Well, I made it to 41 weeks pregnant and refused to take an official belly shot, hoping if I didn’t that would mean I wasn’t still pregnant. Nothing much had changed at that point, I wasn’t craving anything except to go into labor, everything was fine with baby. I was getting increasingly uncomfortable and started having some contractions nightly but they would go away and never increased in intensity or frequency. Baby wasn’t in the best position and I tried EVERYTHING to get him/her into a better spot hoping that would make the nightly contractions turn into something.
After about 4 nights of relatively uncomfortable contractions that were 7-10 minutes apart, on November 22nd, I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed that I had lost my mucous plug! I got really excited hoping that meant that labor might be imminent… I mean, I was 41 weeks pregnant I HAD to go into labor soon! Well, of course, come 6am the contractions stopped like they had every other morning and nothing I did could make them start up again.
The days ticked by and every night I thought it could be the night. I had an appointment with the midwife on Tuesday November 25th and everything still looked good, baby wasn’t completely engaged yet but had moved into a slightly better position. Things looked like they were going to be happening SOON! I was 2 cm dilated and really well effaced so all of those contractions I’d been having were actually doing something, it was only a matter of time!
Well, Wednesday came and went, Thursday (Thanksgiving) came and went and nothing changed, I wasn’t even having that bad of nightly contractions anymore! Friday came and I had another appointment with the midwife to make sure things were still looking good, I was 41 weeks 6 days pregnant. During the appointment we talked about how shocked we were that I hadn’t gone into labor yet. Then she had me lay down so she could check the baby. My fluid was getting a little low, which was to be expected at such a late stage in pregnancy. She listened to the heartbeat and the first doppler wasn’t working correctly and the heartbeat sounded funny, we switched to a different doppler and the baby’s heart rate was low (108) then sped up to the 170’s which was a sign that baby was in mild distress, I turned on my side and things were steady again. It seemed baby just didn’t like me being on my back (which isn’t recommended in later pregnancy anyway). But it was enough that my Midwife wasn’t comfortable with me waiting until Monday for an ultrasound to check and make sure baby was still doing well. So we called around to find a place that was open (it was Black Friday so the independent imaging places were closed), so we were forced to go to the hospital for a Non Stress Test (NST) for the baby and some monitoring to see if the heart rate drop was just an anomaly from me laying on my back. We went in knowing the hospital would be shocked that I hadn’t been induced yet and would probably recommend induction no matter what they found, so we stressed that we were just there for information and we would make a decision after. After a bit of monitoring things were looking good, the NST showed that my fluid was low (which we knew) but still at an OK level, not great and baby seemed to be ok. Being a hospital and me being nearly 42 weeks pregnant they were wanting to induce me and get the baby out. After talking to my Midwife about the results they found we decided we would wait to see if I went into labor on my own and if it hadn’t happened by Monday we would be induced (in the hospital). While they were getting the paperwork ready to let us leave they had left us on the monitor and the baby’s heart rate dropped again, just a little but it was enough to make us change our minds. This was a sign that baby was ready and my body needed help. After talking to the doctor at the hospital and my Midwife again we came to the conclusion that it was best to go ahead with an induction, it was too risky to wait a couple days to see if anything happened and my Midwife said if baby is having some issues already it would be best to labor in the hospital (especially one with a NICU) so they could make sure baby was ok during labor and that I would be in the right place if things didn’t go as planned. I was sad that I wasn’t going to be able to have the birth at the birth center that I had wanted, but I was 150% ok with doing what needed to be done for our baby! I did have some tears about it, and I was scared for our baby. I just wanted everything to be ok. At 6pm on Friday November 28th I was admitted to the hospital.
