Nicole's Birth Story

November 1, 2011

The end of my pregnancy with Nicole was, in a word, swollen. My last few prenatal check-ups were spent discussing the size of the baby, my high blood pressure and swelling.

The end of my pregnancy with Nicole was, in a word, swollen. My last few prenatal check-ups were spent discussing the size of the baby, my high blood pressure and swelling. At my appointment on August 25th, I was told that I needed to start going to Non-stress tests twice a week to monitor the health of the baby. I was also told that I had to stop working. According to the ultrasound done the week before, the baby was an estimated 7 pounds 6 ounces, and I wasn't due for another month.

I started going to my non-stress tests the following week, and the baby was doing very well. On my second visit, I was having regular contractions, and the nurse wanted me to be checked out. The doctor examined me, and we discovered that my cervix was 3 centimeters dilated and 70% effaced. Because of this, and the regular contractions, I was sent to labor and delivery, where I was monitored for a bit longer. The contractions subsided and my cervix didn't do anything else, so we were sent home. My next non-stress test was uneventful but good.

At my next doctor's appointment I saw my doctor's assistant, who was concerned with my swelling and high blood pressure, as well as the state of my cervix, so I was told to schedule another appointment to see my normal doctor that week. I did, and he said that I was to schedule an appointment for the 15th of September, and we'd schedule my induction for the 17th of September. He told me that if I had any severe swelling, dizziness, blurred vision, headaches or pain in my right side to not call him, but to go right to the hospital.

That Friday the 11th, I started to have a bit of pain in my right side, but didn't think much of it. It got better as the night wore on, so when the time came, I went to bed. That next morning I found the pain to be present again, so I called into the hospital and talked to the doctor on duty. We discussed the possible causes of the pain, one being the toxemia, which was seemingly effecting my liver. He told me to come in and have some blood work done so that they could determine the health of the baby and me. I woke my husband, took a shower, and headed out.

We got to the hospital and checked in to labor and delivery. A little while later, a doctor came in and I told him what was going on. He checked my cervix, which was still 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced (as it was at my previous doctor's appointment). He said that he'd send someone in to draw blood for the blood tests, but he was of the opinion that I should be induced. He had to consult with another doctor, who appeared a little while later.

The other doctor came in, examined me and told me that he agreed that I should be induced. He said at 37 weeks and 3 days the only foreseeable problem would be that the baby's lungs wouldn't be mature. He was sure, though that the risk of that was slim, and me staying pregnant would pose a much greater threat. He left to give the orders for my induction.

The nurse that was to be with me for the delivery came in and started my IV. I had to be put on Magnesium Sulfate for the toxemia, so that was started around the same time they started the Pitocin for induction. I was also hooked up to a blood pressure cuff, which monitored my blood pressure every 5 minutes, and was given a catheter, as I was to be bedridden from that point on. The Pitocin was started at 12:35 p.m., and the contractions started 5 minutes later.

After an hour of strong, rapid, painful contractions, I reluctantly agreed to get a shot for pain. It had been my intention to have a drug-free delivery, but after an hour of very painful contractions, I was convinced otherwise. The pain medication was wonderful and I was really able to get through the following hour of contractions with minimal pain. However, after that hour, the shot wore off.

So, at 2:30 or so I was convinced to have another shot for the pain. I was expecting to get the same shot again, but this time I was given something different. And, to put it mildly, it didn't work very well. It took the edge off, barely, but it definitely wasn't enough to keep me going. And, after an hour, that one wore off, too. So, at 3:30, I was having horrendously strong contractions with no pain medication.

I tried my hardest to get through it, as I knew my last option was to have an epidural. I had heard so many horror stories about them, about how they make your whole lower body numb and you can't feel a thing. Well, after a while (not sure exactly how long, my sense of time was escaping me) I was finally convinced to get the epidural. I found out later that I was able to deal with the contractions up to 80 in intensity, but mine were going well over 100, some as high as 125. After I asked for the epidural, the nurse ordered it and the anesthesiologist was in shortly thereafter. He had me roll on my side and gave me the epidural, which I didn't feel at all. He quickly became my hero. At the time my epidural was administered, I was 9cm dilated, 100% effaced but at -3 station. Seemingly, we had a way to go.

It didn't take too long for it to kick in, and it was nothing like I expected. I could still feel the contractions, but it definitely took the edge off of them. I could also feel my legs and had control of them, which I was quite happy about. Once the nurse knew the epidural was working, she told me it was time to start pushing. I was having (still) rapid contractions, coming a few minutes apart, and they were a minute or so long. With each contraction, she told me she wanted three long, hard pushes.

I had been pushing for what seemed like hours (but it wasn't) and I noticed the nurse hit the call button on the bed. A minute or so later, the doctor came in and looked over, and started rushing around to get his scrubs on. At that point I couldn't have stopped pushing for all of the money in the world, and as I'm watching him getting ready, I'm still pushing. I looked up at the mirror in the ceiling and saw the head crowning. He saw it too and rushed over to me. I pushed again, and more of her appeared. At this point he gave me a small episiotomy, and with my next push, the baby came speeding out, whole body delivered at once. Had he not been experienced, I think he would have dropped her, and he was quite surprised she came out so fast. Nicole Ann O'Connor was born at 6:07 p.m. after just 5 1/2 hours of labor.

They plopped her up on my chest, and I was too shocked to say or really do anything. I just held her and watched while my husband cut the cord. Then they took her away to clean her up and do her APGAR tests, on which she got two nines. While the nurses took care of Nicole, the doctor went to work on me. I'm not sure how many stitches I had, but there were a lot, the doctor even said he was surprised there were as many as there were for such a quick delivery.

After the doctor was done with me, they brought Nicole over to my husband and myself, and we were able to snuggle up with her a bit before the visitors started arriving. Since it was an induction, half of my family was in the waiting room the whole time I was in labor. After oohing and aaahing for a while, I breastfed her, which she did a lot better at than I did. My coordination wasn't all there (not that it is now!).

Since I was on the Magnesium Sulfate, catheter, blood pressure monitor and all of the other wires they had running into my body, Nicole spent her first night in the nursery. And, as much as I wanted her to be in with me, I was happy to be able to rest. I wasn't supposed to eat anything (for at least 24 hours!) but the night nurse was nice enough to smuggle in some Jell-O for me. It was horrible and tasted absolutely wonderful.

I had to stay in the labor ward until I was off of the Magnesium Sulfate, so I wasn't able to move to the maternity (i.e. comfortable) ward until the next night. That was when I realized how incredibly sore I was.

Once I was in the maternity ward and things had settled down a bit, I took a horrible shower (dumb me didn't pack SOAP or SHAMPOO) that felt wonderful. By later that evening, the pain was getting so bad that I was in tears when I called the nurse. She came in and was wonderful. She had a look at me and said for me not to freak, but that I was in horrible condition. She got me an ice pack and some pain medication that she promised wouldn't go through to the breastmilk. After the pain medication kicked in, I felt better, but not great. She also gave me a sitz bath, which helped a little bit.

To make a long story short, I was pretty torn up from the labor and it took me 5 days before I could honestly sit comfortably. I was puzzled at first as to why things were as bad as they were. But then I found out that I hadn't been pushing for hours, as it had seemed. I found out that my pushing was so intense and strong that Nicole went from -3 station to born in less than 15 minutes! So, the greatest pain I had from labor came from my pushing too hard.

Anyway, she's here now and she is worth EVERY bit of the pain. If I had to do it all over again to have her here with me, I'd do it in a heartbeat!