Birth Story: Part 2

5:38:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 2 Comments

Read Part 1 of Logan's birth story for the reason for induction, the first 8+ hours of labor, and the reason I opted for an epidural rather than the unmedicated birth I hoped for.

Thursday, February 2, 2012. A day I will never forget. A day that marks the most traumatic, emotional day of my life. A day that brought my precious son into the world, and for that I am grateful.

Following the administration of the epidural, my labor became much more peaceful but also much less exciting. Progress was initially slow, and I found myself becoming more and more disappointed in my own body's inability to do what it was intended to do. I had struggled to become pregnant, I was unable to begin labor naturally, and now my body was continuing to fail me despite increased doses of Pitocin. Nick remained by my side, encouraging me to remain positive and remember that we were doing what was best for our son.

By mid-afternoon, my cervix finally began dilating. At 3:30 pm and 6cm, I requested to have the anesthesiologist turn off my epidural so that I could feel the final stage of labor. At 3:45pm I was 8cm. Things were finally working, and I was becoming hopeful and excited for what was to come. My inlaws arrived from NC, and by 5pm I was 9cm and almost ready to push. My epidural was finally beginning to wear off, and I had much of the feeling back in my legs and could feel more and more pressure. My nurse felt confident I would push for only 20-30 minutes, and I couldn't believe I was finally going to meet my baby boy. I invited the inlaws to stay in the room, and by 5:30pm the excitement began.

It wasn't long before the nurse told me the last thing I wanted to hear: Logan was face-up. My doctor had mentioned it that morning, but was sure that he would naturally turn as he passed further through the birth canal. My nurse reassured me that it was still possible for this to happen as I pushed, it might just mean that I ended up pushing longer than expected. She couldn't have been more right.

At 6pm my doctor returned to the room, and apologized that she would be leaving shortly and most likely not able to be present for the actual delivery of Logan. I was not at all upset, and told her to go home and enjoy an evening with her family. She's a wonderful doctor and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to follow me throughout my pregnancy, but I honestly did not care what doctor was there to catch my baby at the last minute. I had a fantastic nurse and a supportive husband and inlaws at my side.

I continued to push. I pushed with every muscle in my body. I focused on my son, and with every pain and effort I knew I was one step closer to seeing his beautiful face. I felt a surge of energy and power, and used every bit of it as my nurse and family cheered me on. So I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. And nothing happened.

Despite every effort of myself and the nurse, Logan was not turning. He was descended as far into the birth canal as he could naturally go due to his positioning.

Every detail from this point on is a little cloudy. I can feel the tears forming as I remember these moments, and the frustration and overwhelming fear that grew from what should have been a joyous occasion. Instead, it was a nightmare.

I pushed for a total of 2.5 hours. At one point the on-call physician introduced herself and almost immediately insisted I have a cesarean section. I refused and informed her that I was determined to have my baby vaginally. He had shown no signs of distress throughout the Pitocin administration and pushing, so I felt it was safe. She allowed me to push a little longer. We tried various positions, but Logan wouldn't budge.

My nurse suggested using a vacuum to assist in delivery, and after much hesitation and discussion I agreed. I didn't like the idea, but I still felt it was safer that surgery. I never imagined I could experience so much pain. I had previously had both the nurse and doctor try to manually turn Logan with 2 hands completely inside of me, and still that didn't compare to the pain I felt with the vacuum. I vomited, I cried, and I pushed with everything inside of me. After two unsuccessful attempts and a fever of 102 the doctor left me little choice- I was going to deliver via emergency cesarean.

Before I knew it my room was full of people preparing for the emergency surgery. As I signed the consent with tears rolling down my cheeks, barely able to breathe I was so distraught, my doctor informed me that due to Logan being so low for so long, my uterus would likely tear during surgery. She also made sure I understood that due to the significant swelling of my bladder due to prolonged pushing, it was also at high risk of rupture during surgery. I couldn't form words or even coherent thoughts, so I simply nodded my head and waited for the inevitable.

I was rushed to surgery and everything happened so quickly. I continued to vomit on the OR table, and could barely hold still I was sobbing so uncontrollably. With my fever, the high risk of complications, and all of the other disappointments of the day, I had no idea what to expect. I just wanted it to all be over. The NICU nurses were on hand to assist with Logan, and I used the last bit of energy I had to pray that he would be okay.

Miraculously, at 8:38pm, Logan was delivered and immediately let out the most beautiful cry I had ever heard. There was no sweeter sound. A full assessment showed that despite passing meconium and a 20+ hr labor, he was perfect. He was healthy enough to be taken to the well-baby nursery in his father's arms, and for the first time all day I felt relief and peace. My baby was here and going to be okay.

I didn't meet my son until 12:30am, but it was the most magical moment of my life. The moment I laid eyes on him my tears finally dried. He was worth so much more than every pain and disappointment I had experienced over the last 24 hours. My nightmare ended and our new journey together began. His dark blue eyes took away my sadness and opened my heart to the joy of motherhood. I had never been more proud. I stayed awake all night (and the next 3 days), staring longingly into the face of the most beautiful, precious soul I had ever met. Every cliche about becoming a mother immediately became true. My life was complete.

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