They got me into a room shortly after and I was started on Pitocin. I was having some contractions on my own but they weren’t very strong. They started the Pitocin at a 6 and the contractions picked up immediately, I was trying to breathe through them and relax and I was doing ok. At some point my doula, Beth, came. It was such a relief to see her and have another piece of my original plan in place, even if everything was thrown out the window at this point. After 20 minutes the nurses came in and saw that baby seemed to be handling that ok so they upped the Pitocin to 12. In minutes the contractions were one on top of the other and the monitors on my belly were sliding around and not reading baby accurately. There were a few dips in baby’s heartbeat but they couldn’t get an accurate reading so they told me they wanted to do an internal fetal monitor and try to break my water to speed things along. So they did an exam (I had progressed to 3cm!), attached the monitor to the top of baby’s head and broke my water, but since my fluid was low nothing really came out. Since baby was having a hard time tolerating the Pitocin they shut it off and gave me an hour for it to clear out of my system. They decided to try me at an even lower dose and go up slower and see how baby tolerated that. After an hour and a half they turned the Pitocin back on to a 4, then 20 minutes later back up to a 6 and 20 minutes later up to a 9. The contractions were SO strong and SO painful. Because of baby’s heart rate I had to stay on my left side to help keep it stable and in order to keep baby on the monitors I couldn’t move much. If you’ve never been in labor, sitting still during contractions is pure agony, add Pitocin to the mix (Pitocin makes contractions longer and stronger than natural contractions) and it was a recipe for disaster. I had terrible back labor that no amount of pressure (Beth was amazing here) could relieve, I also had a TON of pelvic pressure that made me want to thrash around on the uncomfortable bed. I was begging for an epidural but Jason and Beth kept reminding me that I had wanted to do this naturally and when I was saying I couldn’t do it that I actually was, even though I was in more pain than I’ve ever felt it was SO nice to have people in my corner, even if I wanted them to stop encouraging me to keep going and get me an epidural. Time blended together and the contractions never stopped, they just built to a peak then receded but before that contraction ended the next one would start building. It.Was.Miserable and I couldn’t stop shaking. After a few hours they checked me again and I was still at a 3 and I gave in and asked for an epidural. I knew in order to progress I needed to relax and there was absolutely no way I could relax through those Pitocin contractions without being able to move around! I don’t know how long it took to get the anesthesiologist to get there but it felt like forever and I was cursing him and every person in that hospital that was keeping him from me. I had a handful of contractions while he was prepping me for the epidural and those contractions were horrible but I knew relief was coming so it made it that much easier to cope… An end was in sight! It took about 20 minutes for the epidural to completely kick in but I felt relief almost immediately. I was singing his praises and was finally able to relax! However, during those 20 minutes baby was no longer tolerating the Pitocin and was having heart decels after each contraction and it was decided that we needed to get the baby out and a c-section was our best course of action.
At this point we were more than willing to do whatever needed to be done to make sure baby was ok. I’m glad I got the epidural when I did because I was able to be awake and fully numbed for the c-section and didn’t need to be knocked out. The staff at the hospital through this whole thing were amazing, I never felt like I was being forced to do something I didn’t want to do and I never felt like I was being pressured one way or the other. It was only a short while before the OR was prepped and my epidural was being upped to get me ready for surgery. I have to say that before this I had never been in the hospital or had any surgery so this was a bit overwhelming, especially knowing our baby was in distress (though not an extreme emergency). I was wheeled down the hall to the OR and Jason was getting his scrubs on so he could be with me.
It took a little while for them to prep me, but the anesthesiologist was amazing and was great at keeping me informed of what was happening and reassuring me that I was in good hands. They kept giving me tests to make sure I was numb. And before I knew it he told me that they had started and I hadn’t felt a thing. Jason came in shortly after and it seemed like an eternity before they were ready to get the baby out. There was a lot of pressure that you hear about, feels kind of like when your stomach flips on a roller coaster. Then they pushed on my ribs to help get him out and though I couldn’t feel pain I could definitely feel the pressure (Jason later told me they were putting a LOT of pressure it looked like they were on top of me trying to push hard enough) and shortly after they said the baby was out, it was 4:18 am on November 29th 2014. Thankfully as soon as the baby was out the doctor said to not say what it was because I had wanted Jason to still be able to announce it (and had told her before the surgery). They needed to work on baby for a few minutes but we heard the cry and Jason and I both started crying. Jason was eventually allowed to go over and see the baby and he announced it was a BOY! Nolan Victor Janecka was here!!
