During the two-three weeks leading up to my appointment on July 27th, I had been having false labor contractions at night or after periods of greater activity. They always seemed to stop within an hour or two and the contractions came at pretty irregular intervals. I kept getting my hopes up that labor was right around the corner, but with so many false starts it seemed like Beckett was content to just stay in there for awhile.
At my 39 week appointment, we had starting talking about sweeping my membranes since I was a VBAC attempt and it was a way to encourage things along before we had to discuss setting a date for a c-section. However at that appointment, I wasn't dilated enough so we went ahead and put it off until my 40 week appointment on the 27th. When I showed up to the appointment, I wasn't convinced the contractions I had been having were strong enough to do much of anything so I wasn't sure we would even get to do the procedure. However, much to my surprise I had dilated from a 1/2 centimeter to a 3 during the week. As a result, we decided to go ahead and see if sweeping the membranes would get things going. I had heard from several people that it didn't really work for them so I tried to be realistic that I would probably go past my due date which was the next day. Although the midwife was a little more optimistic than I was, we went ahead scheduled another appointment for the following Monday.
When I left the office, I asked Luke if he could work the rest of the day from home since it was already noon. I am so glad I did, because I started to experience some cramping and spotting around 1 pm. Since the midwife said this could happen, I didn't really think anything of it at that point in time. Later in the day the cramping seemed to stick around, but wasn't really what I would call consistent contractions at that point. However by the time evening rolled around, it was pretty evident that these contractions were sticking around, and by 10 pm I decided to go ahead and start watching to see how close they were together. By 11:00 the contractions were coming 5 minutes apart, but still pretty tolerable so I decided to go ahead and try to get some sleep. Once I laid down, I realized I probably wasn't going to be able to sleep through them. I continued to time them while I rested to see if they would get any closer. Although they didn't get closer, by midnight my pain level had increased and I decided to go ahead and take a shower since I figured we would be going into the hospital at some point that night. By 1:00 am I decided it was time to wake Luke and start loading the car with things for the hospital. He got up slowly a little surprised to discover I was actually in labor, since he had gone to bed early the night before and didn't know that my contractions had started moving closer together. He went about getting the last few things together and took a shower before we called the midwife. She suggested we go ahead and come in to check things out.
When we had gone to the hospital with Owen my water had broken before I was even in labor, but I wasn't actually in labor so driving while having contractions was new to me. The contractions were now coming every three minutes, and I was starting to really have to breathe through them. When we got to the hospital we made the slow walk to the Birth Center with several stops along the way for contractions. We spent about 30 minutes in triage before the midwife came in to see us. Unfortunately, I had only dilated to a four even though my pain level had definitely increased. I was disappointed, but the midwife reassured me that I was certainly in labor. She said I could be admitted or walk the halls for an hour. I was looking forward to getting out of triage and into a room with more laboring options so I went ahead and decided to have them admit me.
Shortly after I was admitted, I decided to try out my first dose of fentanyl. It made me really drowsy which then caused me to want to lay down. I don't labor really well while lying down so it was not the best option for my labor and I was ready to try something else when the medicine wore off. The midwife and nurse recommended I give the tub a try and I was pleased to find that it really did help me relax during and between contractions. I think I spent another hour in the tub before I was ready for my epidural. After being in labor for 7 hours and no sleep for 24 hours I was exhausted and wanted to rest. I had dilated to a six and we were hopeful that the epidural would not slow my labor all that much.
After I had about an hour of rest, Beckett had his first decel around 7 am. They had turned the monitor down fairly low so that I could get some sleep, however I noticed that when the midwife came in she spent more time looking at the monitor than I had expected and I knew that something wasn't quite right. When I asked how he was doing, she mentioned that he had a decel and we were going to watch it pretty carefully. It wasn't enough to issue an emergency c-section, but since decals can be a sign of uterine distress in a VBAC patient they tend to watch them closely. She left to talk to the OB on call and I tried to get a little more rest since Beckett's heart rate had returned to normal and he seemed to be doing well. We discovered in this process that Beckett seemed to be doing better when I laid on my right side so we decided to go ahead and move me back to that position.
Labor continued to progress and things seemed to go well for the next few hours and then around 10 am, Beckett had another decel. This time the nurse came in quickly and had trouble getting his heart rate restored by flipping me over so she paged the midwife to come in and help. The had to really shift me around and get me up on my hands and knees in order for his heart rate to respond this time. This decel also lasted much longer, 6-7 minutes from start to finish. After our birth experience with Owen, we knew a long talk with the OB was coming.
