Sarah’s Birth, October 23, 2004

Jill started having contractions early Thursday morning. They subsided some Friday morning, and then she (and I) went in for a previously scheduled OB appt., where her membranes were ‘stripped.’ She was 80% effaced at that point, and 1.5 cm dilated. Soon after the appointment, she started feeling much stronger contractions, about 12 noon.
Over the next 9 hours, contractions varied from 10 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart and lasted from 10-60 seconds; by the end they were coming very quickly and Jill was having a hard time. We left for the hospital and checked in about 10 pm. At that point she was 3 cm dilated. Initially, it seemed like she wasn’t progressing fast enough and we would have to go back home. Over the next two hours, though, she dilated to 4 cm, with very strong contractions.
By midnight, Jill was suffering so much that she was unable to stand up. She was starting to talk to the nurse about a dose of a pain medication when a contraction started that was very strong. She lost focus and slumped over a little, then started to slide off her seat. The nurse called for doctors to come in, and she and I managed to get Jill onto the bed. She blacked-out completely, came to a minute (I asked her what was happening and she said “oh, I’m fine”), and then blacked-out for another 5 minutes. During that time, the fetal monitor made no heart-rate sound. Ben was scared completely out of his mind and looking at Jill’s face, trying to get her to respond to him; she woke up pretty quickly. While she was out, doctors broke Jill’s water, inserted an internal fetal heart rate monitor, and hooked Jill up to an IV and oxygen. When she came-to, she was fine and so was the baby; she didn’t seem to know what had happened or why there were so many people around, and the baby’s heart rate came back up before Jill was fully awake. The nurse asked Ben if he was going to pass out to, because he was white as a sheet. Things calmed down quickly after that.
We decided at that point that Jill should have an epidural anesthetic and pitocin to stimulate contractions so that she would progress more quickly. Jill had to hold very still during the strong contractions for the anesthesiologist; fortunately she inserted the catheter between contractions. Afterwards, Jill was much more comfortable and the contractions were more regular, and she rested (Ben dozed too, snoring of course).
After 6 hours, the OB did another exam and found that Jill had not progressed far; she was stalled at about 5 cm, and Jill had started to run a fever. Jill received 2 bags of pitocin. During each contraction, the fetal heart rate monitor would pause for a few seconds before starting (this was not Sarah’s heart stopping, just the sensor moving, but her heart rate was slowing during contractions). The OB told us that it was probably best to do a C-section, and we agreed. They took Jill away to prepare her, and after about 40 minutes they started. Jill was completely exhausted but talking, after a few minutes she started to doze off. The surgeon made a small cut at the bottom of Jill’s belly, and after more cutting and pushing aside of skin and muscle, the baby’s mouth appeared. The surgeon said that she was a “star-gazer” (meaning that she was facing upwards instead of downwards) and that her large head was wedged between Jill’s pelvic bones, and that both those things were the likely cause of the “failure to progress” in labor.
The surgeon stretched the opening wider and Jill woke back up, they pressed down on her belly (they told Jill she would “feel like elephants are walking on you”) and pulled Sarah’s head through the opening, then her whole body. Exactly when she came out, Sarah had a large green and black poop which went everywhere. They showed her to Jill and then put her on another table where they cleaned her off and suctioned her mouth and nose, and then she started crying. The pediatrician said she was in good shape, and Jill and Ben were very relieved. Ben went to look at her and then came back to Jill. The surgeon took Jill’s uterus completely out of her body and started to clean and examine it, then cleaned and closed up Jill’s belly with three sets of stitches.
Ben was sent back to the labor room while Jill was cleaned up more, and he then went to see Sarah in the nursery. She was crying and completely beautiful. Soon after, Jill came back into the labor room and gave Sarah a little colostrum from her breast before sleeping a good long sleep. Sarah was born 7 lbs. 12 oz., 20 inches long.We spent three days at the hospital while Jill healed. Sarah was up a lot and always hungry. We are still figuring out how to take care of her, but we are completely hooked on it. Jill is still very sore from the surgery, but she is up and around on Motrin, eating solid food and looking very pretty. We left the hospital today at 1 pm, and we’re back at the house; Jill’s milk is just now coming in. Sarah is sweet, cute, hungry, and perfect in every way, and we are very, very, very lucky and happy. We love her.

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