I’m mostly writing this post so that I don’t forget anything that happened the day the baby was born. We were scheduled to be induced on Monday, September 26 at 7:30AM, but Sunday morning at 12:56AM my water broke. I had been having contractions since Friday afternoon/evening, but they were irregular and not painful. Saturday night Paul went to a concert downtown and a small part of me thought he should stay home, but since my contractions weren’t that bad I didn’t say anything.
I was expecting Paul to come home around 1:00AM on Sunday morning, so when my water broke I didn’t feel too bad making him come home early. He said the band was on its last song anyway, and came home. I then called the hospital so they knew we were coming and called my mom.
We arrived at the hospital around 1:30AM. I had told Paul what route I wanted to take when we finally went in, but just like every other soon-to-be dad, he forgot what I had said and went a different way. Once we were there I was hooked up to the monitor. I was actually happy that my water broke because the midwife on call that weekend was one that I liked and the midwife who was scheduled to induce was not my favorite. By 3:30AM I was all checked in and tried to get some sleep.
Of course I wasn’t able to sleep, so around 5:00AM I tried sitting on a labor ball. By this point my contractions were about 4:30 minutes apart and were getting stronger. The baby had hiccups throughout my pregnancy (and still has them), so I ended up having hiccups with my contractions. Paul did a very good job of rubbing my back while I had contractions and trying to distract me with card games (although I wasn’t having any fun, so we only played one or two games). By 9:45AM they checked my progress and I was only dilated to 3cm. Since I wasn’t very far along yet I was allowed to eat to get my blood sugar back up, so I ordered some toast, yogurt, and apple juice. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay down.
The baby moved a lot during labor, especially during contractions, which made them worse. After eating I took a shower and tried nipple stimulation (sorry, at this point nothing embarrasses me anymore) to increase the contractions. That works, but it created very intense and painful contractions and I just didn’t have the energy to continue doing it. Eventually my mom called and wanted to know how things were going (or not going, in my case). By 11:30AM my midwife said that since we were reaching the 12 hour point we should talk about alternative ways to induce labor. I had requested not to be offered pitocin because it creates very intense contractions and increase the chance of needing a cesarean. My midwife suggested an enema, but that really didn’t sound like much fun, so I suggested that I keep trying nipple stimulation for another hour or so and then we can consider the whole enema idea.
During that hour, I talked with Paul about getting an epidural and pitocin. We were both against having either one, but I was exhausted and I didn’t feel as if nipple stimulation was really working fast enough. I was starting to feel that I wouldn’t have the energy to push if I didn’t get something for the pain. I decided that the baby was going to be born one way or another, and I needed to have the energy to push or else I’d have to have a cesarean, which I didn’t want. So at 12:45PM (almost exactly 12 hours after my water broke), I asked for an epidural and pitocin. My nurse checked my progress, and although I was about 90-100% effaced, I was only 4cm dilated, and the baby was still at 0 station.
It took about an hour for the epidural and pitocin to be administered, but by 2:00PM we were finally able to take a nap. Of course my husband got more sleep than I did. I was checked again at 4:00PM and this time I was dilated to 6cm, and the baby had dropped to +1 or +2 station. I was very happy that I chose to have an epidural because at this point I was starting to feel the contractions, but I wasn’t feeling much pain with them. I don’t even want to imagine how they would have felt without the epidural. At 4:30PM I realized that I hadn’t updated my mom since that morning, so I gave her a call. Then we tried to watch a little TV and nap some more.
At 7:00PM I switched nurses again. My nurse seemed very nervous, and it turned out she was new to labor, but for some reason that made me feel better. I think that since neither one of us was experienced, it made me feel as if I had someone there with me who understood what I was going through. I had a variety of nurses by the time I went home, and I felt as if the more experienced nurses had their opinions and would tell you what they thought, whether or not you wanted to hear it. Anyway, by 7:30PM, we were told we’d probably have the baby before midnight, so we ordered dinner for later. I promptly threw up again after that (I think the idea of food was unsettling).
I was checked again at 8:30PM and it was confirmed that I was complete and could start pushing. I started pushing at 9:00PM and at first I was still in a pretty good mood. It took me a little while to get a rhythm and to understand when I should start pushing, but during that first hour I was making jokes and criticizing Paul’s technique (or lack of technique) in helping hold my leg back. Eventually that all passed. The nice thing about having the epidural and pitocin was that when it came time to push, my nurse increased the pitocin and lowered the epidural. This allowed me to have a better idea when I was having a contraction. Part of the reason I didn’t want an epidural was because some women can’t feel their contractions at all, which can make labor last longer. In the end I was definitely able to feel when I needed to push. There were even a number of instances where I said I was ready to go before the contraction would show up on the monitor. Eventually, they even took the monitors off because the contractions weren’t reading as well as I was able to predict them.
There were definitely points were I did not think I was going to be able to keep going. I don’t know if Paul l really knew what he should do to help me, but the best thing he did was make sure I drank a lot of water. I don’t think I would have had anything to drink in the 3 hours (apparently that is a long time, even for first-time mothers) I was pushing if it wasn’t for him. At one point someone suggested that I use a mirror to see how I was doing. At first I found this very frustrating. For at least an hour everyone kept saying how close I was and how they could see his head. I could barely see anything when I first looked in the mirror, so I didn’t feel as if I were close at all. For a long time I didn’t feel as if I were going to make it and really wanted to stop.
Finally, though, at 11:40PM, almost 24 hours after my water broke, the baby arrived. I wanted to give him the chance to find my breast on his own, so we let him do the belly crawl for about an hour. He came very close to getting there on his own, but eventually I had to help him out. Either way it was cool to watch him try.
Although, my experience didn’t go exactly as naturally as I had planned, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was probably the worst experience of my life, but it had the greatest outcome. However, now that it’s all over, I have to finish typing this up before the baby kicks the laptop off my lap.