Birth Story Part IV: Jack’s Arrival

About 20 minutes before we started pushing, Daniel left to go get interviewed by the Chattanooga Chanel 9 News. They were doing a feature on 11-11-11 and we made their list since we were having our baby {naturally – no induction} on 11-11-11. 

While Daniel was gone, my nurse and sister started getting ready for me to push. Once Daniel came back to our room my nurse told me what to expect and how to push. Then she placed my legs in the stirrups and had Angela and Daniel stand on either side of the bed so that they would be ready to help me push.  

As soon as a contraction started, I was to take a deep breath in and then push with all of my might while holding my breath for a 10 count. Once we reached 10 I was supposed to take another breath and do it again. We would do it 3 times for each contraction. While I pushed, Angela and Daniel each helped to pull my legs toward my body.  

All I can say is that labor is tough work. Initially I was struggling to hold my breath for each 10 count. At one point my nurse even stopped me from pushing and lectured me on the fact that if I didn’t do it like she said I was going to have to have a c-section. This helped somewhat, but it was still hard.

Eventually I got angry at all three of them for forgetting to count – I really needed something to focus on and when they forgot to count it was infuriating. I even yelled that one of them better start counting. Also, I am pretty sure that Angela’s 10-counts were much longer than 10 seconds because they were prefaced with, “You’re doing great… You can do it… Keep pushing… One… Two… Three… ect.” Let me tell you, those extra phrases made me feel like I was going to pass out!

After about 15 minutes we had made some decent progress and Jack had dropped down to a +2 station. I naively thought we would be done soon. We kept pushing and I started to struggle. I could feel that Jack was crowning, but it didn’t seem to be enough. I had been awake for 30+hours, had not eaten in 19 hours and had nothing to drink in at least 8 hours.

After 45 minutes of pushing my OB came in and took a look. She discovered that Jack’s head was turned sideways which was making it difficult for him to descend further in my pelvis. She could also tell that I was reaching the point of exhaustion and there was concern that if I didn’t push him out soon, he was going to start suffering from distress. She offered two options to me: option one was to use forceps; option two was to use a vacuum to assist me.

Angela really thought she should go with the vacuum, but my OB said she was very proficient with the forceps and that it would be faster. Daniel didn’t want me to do either. But at that point I felt like I couldn’t take it for much longer. I was going to have to push with either option and I didn’t want to waste what little energy I had and then not be able to finish.

Daniel kept telling me that I could do it and I would do it, and I kept telling him and the nurses that I was done and I couldn’t do it. It was a hard conversation to have, especially with the doctor sitting a foot away and a room full of nurses. I finally convinced Daniel that I needed the baby out NOW and we agreed to let our OB try the forceps.

She started by giving me localized shots in the birth canal since my epidural had weakened. Then she used her hands to manually turn Jack’s head so that it would be easier for him to come out. Once his head was turned, she took the forceps and tried to insert them around his head. Unfortunately {thankfully} the forceps wouldn’t fit around his head. So we moved on to Plan B.

During all of this I became incredibly calm. I am not sure where this calm came from because prior to the decision to have an assisted forceps or vacuum birth I was really starting to lose it – crying and arguing with Angela and Daniel that I couldn’t do it. Realistically if I hadn’t been in such good shape I don’t think I would have been able to push Jack out.

The vacuum turned out to be a fairly small disc that she applied to Jack’s head. We pushed through 2 contractions and his head was out! During the next contraction I had to hold off pushing while my OB cut the cord from his neck. Then I pushed him out. It was a pretty amazing experience. 18.5 hours of labor and 1.5 hours of pushing and baby Jack was welcomed into the world.

Once he was out, our OB let Daniel trim the umbilical cord closer to his body. Jack cried briefly as he was whisked away by a nurse to get assessed. 

Angela took lots of pictures. I think Daniel wasn’t sure what he should do. I was getting stitches {my first ever} for a 2nd degree tear and Daniel stayed close by to me for moral support, but I told him that he should go and see Jack.
Jack’s apgar scores were 7 and 8. It turned out that he had a fever immediately following birth, but it quickly resolved (and they didn’t tell us this till the next day). About 15 minutes after birth, the nurses finally handed Jack to me. He was perfect with humongous eyes that observed everything. My sister took a picture and texted our families. My father-in-law later mentioned that we had a thoroughly modern baby because he got to see his grandson in the waiting room on his phone before he got to see him in person.

We took time to feed Jack and then invited Daniel’s family to come in to meet the newest member of our family.

Jack’s birth wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, but he is here and that is all that matters. Daniel and I are both in love with our little boy. Every 6lbs 12 oz and 21 inches of him. We are truly blessed.

Shortly after Jack’s birth Daniel said something about when we had our next kid… At the time I was so traumatized that I secretly thought that he was crazy and that there was NO WAY that I would EVER go through this again. However 12 days later the experience is becoming a distant memory. And while I can’t imagine having another baby any time in the near future, I am OK with the possibility of having another baby some day. Strange how your mind forgets the painful parts. 


Birth Story Part I, Part II, Part III

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