Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Birth Story

I couldn't decide if I wanted to post about my birth story because it would probably sound like I was complaining the whole time, and it still might, but I decided I would so I can have a recollection of it! I was also so grateful for others posting their birth experiences because it helped me prepare for mine, so even though Ben's birth is more of a horror story, I feel like someone else might have to go through something similar, and its good to be prepared.

I first want to say that I am a planner. I like to be prepared, and to do so I knew that I didn't want a very specific 'birth plan' because that, to me, was unrealistic. On my checklist was 1: get an epidural. 2: have a vaginal birth 3: have skin to skin right after he was born.

I felt like these were reasonable expectations, and the rest I knew that the doctors would take care of me. Too bad that #1 caused some major problems, and 2 and 3 were but a dream because they definitely didn't happen.

Due to the fact that I had been in prodromal/latent labor for 10 days (this is not false labor--its when your stuck in the early phase of labor but your body's contractions do not get to the intensity or frequency to put you into active labor) and that I was 5 days over my due date, my doctor said we could schedule an induction for Sunday the 21st. We checked in at 8 am, and the doctors decided to start me on cervidil since I had made no progress for the 10 days I had been having constant contractions.

while on cervidil
After 8 hours, my contractions were painful enough and consistent enough that I decided to get the epidural. Guys, epidurals are awesome, it was painful going in, but I got relief pretty quickly and it allowed me to sleep for what seemed to be a long night. They started me on Pitocin right afterward, and I was able to sleep a little, until they woke me up because my blood pressure had dropped to 80/40. This was due to the epidural working too well so they decreased the amount twice until they were able to get it under control.

At 5 the next morning I was only dilated to a 4 so they broke my water to try and get things moving along. At about 1:00 i was finally dilated to a 7, and at about 3:30pm I was at a 10 and 'pushing.' For the next three hours I pushed, until they told me I was not allowed to anymore. This was a problem because while I was pushing, they turned down my epidural 2 more times to try and have me feel the contractions to push better. Unfortunately the resident did not communicate with the anesthesiologist well because she didn't allow the epidural to wear off before turning it down even more. By the time it had practically completely wore off, Ben was so far down my pelvis that I could feel everything--it was soo painful!! His heartbeat would decrease every time I pushed so at the point where I could feel it all, they told me I couldn't push--which hurts even more.

The doctors say I then spiked a fever (probably because I was in so much pain, and emotionally and physically spent due to the resident's mistake) and because Ben's heart rate increased with my fever, they then said I had an intrauterine infection and needed a c-section. Ben also had not passed through the pelvic bone after 3 hours of pushing (we recently found out his head circumference is in the 98th percentile) so it was unlikely that they could get him out soon.

Thinking that an infection sounded pretty bad, I thought i would be taken quickly to the OR for the c-section. However, they told me it would be another hour until we could get into the OR. And of course the entire time I was in a ton of pain because they still had not adjusted my epidural. We pushed to get in sooner (their excuse was that there was not an anesthesiologist ready--i wasn't having that) and were in the OR prob about 30 mins later.

It took a while to numb me up again, and when they did, my body started uncontrollably shaking due to the plethora of medication my body had undergone for the past 35ish hours. They said that was a normal reaction, but it was extremely uncomfortable. When Brigham came in to the OR, he thought I was shaking because I was so anxious, poor guy! No one told him it was ok! He kept trying to calm me down, but I'll be honest, I was completely freaking out. This was because when they finally got Ben out, there was no crying. This was the absolute worst part of my labor. I kept straining my ears, shaking and all, and still no crying. I kept asking Brigham what was wrong but he kept trying to calm me down saying it would be fine, even though at the time it was not. I would hear the pediatricians saying, "come on little guy." No one was telling us what was going on. I would ask if he was OK when one of the doctors walked by, but they kept going like they didn't hear me. Finally 4 minutes later (they told us it took 4 minutes) he cried!!! YAY!! Later we found out that his 1st Apgar test was only a 1. All he had was a slow heart rate. He was blue. He was not breathing. It was probably a good thing that I couldn't see what was going on because I would have freaked out even more. Luckily it just took him a little longer and his 2nd Apgar test was a 7 (its out of 10).

The nicest delivery nurse then took Brigham over to cut the cord and meet his son (here is Brigham's selfie with Ben)

and then she brought him over to me to snuggle while they closed me up.

Because of the intrauterine infection, Ben had to go to the special care nursery for the 1st 48 hours and go on antibiotics as a precaution. This meant no skin to skin, because I would not be able to get to him until my epidural wore off 6 hours after surgery. So I didn't get to hold him for 6 hours!! It sucked!! However, he got lots of love from Dad and Grandma and Grandpa Crandall.

poor guy got an IV in his arm

All the special care nurses loved Ben because he was so easy to take care of!! He rarely cried and would stare up at you with those wide eyes! He was also a normal size--most of the babies in there are preemies in incubators. After 48 hours, Ben was able to come up to our floor and be in room!! It was sooo nice not to have to get in a wheelchair every 3 hours to go nurse--its hard getting up after a c-section!

Snuggling in the Special Care Nursery

So after 36 hours of labor, we got to meet our beautiful baby boy!! We are so happy that he is healthy! He is now 6 weeks old :)

One thing I learned though the whole experience was that no matter how hard you try, there are some things that you just cannot control. And that's OK. You just have to try and deal with the situation the best you can and move forward.

One of my delivery nurses (I had 8 because I went through 4 shifts) gave an interesting analogy that applied perfectly to our situation. She said no one asks about how you get to Disneyland--whether you drive or go by plane or hitchhike. All that people want to hear is if you had a good time and got to meet Mickey. It doesn't matter how long it takes to get there, just that you did. Well in the end it didn't matter if it was an awful experience giving birth, just that I did, and that Ben was healthy. We feel so grateful and incredibly fortunate to be able to have him in our life.


  1. I'm so glad you shared this! I love reading birth stories, they are so magical! I'm sorry you had such a rough time but I like that Disneyland analogy...all that really matters is that your baby is here and is safe! He is such a beautiful baby and you guys are great parents :) Love you!

    1. Thanks Mel!! I loved it when you shared your birth story too!! Love you!