Well let's just say, much like so much of this journey to Eriela, her birth story was also very unexpected and unplanned. And let me tell you, for as many hurdles and surprising turns infertility and IVF have shown me, I was not prepared for this one bit.
This was my plan: I was going to get induced on November 3rd. Why? Because I was already 39 weeks and 4 days and my doctor, who also delivered the twins and who I've been seeing since I was 17, wasn't going to be at the hospital again until the 9th, which put me past my due date, which she (and I) didn't want to do. So the 3rd it was. I went in as planned, we took the girls to school that morning and then drove to the hospital for our 8:30am check in. We went up to the second floor, I put on the hospital/birthing gown (which I wore for a good 48 hours) and started the piton induction around 9:45am.
Another reason for the planned induction was so that I could get the 4 doses of antibiotics for strep b (not crucial but my preference). So I started that on an IV right away too. This wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it was going to be FYI for anyone worried about this. The medication didn't sting and I had to have an IV in me anyway so that was that. Anyway, I was around 3cm dilated and 90% effaced by around 10:30am. I had mild contractions that felt like Braxton hicks, but nothing that hurt or was too uncomfortable. I started feeling "labor pains" in my lower back. At first I attributed it to sitting all day long (as it was already 2pm by now), but these were actual labor pains. Which then meant I was ready for that epidural, YAY. (this was my choice, and I cannot applaud those of you who choose not to get one enough, but for me, I wanted to have one).
I got the epidural around 3pm. It wasn't pleasant I'm not going to lie. The numbing part didnt hurt as much but the actual epidural was a little rough. This was honestly the part I was dreading the MOST out of the entire labor (so I thought it was). I immediately started feeling it and I felt so much better. I actually could still move my legs pretty well but the back pain stopped which was nice. The doctor came in again around 3:45 and broke my water which would then hopefully speed up the process. An hour later I was at 6-7cm dilated and 100% effaced. Yay progress!
The contractions started getting more intense. Nothing hurt per se, but it felt like I had to hold my breath and I started feeling a lot of pressure on my vagina. The nurse told me this was a good sign and to tell her when the pressure was more on my rectum. I was also allowed to increase pitocin when I needed more. So I did!
A few hours later they noticed the baby's heart rate was dropping with each contraction. They weren't too worried because she seemed to recover quickly. This meant her heart rate dropped below 100bpm and then creeped back up once the contraction was over. It wasn't ideal for her, but apparently it was ok. I was obviously a little worried but everyone seemed calm and well the election nonsense was keeping us very entertained and anxious as well, so there we were. Nick was pacing back and forth from the TV screen to the monitors to see the baby's heart rate. Talk about and intense day (little did we know this was only the beginning for both events, election and labor).
They decided to have me lay in different positions to hopefully help her heart rate because they started to get a little more concerned. This was probably 6pm now. One position was having me lie on my side and swinging my top leg over off the bed, kind of dangling. We did this for ten minutes on each side. It kind of helped.
The nurses' shift ended and a new one came in. 7pm. She had me try another position. I was literally on all fours. We were laughing because it felt so inappropriate but if it would help the baby I would stand on my head if I needed to! I did this for 10min at a time with a little break in between. The contractions were getting stronger and I definitely felt them rectally. The pressure felt like I needed to take a huge poop, sorry for TMI, and then it subsided. My contractions were about 1min apart now. We did this for a couple of hours. We tried other positions too. At one point I had the medicine ball, well a medicine ball shaped in the form of a peanut, between my knees while laying on my side. This was supposed to open up my cervix. We did this a few times, it was actually very comfortable!
The doctor came in and checked my cervix again. 9pm. Still at 6-7cm. But now she started to feel inflammation in there because of the strong contractions. She felt the baby's head and apparently it was sideways, meaning she was looking to my left and the back of her head was to my right. Another big reason why the contractions were affecting her heart rate and also why her head was not coming down further.
By 11:30pm we were still here. I was still only 6-7cm dilated. My body was now shaking uncontrollably. Between the exhaustion, the no food, and the medication, this can happen, but it just made the situation scarier. The doctor sighed and said "I know this isn't what you want to hear but I think for the safety of the baby we should go ahead and proceed with a C section." Of course I started bawling. THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN. I didn't want to have surgery, I wanted to birth my baby the same way I did the twins. I prepared for that! I was so scared because my body was already so depleted, what would surgery do to me at this point?
