Ford’s Birth Story (Part 2)

(Read Part 1 here)

… and the story continues!

At this point, my contractions were absolutely horrible. I was making it, but they hurt. I remember at one point before this realizing how I felt when I was in labor with Knox when I had asked for that epidural. The sensation triggered that memory, but I kept going, not asking for anything, instead refocusing and repositioning. I was fine, and I was going to do this!

About 1:20 the delivering doctor came back in to check me. Trevor was convinced I’d be at a 7 or higher, and I told him there was no way, I was probably at a 5. After the most painful cervical check ever, she said I was at 4. FOUR. I was so disappointed, I was in pain and I felt very helpless. At this point, she increased my Pitocin again, which was now at 16. This was the beginning of the end. My regular doctor told me the next day that the delivering doctor was certain I hated her by this point, which of course wasn’t true, I actually really like her a lot, but I was pretty distraught at this stage of the game!

It was the absolute worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Nothing even compares. The intensity was so great that there was nothing I could do to get away from it. All of my positions, breathing, relaxation, etc. were failing miserably up against these Pitocin contractions. And now they were a minute apart. There was no break, and I felt like my entire abdomen would burst open at any moment. I cried. Trevor walked in at this moment, he had left the room when the doctor arrived to scarf down a sandwich that my family brought for him and was gone maybe five minutes. He said he had just been talking to my family, who were asking about my decision for no epidural. He told them “she’s doing great, I think she’s going to do it.” Then he walks into the disaster that was level 16 of Pitocin. The only thing I could do during the contractions was take a cool washcloth and nearly scrub the skin off of my face with it. I needed to feel some sensation other than the one that was certainly about to kill me. I just said over and over again “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” and prayed out loud for God to please help me. I figured this was where I’d die, in this bed, when my body exploded.

Finally, I pushed the button. The nurse responded over the speaker, and I said “I need an epidural right now.” Trevor said with relief in his voice, “if you hadn’t pushed it, I would have.” He said he either needed the anesthesiologist or some back up! So then, my dear, chipper nurse comes in and tells me I need another full bag of fluid before the epidural can be started. It would take 30 minutes. I literally do not know how I lived for those 30 minutes. Trevor later told me he was furious at that sweet nurse every time she’d come in and give an update on how much longer I had “just 15 minutes longer!” She might as well have told me I’d never have any relief, that’s how long 15 minutes felt in that moment. I did tell her emphatically at one point “please turn off that Pitocin, right now, until I get my epidural” and she did. Of course, at that point, it wasn’t going to be out of my system that fast, so it didn’t do any good, just like she told me it wouldn’t.

At 2 p.m. the hero of the day, the anesthesiologist, arrived. God bless that precious man. I continued to have the same intensely awful contractions while he did the procedure. I barely felt the initial numbing injection- it didn’t even remotely compare to the pain of the contractions I was having, it may as well have been someone poking me with their finger in the back. My sweet nurse stood there while I cried and hugged her for dear life. The intensity started to subside before I was even taped up. By the time Trevor came back in, I was a different person.

Within 40 minutes, I was at 7 cm. My body needed to relax so badly, I swear that’s why it happened so fast. Pitocin contractions do not feel natural, and they do not allow for a natural flow of labor, at least not for me. I really believe that I could have continued on without an epidural if I hadn’t had Pitocin, but I don’t regret the decision to get the epidural. The situation called for it, and my delivery was a great one. My delivering doctor came in afterwards and told me that I did an absolutely amazing job lasting so long on the Pitocin without the epidural, and that it was incredibly hard to do. By 3:15, I was feeling some downward pressure and was at 8 cm. I also developed a hot spot in my right lower back area where I was feeling everything. I was just dealing with it because it was so minor compared to how I felt before, but then I thought, I have the epidural in, it may as well work for me! They had me push the button to increase it and that spot went away. Of course, it was replaced by another one over my right ovary, so I had to do one last bolus to take care of that one. By that point, it was 4:30 and I was at 9.

The doctor came back in at 4:50 and I was complete and ready to push. I did some practice pushing with the nurse first, and his head was immediately visible- they told me he had lots of dark hair. Pushing took longer with Ford than with either of my other kids (Knox took 28 minutes and Brody took 8)- I attribute this to the fact that I did those two extra bolus (boli?) of the epidural meds, and my left leg was totally dead- I could still move my right one around.

At 5:26 p.m., Bradford Aubart entered the world and was placed on my chest. We waited a few minutes for the cord to stop pulsating before it was clamped and cut by Trevor. I just cried my eyes out as I looked at him for the first time.

