I tried so hard to get some sleep to be well rested for the big day but there was a beeping sound going off all night long in a neighboring condo unit that led to some bizarre hospital dreams and sleepless night. Boo! My eyes opened for the day around 5 am. At 6 am I called over to L&D to see if they still had room for my induction and they said my room was all ready. So my husband and I gathered up our toiletries, got dressed, and stopped by Starbucks for breakfast and coffee (just for him on the coffee though) on our way to the hospital. We forgot to factor in rush hour traffic on a very busy freeway/interstate so it took a little longer to get to the hospital than we had anticipated.
Once we got to L&D I saw my OB already at the station plugging away on a computer. It was such a welcome and calming site to see him there. He wasn’t able to actually deliver either of my girls and it made me hopeful that this would be the time. My wonderful RN, Dorthe (dort-a) showed us to our room and started all of the check-in paperwork and got me ready. We also discovered through conversation that she was also our nurse when I delivered Rose. Unfortunately I was told I have very “valvey” veins and had to have two RN’s attempt to start an IV on me. Third try was the charm but it had to go in the top of my hand (less than ideal spot for labor). Once we were all set Dr. Langley came in to check my cervix and break my water. He had to double check that the bag broke because almost no water came out but it had indeed broken, baby’s head was just so low that it was blocking the fluids. I was 2-3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Everybody was prepared for a speedy process and was on high alert to get the green flag for go time at a moment’s notice.
I stood up right away and labored along quite nicely from 8:30 am to 11 am. Around that time the IM, her sister, and translator arrived to the hospital eager for good news. My husband played liaison for me as I continued to labor with minimal distraction. Contractions creeped towards 2 minutes apart and continued to grow in strength. My wonderful friend arrived around noon to provide some additional support and take some pictures for us. My contractions stayed around 2 minutes apart but grew much stronger. I was so thankful for my wonderful RN and the mobile fetal monitoring system that allowed me to move around the room and get in different positions. At 12:15 pm I had another cervical check and I was 3-4 cm dilated. Not nearly as much improvement as I was expecting but at least things were happening and I knew from previous experience that my dilation could go from a 7 to baby in the blink of an eye.
My lovely friend had to leave around 3pm for other obligations and just after she left I entered into transitional labor. Contractions came on very hard. I pulled out all of the positions I could think of to work through it with the internal comfort knowing this is supposed to be the quickest stage and has been for me in the past. I did side laying with a small ball between my knees, kneeling while hugging a small ball, sitting on the edge of the bed, on the ball, standing with my back against my husband, standing facing my husband while holding his arms, standing… I continued for three and a half hours at this level of intensity when transition in the past for me was less than an hour until baby. I got to the point of exhaustion that parts of my body started to convulse. When Dr. Langley came in to check me around 6 pm and I was still only at 5-6 cm with 95% effacement I knew I needed a break in order to keep going so I asked for my first (ever!) epidural. About 30 minutes later I was plugged into the tap and receiving some rest and relief. I had to have an oxygen mask, internal fetal monitor, intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC), and a urinary catheter. I had tubes taped all over the place.
It was determined that baby was coming at a weird angle and had gotten himself stuck. We had to get him to adjust his approach. I knew that meant I was at risk for an emergency c section and wanted to do what I could to avoid it and keep baby safe at the same time. I alternated between laying on each side over rotated to encourage baby to reposition while still receiving oxygen. It did the trick! I started to feel some serious pressure and when Dr. Langley checked me again at 7:50 pm I was 100% effaced and 9 cm but very soft. Dr. said based on how much thinning was happening during each contraction that he was sure that baby would deliver on the next contraction. Extra nurses were called to prepare and help for delivery. Everything was prepped and we all waited for the next contraction. Dr. Langley coached me through it wonderfully and after one big and one little push, baby’s head was out followed by one more big push to deliver the rest of his body. *No tears!* He was placed right up on my chest. Full head of hair with a hearty deep cry, and a good grip.
8:04 pm – James Hongtao Lu – 8 lb, 18 3/4
One of the awesome things about Dr. Langley is that his shift was over at 7 pm but he stayed and saw me through to the end. I am so thankful that he was there and that things ended the way they did. It could have so easily gone in a different direction.
The mom was so excited to come in the room. They were standing in the hallway when baby James was born so they could hear him crying. As soon as the placenta was passed and my legs were covered she came in and admired her beautiful baby boy on my chest. I beamed while watching her see his face for the first time and the amount of love and admiration that was so plainly written all over her face. This was the special moment I had so many dreams about and it did not disappoint. After some quick initial vitals from baby, the mom was finally able to sit down and hold her precious baby boy. He stared at her face soaking her in and she was smitten. I couldn’t stop smiling! It was such a special moment to witness.
Once some of the initial excitement leveled out a little bit I was able to ask for some Passion Guava juice and a Tuna salad sandwich. I don’t know why but that has become my post birth ritual and it was delicious!!! Especially since at that point it had been over 15 hours since I had eaten.
There are a lot of pictures to be gathered and cleaned up but I will post a little gallery once I have it all together.
One question that a few people have asked now that I have given birth is how did I actually process the situation and respond to having this precious baby on my chest then go to his mom. With the same love and adoration I have for my niece I smiled down on his sweet face and was filled with joy for his parents. There was and is no sense of entitlement or motherly bond because he isn’t my baby. I will forever be grateful for this experience and to be a part of their lives.