This is probably going to be a long one, to help me process it more.
The induction was planned to start on 1/29, w/the application of cervidil. I had been at 2cm for a bit, and almost a full 3cm for not quite a week. Knowing my history, the cervidil should have helped dilate me a bit more, then the plan was to break my water once I was around 6cm or so, then things would move quickly. I was awake at 5am on 1/29, thanks to DH's snoring, so I'd only had maybe 4-5hrs sleep. (nerves) DD#1 and I got to the Birthing Center just before 8am, after stopping to get some fruit to add to our snacks and coffee to get my day started. They monitored Elvis for about 30mins, then placed the cervidil at 9:15am. A good surro-friend of mine came around 9:30am or so, as she was going to do photos for us and help DD#1 as my labor support. DH and DD#2 arrived around 10:45am or so, after church, as they were supposed to help occupy my IP's 2 1/2yr old DD. My IP's and their DD arrived around 11am or so. Introduced everyone to each other, visited a bit and after being checked and disappointed that I was only up to 3 1/2cm, we sent everyone to lunch, but my friend stayed w/me.
I spent time on the birthing ball, HOPING that it would help, but we kept having issues w/Elvis staying on the monitor. We decided to start making laps around the Birthing Center, and joked about doing lunges and such. Well, that ended when I kept peeing myself! It didn't help that it would cause me to start laughing, and then peeing myself more. Now, previous experience, I KNOW what cervidil feels like for me, when it starts working. Like I'm getting a yeast infection. My friend would ask me if my vagina was feeling yeasty or not yet, so then I'd kind of move around funny and be like "Nope....not even remotely!" I figured that it was still working it's magic and that just maybe, it wouldn't feel the same. During this time, everyone came back. DH and my girls were teaching 1 of my IP's how to play UNO, they did some magic card tricks and my girls (well, DD#2 anyway) let their DD give her a make-over w/the make-up we took for her. (she's not allowed snacks, but she can play w/make-up. LOL!) There was SOOOOOO much laughter going on, you would have thought it was a party! Around 6pm I was checked again, and no cervical change. Talked w/my Dr and we decided we'd give it another maybe hour, and then break my water. I REALLY hoped I'd be at least at a 5, because I knew we'd move fast then. Well, just before 7pm, I was NOT a 5. Still about 3 1/2cm, but what the hell...break my water! 7pm we broke my water and there was very mild meconium staining. I had the experience w/my DS#1, but he was a fast birth and all went well. This time I was a bit concerned, but my Dr said it was just barely noticeable, so she wasn't overly concerned. We decided to go walking more, but you know....leaking?? Put a big diaper pad on and off we went. She would say something that would just hit me right, and I'd start LOLing, and there went the flood gates, so I'd laugh more. At one point I was back in my room and standing there w/my legs more than shoulder width apart, towel between my feet, and freaking Niagra Falls going full force down both legs and straight down. I was already laughing pretty hard and couldn't catch my breath, when 1 of my IP's came walking in. The look of horror on his face just sent me right over the edge! I was, no exaggeration, crying full tears because I could NOT stop laughing!!! Couldn't catch my breath and both my friend and the nurse were dying as well. I wish to God we had caught the whole thing on video!! I was in tears from laughing hard several times, which of course helps when you're frustrated because things aren't going as you assumed, based on history.
By 9pm, I was only at 5-6cm and not really seeing a lot of positive progress. Contractions were irregular, I was laughing and joking through everything, to which I told them was not acceptable and things needed to "get real", so that I knew we were moving the right direction. At this point my Dr recommended starting pitocin, which while it was not something I wanted to deal with, I understood why. The only real issue I had was the IV. I begged her to do it as IM shots, nasal spray, let me drink it....ANYTHING other than IV. Yeah, not happening. Pitocin was started just after 9pm at a '2', and increased '2' every 40mins. I was starting to feel those contractions after they hit '4', and would have to actually stop to breath through them. I finally looked to be just over 9cm and was ok'd to try and push through the last little bit. I never felt like I needed to push, but wanted to try anyway. (DH had taken DD#2 home by now and was back to help w/my IP's DD....but spent the vast majority cracking jokes about me taking my time and people had things to do. Did NOT help my mental state in any way, but really just made me want to cry, because I felt like I was letting everyone down. I know he meant to be "funny", but it sure wasn't to me at that time) I labored w/the birthing bar, over the back of the bed, squatting, side-lying...every position I'd ever heard about! Nothing was helping get him out though. When I would push, they could see his head, but then he would go from a +2 back to a +1. I decided to take a break at that point, when I felt a really "odd" sensation. My Dr checked me again and said I went from complete to 7cm!! WTH??? She pulled in the portable U/S and discovered that not only did he change positions so that he was now posterior (sunny-side up), he had slipped back BEHIND my cervix (causing the 7cm) and had a hand sort of on the side of his face towards the top. Because of this and him showing occasional signs of distress, the decision was made to stop the pit and give both of us a rest. He wouldn't stay on the monitor, so they put a fetal scalp monitor on him, which is a really creepy feeling when he would turn his head!
