m.: I complained to Joe about unusually swollen feet, trouble catching my breath and a massive headache. Not normal. We grabbed my hospital bag and jumped in the car. We had no idea whether they would admit me that night or send me home but we didn't want to take a chance. At triage, my blood pressure was elevated and for the next two hours, I was kept under close observation. They immediately started monitoring the baby's heartbeat, checked my cervix, and three hours later did a biophysical exam (fancy hospital terminology for an ultrasound). Here is where they discovered that my amniotic fluid was low (7.5 -- and the ideal amount should be above 10). The combination of elevated blood pressure and the low amniotic fluid made the doctor on call that night decide to induce me at 38 weeks. It was already 4:00a.m. at that point. My Dad and Patricia had joined us at the hospital and kept me and Joe company while we had waited for an answer. Once we were told we (I) wouldn't be going home, I sent the family home so they could get some rest. There were no rooms available upstairs, so I waited the rest of the night (well at this point, morning) in triage until a room opened up. I spent the next few hours alone, mentally preparing to meet my son and bracing myself for my delivery experience.
November 20th 9:00a.m.: I left triage and was admitted to the high-risk floor where the labor induction process began. I started off with a dose of Cervidil; a medication used to soften and 'ripen' the cervix. It takes 12 hours for the Cervadil to do its job, so for the next half-day, I enjoyed my time with rotating visitors along with several rounds of very painful contractions. I had always wondered what labor contractions felt like and the best comparison I can make is that they rival the worst case of menstrual cramps along with searing back pain. Honestly though - the pain wasn't as horrific as I thought it would be. I was actually proud of myself that I could tolerate the contractions in a reasonable manner without turning into a savage beast.
By 9:00p.m. that night, my cervix had ripened to allow for the next step in the labor process. It was go time at this point! They moved me into the labor and delivery room and by 10:00p.m., I got Pitocin, which intensifies uterine contractions. I won't lie -- those menstrual-like cramps I had experienced earlier paled in comparison to what I felt once the Pitocin came. I still refrained from morphing into a savage beast and all in all, they were still tolerable. By 2:00a.m., the epidural was administered (something else that presented a fear unto itself but that too was manageable. The administration of the euphoric drug felt like a small prick in my back and before I knew it, it was over. Just don't look at the needle before it's administered. Glad I took a peak at it after the fact.) My water broke shortly thereafter (a trickle first then a big gush of water for those curious to know!) and the next thing I know, I had fallen asleep for about an hour. When I woke up at 3:00a.m., the nurse checked my cervix and I had fully dilated to 10cm (!!!!!!) That's right - within one productive hour, I went from 4cm dilated to the end goal of 10cm. I pushed for 50 minutes straight...and by the end of the hour, Julian was in my arms.
|In my arms, finally!|
|All cleaned up!|
What an experience - a very wonderful one at that. The nurses at Winnie Palmer were phenomenal and I don't think I could have pushed without them. (It sounds strange, but no amount of preparation or 'labor training' can really take you through the delivery process. In my opinion, it's the people around you guiding you on how to breath and telling you when to push that really carry you through to the end.)
And there it is! Our birth story. Julian is a beautiful and healthy baby and Joe and I are enamored by this little one. He has changed our lives immeasurably and every day I am grateful for our miracle baby. Stay tuned for posts on our life with Julian!
My dear grandma "Teta" passed away the night I was admitted to the hospital. It's hard to believe she is no longer here but I am convinced she was there that night I delivered Julian - in some spiritual way - standing at the foot of the delivery bed, guiding Julian into my arms. It was a bittersweet experience, welcoming one life while simultaneously saying goodbye to another one. But, this beautiful exchange only enriches my faith. I know that Julian and I have a guardian angel who will watch over us for the rest of our lives.