Just like pregnancy, this post is a long one!
After 40 weeks and 4 days of growing this sweet girl, it was time to send her an eviction notice! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely L O V E D being pregnant but I was ready to meet our baby and snuggle her. For the last few weeks of the pregnancy, we had been talking about a possible induction but I wanted to wait as long as safely possible in order to hopefully allow the baby to come on her own terms. At my last few check ups at the office I was 0cm dilated and 0% effaced, meaning my cervix was completely closed and showing no signs of labor. I scoured Pinterest trying to read all of the old wives tales of how to start labor naturally and tried a good majority hoping for any kind of progress. This girl was so content that she was going to have to be forced out!
We knew that if labor didn’t start by the evening of July 15th that our doctor was going to induce me. She didn’t want me to go too far beyond my due date since I was already struggling to regulate my blood pressure on my own. I kept waiting for pre labor symptoms like Braxton-Hicks contractions or losing my mucus plug to know my body was making progress, but I never felt anything that made me think labor was imminent! The morning of the 15th came along with no signs of labor so we knew it was going to have to be an induction. In order to keep my anxiety at bay we carried along like it was a normal day. We went to Costco, got lunch and went for a swim and counted down the hours until it was time to check into the hospital. Originally, we had an induction check in time at 8pm, but at around 3pm the hospital called us and asked us to come in earlier due to COVID restrictions and to avoid having to go through the emergency room for registration. We packed up everything we thought we might need and got on our way!
The drive to the hospital was full of nerves, excitement and the realization that this time we wouldn’t be sent home and we would actually be leaving with a baby as long as everything went okay! We got to the hospital and got to our room, but it wasn’t just any room! It was the room where two years prior we were able to be with my sister when she delivered our nephew! We knew it was a good sign. They got me hooked up the monitors, and the wait of our lives began!
Once I got hooked up, it turns out that I was actually having steady early contractions and had no idea! The last few days I had been telling Lauren that it felt like she kept curling into a ball and my belly would get tight and then she’d kick off like a diving board, but then it would go away after a while. They were never regular or uncomfortable. Once we were settled in our amazing doctor (she is literally is our favorite person) came right over to the hospital to help check in and make a game plan! I was positive that I had to have made some kind of progress and when she checked me, I was still at 0cm and 0% effaced! So, the plan was to take Cervidil, which is what they called a cervix ripening medication, with the hopes that it would help my cervix efface and possible kick start labor! It would take 12 hours to take effect, so I took the pill and we settled in for the night. Not much happened overnight, but the contractions started to become more and more intense.
At around 7am the next morning, our doctor came in to check and see what kind of progress was made with the medication overnight and since I was steadily contracting all night we were super hopeful that I had made progress! When she checked me, I had only dilated to a 1cm and 50% effaced…still a LONG way to go. She recommended that I use another intervention for dilatation called the Cook cervical ripening bulb. She explained the procedure as feeding a catheter with two balloons attached onto both sides of my cervix to allow the pressure to cause dilation. The best part about my doctor is that she has a way of always making everything seem so calm and easy, but little did I know, I WAS I IN FOR IT! At 8am, the bulbs were placed and the fun really began.
As soon as she filled the balloons with the saline, my contractions started coming on every 2-3 minutes and HARD. Everything before seemed like rainbows and butterflies, but now we were getting into the hard stuff. The first two hours were uncomfortable but bearable, but by the third hour I was starting to rethink this whole thing. Welcome to labor! I couldn’t find a comfortable position to labor in because everything put pressure on the catheter with the bulbs. I couldn’t sit on the labor ball and the only way to temporarily relieve the pain was laying on my right side and having Lauren apply a ton of counterpressure on my back. By 12pm, I was ready for the drugs! My birth plan was already thrown out the window, and initially I wanted to wait until at least 5cm to get an epidural. I opted to first try the IV pain medication to try and hold off on the epidural, but my contractions were relentless and never went longer that 2-3 minutes apart for hours. The first dose helped for what felt like 6 minutes and I waited it out for another hour to try for round 2. My nurse kept tugging on the catheter to see if it was making any movement which would indicate that I was dilating, but that bulb was stuck in place. By 2pm, I was ready for that epidural, and ready NOW!
The anesthesiologist (my new hero!) placed my epidural and 20 minutes later, I felt like a whole new woman! Initially it only worked on my right side but after a few adjustments it took on both sides. For the first time in hours I felt like I could actually breathe and my body felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I was trying so hard to breathe through the pain, but that doesn’t work! Moms who go drug free are truly superheroes! Now that I was able to relax, we sat back and waited until baby girl was ready to make her appearance.
At around 5pm, my nurse (another superhero) came in to check on the bulb since it was still in place. She gave it the same little tug that she had been all day, but this time they came right out, and I was at 5cm dilated and 75% effaced! The look on both of our faces was priceless since we thought it was going to be much longer! At 6:30pm, my doctor came to check in and I was already at 6cm and 100% effaced and moving right along! She started me on Pitocin to help regulate and strengthen my contractions and she also broke my water. I finally fell asleep and got some much-needed rest only to wake up at around 9:30pm feeling strong Pitocin contractions, and knew we were getting close! The nurse came into check me and I was at 9.5cm and she called the doctor and knew that baby girl was coming fast.
I was feeling the contractions on my left side again and I was NOT going to deliver this baby until someone gave me more drugs! The button to release more wasn’t enough and they paged the anesthesiologist since it had not initially worked on the left side to begin with! A new anesthesiologist came in and re-administered the medication, and I was feeling much happier and ready to go! As everyone was getting suited up and ready to go outside of the room, I looked at Lauren and told her that I had to push and quickly! When you get the overwhelming sensation to push, it’s almost like you cannot stop your body! By 10:27pm my nurses and our doctor came back in and checked me, I was at 10cm and it was go time! I wasn’t a super star in the beginning of labor and the pain got the best of me and my concentration but pushing was my moment.
The environment in the room was calm and everything was like I wanted it to be. Lauren and my doctor were cracking jokes and in between pushing I would join in. Everything was lighthearted and allowed me to feel completely calm while delivering. It was peaceful and relaxed and, in that moment, I was extra grateful for our doctor who knew exactly how to keep us calm and everything under control (again, this is why she is our favorite person). The delivery went extremely smooth and after 29 hours of labor and 42 minutes of pushing, at 11:09 pm on July 16th, 2020, Camden Kate was born and our lives were changed forever!
We spent the next two days in the hospital absorbing these first moments of being mommies and learning all we could about our sweet girl. The morning after she was born, we discovered that she was jaundiced and had to spend at least 24 hours under the lights with the cutest pair of baby goggles! We were not able to pick her up at all and she was only allowed out of the lights for 20 minutes for feedings and had to go right back under. It gave us an entirely new appreciation for NICU parents because not being able to hold her in those moments was awful! Thankfully after 24 hours her bilirubin levels were low enough to be discharged and we got to take our baby girl home! One thing you take for granted in the hospital is that your nurses have a ton of knowledge and help you understand what your baby needs but once you go home its time to figure this little human out all on your own!