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He’s here!

Announcing the arrival of Henry Jett Butler!

Yes.  He’s here.  I’m here, too, stuck in the hospital for at least another day, due to delivering via c-section after 20 hours of labor.

Wow, did the delivery ever suck.  Sorry, but it did.  I mean, results were – obviously – totally worth it, but the experience itself?  Yikes.

So, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I heard my bag of waters pop, and it kept leaking after that initial gush for the next hour or so while I waited for my doctor to call back.  Once he did, he sent me on to the hospital so I could get hooked up to antibiotics right away.  We stayed at home long enough to shower, and then headed over, albeit with a few curses since we’d both forgotten that the Brooklyn Bridge was closed to Manhattan-bound traffic, so we ended up taking an unfamiliar route.

Up on the L&D floor, they tested to make sure I hadn’t just wet myself, and then immediately put me into a birthing room instead of making me wait it out at a triage station.  Which was nice.  At this point, I was the only one on the floor, so I had LOTS of nurses/residents coming to check on me all the time.

And nothing was happening. All hooked up to a fetal monitor & a bag of antibiotics for an hour or so, and nothing.

No contractions whatsoever.  So they called my doc, who asked me to go on Pitocin.  I objected, because the resident had done an internal and I knew I really wasn’t even starting to dilate, but my OB told me that we were now on a countdown clock, due to the broken waters, so we had to get moving.  The nurse I’d bonded with promised to increase my pitocin dose slowly so that we could get the best hits with the lowest amount of meds.  I agreed to the pitocin.

Which, at the time seemed reasonable – ah hell, I’d probably do it again with the same info at hand – but proved to be a mistake.  Not because the pitocin contractions were so miserable, but because of an unexplained hospital policy that pitocin patients are not allowed to leave the bed, or their monitoring belts even for long enough to use the toilet.  I was still only having contractions that felt like mild menstrual cramps, but by this point in the IV I had to pee, and I didn’t want to pee crouching in my bed, I wanted to use a toilet like a big girl, damnit.  Slight tiff with the resident on call here, who called my doctor because somehow having MY doctor explain that it was against hospital policy would impress me more?  Hah.

So no bathroom, no moving around, no warm shower, no birthing ball, no ability to change my own fucking position.  This was the real misery of this labor, in the end, and THIS is what I kind of blame for the necessity of the c-section.  But anyway…

Throughout all this, Henry’s heartrate was doing great.  All indications were that he was tolerating labor quite well, which was encouraging.  Less encouraging was the fact that after 4 hours on pitocin, I was dilated less than a centimeter.  Even less encouraging was that even after they had me pumped up to 20 MIUs/hour I was having killer contractions, but they weren’t doing much at all.  Over the next 3 hours, I was having major contractions every 3 minutes or so, but only made progress to 2-3 centimeters, with Henry’s head not yet fully engaged.

Add to this the fact that he was presenting with his spine against mine – back labor – and the fact that I couldn’t so much as shift to my side.  Pretty agonizing, actually, and after laboring from about 2:30am – 3:30pm under the influence of pitocin, I was ready to call it a day on the natural childbirth thing —though for anyone interested, I still think the hypnobabies tapes helped immensely and if it were a more ‘normal’ birth probably would have been adequate to the job.  All the nurses remarked how high my pain tolerance was, and how calm I was.  Since I don’t think of myself as being particularly tough or zen-like in my day-to-day life, I’m crediting HB for any of that.

So I asked for my painkiller options and was told that at this point of labor, an epidural might be my best bet, since it would let me relax which could possibly help relax my cervix enough that it would start to dilate.  I asked about the possibility of it stalling my already-slow labor down and was told that since it was looking less likely I was going to deliver without some intervention it probably didn’t matter.  This made sense, actually, since it was now after 4pm, and I agreed to the epidural.

Epidurals are nice.

