Well, it all began with our 40 week doctor's visit on Tuesday, February 28th. Our baby was due that day and my doctor wanted to have us delivered no later than 41 weeks. She checked my cervix and said I was around 2cm but that she could stretch me more but wouldn't as it wouldn't be too pleasant for me. The plan my doctor had was that if I didn't go into labor before the following Tuesday, March 6th that we would be scheduled for an induction that day. HOWEVER - we learned the previous Friday that Jeff (Finn's dad) was in need of a couple of heart procedures, one of which was a quadruple bypass and that this surgery would be taking place the following week. Given that we not only wanted Jeff to be present for the birth but that we would also be able to visit him in the hospital after his surgery we asked if there was any way to bump up the induction. We had to compromise a bit since our doctor wasn't really available the rest of the week but we were able to schedule it for Friday with the knowledge that our doctor would only be available until about 2pm for the delivery.
So, I continued to have contractions, fairly consistently over the next several days. I ate lots of pineapple and spicy food, drank a ton of red raspberry leaf tea, walked a lot and even went to acupuncture a couple of times that week to try to help jump start my labor But, no real progress was made and I didn't go into labor on my own. On Thursday Finn took the day off of work and we spent our last day together as a kid-less couple. It was a good day filled with plenty of errands and chores and last minute nursery preparations. We both went to bed feeling very excited and anxious for what the next day would bring!
On the morning of our induction (Friday, March 2nd) we woke up really early because we were to be to the hospital by 6am. I took a shower and ate some breakfast since I didn't know when I would get to do either of those things again! Finn packed up the car and we were on our way! We only live about 10 minutes from the hospital so it didn't take us long to arrive!
We went straight to the Labor and Delivery unit and were greeted by smiling faces. We were brought to a room and Finn promptly asked that we be put in a different room - one with a tub - so that I could attempt to use the tub for pain relief as we wanted to go about this as naturally as possible. We got situated in our new room and I put on the lovely hospital gown and was quickly given an IV in my arm so that they could push fluids, meds, etc. in me as needed. My parents arrived pretty shortly after we were checked in, followed by Charlotte and then Jeff and Jill. Hanni was in a meeting and would be to the hospital around 9 or 10 that morning.
My doctor's plan was to start the Pitocin ASAP. We chose to have them break my bag of water and do some walking in hopes that we could get things moving that way and not have to use Pitocin (or as much of it). So my doctor caved but didn't sound terribly enthusiastic or optimistic about our plan. She gave us two hours from when she broke my water before they would start Pitocin if adequate progress wasn't made. So, at 8am they broke my bag of water with a crochet hook and boy did that feel weird! Luckily it was clear and odor free so that meant no meconium which was a great sign. We were free to begin walking! We started doing laps around the 5th floor of the hospital (the only floor we were allowed on) shortly after 8am and were to be checked in one hour to see if progress was being made. Unfortunately, in the final weeks of pregnancy I had become so swollen in my legs, ankles and feet that walking was not very comfortable and in fact it was downright excruciating at times due to cramping and shin splints. Thank goodness I had plenty of family support on my walks. But, by the time the first hour was up I was ready to be off my feet for a few minutes! They checked me and I hadn't made any progress - not the most uplifting news considering my legs were on fire!! Finn rubbed my feet and legs and applied cold compresses to them to help with the pain so I could get back to walking for hour #2.
Hour #2 of walking was a bit faster paced - as was noted by family members and nurses throughout the 5th floor. But I really wanted to avoid the Pitocin as long as possible and my legs weren't killing me quite so bad. Hanni arrived during this second hour of laps and it was fun chatting with her. We even stopped for an awesome family photo! However, two hours of walking and a cervical check later I had not progressed at all - Pitocin here we come.
We began the Pitocin shortly after 10am and the real labor began. The contractions picked up pretty quickly after I started getting the Pitocin and I quickly realized that I was one of the lucky women who would experience back labor. As the contractions intensified the back pain got stronger and stronger. It was pretty interesting because I really didn't experience a lot of pain anywhere else besides my lower back. I spent a lot of time swaying and sitting on the birthing ball and doing hip circles and just about anything else that helped to relieve some of the pain I was experiencing. I was doing well breathing through the contractions and trying to just experience each one as they came rather than anticipating them and tensing up. I felt pretty good about things and even was pretty chatty and smiley with everyone. Charlotte really enjoyed sitting by the computer so she could watch the contractions and let me know how strong they were - as if I didn't know! :)
|looking just lovely laboring away|
Around 4pm as the contractions intensified and were so close together that I couldn't catch my breath in between and the back pain was just too much for me to handle I told Finn I just couldn't take it any more and was going to get an epidural. He reminded me that I had told him to remind me that this usually meant that were were close to the transition stage of labor and that if I was able to tolerate the pain up to this point that I could make it the rest of the way. I thanked him for the reminder but said I just couldn't hang anymore - and as of the last check we still had a LONG way to go and they said to anticipate 1 cm of dilation an hour - that meant we still had many hours ahead of us. We let the nurse know and she started to get the process underway and told me to slow down my breathing a bit as I had become less effective at breathing slow, long breaths through the contractions.
