Four years ago after I had Madison if you would have asked me what my childbirth experience was like, I would have told you “Amazing!”. With Madison, I was laughing during pushing and jokingly telling everyone in the room that I really should have worked out for this. Months before I went into labor with her, my birth plan was set in stone that I was going to have an epidural. There was no question in my mind that having an epidural would make the birthing experience more pleasant for myself and everyone in the room.
Let’s fast forward a few years to me being pregnant with Colton. I had the same exact birth plan, epidural and all. I had a few complications along the way and ultrasounds were showing that Colton was going to be a big boy, so I was going to be induced on June 12th when I hit 39 weeks.
Colton had other plans and the morning of June 8th we headed into Labor & Delivery to find out I was 3cm, which wasn’t a change from my most previous office visit. They suggested I go and walk and checked me before I left, finding out I was 4cm so they decided to admit me.
Hooray! The day was here, and we were totally ready! We got into our hospital room, which looked like a hotel suite, it was gorgeous! Just a few hours later they decided we would do Pitocin, as things were very slow moving. I was pretty comfortable at this point but asked if we could notify the anesthesiologist to come and set up the epidural as I knew the Pitocin would bring on the pain.
The anesthesiologist came in and got set up, asking a variety of questions and how my prior epidural experience went. My response, of course, was “Great, I didn’t feel any pain at all!”. They had my husband sit in front of me, while he cleaned my back and hooked my arm up to the blood pressure cuff. And just like that, it was time to inject the test portion administration of a drug bolus.
As soon as it was administered into my back, the back of my neck got hot and a feeling came to me that I had never felt before. The blood pressure cuff was set to keep going on to monitor my blood pressure, as a decrease in blood pressure is one of the most common side effects. I watched my blood pressure drop rapidly and the nurse had me lay back and placed a cool towel on my head.
My wonderful Labor nurse called up front to the desk to have the doctor come in, and within 10 seconds called again to tell them we needed her now. She put the oxygen mask on my face and I watched her face and knew something was seriously wrong. And then it happened… they lost Colton’s heartbeat on the monitor. I was placed on my side and watched as my nurse hit the Code blue call, and within seconds 6 nurses rushed into the room.
The nurses helped me get on all fours and frantically tried to find Colton’s heartbeat on the monitor. My doctor came rushing into the room and broke my water so that she could place a fetal scalp into his head. I had no idea what this was until after Colton was born, but it is a little screw that goes into the babies head to monitor your baby internally.
They were able to get Colton’s heartbeat back on the monitor, and they gave me a shot of epinephrine, to bring my blood pressure back up. After that, I was shaking very badly, which is a side effect from the epinephrine and most likely just nerves from everything that had just happened.
Things settled down for a little bit after that, but from being on my side for so long, my epidural was only working on one side. The anesthesiologist said we could take it out and re-do it but the same exact thing happened and my blood pressure dropped and it was round two. The anesthesiologist really was great and told us that he did not feel comfortable trying again because he did not want to put me or the baby at further risk.
Colton was born after 12 hours, and a medication free labor. He weighed in at 9lbs 1oz, and was so worth the wait.
Colton is now currently 9 months old, and to this day talking and thinking about my labor with his feels like someone is sitting on my chest and my heart starts racing. After I had Colton I was postpartum depression/anxiety and I feel that this labor set me up for that, as I had never experienced any depression/anxiety in my life. I am sure it will get easier, but I also hope no one goes through my same experience on a day that is supposed to be so wonderful.
We did come to find out afterward in speaking with our anesthesiologist a few day later, who by the way stayed in the hospital after his shift that night to make sure I was okay after delivery, that I should have never gotten a patch that goes behind your ear before attempting the epidural. I was also told that if I need to have any type of surgery that I should also have his patch so I don’t have any issues being under with anesthesia.
Have any of you ever had an issue like this? Let me know in the comments!