To celebrate IP’s first birthday I’m re-posting her birth story. That is exactly what every little kid wants for their first birthday, right? Well, that and a cupcake. And we all got cupcakes tonight 😉
Note: if you are not interested in reading about my labor experience (I know it can be TMI for some folks) feel free to skip directly to the purple part where I describe our beautiful new baby girl!
My Labor Story
I have had two babies now, both of which were supposed to require pitocin to coax them into the world. With LP, I went in for cervadil (the first round of drugs for induction), and then kicked into labor a few hours before they were scheduled to start pitocin. With baby #2, I was scheduled to come into the hospital around 8am on Wednesday to start pitocin after being pregnant for almost 42 weeks. Instead, I started irregular contractions early Tuesday, and then, at 3:30am on Wednesday, I started having regular contractions about 5-7 minutes apart. Apparently, I not only have late babies, but I also have babies that like to arrive at the last minute!!
Below is my account of my six-hour labor for baby #2
3:30-5:00am: Contractions are roughly five to seven minutes apart. I find a contraction calculator online to record them, and once again marvel at technology. Since the calculator doesn’t require much thinking on my part, I read my book (I was re-reading The Name of the Rose) and track my contractions downstairs, while the G-man, LP and my sister (who stayed with us to take care of LP) sleep the night away upstairs.
5:00-5:30: I call the midwife and tell her about my one-minute contractions five minutes apart. She tells me that I can labor at home until the contractions get closer together, or increase in intensity. I think “awesome! The G-man and I can stay here until around 7, get LP up and going with breakfast, and then head on in!” I also am still not totally convinced that my labor will progress on it’s own, so I figured I had some time. Then, at 5:30, I realize I will have to have these contractions while sitting in the car. That sounds really sucky. I go up and get the G-man. While he gets ready, I tell my sister we are going to the hospital, and out we go.
5:30-6:00: On the car ride over I have several contractions that mostly line up with red lights, which helps. However, the G-man keeps saying things that make me laugh, which does not feel good.
6:00-7:00: We arrive at the hospital and check in. I am hooked up to the fetal monitor, asked about my medical history, etc. I’m feeling pretty good – getting a nice break between contractions, staying relaxed. “I got this” I’m thinking to myself. They check me out and I’m 6-7 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Part of me is relieved – I actually am in labor! Until then I really was a bit afraid it was all in my head. As I walk around and get through each contraction, the G-man keeps giving me water and asking what he can do to help. I finally tell him that I promise I will tell him when I need something! I think he felt bad watching me in labor while he was sitting in a chair.
7:00-8:00: Contractions get a bit more intense. I stop making small talk with the nurses and midwife as I continue to pace frenetically back and forth across the room. The G-man intercepts me now and again to make me drink water. He also suggests that the hospital should install a treadmill that creates electricity since he thinks I will have probably “paced” at least a mile by the time this thing is done. I appreciate the idea, but am unable to comment on it. At one point the midwife asks me if I want her to break my water for me to both alleviate some of the pressure and get things moving. I want to hold off a little – the idea of the contractions getting closer together kind of makes me nervous since they are pretty bad, and I remember having back-to-back contractions when LP was born – which was the worst part. Also, the midwives switched shifts at 8, so I figured I’d just check in with the midwife on the next shift and see where we were at.
8:05: The new midwife checks me out. I’m hoping to be 9 cm, but I’m only 8. I opt to keep going instead of having them break my water. I decide on an 8:30 deadline – if I my water doesn’t break by then, I’ll have the midwife do it. Having the deadline really helped – it keeps me focused and allows me to count how many contractions I had to get through before we moved onto the next step. I also start using the birthing ball, and the G-man applies some counter-pressure to my lower back. Unlike the first time I gave birth, I’m able to tell him when the contraction stops and starts, so he is able to give his hands and wrists a break too.
8:05-8:45: The contractions are painful enough that I start to let a few choice words slip out (some rather loudly) while I try to stay focused on my breathing. At some point the midwife says “Let’s get through three more, then check you out.” I think “Three more. I can do three more.” Around 8:30, the midwife checks me out, and I’m 9 cm dilated. She breaks my water, and then I get back on the birthing ball. There are about 5-7 more contractions that are possibly the worst things I have ever felt. After each one, I keep hoping it will be time to push, but it isn’t yet. Luckily, I get a brief break between them.
8:45-9:15: I really want to start pushing. Let me clarify – in my head I really want to start pushing. I convince myself that my body is ready to push, and I get back up on the bed. The midwife says I still have a little bit more to dilate, but I’m thinking “hell no. One more contraction and then it is go time.” I remembered that pushing with my first delivery was relatively easy compared to these last contractions, and I want to start pushing, because that is the part I have control over. I am thinking to myself “This is the home stretch. I totally rocked this part last time!” I have grand plans that I will get through the pushing without breaking much of a sweat.
Oh, the best laid plans of woman in labor.
Pushing this kid out was completely different. Firstly, it took me a couple of contractions to remember how to push with the contractions, not before or after them. But then, even as I find the right rhythm, it was nothing like what I remembered. Perhaps this sequence of my thoughts shows it best:
- “Wow, this is way harder than it was last time.”
- “No seriously, does this kid think it’s going to exit out my back? It feels almost impossible to push it forward.”
- “Oh, holy s&%$. Oh f#$%”
- “Ok, the midwife sees some hair. Almost there. Focus!”
- “The baby is crowning! Yay! (pause) Oh holy mother of god, this may not work. This thing isn’t going to fit!”
At this point, I have no more thoughts. I’m just completely focused on the nurse’s face as she tells me when to pause and when to “nudge.” I really am convinced that I will live the rest of my life with this baby half in and half out because I can’t conceive of being able to push it out.
9:16: One last push and our baby girl makes her appearance! She gets to come right up on my chest and the G-man and I just stare at her. She opens her eyes and looks around, cries her lungs out, and we love it. I hear the midwife say she wouldn’t be surprised if this was a 9lb baby, which makes me feel a heck of a lot better about how darn hard it was to get her out! The G-man and I just enjoy the moment while we wait for the cord to stop pulsing and the rest of the birth process to sort itself out.
After she is measured and weighed, our baby girl is 8lbs, 15.7 oz, which I will, from now on, round up to 9lbs every time I mention it. She was also 22in long. An awesome prize, and she is even more wonderful on year later!