For one thing, I got to change my position, and sit up with my head and arms leaning over a table – this was incredibly comfortable after being confined to my back for the previous 13+hours.  Again I say – I don’t think this would have turned into such a horror-show if not for the stupid hospital policy on patients walking while on Pitocin.  If I had it to do over again, I’d’ve totally blown off the staffers who kept me in bed.  That policy sucks and should be changed.

But anyway, the epidural was lovely – the anesthesiologists were very good, and I got enough relief to be able to doze off in between contractions which – sure enough! – slowed down considerably.  The catheterization was less fun, but livable. We went on in this way til about 8 or 9, at which point I had made no progress at all – still at 3-4 cm.  My doctor started talking c-section, and I was beginning to feel like that might be a really good idea, since they’d upped my P-dose again – 30 mIUs/hour? – and the contractions were coming through my lovely epidural as if it wasn’t even there.  The anesthesiologist ‘topped off’ my epidural, which helped some, but which also made me shake uncontrollably, like I was freezing, even though I actually felt over-warm.  Not fun.

The topped-offedness didn’t last long, again with the back-labor thing – wow that sucked.  Think the worst pain you’ve ever had during the worst period of constipation you’ve ever endured, and multiply it by a factor of about 30.  Really excruciating.  Tired of hearing me moan, the nurses sent the anesthesiologist back to me, and they were getting sort of cranky now – demonstrating to me that the epi was working by putting an ice cube on the numb parts of my body, then on the un-numb parts.  Yes, I understood that the epi. wasn’t designed to deal with pressure, but please, couldn’t they understand that when pressure reaches a certain point it turns to agony? Also, the cath

By this time, (after sunset) L&D was filling up.  My doctor, in fact, had another patient come in during this time, deliver, and head up to the mother/baby suites.  Actually, by this point, many women had come and gone and I was getting pretty frustrated with my complete lack of anything to show for my day.

By about 10pm I was getting to be pretty out of it.  The pain control wasn’t working at all, I was contracting – pointlessly – every minute or so – I was shaking uncontrollably – and I couldn’t get up or change positions at all.  What happened next I can only think was some sort of weird panic reaction, but I sort of freaked out.  Was having a hard time getting enough breath, and sort of fading in & out of sync with the rest of the world.  My doctor was still willing to let me keep laboring if I’d made any progress, but then he checked me again, and I was still only at 4cm.

I knew I was looking at a c-section as the most appropriate response to this completely stalled labor, but the fact that I was already enduring rather significant ‘pressure-not-pain’ didn’t have me feeling confident about how my body would interpret the ‘pressure, not pain’ of a normal c-section.  I’ve woken up under anesthesia before, and while I know it’s a different kind of helplessness, the last 20 hours definitely caught up to me then, and I was freaked out about having a c-section, freaked out about NOT having a c-section, and generally just freaked out.

The Boy was wonderful throughout all this.  He talked me down over and over again while I tried to get my brain under control and utterly failed.  I can’t imagine going through that without him there.

So they prepped me for the c-section, and we were in the operating theatre within fifteen minutes.   They completely numbed my lower body through the epidural catheter and kept me calm while they started excavating.  It took about 20 minutes to get him out – he was sort of wedged inside my pelvis, but once he was free of me, he immediately started crying – nice strong, healthy cries.  The long process of being put back together was disconcerting, and more than a little painful at times.  In fact, I saw a photo of Henry before I saw him for myself, because they had to shoot extra painkillers into my IV at one point.

But he was born, and is healthy, and taking to nursing like a champ.  In fact, he’s also learning that everything in life is a little easier if you eat after the stressful thing is over.  And yesterday was a day filled with stressful things for my little guy.  He got himself born.  He had blood drawn, learned to nurse, discovered his hands (oh, he loves having his hands free!) got circumcised, had his diaper changed about 7 times, met his mom, dad, one of his sisters, one of his aunts, one of his cousins, and a set of grandparents.

