November 23, 2013
The Labor and Delivery of Sawyer Scott Hyatt
Sawyer’s birth story starts on his due date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013. That’s the day we’d been counting down to for months, so when it came and went, I started to worry that I would never go into labor on my own. Induction was something I very much wanted to avoid, so at my appointment that day my midwife, Katie, stripped my membranes to get things going. The next day I lost a small bit of my mucus plug, which was encouraging. Little did I know that it was a TINY bit compared to what was coming! I lost a little bit more of it on Thursday after meeting Jason for lunch at his office and going for a walk. I brought him a sub from Jimmy John’s because they were only $1 that day! When I left his office, I walked a mile around downtown Frankfort in hopes of moving things along.
On Friday, nothing more had happened, so we attended the Candlelight Tour that evening with our Point Community Group. We had a good time watching the floating lanterns and we bought Sawyer an adorable knit hat from Completely Kentucky. On Saturday, since I still hadn’t made any more progress, we decided to put up our Christmas decorations. We got our main tree up and decorated, as well as our mantle, but then Jason started feeling bad so he took a nap. In the meantime, I managed to put up the tree in our front office all by myself! Once he woke up and was feeling better, we decorated that tree as well. We finally finished around 1am and went to bed. It was the last full night of sleep I would have…
Sunday, despite seriously considering skipping in order to avoid the “no baby yet?” questions, we went to church. There was a meal afterwards, but we didn’t stay because I was so tired of people questioning me about the fact that I was still pregnant and figured if I wasn’t around, people couldn’t ask. We did however go to the Dollar Tree to see if they had any cheap tree skirts for the tree we planned to put in the loft that afternoon. They didn’t, but I am pretty sure I had my very first contraction on the way home. It felt like a bad menstrual cramp, so I really didn’t think much of it. We drove through McDonald’s for lunch, went home to put up the final tree upstairs, and watched Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” that night.
During the movie, at about 9:30pm or so, I felt another bad cramp but again brushed it off. We went to bed after the movie was over but the cramps kept coming so I moved to the couch to keep from disturbing Jason. I decided to start timing them just in case, but they were about fifteen to twenty minutes apart so I knew it wasn’t time yet. Around 3am I went to the bathroom to discover that I had my bloody show, which continued on and off throughout the rest of the day on Monday. I managed to sleep from about 3am to 5am, and then from about 6am to 8am. Despite the signs, I still didn’t think that I was actually going to go into labor. I figured I would still end up being induced, most likely that Friday, when I would be 10 days past my due date.
On Monday, Jason and I went to his parents’ new house to look at the appliances and carpet that had recently been installed. From there, we went to my parents’ house to pick up their cherry roll-top desk that they gave to us. My parents are moving as well, and the desk won’t fit at their new house, so we are taking it for our office. It took my uncle, dad, brother, and Jason to move it, but sure enough, they got it done while mom and I went to Starbucks to stay out of the way. They also dropped off two end tables and a bookshelf that used to be in my bedroom at my parents’ house that will now be used in our guest bedroom. After they all left, I cleaned the desk really well and started to get it organized.
Throughout all of this activity on Monday I was having mild contractions, but I still didn’t think much of it. When one would come it was uncomfortable but I didn’t want to get my hopes up by timing them and telling everyone I was in labor. The only person I told about the contractions was my mom, but I told her not to get excited because it was probably nothing.
That night Jason and I went out to see about getting a new battery for our van since the current battery had been acting up. I went with him to Advance Auto, but we had to come home before going to Auto Zone because I was afraid my water had broken. Turns out it was a false alarm so we headed back out to Auto Zone. We didn’t end up getting a new battery, but by the time we got home (around 5:30pm) I decided maybe it would be a good idea to start timing what I was pretty sure were the real deal contractions. At that point they were coming about every 3 minutes and were about 40 seconds long. Some lasted as long as 2 minutes though and were tough to get through. I spent a lot of time on my birthing ball from that point onward because it felt better than laying down.
At about 7:30pm we decided to call Women’s Care of the Bluegrass and talk to a nurse. She told us it was most likely time to head to the hospital, but I was afraid that if we did the contractions would stop and they’d have to give me Pitocin to speed up my labor. I didn’t want that, so I called my friend Anna to ask her what she thought I should do. She was very encouraging and told me that I could decline anything they wanted to do to me at the hospital, but also that she thought sticking it out at home would be a good idea too if I could. I decided to wait until 8:30pm to leave, but Jason challenged me to see if I could wait until 9pm. I tried, but at about 8:45 I had a contraction so bad that it made me throw up, so we decided it was time to go. Ironically, it took us about fifteen minutes to get everything in the car and ready to go so we really did end up leaving the house at 9pm.
