A word of caution - some of this story might be a little graphic for some. Also, it's pretty long, but hey so was labor! lol
Thursday, May 6th I went to Bible Study in the morning as usual. When I went to the restroom I noticed that “bloody show” had started. I knew that labor would begin sometime soon, so I just went about my day as normal. Around 6PM, I started to have contractions every hour – they were even coming through the night and waking me up (Jamie too). They never got closer together though. I did call my doula, Kathy, and she said to get some rest, eat, drink, and take a shower.
Friday, May 7th contractions continued to come every hour for the rest of the day. That morning I saw Dr. Lickness who checked me and said I was 1 centimeter dilated, 50% effaced and the head was down. Needless to say I didn’t want to go anywhere so I just stayed home and napped for the day since I had little rest the night before. I was hoping that the contractions would not lead to labor until after my friend Karma had come for a visit (I had not seen her in about 3 years). Luckily God gave us that night to catch up as contractions continued every hour. Then around 2 or 3AM the contractions started to come every 40 minutes and started to get closer and closer together – soon they were about 10 minutes apart and gaining fast. Jamie called Kathy and she said I should get in the shower to see if they stop. I got in the shower and they just kept coming so she said she would meet us at the hospital. Jamie called Dr. Lickness and woke Karma to let her know that Kian was on his way – we were very excited!
We arrived at Sierra Vista at about 4AM. I was checked again and I was still only 1 centimeter but I was 100% effaced – it was encouraging to know the work of labor at home had done something. Kathy arrived shortly after we did and the nurse suggested that I walk the halls a bit to get things moving along. After about an hour of that I went back to the room and used our birthing ball to help with the pain. Jamie was right there with me all the time – I think he held my hand for nearly every contraction and breathed with me too. Kathy was great too. She would just talk soothingly about things that would help me visualize the baby coming down, or verses that would be encouraging. We also had a CD that we made playing constantly – Rebecca St. James “God” CD and some other songs that I chose that I thought would be helpful during labor.
I was checked again and I was at 4 centimeters so I was able to get into the Jacuzzi. Things were moving along pretty quickly – especially for a first time mom! The Jacuzzi was relaxing and helped a bit but the contractions seemed pretty strong. After being in the Jacuzzi for about an hour, I was checked again and I was at 9 centimeters with a little lip left over. They also said that the baby’s head was sunnyside up (it should be facing down). So I got back in the Jacuzzi where I was on all fours trying to get the baby to turn around. By now I was experiencing pain between contractions – before I was able to sleep between them – the pain was in both the front and back on my left side. It was so bad I had to breathe through them. We all did a lot of praying at that point!
After being in the Jacuzzi for a while, it was time to be checked again. The little lip was still there but the Dr. Lickness thought he might be able to push the lip out of the way while I pushed with a contraction. The lip kept coming forward, but he suggested that the nurse help me for a while and to see what happens. After pushing for about 3 hours, Dr. Lickness came in and told me that it would be most likely I would need a C-section because the lip was no swollen and not able to get out of the way. Kathy suggested that maybe an epidural would help – after they discussed a bit about it the decision was mine so I decided to have an epidural to help me rest and hopefully the lip would not be swollen anymore. I really didn’t want to have the epidural, but I knew that I would rather have that and a vaginal birth than a C-Section right off the bat. Not to mention, the pain that radiated in the front and back of my pelvis (probably from his head position) was very painful so it was great to have relief at that point.
After two hours of rest, I was checked again and Dr. Lickness said that I was complete and could start pushing again. I asked to have the epidural turned down so I could feel contractions and to help push. I pushed for 2 hours. But the baby’s head was not budging from station 0. And at this time the radiating pain was back due to the epidural being turned down. Dr. Lickness came in and talked to me about a C-Section. He said that the baby’s head had some molding and it most likely wasn’t going to come through the birth canal – there wasn’t enough room for him with the way he was positioned. So, I said yes to the C-Section and then everything moved so fast it was hard for it all to sink in!
I was soon saying goodbye to Jamie and Kathy and being wheeled to the surgery room. Dr. Weiss turned my epidural up so I would be completely numb from the chest down and then they brought in Jamie and Kathy and then I guess they started. Kathy had our digital camera and took LOTS of pictures. Jamie sat at my others side and made sure he was behind the curtain so he wouldn’t see anything.
Then, all of a sudden, I heard Kian’s cry for the first time and Dr. Lickness saying – “He keeps biting my finger.” Then Jamie came over with Kian. When I looked into his face I saw my husband – even his little eyelashes looked like Jamie’s. The first thing I said to Jamie was, “He looks just like you!” I didn’t want Kian to leave my side, but I knew that Jamie was going to go with him as he was weighed and tested for different things. Kathy stayed behind with me and just held my hand as the surgery finished up.
The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room and a nurse was tending to me. She was kneading my stomach – which hurt - checking my blood pressure and other stats. I kept falling asleep. The one time I distinctively remember waking up was when I heard Jamie’s voice. He was talking to a nurse about me and she was asking about the baby (he actually was not supposed to be in the recovery room at all but he came down anyway). He saw I was awake and asked how I was doing. He also told me that Kian’s blood sugar was very low (18 when it should have been in the 50s) and they had a guy from the NICU come down to access him. They did not put him in the NICU – thank God!- but they did give him sugar water and formula to get his blood sugar up. The guy from NICU said that with long labors babies often have a drop in their blood sugar.
Finally I was brought up my room and I could see my baby – I was tired but forced myself to stay awake so I could actually leave recovery (at one point they said they were going to bring me up in about 10 minutes and I thought, that means a 10 minute nap – I woke up again to hear Jamie’s voice and it was 45 minutes later! This time I was staying awake!).
Everything went very well the next day. I received two units of blood, which I guess is standard after having a C-Section along with some other IV fluids. I even got out of bed that evening and brushed my teeth as the nurses changed my linens. Then about two hours after getting out of bed, I was experiencing some pain and thought it might be time for my meds so I called the nurse. Right before she came in I started to feel dizzy and nauseous. She took my blood pressure and it was very low. The next chain of events I don’t really remember a lot of – I do remember Dr. Lickness standing over me and said that they needed to lower my bed so my feet were above my head – I asked if I could sleep and they said yes. I also remember him saying something about maybe needing to head back to the OR. I was worried but said a prayer as I went back to sleep. When I woke up, I was getting another IV where I would start to receive over the next day or so four more units of blood and two units of fresh frozen plasma. Later the next day, Jamie found out that at one point my blood pressure that was as low as 50/25! He actually didn’t tell me this information until I was doing much better.
After spending a total of 5 days in the hospital, I was ready to come home and start learning how to get around there. But I was glad I was in the hospital for as long as I was – the nurses took such good care of me when I really couldn’t care for myself.
During the time when I was in the hospital, Jamie was able to stay on the bed next to me. Kian also stayed with us. I am so glad that he was able to do that – I don’t think I could have made it there without him. It made for some sleepless nights for both of us (especially me taking meds around the clock and having vitals checked all the time). Jamie took care of Kian the entire time we were in the hospital since I couldn’t get of bed again for a while and when I did it was only for a short walk to the bathroom and back. I am so proud of my husband and how well he took care of our son and or me during those five days. He learned so much about caring for him that he became the pro that I needed to ask questions to about the baby! I cannot find words to describe how much I love Jamie for what he did those five days. He is definitely my Superman!