**This post is a little TMI so if you don’t like the words: vagina or cervix or any other word associated with childbirth, you should probably just move along. I’m also NOT a nurse or doctor so anything I say in this post should NOT be used as treatment or diagnosis or otherwise. I’m simply explaining my understanding of my birth story as the patient.**
It seems most appropriate that I post about my birth story since today is my daughter’s 1st birthday! Per pPROM protocol if still pregnant induction should be started at 34 weeks. Even after spending as much time on my computer and phone as I did for the last five months, researching all sorts of things about waters breaking early, I still never really realized how lucky I was to make it as far as I did. 20 weeks with little to no fluid. That’s a freakin’ miracle! I guess even right down to the end I was still so naive about everything. I stayed pretty calm through my entire pregnancy even though it had a black rain cloud over it from the beginning. I stayed positive which I think helped tremendously. I kept imagining what my life was going to be like with my little girl and all the places we were going to go when she got here. I kept forgetting the most important part though, NO ONE knew how sick she was going to be. I just thought she would spend a couple weeks in the NICU and then we could go on all of our adventures. I was wrong. Like really, really wrong.
My induction started right at 34 weeks, it was a Sunday and my room was pretty spacious. It was about 7:30 pm when the process started. They had to give me a “cervical ripening” medication called Cervidil, so that the Pitocin I was going to get the next day didn’t tear apart my cervix like a pack of vultures on some roadkill. That stayed in for a little over 12 hours. My day nurse came in that morning, took out the Cervidil (it’s kinda like a tiny tampon that hugs the cervix all night), and checked to see if I progressing (thinning and dilating). I was! Yay! Then my doctor came in to check and to give orders to start Pitocin. Woot! Woot! We were on our way to Babytown!
Yeah, that was a big ole NOPE! About halfway-ish (I should mention I barely looked at the clock during this process so if you’re an L&D nurse reading this and thinking my timing is way off, it probably is) through my day on Pitocin and I reached the maximum daily amount allowed. I hadn’t dilated at all and my contractions were nothing more than a super mild period cramp. I was done inducing for that day so no Babytown for us. Boo! I was started on another “cervical ripening” drug called Cytotec. 0 out of 5 stars, do not recommend, I would tell a friend to stay far, far away! This drug was super fun because it had to be inserted into the vagina, like ALLLLLLLLLLL the way up to the cervix… well “behind” the cervix from my understanding. Not only did I have to have my nurse touch my belly button from the inside once, I had to have that done every 4 hours for the next… SIX…TEEN… hours! FML! I was at the point where I wanted the epidural now if this ish continued!
Finally, we started to have some movement and I dilated to about 1.50 cm. Hallelujah! I was back on Pitocin and this train was headed for Babytown! But not before one of those rough looking outlaws from the old western movies shows up and robs the train. That asshole. Apparently my body wanted to keep my child hostage (eyeroll emoji so hard RN!). I swear labor is the only time when your brain and your body completely separate from each other. Your brain is telling you one thing and your body is like “Nah, bro that’s not a great idea.” and then your kid is like “Well, can one of you make up your mind?!” I’m grateful my body kept her in there for as long as it did but right now is not the time to be difficult! I had pretty much stopped dilating altogether and I was going into day three of my induction. Things needed to move sooner rather than later because if we wait too long the baby will start to have trouble.
Because of the lack of amniotic fluid, it didn’t take long for baby to have some issues. Her heart started dropping during some of the bigger contractions (normal) but was taking longer to come back up to a normal rhythm (not normal). I had something called an Amnioinfusion to help add some padding to the baby during contractions. I had a probe placed up there to measure the pressure from each contraction, and I had a super fun foley catheter placed up there to help me dilate (who knew all that could fit up there all at once?!). The foley worked and I dilated to 3 cm! The next few hours seemed to be moving along just as planned and I dilated on my own to 5 cm. We were definitely on our way to Babytown now! I really started feeling those big contractions and asked for some pain meds. I have no idea how people like that feeling. I felt like I was floating but not going anywhere. I was hearing the conversations but it was like the words were literally floating in one ear and out the other. 3 out of 5 because it stopped the pain from the contractions, but I would not recommend if you want to be a functioning human being in society, I would only recommend to my friends pushing a watermelon out their vahjina! The pain meds worked for a little while until the contractions started to get really uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure if the whole vulture analogy from before was happening to me or if I was just a big ole puss but I asked for that epidural!
Couple hours after the epidural was placed that MF’n Yeti ripped up the train tracks on me and we were, yet again, stopped on our way to Babytown (if you’ve never been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom you wouldn’t understand that analogy, sorry!). I stopped dilating at 5 cm and the amnioinfusion wasn’t working like it was before. Baby’s heart rate was dropping and taking even longer to come back up. I had two options; 1) go all super saiyan and magically make my cervix dilate to 10 cm. Or 2) prep for a c-section. Since the whole super saiyan thing was unlikely at this point, I prepped for surgery.
This is the part of my story where I get scared… like really, really scared. Everything I had been through up until this point didn’t scare me half as much as this did. You should know that I’m a pretty tough girl. I’m not overly emotional; I’m one of those get back on the horse and tell him he’s an asshole type people, and (normally) when I’m scared I just move forward and get it done. This time… I was terrified. I didn’t want to be alone and panicked when my husband had to go put on that awesome looking bunny suit and my nurses wheeled me into the OR, alone. (**Sidebar: Full disclosure, I work in an OR. Still not a nurse, still not a doctor. I’m an x-ray tech. My medical knowledge is whatever I need to know to do my job. So, the first paragraph in this post still stands. Don’t be stupid and self diagnose because of this blog. Go to a real doctor who went to school for 85 years and will still be paying off student loan debt until they’re 100, kapeesh?). Being someone who works in the OR, it all looked the same. It smelled the same. The equipment was the same. The process was the same. Except this time I was on the other side of the table. I was feeling the exact same way my patients were feeling right before they went to sleep. I was putting my trust in my doctor that she would do the surgery perfectly (and only leave me with a tiny scar). I was putting my trust in the scrub techs that they made sure every single thing was sterile and I wouldn’t get an infection. I was putting my trust in my anesthesiologist that I wouldn’t feel anything during my surgery. These are all the things you think about when you’re the patient. Let’s not forget the main reason why I’m lying in an OR in the first place, my baby. My thoughts ranged from “Will she come out crying?” to “Will she even be born alive?”.
As they laid me down and prepped me for the start of my surgery, I begin to shake uncontrollably. I wasn’t sure if it was the meds they gave me, or if the room was just that cold, or if I was just that terrified. Probably a little bit of everything. Finally, my husband walked in. I was so relieved to see him. For a minute there I thought I was going to have to do this all alone. Now these times I remember, I signed all my paperwork for surgery at 6:00 am, by 6:15 am I was in the OR and at 6:45 am on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 my daughter was born.