At midnight on February 22, I woke up with some stomach pains. I really wasn't sure what was going on so I got up and got some water. While I was pouring my water I got another pain. I quickly realized I was having contractions. After the pain stopped I got really excited because this meant I might get to meet my son that day. I opened an app called Full Term that I had downloaded to time my contractions on my iPhone.
Through the next 5 hours I was timing every single contraction and they were about 6-7 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. My doctor had told me that until contractions were 5 minutes apart there was no need to go to the hospital but I was getting tired since I couldn't sleep. So I called the on call doctor to see what they thought I should do. My doctor's partner was on call and she called me right back. After a couple questions she still wanted me to stay at home and labor a little longer. At that point I called my boss and told him I would not be coming into work that day because I had been up all night with contractions. I honestly was thinking that the contractions would fizzle out because there is no way this was going to be the day.
At 9 am, I decided to take a warm bath to try and get some relief from the pain. After 9 hours of consistent contractions every 6 to 9 minutes I was getting tired. I had tried to lay down but contractions were strong enough that I couldn't sleep. This did help a lot. They at least made contractions a little less painful. After being in the tub for an hour, I decided maybe a walk would help get us to 5 minutes apart. Chris and I took our dalmatian out and luckily it was 50 degrees in Ohio that day. We had a great walk, talking and dreaming about our baby boy.
The walk did help speed up contractions and I had about 4 that were spaced 5 minutes apart. Chris started getting the bags downstairs and making sure the house picked up in case we had to go.
Ofcourse, the contractions started spacing back out to 7-8 minutes apart again. This at least allowed me to lay down and get a little rest in between them for about an hour. When I woke up we decided to take another walk. This is the walk that did it. They started coming every 4 minutes and we barely made it down the street. It was GO TIME!!!!!! We got back to the house and I got in the shower (who knew when I would get one again).
At 1 pm we headed to St. Ann's Hospital. Chris dropped me off at the Maternity Ward and parked the car. When he dropped me off I ran into one of my friends, Jackie. She's a Mother & Infant nurse at St. Ann's. She forewarned me that with my time of my contractions (back at 6 minutes apart) they may send me home but she would come check on me soon. Chris came from the car and we headed upstairs. When we went to check in all the triage rooms were full so we had to sit in the public waiting room. Awful, Awful experience having contractions in a public waiting room. I was in so much pain at that point though that I didn't care. I was moaning and breathing through all my contractions.
After an hour they took us back to our own triage room and this is where everything got crazy and scary. They hooked me up to all the monitors and asked me a lot of questions. When the nurse checked me I was still only 1 centimeter dilated but was about 90% effaced. The nurse said if I didn't make any more progress in an hour, they were going to send us home. Not what I wanted to hear. I broke down when she left telling Chris I was in pain and didn't know if I could do this on my own for more hours. After his best pep talk ever, I was ready to conquer more contractions (even at home if I had to).
On the very next contraction I started doing my breathing but this time 5 nurses and a doctor came running into the room. With them came an ultrasound machine and a lab tech. Chris and I got very scared, very quickly. The doctor told us Jackson's heart rate was dropping very low during contractions and they needed to move quickly to figure out what was going on. She put the ultrasound on my stomach and they determined very quickly that he had very little amniotic fluid. This was putting pressure on the cord and not allowing enough oxygen to Jackson. They all looked at us and said "Congratulations you are going to meet your son today."
After that they moved us to a birthing room and got my epidural ordered. My doctor happened to be in the hospital so she stopped by the see how I was doing. Things at this point were going ok. Jackson was starting to tolerate the contractions a little better and I was making good progress. I was 4 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. They decided to break my water and put a fetal monitor on Jackson so they could make sure he really was tolerating them.
The anesthesiologist came in to do my epidural and I was very nervous. I was so scared I was going to have a contraction and jump while he was doing my epidural. Luckily, he was amazing at what he does. Once he numbed my back I felt nothing. I did have a contraction but concentrated really hard to not move and just breathe through it. For the next hour, I felt amazing. I told Christopher that my parents could come back to visit for a little bit. Also, my friend Jackie came in. Since she works in Mother & Infant she made up a crib for Jackson's arrival.
We were all laughing and having great conversation. My doctor came back to check me and after I kicked everyone out I was at 7 centimeters dilated. She said I was making great progress for my first baby. While she was talking to me Jackson started to not handle contractions again. At this point she started telling me that we will probably have to do a c-section. My doctor and I had talked throughout my entire pregnancy and I had told her this was the last thing I wanted to do unless it was an emergency. I have seen how long c-sections take to recover from and I didn't want to go through that. So at this point I had another break down. Dr. Arbona is an amazing doctor. She gave me a hug and said she understood and explained to me her reasons for thinking we needed to do a c-section.
While we were talking about the risks and complications of a c-section my epidural started not to work. I was having really bad left side pain and they were worried about placental abruption. They called the anesthesiologist back to give me stronger drugs while they were doing an ultrasound of my stomach. It was very inconclusive from the ultrasound but Jackson still wasn't handling the contractions at all. Luckily, the stronger pain meds started to work and I was able to relax a little.
She said we would give it 10 more minutes, if in that time he doesn't handle the contractions well we really had no other choice. So we all sat there and waited. Unfortunately, Jackson has his own plan. He was ready now. They quickly wheeled me back to the operating room and had Chris change into scrubs.
Within 10 minutes Jackson Anton was born by c-section.
Jackson Anton Pichler born 5 lbs 14 oz on February 22 at 8:36 pm
I was 38 weeks and 5 days when Jackson was born. He is a very small baby for his age and after he was born they realized that he was having more problems in utero than handling contractions. My placenta was not providing enough nutrients to him. Jackson has been in NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) since he was born on Wednesday. I will save the rest of our story for another post but please keep Jackson in your thoughts. We are headed up the hospital to see him now.