Well, I'm finally sitting down to write Gavin's birth story out. The truth is, I have been meaning to do this for weeks now, and I even took lots of notes in my pregnancy journal in the days after his birth about all of the details of our story, but alas, as I sit here writing it out, I am at our family beach house with no book or notes. So, this will be my best account from memory.
If you followed along with my pregnancy journey, or follow me on Instagram, you already know that Gavin intended to give us a run for our money all along, and although his Momma predicted he would make an early arrival, he ended up coming via induction eight days late.
The story began at my 38 week appointment. After getting my first internal exam, the doctor told me I was 1cm dilated, and that was it. At the time, I thought that some progress was better than no progress, and assumed that things would change by the next week. Well, two 'sweeps' and two weeks later, at my 40 week/full term appointment, the only thing that had changed was that I had reached about 50% effacement. The doctor set an induction date for me, the following week on Tuesday evening, when I would be 'officially' 41 weeks, and I left the office feeling deflated. What is it about delivering late that makes a woman feel as though her body is doing something 'wrong?'
I tried almost everything that week. Long walks, spicy dinners, extra stairs, and a few other things that I won't name here. Nothing seemed to be working. As the days went by, we got closer to the dreaded 'induction day.' I will admit, it was the longest week of. my. life. Each day felt more like a week as I sat around hot, uncomfortable and lazy, just racking my brain and wondering if any of the symptoms I was feeling/having meant the big event would come early.
Once we got to Sunday (two days before the scheduled induction), I had all but given up on going into labor on my own, so I just did my best to relax and enjoy my husband, knowing an end was in sight.
The morning of my scheduled induction and hospital check-in I went back to my OB for one final ultrasound and a non-stress test to monitor the baby and any contractions I may be having. I was hooked up to the monitor for about 25 minutes, and after the nurse left the room, it started picking up contractions right away. But, these 'contractions' were the 'strong Braxton Hicks' I had been feeling for a week now. The doctor came in after the test was completed, checked me one more time and did my second sweep, and then sent me on my way and told me the plan was still intact. Check in to the hospital tonight at 6PM for Cervadil, followed by a Pitocin induction Wednesday morning.
The following six hours were a roller coaster of nerves, excitement, preparation... and more nerves.
We ended up checking in around 7:30PM because of a short delay. Once we were in the room, I got hooked back up to monitors, and they started a fluid line. And we waited. And waited. We had five nurses between 7PM and 7AM. The doctor that was on the night shift decided not to give me the Cervadil because I was contracting enough on my own, so they started the Pitocin early.
I was only on the lowest dose (a 2) for the first few hours, and then some time late that night, after B had fallen asleep, they switched the level up to a 4. At that point, I was feeling tired enough to try and get some sleep, so I rolled over onto my right side and closed my eyes. Within ten minutes, my nurse came in and told me they noticed decels in the baby's heart rate, and asked me to roll back onto my left side to see if that helped. Ten to twenty minutes later, and the nurse was back in, rolling me onto my back and passing me the oxygen mask because his heart rate was still low. My poor husband woke up to me wearing an oxygen mask and being poked by a nurse and doctor at about 1AM. They decided to give me a break from the Pitocin for the rest of the night, and just left me to get some rest until about 5AM.
When the new doctor came on for the morning shift, she decided to turn the Pitocin back on (since his heart rate had been great the rest of the night), and wanted my new nurse to up the level every 20-30 minutes. So, I was on a continual dose of Pitocin starting shortly after 5AM. When they checked me around 10:30 that morning my doctor suggested breaking my water within the next few hours as long as I was between 2-3cm dilated, which I was. They broke my water at 12:30PM. Up to this point, I had not gotten my epidural, and I was contracting pretty regularly, but I was not in any pain. The contractions still felt like strong, tightening Braxton Hicks for the most part. I could feel them coming and going, but they were not painful.
Once my water was broken, my contractions started coming closer together and got much more intense very quickly. Luckily, I had told my nurse that I wanted the epidural, so they were working on getting that started. I got my epidural by 2:30PM, and it was amazing. Honestly, I only had about one hour of what I would call 'hard labor' before it kicked in, but it worked great for us, and I was thankful and able to rest.
Around 4PM, my nurse checked me again (I had dilated to between 4-5cm by the time I got the epidural), and I was 10cm and ready to go. We were surprised! We thought for sure we had a few more hours to wait after how slowly things have moved up until then. That first hour was a total whirlwind. My nurse (who we had all day and was there for Gavin's birth) was amazing. She had me start practice pushing around 4:30, and suggested that it would probably be a few hours until he was born since my epi was fresh and it was my first baby.
All in all, I only pushed about twenty times total between 4:30 and 7:11PM when he was born. Since I was comfortable, they had me rest for 20-30 minutes at a time in between a few pushes. Once I started to feel a little bit of pressure, he was born within 30 minutes. I only pushed four times once the doctor came in. And, to top it off, my favorite doctor from my OB practice came on for the night shift right before Gavin was born.
So, although the entire thing took just about 24 hours, it felt much quicker. My labor and delivery were much easier and more enjoyable than I thought they would be, and I feel so lucky to have had the experience and the medical care that I received.
Gavin was born on Wednesday, July 31st at 7:11PM, weighing in at 7lbs. 8oz. and measuring 20 inches long. He was the perfect size, in my opinion, and I think the very first thing I said to B was how much he looked just like him!
These last five weeks have been a total whirlwind. Some days have been long, and some short. There have been tears, smiles, laughs, frustrations, victories and failures, but most of all, there has been love. Lots of it. Gavin is such a joy, and once I got a hold of my exhaustion, we were able to fall into a bit of a routine (I use that term loosely) at home, and I am really feeling more confident in my role as a Mommy the last week or so.
I feel truly blessed to be able to spend every day with him, watching him change, grow and become his own little person. Motherhood is truly an amazing thing, and I thank God that He has blessed us so immensely.