A cherubic boy: The birth of Silas

Posted by Elizabeth DeBruyn

I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant when I went into the hospital to be induced. I did not want to be induced, and when I thought about the birth of my baby, induction was never in the picture. At around 39 weeks I ended up developing a rash on my belly called PUPPS. It isn’t too serious, but the itching that comes along with the rash is unbearable, and the only cure for this rash is delivery of the baby. When I went in for my weekly appointment at 40 weeks and 1 day on Thursday, my doctor and I decided to schedule an induction for the following Tuesday… I thought for sure I would go into labor before that, hopefully over the weekend. The weekend came and went, every morning waking up feeling like the movie Groundhog Day–still pregnant with no sign of labor. Jordan and I spent Monday running errands, and even went out for dinner, which we had called “the last supper”. I had considered canceling the induction, but by then I was more than ready to have this baby. I went to bed that night still hoping I would wake up with contractions a couple hours later, but felt nothing. Neither one of us slept much, knowing what the next day would bring.

We left the house at around 3:30 in the morning and arrived at the hospital at 4. We were shown to our room and I got into that lovely hospital garb. Over the next few hours I was checked into the system, hooked up to the monitor and IV and was asked some general questions. I was then given Pitocin to get things started (although I actually was having contractions before they even medicated me to do so!). Around 8AM my doctor arrived and broke my water; what a weird sensation!! I was only at about 3cm at that point. My water leaked and leaked over the next several hours, making it feel like I was continually peeing myself. My mother showed up between 10 and 11 and that’s when I first started to feel the contractions.

Over the next several hours the contractions intensified. My nurse would occasionally check in on me and ask what my pain level was on a scale from 1-10, the number slowly rising. She did not check my cervix very often, but was more interested in the amount of pain I was feeling. Around 1:30PM or so, my mother was curious as to what my dilation was and asked the nurse to check me. I was only at about a 4/4.5, which was discouraging because I was feeling a lot of pain and I was hoping I was further along (my goal was to get to at least 6 before getting any pain medication). The nurse left and I endured a few more contractions before I said, “I can’t go through another one of those”. I called the nurse back and said I needed something for the pain. She offered something that would “take the edge off” or the epidural. “Taking the edge off” did not sound like it would get rid of the pain, so I said, “Give me the epidural.” I felt bad about it at the time, but the nurse made me feel better about my decision.

Of course, by the time I asked for the epidural, the anesthesiologist had one ahead of me. Meanwhile, the contractions were getting closer and closer together and I was in so much pain I had pretty much stopped speaking. The only position that felt somewhat remotely comfortable for me while I breathed through the contractions was on the bed gripping the side bars with all my might. I did not want to move, not even to go to the bathroom. Jordan asked if I wanted music, if I wanted to go in the tub, if I wanted to sit up. No, I just wanted the pain gone.

Finally, about 45 minutes later, it was my turn for the epidural. Jordan and my mother left the room as neither one of them wanted to watch the needle go into my back. I don’t blame them. I was told to sit on the side of the bed, my feet were propped up, my hair was pulled back and the process began. At this point I was such a hot mess, I had lost all dignity in regards to the way I looked or what people were looking at. And this was probably the worst part of my labor–not because of the needle going in my back, but because I had to deal with these crazy, painful contractions in a super uncomfortable position, with nothing to grip onto and in between the three  attempts to get the epidural in properly. They asked if I had ever had back surgery or a fusion because for some reason it just was not working. I thought, “Great, I am not going to get any relief from this pain,” but finally, they got in!

Suddenly, I felt great, I was on cloud nine. I had a break, I could relax. The nurse checked my cervix to see where I was. After feeling around for a minute, an odd look fell upon her face.

“Hmm, I think you are at a 10, you are ready to go.”
“Are you serious?”

She got another nurse to check for a second opinion, maybe a 9.5,  the second nurse said. I did not want to push yet!  I wanted a minute to just lie there and sleep or something!  She gave me an hour to “labor down” while she let my doctor know my status and got everything ready for delivery. I could not believe it. I felt somewhat proud of myself though, because in actuality I never really knew how dilated I was before I got the epidural, but I am guessing I was at least a 6 if not a 7 or an 8 or even 9cm. Soon I would be pushing, and soon I would be holding my baby in my arms. So scary and exciting!

I had always thought when it came time to push, the pushing would take anywhere from 5-20 minutes. My nurse said I could be pushing anywhere from a half hour to two hours. Holy cow. I also thought there would be some sort of sheet and a tiny amount of coverage as I straddled my legs in the air. Nope, no sheet, no privacy whatsoever–just all out there for anyone in the room to see. So, it was time. My doctor arrived in his scrubs and assessed the situation. I was SO numb I really had no idea how I was even going to push, or how to push. My doctor said just push like you are having the biggest bowel movement of your life. At every contraction, my legs were pulled back and I was told to push for 10 seconds, deep breath, push for 10, deep breath, push for 10, etc.  And push I did, although I didn’t really know where I was pushing from. I was told I was doing a good job, but I really couldn’t tell. All sorts of stuff was coming out of me; there was definitely a “bloody show” (and I still wonder sometimes how Jordan can look at me the same way.)  About a half-hour into the pushing, I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open. I was just so tired, but I had to keep pushing. Soon, the nurse said she could start to see the head as I pushed!!  Oh, and he has hair!!  Still pushing. I was finally getting close! The doctor was called in and I pushed for the doctor until he said, “Yup, we are ready to deliver this baby!”  I pushed a few more times, and out he came (cord around his neck, which the doctor was not expecting, but he was fine). He was wiped off just a bit, and then placed on my chest. Silas was here and he was beautiful!

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He was a fairly big boy, and in turn, took a a toll on my body. My doctor said I had a pretty bad tear and he needed “some friends” to help stitch me up. Although not quite as severe as he originally thought, I did have a 3rd degree tear, and at one point there were 7 or 8 different doctors and nurses in the room all just staring at me apparently quite intrigued and fascinated by what was going on down there. I did not even care, as my baby was born and healthy and in my arms. An hour later, they were finally done stitching me up, and the grandparents could finally come in and meet our new little guy.

Overall, I was happy with my experience. If and when I do it again, I will probably ask for the epidural sooner. I am glad I felt the pain I did, but I would not want to feel it again. It would have been nice to say I delivered my baby without any drugs, but the way I see it, if there is something to make you feel better and it is safe, why not take it.

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!

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