As for me, I’ve had a couple of hours of sleep a few times since 1:36am on Saturday morning.  Tired?  Beyond.  Happy?  Over the moon.  Henry is truly wonderful, with a personality that’s already emerging.  He likes to fold his hands together.  I swear he remembers songs I must have sung while he was inside, because of the rapt interest he shows when I sing them to him.  He likes to look at people – so solemnly! and he definitely prefers being held – even being held somewhat haphazardly while I  type away here – to being in his nice, comfy bassinette.

That’s all from his first day, I’m heading home tomorrow morning, and greatly looking forward to the prospet of seeing Nellie – though I’m less excited about all those stairs!

Life is good.
Henry is healthy.
I am happy.

46 comments to He’s here!

  • Erin

    Congratulations Momma!! Great job and welcome Henry!!!!!


    So teary happy wonderful gosh darn
    hate your birth story suckitude, complications, uncertainty, and bullshit rules of not moving with pitocin… and so sorry for the stress and powerlessness of it, but so so so so so very happy for the healthy outcome.


    Oh Sprogblogger, I am just so completely happy for you I could bust.

    thank you so much for your update,
    the internets have been on pins and needles hoping and praying and refreshing.

    gentle hugs,
    and giant love

  • Gosh your birth story is a lot like mine. Epidural after 19 hrs, c-section at around 21, never made it past 3 cm. But hooray for Henry! Post some pictures when you get the chance :) Oh, I’m over the moon happy for you!

  • In spite of, and through, it all – nevertheless, congratulations! So glad everyone is okay and healthy. Happy new life. :)

  • Congratulations!!! Love the name too – especially the middle one. SO happy for you! :)

  • Em

    Oh, so very happy for you!! WOW! Thanks for letting us share this journey with you.

  • Congratulations, Susan! You did it! And, while the birth clearly didn’t go as planned, in the scheme of things and in time, that will fade because he is here, he is healthy and safe and YOU DID IT!

    Welcome to the world, Baby Henry. We’ve been waiting for you :)

    Much love to you all!

  • Marie

    Welcome little Henry to the world!!! Congratulations Susan and The Boy. I’m happy to hear you both are healthy and in love with each other! Enjoy this very special time!!

  • thank you for sharing with us!! HUGS & LOVE!!

  • Hurray! Hurray! So glad to hear he’s here and doing well. So sorry to hear the delivery was such crap.

  • WOO HOO! Miracles do happen. I am inspired by you to keep going and going on this infertile journey. SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND THE BOY!

  • Rebecca

    Hoorah! Hoooooorah! Congratulations, Momma. You’re on the other side. I love the hand story. :)

  • Wonderful news! I’m so happy for you and the Boy and Henry! Sorry to hear about your labor experience but it sounds like you handled it wonderfully. And now you have a new little bundle to make you smile. Nothing but good wishes and I can’t wait to see him. Oh, and I think it’s awesome that he reacts to you singing to him…remarkable.

  • Michele

    Wow!! You’ve been through the wringer but he’s here and now the fun part starts. Enjoy each and every moment of it. Congratulations!!!

  • Well look at that! I go offline for a couple of days and you go and have a baby on me! CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so very happy for you!

  • Nancy G.

    Coming out of lurkdom to wish you and your family warm congratulations! I know you will soak up all the moments and treasure them always.


  • Big congratulations — a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I hope your recovery goes well, I had a c-section too (breech baby) and the recovery really wasn’t bad for me at all, so it can turn out pretty fine. Enjoy these first few days and don’t worry about the stairs, just curl up in your bed with your baby and rest and feed and get to know him. People can come to you. All the best,

  • Mo

    Oh Susan! He is here! HE IS FINALLY HERE!!

    What a story! So glad Henry is here!!! And can’t believe you had to go through that with the pitocin and back labor. Sounds like you had incredible endurance in an impossible situation. Pass my congrats on to the Boy and give a kiss to little Henry for me. I can’t wait to meet him!!



