Liam's birth story is nothing crazy or scary or graphic, but it was a long couple of days for his daddy and me, and a lot of pushing, exhaustion, tears, cussing, and joy. I am primarily writing it down so I can share it with him later if he ever wants to know how he was brought into this world. He really is my pride and joy, and although in the moment the pain was unbearable and I did not think I could survive it, I will gladly do it again to give him a precious sibling one of these days!
It began on a Thursday... And on Friday, December 19, he was in my arms!
On December 18, 2014, I had a doctor's appointment, as I was having twice weekly NSTs and once weekly ultrasounds to check the amniotic fluid, all due to my preexisting high blood pressure. It was great to get to hear our boy's heart beat so often, but very time consuming to have to go to the doctor so frequently. This particular morning, when the nurse checked my blood pressure, it was too high for being 38 weeks pregnant, 143/92. It had been staying that high for a few days, and this was after they increased my blood pressure medicine two weeks prior. I had been on maternity leave since the day before Thanksgiving, and even the reduced stress from not being at work was not helping to control my blood pressure this late into my pregnancy. So, that morning, after the non stress test, my nurse practitioner came in and told me that I needed to head to Clovis Community Medical Center, the hospital where Liam would be delivered. Chad was in court an hour away that morning, and when I called him, he was still in his hearing and did not answer, so I called my mom in tears, terrified of going to the hospital alone and worried about my baby and whether they would be inducing me, forcing a C-section, or if it was nothing to worry about, and I was just making my blood pressure worse. I was supposed to head to a Junior League event at a local elementary school, so I called my friend in League and told her I would not be attending. It was about 9:30 a.m. when I started heading to the hospital. I called my dad and told him what was going on, and Chad finally called me back. He said he had to head to his office first, but that he would meet me at the hospital.
After I parked my car, I tried to deep breathe and calm myself down before heading into the downstairs registration area. I gave them my name and the reason I was there, and they had me sit in the waiting area before I could be signed in. When the registrar called me over, they saw I had already pre-registered, so they printed my hospital identification bands, asked if I needed a wheel chair, and sent me in to the maternity pre-labor area. I was one of two women being monitored. They put me in my "room", divided by a curtain, and had me undress and put on a robe. I was hooked up to a blood pressure cuff and a fetal heart rate monitor. They were concerned about preeclampsia, which I did not have, so they insisted on checking my urine for protein, and although that came back clear, they then wanted to test the urine straight from the source, so I had to have a catheter inserted. They drew some blood and continued to monitor me until my doctor was finished with a C-section she was performing and was able to come check on me.
Because my blood pressure remained elevated, they gave me an IV and started to give me doses of my blood pressure medicine intravenously. While I was laying there, I was contracting consistently, every minute. I could not feel the contractions yet, but the monitor was picking it up.
After what seemed like ages, Chad arrived, and my doctor came in to discuss our options. I was to be admitted, and I could elect for a C-section right then, or I could be induced, as I had not dilated or effaced at all at this point. Because I really wanted a natural birth, I decided to go the induction route. They were going to try to break my water to speed things up, but because I was not yet dilated or effaced, they decided to go with Cervadil. Around noon I was finally admitted, and we were taken to the room we thought we would be having our son in. There was still a lot of waiting, and Chad ended up heading home for a while to play with our dogs and pick up around the house.
We eventually had to switch rooms because the room we were put in (which had amazingly huge windows), needed some maintenance of some form, so we were moved into room 1113, which I loved, because I am obsessed with odd numbers.
Once we were put in our room, my L&D nurse came in and inserted the Cervadil around 2:30 p.m.(not fun at all). It is basically a tampon with hormones on it that are supposed to soften the cervix and speed up dilation. It has to stay in for 12 hours, and they want you to lay still for the first couple hours so the medicine can stay in contact with the cervix. So I lay in bed and watched Food Network while starving, since I had only had a banana and yogurt that morning.
I got to order dinner from the hospital kitchen, and I had a steak quesadilla, salad and French fries for my last meal before becoming a mom.
Chad returned and we just hung out in our room, waiting. I was starting to get crampy and uncomfortable while the Cervadil was working. I have to say that I had thee best labor and delivery nurses during my two days of labor. Except one. Elvira. She was not the best. But she also had the overnight shift, so I understand her poor mood and bad bedside manner, to an extent.
