I wanted to write down my birth story as soon as possible so I could get the details written down before my horrible memory forgets them. This will probably be a really long post, and like all birth stories, one filled with lots of TMI, so proceed at your own caution.
Before I get into the details, I thought I would give you a bit of background on my plan and birthing beliefs. For at least half my pregnancy, I was in the "most definitely getting an epidural" camp. I was that person who says, "I don't handle pain at all. I am such a woosie when it comes to pain." It wasn't until I started learning more about hospital procedures, what each type of birthing method entailed, etc. and started hearing other peoples birth stories that I began to consider the natural approach. There were a few things that motivated me to try and go the all natural approach, the main one being that I wanted control over my experience. I did not want to be forced to eat ice chips and be in a certain position the whole time. Another thing I had decided was that I would go as long as the doctors would allow me until I had to be induced. I wanted to avoid Pitocin at all costs as my ultimate goal was to avoid being forced into a c-section (unless absolutely medically necessary) and I personally think too many woman end up getting c-sections thanks to the Pitocin, though that's my own personal belief and may be completely untrue. In the end, the experience was completely different than I had originally hoped and planned for, but I now have a very healthy baby boy and I am truly grateful for that.
Also, though I don't really expect anyone to care enough to comment on this post, if you do, please be nice. People, especially on the internet, tend to get very passionate about their beliefs regarding delivery and about any health matter for that reason, and many often get way to high and mighty about the whole thing. I love hearing peoples opinions and advice, but it's disappointing when people act like its their way or the highway. I know that my opinions are far from perfect as well so if you disagree, please just be respectful about it.
Sunday night I responded to an email from my bishop, telling him the baby had yet to arrive and I would just be happy if he arrived by the end of the week, and then I headed to bed. Shortly after, or before, I honestly can't remember, I started getting what I thought where back cramps. I typically cramp in the back when I get periods, and I had experienced the same thing Tuesday night for roughly 4 hours before they stopped. I knew from Tuesday night that they could get pretty painful but nothing worse than period cramps and I fully expected them to go away, especially since the ones on Sunday night weren't as painful as those on Tuesday night. I was lying there just thinking about my first trimester and waiting for sleep to overcome me since I had gone to bed a bit earlier than usual. It wasn't until between 11 and 11:30 that a "cramp" came painfully enough that I knew sleep wasn't going to be an option for another few hours. This one was painful enough that I moaned, or made some other weird noises, loud enough to wake the hubby up. He asked if I was okay and I said I was heading to the couch so he could get some rest for work the next day. Before I got out of the room I got another bad "cramp" that was extremely painful and he got out of bed and came to me asking me if I was sure this wasn't me going into labor. I said I figured they were just cramps but they could quite possibly be contractions. I then realized I needed to hit up the bathroom and went to go take care of business which (TMI ALERT) ended up being just my body gushing out blood. After getting cleaned up and situated, the hubby and I were trying to figure out if that was the normal bloody show or if I was bleeding more than appropriate. Not getting sufficient answers out of a quick Google search, and by this time realizing that yes I was in labor and the "cramps" were contractions (silly me for thinking they were just cramps), we called the hospital. After talking to the hubby and me they said the blood was fine, yes I was in labor, and I could come in right away or wait a bit and do some laboring at home. Our plan had been to do as much of the laboring at home as possible so I said we would probably stay home for a bit longer. But soon after getting off the phone, as we finished getting everything ready for the hospital so we would be ready when the time came, I realized that laboring at home wasn't going to be an option. The contractions were already coming within 2-4 mins of each other and were extremely painful. So we packed up fast, got into the car, and headed to the hospital. The car ride was awful. I was in so much pain, the car was uncomfortable to be in, and all I could think about was how fast we would make it there. The hubby spent the time trying to vocally calm me, which I appreciated and tried to pay attention to, but it was hard and "relaxing" wasn't an option. As we neared the hospital I told the hubby I couldn't make it to the labor floor on my own so he pulled up to the emergency door and an attendant got me in a wheelchair. Typically, you are suppose to sign paper work, pee in a cup, get weighed, etc., but I was in so much pain that they rushed me right to a delivery room. Time wise this was around 1:45 a.m.
My initial plan was to hydrate myself as much as possibly and not rely on an IV. But because I didn't pee in a cup and they had no idea how hydrated I was or wasn't, they automatically hooked me up to an IV. This ended up being a huge blessing as I was by then in too much pain to think about drinking or even respond to the husbands attempts to keep me hydrated. They also checked how far along I was. This was something else I wanted to avoid as I didn't want to know how fast or slow I was moving along but at that point I knew things were happening fast and felt like the baby could come any time so I had them check. I hate getting checked. So painful and it sucked but I found out I was already 7 cm along. At my appointment the Friday before, I was at 3 cm and knew that I could possibly stay there for a long time so while I wasn't surprised at how far along I was based on the intensity of the contractions, I was overall surprised that I was so far along without feeling many strong contractions between Friday and Sunday. In fact, at my appointment when I was checked and they tried to get things moving along so I wouldn't end up having to get induced, I was told I should start feeling cramping, and it could get a bit painful. But no, I didn't even feel any cramping, so Sunday night, and the fact that I was 7 cm already, caught me by surprise.
