[note, this post may contain details of a personal / medical nature as I write about my recent labor/delivery - if it is "too much information" for you, I recommend skipping to the next post!]
This post is also very long - I’m writing it more for my own memory’s sake - but I do apologize for how long it is!
Labor and deliver did not go as planned.
I imagined I’d labor in the spa tub (possibly deliver if I was comfortable and the doctor on duty was agreeable – 2 of the doctors in my practice do not do water births).
I imagined a peaceful, focused labor, much like my first son’s birth (which, although a painful 9 hours of laboring and 2 hours of pushing was very calm, mostly quiet, and focused).
My due date was July 29. I’d been having some mild cramping and lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions for several weeks. I kept saying I was going to go early. I nested like crazy, making huge “To Do” lists for hubby to fulfill before baby came (assembling, installing, cleaning, organizing, putting in a new closet!?). Yes, we got it all done with two weeks to go! I was set to enjoy “free time” and take our toddler to the local museums, swimming pool, etc.
Saturday, July 14th – My 38 week ob/gyn checkup showed I was 3-4 cm dilated and 70% effaced. (I later learned these measurements can be”subjective.”) That night, we went to my parents for their combined birthday party (born 5 days apart), and the whole ride I felt mild cramping at regular intervals and some pressure. It stopped by the next morning though.
Monday, July 16th – I was in a frenzy, my mother came over and helped me clean the house. I peeled and chopped about three pounds of carrots, along with prepping all the fresh fruit and vegetables I had. Something should’ve told me this. is. it! (I suspected).
Tuesday, July 17th…
10:00 am – I noticed some watery leakage, and thought, “Could this be my water breaking?” but it wasn’t the “gush” other people describe, so I went about my business for a few more hours.
1:00 pm – I called my ob/gyn and they told me to go right to the hospital, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. I asked if I should bring my hospital bag, and they said “if it’s packed, YES!” I wasn’t feeling any contractions at all. Hubby was putting our son down for a nap, so I decided to go by myself and get checked out rather than wait someone to come watch our son. Most likely I’d be sent home. I called my mom on the way, just in case, and she was in a dentist appointment but would come afterwards just in case. All my other family was not answering the phone.
2:00 pm – The test given at the hospital confirmed my water had broken and I’d be staying to have my baby! 12 days early! I got pretty excited, thinking meeting my baby was just around the corner. The nurses and midwife began setting up shop. Fortunately, I had my iPad to pass the time (and did so with many of you readers online!).
3:30 pm – My husband arrived at the hospital. Little did he know it was a “hurry up and wait” situation! I put on my lovely Pretty Pushers delivery gown, fully expecting to greet my baby very shortly.
4:00 pm – Because I was postive for Group B Strep (ugh), I had to get antibiotics. Now, what was NOT told me in the ob/gyn office was these are a 15 minute IV drip, administered EVERY 4 hours until you deliver. And the IV drip is incredibly painful. I honestly WOULD rank the pain up there with labor pain – my whole arm would burn, stiffen and turn numb for 15 minutes while the meds went in, and they had to put ice packs on it while I lay there crying. Also, I’d have to be hooked up to the IV the entire labor/delivery. Strike one for my peaceful birth plan. I was told they could wrap up my arm and I could still labor in the tub.
5:00 pm – Shift change, and the doctor on duty was one that would NOT do a water birth. Strike two for my birth plan. So far no contractions. But I was getting hungry! Jello and popsicles were not cutting it!
7:00 pm – Had another round of antibiotics! Killed! And because nothing was happening with my labor, they started me on a very slow drip of pitocin. Strike three for my birth plan.
11:00 pm – Yet another round of extremely painful antibiotics – with wires coming out everwhere and labor not kicking in, I started to get a bit panicky. I didn’t want to end up having a C-section from going too long past my water breaking. I’d hoped to meet our baby that same day, but the pitocin kept getting increased with little result. I felt a few cramps once in a while but nothing truly painful. I decided to take a nap, realizing it would be my mother’s birthday when our baby arrived!
1:00 am – I was woken up by the nurse and doctor. An exam showed I was only 5 cm dilated and I still was not feeling any contractions. They told me that they couldn’t administer more pitocin unless they put an internal monitor on the baby (I hope I don’t have to explain what THIS means, ladies!). If they didn’t give me more pitocin, I might sit around waiting to go into labor for hours. (And believe me, I was warily eyeing the clock that said I’d get a fourth round of antibiotics at 3 am! This I hoped to avoid at all costs). However, with the internal monitor, I would not be able to labor in the tub or even the shower. Strike four for my birth plan (I know, in baseball there’s only 3).
