Wyatt’s Birth Story, an induction with Cervidil and Pitocin at 41 weeks, followed by a long labor that ended in a cesarean section and a healthy, happy baby boy.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole month since Wyatt made his long awaited and drawn out arrival into the world. Our world changed forever and for the better on November 20th, 2020 at 11:07am when he made his arrival.
I waffled back and forth about sharing his birth story here for a lot of reasons, the biggest of which is that his birth didn’t go anywhere near how I had imagined. Obviously, I know these things can’t be planned and babies come when they want to, but I had spent so much time researching birth and listening to birth stories that I never thought it would unfold as it did.
Another reason I debated sharing is because I absolutely hate when people tell their nightmare birth stories in a way that is intended to scare the crap out of mom’s-to-be. Wyatt’s birth was long, it started with an induction and ended with a C-section – no one plans or wishes for that outcome, but it was not a nightmare. His birth story ended the best way possible, with the birth of our first child, a large and healthy baby boy! That is the overwhelmingly beautiful outcome of birth that every mom wishes for.
Wyatt’s Birth Timeline
Wednesday, November 18th
7:30pm – We arrived at the hospital for our scheduled induction. I was 41 weeks to the day. I did not want to go past 41 weeks for a variety of reasons, so I had decided with my doctors that if he did not come by then I would be induced.
I really did not want to be induced because inductions can be long and often lead to interventions (I was trying for an unmedicated birth). I tried all the “tricks” to get labor started in the weeks before and none of them worked. The last few weeks of my pregnancy crawled by without a single sign of labor. Now, knowing the circumstances of Wyatt’s positioning I am 99% sure if I had waited until 42 weeks I still wouldn’t have gone into labor on my own, so an induction at 41 weeks was the right decision for me.
Our check-in process at the hospital went smoothly, the receptionist that checked us in and escorted us to our room was incredibly kind and welcoming, he made us feel comfortable from the start! We were brought up to Labor and Delivery and settled into the room where we assumed Wyatt would be born.
9pm – We met our first nurse and she inserted my Cervidil which is supposed to help gradually thin, soften and dilate your cervix overnight. She said she would be back at 5:30am to remove it and start me on Pitocin if I did not go into labor on my own before then.
10pm – Walter went to the cafeteria and got me a snack (a fruit cup and a chocolate chip cookie) because I was not going to be allowed to eat solid foods starting at midnight. Little did we know that would be the last time I ate real food until 4pm on Friday afternoon.
Thursday, November 19th
5:30am – After a pretty terrible night of sleep, my nurse came in and removed the Cervidil. You could see on the monitor that I was having some contractions, but they were not getting stronger on their own and I could not feel them at all.
6:30am – The nurse started me on Pitocin at a level of 4. She said they would gradually increase it by units of 4 until my contractions got stronger and more frequent. I remember asking her what the highest level they would go to was and she said “the hospital limit is 20, but, with the doctors approval, we can take it up to 30”.
7:45am – One of the OBs in my practice came in to check me to see if the Cervidil had helped and if the Pitocin was working at all. She did a very aggressive cervical exam and starting talking about breaking my water. As we were talking, my water broke “on it’s own”. I put that in quotations because I feel like it would not have broken had she not been doing the exam, but since she didn’t use any mechanism to break it they say it broke “spontaneously”. She told me I was only 1cm dilated… which is basically nothing, but because my water had broken I thought things would hurry along from that point… I was wrong.
10:30am – My Pitocin level had been increased to 24 at this point and I was having really bad back labor. Because of where I was experiencing pain, the nurses determined that Wyatt was sunny-side up. They encouraged me to keep moving around to see if he would turn. The pain was too intense to lay down anyway, so I spent the morning mostly bouncing on my yoga ball and walking around our room.
11:15am – My OB came back to check me and said I was only 2cm dilated. She tried to manually dilate me, which was extremely painful, she said my cervix was still really thick and she didn’t thing the stretching was doing much. She encouraged me to go for a walk around the Labor and Delivery floor, which I didn’t even know was allowed because of Covid. I jumped on the chance to leave the room and move around a larger space.
1:30pm – Another check from the OB and I was still only 2cm dilated. My water had resealed or she found a secondary bag of water that she proceeded to break and she was hopefully that may move things along. I was up to the max level (30) of Pitocin and the pain during this exam was excruciating. My back labor was getting a lot more intense and it was getting hard to breathe through the contractions. (I never felt a traditional contraction, they were all in my back).
My OB encouraged me to get an epidural, she thought it may help me relax and start dilating. My plan had been to go unmedicated, however my “plan” never included getting induced or having severe back labor, so my plan changed, ha! I agreed to the epidural and they began prepping me.
3pm – It took anesthesia about an hour and a half to get to my room and administer the epidural. I hate big needles, but I was in so much pain I did not care. Luckily it goes in your back, so I didn’t have to watch and the anesthesiologist casually chatted with Walter the entire time, I’m sure in an effort to keep me calm and distracted. The whole thing was easy, essentially painless, and only took about 15 minutes.
I felt immediate relief, my mood improved drastically and it was absolutely the best decision for me at that point.
Right after you get an epidural they place a catheter because you cannot get out of bed to use the bathroom since your legs are numb. Thinking about catheters is disgusting, but it was such a relief. For the first time in 3 months I didn’t feel like I constantly had to pee and I could drink as much as I wanted without having to constantly go. I celebrated with a big glass of water, apple juice on ice (hospital ice is the best) and a popsicle!
4:30pm – The OB came back to check me again. I was only at 3cm… she said “you have a strong cervix and a stubborn baby on your hands”… I was discouraged, but it still hadn’t crossed my mind that I may end up with a C-section.
