So I think I told you guys that I went into labor on Halloween, right? I had been having contractions since 2 am or so, woke Dan up at 5:30, and was at the hospital by 6 am. Luckily my sister took the kids. When I got to the hospital they told me I was 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I think I had been 3.5 cm in the office a few days before, so a little progress. But the contractions just kept getting further and further apart, and they kept saying that his head was way high up, so they just left there to progress. By 2 pm I hadn't progressed since the morning, so the doctor sent me home. I was still 2.5 weeks from my due date (November 16th) so they didn't want to break my water or give me pitocin.
That whole week:
Dan had to go out of town. He was due back Friday night. I kept having contractions, mostly in the middle of the night. So I was super tired and super grumpy.
Thursday, November 4:
At the doctor's appointment I still hadn't progressed. But the doctor thought I wouldn't go too much longer. You never know, though.
At 8 pm I had one short but really strong contraction and knew/hoped that I would have the baby within the next 24 hours.
Friday, November 5:
I slept a bit, but at 1 or 2 am started having hard, steady contractions about 10 minutes apart. I was kind of worried I wasn't really in labor because of Halloween, so I wasn't sure when to call everyone. At 4:45 I called Dan and told him to get on a plane to come home. He thought he could make it by 10 am, but I didn't think that was soon enough. Luckily he found a flight that would get him to the hospital by 8 am.
I called my sister next and she came over to take me to the hospital. Then I called a friend to come over, stay with the boys, and take them to school.
6 am - We got to the hospital. I just kept praying that I was really in labor and that they wouldn't send me home again. When I got to checked in, the nurse told me that I was a 5 +, a bit more effaced, and that she was keeping me. (She also told me that she was appalled that they'd sent me home the Sunday before. Thank you.)
7 am - The anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural. It took an hour and he had to poke me 4 or 5 times. That has never happened. I got a bit worried in the middle of it that I wouldn't get an epidural and started crying. But finally he got it in the right spot and it started working its magic. I called my mom to catch the next plane. She was there shortly after the kids got home from school. I called another friend to take Luke. And I called another friend to pick the kids up from school. All 6 people I called were there and did just what I needed. So helpful.
8 am - My friend at home called to tell me Charlie was refusing to go to school. He was throwing one of those uber tantrums where he can't be bargained with. Luckily Dan was only a few minutes from the hospital and went home to get Charlie on his way and then got to the hospital.
8:30 am - Dan got there. What a relief. Jamie had been there the whole time, which was really nice. But it was such a relief that Dan would make it for the birth.
9:00 am - The nurse suspected that the baby's head wasn't down. It had been down for the last several months, but she didn't think it was anymore. Turns out, after doing an ultrasound, that the head was on the side. The baby was transverse (sideways). They called the doctor to come check it out. When he got there he tried moving the baby around (thankfully I couldn't feel any of it because of the epidural). He got his head down and did another ultrasound. But baby's hand was above his head and also the cord was in the way.
I didn't know that you can't deliver a baby if the cord is in the way. Or you can, but it can cause serious complications like brain damage because the cord gets crushed and the baby doesn't get what he needs. When a hand is in the way, sometimes they can pinch it to get the baby to pull it back, but if the baby's delivered with his hand up, it can cause permanent nerve damage to the shoulder. Not to mention a lot of pain to the mother.
Basically - the doctor told us we could try for a regular delivery, but we'd probably end up doing an emergency C-section. No one really wants an emergency C-section. I could tell he didn't really want to have to do a C-section at all, but that it was the safest thing for the baby. We all agreed we'd do the C-section. At this point I was dilated to an 8 and they wanted to get going so my water didn't break on it's own and push everything the way they didn't want it going.
10:00 ish - All ready for the C-section. The doctor did the normal cut (horizontal). He went in to grab the baby and he couldn't get him out because I had some strange band of muscle around my uterus that contracted and got so tight he couldn't get the baby out. So he had to make another cut - but vertical this time. He tried to get the baby out again, couldn't, and had to make that second cut longer. So basically my uterus has a cut the shape of an upside down T. Luckily my stomach and skin only got the first, horizontal cut. It was kind of scary for about a minute, but then the baby was born. He was blue and not breathing, but that only lasted a short time and he was crying. I think his first apgar score was a 1 or a 0. I think his second score was better.
And there you have it. That's how we got Henry here. He was 1 1/2 weeks early and my smallest baby.
p.s. Later on the doctor told me he hasn't had to make a vertical cut in a very long time. He also said he'd never seen a band of muscle like that during delivery - only very rarely when delivering the afterbirth. So that was weird, I guess. He also said that it's much more risky for me to ever get pregnant again. If I do, I couldn't go into labor, or I'd probably split that vertical cut, and bleed horribly. Because of that, I'd have to deliver fairly early by C-section. And then I'd have to get an amniocentesis to check that the baby's lungs were developed enough to be born. Sounds a bit too scary for me.