I woke up at around 1 am for my usual 9-month pregnant middle of the night potty break. After doing what I needed to do, I noticed that fluid was still leaking out of me. I decided not to totally panic yet, I mean this baby hadn't acted like he was coming anytime soon, and I wanted to be REALLY sure of what was going on. I waited until my pants were soaked and decided it was time to wake up Rob. I let him know I thought my water had broken and we should probably get ready to go to the hospital. I decided to shower (based on previous advice from friends) while Rob finished packing hospital bags. I texted my mom and off we went to the hospital around 2 am. When we arrived they checked us in, and put us in a room. We sat there for what felt like years, but I am pretty sure it was probably closer to 15 minutes.
Finally a particularly nasty nurse walked in. The first thing she said to me was, "well you aren't sitting in a puddle so I don't think your water actually broke." Bit of advice, don't tell a 9 month pregnant lady in labor that she is lying. It doesn't turn out well. "Well I didn't pee my pants." I responded. She further went on to tell me that sometimes the baby kicks and he could have kicked my bladder and I might have peed my pants without knowing it. Death glare at her. So she decides to "check" to see if my water really broke by using some weird color turning paper. Apparently I failed this test because the color didn't turn blue. She left us there for an hour, came back and repeated the test, still failed. At this point I am totally confused as to what is going on as well, because trust me my bladder does not hold the amount of fluid that came out of me, and I would have known if I peed my pants. Baby induced or not. Next, she decides she is going to feel the sac and see if it is still full of water. I'll spare you the details, but there were hands and pain and crying involved. At which point I dismissed her from my labor experience and asked for another nurse. She asked me if I was sure that is what I wanted. Um yes. Otherwise I wouldn't have said it! My new nurse did the stupid paper test again and then took a sample to look at the cells. By this point I had started into contractions. She came back about 30 minutes later. The bad news: my water had not broken. The good news: they were going to let me stay due to the contractions.
So off we went, I got hooked up to the pitocin to help speed up the contractions. She asked if I wanted my epidural at that time. I decided to wait because I wasn't in a great deal of pain and I felt like I could handle it. 15 minutes later I changed my mind and demanded to see an anesthesiologist STAT. (bit of advice- just get the stinking epidural when you get there.) Unfortunately there weren't many births that night and the anesthesiologist had to be woken up. He came in looking fairly confused and tried to discuss the risks of having an epidural with me. I was starting to get a little worried at this point, after all, this man was about to stick a needle as long as a number 2 pencil in my back. I would feel a little more comfortable if he woke up for a minute. He took a lap around the hospital and then came back to give me the juice. Lucky for me, I got to stay laying down for the epidural. Some anesthesiologists prefer you sit on the edge of the bed and crouch over, I just laid on my side. They gave me a shot of local anesthetic before putting in the epidural. (minor pain- still totally worth it).
Enter happy land. From about 5 am -3 pm not much happened. The epidural worked like a charm, I even got a little button to give me more juice when I wanted it. Mom came and sat with Rob and me and we watched the grass grow. Every once in awhile someone would come in and check my cervix, IV levels, and then walk back out. With the epidural you don't feel the contractions, or anything below your waist for that matter. About half way through baby's heart rate wasn't behaving like they wanted it to, so they stopped the pitocin. Things went pretty slowly after that. They kept checking on him and even placed a probe in his head to monitor his heart rate better. They also placed a probe inside my uterus to monitor my contractions more precisely. I felt like a machine with wires coming out all over me. Finally baby's heart rate stabilized and they started the pitocin again.
Around 3 pm I was dilated to a 10 and they let me know it was time to start practicing pushing. We worked on it for an hour (one very miserable hour) but baby was finally crowning so they called my doctor. Unfortunately my doctor had another baby being born at the same time at a hospital in a different city. So they let me "Rest and descend" for an hour. Apparently that is supposed to help you not have to push so much but I'm calling BS on that one. It was just a way to stall until my doctor could come in.
My doctor got in around 5 pm and suited up for delivery! WOO HOO! I started pushing with all my might. Mom and Rob were great coaches, trying to keep me positive and motivated to get our little man out. Things were going fairly slow still though and I was losing interest. Baby's heart rate started dropping again so they put me on oxygen to help him. I also used a mirror to help me see when I was pushing correctly. (with an epidural its very hard to know how to push since everything is numb- even though its gross, I totally recommend using a mirror). A couple more HUGE pushes and out came baby's head!! I was told immediately to stop pushing because his cord was wrapped around his head and his arm. My doctor quickly clamped the cord off, pulled little man the rest of the way out and rushed him to the NICU team. Baby had swallowed some meconium and had to be suctioned out immediately. My doctor finished with me while baby was taken care of and then weighed and measured. He came out at 8 lbs 9 oz and 21.5 inches long at 5:27 pm! (later we found out 1/2 inch of that was cone head). About 15 minutes later I got to hold him and love on him. Dad and Trent came in the room to join us and we all got to love on baby for about an hour before they moved us to mother and baby.
It had been a very, very long day, and all I wanted was a HUGE glass of ice water. They wouldn't let me eat or drink anything after I checked into the hospital, so it had been 16 hours since I had eaten or drank anything. The nurses kindly got me some water and a sandwich to help me feel a bit better. Rob went with Baby James to the nursery to give him his first bath and to get dressed. He returned to us with the cutest little faux hawk! We stayed up late loving on our little guy but eventually sent him to the nursery so we could get some sleep!
It was one of the most exhausting and trying experiences of my life, but it was so beautiful at the same time. We feel so blessed to have this little man joining our family, and each day since has been filled with so much love. We learn so much each day and I am sure we are making plenty of mistakes, but we love him and that is what matters!
Isn't he just the cutest?!
James Robert Anthony Starling
Born Oct 28th at 5:27 PM
8 pounds, 9 ounces and 21.5 inches long