Once we got to the hospital, the lady at the check-in desk called for a wheelchair for me. It was taking them a long time to bring one down so she took matters into her own hands and wheeled me up to Labor and Delivery on her own! Also, there was a lady at the check in area whose last name was “Hiatt” who wanted to talk about how cool it was that we had almost the same last name. I was probably rude to her but I was in no state to chitchat with strangers at that point!
Once I got to my room I changed into my gown and waited to be checked to see if I was dilated or effaced. It took about an hour for my nurse to finally come in to check me, which was extremely frustrating. Once she did I learned that I was about 2-3 centimeters dilated. At that point, Jason called my parents and let them know that I was in labor. He also called my friend Julia, who was on her way to take photos during labor and delivery. I did not want to be constantly hooked up to the monitor and the nurse told me I only had to be monitored 20 minutes out of every hour, but I ended up hooked up to the machines for my entire labor because Sawyer was wiggling around so much that it was hard to keep a consistent read on his heartbeat. I think the fact that I was stuck in the bed and unable to use the birthing ball was part of what made labor so intense for me later.
About thirty minutes after my first check by the nurse, around 11pm, Dr. Wainwright (the doctor on call) checked me and told me I was a good 3 centimeters and 90% effaced. As soon as he left, I felt something leaking out of me and I thought my water had possibly broken. A few minutes later I had another contraction bad enough that I threw up, and even more fluid rushed out. I told the nurse, so Dr. Wainwright came back in to check but he couldn’t tell if my water had broken or not. (In retrospect, we now know that my water had indeed broken at that point.)
From then on, my contractions started coming fast, hard, and strong. Never did I experience contractions that were the standard “1 minute long and 5 minutes apart” like I was anticipating. Instead, it felt like I had one long contraction that only lessened and worsened. There was never a time after my water broke that I was not in some level of pain. The pain just increased and decreased depending on where I was contraction-wise. Jason tried to talk me through the pain with the phrases from the Bradley Method book and I tried my best to relax like he was encouraging me to do, but in the end all I could do was try to survive. I panted and puffed like the quintessential laboring woman because it was the only thing that got me through. After only about 30 minutes of this I started to tell Jason I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I had planned on a natural, drug-free childbirth, but this was more than I bargained for. He was the perfect labor coach and told me he was proud of me no matter what I decided to do.
I couldn’t bring myself to say the word, “epidural,” so I just told him I was pretty sure I needed “the thing.” He told the nurse, who told Dr. Wainwright, who came in to talk to me about it. He knew I was planning a natural childbirth, so he didn’t pressure me at all, but told me I could have one if I wanted. I remember he told me he liked the Bible verses I had written down on notecards to help me during labor and I really appreciated that. I asked him how long it would take until I could have the epidural and he told me at best 30 minutes. I was devastated hearing it would take that long because I couldn’t imagine going through what I was experiencing for a single second longer. He advised me to get on my hands and knees to see if that would help, so I did that for a while until the nurse came in to start my IV. She first tried to start it in my right hand but blew out my vein. I didn’t look at the time because Jason was distracting me and telling me to relax, but when I looked later there was blood all over the place! I am terrified of needles so it is a good thing I didn’t see what was happening! She finally managed to start my IV in the crook of my right arm, which was not a very pleasant place to have it since I couldn’t really bend my arm without it hurting.
After I got the IV it was still a long time until the anesthesiologist came in with the epidural. I had to sign what seemed like a million papers and I was in so much pain that I basically just scribbled down something that looked sort of like my name. The nurse was going to get me some Stadol while I was waiting for the epidural, but by the time she got it the anesthesiologist was finally there. I was so happy to see her! I was in so much pain after my water broke but before I got the epidural that at one point I looked at Jason and was cross-eyed. I remember saying over and over, “someone please help me!” Part of me was sad that I wasn’t going to have the natural birth I wanted, but I knew I was making the best decision for Sawyer and me at the time. Plus, I found out after I got the epidural that I was 7 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced, so I felt like I went through most of labor naturally, even if I couldn’t make it all the way.
The hardest part about the epidural wasn’t the two needle sticks in my back, but rather trying to stay perfectly still as contraction after contraction rocked through my body. Jason was once again amazing as he held me and reassured me and reminded me to relax. I specifically remember him telling me to relax my shoulders, which was really helpful. Once the epidural was in, the anesthesiologist wasn’t sure if it was working because she didn’t get it in quite the right spot. Thankfully, it did end up working and I didn’t have to have it redone. I wasn’t worried about the pain of having it redone, but rather the fact that if she had to redo it, it would be that much longer until I had relief! I still had a few contractions that were pretty rough after getting the epidural, but once it kicked in I felt so much better. My contractions were literally off the charts, but I didn’t feel much at all. I could tell when I was having one, but it didn’t hurt. Unfortunately, due to my intense contractions, Sawyer’s heart rate started dropping a little so I had to wear an oxygen mask for a little while to stabilize him. I was scared to death for him, but once I had the oxygen he continued doing just fine.
