(Note: All photos are below text, most taken by Jess Hansen, edited by me)
The TL;DR version:
I was induced on Tuesday July 19, 2016 at Summerlin Hospital. Although I had always considered myself a more natural person (never would have considered inducing!), we always felt strongly about inducing and always felt at peace with the decision.
Tuesday July 19, 2016
3:45 pm — Get the call from the hospital, there’s a room for us! (finally, after being told there was no room for the past two days)
5:20 pm — Packed and ready for a long stay at the hospital. By this time, we had arrived, our room was put together, and we were in it!
6:30 pm — The nurse checked me and I was basically at a nothing. No dilation, no effacement. We started Cervadil, which is like a little white strip of paper meant to help soften the cervix (I’m SURE that it’s more than literally just a strip of paper, haha)
Wednesday July 20, 2016
12:00 am (ish) — Light contractions started, and by light, I mean, really, really painful, but I had no idea it would get more painful. I told Jordan I was DEF getting an epidural.
7:00 am (ish) — DONNEEE! Finally, they could check to see how far along I was. Had to be AT LEAST 3!!! Nope, I was at a 1. And no epidural until I was at a 3. Okay, I got this.
8/8:30 am — They inserted a foley balloon — whoo-ee THAT hurt! They said the foley balloon could take up to 12 hours too. Guess I was in here for the long haul. Oh yeah, and the contractions got worse (shocker right?)
1:00 pm (ish) — Nurse checked, I was at about a 3…I think. Could just be the balloon itself and not actual dilation. :/
3:00 pm — Nurse checked again (6-ish hour mark), and I was at a 4/5! Wahoo! The ballon actually was no longer doing anything. My body kicked into labor! From here, I wanted to try to progress on my own. I tried the birthing ball, walking around, etc. I’ll be totally honest, we did not take a single birthing class. We watched part of a series online, and that was it! She brought up some techniques for making it through contractions & we tried several of those. (I really loved that online class by the way! It’s taught by a midwife, but I especially loved that she explains things in a very scientific and non-shaming way. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7YucfJuziU)
4:30 pm (ish) — K, I am done. I was not really progressing and I was in A LOT of pain. I asked for some pain meds (but not quite an epidural, just this stuff that makes you lightheaded. I had taken some earlier and it helped reduce the contraction pain), and the contractions became much stronger. I was on the pain medication for about an hour when the contractions just became too strong to be effectively reduced by the pain mediation. The contractions started to hurt A LOT and I could feel them in my legs as well. By then I was dilated to a 6, and I knew that I’d have several more hours of increasingly painful labor, so I decided to get an epidural.
6:00 pm (ish) — Too much pain, not enough medication, not enough will power, not mentally prepared enough. Also, I started throwing up, and I knew there would be several more hours of pain. Bring on the meds!
6:30 pm — Epidural guy (cause the real word is wayy too long & hard to spell) comes in. WOW that was painful!
7:00 pm — Pain-free! Still lots of pressure.
7:30 pm (ish) — Dr. comes in to break my water because I’m not progressing much
9:30 pm — They started pitocin (which I’m grateful I got to start after the epidural because I’ve heard it brings on pretty painful contractions).
Wednesday July 21, 2016
12:00am (ish) — Nurse checks, I’m at a 9 (wahoo! Almost done!)
12:30 am — I call the nurse in because I am ready to push! She changes the bed into a bed that I can push a baby out in. It’s basically like a transformer. But kinda less cool.
12:40 am — I start pushing! The nurse has told me that it will likely take a long time. Hours even.
1:00 am (ish) — Nurse tells me to STOP pushing! Baby is crowning. They call the doctor (poor guy, they wake him up to come deliver my baby)
~~20 extremely uncomfortable minutes later. And by extremely, I mean EXTREMELY~~
1:20 am (ish) — Doctor is HERE and all set up! I start pushing!
1:30 am (ish) — Baby’s head is out! Doctor clamps the cord & Jordan cuts it.