I started crying. The waiting. The late hour. Being hungry. The anxiety over the antibiotics (yes, that IS how much they hurt!). And not having the water option for pain management. It was too much. It didn’t feel like a “natural birth” even though I was not getting any pain medications. I went into the bathroom to decide, and cry some more. I decided I needed to meet this little boy ASAP (and avoid antibiotics!).
1:15 am – With the internal monitor in, the nurse increased the pitocin to 20 ml/hour. She told me I could get back into bed and rest until it kicked in. I started to say, “Okay,” and take another nap, when the first major contraction hit! That fast! And I mean, a full-on intense labor contraction!! Wow.
The contractions kept coming - lasting about 90 seconds with only about 60-90 seconds in between. They were so strong, and considering I had been SLEEPING SOUNDLY just fifteen minutes prior, the fact that there was no buildup for my body to adjust to the pain made me more panicky! I tried to remember my rhythmic breathing and focus. I rocked on the birthing ball. I briefly tried sitting in the rocking chair but that was very painful. The nurse tried putting a heating pack on my back but that was too hot. Do I sound like Goldilocks?
Unfortunately, the stress of the day left me feeling scattered and I couldn’t stay focused and breath through each pain adequately. Which added to my anxiety. I thought about how I’d labored nine hours with my first baby … and the impending round of antibiotics. I didn’t think I could handle the pain of a contraction AND the antibiotics at the same time. I said, “We can’t ever have another baby! I can’t do this again!” (I said the same with my first!).
I remember praying for strength to get through, but felt like even my prayers were scattering like mercury beads. My head was just not in the right place!! How I wished I had a midwife or doula at the moment. But I happened to be delivering on the ONE DAY our practice does not have a midwife on call, and a doula would’ve cost me $600!!!
2:00 am-ish – After about forty-five minutes of laboring, I suddenly felt the urge to push. I was shocked! I thought maybe I was making it up because I wanted to be done so badly. I told the nurse and she said, “Great, hop in the bed, I’ll get the doctor.” I was confused for a bit and asked, “Really? I can really push now?” She assured me it was fine. I climbed into bed (wires and all) and they took out the monitor.
Then the doctor came in, flipped ALL the lights on bright (what was he thinking!!) and sat down across from me (you can imagine the position I’m in!!) just waiting. With his backwards gown and face mask on looking he looked like a catcher behind a baseball plate. I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous!” (Strike five for my peaceful birth plan!). I started to get upset at how the whole event was going…but then I realized I had to stay focused, because I needed every bit of mental and physical energy left to get this baby OUT! Everyone said I could push so I did, but I had a hard time focusing where I was pushing (it’s easy to end up pushing with your upper body when it should be your lower body!) and it wasn’t doing a lot of good for a few contractions!
2:30 am – The doctor said, “Two more pushes and he’ll be out!” I glared at him and said, “Are you serious!? He’s REALLY coming out in just two pushes?” I looked at my husband for verification. I swore if that doctor was just trying to make me feel better I was going to be so angry! My husband said, Yes! He could see the baby’s head! Still skeptical, I asked, “You can really see it? You can really see his head?” YES! everyone assured me that it was just going to take two more… just two more. I didn’t believe them for a second, but I decided to give it a go!
I tried to focus on the right spot as best I could, held my breath, and gave a huge push – I felt the crowning of the baby’s head!! I knew this was it!! I gave one more push - And WHOOSH! Out he came! I was shaking with adrenaline and relief! The doctor held our baby boy up for me to see, and they wiped him off and put him on my chest. I couldn’t believe it was all over within 90 minutes!
I have to say, I love that super-warm feeling of a newborn baby on my chest. I’ve only felt it two times but it’s an amazing feeling like no other! The baby is all body-heat-hot and trembling and squirming with life! And you’re just so relieved to be done with the. hardest. thing. ever!
It was a happy, happy moment for us, as I’m sure you can imagine! I have lots more I want to say about the details surrounding our baby’s birthing, but I’ll save them for future posts!
Thanks for sticking with me through my long-winded tale! And for all the encouraging Facebook posts, tweets and emails sent during my long wait! They helped so much!! Here’s some photos:
So… I know everyone’s delivery stories are different … was my birth story much different than yours?