Sit back, grab some popcorn and buckle up for my 62 hour birth story
I’ll start this marathon birth story off with the fact that getting induced for the third time was my biggest fear this whole pregnancy. I was pretty traumatized by the complicated and rigorous inductions of Sully and Collins and know by body takes a long time to kick into labor.
Unfortunately, my fear became my reality as my blood pressure began to creep up week by week. At 39 weeks, we knew it was time to call it and schedule the induction to eliminate any dangerously high readings.
I did feel it was the right choice when I looked at it through the lens of safety for baby and I. My doctor and I felt really confident that this induction would be different than the others because I was actually dilated (!!) to a 2, which I’ve never been at the start of an induction, I was 75% effaced and baby was very low. OK, whew, I got this! This will be so fast and simple…lets do this!
Induction begins Saturday, March 7th
39 weeks, 1 day
We arrived to St. John’s Hospital on Saturday night at 7:45pm on March 7th
Here we go….
8pm-9pm: Blood pressure upon arrival is high, 145/90, I’m in the right place for sure. They did labs, got my IV in, placed the first round of cervadil into my cervix (a 12 hour cervical ripening method. In order to start pitocin, you need a Bishops score of a certain value based on dilation, effacement, station of baby. I was not at the number needed yet, so we started here, just like the other two.), gave me a morphine shot for comfort and a visteril pill for sleep.
SUNDAY, MARCH 8th:
9am: They take the Cervadil out, check me and we learn there is no change made to my cervix in all twelve hours. Breathe…
My mind is racing and I’m already anxious. The doubt and defeat starts to creep in because I know what’s about to come…the long induction I dreaded. But it’s only day two, so I’m trying to stay positive as we try another approach.
Cytotech: This is a pill that’s taken every hour for 12 hours, or until labor kicks in. I was only able to take 2 of the 12 pills; one at 10am and one at 12pm because contractions started picking up and the baby didn’t respond well to this at all.
*Side note: From the beginning of induction my body was contracting. They weren’t intense enough to make changes, obviously, but throughout the last twelve hours, we did have moments where his heart rate would drop after each contraction and nurses would rush in and ask me to change positions and then it was go back to normal.*
With these pills, the contractions picked up and his heart rate was dropping after each hard contraction to an variation the nurses weren’t comfortable with. So, we decided to stop the pills and see if my body would keep on contracting without them. Here’s what happened..
12:00 – 5:00pm: I had hard and intense contractions. So much so, my Doula came and I thought it was happening, I was in labor! After those 5 hours, contractions started to fizzle and the nurses checked me again. More bad news came when they said “there has been NO CHANGE made.”
They told me I was “a little softer, but that’s all.” The tears began to flow at this point.
What we decided to do was to keep me contracting and let my body do it’s thing, for me to eat a good dinner, get some rest and do another 12 hour round of Cervadil overnight.
MONDAY, MARCH 9th:
12:00am: The Cervadil was placed back in at 12:00am along with another shot of morphine to help me through the discomfort this brings, a Visteril pill for sleep and off to bed I went with high hopes that the morning would bring some much deserved good news and that it would finally be the day I met this little baby.
12:00am -10am: This time, the Cervadil came out on its own, so the nurse checked me around 10am. She did deliver a glimmer of good news in that I was dilated [a little more]… to a whopping, drum roll please…2.5cm! A whole 1/2 a cm overnight – go. me. She also told me that I was a lot softer, but don’t worry, it still wasn’t enough not enough to start pitocin.
The defeat was almost unbearable and we needed another plan. I wasn’t about to do another attempt at the Cytotech Pills, or 3rd 12 hour round of Cervadil. My doctor came in to talk to me and help me come up with a plan of what to do. It wasn’t safe to break my water with such little dilation, so she brought up a more “natural” option called the Cook Catheter. This sounded promising to me because it was a method we hadn’t tried yet and it wasn’t another drug. We needed to get me dilated and get me kicked into motherf*&#ing labor already. Placing the catheter was a full blown procedure that my doctor needed to perform.
A Cook Catheter is essentially two balloons placed inside of me and filled with saline – 80 ccs in each balloon to be exact (or however much the mother can handle). This old stubborn cervix of mine was able to get all 80 ccs in each balloon, but I regretted it because WOAH!