1:32 am – Doctor tells me, “Give me your hands! Give me your hands!” I reached my hand and feel the baby’s head, and think, “Okay, that’s cool, but just get her out of there! I’m ready to hold her.” Then he says, “No, both your hands!” So I put both my hands down on her head. “Now push!”
1:33 am — Adaline is here! And I got to catch her & help deliver her! What an amazing experience.
The Full Story
It’s interesting to think through this entire process because in a lot of ways, it was much different than I would have guessed, but it was also such a wonderful experience overall. I always thought I would be the person that would be able to have an entirely natural childbirth, I’d never induce, never be okay with a c-section, never want an epidural, never want to give birth while lying flat on my back, never never never….Fine for someone else, but not for me.
It was weird to even consider inducing, and in fact, my OB kind of suggested against it. He informed us about all the potential complications, especially since this was our first baby. But every time Jordan & I discussed it, I felt so at peace with the decision. Even when I started getting anxiety about it, that feeling of peace overpowered my feelings of fear. I knew that this was an okay decision for us to make, even though being a first time mom (FTM) meant I knew almost nothing about how my body would react. And it was especially interesting considering that my body did NOT react to being pregnant very well. (This will be in another post.)
We initially scheduled our induction date for Monday July 18th, 2016. We received a call that morning saying they did not have room & that they would call when I could come in. By late afternoon, we assumed that we weren’t going to be called in and made plans for that evening. Around 7:00 pm that evening, we received a call saying we could come in. Jordan and I talked about it and we felt okay delaying until the following day, July 19, 2016. The next morning, they called again, saying there was not enough room and they would call us when there was. Around 3:45 pm, I received a call asking when was the soonest we could be there. Within 30 minutes, we were ready to go, and we arrived at 4:45pm. I wrote up my “birth plan” on the way to the hospital. (More like a list of preferences. #1 was healthy baby, healthy me. The rest were things like, “prefer to not have a c-section unless medically necessary” and “no students” and “immediate skin-to-skin). The room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived, so we waited in the waiting room for a bit. We got to our room a little after 5pm.
After getting changed into the hospital robe, the first nurse came in to discuss with us the plan. He checked me and I was pretty much at nothing. Not effaced or dilated at all. My cervix was “very unfavorable.” I showed the nurse my “birth plan,” and he asked if he should start suiting up for a C-Section, haha. Inducing + Birth Plan apparently = C-Section. Fortunately, the thought of a c-section didn’t scare me, so I thought his comments were humorous & didn’t really phase me.
I started with Cervadil, which kind of looks like a long, thin, white strip of paper that they insert into the cervix to help soften it. It stays in for 12 hours. He inserted it around 7pm, right before the nurse’s shift change. For the first 4-5 hours, I felt no pain. A little after midnight, I started experiencing mild contractions. I did not have an epidural at this point. I wanted to know what contractions felt like, and my goal was to make it as long as possible without one. One of the more scary things about being a FTM is that I had no idea what contractions felt like. Everyone always says “painful period cramps” or “pressure,” neither of which were particularly helpful to me before labor. But really, that’s how it felt, and it’s tough to describe it any other way.
As the hours passed, the contractions became stronger. I told Jordan that I was “definitely getting an epidural as soon as possible!” Haha. I also figured that based on my contractions, I would HAVE to be at at least a 3! I did end up getting a pain medication (not an epidural) towards the end. I can’t remember what it was called, but it made me feel light-headed & sleepy (similar to laughing gas). Honestly, it was awesome. I used it several more times throughout my labor.
