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Part of me wanted to write this while it was fresh in my mind. I had jotted down bits and pieces just after delivery but I somehow failed at getting it all out coherently. Perhaps it was all too raw to put into meaningful sentences at the time, but I’m finally ready to put pen to paper.
Although this would be my third baby, I was terrified of labor and delivery. In the days and weeks prior to my due date, I kept giving myself pep talk after pep talk. I stayed hydrated. I made lists. I did everything I could to make this a smooth process. But the fear of both previous deliveries weighed heavy on my mind.
Like previous pregnancies, my due date — June 16th — came and went without fanfare. I awoke at 1 am on Tuesday, June 19th, with some painful contractions. I readied myself for a long day by trying to sleep in between, but it was difficult.
But that’s good, right? That meant it was real labor!
So I called my mom at 7 AM and let her know that I was up most of the night with contractions. I was sending Chad to work for the day so I told her to go ahead and go in and I’d call her later, too. She had a 5-hour drive ahead of her, but I had a friend locally that would be taking the kids until she arrived.
Around 2:30 PM or so I let my friend Kerry know that I needed her to come and get the kids. The kids were picked up and Chad arrived home a few minutes later. He went upstairs to lie down for a bit and prepare for a busy evening of baby-birthing!
I finally decided to call my OBGYN and let them know about my contractions. They had been between 3-8 minutes apart since 1 AM and I was finally getting the constant “I have to poop” feeling. The office urged me to come in right away since my contractions were so close together, so I woke Chad up after only 10 minutes.
When we arrived at the hospital at 4:30 PM, triage checked my cervix. I was only 2cm dilated. Not surprising, considering my history of not dilating until the very last minute. I communicated that to my nurses. They basically ignored me. I was told that they would admit me under the pretense of knowing that if I didn’t begin to dilate further within a matter of 2-hours, they would take measures to help induce labor.
I gave them the answer they wanted to hear at that point — “Okay.” But I very much discussed with Chad that if they tried to break my water or give me pitocin, we would decline. I was still going for my epidural-free delivery and any interventions of the sort would have caused me to have more pain before my body was ready.
Every contraction felt like I had to push. Several hours of this feeling and check after check revealed very little change in my dilation. At one point the anesthesiologist came in to introduce herself. I kindly let her know that I was attempting a drug-free delivery and she acknowledged but insisted that we still go through the questionnaire regarding my health history.
Around 10:30 PM I had a contraction that I knew was the beginning of “transition”. For the first time, I grabbed a barf bag and as that contraction hit, I couldn’t stop throwing up. I was literally crossing my legs every contraction. for fear of pushing. The resident checked me again — only 5cm dilated.
Only 5. Hours and hours into labor. I was so discouraged. Each contraction was getting increasingly more intense.
I finally said that I desperately needed that epidural in order to make it through labor. The anesthesiologist was about to head out for a procedure but came running in to help me. At this point, the contractions were coming back to back. I was unable to move or breathe and the pushing sensation was intensifying.
As the anesthesiologist was prepping I yelled out that I felt like I couldn’t stop from pushing. I was checked again — 7cm. The epidural seemed to take forever. I was sitting as still as I could, crossing my legs, and screaming out in pain pretty much nonstop. Once the epidural was placed and the medicine was inserted, I thought I had to push again. I was checked once again — 9cm. I still felt all of it. I needed to know when the medicine would start to work. I was screaming at the anesthesiologist, asking why it wasn’t working. To which she kindly replied that it takes about 15-minutes to kick in.
I may not be able to handle the pain, but I know my body. I knew that when I (finally) started to dilate, it would be fast. So here we are at 11:45 PM and I’m being told that I can push at my next contraction. I have to say that the epidural must have been placed perfectly because I could not feel a single thing during pushing and it was the perfect pushing experience.
I pushed for about 4 contractions and she was here!