*The following posts does describe labor and uses words such as pee, mucus plug, etc. If these make you queasy, you might want to skip this post. There are not many pictures as most of them are not fit for the internet. If you want the short version, skip to the end!
After the failed induction, I kept having irregular contractions at home. In the early morning hours of Friday, July 13, I went into active labor (I should mention that I never went to bed.) Oh the pain. I tried to get The Man up but couldn’t. I started crying around 2 am and my mom heard me so she got up. She labored with me and helped me manage the pain. Around 5:30 I told The Man in no uncertain terms that he WAS getting up as I was in labor and needed him. This time he listened. In hindsight, it was good that he slept!
We’d been timing the contractions and while they were regular they weren’t as close as they could be. We were unsure if we should call the hospital so we called my Doula, Ashley instead. She got to our house about 45 minutes later and she helped with suggestions of ways to manage the pain. I didn’t use as many of the techniques as that I thought I would. At this point my favorite place to be was straddling the toilet and being able to rest my head on the tank. Not sure why it was so comfy but it was! Actually, I do know why…this way allowed people access to my lower back and they were able to massage it during a contraction. Back labor at it’s finest people!
At one point we called the hospital but they said my contractions weren’t close enough consistently enough and that I should call back in two hours. So we did and I was regular enough that I could head in. I was really nervous because I didn’t want to be sent home! We arrived at the hospital around 10, where we were warmly welcomed by the staff who was happy that this baby was finally on it’s way. I was checked in triage and if I could have done a happy dance I would have, because I was 6-7 centimeters and there was talk of having a Friday the 13th baby. No one thought it would take more than a few hours for munchkin to arrive!
We got to our room and immediately got in the tub. The Man got in with me and it helped so much. The water was so nice…I can’t stress how amazing the water was, especially with lavender added to it. We were in there for over an hour before we got out. Then the contractions started, stronger and more intense. It took us a bit but then we realized I had hit transition. Somewhere on one of my many trips to the potty I lost my mucus plug and then my water broke. We all heard it. Thankfully it went right in the toilet and we were able to see that it was clear.
I continued to gush fluid. I also had to pee ALL. THE. TIME. Contractions didn’t hurt as bad with an empty bladder. Needless to say I didn’t always make it to the bathroom. I was leaking fluid, all sorts of fluid, everywhere and everyone seemed ok with that. In addition to having to pee every 30 seconds, I would swing from breaking out into a sweat to shivering because I was so cold. I had a robe on and when I would say hot Mom, The Man or Ashley would remove it. When I would say cold, they would put it back on for me. I remember being focused, focused on the pain. I wasn’t screaming or crying, just silent as I focused on the pain of the current contraction. I also threw up a couple of times, mostly acid that was hanging around in my tummy. I was drinking water after every contraction and I don’t think that helped my bladder at all.
I eventually asked them to remove the clock because it became obvious that I wasn’t progressing very fast. About two hours into my 7 hour transition, I felt the need to bear down and push. The problem? I wasn’t fully dilated. I had only dilated about another centimeter in the hours I had been there. It finally got so bad that I was singing vowels during the contraction to keep from pushing. I did this for 5 hours. The whole floor heard me. I think munchkin already knows her vowels. I can’t sing, which probably made it worse for everyone else, but I had to take a deep breath and sing the vowels out high. It went AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. Over and over again. For 5 hours. And at some point they decided that my contractions were not consistent enough so they gave me Pitocin. We started slow and moved it up. It helped increase the intensity but they were painful. Singing those vowels helped even if I had a sore throat for a few days!
Finally around midnight I was checked again and I was about 9 centimeters with a thicker lip around the back. I had tried EVERYTHING. I had changed and tried lots of different positions. I just needed to push and I couldn’t. I was exhausted as I had been in active labor for 24 hours at this point and hadn’t had a nap at all. I had the head bobs where you fall asleep for 15 seconds but that was it. Our nurse Shelly very cautiously asked if we would consider an epidural to give me a break. This was the first time it had been mentioned as I had asked in my birth plan to not have it offered to me. I considered it and briefly talked about it with my support team. In under two minutes I decided yes, I would get one, if only so I could take a nap! She was surprised that I has said yes so quickly but it was already in my mind that it would be helpful.
Once I said yes, I had that epi within 20-30 minutes. It was heavenly. Oh my, why did I wait? It was heaven. I was afraid of moving during the placement of it and went from singing the vowels to singing the alphabet while squeezing The Man’s hands. I started to get a headache but it went away for the most part. I was a totally different person with the epi. I turned into a chatty Cathy and while I tried to take a nap I didn’t. The Docs were kind enough to give me an hour so I could labor down and rest. So around 1:30 we started pushing.
I had the most perfect epidural EVER. I could feel nothing, only pressure and I still had control over my legs. Well, for the most part. I was able to change positions with a little help. I pushed on my back, on both sides, on my hands and knees…you name it, I tried it. Sadly, Munchkin wouldn’t budge. After checking me again, the doc decided that she was posterior. She was getting caught on my pelvic bone. After 3 hours of pushing she had moved 1 centimeter. I was pushing as hard as I could with the help of everyone around me. They were helping into position and counting for me. But she was still to high for the help of a vacuum or forceps. I was exhausted due to no sleep for so long and my neck was killing me. I had been pushing to the max time they like, three hours and my water had broken over 12 hours ago. The possibility of infection was going up with every cervical check and minute that passed by, The doctor asked us to consider an abdominal delivery.
I’m not going to lie, I knew where this was headed. They had brought it up before and I had let them know that a c section was the last possible option for me. I knew, going into this that this was going to happen. I just had that feeling. Every time I dreamed of Munchkin's birth it happen via c section. After a short talk with The Man first and then with my mom and Ashley, I decided that a c-section was necessary. I had tried EVERTHING possible to avoid one. The doctors reiterated that I had done everything possible and that they were impressed with everything I had done. The Man, mom and Ashley kept telling me the same thing. I have the satisfaction of knowing I tried everything. I regret none of it. Every once in a while I second guess myself but I do know that this was the best possible birth for us.
They got me prepped and wheeled into the OR. My epi had worn off so the timing was perfect. It as the same anesthesiologist, Dr P, and he was hysterical. I was in pain, especially from the catheter but he had me laughing even as I kept telling him I was in pain. He got me numb and brought The Man in as they were starting. He wasn’t in there very long before Dr. P told him to stand up. When he did he watched as Munchkin was born, nose up looking at the world, at exactly 5:45 am. She was taken over to the table and was cleaned off, weighed and all that jazz. Before to long she was handed off to The Man who brought her over to me so I could look at her. She was perfect. She wasn’t crying, in fact, she barely cried at all. She had great color. The Man stayed with me holding the little girl for another 20 minutes or so, then he headed back to our room so he could do skin to skin contact with the little miss. My mom headed in to keep me company. It was completely surreal. They finished up quickly and there was so more talking and laughing with the doctors. Then they brought me back to my room so I could hold munchkin. I was already in love and just holding her cemented it. She was hungry and latched right away. It was a good, strong latch and she nursed and then fell asleep. I couldn’t believe that our little girl was here!