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The nurses were trying to get him to pink up, because he was pretty purple and his arms didn’t have much tone at first. They took him from me and headed to the warmer and within a minute he was yelping and flailing around. I thought he looked just like Knox here!

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He weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces, our lightest baby, and was 20.25 inches long. I felt like they’d never bring him back over, it felt like an eternity! Since Knox had to go to the NICU, Trevor and I were both hyper aware of how long it was taking- thankfully, Ford looked just fine. His first Apgar was 6, then 9. I got my hands back on him and started nursing right away. He was fairly lazy with it, so we didn’t accomplish much.

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Trevor held him for the first time, and was immediately head over heels.

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After about 45 minutes, we started getting impatient text messages from my family who had been in the waiting room since 7, so we brought them back to see him. While my brother and sister were holding Ford, the nurse suggested I get up to go to the bathroom. Two nurses helped me up, and I made my way to the bathroom. The second I sat down, I started to feel sick. I told them I needed to lay back down right away. They asked if I felt faint, I said yes, and said I needed some juice or soda immediately. Trevor went out to find some juice, and the next thing I knew, all of these women were fluttering around me asking if I was okay. Someone shoved ammonia under my nose, and I jerked back in repulsion. Trevor arrived with my apple juice, and the nurse took it away after one sip telling me not to drink too much. I gave Trevor a look that said “I need that back ASAP,” and he retrieved it for me like the awesome husband he is. I needed that sugar badly! Nothing like passing out on the toilet to shake things up a bit!

After I was coherent again, I held Ford for a little longer, then he went to the nursery with Trevor following behind. I got checked into our postpartum room while Ford got cleaned up and warm (he spent a good hour under the warmer before and after his bath).

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We spent two uneventful nights, thank you God, in the hospital with Ford rooming-in with us before being discharged on Wednesday. We are feeling incredibly blessed to be the parents of three precious boys. God is good, and life is beautiful.

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Ford’s Birth Story (Part 1)

I was up at 3:45 a.m. on Monday, January 25. We were supposed to arrive to the hospital by 5 a.m. for my induction. The night before, I was nervous, of course, and didn’t lay down until around 11. I knew my brain was going to be going crazy, so I put my headphones on and listened to my hypnobirthing relaxation track… works like a charm every time! When I woke up, I got dressed and hit the kitchen, ready for a BIG breakfast. I hate the “no eating in labor” rule, being someone who will straight up pass out if I go too long without food (ß foreshadowing). So I made a giant pan of some loaded hash browns with chicken sausage, eggs and cheese and made myself eat every single bite.

I made the bed and did a last minute countertop wipe-down (because my house was spotless thanks to days of cleaning beforehand) before we loaded up the car and headed to the hospital. Here’s the last belly pic at 37 weeks and 2 days, taken before we left for the hospital:

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I called on the way, as instructed, to make sure that they were ready for us. They were. We arrived just a few minutes late and headed up to labor and delivery. When we got there, they showed us to room 22. It was big and seemed backwards to me, I was facing the opposite way in the rooms I had with Knox and Brody. I changed into the traditional backless hospital gown and sat on the bed, talking to the nurse as she started my IV.

I knew the course of action was going to be Pitocin and breaking my water, but I hadn’t actually had a chance to talk to the doctor that would be delivering me, due to the craziness of the appointment the week before. I told the nurse that I really wanted to try breaking my water first, before Pitocin, because I had a history of moving quickly once that happened (Brody was born three hours after my water was broken). She said she would talk to Dr. J about that before we started anything. I also reiterated my desire to go without an epidural, hence me not wanting much Pitocin, if possible.

I have no clue why t hey ask you to get to the hospital at 5 when there’s a shift change at 7 and the doctor doesn’t arrive until 7:15. Seems counterintuitive to me, but what do I know, I’m just the one who sat in bed for two hours waiting while watching HGTV. Trevor made use of his time by napping… I’m so jealous of the ability to sleep anywhere!

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Finally the doctor arrived, and said she was fine to try breaking my water first and give that a little while before starting Pitocin. Only, when she checked my cervix, I was still at 2 cm and Ford’s head was really high. She said she felt like we needed to do a low dose of Pitocin to bring his head down before she was comfortable with breaking my water. Awesome.

They started me on Pitocin at 7:30 a.m. at the lowest dose of “2” on the monitor. I was having contractions sporadically, already, but nothing super strong. They increased the dosage by 2 at 7:45. This started contractions coming every five to six minutes. They were not painful, just tight like Braxton Hicks. See? I’m totally good (there will be no selfies towards the end of this story, FYI).

