Throughout my pregnancy, I repeatedly told my ob/gyn that I did not want to induce labor. He repeatedly told me that after a certain point, it’s better for the baby to come out than stay in. He believed that point to be about 40.5 weeks. At my 39 week appointment, I had finally made progress: 1 cm, 50% effaced, and -3 station. My doctor stripped my membranes to hopefully try and make me progress. It was not successful. At my 40 week appointment on March 3, the day before my due date, I was at 2 cm, 80% effaced, and -2 station. My doctor said he’d like to schedule an induction for Monday March 7 if I didn’t go into labor before then. He was not on call over the weekend, so if I did go into labor, he would more than likely not be the doctor to deliver my baby. As much as I wanted Atticus to come, I wanted my doctor to be the doctor to deliver him even more. When I say I love my doctor, I mean I REALLY love him. I couldn’t fathom the idea of someone else delivering my baby. I hoped Atticus would stay in until Monday. We wanted to bring our baby into the world without an audience in the waiting room, so we decided not to tell anyone about the scheduled induction.
Friday, March 4 was our five year wedding anniversary and our due date. To celebrate, we went to eat dinner at Outback and had dessert at the Melting Pot. The manager of the Melting Pot found out about both of our special occasions, and she gave us a gift certificate for dessert for our first night out after the baby.
Saturday night, March 5, we went to eat at Ichiban and decided to come home and watch a movie while stuffing price increase mailings for Michael’s work. About an hour into sealing envelopes, I began having contractions less than 5 minutes apart. We got very excited, went to get our bags ready, vacuumed the floor, and packed up the mailings. The contractions stopped, so we went to bed disappointed.
Sunday morning, I woke up in Atticus’ room to the sound of Michael vomiting in the bathroom down the hall. My immediate thought was, “That’s not the sound of me throwing up. What’s up with that?” I realized it was Michael, so I got up to check on him. He had been throwing up all night long, and he thought he had food poisoning. I started freaking out because in less than 24 hours, we would be checking in at the hospital to have a baby. I needed Michael to be healthy and on his A-game to help me with the most important task I’d ever had. At noon, he was still in the bed, so I made him a grilled cheese sandwich, took it upstairs and told him that he had until 1 pm to eat and get up, or I was going to make him go to urgent care. He got up, even though he didn’t feel well. He lounged around on the couch for the rest of the day while I finished last minute tasks around the house to get ready to go.
We left the house about 10:30 pm because we had to run some errands before checking in at the hospital. We stopped by Michael’s work to pick up his computer and drop off some mailings. We went to Wal-mart to purchase some ear plugs for me to be able to sleep through the IV noises. While we were debating which ear plugs to get, an older lady walked up to us and told me I looked like I was about to pop. When we told her we were on the hospital, she flipped out with excitement. We then went to Steak and Shake for a BLT (for Michael) and a grilled cheese (for me).
We got to the hospital about 12:30 and had to wait a few minutes for our room to be ready. Our birthing suite was room 8221. Because I was already 2 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced, we were able to skip the Cervadil and start with Pitocin immediately. I was positive it was going to hurt right off the bat, but it didn’t. Michael, still feeling like crap, fell asleep on the couch immediately. I sat/stood there twiddling my thumbs for hours because the adrenaline was too much for me to sleep. My pitocin was increased every thirty minutes, but I never felt what the monitor was showing as strong contractions every 2-3 minutes.
At 6:30, my doctor came in to check my progress and break my water. I was still 2 cm and 80% effaced. I knew being induced could be a long process, but I was disappointed that in 6 hours, I’d done nothing. After he broke my water, the nurse had to run get some more absorbent towels (that’s a technical term) because I had way more amniotic fluid than normal. My belly looked very deflated and much smaller than it had just 5 minutes before. We could see the outline of Atticus’ body! My doctor asked if I wanted to go on and get an epidural, but I said no because I’d made no progress yet. I knew that I wanted pain relief, but I wanted to feel a little bit of labor first.
A little bit, my foot. Once your water breaks, contractions HURT. Michael, still out of it from food poisoning, was no help whatsoever. I’d lie down, sit up, stand up, and pray that the next contraction wouldn’t come because I didn’t want to hurt again. Lisa, my new RN came in about that time and told me if I didn’t want an epidural yet, I could have some Stadol to take the edge off the pain. I’d heard that if you get Stadol and your baby is born within 4 hours, they have to go to the NICU for the remainder of the four hours. I wanted to bond with my baby and breastfeed immediately, so my first answer was no. Lisa politely informed me that my baby was not going to be born in the next four hours. “Oh, in that case, I’d like some drugs.”
