Induction Story, My Second
Disclaimer: Infant loss is a terrible, heartbreaking thing. My second born nearly became one of those sweet babies who left before they arrived. If you have experienced infant loss, stillbirth, or miscarriage -my heart goes out to you. I cannot understand your pain, but I weep at the thought of what could have been for my own sweet boy. I understand that many who have experienced this ultimate loss may not wish to read a story in which the outcome very nearly ended with such heartbreak. My words are not intended to trigger anxiety, so please be aware that this story deals with sad possibilities.
I learned my lesson with baby one (read about that here) and braced myself for a LOOOOOONNNGGGG pregnancy with baby number two. I had a new doctor – mostly because we moved to a different state – a new mindset, and a new nursery to prep! After discussing my first birth with my doctor, he promised if I dilated to 5 cm, he wouldn’t let me walk around, but would admit me to the hospital. Sure enough, at my 39 week appointment, I was just over 5 cm dilated.
“I’ll see you first thing in the morning!” He said, then called to set up the induction appointment.
Bags packed, baby girl taken care of, my husband and I went for steak and dreamed about meeting our baby boy. I informed my husband that, while I wanted to see how long I could labor without it, I had every intention of getting an epidural before the pushing began. Under no circumstances did I want to relive that nightmarish hour of pushing from last time. As usual, he supported my decision 100% - he really is the most supportive husband a girl could wish for!
Bright and early the next morning – well, I say bright, but the sun was not up yet – we settled into our labor and delivery room. Anticipation tingled through my body, as I set my mind on a positive birth experience.
The doctor came in, cracked a joke about my husband’s height (he is 6’ 7”), and declared me a full 6 cm dilated. He broke my water and declared, “I’ll be back at 11:07 to deliver the baby, then we can break for lunch!” We laughed; we waited.
Labor continued naturally and easily for some time. The contractions were so mild, I couldn’t feel them. The nurses checked periodically, revealing that I was dilating at a good rate and quite quickly. At 11:07 the doctor returned. I had been stuck at 8.5 cm for about an hour, so he asked if I would mind the smallest drip of Pitocin to move things along.
“The baby is having a little trouble getting his head under your pubic bone,” He said. “I want to give you just the smallest drip of Pitocin to strengthen the contractions, so he can get through.”
I agreed. They started the drip.
To be honest, I didn’t notice much change in the strength of my contractions. They were just starting to get uncomfortable, but I could still walk and talk through them. I asked for an epidural, because I wanted to make sure it was in full effect before the dreaded pushing began.
It took some time before the anesthesiologist arrived. Naturally, in all the excitement, I forgot to mention to the anesthesiologist that I am highly resistant to pain medication. So I felt every bit of that epidural go in. The nurse scolded me for moving. I tried to explain to her that I was in pain, and might need another shot of the local anesthetic. She brushed me off and stabbed me again.
Just a quick note – I have always had fantastic nurses. She was probably the only nurse I have ever worked with who treated me roughly. I have so much respect for the nursing profession – they put up with so much from patients and doctors. This particular nurse seemed to be having a bad day.
My doctor dropped in just a few minutes after the epidural had been administered – sure enough, it was time to push.
I gotta be honest, I was so mad. I got the epidural – in spite of my fear – endured the pain of receiving it, and it hadn’t even started working before I needed to eject my baby. I screamed out of pure rage as a bared down to push.
“Here it comes,” I thought. “The hour of pain. The hour of pushing. The hour of baby being stuck. I hate this part.”
Tears streaming down my face, I leaned back to breathe and brace myself for the next push.
“Look, babe!” My husband directed my attention to the doctor who was holding up a behemoth baby. “You’re already done!”
Relief and confusion washed over me. Done? After less than ten seconds of pushing? That happens?
“Congratulations,” The doctor said, placing my wriggling boy on my chest. “Your angel baby lived. That’s like a 1% survival rate!”
I stared at the doctor, dumbfounded. There was nothing wrong with my baby. What did he mean, “angel baby”?
The doctor held up Evan’s umbilical cord: long, dangling, with two true knots in it.
“If your labor had been longer or harder, if the baby had been smaller and more active, he had a 99% chance of being stillborn.” My doctor informed me. “Also,” he continued, “can we keep the cord? We want to research it for a study about long umbilical cords and knots.”
Stunned, I agreed. I mean, I didn’t want the thing.
I believe I don’t appreciate the miracle of his birth enough. By the time the threat was revealed, it had passed. Every now and then I think about it, but brush the thought aside – it is not my burden to bear. I thank my God for my sweet, kind, easy-going baby boy every day.
My doctor assisted in the delivery of my placenta (I again failed to push it out).
By now my epidural had FINALLY kicked in, so the afterbirth pains were non-existent.
In short order, we were headed home to a new life with my two beautiful kids.
Last time, I learned to trust myself and speak up for what I need or want in the delivery room. This time, I learned that my trust in God is never misplaced. Nothing I did kept those knots from tightening, only the hand of God. I don’t know why He chooses some to be born still and some to be born healthy and wiggly; and I don’t know how I would have responded if the outcome were different. I know that He has always been faithful to me – giving me blessings in the good times and grace in the bad.