Although I had waited for the “OMG, my water broke” or the intense pains of labor, it didn’t happen as it does in the movies for me. Looking back on my labor and delivery I consider myself lucky and think it went rather well. I often thought about what my labor story would be when I joined the club of those who had given birth before me. Hearing the stories of women who suffered pain the way they described scared me! I think every women is apprehensive about the experience and potential unknowns about what she is about to endure. I tried to keep in mind while listening to everyone who gave me the “I wanted to die” story, every woman’s threshold for tolerance is different as are their circumstances and experiences. I also think age may play into it, but maybe not.
I was given a due date that came and went and no labor and no baby! I was having contractions for weeks, but was told they weren’t the labor kind. During these contractions my stomach would tighten and almost crunch up for a minute and then release-but weren’t painful. On my due date my husband and I went into my OB-GYN’s office to check for dilation or thinning of my cervix and schedule my induction. I walked in with a cold that I had caught (a cold in June, just my luck!). The Doctor took one look at me and asked me what happened as he could see I couldn’t breathe one bit and was sneezing like crazy. He spoke to me about what to take to do my best to get better so we could schedule an induction the following Tuesday incase the baby had not come on his own yet.
Being sick I feared I wouldn’t be able to see, hold or breastfeed my baby. Luckily I was a little better by the time the baby arrived the following Wednesday and I was able to bond and breastfeed my baby.
I spent the entire weekend in bed, sick, trying to rest and get better. Tuesday evening rolled around before I knew it. I couldn’t believe I was calling the hospital at 6:30 PM to confirm my induction. Once the hospital told me we were all set we headed over and arrived as scheduled for 7:30 PM. Right before the hospital I was singing Happy Birthday and watching my husband blow out his candles with my Mom. She hugged us and I couldn’t believe the next trip home I’d have a baby in hand and I would be his Mommy!
By 8:40 PM I was in a room, dressed in the hospital gown, hooked up to machines and was given cervadil for dilation. Cervadil looks like a short white shoelace that is like sandpaper in texture. It is inserted into the cervix to help open the birth canal. (I wasn’t allowed to get up for 2-3 hours) A friend of ours came by with dinner and another cake for my husband’s birthday. So far, so good- no pain! We were in a large labor and delivery room, which felt like we were all just hanging out as we normally would. As it started to get late our friend left and my husband (in the lounge chair) and I fell asleep. Around 1:30 AM the feeling of wetness woke me up. I rang the bell for the nurse who confirmed my water had broke (on it’s own!) and the cervadil had fallen out. The nurse called my Doctor who confirmed I didn’t need to have the medicine reinserted. I was dilated to a centimeter or so already, so they were pleased with the progress. From this point I continued to dilate nicely.
I requested a peanut ball which I placed between my legs to help open my cervix and would turn every hour from side to side.
When I was approximately 3-4 centimeters they asked me if I wanted an epirdural and I told them I wasn’t really in pain, I just felt some mild cramps. It’s all unknown- how bad will the pain become, how fast or sharp would the pain increase- so my nurses told me to go for the epidural now. I had the epidural but was starting to feel pain again shortly after. I kept waiting for this “OMG I’m going to die” pain, but it never intensified to that level. After another few centimeters the pain was at the level to where my cramps were when I was in college and would be throwing up. It was bad- but I had been through worse, that’s when the nurse suggested to check my epidural. They wind up having to take it out and redo it, placing it on another spot in my spine.
After the second epidural I couldn’t feel my legs! Talk about a weird feeling. Time seemed to be passing pretty quickly so my husband took our parents to the cafeteria for breakfast while I rested. I was told I would need my energy for pushing-and they were right! Our parents were in my labor and delivery room and we were all talking and hanging out. You wouldn’t think I was about to give birth- it was nothing like the movies with all the screaming.
I remember a little while before I began pushing, the Doctor let me “labor down.” The nurses described it as a gift which would decrease the amount of time I would be pushing. During this time my body would naturally bring the baby down further.
I kept progressing, using the peanut ball, and before long my Doctor said it was time to push- I was fully dilated. It took me 2 hours of pushing to deliver my baby. I have to say pushing was definitely my least favorite of the whole experience. Active labor hurt, but not as bad as I thought it might. Pushing didn’t hurt as much as it felt like a horrible burning feeling- one that you want to stop immediately. Pushing while having a cold wasn’t fun. My temperature was increasing to the point of a fever so I was given medicine to bring it down. My husband was holding my one leg and a rag on my forehead with his other hand. It was funny thinking back- since the rag kept falling into my face. It wasn’t natural to me to push, but I did the best I could, pushing during contractions. The nurses were amazing as the two in the room were helping guide me with my Doctor, telling me how much longer. I worked well with knowing how many more times I would have to push before meeting my baby. Leaving out the little details, two hours exactly of pushing and our son was born!