Time for another birth story! I may be crazy for re-living all these memories and I may decide that I don't want to go through it again (ha!), but I really want to remember it all because I know I'll always appreciate the memories and details of how my babies made their debuts. So, here we go again...
It all started with my doctor's appointment for Friday morning, September 2nd. What a day that would turn out to be! We scheduled the appointment one day before 38 weeks to have an ultrasound, find out the weight prediction of Mr. Austin, and hopefully reach a final decision on the best way to deliver. Terrell, Garrison, and I all went to the appointment because we didn't want to get a baby-sitter and Garrison had been with us before to see an ultrasound and done fine. So no biggie....or so we thought.
The ultrasound went great and we were really excited to see Austin. Since we already had a planned appointment with my doctor immediately following the ultrasound, the ultrasound tech didn't really tell us anything about the weight or "results". And boy were we in for a shock.
The first thing the doctor told us was that his weight was predicted to be 7 pounds, 7 ounces. (Quick note: we were praying his weight would be around 7 pounds or lower or 8 pounds or over so we would know without a doubt the best way to deliver. God had other plans though since his weight was smack dab in the middle.) Then he asked me if I had been leaking any because my water level was low. I didn't think I had been leaking but started to second guess myself... until he said it didn't matter anyway because he was concerned about the effect it would have on the baby. When your water level is low the cord isn't capable of floating as much which could then in turn cause distress for the baby. Then he said, "We're going to need to go ahead and make a decision because you'll need to be induced or schedule a c-section." Wow, wasn't expecting that! "So when do you need to know our decision? Are we looking at sometime next week or what?" His repsonse, no... you need to go in today or tomorrow morning. Huh?? What? Are you sure? I cannot even describe the emotions I felt when he told us. We sooo weren't ready for that news. Labor Day weekend was supposed to be when we would get all of our last minute stuff done... set up the pack n' play, put in the car seat, pack our bags, buy groceries, etc.
Finally we caught our breath and started asking questions, went over the pros and cons of both deliveries, and tried our best to determine what we should do. He went ahead and checked me after that and determined I was at a 1 and 80% effaced. Then he told us to take a minute and make our final decision so he could contact the hospital. At that point we actually went outside (Garrison was starting to melt and so was I). I started crying as soon as I stepped out of the office because I was so overwhelmed with everything and felt totally unprepared. We went back and forth on the pros and cons of both deliveries and I had a huge knot in my stomach. I had no idea what to do. I called my mom to give her the news and asked her opinion while Terrell tried to keep Garrison under control and made a phone call to his parents who were in Gatlinburg for the long weekend. Everything about that morning was pure craziness.
Finally after putting off the "decision" for as long as I could I just felt slightly more at peace about a natural delivery than a c-section. I knew Austin was smaller than Garrison, I knew the chances of another 4th degree tear were slim, and I knew my recovery time had the potential of being much quicker than a c-section recovery. Even though I was scared of both deliveries, I was a little more scared of the c-section. I think just knowing that it's surgery and Terrell may or may not have been able to handle it and I may or may not respond well to it and recover well scared me. Soo, we opted for being induced on Friday afternoon.
My parents literally rushed to our house to keep Garrison and move in for the weekend while we rushed to hospital. (Then they proceeded to take care of our child, set up the pack n' play and car seat, buy us groceries, do our laundry, and get our bedroom turned into a mini-nursery for us. They were lifesavers!) From there I was admitted around 1:30 or 2:00, can't remember the exact time, and got settled into our room expecting Austin to be born sometime before midnight. Unfortunately I didn't make quick progress so my doctor came in around 4:30 to break my water. He gave me the option of waiting things out and letting it break on it's own, or I could suffer through a minute of pain to speed things up. The experience was painful, but it did only last a minute. Thank goodness. After that, they started me on Pitocin. For the record: Pitocin is not nice. In the words of my nurse, "It makes for a very harsh labor". Great. I started feeling stronger contractions, but they weren't super close together and they weren't "unforgiving" yet, so I did okay at first.