Here’s how it goes: One balloon is placed inside my cervix and the other outside of my cervix in my vagina (Are you jealous yet? If not, I’m sure you have now…). The idea is that the weight of the balloons work with each other and with gravity to pull on my cervix and dilate me as I am up walking around. Once you dilate to a 4, the balloons fall out on their own and we then know progress is made and pitocin can get rolling.
Let me try to explain this without a lot of detail… this procedure was incredibly painful. I have always joked that I have the most stubborn cervix in St. Paul and “she” sure lived up to that title today as my doctor tried three different painful AF ways to place these balloons inside of me. Each attempt was more painful than the last. I was already extremely sore from all of the methods we had tried over the last two days and all the cervical checks that had been done that this absolutely put me over the edge mentally.
I’ll never forget laying there with my legs in the stirrups, bright lights shining on me, dry cotton swabs and metal forceps inside of me, all while having painful contractions. The tears would not stop. I felt so alone, so mad at my body, so defeated, so angry, I had lost sight of why I was doing all of this, the excitement to meet my baby was gone and it was right then and there I told myself “I cannot and will not ever do this again. I’m done.”
Nearly 20 minutes later, she finally got the balloons in place and the nurse began to inject the saline into them. 20 ccs at a time until we reached 80, or I said to stop due to pain. She was able to fill the first balloon to 80 ccs and then the second. I did it.
My doctor warned me this would be very uncomfortable, but that it had a high success rate, so I was ready to take it on and happy to be trying something different… but holy shit! The pain was severe almost immediately.
12pm – 5pm: With the Cook Catheter in place – Ouch – my contractions picked up immediately as George and I walked the halls. The pressure of the balloons inside coupled with contractions was almost unbearable and was unlike any contractions I’d had before. We called my Doula to head back in around 2:00 or so because I was having a really hard time getting through the contractions and they were coming in every 3 – 5 minutes, very strong.
Of course, she helped so much between her massages, the soothing bath tub, bouncing on the ball, and walking. But as the contractions got more intense, the baby wasn’t tolerating it well and his heart rate was dropping again, so I was asked to get into bed and lay on my left side so he could tolerate the contractions. With this news, I knew I needed an epidural and quick. My body and mind was done. Because these balloons hadn’t fallen out, I was getting more defeated knowing progress wasn’t made and emotionally and physically exhausted after three days of work.
5:30pm: Hallelujah, my epidural is ordered! But relief had to wait just a little longer because, of course, my vein had to burst right as they were getting me fluids prior to the epidural being placed. So, we needed to deal with that and replace my IV in a different arm. That happened and then I had the best experience this time around with my epidural. When the anesthesioligst came around the corner into my room, I was at ease seeing a beautiful, pregnant, female, anesthesiologists there to place my epidural in. I can’t tell you how comforting it was having a woman, who knows what I’m going through, be there for me during a scary and painful time. I needed her.
Once the epidural was placed, I was able to rest the rest of the evening. In and out of watching the Bachelor, chatting with George and my Doula and sleep.
TUESDAY, MARCH 10th
1:00am: So, shocker, but those damn balloons never did fall out. This confirmed to me what I feared, I wasn’t dilating. The nurse came in deflated the balloons and took them out to check me. I changed from 2.5cm to 3.5cm and was “a little softer.” Of course, it was extremely hard to hear I was still not a 4. What was decided next by my doctor was to start the Pitocin and to hopefully ramp things up and get this show on the road as I rested overnight.
6:00am: Dilation check. Are you still here with me, three days later? Oh good, you made it to the exciting part… I’M A 4!!!…and super soft – finally! It’s happening and it’s all about to happen FAST.
6:30am: I felt a Pop! The nurse checked me and there wasn’t water but bloody show, great progress!
7:30am: I felt my water break – yes! The plan is to check me at 9 to see how dilation is going. But at the rate I was going and what I was feeling, I didn’t know if I’d make it that long.
8:00 – 8:30am: My body begins shaking uncontrollably and I know what this means. It does this during transition / end of labor (it did with the other two boys, too) and the pressure is building and I’m feeling the urge and need to push. I tell my doula and nurse that things are changing and fast.