She mentioned that I may want to lay on my side with the peanut ball to try to get Wyatt to shift his position. I did this for the next few hours, switching sides every 30 minutes or so.
7:00pm – Another one of the OBs in my practice stopped in to see me and check me. When she checked I was still only 3-4cm. This OB is a lot more direct and basically said that I may need a C-section because Wyatt’s head was not engaged and wasn’t pushing down on my cervix to help it dilate. She also implied that since I had been on the highest level of Pitocin for so long with little dilation there was a good chance it wasn’t going to work for me.
When she left I broke down in tears. Before this moment I had not even considered having to have a C-section. I had done no research on C-sections and felt completely unprepared for anything but a vaginal birth. I also knew I was on somewhat of a timeline. My water had broken at 7:45am that morning, so I only had about 12 hours left to have a vaginal birth. After 24 hours of your water being broken they start to worry about infection.
8:45pm – I was checked again and I was at 4-5 cm. It was progress, but still moving very slowly.
10:10pm – They decided to put me on an hour long Pitocin break. I had been on such a high dose for so long that they wanted to see if they stopped and restarted it if it would get things going. Essentially they were trying to jump start my labor and see if they could get my contractions to increase in strength and frequency again.
At this point we also resolved the fact that our son was not going to be born on 11/19 as we had originally figured he would.
Friday, November 20th
2am – I was dosing on and off, but never truly got any sleep. The OB checked me and I was at 6cm. She said if I hadn’t made any progress by the time she came back at 5:30am we would need to start considering a C-section.
5:30am – The OB came back and was able to stretch me to 7cm, but my cervix was not thinning enough and Wyatt’s head was still not engaging. She said that though she could stretch me to 7cm, once she stopped stretching it was closing back to 5 or 6 cm…
6:00am – I called my mom hysterically crying about how I did not want a C-section, this was my low point.
6:30am – I wanted to exhaust all options before agreeing to a C-Section. Because Wyatt was doing well and I had no signs of infection, they allowed me to continue trying for a vaginal birth. They found 2 nurses on staff that were trained in Spinning Babies techniques. We decided that this would be our last-ditch effort. If, after trying the different exercises to get Wyatt to move into a more favorable position for dilation and delivery, he did not move we would move on to a C-section.
The nurses were amazing and worked with me for more than 30 minutes on different positions to try to flip and move Wyatt. Somehow, despite very numb legs from the epidural, I was able to maneuver into all the different positions to encourage him to move.
7:45am – After all that there was still no real change. The OB that was taking over for the one I had been seeing for the past 24 hours and the midwife from my practice came in to check me and give a 3rd and 4th opinion. The midwife checked me and immediately concluded that a C-section was the right move.
At this point I was exhausted and knew I was out of time. I had come to terms with the fact that I was going to have a C-section and now just wanted to get it over with so we could finally meet the baby we had been waiting so long for.
They turned off the Pitocin so my uterus could rest prior to the C-section and went to check on the surgery schedule. They thought they could get me in around 8:30/9am.
10:30am – It was finally go-time. Apparently it was a very busy morning with 11 other C-sections… I was told I was not a priority because both Wyatt and I were doing well. I was happy that we were both holding up so well and obviously did not wish to be in an emergency situation, but also we were very ready for Wyatt to come out and the extra waiting time felt like it dragged on forever.
A different anesthesiologist came in to administer the drugs for the C-section and the nurses prepped me for surgery. We were now on our 4th nurse change over, haha!
They wheeled me into the operating room and transferred me to the operating table. At this point I couldn’t feel my legs AT ALL and I remember the anesthesiologist commenting that maybe they had given me a little too much too soon. I was more than happy to not be feeling anything though, being awake for major surgery is not exactly a comforting feeling. I was shaking uncontrollably from all the drugs and kept singing in my head “if you’re going through hell, keep on going”… it was so weird, but it was the only thing I could think at the time.
They got me all prepped and didn’t bring Walter in until the very last moment before they started the surgery. I remember saying to them “please don’t forget Walter”, they laughed and said “don’t worry, we won’t”, but I remember being very nervous that they weren’t going to get him in time and he would miss the birth!
11:01am – The next thing I knew Walter was sitting up by my head holding my hand and I was staring at the clock on the wall. It was 11:01am when they started the surgery.
11:07am – I heard Wyatt’s first cry, music to my ears following the the longest 6 minutes of my life. When I heard his cry all the stress and worry faded and my tears started flowing.
He was finally here, the child we had hoped, prayed and longed for for so long was in the world, he was ours and he was perfect.
He was also huge, at 8lbs 15oz and 22 inches long. After learning his size I did feel a small sense of relief that I hadn’t delivered him vaginally, ha!
So that’s it, Wyatt’s Birth Story. What I learned from this experience were things I already knew, but didn’t want to accept. I was not in charge, Wyatt was. And no matter how many dates I ate or walks I took, he was going to come on his own terms.
I have no regrets. I could not have asked for a more attentive and committed team of doctors, they did everything they could to try to help me have a vaginal birth. And I cannot say enough about the team of nurses that I saw during my stay, they were all incredible. I tear up when I think about the selfless kindness and tender care each and every one of them showed me during both my labor and recovery.
We’ve been home with Wyatt for 4 weeks now and have been soaking up every minute. He is already growing so fast and I don’t want to miss a thing. I know this special newborn phase will go by in a blink of an eye, so I’m trying my best to keep both eyes open and stay present with him as much as possible.
I read/listened to so many birth stories during my pregnancy. I am so thankful for all the women who are willing to be open and vulnerable about their birth stories and I hope sharing Wyatt’s helps someone else out there.