My Dr consulted w/another (we had a 2nd Dr present when I was pushing the 1st time, so that he could step in w/immediate suctioning due to the meconium, etc) because Elvis was showing signs of stress again, and they were worried it had to do w/the lack of fluid by this point, and that it may be compressing his cord. They did an amnio-infusion where they insert a catheter through the cervix, past his head, to the top of the uterus, and allow gravity to flow a room temp bolus of saline into the uterus. That immediately helped reduce the distress!! Now, when they started this, they also put in a catheter that measures uterine pressure from contractions. I didn't realize this part. Every damn contraction I would get the creepiest sensation, where it felt like he was spinning the catheters around w/his hand, like when you stir a drink or something. Was such a creepy feeling, it made me super nauseous!! I just wanted them out. I could tolerate the contractions, but these sensations were so distracting, I was struggling to stay focused. By 6am though, I was mentally prepared for a c-section and was trying to figure out how to ask about it. I also was really interested in drugs at this point, but every time I'd start to ask, I'd get a contraction and forget what it was I wanted to ask at the end of it! Everyone else had napped a bit, other than my friend and myself. Now....talk about guilt!! My friend is a nurse and has been taking classes to add on to her degree. She had a test at 9am Monday morning, yet she was still here w/me and no sleep!!! I wanted desperately to make her go home and get some rest, (I did say something at least once to her) but guiltily I wanted her to stay forever! She had to leave at 7am, then not long after, DH decided to go home and get some sleep. DD#1 napped off and on during the night, but I wanted her to rest as much as she could. (I called and left a msg for the school around midnight, that she would be absent due to the birth) My Dr came back in just before 10am and said that Elvis was super happy at that point, and she'd like to start a 1/2 dose of pit to stimulate contractions, to see if it would change anything. If not, we'd have to reevaluate. By that, I knew she meant c-section. I WANTED to tell her "Let's go NOW!!!", but I was so exhausted and emotional, all I could do was nod. She checked and I was 7-8cm, started the pit again, and w/in 5mins I was "pushy". I'd had a nurse by my bedside since 7am, and she was surprised at how fast I hit that point from restarting the pit. She told me to try and blow through it and she'd get my Dr back in to reassess. My Dr watched me through 2 contractions, and each time I had to push. She checked me again and I was over 9cm!! That fast after restarting the pit!! Everyone was ready, one of my IP's was in the room (the other is squeamish and decided to stay w/their DD. My DH was still in bed at home) and my DD#1 started waking up. She was pretty groggy, but I told her if she didn't want to miss it, she needed to get up. I was on my right side w/the nurse holding my leg up, and it was "ok" for a bit, but I really wanted to flip back onto my back, but couldn't. As soon as 1 contraction ended, the next began and it was all I could do to concentrate on that.
I don't remember how many pushes it took, but he was out in about 5mins. When he came out, he was still sunny-side up w/his hand near his face, but we learned the real reason why I was having so many issues. His cord was wrapped around his head. It started behind 1 ear w/that ear bent forward, up across his forehead and behind the other ear. It left a deep indentation into his forehead from being so compressed in there. We believe that he flipped posterior and put his hand where it was, in an attempt at self-preservation and trying to move the cord off of his own head, and that by flipping, it helped relieve the pressure just enough. My Dr said she's seen cords wrapped around the necks a lot, but never around the head as this little guy's was. When he came out, because of the cord and his hand, I have a significant "skid mark" (big enough to @#$@#%@#$ HURT still 6 days later, but not big enough to need a stitch), but otherwise no tears or other concerns. I was able to deliver him vaginally w/no pain-meds, but a host of other interventions. Where the IV was is still significantly bruised still, but at least it doesn't hurt.