  • Sounds like my story 31 years ago only I had an asthma attack and had to be away from my boy for 24 hours. I am so happy he is here safe & sounds. Can’t wait to see pictures.

  • Em

    Oh congratulations to you all and welcome Henry – welcome indeed. So deeply happy for you. It really is totally cool even with the hormone see-saw.

  • Welcome here, Henry! Congratulations again to all of you! Deep sympathy to you for all the pain…had pitocin w/my second birth – I can’t believe your hospital’s policy about not walking – that does suck. Had back labor with my first birth – oh, that was horrible, so you’ve got my sympathy for that, too. But most of all, I am so joyful for you, because Henry is now HERE! I’m so incredibly happy for you!

  • Gil

    Your story started exactly like mine did! Water broke, no contractions, needed pitocin to get things going, wouldn’t dilate, etc. I thought I was reading my own birth story there for a minute! Nevertheless, I’m SO glad that things turned out well, that you were a trooper and did great and that Henry is safe and sound in your arms. What a wonderful moment that must have been! Congratulations to you and your family as you welcome Henry into the world! Love and hugs from one IF survivor to another!

  • Oy. What a story! I am so glad to hear he is healthy and nursing and already showing his little personality to you! So COOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MabelB

    Hooray hooray and hooray again! My waters broke first like you and I had minimal contractions too, if it’s any consolation my hospital went down the “wait and see” route and had a policy of not giving picotin until 3cm dilated and I ended up with a four day labour, ventouse delivery and a nasty infection from waters being broken for too long, as did my son. We both ended up on iv antibiotics on hospital for a week after. So I think it’s a hard decision to make, pros and cons either way. Bed bound policy is bizarre though! Glad nursing going well too.

  • Sweet! Not the labor, but the baby. Damn the hospital for not alerting you about the policy before starting pitocin. Damn them! But since we can’t change what’s already happened, I’ll focus on now and what’s to come- HAPPY MOTHERHOOD!! I’m relieved to hear that Henry nurses well- that was my ordeal, and it’s good to know some babies have no troubles at all.

    The bottom line is that Henry has about a gajillion “aunties” who are overjoyed to know’s he’s finally arrived. Congratulations!

  • So glad that Henry is here and that he is taking the outside world by storm! I hope you well get a chance to post pictures, I can’t wait to see the little guy!!

  • Kristina

    YAY!!! Super duper congratulations!! I’m sorry the birth sucked in many ways but am glad the hypnobabies and especially the Boy helped you so much. Welcome to the world, Henry! You do sound calm for having gone through all that, great job! :)

  • Oh, Susan,

    Thanks for letting the boy send us a note. That said, it is so nice to hear from you and know you are well. Your baby boy has arrived. YIPEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

    p.s.-I, too, had pitocin after my water broke and also eventually had an epidural…BUT the MOST uncomfortable place for me to be was the bed. I refused. It was torture. I don’t know how you did that. Anyway, so happy for you!!!


  • Pie

    YAY!! Congrats again, Susan. What an ordeal, but totally worth it in the end, right? Can’t wait to see little Henry (and not Ben!!) in pictures here soon. Rest up, Momma!

  • Congrats! And welcome, Henry!
    The world is right again, isn’t it?

  • Hate your hospital and the policy (I haven’t seen this in a very, very long time!) Congrats on a baby and welcome little one !

  • Sue

    Yay!!! So very excited for you. Have fun continuing to get to know little Henry. Sorry the labor was more stupid than it needed to be, been there done that. Wising you quick healing!

  • so so so happy for you! congratulations! welcome to the most amazing ride.

  • Kelley

    Congrats and welcome Henry!

    Your birth story sounds like my first birth with my son, followed by a totally different VBAC birth experience with my daughter. Looking back, both my experiences have shaped me in different ways.