They got me settled in and the midwife left. One annoying thing was that the epidural lady showed up even though I hadn't said I wanted one. I was annoyed because by that time they had a copy of my birthing plan which clearly said not to offer me one, that if I wanted one, I would ask for it. Well one of the nurses came in, after I sent the lady away, and said she thought I had wanted it and that if I was just undecided I needed to decide fast. I was annoyed with her for not only ordering the epidural but also for bringing it up and thankfully, without even requesting it, she never came to our room again.
By this time it was nearing 2 or 2:30 and I really just wanted to die. I didn't want to breath, I would just make weird noises every time the contractions came, and everyone kept having to tell me to breath. "Breath in through the nose and breath out through the mouth as if blowing out a candle." But it was too much to think about and everything was happening much faster than I had expected which was very overwhelming. By then I was getting nauseous and felt like if I continued, especially without getting a good breathing rhythm down, that I was going to pass out. Shortly after that, after a particularly painful contraction, I bluntly said I needed the epidural. Up until then I kept throwing the option out, trying to decide what to do, but this time there was no question about it, I needed one.
They got me prepped for the epidural which takes a bit of time since you are working around contractions. I was a bit scared of the epidural itself, but besides the numbing shot which hurt, it wasn't bad at all. And though I was concerned about not being able to move if a contraction came as the shot was being given, the contractions timed themselves just right and the position they placed me in for the shot actually helped me work through the contractions better. The epidural worked super fast and in no time I was laying down, with those darn ice chips, in a much happier state.
I was a bit down about accepting the epidural and that feeling only got worse as my contractions began to get farther apart but I also knew that I had no idea how long labor would have been without the epidural and I couldn't have mentally dealt with those contractions for much longer. If I knew for sure that I was about to enter the transition stage it would have been easier, but I was already majorly loosing it, and I was only at a 7 cm which meant there was no guarantee about when I would transition and get to the pushing stage.
The epidural slowed my contractions down by about 2-3 mins and they weren't as strong. It went this way for about the next 3-4 hours. Then the midwife came in to discuss options to get the show on the road. I was a little concerned that they were trying to rush things but I didn't have it in me to debate. They gave me two options. One was to put me on Pitocin and the other was to break my water bag. I said I would prefer having my bag broken as I wanted to avoid Pitocin but after she checked me again she felt like it would be a bit safer to put me on the Pitocin. After she told me that they would probably only have to put me on a low dosage of it, I agreed, though a bit hesitantly. Really, I shouldn't have agreed so fast, since I was hesitant about it, but I did and it's over with and luckily it didn't cause any issues.
They gave me a super small dosage at first and said they would up it by 2 (not sure how they measure it) from there. It only had to be upped once before it really got things moving which is a super duper low dosage, which made me a super duper happy person. So shortly after 8 a.m. contractions were again moving along and I was feeling absolutely nothing. They kept asking me about my pain level, telling me I could push the button for more epidural but lets just say that medicine typically works really well on me. It doesn't overwork and make me crazy but I rarely need a larger dosage. The epidural was working just perfectly.
At 8 was a shift change so I actually got a new midwife for the delivery stage of labor. After checking me she said I was almost fully dilated but my water bag wasn't breaking so she was going to have to break it. I think one of their concerns before with the water bag was how the baby was located but after the Pitocin the baby had moved down more. Getting the water bag broken was painless but it did take her a moment to break it. Apparently my bag was pretty darn strong. Shortly after that they had me do a few practice pushes and the decision was made to lower my epidural so I could feel enough pressure to push well. They actually took me off of the epidural completely but I ended up asking to have a bit of it back just to take the edge off. I am not sure what pain the low dosage blocked, but if it did block some, I am super grateful. Things were getting super painful again. I am not positive what time it was that I actually started pushing but it had to have been between 10:30 and 11:00. I remember it was shortly after 11 when I started telling them I couldn't do this anymore, it was all too much. And they had to keep telling me, "Only a bit more time. You are almost done." Of course they were lying to me (next time remind me to have them remove the clock). They started having me push in cycles of three but I eventually had it up to 4 or 5. Push, breath, push breath, etc. Wait until the next contraction peaks, begin again. Pushing felt much better than the pressure and the post pushing pain so it was relieving to push, though extremely tiring. So I pushed as much each contraction as I could to get it over with and the baby out.
