November 4, 2010
Tessa's Birth Story Part 1
It's been a week since Tessa was born, and I am finally ready to relive the 30 hours of labor, plus the scary 3 days following her birth. I want to do this while it is still fresh in my mind, but wanted to wait until she cleared her 1 week appointment, which was today.
On Wednesday, October 27, we went in for an induction. The doctor said we could schedule one for any day that week , but we figured if we were going to do it Friday, we might as well do it Wednesday since I wasn't progressing week to week on my own. Given that I was on bedrest, he said most of the other doctors would have already done an induction, but he let us go as long as we wanted as long as I was doing well and she was doing well. So, Wednesday morning we showed up at the hospital at 7:30am ready to get this baby out. We knew it could be up to 36 hours of labor and we came prepared with movies and entertainment, but we had no idea what was to come.
I got all hooked up to the monitors and they began the Cytotec at 8am. For those of you unfamiliar, Cytotec is a tiny capsule of a drug that is placed into the cervix to help soften it. This drug is used frequently to soften the cervix and then, in theory, allow the body to start contractions and active labor on its own. I got a dose of this every 4 hours, at 8am, noon, and 4pm. I was having contractions but not regular ones during most of the day on Wednesday so we watched movies and played around on the computer.
The doctor said it usually took 2-3 doses of the Cytotec to work, but that he would do up to 4. If I made it to 4 doses and it still hadn't kick started labor, he would have started pitocin. Luckily, my body figured it out after 3 doses and I started having regular contractions, although my progress was slow. By about 8pm, I was starting to have strong, regular contractions so they decided they didn't need to do the 4th dose and were hoping I would deliver sometime in the next few hours.
I wanted something for pain, but since I wasn't progressing very quickly, I opted for some IV pain meds rather than getting the epidural then. I opted for Nubain since the other option was Morphine and I didn't want the potential side effects of Morphine, aka the uncontrollable itching. Little did I know that the Nubain would spark a whole new series of symptoms my body sprung on me. I began profusely sweating uncontrollably from every pore in my body. Seriously, in between my toes was sweating, my ankles were dripping in sweat, my hair was soaked, and my gown was clinging to me. I had no idea that was a possibility. Then, in true Andrea fashion, I began getting nauseous and the room started spinning. Those of you that know me well know that nausea/vomiting is a pretty standard response to anything going on with me.
That started the downhill spiral that became active labor. I was like this for a good 17-18 hours. For some reason, everytime I needed to vomit, Tessa's heartrate dropped rapidly into the 80's. She was perfectly fine during all the contractions, but everytime I needed to, um, release something, she became distressed.
At 2:30am, I finally broke down and got the epidural. I had told Joel previously that I didn't want to rule it out, but I wasn't going to get it as soon as it was available if I was tolerating the pain well. I also told him I wanted to know when the point of no return was, so that I could make a decision. Well, it didn't get to the point of no return, but I went ahead and got it when I was at 5cm dilated. Best Decision Ever. I managed through the next few hours. Those were a blur to me. At 10:30 I was at 9cm, and the doctor finally broke my water. They thought it would break long before that, but it was just bulging forever and didn't want to break on its own. About 10 minutes after that, I was at 10 and ready to push.
That's when it started going farther downhill. I couldn't feel my contractions so they were telling me when to push. I pushed for about an hour and 20 minutes, and then, the vomit monster came back. At that point, the doctor wasn't impressed. My body was not reacting well to labor and delivery, and Tessa wasn't reacting well to me in labor either. At every contraction, her heartrate would drop. Then, during one vomit attack, we couldn't get her heartrate back up. We tried multiple different positions, being on either side, on my back, laying flat, and nothing was working. Eventually we got it back up, but she wasn't very stable. So the doctor gave me about 30 seconds to decide if we wanted him to try to get her out with the forceps or go for a C-section. Then, he made the decision for us, saying that since she hadn't descended very far he didn't know if he could get her out with the forceps, and that she needed to get out now. So, he wheeled me off for a C-section.
Joel had about 3 minutes to process all of this, go tell my mom and his mom in the waiting room that we were having an emergency C-section instead, and get dressed to go back into surgery. They knew I was pushing, so they were fully expecting Joel to come announce her birth. Well, he didn't even have time to go talk to the parents, he was whisked away to put his attire on and get the C-section going. Some poor nursing student got the privilege of going to tell them.
Luckily I had gotten the epidural because that made it very easy for the anesthesiologist to give me the meds I would need for the surgery. Of course, I was in too much shock to freak out, but I was totally freaking out once I got back into the surgery room. So was Joel, but he kept his cool. I remember feeling some tugging and they asked me a lot of questions, all of which I answered. None of which I remember. I remember the doctor saying, "It's a girl, 12:41pm." Then, I remembered 2 very clear things, both which still stick in my mind. For some reason, these two statements haunt me.
1) A nurse or someone saying, "Oh my God, she's gray. She's gray."
2) Me asking Joel for what felt like an hour straight, " Why isn't she crying, someone make her cry. Joel, make her cry, please, go see why she isn't crying."
We knew she was distressed, but we had no idea why, and certainly no idea how bad she was at the time. I finally looked over, mid vomit and saw them wheeling her out of the surgery room. Joel said he didn't even get good looks at her because they had 6 people around her working on her and they wouldn't allow him near. All I remember is that her stomach was pink, her hands and feet were blue, and she had dark hair. But, she was beautiful!