WARNING: VERY LONG POST. I tried to omit all unimportant details, but it's a long story anyways...
Thursday June 7: Baby Boy is due!!!
We waited 40 long weeks for him to come, but he still wasn't ready to make an appearance. He seems to be doing fine at my doctor's appointment. So we schedule a BPP (biophysical profile) for Tuesday to make sure all is well.
That weekend we went to Scalini's - an Italian place outside Atlanta that claims their eggplant parmigian induces labor. Didn't do it for me. Also had spicy thai food on Monday. Still no baby. Tried walking, stretching, etc... and nada.
Tuesday June 12: Baby Boy's BPP
Baby Boy got an 8/8 on his BPP (SO PROUD). While doing the ultrasound the tech said that it looked like he was "sunny side up" - head down but facing the wrong way. We'd heard that can cause more "back labor" or make it more painful. Since all was well, the CNM let me decide if I wanted to induce him or let him come on his own. We decided to induce, so we scheduled to start the induction on Thursday night, June 14.
Thursday June 14: Begin Induction!
We had our "last supper" at Upscale Pizza - YUMMY VEGGIE PIZZA!!! The waiter was excited when we told him we were on our way RIGHT NOW to go have our baby. We check into the hospital at 7pm. About 9pm they checked me before starting the cervadil. I was 2cm, +2 station, 75% effaced. The cervadil was *supposed* to help my cervix mellow/ripen so that when we started pitocin in the morning things could progress quicker. Poor night of sleep - we were so excited to be meeting our son the next day!!!!
Friday June 15: Induction, day 2
I was allowed to shower and eat breakfast. At 9am they took our the cervadil and I was at 3cm, +2 station, 80% effaced. They started my IV b/c I was positive for GBS and at 10:14 started antibiotics and pitocin. I tried bouncing on the labor ball, we watched tv, talked a lot. My family came to visit. They would up the pitocin every 30-60 minutes. I was nervous because I'd heard from a lot of people how intense your contraction are when you're on pitocin. I definitely did NOT have that experience - I was even able to nap! At almost 6pm they checked me and I was 3cm, +2, 80% effaced. That's right - ZERO PROGRESS. I was so disappointed. They decided my uterus was over-saturated with pitocin, so they shut it off and did an IV flush. I was trying to stay happy and light-hearted about all of this, but I was supposed to have my son by now. We weren't supposed to still be in this room! SO many people I know got pitocin and blup - baby came out about 8 hours later! My nurse that night, Dena, was SO sweet - we LOVED her! Since I wasn't having the baby any time soon, I was allowed to eat dinner. Yay hospital food! It actually wasn't that bad. I finally called my friend Amy and had a little cry-fest. She'd had a similar experience with pitocin and understood. Then talked to my cousin, Lindsey, who was a LD nurse and also understood. I just felt like things were going nowhere (which was true), and was so disappointed because I'd been SO hopeful. :( It did help when it sunk in that no matter how, we would eventually be having this baby and I just needed to keep my chin up. That night they did a Cook's Catheter - VERY cool. I slept GREAT and felt at peace and knew that we would be meeting our son the very next day!!!!
Saturday June 16: Induction, day 3
In the morning my catheter just popped out! Super exciting because that meant I must've dilated to somewhere around a 4/5. They actually didn't check me, but after breakfast started the IV again, with antibiotics and pitocin to follow. Same thing as Friday - I felt very little effect from the pitocin! No pain, no progress. It was especially difficult to hear the cries of brand-new babies coming from the rooms beside me. Don't get me wrong - at first it was sweet: "Ohhhh, they just had a baby! A brand new baby!!! How sweet!" and then it progressively became funny or ironic, "oh my gosh - another family had a new baby. That's two before I've even had mine!" and then it was very heart-breaking to hear new families replace the old ones and hear another baby be born in that same room a few hours later. It felt like everyone in the world was welcoming their baby and I was stuck sitting here, listening to their happiness. I knew I couldn't do anything to change things, so I was tried to think happy, relaxing, encouraging thoughts that would help this baby finally come.
About 3pm baby kicked mid-contraction, I felt a pop, and my water had broken! That was REALLY exciting! It was finally happening! Even better - it happened on its own! Maybe my body was finally getting the message and was ready to have this baby! We texted family with the news and asked for their best guessed on when this kid would make his appearance. I think the earliest guesses were for 7pm, the latest for 9 or 10pm. We were really hoping it'd happen sooner than that, but as long as he came safely, that's all that really mattered! They also checked me at this point: 6cm, 100% effaced, still +2. Yay for change!!! At that point the CNM said she hoped we'd have this baby sometime by 10pm!
I had large contractions every 2 min or so. There wasn't much down time in between, and they were really intense. I figured that if I wanted enough energy when the time came to push, I needed to go with an epidural. So I did (hindsight: VERY glad I made that decision). 5pm: got epidural and went on oxygen. No pain, which was great, but I had to keep going back on/off the oxygen because Baby Boy didn't love the contractions without the extra help. At almost 8pm they turned the pitocin off so me/baby could rest. I was having irregular contractions that had a big peak, and halfway down would have another big peak, med peak, and small peak. So basically baby couldn't rest in between. At 8:34 they turned th epitocin back on, but restarted at the lowest levels :( Since it now looked like it might be awhile, we napped for a bit to try and get ready for the road ahead.
*When the nurses changed shifts at 7pm, I GOT THE SAME NURSE DENA!!* Yay!