FYI: Stadol? Doesn’t help with the pain. It just makes you sleepy and out of it. I tried to rest for an hour or so, but the contractions HURT, so I asked for an epidural. The CRNAs? Oh, they’re in emergency surgery and won’t be here for an hour. What?! Lisa hooked me up with another dose of Stadol to try to hold me over until they could get there, but it wasn’t 15 minutes after my dose when angels (Richard and Kelly, the CRNAs) walked in the room at 9:20. Michael wanted to watch, of course, so I was leaning on Lisa for support while they repeatedly couldn’t find something in my back. Lisa = 5’0”, 100 lbs. Ashley = very heavily medicated. I told Lisa I could squish her. I asked what the Hell was taking so long. It’s generally not a good idea to question someone’s abilities when they have massive needles in your back, but luckily, they found my drug induced state amusing. The epidural was amazing. I felt no more contractions, and I was able to go to sleep. I’d been up since 7 am the day before, so I was tired.
I wasn’t able to sleep for very long because Lisa woke me up every 5 freaking minutes to have me change positions. Every time I’d have a contraction, Atticus’ heart rate would drop from 140-150s down into the 60s. They gave me one of those oxygen masks to wear. Nothing helped. His heart rate kept going down and staying down. I was still 2 cm and 80% effaced. Lisa called my doctor to tell him what was going on and to see what he wanted to do.
At 11:30, the room phone rang. I said, “Who the hell is calling? No one knows we are here! I checked that box on the registration form so that they won’t tell anyone what room we are in!” Michael answered. It’s my doctor. He wants to talk to me. Crap. This can’t be good.
Atticus’ heart rate is down. Having a hard time getting it to come back up. It’s my decision. C-section in 30 minutes. Emergency c-section later. Atticus needs to come out. I’m not progressing. It’s my decision.
Let’s get it over with.
He said, “I’m sorry.” He knew this was not what I wanted.
I hung up the phone and cried. I may have been high as a kite, but I remember feeling devastated and like a failure. I did not want to be a statistic. I wanted labor. I wanted a vaginal birth. I cried some more and instructed Michael to call my mom. She was fine with knowing we weren’t going to call when we went to the hospital, but she did ask for us to call if something went wrong. A birth method I did not want? Wrong! Michael said she sounded shaky on the phone, but that she was okay. She was at work, but she works with good people, so I’m sure they were there for her.
Richard and Kelly came back in to give me more drugs in preparation for the c-section. This round of drugs included a big fat dose of morphine. I became itchy and unable to keep my arms still. I tried not to worry about it because I figured they’d tie me down to the bed when I got in the operating room.
I made Michael eat a sandwich because he’s hypoglycemic and has to control his blood sugar with diet. He eats at 12:00 every day, and the birthday of our baby could not be an exception, regardless of the hectic situation that had become my birthing suite. I informed every person that walked in the room that my husband was not an asshole for eating in front of me. He simply has a blood sugar condition, and he needed to eat.
My doctor showed up about 12:15. He explained the risks of cesareans. I repeatedly interrupted him to tell him I’d read about it on the internet, and that I was fine with it. Let’s just get this unwanted experience over with.
At 12:20, we were in the OR. People kept coming up to me to introduce themselves. I remember thinking, “Don’t you people have ANYTHING else to do? Like, for instance, tie down my MFing arms?” They were flapping around like I was trying to fly! I was terrified that I’d knock down the sheet thing and cause the doctor to cut something he shouldn’t. I voiced my concern, but no one did anything about it.
I decided that if no one was going to tie down my arms, I’d be better off going to sleep. I told myself that it would be okay to sleep through the surgery as long as I woke up when he cried. So? I slept. At 12:44, he cried. I woke up. I cried out, “Hey! That’s my baby!” and promptly asked, “Are you sure he has two balls and one penis?” Amongst the chuckles, someone said yes. I was satisfied with that answer and went back to sleep.
I woke up to the sound of counting and writing on a dry erase board. I thought, “W. T. F? I’m not at school.” Remember, I was high as a freaking kite. I had no idea what was going on.
Michael walked around to me and showed me our baby. Nine pounds. Five ounces. Twenty-one inches long. Two testicles. One penis. Ten fingers and ten toes. One perfect baby. My son. I suppose it was fair that Michael got to hold him first. When we bought Michael’s Jeep, I drove it home from the car dealership. Quid pro quo, I guess.
I got to hold Atticus in the recovery room 20 minutes later. Although I don’t really remember it, Michael did a wonderful job taking pictures, and the look on my face tells me I knew in that moment that every single time I threw up was worth it. Every single thing I complained about was worth it. It would have been worth it if it had been eight million times worse. I had no idea what I was doing, but it didn’t matter. At that moment, I became a mom.
(By the way, I later found out that my arms were not trying to fly. My hands were barely shaking. I was not in school, either. The nurses were counting the rags and tools and writing to make sure they didn’t leave anything in me. Narcotics will mess you up, man. Also, Atticus had somehow wedged his shoulder somewhere, and he was stuck. That’s why I was not progressing.)