    I am so happy for you and your family!

  • So many congratulations on your little boy! So many commiserations on a lousy birth experience. Ouch! Get some sleep! He sounds delightful! Love the description of his hands.

  • Monique

    Congrats and hello Henry!

  • I’m glad that, relatively, you had a safe labor and so glad that Henry is doing well!!

  • Melissia

    Congratulations on the arrival of your sweet boy. I am so sorry that you got caught up in the vicious cycle of the pitocin/immobility/stalled labor/constant monitoring/ hospital policy leading to a c-section. You are right in that it is almost impossible to deliver that way plus when you add a 8 pound baby who is not head down, but rather facing up, those are some very difficult odds to overcome. When the baby is not facing head down, especially during a first delivery, it is often very difficult for the cervix to dilate, leading to lots of sections, as there is just not enough pressure applied on the cervix.
    So even if you had gone into labor on your own and everything had gone in a textbook way, it may still have been a no go. I have seen it many times and experienced it myself with my last. I was 2 weeks overdue and stalled at 8 cm with pitocin and had to have an assist as was he face up.
    Those face up babies are difficult to birth.
    Just so glad that you are all safe and sound and enjoying your time together and thanks so much for updating us.

  • Susan, I can’t tell you how happy I am for you!!! Your experience is very similiar to mind with Claire. My water broke about 3 am but no contractions. I sat around playing solitaire, took a shower, got the kids to school… still nothing. When I called the doctor they mentioned the countdown and told me to get in. After a few more hours and pictocin, still no regular contractions…

    No matter the journey, it’s worth it to hold your little one. And Susan, he’s beautiful!

  • Great sucky birth story! I wish it had all gone differently for you, but am glad that Henry’s here, safe and sound. And that nursing is going well. Like the days of IF when I was jealous of everyone who got pregnant, I’m jealous of everyone who can breastfeed with ease. Hope it stays that way for you though.

  • Rebecca Trowbridge

    Congratulations!! I feel your pain (figuratively and literally). I too went through the back labor, pitocin with not being able to walk around and no pain meds until the epidural at 36 hours, followed by an hour nap then a c-section. And I agree with you, not being allowed to walk around or change position is also why I didn’t get past 3cm dilation. That rule definitely needs to be changed for all the greater good but in the mean time…you go girl!!

  • Congratulations! Enjoy these moments with precious Henry — what a beautiful boy you have there! I can so relate to your crappy birth story but it sounds like you are handling it a lot better than I did (I melted down on day 3 postpartum when all the hormones crashed, lamenting not remembering the whole thing, etc.). The good news is that any disappointment about the experience only fades further over time as you realize the only thing that matters is that your precious boy is here and healthy. Congrats again!

  • Cat

    Congratulations! You have quite the story to tell. Yikes! I had back labor with my triplets, but no chance of a vaginal delivery. Just suffered through it while they tried to get the contractions under control and failed. Thank goodness all that pain goes away immediately after the delivery!

    Take good care of yourself while you recover. It won’t take as long as you think. Send your hubby out for some granny panties for you. 😉

  • The agony and the ecstasy indeed. I’m so sorry that your situation combined with the hospital policy got in the way of the birth you had hoped for. I get that. I really do. It’s OK to be sad about that and feel miffed and cheated. You can grieve for the loss of that. It’s perfectly OK.


    I’m sure that holding Henry in your arms, smelling his precious head, hearing his coos and seeing his face and belly and fingers and toes is more of a dream come true than you had ever hoped or dreamed. I am genuinely filled with joy for you and your husband. I know that you will be a great and fun mommy.


    You are someone’s Mommy.

    Say it out loud. I know you will feel your heart lift into the clouds.

    Congratulations. Big big big hugs :-)


  • Streaming tears of joy for you. So glad he’s here. Finally, finally here.

  • Congratulations! He is absolutely beautiful! I am so happy for you!