But of course I said ok, whatever we need to do for the baby. Two minutes later there were three other nurses in the room. Everyone was moving so fast that I started to get so worried. They helped me take off all of my jewelry and upped my epidural medication so that I would be completely numb. They put my hair net on and gave Nick his scrubs as well (thankfully he would be allowed in the OR as soon as they had me settled in and drugged up). It felt like 30 seconds later I was being wheeled into the OR. I could hear Nick behind me talking tot he doctor but I couldn't make out what they were saying. I couldn't stop shaking or crying. But there we were, with a completely different plan, for the sake of this baby.
We went into the OR and they put me on the operating table. They started my IV with more medication and told me that I would be able to feel tugs and pulls but no actual pain. They said I would feel pressure once the baby was taken out. They put the blue sheet up in front of me, which freaked me out even more because it made me feel so cluster phobic. Nick finally came in and it was a little past midnight. No longer a November 3rd baby.
He grabbed my hand. I was so scared. I was scared for my life and for hers of course. Being awake for surgery is the worst feeling in the world. Maybe because I wasn't prepared for it and because it all came so fast but all I could think of was what would happen if I wasn't ok, what would happen if she wasn't ok. This whole journey would be taken from me in a matter of seconds. I got silent. I couldn't hear what the doctors were saying but I could feel all the tugs and pulls they said I would. I also couldn't hear a baby crying. I wasn't sure when I was supposed to hear her so it's not like there was anything wrong I just had no idea what was happening.
"You're going to feel pressure now." I nodded. I felt it. And then, finally I heard her cry. I started crying uncontrollably, still shaking, but with the biggest sense of relief ive EVER felt in my life. I don't know how to explain it. I was so thankful to be laying on that table at that point nothing else mattered. It felt like the biggest weight was lifted off of my shoulders and finally after 3 years, even though I was being sewn back together, I could breathe. It was 12:18AM. She weighed 6lb's and was 19 1/4 inches long.
Nick cut her umbilical chord (I couldn't see but he did), and then brought her over to me. She was perfect. My little Eriela Nicole (and now im crying again).
They put me back together and, while I dont remember much after that for a few hours, I was still non stop shaking. Which meant I couldn't hold my baby right away. It was horrible. Once we were back in our room the doctor told us I had hemorrhaged during the surgery. For those that don't know it means I lost a lot of blood. So now, along with the c section, this meant we would have to stay in the hospital for at least 3 days. Another unexpected turn. We were planning on heading home the next day.
I was also not allowed to drink anything yet because of the anesthesia. I couldn't drink or have ice cubes until 3am. I don't think I've ever felt that thirsty in my life. I had two hours until I could attempt an ice chip.
I was finally able to hold her. It helped calm my shakes and eventually around 3:30am we were moved to the post partum wing of the hospital. I had stopped shaking. They got us settled in and started with vitals for Eriela and myself.
I developed a fever. This meant more antibiotics and extra care. They said it was because of the blood loss. I don't think we slept that morning which now put us at 6am, no sleep or food for 24 hours at this point. BUT my baby was here, healthy, so honestly I really didn't care. The only thing I kept needing was water and ice chips. Thank goodness for the catheter that was in me because there sure was a lot of liquid going through me at this point.
Thankfully I started to recover nicely. By Wednesday afternoon, still the 4th, I stood up. I got help going to the bathroom to take my catheter out and then walked back to bed, but it was good progress apparently. Eriela was doing perfect and I was already breast feeding her! (the drugs and antibiotics I was on were not going to affect her).
By Thursday I was able to walk around the hall way. This was huge! We had already Face Timed the twins a few times by now and reassured them we would be home soon. I started to pump this day too to help my milk production.
I was missing the twins so much. But honestly it was nice to not have visitors for a few days (aside from them of course). It gave us so much time to recover, rest, bond with Eriela and with each other, oh and continue to watch the damn election.
By Friday we were ready. Eriela checked all the boxes to go home, they gave us her discharge papers. Unfortunately the doctors wanted me to stay overnight. But we agreed that if I stayed until the evening I would be allowed to go home. Apparently I had recovered very well and never had another fever so we took that agreement and ran with it.
By 5pm we were walking out of the hospital. Masks on, election still up in the air, wearing an adult diaper, feeling depleted and exhausted BUT with the most beautiful rainbow baby in our arms about to see her sisters. At that point my plan didn't matter anymore. I finally felt like any plan I ever had didn't matter, I finally felt relief, and my smile has definitely come back.