I had known the whole time it would be a boy, I just had a feeling but it was so amazing to find out for sure. I was crying and couldn’t wait to see him, but they were still working on me. They said there was some meconium in there with him so they needed to keep a close eye on him and they would be taking him to the NICU. They also said he had quite a cone head and he had been a bit stuck in my pelvis. He wouldn’t have come out on his own. I was so glad we had made the decisions we did. But they did let me see him for a few seconds before they whisked him away.
Jason went with him and was able to spend some time with him while I was being stitched up and taken to recovery. It seemed to take forever and I had the shakes SO badly still from the Pitocin. My shoulders were aching from shaking so much, the anesthesiologist was again so nice and put some warm blankets on my arms and was talking to me about his twin boys and keeping me preoccupied but still keeping me informed of what was going on in the surgery. Eventually they were done and I was brought back to my room and Beth was there to keep me company. Jason was still with Nolan. He came back shortly after and told me they were going to keep him in the NICU until 8am and then we could see him and hopefully take him back to our room. Otherwise Nolan was doing great they were just being cautious. Until then we were waiting for me to be brought to post partum. I tried to take a nap but couldn’t even though I was exhausted. I was still shaking and completely numb still. After a few hours I was moved to post partum, my feeling was slowly starting to come back and I was cleared to eat and drink! I hadn’t eaten anything since 10am Friday morning! After inhaling some Jell-O it was 8am and I was able to be wheeled to the NICU to see my boy!
Seeing him again was surreal, I couldn’t believe we had made such a beautiful little person. He was so big and pretty alert in there. He weighed 9lbs 9oz at birth and was 21 1/2 inches long, so he was easily the biggest newborn in the NICU! I wish I could have had immediate skin to skin with him and delayed cord cutting like I had wanted at the birth center but since he was distressed and then in the NICU they wouldn’t let me. Nolan ended up spending 12 hours in the NICU before he was able to be with us and I saw him a total of 4 hours in that time. He did have a really bad cone head, but it wasn’t on the top of his head it was off to the side on the back, I think if he had been in a better position I would have been able to go into labor on my own and birth him, but he wasn’t in a good position and then got stuck (though the hospital is quick to blame his size). It’s the luck of the draw and this little guy came into the world just the way he was supposed to. I am so thankful for my team of midwives made the absolute right decision to play it safe and get checked out and told me that being induced when I was would lead to the best outcome because if he was in distress now he would likely be distressed in labor and I would have had to transfer anyway. I’ll never know if I was able to move around if he would have been able to get into a better position and if it was the Pitocin that pushed him into my pelvis or if my own contractions had done that, but I 100% know every decision we made was the right one. We have a healthy baby boy and who knows if we would have if we had waited longer.
Beth was able to stick around for most of the day and she helped me breastfeed him while he was in the NICU (even though they were not very helpful with what I wanted and knew he needed, they wanted him to stay clothed so I couldn’t do skin to skin and he was attached to and IV and other monitors so I couldn’t move him around too much) It was SO hard having him up there and they kept saying he could come down but then his body temperature wasn’t regulating itself so they kept him under lights for a little while and eventually at 4pm he was brought to our room. I held him for 12 hours straight and just stared at him and kissed him. I was SO happy he was finally here and he was ok. We stayed in the hospital for 48 hours before we were released and it was the longest 48 hours of my life, getting checked up on every 20 minutes getting vitals taken at all hours of the night, being stuck in an uncomfortable bed and not being able to move much from surgery… Not to mention the catheter taped to my leg for the first 48 hours. As annoying as it all was, we had a great experience at the hospital. Every nurse and doctor we met was SO nice and respectful of our wishes and didn’t push anything on us. Even when I asked for an epidural they asked if I just wanted to talk to the anesthesiologist about it and find out the risks etc. when at that point I had decided that I needed it to relax. It was little things like that, that made the experience much nicer than it could have been. And most importantly they helped bring our boy into the world safely.
We’ve been home now for 6 days and we’re adjusting to life with a newborn. It’s been a crazy ride but we are excited to see who this little person becomes.