When they came to the epidural I couldn't really even sit up on my own because the pain in my back was so intense and the contractions were on top of one another so there was little to no relief at any given moment. They decided to check me again and we found out I had progressed rather quickly and I was at 7cm. I said I still wanted to get the epidural since I was afraid I wouldn't have anything left in me to push. I got to use Finn as my support throughout the epidural process - leaning into him and ringing his shirt in my hands through the contractions. The anesthesiologists's assistant was a wonderful lady but at the time I didn't find her to be too helpful, especially when she would tell me to stop breathing the way I was or something like that while I was having a contraction. Every time she annoyed me I just wound Finn's shirt up in my hands tighter and tighter. Once they had the epidural in place they had me remove my necklace and earrings which I found weird and annoying - come to find out, they just wanted me to focus on something other than the pain and contractions - those sneaky little buggers. By the time they had the epidural in place I was at 9 cm and the nurse thought we would be pushing really soon.
Finn knew I was feeling better when the assistant lady asked me what my pain level was on a scale of 1 to 10 with a 1 being her poking my arm. I joked that since she was such a strong poker I would have to say I was at least a 2. Around this time we were also asked if a medical student could be present for the birth. At first I thought this was a bit weird but quickly realized that we didn't know anybody in the room so what difference did one more person make? I did ask to meet him so we could change our mind if we didn't like him (again with the joking). At 6:15 everyone left the room to give us a few minutes to ourselves before we would begin pushing at 6:30. Finn and I interviewed each other on the camcorder and braced ourselves for the excitement that was before us.
|Final photo before we were no longer pregnant!|
At 6:30 we began to push. After two pushes the nurse told me to stop and said that the baby was "sunny side up." This not only explained all of the back labor (the back of the baby's head was pressing against my spine) but also meant that the baby had no where to go. It was stuck. It needed more room in order to be able to come through my pelvis. So, for the next hour I laid in strange positions with my legs in an effort to give the baby a few more centimeters to move down farther into my pelvis. Luckily, it worked and just before 7:30 we began pushing!
The pushing was difficult. It felt really un-natural and I was pushing with my face a lot and felt my eyes hurting pretty early on. I asked the nurse and doctor about it but they said it was pretty normal and to try to open my mouth when I pushed. Finn held my left leg and helped hold my head up and push my shoulders when I pushed and the medical student held my right leg. Finn was so incredible, counting pretty much the entire time and cheering me on constantly. Towards the (unbeknownst to us) end of the pushing I really felt like I couldn't go any longer. I had been watching the clock for sometime and I had this feeling that if we hadn't had the baby by 9pm that I was going to have to ask for a break (do they even give those!?). Finn said he could feel it in me that I was losing strength and not pushing as hard and asked the doctor to take over the counting so he could focus on the cheering. He kept telling me to keep it up, to push just a little harder, etc. and reassured me that I was doing a great job and that we were getting so close.
This must have been all I needed because it wasn't too much longer that I felt the most insane amount of pressure and desire to get that baby out of me, and fast!! Finally, after an hour and a half of pushing Finn announced that we had a SON! He was laughing, screaming, crying all at the same time! His emotions were so filled with joy and tears that he made everyone in the room cry (including the med student). They laid the baby on my chest and I immediately began rubbing him and saying "come on buddy" and other things because he wasn't crying (babies are supposed to cry when they are born, I swear!). I was so worried something was wrong because he wasn't crying even though Finn and the medical staff told me he was perfectly fine. He was quickly taken over to be cleaned up and checked out. The nurse handed him to Finn and he was so cute admiring him, etc. while they were getting me to deliver the placenta. Finn said that I should tell everyone his name and immediately fear and anxiety hit me - what if I thought we agreed on a name that we hadn't!? What would Finn say if I said the wrong name!? So I told Finn that he should tell everyone - but he insisted I did. So, I hesitantly told all the medical staff that his name was Dempsey Mason Ruehrdanz. Finn cried a bit more (phew!! we did agree on that name!) and then told me how beautiful he was and I joked that I couldn't wait to see him since Finn had been hogging him the whole time! :) The doctor announced that Finn had received the most excited dad EVER award!! Finn handed him (with the help of the nurse) to me and walked to the other side of my bed. I winced (because the doctor was busy sewing me up and the epidural was NOT working) and Finn quickly asked if I wanted him to hold Dempsey - I guess the look I gave him said it all as he said "good answer" and let me keep holding him.
He was born at 8:58 pm, weighed 7lbs, 10oz and was 20 1/4" long.
After I was cleaned up Finn headed out to the waiting room to tell the whole family that we had a beautiful baby boy named Dempsey Mason and that they could come see him - grandmas first, then grandpas and then aunts. Everyone was overjoyed when they came in to see us and Jeff let me know that I looked terrible (boy, was he right. I looked like I had been in a boxing match). It was awesome!! :)
|7 lbs, 10 oz and 20 1/4" long and a conehead|
|first full frontal for the ladies ;)|
|who are you? no, who are you? :)|