Aidan was born on the three-year anniversary of our engagement, which was September 9, 2009.
We went in on Saturday evening, September 8, for the induction. I was scheduled for 5:30pm, but because of overflow in labor and delivery, it ended up being 7pm. My husband and mother-in-law were with me.
The doctors placed Cervidil around Saturday 8pm, and then had me stay overnight for it to ripen my cervix. I was about 1-2cm dilated and maybe 50% effaced. Sleeping in hospitals is nearly impossible, with the uncomfortable arrangement and nurses constantly checking up on me. The heartbeat monitor for the baby would also go silent every now and then, which freaked us out, but it was just the baby moving away from the monitor. So we all ended up bleary-eyed and tired in the morning. I might have gotten 4 hours of sleep off and on.
At 7am on Sunday, my contractions were starting to become more regular, about 5 minutes apart, but not painful. At 8am, the Cervidil was removed, and the Pitocin was placed into my IV at 8:20am. I was started on 1, bumped up to 3, and then to 5 and 7. My body responded best to the dose of 5, with regular contractions coming two minutes apart, so I was kept there. At 10am, my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart, still not very painful. I was at 3cm dilated and 70% effaced.
Around noon, I was getting extremely hungry. I was not allowed to have anything to eat after the Pitocin, so I had some jello and liquid. I was also tired and sleepy, but I was in it for the long haul. I tried to be as upright and active as possible, walking around the room over and over again, since my contractions seemed closer together and stronger when I did so. They were starting to become stronger from 1pm onward.
At 5pm, while my husband and mother-in-law went out to eat, the medical team came in to check on me. I was at 4cm dilated and 75% effaced, so I wasn’t making a ton of progress. I was also starving. They decided to break my water at 5:30pm to speed things up a bit. The nurse also set up the large delivery table in the room, and I no longer walked around since I was leaking amniotic fluid frequently. The contractions were beginning to be more painful around this time.
Things were still slow going, and when they checked me again two hours later around 7pm, I was still at 4cm unchanged. I was deliriously sleepy and hungry by this point. The doctors decided to put an internal contraction monitor in me, which hurt more than all of the previous cervical examinations combined. They told me that it could take a long while, and that I should prepare myself for the possibility of 1cm dilation per hour, which would mean at least another 6 hours.
The contractions were getting progressively stronger after that, and by 8pm I was in active labor. According to the internal monitor, my contractions were strong enough, so they did not need to up my Pitocin dosage. My husband and mother-in-law concentrated on getting me through each contraction with breathing and relaxation techniques. They were painful, but I was dealing with them. I was semi-reclined and on my back, but the nurse said that the baby’s heartbeat would drop a bit with the contractions while I was in that position, and I was moved onto my side. That was when things got a lot more unbearable, and I was no longer having good control over the contractions.
Everything was kind of a blur from then on, because I was so exhausted, so hungry, in so much pain, shaking, and just trying not to flip out and lose it with each new contraction, which seemed to peak higher and higher. I don’t know what time it was when I felt like I was just through with it, because I could not do another several hours of that. It hadn’t been long enough for me to dilate much further, and not even two hours since they last checked my dilation. I broke down and asked for the epidural, feeling miserable and defeated.
I struggled with the next several contractions until the anesthesiologist came in and asked me the questions to get it started. I felt like some sort of end was in sight, so I managed to get a better hold of my contractions. I also had to stay really still while he placed my epidural, and I gritted through those extremely painful contractions sitting upright and with my head down. As he was doing so, I felt some pressure below.
When the anesthesiologist was done and placed a test dose of medication, and I laid back down, I felt another contraction, and with that, the pressure grew unbearably strong. Instinctually I just knew. I screamed out, “He’s coming!” The nurse hurried over to check me, and she said, “Yep, she’s right!” She dialed something and said, “We’re having a birth in room 2218!” All of a sudden, it was like an explosion in the room. The lights grew brighter, a swarm of people rushed in, instruments were taken out, and they all surrounded me. Someone told me that I was going to have a baby.
The first contraction after that, they told me to push. I was on my back now, my legs pulled up, and I pushed as much as I could. It hurt like crazy, and I screamed and wailed through it. I knew then that I was feeling the “ring of fire” I had learned about in prenatal class. It was the baby’s head crowning, and with every push he was descending lower. I felt disappointed when the baby did not come out then, and they told me to wait for another contraction to push. The next one was more painful, and I briefly wondered why the epidural wasn’t taking away more of the pain.
The doctors told me I needed to pull my legs back further with my arms, but I was pushing, not pulling! During that contraction, I felt the baby’s head bulge out and then retract with each push. The doctors handed my husband scissors and gave him instructions to cut, and I had enough presence of mind to ask them if they could delay the cord cutting. The next contraction, I held onto my husband and the rails of the hospital bed, and I pushed against them with as much force as I could gather. I kept my eyes shut and concentrated on only pushing and getting our baby out into the world. Then I felt it, his head was out! And with a few more movements and probably some tugging by the doctors, the rest of him was, too.
Aidan was born at 9:30pm, and they put him on my chest for skin-to-skin contact. It was so amazing and surreal at the same time. My husband was next to me in the next instant, holding both of us. My mother-in-law was there, too, taking some pictures, because we were all three so busy with the labor before then. Another push and the placental was out. When the cord stopped pulsating, they clamped the cord and cut it. Later I found out that he had a nuchal cord that was wrapped around his head, and the doctors had skillfully unwrapped it during delivery.
The doctors said I had a small first-degree tear and asked me if I could feel down there, and since I could, they gave me some local and sewed me up. Apparently the epidural did not kick in at all until 10 minutes after the delivery, and it was only a small test dose. My legs weren’t even numb for more than a small time, and I was up and walking around soon thereafter. I shouldn’t have asked for the epidural. If I had known that Aidan was so close, I definitely would have kept going, but I thought that I still had another several hours of pain similar to what I was experiencing. It was a lucky thing that epidural did not kick in, because it only took three contractions for Aidan to come out, and I would have not been able to push as effectively under the epidural’s effect. He came out looking a bit blue, but it happened so quickly he was pink within minutes.
We cuddled with Aidan for a long while, maybe half an hour, maybe longer, before the hunger got to me. I let them take him away to weigh him and do the standard medical procedures while I ate the hospital post-delivery box of turkey sandwich. Aidan weighed 6 pounds and 3.3 ounces, was 18.9 inches long, head circumference 13.4 inches, and chest 12.6 inches. Because of the skin-to-skin contact, he warmed up quite well, and he was healthy and full term, although a little bit small.
We are all absolutely in love with him.