- 5 years ago
- Wedding: August 2011
It’s pretty early to already be posting a birthing story, but I didn’t want to forget a single detail, so I wanted to write it all down now… Thanks for reading 🙂
Last Wednesday, I went into the hospital with long feelings of tightness in my abdomen. I was pretty sure they weren’t real contractions, but they were new sensations, and the nurse suggested I come in just to get checked out. At that time, I remained dilated to 1 c.m. and they didn’t give me a number for % effaced, so I assume it was pretty low. We went home and prepared for Thanksgiving as usual.
Thursday-Sunday, I felt low menstrual-period like cramps in my abdomen off and on all day long. They never hurt, but were certainly noticeable and clearly contractions, although they would come and go. I was able to sleep through them (although I wasn’t sleeping well) and feeling pretty good. I even raked the yard with my husband on Sunday. I lost my mucus plug starting on Thursday night and continuing through Sunday, and had some brown spotting, but nothing red.
Monday morning I woke abruptly at 4:30 a.m. I was having very painful contractions. I tried to time them, but they got to the point where I couldn’t really walk or talk through them, so I didn’t care how far apart they were, I was going in (they were about 3-4 minutes). We arrived at the hospital at 5:30. I was prepared for a natural birth, so they checked how far I had dilated (2 c.m.) and let me walk around for a few hours. They checked me an hour later and two hours later and I hadn’t really made any progress. The walking was okay, but the contractions brought me to the floor and were very difficult to breath or relax through. The doctor came in at that time and saw me during her rounds and suggested we go home and try to get some rest. I had been committed to no drugs, but she was able to convince me that taking a shot of morphine at that point was probably going to make it more likely I could actually get through a drug-free labor later. She was hoping I’d get some sleep and be able to come back in more fully dilated.
I already felt like a bit of a failure at this point for taking drugs so early. I cried and DH was super supportive and made me feel good about it. We went home around 9 a.m. I took a bath and tried to continue relaxing through contractions. Even with the morphine, I still was unable to relax or talk/move through the contractions. I was unable to sleep (although luckily DH got about an hour), and we began to evaluate where I was. Around 3 p.m. (and 10.5 hours of unmedicated labor), we decided to go back to the hospital. I was in complete and total pain and also exhausted. We decided that if I had progressed, we’d continue on, but if I was stuck, we would talk about an epidural.
We got to the hospital at 3:30 and found I was 3 c.m. This wasn’t going to work. We got a room and told them to go ahead and do the epidural. I was a bit disappointed in myself, but my doctor was incredible and made me feel so good about my choice. It took awhile to get the epidural, but by 4:30, I was feeling awesome. The epidural itself didn’t hurt and my anesthesiologist did a great job of allowing me to retain some feeling and even movement in my legs and hips while completely removing any pain. They checked me around 6 p.m. and I had dilated to 5/6! I was psyched. It was clear my body had been (despite my best efforts) fighting itself and keeping me from dilating.
At about 9:00 (and after a glorious hour of sleep), they checked me again–no progress. The doctor broke my water and suggested Pitocin. I was leery of using Pitocin, because I continued to feel that as I used more interventions, I was headed closer to a C-section. We discussed it and decided that I would go ahead and use the Pitocin in the hopes of moving along and avoiding one. They put me on the lowest dose (they called it 1, but I don’t know what measure they used) for thirty minutes and I started being able to really feel (pain-free) the contractions. After 30 minutes they turned me up to 3. I had one incredibly long contraction (with five peaks), told them I felt like I needed to push, and they turned the Pitocin off.
The nurse checked me and said “let me go get someone else.” Another nurse came in and did the exam and said “I think she’s at 9.” My nurse said “I agree” and they gave my doctor a call. About 2 minutes later, they checked again and I was at 10. It was incredible to have made so much progress. We did a couple of practice pushes, and then waited for the doctor to arrive.
My doctor arrived around 11 and we began pushing. Pierce Warner was born at 11 p.m. He weighed 6 lbs, 9 ounces and measured 19.5 inches long. The doctor and nurses had suspected that he had meconium mixed in with his amniotic fluid, so a pediatrician and NICU nurse were standing by, but they weren’t too worried right away and let me reach down and pull him up to my chest. The cord was clamped and DH cut it, and then they did take him off to check him out, but decided he was fine and returned him quickly.
Pierce quickly began to give feeding cues and I was able to feed him from about midnight to one a.m. The nurses had me hold off on feeding him a bit based on some new research suggesting that it would actually help stimulate production. I was just happy to have him in my arms.
All-in-all, I do not regret getting the epidural. At least in this case, I think it may have actually helped me to avoid a C-section, because I think with my body fighting itself, I would have gotten stuck and ended up with maternal exhaustion. Who knows for sure, but I was still able to feel to push my little guy out myself and feel like I really did that myself, and I feel awesome about how much we got to interact and how much I got to really enjoy him.
Oh, there is so much to say, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Happy to answer any questions. We are home from the hospital now (came home around 2 p.m. on Wednesday) and my little guy is asleep on my chest while DH catches a rest (I got one earlier while grandma was here to hold him). DH has been an absolute trooper and completely and utterly incredible to watch. I am more in love with him than I have ever been and we are both beyond head-over-heels for our little guy.