I’ve been reading so many birth stories lately in preparation for the birth of our next baby boy. I always appreciate the honesty and vivid descriptions. It helped me before I gave birth to Landon and it’s helping me again. Mostly it helps me realize that each story is unique and individual and that what happens is NOT in your control. I went back and realized that I never posted Landon’s birth story on my own blog! So here it is, a year and a half later . . . I hope this helps someone!
We had our baby boy, Landon Neil, on 08/08/08. I was induced at exactly 39 weeks due to not being able to empty my bladder anymore. His head was so low he was blocking the flow of urine and I got an infection and was in a lot of pain. I had also been having painful contractions for a month and had barely slept in the last four weeks. Needless to say, I was so ready to have our baby here with us! To begin with I was really against being induced prior to my due date of 08/15/08. But considering I was already 4 cm dilated and already having contractions every night my doctor preferred it.
We went in at 6:30 a.m. on a Friday thinking we might get canceled since they told us that 08/08/08 was a very popular date for “scheduled” inductions/c-sections. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life. When we arrived in the waiting room they told us to wait 30 minutes and we would have a room. We checked into our room at 7:30 a.m., got the IV and my doctor came and broke my water at 8:30 a.m. I was already 5 cm and 100 % effaced when I arrived at the hospital. I had been dilated since week 32 so they told me I would most likely not need any other meds to get contractions going. They were right! I did not need any pitocin at all and I was very happy about that! I think most people assume that an induction means pitocin but just an FYI, it doesn’t always.
About 15-20 minutes later I started feeling very painful, regular contractions. I buzzed my labor nurse (who was amazing by the way) and asked to get the epidural. Now, I am terrified of needles and thought this would be horrible but actually it was not bad at all. I was having really painful contractions while getting it. That was the only bad thing about the epidural. Having to sit still while having a contraction! The first thing I felt was a bee sting for the anesthetic and then a bit of pressure. And that was it folks! My pain started to numb almost immediately. I relaxed and talked to family members who had come to rally around us and be there as support for the birth of our son. I laughed a lot and that is one of the best things I remember about my labor. I was completely relaxed and happy from about 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The pain was definitely numbed but I did still feel a little cramping on the left side. They came back and gave me another dose of the medicine because I guess the epidural ”took” better on the right side than the left. All was good after they gave me another dose.
At 3:30 p.m. the nurse checked me and told me I was at 10 cm and that she had called my OB to come deliver my baby. She told me to take a catnap and at 4:00 I could start pushing. I definitely didn’t feel the need to push yet but closing my eyes to nap? I was WAY too excited to take a nap! I was about to meet my son!
I was very nervous about pushing. I just didn’t know if I would be strong enough to push a baby out! But Naaman was absolutely wonderful and kept telling me “You can do it. You can do it.” The nurse was also a great cheerleader for me.
And the pushing started. I never needed to be told to push as I could feel the urge to push even with the epidural, which I thought was a bit strange. In fact, I thought it was strange that I was feeling so many sensations in the lower half of my body. The dull aches were becoming much stronger with every contraction and it made me nervous. Pain usually sends me into a panic. I already knew this about myself and that is the reason I never opted to try for a natural birth.
Everyone kept telling me I was a great pusher. After pushing for so long I was definitely starting to think everyone around me was lying. I kept saying, “I think I’m feeling pain.” This was very confusing to me because I got the epidural so I wouldn’t have to feel anything! Unfortunately that would not be the case for me. About an hour into pushing the lower half of my body “came alive” and I could feel everything. I was crying so hard and still trying to push. Contractions were right on top of one another so I was barely getting a break. I was pretty delirious from the pain. Naaman told me later that I kept saying in between pushing, “Why isn’t the epidural working? Why is this happening to me?”
My wonderful doctor finally came in as they said the head was showing. She immediately saw that I had been pushing for a long time. Two hours to be exact. When she walked in I remember saying, “I’m going to have to have a c-section aren’t I?” She laughed and said, “Of course not, the head is right there!” To which I replied, “I don’t believe you. Everyone keeps saying that but then why won’t he come out?!” Can you tell I was utterly exhausted and completely frustrated?
She asked me if I wanted a mirror to which I quickly replied NO, NO, NO! Excuse my French but there was no fucking way I wanted to remember what my vagina looked like while my son was crowning! I might never have recovered! Then she asked me if I wanted to feel the head. I instantly looked up at Naaman to see what he thought of that idea. I was in no condition to make decisions for myself. I needed guidance. He said it might help motivate me so I lifted up and they guided my hand to where his head was bulging out. Can I just say how amazing it was to reach down and feel my son’s head coming out of my own body? Priceless moment! From that time on I started pushing harder and faster than I ever had. I ended up pushing for 2.5 hours. I was puking/gagging from the pain in between contractions even though there was nothing to throw up because I hadn’t eaten in almost 24 hours. But at 6:41 p.m., our beautiful son, Landon Neil, came into the world.
The rest is only remembered in a sort of dream-like sequence.