8:30-8:50am: The baby is not responding to contractions very well at this point. The nurse said we need go in and monitor the baby on their skull to watch them closely. She went to go check me and put monitors on their skull and said, “Oh, wow! You’re just about complete! The baby is right here. We need to call the doctor!”
As they were waiting for the doctor to walk in (thank God she was just walking into the hospital to be with me at this exact moment), the nurses started to panic a little and quickly turned me to my side, whipped an oxygen mask on and told me to breathe slowly and deeply for my baby. I was so scared and so confused. It seemed like something was wrong and I just wanted my doctor there with me …and just then she walked in.
9:00am: She checked me and said, “The baby is here and you’re complete! Let’s get this baby out.”
The tears began to flow, I was able to get myself back in the moment and realizing what was about to happen, we were going to meet our baby. George and I hugged and cried, I told him to go get my mom from the waiting room. This is it. We are finally here. It felt surreal.
As surreal as it felt, this delivery part felt really different than the other boys. There was just a sense of panic in the room, a quiet fear from everyone. That, coupled with me feeling very disconnected from my body for some reason. I don’t know if it was the oxygen mask, that the epidural was too intense, or just my pure exhaustion, but each time I pushed I didn’t feel like I was making any progress yet they were telling me I was doing great. It was a bizarre feeling, but I continued to push like hell for two contractions.
After about one, maybe two, contractions and rounds of pushing my doctor called a pediatric specialty team to be ready and waiting for the baby post delivery because his heart rate was very low and something was wrong.
She told me she’s sorry, but she was going to cut me, so we could get the baby out faster – we think we have a cord issue. My doctor has been my doctor for 12 years, she has delivered all of my babies, she’s their pediatrician and I adore her. I have never seen her look the way she did in this moment. Fear. It was a look I’ll never forget. She is so amazing that even with that look in her eye, she simultaneously, gives me this look of confidence that says, “I got you and I know you can do this.”
She looked at me and said “Molly, I’m going to need you to get your baby out in the next contraction, do you understand what I’m saying…”
As scared as I was, I knew exactly what she was saying. My baby is in danger and delivery needs to happen now. While we waited for the next contraction, the nurses kept asking me to slow my breathing, give my baby the oxygen, and to stay calm, but I was so scared. I kept asking if everything was OK as I waited for that final contraction (this was maybe the third or fourth contraction of my entire pushing experience). I kept looking at my doctor, my Doula, George and my mom (who I let in the room for the first time to allow her to witness a delivery of her Grandchild!) who all had eyes glued on the monitors with such fear all while trying to comfort and reassure me everything was OK. *I later learned that Frankie’s heart rate dropped down to 60 beats per minute prior to delivery! And the cord was wrapped around his neck twice. She told me we were at the risk of him having Cerebral Palsy if I didn’t get him out when I did due to loss of oxygen.
Needless to say, I pushed like never before. I was going to get my baby out of harms way and into my arms. And I did.
The baby was delivered and placed on my stomach, the best feeling in the entire world. The baby was so gray and purple and not crying. I kept asking is it OK, is it OK? and then, seconds later asking, “What is it?!”
George quickly looked at me with tears in his eyes and just smiled and nodded…I said “It’s a boy!?” And he said, “Yes! It’s another boy babe!” and then they quickly took the baby away and I realized he still was not crying. I was terrified.
What felt like an hour, but was probably only a few seconds later, he finally let out his perfect little cry and I finally was able to, too. My tears of complete relief, happiness and joy poured out.
He’s here, he’s safe, he’s healthy…I did it. 62 hours later – we made it.
This precious baby was our third beautiful son, my biggest boy weighing in at a scrumptious 8 pounds 10oz and he instantly made my heart and our family complete, it was the absolute best feeling in the world. I just knew from the moment he was back in my arms that he had just made our family complete. I was so thrilled to have another boy to add to this family.
Welcome to the world my darling Frankie John O’Neil Doyle, welcome.
The boys meeting their baby brother for the first time was truly the most magical moment of my life. They were so smitten by him and I of my family full of boys.
The next update will be….BABY!