Once the midwife had Beckett stable she left to get the OB while Luke and I waited to hear about whether or not we needed to head back for a c-section. Dr. Jolly took the time to explain what she had seen on Beckett's tape. He had two pretty bad decels, but it appeared that with repositioning he was able to respond and his heart rate returned to normal. Both the midwife and Dr. were convinced that his decels were a result of an occult cord and not uterine rupture. We now had a decision to make. We could continue to labor and see how Beckett did (at that point his heart rate was the best we had seen throughout labor), or we could elect for a C-section right then. We spent a long time discussing the options and risks of both scenarios. We asked lots of questions most of which we knew the answers to since this discussion was very similar to our conversation with the OB during Owen's labor. Being in this place again, made it hard for me to keep my emotions under control and I spent a good deal of the conversation crying quietly while trying to talk. I was mostly concerned about Beckett's ability to tolerate labor and wanting the best delivery for him. Both the OB and midwife said that they felt it was a strong possibility we could make it through labor and delivery without a c-section since Beckett was doing so well and I was already dilated to a 9. However, if he had another bad decel it would be a mad-dash to the OR for an emergency c-section. The OB also reassured me that she would be able to get him out quickly and that if he had another decel he would be ok. I was also concerned about whether or not I would be able to stay awake during the c-section if it came to that point. She said that in most cases I would be able to stay awake during surgery, however if things were serious enough they would have to put me to sleep. She explained that in our situation she gives babies a chance at three strikes and Beckett was at strike number two at that point. With all the questions answered, we decided to go ahead and give him one more chance since a vaginal delivery is best for both baby and mom.
Since I was already dilated so far, we were hopeful that labor would continue quickly. For the next two hours, things went beautifully. Beckett's heart rate continued to do really well and labor was moving right along. Around noon it was time to check my cervix again to see how close we were. I had dilated to a 10, but my water was still in tact. We were just starting to talk about breaking my water since it was something we felt needed to be done before pushing to see how Beckett would handle the situation when Beckett's heart rate plummeted. Earlier his decels had been at the lowest 70 and highest 90. However, this time he dropped all the way to 40 and back up to 50. It was a horrible sound to hear his heartbeat so low, and I knew it was scary by the look on every one's faces. The midwife quickly tried to readjust me and get me up on my knees. She tried to move him around but it quickly became evident that this decel was really bad and it was time to run to the OR right then.
Before I knew it several more nurses were in the room and they were on the phone demanding an OR, Anesthesiologist, and that our OB be paged immediately. The stress in their voices was evident and all this time Beckett's heart rate did not change. Time seemed to be crawling, and what seemed like eternity, I found later was only 4 minutes. When we got to the OR, Beckett's heart rate was still low and I felt like I was frozen. I couldn't even cry I was so scared. All I could do was close my eyes and pray. I knew our baby was in God's hands, but it was still hard waiting to hear if he was okay. Since the situation was an emergency, they did the least amount of prep as possible and quickly tried to get my epidural strong enough so that I couldn't feel the incision. Just before they were about to cut the midwife leaned over to say that his heart rate had just gone up to 120. It was at that point that I cried, I just knew he would be okay and they would get to him in time. I finally felt like I could breathe.
Beckett was pretty lodged in there since I was essentially ready to push when we left for surgery, and I could tell they were having a little more difficulty getting him out than they'd had with Owen. However, after what felt like a long time (really only a few minutes), I heard the sweetest sound, his first cry. I remember just beaming when they popped his screaming red face above the blue curtain. It was the most precious sight! He looked perfect, not like a baby in distress at all, and we were so thrilled that he did not have to go the NICU. Luke was able to go over and get him and then we spent the next 20 minutes just enjoying some time the three of us while they finished my surgery. It was such a sweet time, one I had missed terribly when Owen was born when I had to return to my room alone and wait for him to come back with Luke.
Beckett was born at 12:22 pm right on his due date. He weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 19.3 inches long. With all of the fear and stress we endured at the end of our labor, we are so thankful and blessed to have our sweet little Beckett here.
Beckett William Walker is here!
Meeting our sweet baby boy for the first time!
Owen meeting Beckett for the first time
Our first family photo
Meeting the grandparents, aunts and uncles
Some pictures from the day we left
On our way home!