I knew while starting this blog that I wanted my first post to be Bennett’s birth story. Having Bennett opened a new passage of my life filled with wonder and a love that defies description. So, I thought there was no better time to start documenting our adventures.
In the span of 14 months my husband and I got married, moved 1,000 miles from Columbia, SC to Cape Cod, MA and had our first baby. I had a desire to live in New England for a very long time. I was drawn to the charm, seasonal beauty and history. My husband, who has this amazing quality of always wanting to make my dreams come true, agreed to start our married life on Cape Cod when I was offered a position at a private practice. Since Cape Cod isn’t exactly an area booming with commerce, my husband accepted a position at a firm in Boston and began commuting 60 miles each way to work.
A few months later, around the time we were celebrating the news of my pregnancy, life threw us another curveball when the position we relocated for did not work out. As a result, we decided to move to Boston so that Brian could spend more time with our baby and less time commuting and so that I could take advantage of the plethora of healthcare employment opportunities that Boston has to offer. We took a gamble and placed our home of only 6 months back on the market and prayed that it would sell. When I was 37 weeks pregnant, our prayers were answered when our house sold and the buyer wanted us out in 2 weeks.
I was able to find an amazing OBGYN very close to our new apartment who had privileges at the hospital where I wanted to deliver. I had been dealing with gestational diabetes through my pregnancy, and as a result, she scheduled me to be induced a week before my due date. I was thrilled since I dreaded the thought of going past 40 weeks. However, a week before my induction date I started experiencing severe itching everywhere without any type of skin irritation. Since this symptom could be a sign of a condition called cholestasis, which could be potentially harmful to the baby, I was directed to go to triage at the hospital. The labs needed to definitively diagnose cholestasis take about a week to be returned, so the on-call OB decided to start the induction process with oral Cytotec that day followed by a fetal vitals check 4 hours later. When the vitals were okay I was sent home and told to return early the next morning for another dose. I spent the entire next day in triage receiving 2 more doses of Cytotec without complication. I was sent home once more and told to show up at my OBGYN’s office the next morning.
By this point I was absolutely miserable. There was nothing that would relieve the itching and no sign that labor was near. The next morning I woke up as Brian was getting ready to leave for work. As he was literally walking out the door, I experienced lower abdominal pain like I had never felt before. Throughout my pregnancy I was wondering if I would be able to distinguish real labor from any kind of false labor pain and, trust me, there is no mistaking the two. The waves of pain lasted about 30-45 seconds at a time and were occurring approximately every 2 minutes. Needless to say it was time to go to the hospital; luckily, as a result of scouring Boston to find our perfect apartment, we were only a couple miles away.
We showed back up at triage around 9:00 AM; I was determined to already be 6 cm dilated, which was shocking as I was barely dilated 1 cm the day before. I was immediately wheeled up to a delivery room and luckily able to get my epidural right away. (I was pretty uncomfortable). Twenty minutes later I was pain-free. Brian and I were doing crossword puzzles and enjoying our last few moments of just being me and him. My doctor came in about 30 minutes later and found the baby was not moving down the birth canal as would be expected on account of my narrow pelvis (I had no idea). She decided to administer Pitocin to see if it would help move the baby down. The Pitocin worked and by 1:00 PM I was ready to start pushing. I was thrilled! I had heard story upon story of first time labor lasting 24+ hours and I had only been in labor for 4.
After 2 hours of pushing my baby still hadn’t arrived and I was exhausted. I was frustrated because I was truly giving it everything I had. Then we heard a few beeps from the monitor and my doctor’s demeanor quickly changed. She told us the baby’s heart rate was dropping and needed to be delivered immediately. She called in more nurses and a pediatric team and prepped for an emergency vacuum extraction. I started to cry hysterically. I felt like I completely failed my baby and I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I caused him or her to become unwell. At this point there were about 15 people in my room. My amazing physician delivered our baby in a couple of minutes (although it felt like an eternity). We heard “it’s a boy,” and Bennett started to cry. It was truly the most miraculous sound I had ever heard.
Bennett was placed on my chest right away while my doctor got to work stitching me back together. Brian said it looked like a crime scene (sorry for the honesty). But I didn’t care. I was mesmerized by Bennett’s strangely alert and apprehensively puzzled stare. And in those first few seconds he was able to expose my indescribable feeling of love for him. He wrapped me around his perfect tiny little finger and I knew my world now revolved around his. I also understood at that moment that I was given my life to be his mother and my greatest experiences were just beginning.