Enzo Alan Frederick was due September 17th, but I always felt he would arrive early. Even with all the anecdotals about how the firstborn is typically late…I just knew. That said, the closer we got to his due date, the more I hoped he would be late so we could finish the paint and carpet, if not the nursery. The way it worked out, we had 3 contractors scheduled to be at our house the morning my OB said I needed to be induced. (straight lipped emoji)
As I got ready for my appointment that day, I considered doing my hair and makeup, and taking my go bag…just in case…but there had been 0 dilation the week before and I felt nothing so I showed up with wet hair, no makeup, no go bag, and no clue of how my whole life was about to change.
After my weekly NST, the doctor came in and explained that I was contracting (I wasn’t feeling it yet) and each time I did, my cord became compressed, causing the baby’s heart rate to drop. It wasn’t an emergency situation yet but she didn’t want to take the chance of sending me home and having it become one. Especially considering I wasn’t feeling the current contractions. By the time I could feel them, the baby could potentially be in serious trouble. So she felt it would be best to induce and monitor both of us.
She gave me instructions on what to do next, then told me to eat breakfast since it was the last meal I’d be able to have for awhile. When she left the room, Ron and I looked at each other…stunned. We were having a baby. Like, soon.
Oh Jesus, take the wheel. Father come near. This is NOT what we expected to hear.
Ron went home to let the painters in (they were standing at our doorstep at this point) and wait for my older brother (who was conveniently in town from out of state, with nothing pressing to do that day) to come babysit the rest of the contractors in case he needed to leave in a hurry to get to me.
Meanwhile I went to the cafeteria and choked down a muffin, too nervous to eat more (unfortunate at the time, tragic many hours later). I called and text friends and family, then went upstairs to be checked in, at 11am.
By 12pm I had signed all the paperwork and been hooked up to all the machines. The nurse placed my first round of cytotec, an induction drug.
At 4pm, I had not dilated any further, so a second round was placed. After the second round back pain began. Our precious little babe was head down but facing the wrong way. A “stargazer” some call it. That is what caused the back labor and eventually lead to a variety of interventions to try and get him to roll over.
At 8pm the nurses said I still hadn’t progressed. They called my doctor for next steps. Meanwhile the back pain intensified, as did my hunger.
At 9pm my new nurse took pity on me and brought me chicken broth, jello, and water since I was nowhere near active labor or potentially having a c-section. I swear to you it was the BEST meal of my entire life. Not even kidding. I was that hungry. I hadn’t had a full meal in over 24 hours at that point.
At 10pm the doctor came in and said I had progressed to a 2 and was able to break my water. The nurses began aggressively pushing pitocin to try and speed things along, and I went ahead and got my epidural in anticipation of everything moving very quickly going forward.
Except it didn’t. Move quickly. It didn’t move at all.
From 10pm-5am the nurses rolled me into various positions in an attempt to get the baby facing in a more optimal delivery position. They also inserted a special device to monitor my contractions because they weren’t being picked up consistently by the outer machine.
And they did an amnio infusion because breaking my water without going into active labor was negatively affecting the baby and he needed a little more room to move around.
AND they kept messing with the rate of my pitocin because increasing contractions without an increase in dilation wasn’t helping the baby either.
In other words I wasn’t sleeping, strangers were constantly all up in my biz (literally) and I was once again starving. Also I had chills.
At 5am I began to feel contractions and the back pain was super painful. With each contraction I felt a ton of water leaving my body, until I was laying in a pool of it. I didn’t know if it was amniotic fluid or pee…embarrassing. But whatever. I was just praying it meant that I had finally started to dilate and we could get this show on the road.
At 6am my doctor came in and said I still wasn’t dilated past a 2, which made me want to cry. She said I felt warm so they took my temperature and I had spiked a fever. With a fever, there was a chance that if I continued to labor in hopes of a natural delivery, I could pass it along to the baby and he would have to spend the first two days in the NICU. The choice was Ron’s and mine, I could do a C-section now, or keep laboring. She wouldn’t let me go past 24 hours of my water being broken though so I only had until 10pm to deliver before a c-section would be necessary.
Ron and I discussed it and decided we’d much rather avoid a NICU stay for our little babe, than keep trying for a natural delivery. To be perfectly honest I also had sincere doubt about whether I could labor for an entire day more with no food. (When a c-section is a possibility you are only allowed to have ice chips.)
Once the decision was made, a team assembled and began working quickly to get me back to the OR. In a short moment of quiet, I turned to look at Ron and tried not to cry as I said,
I’m afraid I won’t be a good parent.
He didn’t miss a beat with his response:
You don’t have to be good. You just have to be marginal. No need to be extraordinary. Just keep him alive and I’ll be the good parent when I get home.
That made me laugh, and not long after I was wheeled back to the OR.
In the OR, I couldn’t stop shaking. They covered me in warm blankets but what I could still feel continued to shake uncontrollably. I started crying out of exhaustion and fear. Ron never stopped looking at me, holding my hand, stroking my hair and trying to keep me calm. When Enzo was finally out, he stepped away to take video (which is awesome to have, yet weird to see yourself on a table like that.) but quickly returned to me until it was time to hold our baby and bring him over to me.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016. 7:04am. 6 lbs, 14 oz, 19 inches.
He was here. He was healthy. Perfect, actually. And I couldn’t believe it. It felt surreal then, and it still feels surreal now at times.
As my OB closed up, she told me my pelvis is very small. She made several comments about it, not believing how little space I had. Apparently it’s too small for childbirth, which is why I never progressed in dilation. If we have more children, I will have to have them all by c-section. That blew my mind, I didn’t know a pelvis could be too small to bear children. It makes me equally sad and grateful. Grateful for modern medicine, sad to think of what would have happened if I didn’t have access to it. Both Enzo and I probably would not have survived.
I’ll share more about my recovery, these first few weeks, and Enzo’s name when I start the monthly updates. I just wanted to get the birth story written down before I forgot it all. Only two weeks out and I already had to go back through text messages to see what happened when. However, I will say that overall and so far, Ron and I have handled the transition gracefully. I give God all the glory for that for real. Because this parenting business is legit challenging.
We’re learning as we go, taking it one day at a time. We don’t know much right now, but we do know we would do absolutely anything for you, Enzo.