**Before you begin reading, let me warn you that this is detailed and graphic... but then again, what birth is actually clean and pretty? :)
So Friday night (40w 2d) I went to work (3:30pm-midnight) and came home to a super drunk husband. Cue super pissed off pregnant lady. After a 2 hour argument, I started having contractions. They were somewhat regular, but not clearly timeable so I decided to take a bath and relax the best I could. About 4:00am, they seemed to be fairly regular (about 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute), but I wasn’t convinced it was the real deal. They weren’t terribly painful, just annoying. I decided to get some rest and over the next few hours they faded to nothing.
Saturday morning I was trying to decide whether I should go into work that afternoon or not. I consulted with my OB who said it sounded like I was in early labor and their advice would be to walk it out… I could walk at home, at the mall or go to work and walk around… whatever I felt comfortable doing as long as I didn’t do anything crazy. At this stage, it could still be a few days before I went into active labor, so I figured I may as well go to work… so I did. I worked my full shift Saturday night and came home around 12:30am Sunday morning.
Shortly after I got home, the contractions started again and I thought “grrrreat… here we go again… another few hours of pointless contractions…” so I tried to just get some rest. The contractions were a little more painful than the night before so I wasn’t able to fall asleep, but they still weren’t too bad. After an hour of feeling them regularly every 5-7 minutes, I decided to bounce on my birthing ball, then take a bath and see if things progressed. They still were not very painful, but they did seem to be getting more regular. Around 4 am, I went to bounce on my birthing ball again after my bath and felt something dripping down my leg. I woke up my husband and told him I was pretty sure I had not peed myself… so I might be leaking fluid. It was a very slow dribble, so I thought I might try again to get a little rest, knowing that I would have to go into the hospital soon if my water had broken. The contractions became a little more intense and were now between 4-5 minutes apart… rest was just not happening. I walked around my house and bounced on my ball for about 2 more hours then finally called the on call OB. He told me it sounded like I was in labor and that I should come to the hospital.
So I did what every rational, laboring pregnant mama would do… I took a shower, shaved my legs, ate a little breakfast, did my makeup, took my last bump picture....
and repacked (for the 16th time) my hospital bag. Kevin played around with the car seat and decided it was a good time to read the instruction manual. Lol.
We got to the hospital at 8:00am and went to triage. I was swabbed and told that my water had broken, so I would be admitted. Then I was checked and told I was at 2cm. Crap!! This was one of my nightmare scenarios… getting to the hospital waaaay too early and being stuck in L&D jail for days. Bleh. I was pretty bummed, but on the upside, I knew baby would be arriving at some point within the next 24 hours… but I knew my hopes of a med-free delivery were a little lower at this point, because you can only go for so long with ruptured membranes and if I didn’t progress quick enough on my own, I would have to turn to meds. So I headed to my L&D room and the ball bouncing/hall walking began. I walked and walked and bounced and bounced for 2 hours straight.
*I should add here that the entire time I was in my room, I had The Food Network on TV. Why, I don’t know… I was only able to have clear liquids and the food looked so so yummy. It was TORTURE!!!
At 10:00am, the on call doctor came to see me and suggested we start Pitocin to move things along. I was pissed! Umm… hello, dude, I haven’t been checked in 2 hours, this is the first time you have ever seen me let alone my hoo ha. Umm… no. I asked if I could have one more hour then get checked again to see if I was able to progress on my own rather than jump straight into the Pitocin. He reluctantly agreed. Sooo… I bounced and bounced and walked and walked some more.
Around 11:30 I was checked again. Still.a.2!?!?!?! Gaaah!!! I was pretty upset. Come ON cervix. Do your JOB!!!
At noon I was started on Pitocin and within an hour or so the contractions started to become intensely painful and closer together. I now needed continuous monitoring (because of the Pitocin) so I decided to just stay in my room and walk, rock, bounce on my ball. I could have continued to walk the halls, but the portable monitors are a pain in the butt and, to be honest, I was starting to get really discouraged anyway. Soon each contraction became more and more painful and they seemed closer and closer together. I felt myself fighting the pain and tensing up, but I couldn’t help it. Pitocin contractions feel unnatural and completely different from the contractions before. I was pretty miserable.
A few hours later, maybe 3:00pm or so, I started to get nauseous then started throwing up. I got some IV Zofran, which took the edge off, but not for long. I was feeling completely defeated and frustrated… I planned on nothing going as planned… but that didn’t make it any less frustrating.
Around 4:00pm, my nurse came in and had a conversation with me that salvaged my entire birthing experience. She told me that she knew I wanted to try a med-free natural birth, but that I was tensing and fighting through the pain and, as such, not allowing my body to progress as it should. She empathized and told me that she understands how much different the Pitocin makes everything and that she thought, if I would consider it, an epidural would be good for me in this instance. She had not steered me wrong up to that point and I trusted her. I asked to be checked once more (which is standard before an epi anyway) and then I would decide.
I was checked again shortly after and was only a 3. I wanted to cry. A freaking 3!?!?!? All of that pain and I had only progressed one stinking centimeter. Not cool. This cemented my decision to have the epidural and it was placed at 4:30pm.
The epidural was an interesting experience. It took 2 tries (which I thought was pretty good. I have mild scoliosis, so I was prepared for a rough time if I went for an epi). I think the thought of it is 1000x worse than the actual procedure. The local anesthetic felt like a tiny pinch, but because of the location it just seems scarier. The epidural itself felt like a little pressure going in… once in place my legs felt really warm, then heavy, then tingly. At first only my left leg felt this way and I was nervous. The anesthesiologist and nurse encouraged me to tell them everything I felt, and assured me over and over that everything I was feeling was normal. My blood pressure did drop a little low after the epi kicked in, so I was given epinephrine which corrected it quickly.
Once the epi was in place, my nurse placed a catheter (second best thing ever!) then helped me to lie on my side. She asked “Are you feeling those?”… “feeling what?”… “you’re having a very strong contraction”… “I am?? SWEET!! I don’t feel a thing!!”… It was glorious. She suggested that I try to get some rest and suggested Kevin go grab something to eat… I told him he better not bring anything back to the room… I was still starving.
Within minutes I was zonked out. Once I was asleep, Kevin left to grab some food. An hour or so later, he poked his head back into the room and said he was going to be in the bathroom for a few. Umm… ok? Then I saw him sneak in a Subway bag. I was pissed!! He looked really upset and told me that Subway was closing so they kicked him out with his food and he didn’t have anywhere to go eat, plus he was worried about me so he just came right back. Lol. I told him to just come eat in the room since I was half asleep anyway. Poor guy. To his credit, he did keep a steady supply of juice, jello and ice chips at my bedside. Love that guy!
Around 7:30, a resident came in to check me and I was a… wait for it… wait for it… 9!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap!! It took me hours and hours of walking and bouncing and painful contractions to go from a 2 to a 3… now in 3 hours of napping and relaxing I went from a 3 to a 9. Umm… heck yeah!!! The epidural had allowed me to relax enough to progress with the contractions. Woohoo!!!
About 30 minutes later I was a 10 and given the option of doing some passive decent (sitting straight up, maintaining very very light pressure and allowing gravity to help the baby descend through the birth canal) or doing some practice pushes. I was so happy with how I was able to progress with the epi that I decided to let my body do its thing and do some passive decent. The nurse helped me to sit straight up and I did this for about half an hour, then it was show time. I was pretty much the happiest laboring, ready to push pregnant lady ever... thank you, epidural!!!
The doctor mentioned turning off the epidural and I was terrified!! He explained that some women have a difficult time pushing effectively with the epidural. I told him “I promise I will be the BEST pusher ever… please don’t turn it off!!”. He laughed and said “ok, we’ll give it a shot.” I pushed and pushed and pushed… he was pretty impressed and said we could leave it on. Thank goodness! I was able to feel pressure… lots of pressure… but not really any pain.
*Let me add here that the entire time, I totally felt like I had to poop. And not just poop, but I swear I thought if I pushed with ALL my strength, I was going to totally shoot a turd straight across the room. I actually held back a little on the pushing because of this.
So the doctors and nurse helped to coach me on when to push and when to just maintain pressure. Kevin held my hand, leg, ice chips… he kissed my forehead and was my biggest cheerleader. I was really impressed with how well he did. With each push I knew I was getting closer, because his eyes got wider and wider. During one push, the resident said “holy hair!” and Kevin agreed that he could see a lot of hair… this motivated me to push even harder and longer. Soon I felt the infamous “ring of fire” and felt the baby crowning. About this time, I was starting to feel pretty exhausted and I leaned my head back and closed my eyes. The nurse lifted my head up and told me to look at my baby! Holy crap!?!?! My baby!?!?! I could see my baby’s head!! Oh my gosh!! I pushed through 2 more contractions and out the baby came at 9:46pm, wiggling and screaming.
The doctor held the baby up for Kevin to get a peek at the goods… Kevin looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “It’s a GIRL!!!” Time stood still. If I could live in one moment for all eternity… this would be it. This one single moment was absolute perfection. I felt like my heart was just going to explode with love…. My husband’s eyes, my baby crying… just wow.
The nurse laid my beautiful baby girl on my chest and I was complete.
She nursed like a champ then daddy got to hold her while I delivered the placenta. I ended up without a single stitch or tear… very very lucky. Shortly after, during my first fundal check I passed a huge clot and started to bleed quite a bit. The nurse had to page the doctors back into the room to make sure I wasn’t hemorrhaging. It was pretty unnerving, but everything ended up being ok. They checked me internally then increased the Pitocin and did some fundal massage. Oh… and they put Miso up my butt. Yeah… that’s right… up my butt. Not awesome… but I was on such a high staring at my beautiful little girl that I hardly noticed.
So that is the long (long, long) version of Kennedy’s grand entrance into this world. She weighed 8lb 10oz and measured 21in long. We are so in love and so truly blessed to finally hold our rainbow in our arms.