Mitchell Michael Johnson was born on March 26, 2011 at 6:08 p.m. Getting to that point was scary, exciting, long, sometimes painful, but completely worth it.
It all began on Friday the 25th at 8:00 a.m. when we arrived at the hospital to be induced. I was 5 days overdue and the midwives allowed me to be induced since I was already dilated to a four, 75% effaced, and since Chris’s mom was leaving on the 29th (otherwise they would have induced on the 28th).
They started me on a very minimal dose of Pitocin and I responded well to it. My body started having some small contractions. They turned it up every half-an-hour. The contractions weren’t really uncomfortable until hours later. The majority of Friday was just a waiting game to make it to dilation and regular contractions. We watched TV, visited with family and played a little game of Spicy Farkle.
Around 10:00 pm, I decided that an epidural would be quite appropriate. Ha! It wasn’t terrible yet, but the contractions were getting more and more painful. Around 2:00 a.m., I began to feel the contractions coming back. I pushed my booster shot for the epidural and…nothing. It was getting really bad. The nurses called for the anesthesiologist to come and see what was going on. He gave me another dose of medicine and I felt it pool in my back. It wasn’t going anywhere. This was probably the worst part of the labor and also a very telling experience. I will NEVER go natural. Sorry, it’s just not for me and I’m okay with that, unless of course I have to for some reason.
The anesthesiologist just kind of stood there looking at my monitor and I asked him, “Do you think it came out?” He said, “Well, that’s what I’m thinking has happened.” Thanks, Sherlock. So I say, “Well, can we do another one?” and he says, “Well, we can, but I can’t promise you that it will work, but we can try it again.” Wow. That’s encouraging and comforting. Thank you, doctor. Anyways…we did it again and it worked.
I slept for a few hours and then on Saturday morning the midwife came in to check me. I was dilated to a 9 and just needed a little more time before I could start pushing. So I went back to sleep. Then we started the pushing process. I pushed for almost 3 hours with contractions and nothing was happening. The midwife said that she was going to call in the OB and he would evaluate me to see if a vacuum extraction would be helpful (and not harmful), or if we needed to head into a c-section. About that time the contractions started coming back.
I was tired beyond all belief as I’d been in labor about 35 hours at this point. The OB examined me and decided that a c-section was in order since our little guy hadn’t gotten past the pelvic bone. As you can imagine, at this point I was physically, emotionally and mentally spent. The doctor had to explain to me the dangers of a c-section and the process that goes into it. Yikes! but I was glad that it was going to be over. I feel bad because I wasn’t even really excited about having Mitchell, as I was just ending the labor. (I made up for that later though as I can’t stop kissing and hugging my sweet baby boy.)
Another anesthesiologist (thank goodness) came into play. I told him that my epidural wasn’t working anymore and he gave me another dose of it. Again, I felt it pool in my back and knew that it had come out once again. I was wheeled into the operating room, which was crazy in and of itself. I went from this homey living room atmosphere to a cold, sterile room with a metal table, huge lights and everyone in scrubs. Something that was cool though was that they were playing music. I got a spinal, which wasn’t bad at all. The epidural hurt, but this guy was amazing and I was numb within seconds. They had to strap my arms to the side and put up a curtain. I got what they call a “bear hug” which is just a covering that was heated. That felt good. Chris came and held my hand through the surgery.
I was so tired and out of it, but gasped and smiled at Chris as soon as I heard my baby cry. It was kind of the “Wow! There really was a baby in there!” moment. I heard the doctor say something like, “Wow! No wonder he wasn’t coming out! That’s a big boy!!” Huh? The midwives estimated that he was probably 8-and-a-half or 9 lbs. They took him to the scale and he was 10 lbs 8 ounces. Excuse me? Really? No wonder I was so uncomfortable and in pain towards the end of the pregnancy. Phew! We went out to recovery and got to hold and I got to nurse our baby. He was so sweet and all ours.
Mitchell’s birth was quite a roller coaster and certainly not what I expected, but it is our story and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Many thanks to Amanda Johnson for sharing her story. Stay tuned for her second birth story next week. Would you like to share your birth story? We’d love to hear it! Take a look at our “What’s Your Story?” post to find inspiration and direction.