It seems as if I’ve waited too long to write my birth story and everyone’s memories are a little hazy about the complete timeline and all of the details. Especially mine. Everything happened so fast and I was in such pain that I only remember bits and pieces of things once I got the narcotics.
Around 11:30, my contractions were still bothering me so Brady and I went to take a bath. After getting out of the bath I was still contracting and so I laid down on the bed to see if that would calm things down. It didn’t and my contractions were still close together so I asked my mom to start timing them with me to see if I was doing things correctly, apparently I was and my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and I was having to stop talking when a contraction happened. Around 1:30 I made a call to my OB’s office to ask what I should do and they told me to come in. Since we’d already been to the hospital once and had been sent home, my mom took me to the OB with only my pillow and Casey stayed home with Brady, the bags, and my cord blood kit.
My contractions continued and increased in intensity so by the time we got to the OB’s office (which is attached to the hospital) I was having to stop to breathe through contractions and close my eyes to stay focused because I just wanted to hold my breath. We had to wait a little bit before the doctor came into the room but when he finally did he confirmed I was actually in labor and was now 100% effaced and 3cm dilated. He told me it was time to head over to L&D. At first I told the nurse I didn’t need a wheelchair but after another contraction, we requested one and it was a relief to not have to walk. I can only imagine how long it would have taken to walk to L&D with my contractions coming like they were.
It was around 3-3:30 by the time I got over and put into a room (and gown) right away and requested my epidural. I notified the nurses that I was banking the cord blood and tissue but that my husband would be bringing the kit with him so they would have to hold off on taking my blood for the kit until my husband arrived. First I was hooked up to the monitors to watch my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat and then my blood was taken to see if I could receive the epidural. Once they finished monitoring me, I was allowed into the shower (with the student nurse) to see if that would help relax me and help with my pain. My pain wasn’t really decreasing much being in the shower so I decided to go back into the room. The nurse asked if I was interested in receiving narcotics until I could receive my epidural and I happily agreed. The Phentanyl helped me rest between contractions and provided a little relief but I awoke with each contraction in pain. It took a long time (about 2 hours) before I received my epidural due to an emergency.
My doctor came to look at me around 6 before leaving to pick up his son from baseball practice since he wasn’t on call that night. The nurse estimated I was 6-7cm, however, the doctor said I was 5-6cm and when he checked me (longer, larger fingers?) he broke my water and left with the estimation that it wouldn’t be long and I’d probably deliver around 10pm. My mom told the nurse it wouldn’t be 10 and that it wouldn’t be any later than 8pm. Then by 6:30pm I started feeling some pressure and the nurse checked me again and I was 7-8cm but by 6:45ish.
Not long after getting my epidural (the timeline is fuzzy but I’m estimating it was still working while my OB was in the room or he surely would have said something), my blood pressure got really low and Colby’s heart rate went down a lot (it’s called a brady and made the monitors go off) so the nurses came in and put me on oxygen and when Colby’s heart rate still wasn’t rebounding they gave me a shot of epinephrine which burned off my epidural. My epidural probably only lasted maybe 15 minutes and I most definitely felt everything and it was natural childbirth. I felt everything.
My dad was on his way up from San Antonio but wasn’t able to make it up in time, thankfully they let Casey, my mom, and Brady all stay in the room. Kids under the age of 5 generally aren’t allowed in the delivery room when everything is going on but Brady was content to sit in Casey’s lap the entire time and just to check in on Mama from time to time.
My mom asked the nurse at one point if she had ever delivered a baby and the nurse said she hadn’t because it was too much extra paperwork. Once things got to a certain point and the baby’s head was putting so much pressure on me and putting me in so much pain, the only option was to bare down and make it through the “ring of fire” so we could get things over with. The nurse asked me to stop when we were at this point but I told her no and just kept going which meant she had to deliver the baby because the doctor didn’t return in time. (The nurse also told me that I should tell people I delivered naturally since my epidural got cancelled out due to the epinephrine.) Because of this (inexperienced nurse delivery and it apparently being against policy), instead of receiving an episiotomy and the baby sliding more easily into the world I tore along the episiotomy line I had from Brady and ended up with another 2nd degree with other lacerations I didn’t find out about until after I got home that hurt worse than the episiotomy (ouch!). I really wish that the hospitals here trained their nurses as well as my mom was trained (in emergency deliveries and episiotomies) because then I wouldn’t have minded that a nurse had delivered my baby. I’m also quite certain I would have had a completely different birthing experience had I been delivered by my doctor instead of the on call doctor.
At 7:08pm on 2/27/12, Colby Jade Tomlinson came into the world at 19 inches, weighing 6 pounds 6 ounces. Colby received an 8 and a 9 on her APGARS and while I was worried that she didn’t cry right away, she was doing ok and just checking things out. After briefly checking her out I was allowed to hold her and nurse her.
My mom had to continually remind the doctors that I was banking the cord blood and it’s a good thing she did because they almost forgot. That’s not something you get a do over on! The on call doctor and my mom both commented on the appearance of the umbilical cord. What should have had a gelatinous appearance was thinning and drying. I guess the body really does know when it’s time to deliver the baby (once again). The doctor (not even the on call OB but a male doctor who only came in and cut the cord – I’m wondering if he wasn’t just walking by or the closest doc that could be found) assured us that the cord blood looked good and there was plenty of blood for a sample. I found out on 3/7 that the sample of the blood and tissue looked great. The Cord Blood Registry considers at least 1 million cells a good sample and Colby’s had 979 million (almost a billion cells!). I’m really excited about that especially since she was a preemie.
Because Brady had only slept briefly, my parents decided to take her back to the house and Casey went to get me dinner before Mighty Fine closed since I hadn’t had anything since breakfast. (It’s a good thing I chose that day to indulge my cravings and eat four donuts for the first time, otherwise I don’t know how I would have lasted.) While Casey was gone they came to take Colby to the nursery for her first bath and to be assessed. Unfortunately no one was there to go with her and they didn’t offer to let me go or I would have. Instead I spent the time texting everyone with the good news!
Colby was born at 36 weeks 4 days from my LMP or 36 weeks 2 days based on ovulation. My doctor’s office only asked for LMP so according to them she was 36 weeks 4 days. I’m just relieved I made it as long as I did and Colby avoided a NICU stay, although because she was born before 37 weeks (I think 37 completed weeks, so 38 weeks) she was given special attention and her blood sugar was monitored and her weight was more closely scrutinized. I did have a brief scare when one of the pediatrician’s suggested she might have to stay in the hospital for an extra few days but she got to leave the hospital on Wednesday (two days after delivery) with me. It was such a great feeling being able to leave the hospital WITH my baby this time!