Eleanor Anna Fields was born on Monday, November 16 2015 at 3:28 am via emergency c-section, 33 hours after my water broke. She weighed 6lbs 3oz and was 19.5″ long. She is perfect and beautiful and we are totally in love.
Friday, November 13th we had a doctor’s appointment. Our final growth scan showing she was still, as always, head down and pushing the 7lbs mark. I spent a good amount of time on the NST having contractions, as always. I talked to the doctor about the fact that I was having bad prodromal labor episodes this past week. We talked about how and when I would decide to make the hour drive out to the hospital to try and make an accurate decision about whether I’m in true labor or another prodromal episode. She checked my cervix and I was still, for the third week in a row, closed up as tight as Fort Knox. So despite all my doctors guessing I’d be early, I was kind of hanging in limbo and it felt draining and terrible. At this point I was starting to think maybe I would be seeing my due date still pregnant.
Saturday, November 14th my friend Annie had invited me to join her for a Le Leche League meeting and I had agreed to go. I had woken that morning to a wet spot in my undies and questioned in for a few minutes at first, then shrugged it off to head to Syracuse. We walked to the meeting and when we got there I pottied and found a similar round wet spot in my undies again. Then again when we got back to her house after the meeting. I started to hem and haw over whether my water might be broken and just be a slow leak. Rob came to pick me up from her house and I explained it to him. I called our doctors office and put in a request to speak to whoever was on call to see if they could talk me through it, but after about 20 minutes no one had called back yet and Rob and I both were ready to head home, so we drove the hour back to Geneva where we ate some early dinner and napped on the couch for a bit. Dr. Bailey had called me shortly after we got back and after talking to her I figured I’d keep an eye on things and if it didn’t let up I’d think about coming in and having the fluid tested.
After dinner and naps, I went to the bathroom and was realizing that I could pee, sit for a couple of minutes, then basically go again, full amount. That can’t be right. Wait another few minutes and try again. More liquid. Wait a few minutes and try to go again. More liquid again. This is not how regular bodies work. Then, bam.
It was very Hollywood-esque. My water basically exploded. I spent a few minutes trying to stop the gush but it was impossible. I doubled up on pads and sidled down the stairs and told Rob “My water is most definitely broken.” He looked up at my from the couch and just said “Okay.” and got up and started to get everything together. And I went back upstairs to deal with the fact that my body was exploding still.
Once Rob got everything together and the car all packed up, we grabbed Griswold and headed out to Syracuse. We met my parents right off the thruway exit to pass Grizzy off to them then headed up to the hospital, trying to beat the Syracuse University football game traffic since our hospital is on the same street as the Carrier Dome.
Rob dropped me off at the main doors then went to park the car before meeting me up in triage, which was kind of a slow process. They tested me to make sure my water was really broken, which of course it was, then they hooked me up to the monitors to track baby’s heart rate and my contractions, which were coming at fairly regular intervals, like usual. Sign ALL the paperwork, blood draw, answer ALL the questions, three attempts to place my hep lock. I was in good spirits until the first triage nurse messed up my IV twice and cause one of my veins to rupture. I may have gotten a little snippy with her after that and made a snarky joke about how her rupturing my veins was definitely going to be most painful part. I might have hurt her feelings a bit, but she got the last laugh, because labor hurt wayyyyy worse. They did a quick cervical check too, slating me at only half a centimeter, 50% effaced and baby hanging out at station -3. So basically I’d begun to progress from Fort Knox level closed down from the day before, but nothing that was putting me into labor, that’s for sure.
We got moved into a delivery room and met our nurse and the OB resident, Dr. MostPainfulCervicalCheckEver. I promise there’s no gold in there, please quit digging for it. At that point we had some visitors off and on. Both sets of parents, a bunch of our friends all stopped by. It was nice for so many people to come stop by.
The doctors administered me a round of cervidil to help me progress. It’s a medication placed internally used to soften and open the cervix, then it comes out so you labor drug free. Perfect. Triage had asked if I had a birth plan, and I did write one but I hadn’t printed it yet. But drug free laboring for as long as I could stand it for was on there and I was fine with using the cervidil to jump start that. But cervidil can be left in up to 12 hours and apparently it was wishful thinking that it would work for me in those 12 hours. I had a round of painful contractions around 1am-ish and the OB resident on call at the time checked me. Still only half a centimeter, 60% effaced, -3. The cervidil was doing literally nothing for me. So they gave me a quick dose of morphine to take the edge off and an ambien in hopes I’d sleep, because obviously we were in this for the long haul. And I did manage to get about three hours of sleep, which was the last sleep I’d see again until Monday.
Sunday, November 15th and they removed the cervidil. Still stuck at only half a centimeter. So frustrating. I’m told to take a couple of hours to walk around outside my room, get some food, and just get myself ready to jump in a different direction in terms of induction. After about two hours off the monitors they gave me my first round of misoprostol in an attempt to get my cervix to start doing something. The misoprostol is a medicine that last about four hours. After my first round of it I had advanced to 1cm and baby dropped down to -2, but that was it. On to round two of misoprostol. Another four hours of waiting and contractions, but once again, after those four hours had passed I was still stalled at only 1cm. It was well past 24 hours since my water broke at this point and my body was acting totally broken. Cue all the tears.