The first several hours after the induction began would have been a GREAT time to sleep, but instead, I was too excited and didn’t. *eye roll*
When they checked at about 7am, I was only at a 1. Whaaaa?? And they couldn’t give me an epidural until I was at least at a 3. Ughhhhhh. They then called my OB & decided to insert a foley balloon to help my labor progress (which fingers crossed it was going to, because otherwise….c-section). Ohhhh myyyyyy. The nurse asked if I wanted the pain medication before or after they inserted it, and I said after (cause it only lasts about an hour, and they say you can have it every hour, but suggested trying to hold off on taking it too often). Well, goodness, THAT hurt when they inserted it! Phew! I should have said before. Next time, I’ll say before….. I did say that I wanted to feel it going in and I wanted to experience what contractions felt like. Lesson learned 😉
They inserted the foley balloon at about 8/8:30 am, and said it could take up to 12 hours to get me more dilated. The balloon brought on stronger contractions, but fortunately, I also was able to take the pain medication. I tried to wait as long as I could before asking for more medication. The first time, I made it about 1.5 hours . I could feel the contractions & pain, just not nearly as bad. The second time I pushed myself longer and ended up just breathing thru the contractions. At one point, I realized that I hadn’t had a contraction in about 15-20 minutes, so I got up and started moving (and it was a good thing I had held off on the medication because you can’t be moving around while being loopy! Ask my husband the ridiculous things I said right after getting it, haha). I asked for a birthing ball (a giant air-inflated ball), and used it for a bit. That helped bring the contractions back & sped things along.
The nurse checked on the balloon a few times, the first time, she guessed that I was at about a 3, but wasn’t totally sure because that could have just been the balloon. She checked again at about the 6 hour mark, and the balloon had started falling out on it’s own! Which meant that I was dilated closer to a 4/5! (This was around 3pm, I think)
I wanted to continue naturally at that point without introducing pitocin because my body seemed to kick into labor on its own. I seemed to be dialating pretty well (the nurse seemed fairly surprised at how well & how quickly my body responded to the foley balloon). I went thru contractions for about an hour. It really helped having Jordan there. I’ll be totally honest, we did not take a single birthing class. We watched part of a series online, and that was it! She brought up some techniques for making it through contractions & we tried several of those. (I really loved that online class by the way! It’s taught by a midwife, but I especially loved that she explains things in a very scientific and non-shaming way. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7YucfJuziU)
After about an hour of trying to get my body to progress naturally, the nurse checked again and I wasn’t progressing much. I hadn’t dilated any more, though my effacement went from 50% to 70%. The contractions were getting increasingly painful, so I opted for the same pain medication I’d had before. Once she gave it to me, the contractions became much stronger. I was on the pain medication for about an hour when the contractions just became too strong to be effectively reduced by the pain mediation. The contractions started to hurt A LOT and I could feel them in my legs as well. By then I was dilated to a 6, and I knew that I’d have several more hours of increasingly painful labor, so I decided to get an epidural.
After telling the nurse I wanted an epidural, she informed me that the anesthesiologist was in a C-section, and normally I’d have to wait, BUT it was right at shift change, so the next anesthesiologist was just about to arrive & he’d be able to do it. I was really grateful to not have to wait very long (maybe 5-10 minutes). The anesthesiologist came in the room at 6:30 pm to administer the epidural. I told the anesthesiologist that I did not want to feel nothing. I didn’t want the epidural so strong that everything was completely numb. I was concerned that if it was too strong, I wouldn’t be able to push effectively.
I honestly don’t remember much, but I did sit up on the bed & held onto Jordan for support. I remember that it was really, really painful. But here’s Jordan’s account: “I was standing directly in front of you, holding onto your shoulders as you were hunched over. I watched as the anesthesiologist applied the local anesthesia. I remember thinking the needle wasn’t very big (not like I was expecting it to be). When he inserted it, you tensed up, but didn’t make a lot of noise. After, he put in the tube & fed the tubing stuff into your back. You were shuddering, trying not to move. And then you started making sounds like you were in a lot of pain, and it made me feel nauseated. The anesthesiologist started moving faster, so it would be done, and constantly reassured you that he was almost finished. After it was done, I started imagining what you were feeling based on the sounds you made and what I had just seen, and it made the blood drain from my head. I checked my knees to make sure they weren’t locked & then went and sat down for good measure.”
It was really painful to have him do the epidural. I have no experiences to compare it to, but honestly, I’m really grateful for the anesthesiologist. He did exactly what I wanted–took away the pain of contractions without making me completely numb. I still felt the pressure of the contractions (and that was definitely uncomfortable still). I’m also really grateful that I had the opportunity to experience contractions & know what they felt like, but also have modern medication that could take that pain away.