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They increased my Pitocin again at 8:20. See how this is working? The nurse would come in, do something, then just casually up my dosage without even saying anything. I was pretty upset the week before about the induction- I just wanted Ford to be able to come when he was ready, and I kept thinking that morning “he isn’t ready yet, and that’s why they keep having to increase this dosage.”

My mom arrived at this point and chatted with Trevor and I for about 20 minutes until the doctor came back in to check me. I was now at 3 cm and Ford’s head had dropped some, so she broke my water. It took a couple tries, and she didn’t think she even got it the last time, but Ford shifted and everything let loose. Then my sister arrived, and she and my mom stayed with us until about 9:30 when I asked them to go back to the waiting room because my contractions were picking up.

I asked to get out of the bed, and the nurse brought me a birthing ball. I labored on that for about an hour. The contractions were much stronger but still very manageable. The doctor came back in and I was still at 3 cm. My contractions looked good on the screen, but she was wondering how strong they were and wanted to insert an Intra-Uterine Pressure Catheter (IUPC) to see. I was very wary of this until I actually saw it and she explained the process. It’s just a flexible little tube that they insert into the uterus, it sits next to the baby and doesn’t bother them at all, but it’s squeezed with each contraction so that the doctor can actually tell how strong they are and know if you need 1) more time or 2) more Pitocin. This was her way of trying to keep Pitocin levels as low as she could, so I was for it. Insertion was nothing to speak of, but we could then see the intensity of the contractions more accurately.

About 12:15 I got up to reposition and my nurse pointed out that I had bloody show, so that likely meant things were picking up. I started to have a lot more pressure and intense contractions at this point and needed Trevor to provide counter pressure to my lower back. I was closing my eyes, staying loose and relaxed during contractions, and he would massage my back until they passed. Shortly after, the nurses (I now had two) suggested I try the “peanut” which looks like a peanut shaped yoga ball to try to open my pelvis and let the baby drop. I absolutely hated it. I laid on my side and they put this giant ball between my knees- it was the most awkward sensation and I felt like I couldn’t relax through contractions in that strange position. I’m pretty sure I threw it at some point.

Things started to pick up here, and I’ll continue the birth story in a couple days with the rest!

The day before

My induction is scheduled for 5 a.m. tomorrow. I’ve decided that inductions are no good for me. If I have too long to think about something, it turns me crazy. I’m significantly calmer than I was last week when I found out the details of the day, however, thanks to lots of prayer and reflection. I’m still praying to go into labor on my own today, and yesterday I was *this close* to calling the hospital when I was having contractions five minutes apart, lasting a minute each, for a good four hours. Of course, I took a shower, deciding to call right after, and they drifted to more like every ten minutes. They’re like strong Braxton Hicks, not painful, but I know from personal experience that they can still change my cervix (hello 5 cm dilated with Brody at 37 weeks from only “Braxton Hicks”… if that’s even what they are).

I’m 37 weeks pregnant today, so I am happy to know that as long as Ford looks nice and healthy when he’s born, he won’t be snatched away and taken to the NICU for the mandatory six hour monitoring session our hospital requires. I’m so looking forward to seeing his sweet face. I have looked at his 4D ultrasound pictures one billion times this week, anticipating what he will look like.

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Knox and Brody will be spending the night tonight and for the next couple of nights with Trevor’s parents. Knox is curled up next to me as I type, and Brody spent a while in the same spot as I watched the live stream of our church service this morning (was feeling a bit too pregnant to make it out of the house on time today). I’m soaking up the last day as a mom of two boys, trying to give them each lots of snuggles and love before they’re away from us from a few days. Sweet Brody has no clue he’s about to be “dethroned” as the baby of the family, and it breaks my heart a little for him knowing how hard it will be for him to see me spending so much time with Ford. But I know that he will be just fine after a transitional period, and he’ll be very happy to have a new little brother.

We got the car seats all installed this week- we had to get new seats for Knox and Brody, in addition to Ford, to make three seats fit in the backseat of my Ford Edge. So new Radian RXT seats for the big boys had to go side-by-side… they’ve always had a seat between them, so this should be interesting. For the moment, they think it’s hilarious, but I am sure that will last oh, five seconds.