Around the time I began wearing the oxygen mask, my mom and dad and Jason’s mom came back to say hello for a while. Mom even helped me touch up my makeup since I had gotten mascara all over my face from squeezing my eyes shut during the really bad contractions. Once they left, my midwife Katie came in to check me and found that I was 10 centimeters dilated! She asked me to try to push but I couldn’t do much, so she said we would wait 30 more minutes for Sawyer to drop down a little further and then try again. Katie stayed with us for those 30 minutes, which I really appreciated. We talked with her and Jason showed her the chalkboard pictures I had been taking each week.
At 4am it was time to start pushing again, so she called in the rest of the nurses and got everything ready for Sawyer once he was here. At about 4:15am I started to push. I pushed 3 times per contraction and after the first one I asked Katie how long she thought it would last because it was already wearing me out. She said for a first time mom I should expect to push at least an hour, but I told her I was planning on more like 15 minutes! After the second round of pushing Katie told me I was doing awesome and Sawyer was going to be here soon. “You are a determined momma,” she said. After the third set of pushes, his head was crowning and Katie had me reach down to feel the top of his head and his hair. His head was squishier than I expected. I assumed it would be hard just like my own skull, but it was soft. Next contraction, next set of pushes…I gave it all I had and at 4:33am Sawyer Scott Hyatt was born! I was able to reach down and pull him out myself, which was absolutely incredible. I laid him on my chest on his tummy and he immediately lifted his head and looked around. He tried nursing a little while he was laying there and Jason cut the cord after it stopped pulsing. I had a small internal tear, so Katie stitched me up while I was admiring my perfect baby. I lost a lot of blood, so I had to have Pitocin after all to get my uterus to contract to stop the bleeding. At that point, I didn’t care, because my baby was in my arms.
After about an hour of holding Sawyer skin to skin and letting him nurse, the nurse took Sawyer over to the bassinet in our delivery room and let Jason change Sawyer’s first diaper and give him his first bath. When his little heel was pricked and he cried hard for the first time, it absolutely broke my heart. I sat in the bed and cried right along with him! After he was all cleaned up and swaddled, our parents came in to meet their new grandson. Naturally, everyone loved him! He looked exactly like his daddy and had the calmest disposition for a newborn baby. After they left, I was moved into a recovery room, which was a challenge. The first time they tried to move me I threw up and passed out! After I had some breakfast I felt a little better and was able to make it into the recovery room on my second try, this time without passing out. My vision was blurry and my hearing was muffled, but I made it!
Once we moved into the recovery room, it finally felt like we were our own little family. It was just Jason, me, and our brand new baby boy, and it was up to us to take care of him. Seeing Jason holding our son made me feel a whole new type of love for him, which strengthens every day I watch him as a father. When Sawyer was born, suddenly, we were more than just a couple. We became a family.
Now that it’s been a week since Sawyer joined our family, I’ve had time to reflect on how my labor went. Although it didn’t go quite like I had planned, I truly believe I did what was best for Sawyer and me. I’m proud that I was able to stay drug-free for all but the last few hours and that I made it to 7 centimeters before I submitted to the epidural. I’m happy that I labored for a majority of the time at home, and I’m also happy that we made it to the hospital when we did. I think if we had waited much longer and my water had broken at home, it would have been very stressful for all three of us. The way it happened, when the pain became unbearable and the contractions made Sawyer’s heart rate drop, I knew Sawyer and I would be okay because we were both being monitored and taken care of at the hospital. Had we stayed at home, we would not have known that I needed oxygen, so I am thankful that we made it to the hospital when we did.
There were a few minutes during my labor, before I got the epidural, that I felt like I was giving up by getting it, but once I had it I was happy that it allowed me to participate in and enjoy the birth of my son. I’m very thankful for Jason, who encouraged me and told me that no matter what I did, he was very proud of me and loved me very much. Once I had the epidural I felt like I was much more in control of what was going on, whereas before I felt very panicky, as though I had no control over what was happening to me. I’m so happy that I was able to feel his head, pull him out with my own two hands, and take in the experience of my son being born! I am confident that had I not had the epidural I would have missed out on those things because I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even think, much less relish what was going on. I would love to try for a natural childbirth again, and I have a ton of respect for women who do it, but in the end, I’m pleased with the birth experience I had. Laboring with Jason by my side and seeing my baby boy for the first time are both memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.