At 4:30 am I was still laboring unassisted, and my nurses told me they weren’t sure we would actually start pitocin because of baby’s “unreactive strip” (the lack of variabilities). They started prepping me mentally for the possibility of a c-section, saying we would wait until my doctor came in at 8. A lot of reasons for his intolerance of labor were being thrown around, from possible meconium (poo, if you don’t know) in the amniotic fluid, to my “old placenta.” (Sidenote: having someone talk about your “old placenta” is a strangely intense shot to the ego. Like, sorry my placenta didn’t get Botox or a nice chemical peel before we checked in!)
My doctor walked in at 8, and she was just a total breath of fresh air after a stressful night. She was optimistic, felt like baby had been improving throughout the early morning, and wanted to break my water to pick my labor back up. She checked and I had dilated to 4 cm on my own, so she broke my water and decided we would try to begin pitocin at 10am if he continued to fare well. Things were, quite literally, night and day. Everyone was cheery, the nurses said things were looking better, and we all knew that it was Baby Day no matter what.
By 10 am, baby was still tolerating labor well and we began pitocin. I will tell you that I would not say pitocin is my most favorite thing ever. I head read enough birth stories to know it sucked, but it sucked. I had been in labor for over 12 hours at this point, but was powering through the contractions without pain management. When they started the pit, though? GIVE ME THAT EPIDURAL. I don’t think I lasted an hour before I asked them to place it, because hell no. I’ll spare you the details of the epidural because it was horrible (I was numbed three times and it took two tries to place it, so there’s that), but once that sucker was in I was the happiest person in the hospital. I probably said “epidurals are the best invention ever” at least a dozen times. We were good to go.
Until 3 pm. We started having decels and another unreactive strip, and they took me off the pitocin again. Things improved, they put me back on pit at 4, and then took me off again at 4:30. Up, down, up, down. The last 24 hours had just been vacillating between going great and going badly and we were all exhausted. They checked me and I was only dilated to a 5, 1 cm more than I was at 8am, and I just wasn’t progressing like the baby needed me to.
My wonderful doctor sat down on my bed, laid her hand on my leg, and said that we had worked very hard. I began sobbing. Aside from a little panic during the epidural I hadn’t cried the entirety of labor, but I was exhausted, emotional, a little relieved, and just done. She started talking me through what a c-section would look like, and we all agreed that it was the safest thing for our sweet baby. My doctor was supposed to get off at 5 and pick her kids up from daycare, but she stayed late to see us through it. By 5:15 I was being wheeled into the operating room, and at 5:41, after over 18 hours of labor, I heard my baby cry for the first time.
They tell you that once your baby is born you forget the hardship of labor and delivery, and it’s the truth. They weighed him, cleaned him up, and a minute later Hunter brought our perfect little boy to me behind the curtain. He was so alert and so healthy! In my mind I know what was happening on the other side of the curtain, but locking eyes with Will was the only thing I remember. They stitched me up and wheeled me back to our room, and we were officially a family of 3.
After all of the hubub, he wasn’t as big as predicted. Baby Will clocked in at 8 pounds, 9.7 oz, and was 20.75 inches long. He had wispy brown hair, a perfect little nose, and the longest, grippy monkey toes you’ll ever see. He scored an 8 and 9 on his apgar score and was declared a perfectly healthy little dude. In the end they weren’t sure why he wasn’t tolerating labor well (no meconium and he wasn’t as big as expected), but it didn’t matter to me. He was here.
Today, he is a perfect, chubby 7 (almost 8 now!) week old. He eats like a champ (there was a learning curve, admittedly), loves to stand up with a little assistance, and enjoys projectile pooping on Hunter mid-diaper change. He smiles when he’s happy, is working on laughing, and just generally turns us all into a bunch of cooing, grinning blobs of goo because he’s just so darn sweet. I don’t remember life before him, I really don’t. Whatever it was like, it certainly wasn’t as rich as this.