Our perfect Holden James Pacheco entered this world on Sept. 8, 2017 at 10:17 PM after a 16- hour labor, weighing 8lbs 2oz and 20.5 inches long. My Dr suggested a scheduled induction on his due date. We went in at 6am that morning. The nurse checked my cervix, verifying I was dilated to 3cm and 75% effaced. They informed me that my cervix was tilted which is why my body wasn’t going into labor on its own. My water was bulging – but because of the location of the cervix, it wouldn’t break on its own. They used what’s called a foley balloon, inserted that inside the cervix which dilates it slightly then when they pull it out, it centers it. Fortunately I only had to have it in for an hour.
After pulling the foley balloon out, they checked my cervix again which was then in a great location and dilated to 4cm. The next step was to break my water – because it was already bulging and baby was so low, they were worried about breaking the water as they didn’t know the location of his cord. We waited for about two hours and eventually the doctor felt confident enough to break my water and they started me on pitocin to cause contractions and further dilate me. I dilated to a 7 really quickly and was having super strong contractions so things were looking good and I got my epidural. We kept going on pitocin and I kept having contractions but baby’s heart rate began to drop a bit, so they had me laying on one side because his heart would do better on that side. The epidural either didn’t work fully or settled weird because the right half of my body was numb but I was feeling a LOT of pain in my left side, as if the epidural didn’t work on one whole side.
The anesthesiologist came in to check my epidural and essentially re-did it so that I would be numb. He gave me too much and I became far TOO numb. didn’t know that was possible giving birth, but trust me it is. I would have rather gone no epidural than to be as numb as I was during this time. They upped the pitocin after he re-did my epidural and all at once things started happening very quickly – I immediately dilated to a 10, 100% effacement, baby dropped into the birth canal, and I was too numb to do ANYTHING. The contractions started stressing Holden out, because he wasn’t handling the contractions as well and his heart rate kept dropping lower and lower, the nurses kept trying different things to try and up his heart rate any way they could and even inserted a liquid that mimicked the amniotic fluid which would just go in and drain right out of me.
At one point his heart rate dropped so low we almost lost him. The entire NICU team entered my room and were ready to prep me for an emergency C section. They gave me a shot with some form of medicine to stop all contractions and kept flipping me from side to side to try and up his heart rate any way they could. I just remember feeling SO helpless with how numb I was. I heard a “sweetie, do you think you can rotate…” “Okay Nicole we are going to try this now…” (multiple times) and I literally could not do anything. I was sooo scared and couldn’t stop crying and shaking because I was so worried we were going to lose him. After a while and in a specific position, his heart rate went up and started regulating again. They didn’t want me to push and didn’t want me back on pitocin again (though I had been dilated to a 10) because they were worried he just wasn’t going to tolerate it well.
We waited a long time, another two hours or so before they decided to have me start trying again and informed me I only had an hour and a half to push because the baby can only be in the birth canal so long before they don’t survive. They put me on an extremely low dose of Pitocin and contractions began to drop his heartbeat again (later discovered the cord was wrapped around his neck). They had to take me off pitocin again, I was having little to no contractions but had to push anyway and my extremely high dosage epidural had completely worn off by then (hours later) so I literally felt everything and was pushing with nearly no help from my body. At one point I remember the doctor saying, we are going to use the vacuum on him, one tug is all I like to do and we will see how much lower that gets him. They did that and then I remember the doctor saying “okay three more pushes and if he doesn’t come out we will have to do a c-section, we are out of time.”
I prayed hard and literally pushed with everything in me. I had to have a second degree episiotomy as well to help. I even said out loud “I feel defeated, I can’t do this.” But the craziest part is I could feel how much lower he was in the birth canal and the nurses kept commenting on how much hair he had, and that was encouraging and kept me trying as hard as I could. The nurses called the other teams to prep them for my C section and I just was crying thinking I had failed (not that a C section is a failure by any means, but this is just how I was feeling after I had been trying so hard for hours but couldn’t do it). I somehow managed to push him out on those last three tries. It was seriously such a blessing he made it out the way he did or we may have lost him.
These moments were by far the scariest, most emotional moments of my entire life. They placed him on top of my chest immediately and I couldn’t do anything else besides stare at him and just cry. I look back on these photos and cry again because I am just so amazed – it almost feels like a dream. He is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and we love him so much! He’s such a blessing to our family and has been such a joy to us this past week. I am so thrilled to be his mom.
And here’s our little Holden, a week later!