Though I was making great progress and doing great for a 1st time mom, at least according to them, it still took a bit of time. Apparently his arm was positioned by his head, making him a bit stuck. But at 12:08 p.m. Jack finally joined the world and I couldn't have been any happier, finally relieved of most of the pressure and pain down there.
Not everyone falls in love with their baby right away. I really had no idea which camp I would fall in, knowing the pain and tiredness of the experience had the potential to inhibit that automatic love. Not to mention, newborns, especially straight out of the womb, kinda look strange, no offense to them. I really had no idea what to expect. What I ended up experience was more than I could have imagined. The overwhelming relief and joy when I held him for the first time, as soon as he was out. It was as if I could already not imagine life without him, which is saying a lot considering I still couldn't process the fact that I was pregnant even while I was in labor. He was a beautiful boy, and he was mine.
I delivered the placenta pretty soon thereafter. For some reason I was a bit concerned about this part but it was easy peezy, and actually felt quite good compared to everything else, like them pressing down hard on your stomach. Oye that part hurt! I had a 1st degree tear and a 2nd degree tear which I was disappointed by but in all actuality, wasn't that bad. We have our theories on why I tore, from perhaps being told to push too early, to the fact that Jack came out with his arm up by his head (he still loves to do that), to me being too eager in my pushing. Whatever the reason though, too late now, and I am just happy it wasn't worse.
The rest of our stay was uneventful. After about an hour they took Jack from me to check him and then we were moved into our post delivery room. He eventually got a bath, which he hated of course, learned how to breastfeed, and slept. I wasn't allowed out of bed for anything but to pee, until the next day, when I finally got a shower and man was that an amazing shower. Other than hardly being able to get in and out of bed and walk, my only issue was all the needles getting poked into me. I had about 3-4 shots and blood drawn about 2-3 times, not to mention the IV was actually kind of painful (in fact it was removed early because it was getting so tender). Some of this couldn't be avoided but some of it could have been and I wish I had worked it out so I didn't get all the shots at once. My arms ached for the next few days making it hard to maneuver an already aching body and to easily breastfeed my baby. Thankfully, the aches and pains began to subside after a few days, though there are still bruises all over my arms.
They said we could possibly go home on Tuesday which I was surprised by and I guess because we didn't speak up against the early release, they moved forward with it, and we were out of there by Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday, after a long night, we were made to go to a follow up doctors appointment which we thought was a bit obscene and it was a really big pain since I still couldn't move very well and moving around wore me out fast. But overall it ended up being an okay appointment. One of the things they checked was how Jack was doing on breastfeeding and he got a gold star which I was super proud about. In the end, the appointment basically reassured me that we were all going to be alright and the hubby and I needed to stop sweating all the small stuff.
Other miscellaneous notes:
The first midwife team put me on an oxygen mask for a few hours then took it off when the baby was doing better. It wasn't anything serious but they wanted to be cautious. The next team ended up putting me back on the oxygen mask until I was pushing and then would put it back on me between pushes. It wasn't a big deal to me. I was concerned at first about it being uncomfortable but strangely the smell of the mask reminded me of pancakes which was somehow reassuring. Weird, I know! Anyways, apparently I really suck at breathing good, which is of course one of the reasons I ended up going the epidural route in the first place. Note to self, practice your breathing before you deliver another child.
Sleeping....I did very little of it. The night I went into labor, I didn't sleep an ounce. I did zone out for a bit, trying to sleep, but that was it. After delivery, when most woman feel exhausted and want to sleep, I was uncomfortable but very awake so I didn't sleep. That night, I had trouble sleeping as well. Jack kept making gagging and other weird noises, as if he had fluid in him, despite not spitting anything up. I guess I was worried something bad would happen to him and I wouldn't be aware of it, especially after the nurses warned me to watch out for him turning blue because of leftover liquid in his lungs. Finally, late at night, after one particular time breastfeeding him, I was hit by a wave of tiredness and knew I needed sleep. I was uncomfortable though about not being close enough to him to hear him, plus I could barely move to get him in and out of his bed and I wanted the hubby to sleep as much as possible because he wasn't feeling good. So I decided I was going to go against the nurses advice and I kept him in bed with me while we both slept for the next few hours. It was impossible for him to roll off the bed, and I was physically unable to move, so I felt pretty safe about it. I ran on those few hours of sleep until the next night when between feeding, diaper changing, learning all about my sons needs, etc. etc. I got a few more hours of sleep. Since that night I get maybe 4-6 hours of sleep a night, and rarely take naps. After one particular nap I had a difficult time sleeping that night, so I have avoided day napping for the most part, which is sad because he sleeps a lot during the day. I am trying to be careful though and not over exhaust myself so I will start taking naps if I deem it necessary.
My son has a big head. Runs on my side of the family. We were actually warned about it early on in the pregnancy.
End of story!