I took another two hour-ish breather from all the induction stuff so I could eat a little again and take a really long shower. Then I settled in for my third and what was supposed to be my final attempt with misoprostol.
And about here is where things get a little fuzzy for me. The misoprostol finally got me to 2cm and 80% effaced, and around the midnight hour of Monday, November 16th my contractions finally began to ratchet up a notch. Rob was asleep but I never managed to fall back asleep myself. I was hurting pretty badly and woke him up. He tried to talk me through my contractions for a while, which helped. He got me breathing through them and I preferred to be up out of bed, but since I was required to be hooked to the monitor I only had about a three foot radius I could move around in.
Finally sometime after 1am, maybe, I had to page a nurse and asked for pain meds. I was not far enough dilated for an epidural yet, still only about 2cm, so they gave me another shot of morphine, but warned that each consecutive shot would get less and less effective. I as given another ambien and told to try and sleep. But I never did fall asleep. The morphine never worked and I tried to breath and pace my way through contractions for maybe an hour-ish before waking Rob again. He helped me work through the pain for a bit, but since my morphine never kicked in and I was hurting something fierce I ended up paging the nurse again.
The wonderfully nice nurse, Jen, who had held my hand during my last cervical check because I was crying out of frustration was supposed to come back in, but someone else wandered in instead. Jen was held up with another patient and I got Nurse Tough Love instead, and I hate her.
I was 32 hours in at this point and this nurse was not picking up on the fact that her callous tactic of telling me to “just stop crying” and “just lay still” during my contractions was causing me to shut down and get more frustrated and upset, which in turn was making my contractions worse. My contractions were so close together and so painful. I was grabbing at the bedrails and trying to breath instead of grimace and moan through each one, but I was suffering. They checked me, 4cm, finally.
Except I’m not entirely sure what happened next. Nurse Tough Love started barking directions at me. Lay on your left side. No, flip back around, get on your right side. I need you to calm down and just stay on your side. And then there were more hands grabbing at me. A lot more hands. I’m not sure when my room filled up, but at some point about six more nurses and a resident had flooded into my room. There were multiple sets of hands grabbing at me and pushing me from side to side, onto my hands and knees, giving me directions. At some point during this fiasco I was checked again and was at 6cm and had an internal monitor placed on baby’s head. Someone jabbed me for a third time with another shot of morphine. Probably a futile attempt to calm me down, but it neither calmed me or eased my pain. An OB resident sat on the edge of my bed and told me she was going to check me again. I whined that I didn’t want another check. Too bad for me though. Up to 8cm now.
And in a flurry of movement the word c-section was mentioned by someone. A few seconds later a nurse had snapped a surgical cap onto my head, said “I”m sorry, but we’re going to have to do a c-section now” and I was whipped out of the room.
I was vaguely aware in the moment that I was headed for surgery thanks to Ellie’s heart rate tanking. All the man handling was an attempt to get me into a position that got her out of distress, but they couldn’t do it. She was in fetal distress and had to come out now. I had progressed from 2cm all the way to 8cm in roughly 45 minutes and Ellie did not like that. It was c-section or risk having problems and complications, or worse, during birth because her heart rate was dangerously low.
In the OR all I kept asking was where my husband was. No one would answer me. I must have asked a dozen times where he was and when he was coming. Sweet Nurse Jen was there and she apologized to me for not being there when everything happened. She held my hand and locked eyes with me to tell me this while the anesthesiologist placed my spinal block.
Dr. Bailey, who had been in to see me a few times over my stay, finally got there and then finally, my husband was brought in. He sat with me and told me he loved and after only a few minutes we got to hear itty-bitty screams. Ellie was here, she was breathing. I couldn’t see her and I urged Rob to get up and go see her even though all I wanted was my baby.
I was told that I was okay, that she was okay, and she was given to Rob who brought her over to me. Once I was all stitched up and cleaned up I was brought out to recovery where Rob and his mom were waiting. And after a few minutes they let in my parents. And everyone got to be there together, meeting little Eleanor.
I went over 33 hours between my water breaking and Ellie being born. It was a long and slow process that my body fought hard against. But in the end, everything was okay. Ellie was healthy even though she was three weeks early and we got discharged on Thursday, six days after we showed up, which is a long damn time to stay in a hospital for a birth.
I am also in no way disappointed with how things transpired. Did I imagine how it might feel to have my baby placed on my chest for the first time after a vaginal birth? Absolutely. Was having to waiting to see and hold her after having an emergency c-section something I ever considered? Not really. But there are a lot of people who say how disappointed they’d be if they ended up needing a c-section and I find that a little brazen. I’m not disappointed because at the end of everything we went through, my daughter was born healthy and screaming and with zero problems or complications. The whole end goal was to have a healthy child, and we achieved that. So no, I’m not disappointed with having a 33 hour labor dissolve into a c-section. Because at the end of the day, who could ever be disappointed in this?
We’re home now and starting to settle in. We’re adjusting to our new life and the new dynamic we have as a family. I’m still hobbling around some in residual pain and my hormones are still completely bonkers, but otherwise things are going pretty good. Ellie is a pretty chill gal most of the time and we are just totally smitten and happy to finally have her here with us.