You know that feeling you have when the world around you seems to be moving a thousand miles a minute but you are in a paralyzed state and cannot move? That was me when my OB left the room after telling us they were going to start inducing me in 2 hours. I felt like I had so much to do but I was restricted to the darn hospital. I wanted more than anything to go home with Brian, take a shower at our house, and get the rest of the stuff together that still needed to be packed. But, no dice, they pretty much laughed at me after that request.
I made a list for Brian and told him to call me once he got home if he had any questions. In the meantime, I ordered some hospital food, tried to go #2, and then jumped in the shower. (Side note: EVERY pregnant woman out there has this fear that they are accidently going to poop on the table as they are giving birth. I mean really, how ridiculous is that?! At that point, you are laying on a hospital bed naked, there are deer spot lights all over you or at least it seems like, you have doctors and nurses looking south of your border and your significant other (or person of choice) is standing there as well. If you do happen to poop oh well, you won’t be the first or last woman to do so. With that being said, I still had to try). J
I stood under the hot water for a long time trying to grasp the fact that in the next 24 hours, we would be meeting this little girl that we made out of love together. I was ecstatic! 20 minutes later I was out of the shower and sporting a hospital gown when my phone rang. On the other end, Brian had questions about my list and from the sound of his voice, was trying to come to terms that we no longer had 4 weeks to prepare for this little girl, she was going to be here SOON! He was so cute, I could hear him frantically rummaging around the dresser drawers and trying to find everything I had written down. “Sweetie,” he said, “what’s a romper and where would I find one in Makenzie’s room?”
An hour later he was back at the hospital, with everything I needed, and made himself comfortable on the couch, Fantasy Football magazine in hand. It was after all August 15th; there were a few fantasy drafts in the next few weeks he had to prepare for…
(As I am writing this 5 months after the initial labor I can’t recall the names of some of the drugs that were used to help induce labor, I apologize for that).
The nurse came in at 8 pm on the dot and got things started. First, she checked me to see if I had made any progress on my own, at this point, I was still completely closed. She then placed a small pill on my cervix which was supposed to start softening and thinning out my cervix and also induces labor. Holy hell this was SO uncomfortable for many reasons that I will not go into. After this was complete, they hooked me right up to a catheter, which meant that I was confined to the bed until Baby K was born. (I also had these air casts hooked up to my legs since Tuesday afternoon to help with blood flow and swelling). I was given something to make me comfortable and hopefully get a few hours of sleep. She told me she would be in every hour to look at Baby K’s heartbeat and monitor my blood pressure as well. Around 11 pm, I woke up to some contractions that were a little bit more intense but definitely manageable. Being that this little girl was a month early, Brian and I had only made it to 2 of our birthing classes and we definitely didn’t cover breathing during those first two classes. The nurse checked me again and I was only .5 centimeters, oh boy, this may take a while I thought. Back to sleep I went.
I was up on and off the rest of the night. Around 2:30 a.m. the contractions started getting pretty intense and were coming every couple of minutes. Surely, I thought I was making some good progress but not so much. I looked over at Brian and he was sound asleep on the couch, looking very peaceful. Must be nice I thought… I could tell the severity of the contraction by watching the monitor screen which was pretty interesting and it gave me something else to focus on. Around 3:00, I may have woken Brian from his peaceful sleep by a sentence full of f-bombs and other poor choice language…He jumped up off the couch and said, “What’s wrong?!” I can honestly say this was the only time during labor that I wanted to chuck my pillow at him.
As calmly as a pregnant woman in labor possible could I said, “Seriously Brian?! I’m having contractions!!” And with that I started crying… I always thought I had a good tolerance for pain and for some sick reason I actually enjoy pain staking workouts but this was on a whole new level.
He stood up and came over by the bed and held my hand through each contraction and this went on until I just couldn’t take them any longer.
Around 5 a.m. the nurse came in and asked if I wanted something a little stronger and advised that at this point, if I could wait a little longer for an epidural that would be best since I still hadn’t made much for progress (another .5) and epidurals are known to delay labor. She suggested Nubain and that they could give it to me a few different times but the more doses I would receive, the less effective it got. She said it would make me feel a little bit on the drowsy side and like I had a few drinks. Well shit, not sure where this lady drinks but once they injected that into my IV, I felt like I had NEVER felt before. The last words I said to Brian before passing completely out were, “I don’t think I am breathing…” Which in my mind sounded 100% clear but Brian said he didn’t have a clue what I had said.
