Background: My pregnancy with Jack was a lot less eventful than my pregnancy with Max. I still am not a fan of being pregnant, but it definitely helped the know a little more about what to expect especially when it comes to my liver. I did develop cholestasis again this time, but my numbers only reached 18 at the highest (compared to Max’s 144). However, the procedure with cholestasis is to induce between 36 and 37 weeks no matter what the numbers (as long as they are above 10) because numbers can change rapidly at the end of pregnancy and increase the stillbirth risk. I think because Max was living in SUCH a crazy liver environment, he came early on his own and, probably due to the stress, managed to be totally ready to come even though he was only 36 weeks, 2 days. Jack, on the other hand, had to be evicted at 37 weeks when he was not really ready and, well… read on ;)
Monday November 21st 9:30am (yes, this is a multi day birth story…)- Eric and I arrive at the hospital for my scheduled induction. I was anxious about how it would go after my experience of going into labor on my own with Max and having it be a very fast process. At about 9:45am, they checked to see if I was dilated at all and since I wasn’t, they gave me a medicine called Cyotec which softens the cervix to get it ready for labor. You can take this medicine every 4 hours, but when they checked me again my contractions were frequent enough that they didn’t want to give me more and instead wanted to wait it out and see if I would go into labor on my own. This went on for hours. Eric and I watched Friends DVDs, Caroline came to visit… I continued to have contractions every minute or two, but they really weren’t doing much.
Sometime around 6PM, they decided they needed to help me manually dilate. They do this by inserting something called a foley balloon into the cervix. For some reason this “balloon” thing made me more concerned than any other part of the induction process. We joked a lot that maybe the word “balloon” was bad PR. Anyway, when you are trying to get a baby out for medical reasons, you don’t really get to say that doesn’t sound fun. It took 3 annoying times to put that dang balloon in, and then the only way I could describe it was it felt like I needed to go to the bathroom SO badly, but couldn’t. That lovely feeling continued all night long. Seriously people, don’t have kids.
Tuesday January 22nd
I watched the clock closely for the time when I could finally take that stupid balloon out, which was around 6AM. At that point I was 4 centimeters dilated and they decided it was time for the Picotin. I think Picotin has the worst reputations when it comes to inductions because supposedly it makes contractions hurt more. I’m happy to report I have no idea if this is true because I immediately asked for an epidural. I could tell they were a little hesitant to give it right away but I was already so done at this point and didn’t forget how long it took to actually get the dang pain relief with Max so I was like just give it now. The epidural itself was annoying this time, as they had to stick me THREE times before it was right. By this point I was SO sick of being poked and just wanted this baby to come. My only positive thought was that my own doctor was working that day so I was hoping she would be able to deliver me. This is pretty rare when you go to a huge hospital in Boston, so I was thankful. I also had the best nurse ever who came on at 7am.
I couldn’t feel contractions at this point and the monitor just kept looking THE SAME but thankfully the next time they checked me I was at 8 centimeters. Have I mentioned my undying love for the epidural? My water still had not broken, but the baby’s head was not far enough down to manually do it, so we kept waiting. Eventually they broke my water and then it was time to push. My memory of pushing with Max was that it was really hard, but also not too miserable of an experience (pain relief talking). This time I was just SO DONE before I started that I was like I don’t even care how fast this goes and if I have another tear, just get this baby out. Fortunately, it only took 19 minutes of pushing and he was out.
Since he did not pass meconium, he was allowed to be placed right on me at birth. I held him for a minute but he was not doing a very impressive cry and was “very floppy” (according to the nurses), so they had to take him and see what was going on. I only got one more quick glance at him and he was whisked off to the NICU. Eric followed him and I stayed to get stitched up. I did have another third degree tear, despite my doctor’s best efforts, in the exact same place as before. But by some miracle the stitching process took less than half the time as last time and was far less miserable. Recovery has also been significantly better, so I'm going to credit my doctor for just making this a less miserable process all around. Or, am I just getting used to tearing my body up to have children?
Overall, the experience of Jack's labor and the immediate time afterwards was more challenging in a lot of ways. But, it was also easier having been through it before in some ways. One of the nurses warned me that after Jack came back from the NICU I might have a hard time bonding with him because of the separation. Luckily, this didn't happen and I think it's partly because Jack looks so much like Max to me!
I'll be back later this week with a two week update about my favorite baby!