As you have figured out by now, I had my baby! At 3:45 a.m. on Sunday morning my water broke. The first thought that ran through my head was, “Oh my gosh. This baby is two weeks early!” Anika Elizabeth decided to make her debut at 37+6 weeks and mess up all of my perfectly crafted plans for rotations. So, instead of spending this week rotating in Family Medicine, I have spent the past five days getting a first hand lesson in Obstetrics and Pediatrics!
Labor did not go smoothly for me. In fact, it was kind of a nightmare. As soon as my water broke, I knew things weren’t going to go the way I had planned. The water only breaks first in a minority of pregnancies, and most doctors want to deliver a baby within 24 hours to prevent infection. That, combined with the fact that I tested positive for Group B Strep, meant I needed to have IV antibiotics during labor.
I started having contractions after my water broke. They weren’t too intense and were only coming about every 5 minutes. We went to the hospital at 11 AM, and I was only dilated 1 cm. So, my doctor decided it was best to give me Cytotec, which is a drug to help ripen the cervix and promote contractions. First they started me on an IV and allowed Nick and I to walk around the halls a little bit. Then they told me it was okay to have lunch, which I did. Then they gave me my Cytotec.
Several hours later I was in a lot of pain. The contractions were getting very strong, and it was hard to stand them since I was stuck in bed, hooked up to an IV, and strapped to a fetal monitor. Originally, I had planned to try a natural labor. I didn’t want to get an epidural, and we picked out a hospital that had lots of tubs and birthing balls, which are natural methods of pain relief. However, I wasn’t allowed to do anything since I was stuck in bed. At this point I began to get sick. I really regretted eating that lunch. I was then given some nausea medication, and the nurse checked me and found that I was 3 cm dilated.
Against my previous wishes, I decided to get an epidural. I wanted a more natural labor, but not being allowed to get up and walk around or do anything to help with the pain was just not going to work. So I got my epidural and took a nap. When I woke up, I was told that my contractions had stopped, so I was being given Pitocin. After thirty minutes, the fetal heart monitor indicated the baby was in distress. They kept trying to turn me and get the baby to respond, but nothing worked. I was stuck at 5 cm, and I couldn’t get more Pitocin since the baby wasn’t doing well.
At about 7 pm the doctor gave me the C-section talk. I tried really hard not to burst into tears. She was speaking to me in hypotheticals, but I knew I wasn’t going to have a choice. I had a lot of things envisioned for my “birth plan,” but the only thing I really didn’t want to have was a C-section. About a half hour later they started to get me ready and took me to OR.
They wheeled me into the room while Nick waited outside. I was so scared, and I was shaking a lot from the medicine. The doctors and nurses were all chatting and having fun, listening to “Single Ladies” on the radio. I started to get sick several times, until the nice Anesthesiologist pumped me full of anti-nausea drugs.
The C-section didn’t take too long. I was so scared to have surgery done on me while I was shaking so much. They had a hard time getting the baby out, so they had to use a vacuum. Once she was out, I was relieved. The reason she had been in distress was that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her little nick. I was left shaking on the table until they brought me the baby and laid her on me. She immediately stopped crying and cuddled up against me. I was so scared I would drop her because I was shaking so much. I hadn’t even seen her face yet, but I could feel her warmth against me, and I knew she was beautiful.
The rest of the time in the hospital was also pretty rough. I liked a few of my nurses, but I also felt like they weren’t very helpful. The baby kept me up for the first few nights. The second night especially she just never slept, and breastfeeding was a challenge. We were happy we got to come home early.
We came home on Wednesday with our little girl, and both her and I are doing well. Even though labor was a trial, being a mama suits me. We had a rough start, but Anika is such a blessing. Last night she slept all night, only waking to eat and go back to bed. She is so tiny, only a little over five pounds, so none of her clothes fit her.
I thought it would feel strange to suddenly have a baby to take care of, but it feels like the most natural thing in the world. There are a lot of challenges, especially since I am still recovering from surgery. It is really hard for me not to “go, go, go” all the time. We were kind of caught off guard when she came so early, that we aren’t even finished unpacking. Her nursery will be finished soon. The good news is, she doesn’t care. She just sleeps and eats and looks cute.
I feel so blessed to have a healthy baby, even if labor was a challenge. I am taking six weeks off instead of four since she came early and I had to have a C-section, but honestly I am excited to have two extra weeks to spend with Anika. It feels weird that all of my friends are starting their rotations. I feel a little left out and behind, but that is okay. I am really just trying to enjoy every single second of being a new mama.
Thanks so much for all of your kind words and support during my pregnancy and over the past week! Even though I’m not doing rotations, I am learning a lot from the patient side of things, and I look forward to blogging about that in the future!