I got an hour and a half of “sleep” when I started feeling the intensity of those contractions return. At this point it was around 6:30 a.m. and my OB came in to check me. After 9 hours, I finally had gotten to 5.5 centimeters. She asked what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure if another round of Nubain was the best idea being that my second fear during labor, besides pooping on the table, was not being able to get an epidural because there wasn’t enough time. So she went ahead and broke my water and called in the Anesthesiologist. Brian doesn’t do well with needles or blood and he already informed me that he would not be cutting the cord or going anywhere close to south of my border during the delivery process. So when I was getting the ginormous needle in my back, he and I just put our heads together and closed our eyes. It honestly was not as bad as I thought it was going to be and when I was all settled back in bed, I felt like a new woman!! My OB also started Pitocin at this time to see if we could try to speed things up a little bit. I settled back in bed and started texting my family and watching the contractions on the monitor. I remember thinking how crazy it was that I could hardly feel a thing but my body was working hard!
There were periodic checks to see if I was making any progress and I was mentally trying to prepare myself for a vaginal delivery. At 10:50 am my OB came in the room and told me that they needed to take the baby now. She had been observing her heart rates from downstairs in her office for the last 30 minutes and felt uncomfortable with how the baby was reacting. The typical pattern is for the baby’s heart rate to slow somewhat during a contraction, and rise again when the contraction ends but in Baby K’s case, her rate was not rising after the contraction ended which indicated she was in stress.
Talk about wanting to panic right then and there, I hadn’t really even thought about a C-section. I really wanted to have a vaginal birth but at this point we needed to do what was best for Baby. They basically threw scrubs at Brian and wheeled me into the OR.
Side story: Brian later told me that he was so flustered and moving so quickly that he put his shoe cover on his head thinking it was supposed to cover his hair. This visual makes me giggle!
There I was greeted with a team full of nurses, doctors, the anesthesiologist, and the neonatologist. They were not messing around, they immediately increased my dose of anesthesia and I started to shiver. I’m talking uncontrollable body shivers. I think it was a mix of the anesthesia which they said was normal but I was also trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was about to be cut open while awake, and that my little girl’s body was already showing signs of stress on top of the fact that she was 4 weeks early and who knows if her lungs were healthy enough to breathe on their own. I tried so hard to stay strong for those couple of minutes that Brian still wasn’t there… He finally got in the room and sat down next to me. I had the wonderful view of a big blue sheet which was totally fine by me, and Brian too. Brian and I were quietly talking to each other and I was squeezing the circulation out of his hand when the anesthesiologist announced, “Dr. Barr is separating your stomach muscles right now. Your baby will be here very quickly.” Holy crap. Try not to think about the fact that your cut open, don’t think about, don’t think about…
He then followed that up with, “Dad, if you want to take a picture, your little girl is out.” Well, someone should have mentioned that Brian doesn’t do well with blood. Brian stood up, snapped a few pictures and quickly sat back down. The anesthesiologist wasn’t specific. She may have been out but by that he met a foot and a little arm not the rest of her body yet. Brian got a full view of my belly cut open and the baby’s foot and arm. Surprisingly he did not faint and got some pretty neat pictures, at least I think they are.
Finally, we heard what every parent wants to hear, she cried. And it was such a sweet cry. So sweet that it took my breath away, and it made both Brian and I start to cry happy tears.
Makenzie Madison Kopecko was born at 11:11 a.m. weighing 5 lbs. 11 oz. and 19 inches long. She was a strong little baby and did not once need to be sent to the NICU. She only needed oxygen initially and then she was able to breathe on her own. She was a little trooper throughout our hospital stay as she had to endure a foot prick every hour to ensure her blood sugars were high enough. She also had to learn to eat from an SNS, Supplemental Nursing System, since my milk had yet to come in. On the 2nd day her neonatologist came in and said, “Your baby is feisty… Healthy… but very feisty!”
Here are a few pictures: