The birth of my son, Bennett.
Let me just start by saying that going through 9 months of pregnancy, and then through the whole labor/delivery process is the single most amazing thing I think I can every experience. The bond that is created during pregnancy is unlike anything I have ever felt. I had hoped for an easy/fast delivery, as do most, I'm sure. I did not get that. I had a very difficult pregnancy, and a labor & delivery unlike I expected. It was very difficult and very painful. But through it all, I am stronger and I appreciate the miracle of life even more than I did before.
At about midnight on Tuesday night (1/26), I got up from the couch to get ready for bed and felt a little trickle running down my leg. I thought to myself "Hmm... did I just pee a little?" I went to the bathroom and it didn't seem like urine. I called into labor and delivery and they told me to go ahead and come in to the hospital within the next couple of hours. I was surprisingly calm, because I don’t think it hit me that I was actually going to be having my baby within the next day! So, Philip and I both took showers and ate a little something. I got up from the table to throw away my gross TV dinner - and POP! My water broke the rest of the way. It was so startling to me! I just kept saying "Oh my gosh, it's getting everywhere!" We grabbed our stuff quickly and headed out the door. On the way in I started having contractions.
When we got there, we skipped triage and went straight to a labor and delivery room. I got hooked up to all of the machines, and had all of the IV's put in. When they checked me, I was 3 cm dilated and almost completely effaced with contractions about 45 seconds long every 4 minutes. They got pretty intense, pretty fast. Since I was trying to go without drugs, I was breathing through every contraction the best I could. We even put on movies to try and distract me and we went for walks around the unit. It didn't seem like anything was helping. They just got worse and worse. To be expected right? Nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of labor contractions.
Six hours later, at about 8:00AM I was in pretty bad shape, breathing and talking through contractions really wasn’t working anymore. It was almost unbearable. I was definitely becoming discouraged, and I started to doubt my ability to go through labor naturally.
Next time they checked me I was 5-6 cm and contractions were almost 90 seconds long, coming every 2-3 minutes. To say I was in horrible PAIN is an understatement. I had been in labor for about 7 hours and was so exhausted with no sleep the night before. It was looking like I was going to be in labor for quite a while longer. Are you serious?? I was fighting the urge to ask for drugs for hours… battling with myself about what I wanted.
I kept saying "I really don't want the drugs. I don't want them".... [pause for contraction].... "Oh my gosh I can't take this anymore." This went on for hours.
Philip let me know that no matter what I decided, I shouldn’t feel disappointed in myself. I should be proud of myself and do what I thought was best. So, against my birth plan, I broke down requested an epidural on the LOWEST dose possible. If I was going to have the drugs, I didn’t want to go totally numb. I just wanted to take the edge off a bit so I could rest between contractions. I had been having terrible chills and couldn’t calm down. I guess I was in transition, that was rough rough rough!!!
Well the nurse came in and told me that the anesthesiologist had back to back c-sections and it was going to be a little while until he could come in and administer the epidural. AHHHH! I finally made the decision to get the medicine and I couldn't have it right then?? Someone help me! She offered some narcotics in the meantime, to take the edge off. But I turned them down because of the negative effects they could have on me and baby.
20 or so minutes later I was getting desperate. Going through transition was horrifyingly painful. The nurse finally offered to call over to the main hospital and bring up the general anesthesiologist. Umm.. yes please! He showed up maybe 30-40 minutes later and placed the epidural around 9:30AM and I felt the initial dose kick in, I could still feel the contractions pretty strongly, but it was enough medicine that I could relax a little bit between them and try to save some strength for the 2nd stage of labor (pushing). After about an hour or so, I noticed that the epidural felt like it was wearing off already because I was in SO MUCH pain again. I even pushed the button that is supposed to kick me another dose of the medicine but it never seemed to work.
About 11ish I noticed that the pain was back, in full force. Much stronger than before I even had the epidural. It was pretty much completely non-existent! They took their time fiddling around trying to figure out why I wasn't being administered the drugs anymore. Well it turns out the needle administering the drug had slipped out of place. But by the time they figured this out, there really wasn't time to re-administer the meds because a couple of hours had passed and I had progressed enough to start pushing. So, I was going to finish out the labor without the drugs. Holy heck. At least a I got maybe 2 hours of a tiny bit of relief, right?
So now it's about 12:45pm. 10cm and time to push, with a failed epidural, I was scared out of my mind. I have never felt anything like it these "pushing contractions". It was the most INTENSE feeling I have ever had. I started pushing, baby was sunny side up. (which means that he was facing up, as opposed to facing down the way he should have been!). This means the largest part of his head was trying to come out first). After over an hour of pushing I wasn’t making a whole lot of progress. I was just exhausted – from lack of sleep and trying to manage the pain I was in.
Meanwhile, Philip was trying to keep me motivated. He was so incredible, telling me how good I was doing and that I could do it. But honestly, I didn’t believe him. I was hurting so badly and was super discouraged because after 2 hours of pushing I felt like I had no more energy left. Because the baby was posterior, I had to push harder than if he would have been anterior. EXHAUSTION. At one point, the nurse told me to try to just relax during the next contraction - to give me a break from pushing. BAD idea. There was NO way I could just lay there during those contractions. It was harder to do that than it was to push. Its like my body was forcing me to push, I guess that's nature. At that point, I knew I had to get this baby out. The doctor was doing her best to assist the baby out but it became quite obvious that he wasn’t going to be born on without some kind of intervention. Every time they would see him start to emerge, he would get sucked right back in. My pelvis just wasn't going to allow him out, especially since he was posterior. (sunny side up). So my doctor started to administer a local anesthetic to numb me since obviously the epidural was completely ineffective– she gave me a dreaded episiotomy in attempt to make more room for him. Next, she told me that she was going to have to use a suction to assist him out. :(
The entire time, they kept offering me a mirror but I turned it down every time, I was horrified by the thought of seeing my poor baby being suctioned out. Besides, I was so scared and upset, every time I pushed I would close my eyes and just pray that ‘this would be the last push’. I remember crying, and looking up at Philip- he was crying as well. He had such a hard time seeing me struggling that much, and not being able to help me. I will be honest and say that there were times I really thought I couldn’t do it - The pain was so great, and I was so dang tired. I knew though, that I was approaching 3 hours of pushing and if I didn't get that boy out soon I'd be heading to surgery. *push push push* I heard my doctor say “His head is out!” ....then….. RELIEF. And my baby boy joined the world!
After about 14 hours of labor, and 3 hours of pushing…my baby boy arrived at 3:45PM. 8lbs 3oz and almost 22" long. He had severe swelling due to the suctions so they let me hold him briefly - long enough for Philip and I name him. It wasn't hard, we both quickly agreed on Bennett Roy and then the nurses took him away to the special care nursery to monitor him. In the mean time (this is going to get disturbing)... I needed to birth the placenta, and just my luck.... that wasn't happening easily either. The umbilical cord had ripped off the placenta and it was staying attached to my uterine wall pretty strongly. Thus, the doctor gave me MORE local anesthetic to prepare me for what was coming next. She had to manually remove the placenta. EEEEK! I tried not to think about it. She got it out quickly and stitched me up. Believe it or not, after 4 shots of numbing medicine I could STILL FEEL THE NEEDLE. Gross and very disturbing.
After I was cleaned up, we just waited for news on the ultrasounds of his poor little head. Luckily his scans came back looking good, no internal bleeding! Thank goodness. At about 7:30PM they brought him back to me. That 4 hours being away from him after delivery was SO HARD. I missed him and was so worried about him. Just grateful he's totally okay! I was so emotional seeing him, after all that, I finally got to snuggle my little boy.
I must mention again how AMAZING my husband was throughout the whole process. He was so supportive and encouraging. he never left my side, the entire time. I couldn't have asked for a better labor coach and partner. I look at him completely differently now, having gone through that experience with him. I love him even more!
So many of you are probably wondering if I feel bad I chose to get the epidural? Well the answer is no. I did what I felt I needed to do. Ironically, a natural birth must have been part of the bigger plan anyway, because I got what I initially had wanted. Well, besides maybe those 2 hours of time when I SORT of felt the effects from the medicine.
After all of that, I am proud of myself though. Even though I had chosen the drugs, however unsuccessful they were - I did make it through almost completely naturally. And I am strong enough.
BUT - I decided that the next time around,and yes there will be a next time. :-) I will definitely be getting the epidural and I don't feel badly about it. Maybe I could do it again, naturally, if everything went perfect - a quick delivery, with a baby facing downward. But labor is never predictable, we just have to go with the flow.
If you read all of this, I am seriously impressed!! The whole process is unlike anything I could have ever imagined, it was the hardest thing I have ever done but worth every single second of it.
Born January 26th, 2010 @ 3:45pm
Weighing in at 8lbs 3oz - 22" tall!