I've read a comment in a FB group that, because of my history w/that person off and on, I'm not sure if it was a "dig" at me or not, but I will say that while I do always "prefer" a vaginal delivery, I did NOT "push" for that w/this birth. My Dr came in and said that her and the other Dr were doing everything they could for a vaginal delivery, which was why they did the interventions that they did, but I had already accepted and was fine w/the idea of a c-section. For me, all that matters is that baby makes it out safe and healthy and it doesn't matter if it's via a vaginal delivery or c-section.
Elvis is now baby Tommy and just cute as a dickens! Official stats are:
Born on 1/30/17 at 10:11am
19" long, 13" head
Parents are over the moon happy, big sister is adjusting really well. I tried nursing him in the Birthing Center for them, but he only really latched and nursed really well a few times. I started trying to pump in the Birthing Center and am pumping at home for them, but I'm getting very little, especially when compared to how I did w/surrobabe#1. Not sure if it's due to age, how long it's been since I last pumped for milk, the trauma of the labor/birth or my feelings regarding the labor/birth. I will continue to try my best while they are here, but he DOES have a significant amt of donor milk on hand.
I'm a mixed bag w/how I'm doing. I've been having back spasms, which are more linked to pumping and physical activity, so I don't walk fast and try not to do a lot of walking or other activity to over do it. My "skid mark" stings horribly when I have to pee, to the point it brings tears, so I have a gel I apply that also helps numb it slightly. My weight went from 179lbs on 1/26 to 163lbs on 2/2, which was great! I've found that I don't have much of an appetite still, but that's common for me after all of my births. Usually takes me a week or 2 before it comes back. (personal and surro births) Emotionally I'm still all over the place. If someone asks me about my IP's, the baby, etc, I'm fine. I'm thrilled to see them altogether and am fine that this is my last pg ever. If they ask me about the birth or the labor, I lose my shit and the tears come. As stupid as it sounds, and as stupid as I know it really is, I feel like I let them down, as well as my own family, the nurses and my Dr, because of all of the interventions that were needed, how LOOOOOOOOOONG it all took, and for the anxiety I know my IP's were going though. I ran my mouth from the very beginning about how the labor and birth would go. *In my defense*, all of my labors/births have followed a specific pattern, and I *ass*umed that this one would be the same. I didn't even acknowledge that all pg's are different/all labors and births can be different, etc. I went straight to "This is exactly how it will progress because this is ALWAYS how it's gone in the past for me." The ring that I got for Tommy I even had engraved w/1-29-17 because I *KNEW* he would be born on the 29th since we were inducing and this is how my inductions go....blahblahblah. I was cocky and adamant about it and never entertained the thought or idea that things wouldn't go exactly how I expected it to. I would tell my IP's how you have to be flexible when it comes to labor/birth, but I was still rigidly expecting it to go the way it always has. I'm disappointed in myself at how long it went, even though I know there was a very specific reason (his cord around his head and him flipping to face a more difficult way for delivering) for it. Hell, I delivered DD#1 at 9lbs 5oz sunny-side up w/a nuchal hand next to her ear, waving at the Dr as she came out (literally!!), in less than 1 1/2hrs from 1st contraction to head out!! I'm frustrated at myself for having been up over 30hrs before he was finally delivered, because I just couldn't bring myself to try and sleep just a little for some unknown reason. (pride? punishment? penance? being stupid?) Every negative thought or feeling I have regarding the labor is directed at myself, and I just haven't been able to let it go yet. Things that I've been told I should be proud about, aren't things I feel are a big deal, other than Tommy was born safe and healthy. It's all so damn stupid that I can't just let go the things I know I couldn't control and be happy w/everything. I'm proud of having helped this family and feel blessed at what little I'm able to do now. I wouldn't change anything about this journey (ok, well maybe I'd change the getting such late notice about breast milk and stressing so hard in my search for it for them) and couldn't have picked a better family to be my final family for being a surrogate. And I know that eventually I will have processed the labor to the point that I can accept it and not tear up when talking or thinking about it. All things will look and feel a bit differently as time passes and I know that I will be alright. It's just the working through it at this point.
Thank all of you for the love, support and encouragement over this last journey. It has been greatly appreciated and never taken for granted. As I move on to "retirement" from carrying, I look forward to offering the same to everyone else and still remaining actively involved in surrogacy in the future.Pics will be added soon too....