The whole process of getting the epidural probably didn’t take more than 10 minutes, but I remember looking at the clock and it being about 6:30 pm when the anesthesiologist came in, and about 7pm when he left the room (we talked before and after the epidural).
I can’t remember exactly when it started happening, but around this time (likely before the epidural), I started throwing up. And if you know anything about my pregnancy, you would understand why throwing up was a terrifying thought. I told Jordan that my breaking point for getting an epidural was if I started vomiting. There was no way I was going through contractions WHILE throwing up. Nope, nope-ers, nope-ity nope nope nope. Just no. (Read more about my pregnancy here: The “short” version and the whole shebang).
After giving me the epidural, the doctor came in to see how I was doing & decided to break my water before giving me pitocin to see if that would help push the labor along. At about 9:30, they checked again and I was still only at a 7 (and had been for an hour). So they decided to start pitocin. After that, things progressed much faster.
I don’t remember a whole lot between 9:30 and midnight, but I do remember that although I couldn’t feel how strong the contractions were, I could feel a lot of uncomfortable pressure. I was grateful though because I felt that I’d be able to push effectively. I continued to throw up several more times, which was a good thing because it helped the baby get into the correct position (thus reducing the likelihood of a C-section).
At midnight, the nurse had come in & checked where I was at. She said I was at about a 9 and that it’d probably be about an hour before I was fully dilated. Half an hour later, I called her because I felt like I was ready to push. She checked and I was at 10 cm! She made a few adjustments to the bed, and then told me to push when I was ready. She mentally prepared me for it to take a long time, even hours she said. But after only a few pushes, she told me to stop! The baby was crowning and they were going to call the dr. She seemed pretty surprised that I was able to push the baby into position so quickly. I think a big part of it was because I wasn’t completely numb from the epidural. I still felt a LOT of uncomfortable pressure, just not the pain of the contractions.
It’s interesting to push, especially with an epidural. You’re supposed to “push through contractions,” but it’s hard to tell when contractions start & end when you can’t really feel much more than pressure down there. So the nurse would tell me to push when it felt right & to push during the contractions. I honestly don’t even remember much except that she crowned really quickly, so I must have done something right!
At this point, it was around 1am. The doctor (Dr. Swainston for all you Vegas mamas-to-be) came in, got all set up, and told me to start pushing. After only a few pushes, her head was out! The umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. Dr. Swainston decided to cut the umbilical cord right away instead of delaying it. He got it clipped & let Jordan cut the cord. Then he told me, “Give me your hands! Give me your hands!” I reached my hand and felt the baby’s head. I thought, “Okay, that’s cool, but just get her out of there! I’m ready to hold her.” Then he said, “No, both your hands!” So I put both my hands down on her head. “Now push!” I pushed and got to help deliver my own baby! It was such an amazing experience!! I immediately put her on my chest, but I couldn’t do skin to skin right away because my hospital gown was still on and I didn’t have the strength or intelligence at the moment to figure out how to get it off! I held her in my arms for about 10 minutes. Then they took her a few feet away to measure & weigh her. In that time, I got ready to do skin-to-skin. Finally having my beautiful baby girl HERE was just wonderful!
After the doctor delivered the placenta, he told me that what had caused me all that sickness and hardship the past nine months was gone (referring to the placenta), and that I should start to feel normal right away. I honestly was pretty reluctant to believe him. And even right after, I still felt sick. I was worried this sickness would never go away, but after getting something to eat, my sickness really did go away. I actually forgot what it felt like not to be constantly nauseous.
I was SO hoping to take some photos of the delivery from my perspective, but the experience of being able to deliver Adaline with my own two hands far outweighed getting a couple unique photos. Plus, I had an amazing friend come do birth story & fresh 48 photos! I HIGHLY recommend her if you want either (or both) of these sessions done. (https://www.facebook.com/jhansenphotography/)