Sometime early that evening, a nurse came in to turn off the Pitocin (or maybe just turn it down a notch, I'm not sure) because there was a dip in Austin's heart rate. She also had me turn over and lay on my right side because his heart rate had dropped while I was on my left side or back. So time for more waiting. Once his heart rate was back up, the Pitocin was turned back on/up and sometime after that they checked me. I was at a 2 and progressing slowly. Ugh.
Hours later it was more of the same. I was progressing slowly and my right side was going numb. My hip was actually starting to ache because I had been in that same position for so long. My mom arrived sometime before 9:00 that night and her and Terrell helped me through the "getting worse" contractions. I was so hot they kept cold washcloths on me and gave me ice chips. A little while later my nurse came back in to turn off (or down) the Pitocin because my blood pressure had dropped. At that point I was starting to regret my decision. A c-section seemed way easier. I even asked if it was still an option. It was, but they gave me pain medicine that knocked me out first. Thankfully I had some relief for a while.
After eventually waking up, I was checked again (after midnight maybe?) and I was at a 5. Praise the Lord! I finally received my epidural and felt much better... until I noticed a hot spot and had to get another dose. They continued to turn the Pitocin down then up then off then on based on Austin's heart rate and my low blood pressure. I'm sure that contributed a lot to the long labor. Meanwhile my mom, Terrell, and Terrell's parents are freezing cold in the hospital and attempting to pull an all-nighter because of my slow progress. It was definitely frustrating and once again I questioned my decision.
Finally around 6:00 am on Saturday morning, my nurse checked me and I was at an 8 and ready to push... but only to see if I could make the head drop, not to push and get him out. Then the shift changed and my new nurse came in and said I was ready to push and it shouldn't take long for me to deliver. That was music to my ears because my hot spot was back and spreading. It started on my lower left side and eventually spread all the way around my body in a narrow ring, including my back. Every time I felt a contraction, Terrell and my mom were fanning me with birth certificate papers and wiping my face and neck with a cold cloth. I was SO hot.
Anyway, time to get back on track. So the nurse informed me that I was ready to push, BUT, I would need to wait on the on-call doctor to arrive first. Oh the joy of having a baby on a holiday weekend. We were told she would arrive in around 20 minutes, but instead it was closer to an hour. If I'd had more energy I would have been really upset and letting some people know about it. I remember watching the clock and knowing it would be over soon. I also remember praying (throughout the labor starting on Friday evening) that I would be able to deal with the pain and that me and Austin would both be kept safe. And, I kept telling myself there was a reason I was having to wait for the doctor and couldn't get things over with just yet.
Finally the doctor arrived and I was able to push during each contraction and hold it for 10 seconds. Then once he started to come out they told me to push, then stop, push, then stop. We wanted a nice, controlled delivery so I wouldn't have the severe tear again. His head was out quickly but I didn't hear him crying so I asked if he was okay. I was way more alert during his delivery than Garrison's. They told me he was okay and then I pushed maybe once or twice more and he was here. =) I only had to push 20 or 30 minutes before he was born and only had a partial 3rd degree tear. Thank you Lord! They placed him on a sheet on top of my stomach and he was pretty yucky, but beautiful. Terrell decided he wasn't up for cutting the cord this time, so they let my mom do it. Shortly after he was also introduced to Terrell's parents.
*A week later I have to say, I did make the right decision about Austin's delivery and I'm so thankful for the speedy recovery I've had this time. It's still been a recovery for sure, but way easier, less painful, and much quicker than last time (or a c-section would have been this time). God blessed us with an easy delivery, healthy baby, and great nurses to help me start the healing/recovery process... even if the labor was the hardest thing I've ever gone through.
Another gift from God...
Austin Carson Selph with his "Little Brother" outfit on and his flowers from his big brother, Garrison.