Last week I turned forty. Also, I made it to 40 weeks pregnant but with not a single sign that labor was imminent. We made plans with my doctor for induction, but when that day came I decided to delay a couple of days more in hopes of labor starting naturally. I spent my birthday awash in anxiety as the hours slowly passed without any encouraging signs of labor. The only times I've been induced before were when we lost Jeremiah and Miles, so of course all I associate induction with is going home from the hospital with empty arms. That evening Q and I went to the hospital at 8 pm. After some monitoring of the baby and checking me (zero dilation), I got a dose of the cervix ripening drug Cytotec, just like I had with my losses.
Since I was starting from zero, I expected it to be slow going. Q went home at 10:00 to be with the kids overnight. Things progressed slowly for me over the next six hours or so and I was able to doze off quite a lot. Dilated to a one by about 2 am after a second dose of Cytotec, then to a three by 6 am. This is when I reached the stage of labor where I shake violently and throw up - the part where it really starts to suck. There was no need for further doses of Cytotec or any Pitocin as contractions were steadily two minutes apart by this point. In fact, they were steady enough to warrant IV fluid to try to slow things down a bit, as well as oxygen and changing positions to try to keep the baby from getting too stressed.
In the morning, Q and my doctor both arrived at about 7 am as planned. By then I was dilated to five with intense contractions right on top of each other. An epidural was sounding pretty good, but baby was having some serious decelerations. The focus was on changing positions to see if that would help her - first on all fours and then in Trendelenburg position. I was only able to assume these positions with a great deal of assistance as I was in absolutely horrific and constant pain. There was a moment of sheer terror when it seemed like the situation was going to turn ugly, and then suddenly I yelled "I'm pushing!". The nurse gave me the OK, but I wasn't waiting for anyone's damned permission. I was already getting it done and she was born in a matter of seconds.
Everything looked good. Baby was doing great with APGARS of 8 and 9. I went from abject misery to elation, and as an added bonus didn't even have a tear. The cord looked fine. Then as the doctor delivered the placenta, we found that there was a cord stricture. Again! You can see it clearly on the video. Stricture is more common at the fetal end of the cord, as was the case with Miles. I can't find any reliable statistics on how often stricture ends up being fatal, but I know the odds are pretty grim.
Sitting here holding her tonight, I feel like the luckiest person in the world. How amazing it is that she was conceived at all! How incredible that she survived to be born alive and healthy! Her name is Nadia, which comes from the Russian "Nadezhda", meaning hope.
"...Anything can happen, child. ANYTHING can be.”