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Kerry and Katie Beth
Gestational Diabetes, Induced Labor, Epidural, 64 1/2 Hour Labor, Vacuum Extraction, Vaginal Delivery

It was quite a surprise when I found out I was pregnant with Katie. Although my husband and I had been together for over ten years, we wanted to wait a while longer to start our family. My pregnancy was horrible. I started getting sick before my period was late, and I continued to throw up until a month before Katie was born. I tested positive for gestational diabetes in the sixth month of my pregnancy. Fortunately, I was able to control my blood sugar with diet alone and did not require insulin.

Due to the diabetes, I was scheduled for an ultrasound the day before my due date to make sure that everything was okay. At that point, the baby had not dropped, and my cervix was not dilated or effaced at all. I knew something wasn't quite right at that ultrasound. The technician left the room after a few minutes to call my doctor's office. I was told to go straight home and that the doctor would call me immediately. I knew the baby was still alive because I saw her heartbeat and could feel her moving. When I walked in the door, the phone was ringing. I ran (as best I could) to the phone. It was the doctor's office. They said that I had very little amniotic fluid left and that my placenta was very mature due to the diabetes. I was instructed to go to the hospital immediately to be put on a fetal monitor and to be induced.

I phoned my husband at work. Of course, he wasn't at his desk. I paged him with a 911, and he called back immediately. I was in tears and could barely talk. Although I had been anxiously awaiting the birth of our baby girl, I was now terrified of what the next several hours held. I called my mom, and she tried to calm me down and told me everything would be all right. My husband arrived home in record time. We grabbed my bag and went off to the hospital.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was given a heparin lock so that I would be ready for an IV whenever the need should arise. I was put on the fetal monitor, and my doctor arrived to administer prostaglandin gel to my cervix. This was on Wednesday afternoon at 1:00. As soon as the gel was applied, I began having uncomfortable cramps. They checked me later that evening, and nothing was happening. They decided to wait until the next day to administer the pitocin and apply more gel. I continued to cramp but was given a sleeping pill so that I would be able to get some rest. My husband went home to have a good night's sleep.

On Thursday a.m., my cervix had finally softened up some, but it still was not effaced or dilated at all. They began a pitocin drip bright and early Thursday morning, and I began having painful contractions, but nothing was happening to my cervix at all! Thursday afternoon, the pain was quite severe, and I had a shot of Stadol to take the edge off. All it did was confuse me! I was hearing things coming from the TV such as Curious George has the Ebola virus, and swore that there was a little girl standing behind the fetal monitor playing peek-a-boo with me. After these hallucinations, they switched me from Stadol to Nubane, which seemed to help somewhat. In the evening, my cervix was 30% effaced, but not dilated at all. The doctor decided to turn off the pitocin for the night and give me and my uterus a rest. Unfortunately, my uterus had other plans. Even without the pitocin, I was contracting every 10 minutes all night long. My husband was home sleeping in our comfortable bed during this very long night.

By Friday morning, good news, I was dilated to 1 cm. My doctor decided to get things moving and break my water. Well, I'm not sure if it got things moving, but it sure made the contractions hurt a lot more. I was given an epidural about two hours after my water was broken. The insertion of the epidural itself wasn't too bad. Thinking about it is much scarier than actually having it done. All I really felt was the sting of the xylocaine, which numbs the area where the needle is inserted, and some pressure deep within my back. I had what they call a "patchy block" and still felt all the pain right above my pubic bone. They just could not get that one place be numb. My doctor checked me later in the afternoon, and I was at 4 cm. She told me that we would have a baby sometime today. I was pretty excited by that point, and really wanted to get out of bed. I had been in bed since Wednesday afternoon hooked to the monitor and wanted this thing over with. Well, by 10 p.m., I was only at 7 cm. I began transition shortly after that, and even though I couldn't feel the full effect of the contractions because of the epidural, I began to shake. I continued to shake until about 2:00 a.m. when I was told that I was finally at 10 cm and could begin pushing. I wanted to throw a party after having reached that milestone after two and a half days.

When I began pushing, there was absolutely no progress. I pushed with only the nurse there for about two hours, and the baby just was not moving down the birth canal. The doctor was called. She was sleeping at the hospital waiting for me to deliver. She came in and announced that the baby was posterior. That means that she was facing face up instead of face down, and the hard part of her skull was pushing against my spine. This position makes pushing much more difficult. The doctor had me push through a few more contractions, but nothing was happening. She began to talk to me and my husband about a C-section. I nearly flew out of the bed. I said something to the effect, and I will leave the obscenities out, "After three days of labor, now you want to do a C-section? I don't think so. Get this baby out of me now!"

The doctor decided that she would try to use the vacuum extractor to help the baby emerge. At this point, there are about 15 people in a little tiny labor and delivery room. They had special care nurses waiting in the hall with an incubator because there was some meconium being passed. These nurses would suction the baby and administer any treatment needed to save the baby. The vacuum extractor makes a horrible noise, and things were getting pretty intense. I asked my husband to leave because he is kind of squeamish, and I was worrying about him, but I needed to focus all my effort on pushing out this baby.

At this point, the doctor called for "fundal pressure." This is when the biggest person in the room (in my case as 6'2" male nurse) jumps on the top of your stomach while you are instructed to push. While this guy was jumping on my stomach, the doctor was doing her best to suck the baby out with the vacuum. Finally, I was told that her head was out. Then her shoulders passed, and this was the most painful part of the whole ordeal. I let out my first scream, and it was a loud one. I must say after having been on L&D for three days, my scream could definitely compete with the best of the screams that I heard throughout my stay. There were at least four babies born in the room right next to mine during my stay, and I was able to hear the labors and deliveries as they occurred. Anyway, not to digress, my wonderful little girl, Katie Beth, was born at 5:27 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, 1996, after 64 1/2 hours of contractions!

They put her on my stomach for just a minute, and my best friend, who was there with me the whole time, cut Katie's cord. Katie was then rushed out to the hallway where her daddy and several special care nurses were eagerly awaiting her arrival. As it turned out, she was in excellent condition and had apgars of 8 and 9. She weighed 7 pounds even, was 20 inches long, and perfect in every way.

As Katie was out in the hallway being examined, the doctor was waiting for my placenta to deliver. After that, she examined me internally for tears. This was another very painful part of the birth. No one ever told me about this part, but it was quite uncomfortable. Luckily, I had no tears and had not even required an episiotomy.

Most of the time when you hear about a birth, the mother says that she felt overwhelming love for her baby right off. I didn't. I thought that something was wrong with me because I felt absolutely nothing for this baby. All I felt was relief that she was out. That feeling didn't last very long. After a big breakfast and a two-hour nap, all I wanted was my baby. Now, she is the joy of my life, and I never knew that love could be so intense. I would gladly go through pregnancy and labor and delivery a thousand times for this little girl.

I am currently five months pregnant with Katie's baby brother. I again have gestational diabetes and have been on the diabetes diet since January. The diabetes care management specialist thinks I will be on insulin in the very near future. We are eagerly awaiting Robb Andrew's arrival in late July of 1999 when Katie will be three years old. I find consolation in the fact that second labors are usually shorter than first labors!

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