The adage goes that one should sleep when his/her baby sleeps. After the ordeal that K and I went through to welcome our little guy into the world, I should definitely be following that advice. I can’t help myself, though. My schedule is completely topsy-turvy from all of the excitement.
K started magnesium sulfate, a smooth muscle relaxer to combat his surprise pre-eclampsia diagnosis, on Saturday evening. Fun side effects of this drug include major nausea, vomiting and hot flashes, and since it is such a major muscle relaxer, the protocol includes being confined to a hospital bed that’s been fully equipped with seizure pads, insertion of a Foley catheter, and the inability to eat anything beyond clear liquids. Needless to say, these factors meant that we were automatically in for a complete diversion from our preferred birth plans.
That same evening, they started K on three rounds of a cervical ripening medicine and began pitocin the next morning to stimulate contractions. The nursing staff closely monitored all of K’s vitals and he was hooked up to not short of NINE cords while nurses slowly increased pitocin throughout the day on Sunday.
K was a total champ, naturally managing pain through horrendous, chemically induced contractions, despite being almost completely stripped of the entirety of natural labor coping techniques. Our doula was shocked, stating that she had never worked with a birth parent using pitocin who didn’t also have to use pain meds.
Unfortunately, after all of this effort and a complete lack of sleep for days, K’s cervix wouldn’t budge beyond 4 cm and 80% effaced. Docs tried rupturing his amniotic sac but baby was far too high to safely accomplish this.
In the wee hours of Monday morning, the doc on call decided to turn K’s pitocin all the way down to the minimum dose overnight to try to further ripen his cervix, with the goal of increasing pitocin again later that morning. Our OB started her rotation after a few hours of K being back on the increased dosages of pitocin. She did a cervical check and discovered that there still hadn’t been any cervical progression. She explained that our options were becoming pretty limited and that she believed the magnesium, which was relaxing K to keep his blood pressure from skyrocketing, was working hard against the pitocin, which was trying to get his uterus to contract and progress labor. She gave us the option between continuing on pitocin for the day or delivering the baby via cesarean section.
Obviously a csection was never something we’d hoped for, but after battling uphill for so many days in succession, it felt like an empowering relief to make the decision to go that route. Within a matter of minutes, a flurry of medical professionals were in and out of our room, prepping us. I barely had enough time to call K’s mom to calmly explain what was going on and what we could all expect, before they whisked us back to the operating room.
I sat by K’s head, holding his hand, stroking his arm, and telling him how proud I was of all of his hard work, while a gigantic team of professionals presided over the birth of our son. I was given the option of watching while our doctor pulled our baby from K’s uterus. When he emerged, he sent a mighty stream of urine in an arc above the surgical team. It was quite the momentous debut.
Pediatricians and nurses quickly assessed our little guy’s health (he’s perfect, btw) while the surgical team continued working to deliver the placenta and then close up K’s incisions. They handed me our warm, cooing baby, whom I held by K’s head. We all stared at one another in complete awe.
I went with the little guy to recovery while we awaited the completion of K’s surgery, and he joined us there several minutes later. We were in recovery for two hours before being wheeled back to our labor & delivery room, where K will stay hooked up to the magnesium and related paraphernalia for the next 24 hours.
It has been an ordeal but it makes sense that our little guy fought his way into this world. He’s our kid, after all, and his parents are fighters. I present to you, dear readers, Baby E, born 4/8/2013 at 12:42 p.m., 8 lbs, 2 oz and 18.5″ long:
I’m also happy to report that K is now slumbering peacefully for the first time in days. I know he’s dreaming about our little guy and finally being able to eat real food again tomorrow night.