I felt the last stinging of the ring of fire and then pressure of his head literally pop out. Then, as the rest of his body slid out, it can only be described as someone ripping out all my internal organs (sorry if that scares people, I’m just trying to be honest). We knew right away something was not right. I heard no crying, not even a gurgle and immediately started repeating, “Why isn’t he crying? Why isn’t he crying?” I remember looking at Landon. He was blue and lifeless. Suddenly there were so many extra people in the room. They placed his lifeless body on the isolette and went to work on him trying to get him to breathe. I could see it all happening right in front of me and I was in shock. A nurse came over to tell me that they were taking my baby to the NICU because he was having trouble breathing and they couldn’t get his oxygen levels up.
I just kept looking at Naaman. He was holding my hand really hard but he did not look scared so that is what saved me from totally losing it. Later, I learned that Naaman was actually more terrified than he had ever been in his entire life. But being an RN in a Level I trauma unit, he is very used to keeping his cool and putting on his game face. He is very used to emergency situations and knows that there is no time to panic when you are trying to save a life.
Even though I didn’t completely lose it I would say I was still pretty hysterical. As I was crying, the doctor and labor nurse were massaging my stomach to try to help me deliver the placenta. This is one part that I had totally forgotten about. I figured that the pain would stop pretty quickly after Landon came out and for the most part the very intense pain did cease. But delivering the placenta was still really intense for me. I think it hurt more though because I was still crying because I didn’t know if Landon was alive or dead. Seriously. No one could or would tell me anything. It was awful.
I was expecting this wonderful moment where my baby boy was laid upon my chest all gooey and crying in my face and instead my arms were empty. Instead I didn’t know if my baby would make it. Not quite what you see in the movies, people. Well, maybe on the show ER.
I had a 2nd degree tear that my doctor stitched up as well. I asked to tear instead of getting an episiotomy. It was something I did research on and felt good about my choice. I kept saying to the doctor, “Is my baby okay?” And she just looked at me and told me to try to stay positive. Finally Naaman went and told family that Landon was taken to the NICU. They all came back into the room as we waited to find out anything about our son. Honestly, I barely remember this hour. I didn’t really want my family in there because I didn’t want them to see me so upset. I didn’t want to see anyone until I had seen my son!
Naaman had gone to the NICU to get some info but they sent him away telling him they were in the middle of a shift change. I was so ticked off. No one would tell us anything. So basically for an entire hour, we sat there not knowing if our son was dead or alive! It was the most emotional, excruciatingly horrifying hour of our entire lives. I remember telling my Mom that I was not leaving the hospital without our baby so just kill me if he had died. For a moment, I thought everyone knew something I didn’t and they were just trying to stall while they figured out a way to tell me that Landon had passed. See, I told you I was hysterical!
Finally, Naaman went to find out info again and when he walked back into the room he was holding our beautiful, perfectly healthy son! I started bawling immediately. It was the happiest, most perfect moment of my entire life. He was in my arms and he was pink and breathing on his own. They kept him in the NICU for observation. Gosh, wouldn’t it have been nice if someone would have saved us the agony of not knowing whether my son had survived his own birth?! I am so thankful that they were able to save his life though.
After awhile I was finally able to ask Naaman why he thought Landon had so much trouble breathing after he came out. I thought it was something that I did wrong. Naaman reluctantly told me that the cord had been tightly wrapped around Landon’s neck. Neither the doctor nor Naaman told me those details and the doctor removed the cord so quickly that I never saw it. They decided not to tell me so I wouldn’t panic more than I already was (if that was even possible). So Landon’s trouble at birth had nothing to do with being induced a week early or from getting the epidural. There was no way to know the cord was slowly strangling him as I worked to push him out. At first the truth of the cord being wrapped around Landon’s neck rocked me to the core. Long ago, my grandma Myrtle gave birth to a baby with the cord wrapped around his neck. The baby was born still. So it shook me to hear that. But now I have some relief in knowing that I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m just glad I was at a hospital where they are well-equipped for emergency situations.
Recovery was pretty easy and relatively painless. My tear hurt the worst on the third day and then the pain subsided. I was scared of going #2 for the first time after birth but that wasn’t bad either. Ladies, take the stool softeners in the hospital! They work wonders for when you finally have to go! I did have bladder issues for quite some time after birth. I could barely hold my pee, which is understandable considering that at the end there was an unimaginable amount of pressure but I couldn’t go because he was blocking the flow. All of a sudden, the flow was no longer blocked but there was still an immense amount of pressure. I had to go back to the doctor at 2 weeks PP because whenever water ran in a sink or shower, or even when I was pouring a drink, I instantly started to go. It was totally and completely unexpected. I kind of magically thought all pregnancy-related issues would go away after having the baby and well, that’s just not the truth for some people.
Even so, nothing can describe motherhood. There are no words to describe the wonderful mystery of the feelings you feel when you first hold your baby. I feel like he is an angel sent down from above. A true gift from God.