Andy's Birth By Rebekah Whicker Print
Birth Stories - C-Section Birth Stories
Tuesday, 06 January 2009 09:40
Andy was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California, in the early morning of March 18th. Much like my first pregnancy (with Ricky), Andy was a little shy and didn't want to be born right away. I was admitted to the hospital on the morning of St. Patrick's Day (Tuesday 3/17) to start inducing VBAC labor. At around 6:45am, I was started on Pitocin at 1cm with the baby at a -4 station (still really high). I had continuous contractions and just breathed through them, I really didn't have a problem and most of the time Rick didn't know I was having contractions unless he looked at the monitor (which actually showed them as not as bad as they were). I was amazed at how well I was keeping control.

Eight long hours later, I had progressed to 3cm and was at -2 station. The doctor felt that it was okay to break the waters because I had made some progress. Our other choice was to go home and see if things happened on their own. We didn't want to go home after all that, so we agreed with the doctor to have her break my bag of waters. At 6pm, the waters were broken and it was a really strange feeling, like peeing without control, very warm fluid. Unlike most people I have heard of, I did not immediately have harder labor after having the waters broken. A scalp monitor and internal contraction monitor were inserted. Water continued to gush out upon contractions.

I was in high spirits (at first), but slowly started getting more and more aggravated. As the day progressed, I continued to have strong, short contractions that started being close together and then seemed to come further and further apart, unless the nurse increased the amount of Pitocin (which then made the contractions come faster again, for a short amount of time).

I wasn't sure I wanted an epidural because I didn't want to stall labor, and the nurse, Mandy (who was really great) told me that there was that chance - she wasn't going to make any promises. Then I had a really bad contraction and started really asking for an epidural to help me deal with the increasing strength. At 10pm, the epidural was ordered and administered, meanwhile the amount of Pitocin reached the highest possible amount (80cc/hour). I was soon glad I had the epidural - during its administration (I was told later) I had four VERY strong contractions, almost unbearable, but I was convinced the pain was from the epidural (pain displacement maybe?) because I couldn't see the contraction monitor. The epidural was a little faulty; it was fine on the left but on the right I was numb from the shoulder down. Which meant that basically my lung was paralyzed, and my arm, as well as my leg which would have made me a pretty ineffectual pusher. Not good.

At around 1:45am on Wednesday morning, the doctor examined me and gave us the bad news: I was still only at 4cm (though 85% effaced) and was no longer progressing. She believed that the baby was either coming down at an angle (which was holding things up), or that his head was starting to swell too large to fit through. At 2am, we agreed to have another Cesarean delivery. When we decided to break the waters we had made it clear that we knew we were making a commitment to delivery by any means, so we had no illusions. I had had a Cesarean birth before and knew what to expect.

The nurse inserted the catheter, which I couldn't feel because of the epidural. The epidural was in effect so the delivery happened pretty soon after. Andrew was born at 2:50am. The doctor said, "It's an Andrew!" He first scored eight, then nine on his Apgars. He weighed 8 pounds and 12.8 ounces. And he was over 21 inches long ("A big baby!").

The putting back together of my body was, as last time, the worst feeling. Last time I was put under general anesthesia because I couldn't deal with it (after being awake for two days trying to induce); this time I was adamant that I be awake. So the anesthesiologist said he'd give me something that would make me feel a little better and "will just make you a little sleepy." Turned out it was Fentanyl. In the recovery room I could hardly keep my eyes open, yet I didn't want to go to sleep until I could nurse Andy and get upstairs to my room. Blame it on the Fentanyl!

I did get to nurse Andy, but I can hardly remember it because I was so stoned. I also couldn't hold him very well because of my numb right arm. He did nurse like a champ with very little help, and has ever since. I asked for some pain medicine and got it through the IV. Then the nurse told me I'd have to stay there in the recovery room for an extra half-hour because I had pain medication. Wish she'd told me that before!

We ended up being there for three hours. It was torture. All the pictures of me in there are just awful, I look like a stoned zombie with really bad hair. I won't show them to anyone! In fact I was so out of it I didn't even know Rick was taking my picture! On the way up to my room I sat all the way upright holding Andy, and the idiotic nurses kept telling me that they were amazed that I could sit upright after a c-section. What do they care, if that's how I was comfortable? Sheesh.

With the exception of some peeling skin (they said it was caused by chapping from the amniotic fluid) and a little coned head (kind of like a horn because it was on one side due to the strange angle he was approaching the birth canal), Andy was absolutely the most perfect newborn baby we'd ever seen! My recovery was slow to me but apparently it was pretty fast, and we got out after three days, entitling us to a home visit.

The night Andrew was born I got about one hour of sleep after the epidural, and that's it, then like three hours after being delivered to my room. The next night, about two hours, then almost a full night's sleep after that. The lack of sleep didn't affect me for a few weeks, giving me a chance to enjoy the baby without being totally exhausted.

When I went back for my 6 week visit I thought to myself, well, by inducing then breaking the waters we really didn't give me a chance to have a trouble-free delivery. But even so I was and still am happy with how it all turned out. I think perhaps the c-section was the best thing for me because I knew what to expect.

And another thing: It was so strange to come home with a normal baby. Strange yet wonderful, after giving birth to Ricky who was in the hospital for 7 weeks!