Chad and I passed the time watching TV, trying to rest, and he was reading a book for a while. I was scared and uncomfortable, and just counting down the minutes and hours until the Cervadil could be removed and I could see if I had progressed. I did not want to be induced with Pitocin because I was hoping for a drug free labor.
Around 1:00, before they removed the Cervadil, I felt something wet, and called my nurse in, thinking my water had broken. She came in and told me she thought I probably had just peed. I had just gone to the bathroom though, so I knew that was not the case. About ten minutes later, I felt a gush of more fluid, and called her back in. I told her that I was certain my water had broken. My contractions were getting stronger and I was just uncomfortable. Finally at 2:30 a.m. a new nurse came in and removed the Cervadil, and checked me. I had dilated to a 2 and was completely effaced. At that point, the contractions were getting unbearable and I was unable to get comfortable. I was contracting every minute to three minutes without any relief in between contractions. My blood pressure cuff was inflating every ten minutes to check my blood pressure and every time it would inflate and my blood pressure would be high, the machine would beep continuously until someone pushed the button to turn it off. Chad was trying to sleep but I was in so much pain, I just could not rest. I had the Hallmark channel on and was trying to watch one of their made for TV Christmas movies, which usually can distract me from discomfort, but this was different. Around 3:30 a.m., I got an injection of some pain medication, which gave me about 20 minutes of relief and made me hallucinate people coming into my room and the bathroom door opening and closing. After that finally wore off, I called my nurse and begged for an epidural around 4:30 a.m.. She called the anesthesiologist and checked me, and I had dilated to a 6. By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was writhing in pain, unable to lay still. I was having major back labor and felt like someone was hitting my stomach with a sledge hammer while punching me in the back. It was nearly impossible to sit still for the epidural, but I told myself that as soon as the medicine started flowing I would get some relief. I was not worried about the epidural at all at that point. I felt relief almost instantaneously, but I also started to shiver uncontrollably. They had to put a catheter in, and I was able to get about an hour of sleep, although I could still feel the contractions.
Around 7:00 a.m., I started to feel a lot of pressure, and called my nurse in. She checked me and I was fully dilated. They wanted me to practice pushing to see if I would make any progress, so the nurse removed the catheter and I tried a few pushes, but the baby was not reacting well. The nurse checked him, and realized he was facing the wrong way, so they decided I would wait a while to see if he would turn on his own. They had me get on all fours to try to turn him. My legs felt so heavy from the epidural, but I felt some relief being off my back. My mom and sister arrived and came in to check on me - while I was on all fours. My mom snapped some really unattractive photos of me at this point. Thanks, Mom!
At 9:00 a.m. they decided I was ready to push. I pushed on my back, on my right side, and on my left side. I pushed using a squat bar and I pushed on all fours. After over three hours of pushing, he was making progress, but after each push he would move back up. My doctor arrived, as well as the on call doctor. She told me I had 15 minutes to push him out, or they would try to vacuum extract him twice, and if that did not work, I would have to have a C-section. I did not want either, so I said I would get my boy out! I ended up having an episiotomy, and with my doctor stretching me out while I pushed as hard as I could manage after over three hours of pushing, on one hour of sleep, I was able to push my boy out at 12:27 p.m. without any further intervention. It turns out the umbilical cord was short and was wrapped around one of his arms, so after every push, it pulled him back up.
When William "Liam" Aedan Snyder entered the world on Friday, December 19, 2014, he made the most adorable, almost bird like cry, and I began to sob tears of joy, and kept saying "oh my gosh, oh my gosh." I have never felt so much pride and joy and love as I did the first time I saw him. They put him on my stomach right away and he was so tiny and perfect. He started making his way up, but they had to cut the umbilical cord and then wipe him up, weight and measure him and wrap him. When they handed him back to me, it was true love! He weighed 5 lbs., 14.5 oz., and was 20 inches long. His Apgar was a 9 at one minute and again at five minutes. He suckled right away and opened his eyes to look around.
One of my favorite parts of his birth story is that I predicted his birthday months before he was due. His due date was December 29, 2014. In October I was at a doctor's appointment with Dr. Kopacz, my OB-GYN, and I told her that I was pretty sure he would arrive on December 19. I just had a gut feeling that day. While Dr. Kopacz was sewing me up after delivery, I asked her if she recalled that day, and she did. She said a mother's intuition should always be trusted, and I completely agree!