I left part 2 sharing that I had gone into a mental panic – worried about my baby and scared what pain labor would bring. Thankfully my mother prayed aloud and it really helped me to refocus and calm my nerves.
I began to trust that God would bring my baby girl safely into this world, and that no matter what labor brought, every contraction was one contraction closer to holding my baby.
About this time my doctor made an appearance and checked me. I was 2 centimeters and 50% effaced…exactly the same measurements I was at my doctor’s appointment the week before. I wasn’t too happy. But rather than get discouraged I said a prayer of thanks that I wasn’t in transitional labor while hooked to the monitor.
My antibiotics showed up with the doctor so I was given the i.v. My water had broken about 7:15pm. I’d had to make my way home to pick up Shane and due to the road being closed it took us longer than usual to get to the hospital. Then the check-in, the monitor, etc. By now it was about 9:00pm. I was starting to feel regular contractions and since this labor seemed to be progressing more slowly than the last, I was extremely hopeful I’d make it to midnight and my baby girl would share a birthday with my father.
The next hour consisted of me sitting in bed with the monitor and i.v., my husband bringing me water and ginger ale and my mom timing contractions. They were only 2 minutes apart the whole time, but started very weak and slowly intensified to the point of having to breathe through them.
That hour also included me dragging the i.v. hangar (which my mom called Jr. because that’s what my Grandma Lee called hers when she was sick) back and forth to the bathroom several times as I was experiencing my usual early labor diarrhea.
By the time 10:00pm rolled around the contractions were much stronger. I was very thankful the antibiotics were about finished because being tied to the machines was making me crazy. I was ready to move. I took it upon myself to remove the baby monitor as I had been hooked to it for long enough, thankyouverymuch.
The doctor arrived again to check me. I was unhooked from the i.v. (oh thank you!) and told I was 5 centimeters. Okay, I said to myself – the hard labor will be coming soon – time to prepare mentally for the challenge ahead.
The doctor then informed me she was going to break my water. I was confused as my water had broken 3 hours before. Apparently, I learned, we have forewater and backwater sacs and only one of mine had broken. The doctor wanted to go in and break the second.
The doctor wasn’t crazy about that answer. She was very kind, but tried to persuade me to allow her to break the water. Looking back I think she wanted to speed up labor to get the baby out of that meconium tainted environment, but all I could think of was the extreme pain and pressure I felt during Bram’s labor and I wanted nothing to do with breaking the second cushion!
She respected my decision. And I was happy with my decision.
Because 30 minutes later the contractions had reached the intense level. The I can’t do this, God help me, I need pain medication level.
And let me tell you. Having the i.v. equipment docked in my arm, the ease of having some pain meds delivered was very, very tempting.
I had tried pacing a bit, and I went through a few contractions on my hands and knees trying to alleviate the back labor. Neither one helped very much. Holly, the nurse, brought me a heating pad for my back and that felt so good…until the next contraction hit and I wanted to jump out of my skin.
I was surprised to find myself most comfortable laboring in bed. I laid there, at the breaking point, talking myself in and out of pain meds. “I don’t want to do this.” I admitted the pain was just too much. I was ready to cry in disappointment. “I’ll be so disappointed in myself if I don’t do this naturally.” It was around this time I remember mentioning that “I’d love to wring Eve’s neck right about now.”
I was thankful Shane, my mom and the nurse all rallied around me, encouraging me to do what I needed to do. There was lots of assurance that there is no shame in pain meds – because there’s not! And I know that – it’s just my own crazy self-imposed expectations. I decided to go for some pain meds in my i.v. – but asked the nurse to check me first because I was suddenly feeling like I wanted to push. Holly said she would be sure to check me as they don’t give pain meds once you reach 8 centimeters.
This brought another internal freak out. Here’s what went through my head – What?? Why didn’t they tell me that before. C’mon 7 centimeters! I can’t do 3 more hours of this!!
I was 10 centimeters. Well no wonder I was in so much pain. I went from 5-10 centimeters in less than an hour.
So does that mean I can push?? (oh please oh please oh please)
I was able to bear down on the next contraction. The room became a flurry of movement. The doctor, Susan, was called and appeared what seemed like immediately. Two baby attendants slipped in and were waiting in the wings along with some type of special pediatric nurse they called in since we were dealing with green water and positive strep b.
Susan checked me again and here I learned something else new. Our cervix not only dilates and effaces, it also (kind of) rotates during labor from a posterior to anterior position. Mine didn’t fully move out of the way – I had an “anterior lip“. So I was really more like a 9.
“I want her out.” I realize that sounds awful, but I didn’t mean it in the ‘get this baby out of me’ way it was meant in the ‘this can’t be good for her, she needs to come out’ way.
Here’s where I admit that I wasn’t happy with Susan when she wanted to break my water. But from here on she was exactly the calm and direct person I needed. I was so impressed with and thankful for her. She instructed me to go ahead and push while she reached in and tried to move the lip out of the way. We tried this a few times. Ouch – and it didn’t work.
It hadn’t been too long, but by now my urge to push was unreal. I was pushing so hard and nothing was happening. I was doing the grunting/growling push you see in the movies – I don’t think I’ve ever made that sound in my other births.
Susan then instructed me to do something…interesting. Go labor on the toilet. She explained the squatting position can help move the lip out of the way. She had me sit on the toilet with my legs spread wide, back straight, shoulders not slouched and push. Very attractive I know, but it worked.
I pushed about 4 times. Susan had to remind me each time to unslouch my shoulders, and a couple times she told me not to push too hard. And again, I asked my mother to pray. She offered up a prayer of mercy and movement. In no time I felt the baby move down. So it was back to the bed.
I think I would have been more comfortable pushing her out on a birthing stool, but I’m guessing they didn’t have one handy, thus the toilet.
With Shane by my side, my mom in the outskirts of the room, a handful of pushes, and a few shouts of “Oh God please!” and “Ow, it hurts, it hurts!” (another first I’ve never shouted before), some numbing gel applied by the doctor as it looked like I might tear (she didn’t ask, just did it) and our baby girl was brought into this world pink and screaming – and covered with vernix. She was absolutely the cheesiest baby I’ve ever given birth to. It was 11:09pm on June 3rd – she arrived about 4 hours after my water broke.
They placed her on my chest, her back was to me so I had to ask – “Is it really a girl? Was the sonogram correct??” It was.
After a few precious cuddles they whisked her to the other side of the room where she was cleaned up and well inspected. Daddy was by her side the whole time.
As they cleaned her up I birthed the placenta and was given pitocin as I was bleeding more than they liked to see. Then I was cleaned up and I laid in bed with my usual post-birth trembling waiting to hold my little girl again.
She was deemed to be healthy with clear lungs so I was soon given back my little girl…and there began the love affair.