On Friday, November 9th (38w4d), we went to our O.B.’s office for our second fetal non-stress test (NST) of the week and weekly prenatal appointment, expecting to be done in ample time for Jeremy to drop me off back home and head to work on time. Owen had other plans, apparently — NST didn’t go so well, so we followed up with a biophysical profile (BPP) ultrasound. The ultrasound tech asked us how ready we were to have this baby and I thought she was just making conversation at first, but no, O.B. came in and told us Owen scored a zero on his BPP so it was time to get baby out.
Jeremy had joked for months that it would be cool if Owen arrived anytime from November 7th through November 10th, because then he’d either arrive the day before our wedding anniversary, on our anniversary (November 8th), on Jeremy’s birthday (November 9th), or the day after Jeremy’s birthday. Pretty funny then that we were induced on Jeremy’s birthday, no? Labor didn’t go quite fast enough for Owen to share his papa’s birthday, though, so we did wind up with a three-day stretch of family anniversaries.
Our O.B. inserted a Foley bulb catheter before we left the office to encourage further cervical dilation (I hadn’t made any further progress on my own since the week before, so still at about 3cm dilated). We headed downstairs to be admitted to the Family Maternity Center. Once admitted, we were shown to our room (last two digits of room number were 42, which I found geekily reassuring, as that’s the answer to life, the universe and everything), started I.V. fluids, first dose of antibiotics, and Pitocin to help establish a contraction pattern. I remained on Pitocin throughout labor, and received more antibiotics every few hours.
Owen appeared to be doing well at that point, so we were able to continue with labor and have a vaginal delivery — if he’d shown signs of distress, it would have been emergency C-section time. We had some difficulty tracking Owen’s heartrate externally, however, as he and I kept moving just enough to get his heart out of range of the external monitor, so my membranes were artificially ruptured and an internal fetal monitor was put in place. We also weren’t able to walk around the ward except for a brief excursion because the wireless monitor wasn’t cooperating. I mostly labored sitting upright on the bed and made a trip to the bathroom every hour or so to pee, usually having a handful of contractions along the way.
Labor was very challenging and when I hit a wall (physically and emotionally) several hours in, I did opt for a couple doses of Fentanyl, which allowed me some more concrete moments of respite before we got to the home stretch — not my original plan, but no regrets, as it didn’t introduce any further interventions or restrictions like an epidural would have (and I really, really, really did NOT want an epidural) and gave me the break from intensity I needed to gather my strength and courage for the final hours of labor and birth. Without the amazing support we received from our doula, Shannon, I think I would have asked for I.V. pain medication sooner, at the risk of not making as much progress beforehand.
After almost 2 hours of pushing, Owen was born at 8:34am PST on November 10th, 2012.
We got to go home Sunday afternoon. Owen had a fetching ensemble all picked out for his outdoor debut.
On Monday we had a check-up at the Postpartum Care Center and they sent us to the lab for some blood work to check Owen’s bilirubin level. We went home and then during dinner the pediatric hospitalist on shift called us to let us know Owen’s bilirubin level was high enough he needed to be admitted to the hospital for phototherapy treatment. I cried the whole car ride back to the hospital because I just wanted to be home, but honestly I probably got better rest in the hospital on the comfy bed in Owen’s room than I would have at home at that point in my postpartum recovery.
Owen hated the phototherapy bed for the most part, as he is a total snugglebunny and seemed to view the phototherapy bed as cruel and unusual punishment. The first time he went into the bed was the worst as he was just inconsolable, but ultimately he was able to chillax for periods of time while the lights did their magic. Follow-up blood work on Thursday through Owen’s primary care doctor came back within normal range, so no more phototherapy required! \o/
And back home again: