Last week during my 36 week appointment, my OB said I was 4 cm dilated and 75% effaced so I was sent to labor and delivery to be monitored for contractions and to see if I was progressing. 6 hours later, I was sent home to monitor how everything was going.
Most of the week, I was getting contractions although not consistent enough to head to the hospital. We were pretty much sitting on the edge everyday to see if that day was going to be the day. It was kind of stressful and frustrating, we were so ready to meet our angel but we knew that she was going to come on her own time in her own way.
Thursday (6/20) was our 4th wedding anniversary and I had another non-stress test. We were very much hoping that it would pick up enough contractions to admit me to the hospital to get the party started! However, Genny had other plans - not one contraction showed up on the monitors and we left very let down. I cried for about 20 minutes after the non-stress test because I had spent so much time getting close with the contractions and I was just ready to have her here.
All weekend, I did not feel very well - like I had the flu. I had body aches and stiffness, felt sick to my stomach from time to time, and the contractions were still what they had been for days. I spent lots of time on the couch or the bed, resting and trying to relax because I just didn't feel well.
Monday, June 24 I had my 37 week OB appointment, but I did not go into the appointment with much hope that things had progressed. I had set a whole list of things I wanted to get finished after the appointment because I had no expectation that anything was happening.
Well, I have never been so wrong!
My OB told me I was 6-7 cm and 80% effaced, she said that I had progressed enough she wanted me to be admitted and she would come break my water. It was awesome but scary news. I called Aaron at work and let him know that I was heading to be admitted and he could meet me there as soon as possible - it was go time!
By the time Aaron arrived, I was hooked up to the monitors, had an IV going in my hand and had completed the admission paperwork. However, my blood pressure (which had not been a touch out of the normal range for the entire pregnancy was elevated - I had to keep the blood pressure cuff on and monitored because it was not coming down and they were concerned it was going to stay high). After about an hour around 12:15 pm, my OB came and broke my water (what a weird sensation that is - you feel like you wet yourself and with every contraction, you wet yourself a little more). I had progressed to 8 cm dilated almost immediately.
But then we stalled out. I stayed at 8 cm for hours, but the contractions were picking up with intensity and frequency. We added some pitocin to the IV fluids to see if we could continue to move along. Within about 5 minutes of that in my IV, the contractions were intense and I cried at every contraction. It was getting very painful and my blood pressure was still elevated - we contributed it to the increase in pain I was feeling.
I wanted to try some IV medication before we jumped to an epidural to see if that could help how I was feeling - we started with a half dose of the pain meds since it doesn't take much to affect me and it made me sleepy and I fell asleep for about 1/2 hour. However, the pain from the increased contractions woke me up and I was hurting again. I took the remaining 1/2 dose of the medicine and nothing changed the pain level, I was still stalled out at 8 cm and nothing was changing.
When my OB came to check on me, she was still concerned about the blood pressure and that I hadn't progressed from 8 cm. She said with how I was feeling and the blood pressure, if I was going to consider an epidural it could very well help with not only the pain as well as the progression. I had to have more fluids through my IV before they could do an epidural. It was about 5:15 pm.
The epidural process is an interesting one. It is incredibly stressful because you have to sit very still while it is being placed. The issue for me was that I had swollen up the past few days with water weight, which made the placement tough - he had to move around a few times with the catheter to make sure it was in the right place. Aaron stood in front of me, talking to me, and keeping me as calm as possible while it was being placed. I cried because it's not a comfortable process and I know he had a hard time with seeing me like that. The nurse talked to me and was helping me to keep my shoulders down so I didn't tense up as the dr was placing it. Finally, after about 30 minutes, it was properly placed and they started the medicine.
It's a very strange feeling, it starts in the toes and works its way up to your chest. I could still feel my feet but they felt like they were asleep and tingly. Within a few minutes, I was not feeling the contractions anymore and was relieved greatly.
The main problem was that the way I was laying on the bed, Genny had moved up in my abdomen and was pushing on my stomach. It made me feel like I was going to be sick. I threw up the little bit of Jell-o I had been allowed to eat. That was a pretty interesting process too, I was very stationary due to the epidural so moving to throw up was tough. But as soon as I was done throwing up, I felt much better.
I was able to relax finally and rested again. I didn't sleep for a very long time, just napped on and off for a few more hours. Once I was set with the epidural, they increased the pitocin at a steady rate since I was set with not feeling the pain anymore. They kept me on fluids and checked me about every 1 1/2 hours to see how it was going.
Around 9:30, I was finally at 9 cm and 100% effaced - progress was being made! It was over 9 hours since my water was broken and we were getting somewhere.
Finally about 10:15, the nurse checked me again and I was 10 cm! It was time to start making sure things were set for pushing. We worked on the breathing through the contractions and seeing Genny was positioned, she was still a bit high in my pelvis for pushing so we spent some time working to bring her down. I had not expected to feel the tightness and pressure of the contractions so strongly, but I was able to know when to push. Aaron was at my side, he pushed up on my leg with each contraction to help me bear down to push.
After these practice pushes, we discovered that Genny was not coming down as quickly as the nurse felt she should be. She wanted me to try being more flat on the bed as opposed to sitting upright. This made all the difference in her moving down into the pelvis. What it also did was change how I was breathing and I felt like I was going to be sick. The nurse put the bucket between me and Aaron, a few more pushes and I did feel like the vomit was coming. Poor Aaron, this is his weakness and I basically threw up in his face during the contractions. I was grateful it was there because it was a pretty awful feeling. Aaron had trouble with this because the smell of vomit tends to make him want to throw up himself, but he did not do it.
About 11:15, we were at the point where it was time to call my OB. The contractions were intense and the pressure was building. At this point, they were nervous about turning up the epidural because they wanted me to be able to push through the pressure and the epidural would have limited that part.
I could not wait for my OB to get there because I was ready to get her out - I was crying from the pressure with each contraction.
When she arrived and was set up, it was time to push against this intense pressure. I do not know exactly how many contractions I pushed for, but I know we were getting about 4 pushes per contraction. It was so intense, I know I was crying out with each push because it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Aaron helped me by pushing on my leg with each push and I was glad because it was getting harder and harder with each push.
She told me to push against her fingers as though I was pushing away her hand.
Finally, Genny's head came out and they wanted me to stop pushing. This is the hardest part, I was in so much pain and we were so close! I just wanted her out!!
Once her nose was clear, I pushed one more big push and she was here!! I was crying so hard and heard Aaron say "she's here, she's out! Christine, she's here!"
All I felt was relief from the pressure and pain in that moment, she was here...finally.
Within seconds, I heard her cry and it was the most powerful sound I had ever heard. They put her on my chest and I just cried. I said to the little one, "we waited so long for you baby girl, we love you so much."
They took her to be cleaned off while I was pushing out the placenta and getting cleaned up myself. I could hear her crying, it was a wonderful sound. They had been concerned that her lungs were not going to be where they needed to be but the crying changed all that! Aaron came over to me and showed me her pictures he had taken right when she was born. It was amazing.
I was then told that she made sure to make a grand entrance - she came out with her hand pushed into her face. That was how she pushed through my pelvis, with her hand up against her head. My body was not ready for that and it caused me to tear as she passed through. It took them almost 30 minutes to get me stitched up while they were cleaning her up and getting her weighed.
Genevieve Ann was born at 11:45 pm weighing in at 6 pounds 10 ounces, 19 inches long. She was perfect and beautiful.