They checked me again at 11:03pm and I was at a 7 1/2. :( They told me to let them know when I felt pressure, but otherwise they'd let me rest and labor on my own.
Sunday June 17: Induction, day 4
At midnight I didn't have that urge, but I felt incredible pressure on my lower back (read: pain). And this was with an epidural! Though I was pushing my "extra dose" button every 10-15 min, I couldn't get rid of the pain. At 1am they checked me and I was at 10cm (YAY), 100%, +1 station. His station was actually still really high - that's a LOT of pushing for me. So they said they'd let him labor down with my contractions so my body could do more of the work and I could save my energy. Still on oxygen most of the time.
3am (two hours later): I was still in quite a bit of pain, so they decided to let me push and see what that did. They also asked me not to push my epidural button so I would have more sensitivity and push more effectively. Still on oxygen between pushes.
3:57 the baby's heart rate was dropping at the end of contractions, which is atypical and a sign of possible distress from the baby. The midwife wanted the doctor's second opinion and mentioned that if this didn't get better or the baby didn't come soon, they would discuss a C-section. Still on oxygen. The midwife put me on rest mode and said NO PUSHING.
*if you've ever been in labor and were pushing and they told you you couldn't, you understand the pain that I was in. And this was with an epidural. I'm talking severe, severe pain.*
4:55 they let me push to help with the pain. Still on oxygen. I'm feeling very overwhelmed but trying to remain calm and happy. I know Justin doesn't like to see me in pain. He and my mom are doing everything they can to help me focus and get through it. Very helpful :)
5:30 baby's heart rate is still dipping with pushes.
5:50am: Baby is still at a +1 station despite being 10cm, 100% effaced and laboring down/pushing for the past 6 hours. They called a C-section and started prepping me. Still no new epidural. Still lots of pain. They cut the pitocin, which meant I could also quit the oxygen.
6:30am: They're wheeling me to surgery, almost get out the door of my room when apparently someone just arrived who needs an emergency c-section. So they put me back in place and we just wait. Justin's there, as is mom, dad, Claire, and Grammy. We're just trying to stay positive. I keep telling myself, "it's okay, I'm just glad WE'RE not the emergency." - which is true, but it seems like this birth will literally NEVER happen. Never, ever, ever.
7:30am: Someone comes to tell me that other person is finishing up, we'll go back very soon.
7:38am: Another emergency c-section. My strength, hope, resolve failed on me 100%. I had nothing left to give and I just broke down. It was very sad. I was still in pain, and now was crumbled as well. At this point my parents and Justin are all very upset as well. I repeat, "It's okay. I'm just glad WE'RE not the emergency." But I am bawling. Poor Dena was supposed to be off but is staying with us to make sure I'm taken care of.
8:20am: They give me a new IV in my right hand because my other one (which was started now a full 48 hours ago) isn't working quite right anymore. The epidural guy comes in and asks how my old epidural is doing. He says I shouldn't be able to feel my legs. "Oh these legs?" as I lift them up. Uh-oh, he quickly gives me another one.
At 9:22am I am finally wheeled back into surgery. I was weepy and exhausted and tired of being in labor. Tender mercy that my friend Michelle's mom is my anesthesiologist in surgery! (Incidentally, Michelle gave birth to her triplets the next day - something that wasn't ancticipated as her mom and I talked during my surgery!).
9:47 baby is officially born. It took a lot to get him out of there. Several people were pulling/tugging/pushing to get him out. When they did get him out, we didn't get to see him right away like they do on A Baby Story. He also didn't cry right away. Finally we hear him cry a few minutes later and they invite Justin to go over and meet him. After they clean him up a bit, they wrap him up and bring him to me. I can't even hold him, but I got to kiss him and Michelle's mom took a picture. They took Levi and Justin out of the room while they finished me up. They wheeled me out to 1 hr in recovery and finally to a LD recovery room. Levi was a big boy at 9lb, 5 oz, 22in long, 15cm head. He literally would not fit out. We look at pictures now and you can totally see how squished his head was from trying. Bless his heart!
We realized Baby Boy did NOT look like a Mason OR a Logan. So we spent much of our awake time just looking at him and wondering what he looked like. Finally we settled on Levi Daniel Badger. Daniel is Justin's middle name, and Levi is a strong, cool, masculine name that felt and looked right.
All of my hours (and I mean hours) of watching a Baby Story didn't quite prepare me for my own. In the end, while birth is certainly miraculous, my own experience was quite hell-ish. I told Justin at the time that if this is how birth goes for me, we might need to consider having less children. I'm not sure if I will stick to that. But I have already decided that if future children are looking to be equally as large or sunny-side-up, I will elect to do a scheduled c-section. That experience was too difficult to go through again. I would love to have a child the usual way. I always expected that my body was made for easy childbirths. Maybe it is but not for such a big kid? Who knows... What I do know is I have never been so grateful for modern technology. Otherwise Levi and I would very likely not be here. What a blessing to live in this day and age! What a blessing to even have a child, no matter what the birth process was like! I feel like the whole experience was humbling in an unexpected way and that sometimes, for me, there is a worse-than-worst-case scenario. Never have my expectations been so far off the mark.
The strange thing is, this birth was 4 1/2 months ago and already it has faded SO much. I don't remember that agony or heartache. I don't cry when I talk about it anymore (I did for a few months). I think that's how the Atonement and repentance work. We are healed, and that hurt doesn't hurt so much anymore.
And the best news? Justin, Levi and I get to be a family FOREVER because we were sealed together! What an enormous blessing!