January 15th took forever to arrive, and even when it came, the day moved even slower. The doctors told us to call at 8:00 am and they would let us know when they had a bed for us. It was nice to have some control over our delivery date, but goodness waiting for the green light was stressful. Finally, at 2:00 pm they were ready for us and off to the hospital we went, driving through the flurries of snow. I took one last look back at my house and knew the next time we came back it would be with our daughter, at least that’s what I thought.
When we arrived at the hospital, we continued to wait. Caliyah’s heart rate was too inconsistent to give me Pitocin (medication used to cause contractions) and the foley bulb together. They said the combination is more effective to induce labor than just doing one at a time. After three hours of her heart rate going from 140 to 90 back up to 140, we decided to skip the medicine and strictly do the bulb. They felt that she might not respond well to the medication, and it would take longer to remove it from my system, making it too risky to start with.
Instead, at 6:30 pm, we inserted the foley bulb, which would take me from being 1cm dilated (yes, I was already dilated before arriving) to 4cm once removed. It involves inserting a foley catheter into the cervix to help it dilate, to trick my body into labor. The bulb did its job, and my contractions hit hard around 10:00 pm, and the only thing she loved was when I walked, so circles I did with my IV cart. I must have walked 20 laps, and every 5 minutes, an intense contraction would hit for 30 seconds and then back to walking again. Finally, it was time to take the foley bulb out. They did so and told me that I was 4 cm dilated, but Caliyah was still sitting pretty high.
Next up on our action plan was for my water to break and then give me Pitocin. The doctors started to share the various ways they could manually break my water; all the options didn’t sound appealing. They left to get their tools to break my water, and all of a sudden, I felt a big gush of water rush down my leg. Caliyah continued to show us that she had her own plans throughout my delivery. My water breaking on its own was great news, but it also had a brown color to it, meaning she had her first bowel movement in my womb. The fact that we were already worried about her breathing made the doctors extremely concerned that this could be impacting her negatively. At this point, the energy in the room shifted. The doctor left and then came back with a new doctor as they approached me and said they felt once it was time to push that I should head to the operating room and deliver there. I thought here we go with another change that required me to adapt and adjust. I asked why and they shared that it was highly possible she would need assistance breathing due to our earlier ultrasounds pictures and felt that the BM might indicate her being stressed. They also wanted to have more room and their specialty equipment nearby to help her.
After that conversation, the doctors checked me, and I was still 4 cm dilated, but Caliyah was a -1 fetal station in my pelvis. For those who don’t know, -5 is the highest station and means the baby is sitting high, as the cervix becomes more dilated, the baby descends, and once she gets to +2, we would start pushing.
So back to the birth story, the doctors shared with me that if her descent down my pelvis didn’t progress at a good pace, then it could mean her head got stuck due to the abnormal shape, and that would result in an emergency c- section. This, coupled with my water being a brown color, resulted in more checks and worried-looking doctors coming in and out of my room. I was determined to keep moving forward, knowing that Caliyah would make it very clear if this was too much for her. At this point, the contractions hit an all-time high. I was doing my best to hold off on the epidural for as long as possible. I knew that getting an epidural meant I would be stuck in the bed, and I felt that walking and gravity would be in my best interest to get her to drop.
I had received the Pitocin around 9:00 am, and it was upsetting my stomach. I threw up multiple times, as a new shift of doctors came to introduce themselves, I welcomed them with my head buried in a throw-up bag. They assured me that throwing up meant the medicine was working, but it just made me feel miserable. At this point, my husband started playing our delivery playlist and rubbing my back. I had finally had enough. I ordered my last meal, toast with peanut butter and bacon, random, right? And called the doctors to get my epidural ready. Luckily the epidural went smoothly, and the pain eased 30 minutes later. I could still feel my contractions, but the pain went from 8 to 2. I laid in bed, and my parents rejoined us.
Throughout the next few hours, Caliyah kept showing the doctors that she was determined to enter this world on her own accord. The doctors kept trying to set expectations, saying this could take me 5+ hours for me to get to 10 cm. At 12:30 pm, I was at 5 cm and at a -1 fetal positions by the next time they checked me at 2:30 pm, I was 10 cm dilated and at +2 fetal position. I will never forget the look on their faces. The doctor didn’t believe it, so she called another doctor to double-check. She looked at us and said,” Falesha, its time to push!”
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