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Yesterday, I was in a cleaning frenzy and scrubbed every inch of the house. I was vacuuming our bedroom, and Trevor came in, telling me “you know I Just did that yesterday, right?” My response? “You have to just let me. I have no control over this.” If you’ve ever been in nesting mode, you know exactly the feeling!! All of our bags are packed and ready to go. Freezer meals are prepared. Knox’s lunches are pre-made for the upcoming week. I’ve done literally every single thing in advance that I could possibly think of, leaving myself with nothing to do today but re-tidy up the house and anticipate tomorrow heavily. Trevor is on-shift today, but is working a half shift, per my insistence, and will be home at 7 p.m. tonight. Good thing because I know myself and that’s right about when my nerves are going to take over! Hopefully I’ll get some good sleep, seeing as how it’ll be the last chance for that for a while.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the blessing of a new life.

 

An Upcoming Arrival

I found out last week (at 35 weeks), that I would be induced between 37 and 38 weeks. With my high risk status and the fact that I am on blood thinners, the doctors feel that Ford should be born as soon as he is full-term. Of course, I get that news from the PA and had to wait a whole week to talk to my doctor about it and get some more details. I was really looking forward to my appointment yesterday so that I could talk to my doctor, get more information and ask some questions. First I had an ultrasound, and Ford passed with an 8/8 as he has every time… my little over achiever. And seriously, I cannot wait to kiss those lips!!

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Of course, my appointment ended up being switched to another doctor. Because OF COURSE IT DID. I was quite surprised, so I was a little flustered when Dr. J came in for my appointment. She checked my cervix, which is a weekly thing, and I’ve progressed each week so far. Sure enough, I am now a “loose two centimeters” dilated and still about 60% effaced. So I asked her about this upcoming induction, and she said my doctor and her nurse were on the phone with the hospital right then scheduling it, so they’d call me soon with the day and time. She asked if I had any questions, and I told her I really only had some questions for my own doctor about the delivery day, but I did ask her about how they would induce me. She said by breaking my water and starting me on a very low dose of Pitocin. Blech, is what I say to that. I do not want Pitocin, not even a little because I really want a natural (no epidural) birth, and I know that will make contractions stronger and more painful. I figured I’d argue that point with my own doctor when she called me later. So that was it.

An hour later, I get a phone call from my doctor’s nurse. They’re inducing me Monday morning at 5 a.m. Like, this coming Monday. I’ll be 37 weeks and 1 day pregnant. That already had me stressing- I wanted to be closer to 38 weeks, but they were pretty insistent to do it sooner rather than later. Then, I get this one: my doctor can’t even deliver me. She had two inductions already scheduled for her on-call day of Tuesday, so she wasn’t allowed to have another one. Who’s delivering me? Dr. J, who I literally just saw an hour before and asked ABSOLUTELY NOTHING because I had no idea she’d be delivering me. So by this point, I am about to cry because I am so frustrated. Then, I ask if they can just break my water to induce me, knowing my history of super fast labor after my water breaks, and they said no, I had to have some Pitocin, too, since I won’t be “in labor” technically, which I was with Knox and Brody (and had been for weeks upon weeks with them). The good news here is that I am progressing on my own, so I will not need to come in the night before for Cervidil or any of that fun.

After I had a smidgeon of a mental breakdown about all of my plans bursting into flames, I called Trevor, vented a bit and calmed myself down. I don’t feel in control of this situation, and as a control freak, that makes me anxious and irritated. However, let’s be honest, I am in control of nothing. God is in control, and He’s protected Ford and I thus far, so I am going to have faith that He is who He says He is and that we will be just fine. At the end of the day, would I like a natural birth? Absolutely. Is that the most important thing? Nope. I want two things: a healthy baby and a healthy me. Anything else is icing on the cake. I know that I can say “no” to any intervention that I don’t feel comfortable with, and I will do that if I feel pushed beyond reason. But I get the feeling that my doctor will take it slowly with the Pitocin and the nurse said they can turn it off completely once contractions pick up, which is good.

My main prayer here is for Ford and that he be ready for birth and be able to come home with us two days later. My after-birth experience with Knox and Brody was night and day: 10 days in the NICU versus rooming-in with us and going right home. I’d like to repeat the latter experience, if you please! Knox was born at 36 weeks and Brody at 37.

So my friends, here is where you come in. Please pray for a healthy baby, a healthy mom and as natural of a birth as possible. I’ll update you guys via social media on Monday, so follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram to make sure you don’t miss anything. Love you guys, and thanks so much for the prayers and support!!

Here’s one of the last belly pictures there will be! Right at 36 weeks and 1 day, a week before his birthday. Yes, he is lower, and yes, I can feel the difference. Oh, can I ever feel it.

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