|Last picture as a family of 3 between contractions|
I guess I should start at the beginning. If you recall, I ended up with an emergency c-section with Hunter after failure to progress/failure for baby to descend. I really wanted to try for a vaginal birth with this new baby, so I did a lot of research and spoke with doulas in the area as to where my best chances of having a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) would be. Every single one of them said the same exact practice. This practice has the highest success rate in my area and the hospital they deliver at has the lowest c-section rate in the state (as of the last time the stats were posted). I went for my yearly with the group before we even started trying for a second baby to meet them and discuss the possibility of the VBAC. I fell in love. The group is made of midwives who run the midwifery center and a group of doctors who fully support VBACs and allowing women to go until almost 42 weeks before induction.
Gavin's due date was Feb. 5. That date came and went. At 37, 38, and 39 week check, I was 1 cm dilated. At 38 weeks, I had a growth ultrasound. Gavin was measuring 7 pounds, 4 ounces, not too big the tech said. At 40 weeks I had moved to 2 cm dilated. At 41 weeks (a Wednesday), I went for my NST, an ultrasound to check the fluid levels, and a regular OB appointment. Still 2 cm. Everything looked good on the u/s and NST. They were booked for inductions until that following Tuesday. At this point, I was over being pregnant. I was so upset that I had to wait almost another week before meeting this little dude even though I really didn't want to be induced.
Friday evening, I started having contractions about 15-20 minutes apart. They weren't painful by any means and I was able to go to bed. At 3 am, Hunter came crawling into our bed. I was so tired, I just thought, "Man, we will have to break him of this habit this weekend." Then I had my first "real" contraction. They came about every 20 minutes, and I was able to "nap" in between them. At 5 am they started getting closer together and I wasn't able to sleep. I waited until about 5:45, got up and went to the couch so I could move around without waking the boys up. At 6:30, I started timing them. They were consistently 3-5 minutes apart. Carl called Meemaw Swann at 7 to let her know we may need her to come get Hunter. I got in the shower and by 7:30 Carl decided to ask Meemaw to come get Hunter. I was still worried this was false labor, even though I could not talk or walk during contractions. Meemaw came and got Hunter, and Carl and I finished up things at home. I tried to vacuum. I didn't even get the hall cleaned. Carl finished that up. I took screen shots of my contraction app and sent it to my BFF Kelly (who is an amazing L&D nurse). She convinced me to call the doctors to see what they wanted me to do. I was told to come on in.
The 30 minute drive was not very pleasant. I think all the potholes came out that day. And the contractions never slowed (which I was so worried about). Once we finally got there, Carl dropped me at the door and went to park the car. The front desk lady kept trying to get me in a wheelchair. No sitting, I just sat for 30 minutes, I want to walk. I think everyone thought I was crazy as I was doing my best relaxation techniques in the lobby. Everyone was relieved once Carl came through the door and we were headed upstairs and out of their area. I got all checked in and set up in a room. I knew I was going to be constantly monitored, but didn't realize how much I would be hooked up to. I was 4-5 cm with a bulging bag. The doctor came in, also checked, and asked what I wanted to do. Do I let them break my water or do I labor a little longer and see if I dilate more? We decided to break my water. Gavin engaged into -1/0 station and I was a good 5 right away. This was looking very promising. Half way there!
The contractions were intense. My original goal was to have no pain medicine. I did not want to end up with a c-section because of an epidural. I tried my best to relax between contractions that were coming every 30 seconds to 1 minute. It was so hard to do with all these cords attached to me (contraction monitor, fetal heart rate monitor, O2 level on my finger, blood pressure cuff). How is anyone able to move around with all that stuff?! (It can be done, I know, because my coworker did it) I also had a hard time relaxing because the nursery nurse kept coming in to ask me questions (that I know I had answered on forms I had filled out to preregister). I swear she took her time setting up Gavin's bed area, I was about ready to throw something at her at that point (poor woman, she was just doing her job). The most pain was at my c-section scar. I could not figure out a position that helped me to relax with that pain. I finally broke down and asked for a shot of drugs. While they were out, I told Carl I wanted the epidural. I think he probably jumped for joy as he did not like seeing me in that pain. They came back in and I kept telling them I felt a lot of pressure. The "new to the hospital, but not to L&D nurse" checked me. "She's complete! He's at 0/+1 station." she said. "What?! I'm 10 cm?! Well then I don't need that epidural. Let's start pushing." They wanted to do a trial push. They said I would need to labor down and since I was complete, I could get the epidural to help me relax. It would be one that would wear off in 45 minutes. Awesome. So that's what we did. And about 30 minutes later they checked me again. Same nurse (who by the way had not worked in 8 years!) checks me. "Oh, she's only 7. I guess I couldn't get my finger all the way around her cervix when she was so tense." Let me tell you, for someone who wanted something so bad this was heartbreaking news. I had to get a pump for the epidural. An hour or so later, the pitocin started at a very low dose. Kelly had arrived by then to bring Carl some food and to sit with us. After they up my pitocin the second time with no progress, I knew. I was devastated. Kelly and Carl tried to reassure me, but I knew even after they got me to the max dose of pitocin for a VBAC that this wasn't going to happen.
By this time, the midwife came in. She had checked me once before and wanted to check me again after being on the highest dose for however long it was. "Tiffany, I'm sorry, but I don't think we are getting past this point." Tears started flowing. All I had dreamed about the entire pregnancy was holding a freshly birthed baby on my chest. The midwife was amazing. She sat with me and talked me through everything and my fears. We decided to go with a spinal block and take the epidural out (if you recall with Hunter, I felt them cutting into me on my right side when I had an epidural).
I got prepped, couldn't feel a thing, and they started. The spinal block was amazing! I had to be given nausea medicine a few times as my blood pressure kept dropping, but the anesthesiologist and CRNA were on top of things and so fast. I heard Gavin's little cry and started crying myself. It is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world hearing your baby cry for the first time. He arrived 02/15/2014 at 9:45 pm weighing 9 pounds, 5 ounces and 21 inches long.
They took him over to the warmer to do their assessment and get him in a blanket. I was actually able to hold him while they were finishing up my surgery. He was grunting a lot and I said, "He doesn't seem too happy." The nurse responded with, "He is having a hard time breathing." "Then take him!"
Gavin spent 4 hours in the nursery being monitored as he was having a difficult time breathing (although his O2 levels were good). He was brought to our room once he was stable and we tried nursing. It took him 30 minutes to latch, he couldn't figure out how to open his mouth to eat. We weren't able to nurse for a good 24 hours after that because he just had a hard time coordinating his suck-swallow-breath pattern. He was gagging with a bottle nipple and couldn't latch to me. He stayed over night in the nursery again so they could work with his coordination. By the morning he was doing well and the lactation consultant came in to help with his latch.
We were able to go home Tuesday afternoon. It was a long stay and very rough for me emotionally and physically (little issues here and there). Carl was amazing through it all. I could not have asked for a better husband and father.
Thank you to our amazing friends who dropped everything to come and help when it was needed. We are truly blessed to have an amazing group of friends who we consider our family. Gavin (and Hunter) are so lucky to call you "aunt" and "uncle". Thanks to my dad and Meemaw Swann for taking care of Hunter buddy while we were in the hospital.