It’s strange to look back on pregnancy now. It seems like a distant dream even though it was less than 2 months ago.
As with most labor stories, mine was not without a little bit of drama.
I was 8 days late, my amniotic fluid had been pronounced “low” and the OB was basically ordering me to be induced. I told the doctor I wouldn’t do it, and he was not pleased! But I had done my research and I knew that Low Amniotic Fluid scenarios are over-diagnosed and imprecise. I just KNEW my baby was fine and it made no sense to me that my body would be running out of fluid. That being said, I was not going to let it go beyond 48 hours, and my midwives agreed. Monday was the cut-off for a natural labor.
As much as I was glad I had gone with my own instincts, the doctor HAD scared the crap out of me and I was desperate. My husband and I both were pretty freaked out. If nothing happened by Monday I would get induced.
The next day, Sunday, my hubby thought I should try castor oil, the age-old trick for getting labor going. As he put it, “sitting around doing nothing isn’t getting us anywhere.” I found that quite amusing.
We had tried walking, sex, hot wings, and every other thing they say will make babies come. But nothing had worked. And it was getting frustrating. I thought I would be pregnant forever. And for some reason, taking castor oil just seemed like a waste of time. But I had to give it a shot. So out came the shot glass!
With dread (it has s reputation for being more than a little unpleasant), I took the first dose in the early afternoon. Jason came home with a beautiful present for me some time around 4 (some women get a ‘push’ gift, I got a ‘thanks for trying this nasty castor oil stuff’ gift) and AMAZINGLLLLLY, by dinner time I was in labor!!!
They were regular, kinda painful contractions, three minutes apart.
Were they real?! I was still in disbelief for some reason. I thought it was a false alarm or just cramping from the castor oil. But they stayed, and got worse! Hurray!
The midwives came over at 8 and watched me closely to see how much pain I was in. This was how they could tell how far along I was.
As the night progressed they hurt more and more. We played scrabble and I had a contraction every time it was my turn! Jason and I were sharing letters so he took the turns… The midwives said we should head to the hospital around midnight, so that’s what we did. They thought I would have the baby by 3 am. Boy were they wrong…
The drive to the hospital… was slow.
My husband had to drive snail pace because every bump on the road was like torture. Contractions! Ouch! We arrived at around midnight.
Once we were there it got pretty intense. Lots of pacing, a little puking, and zero sleep. At 3 am the midwives broke my water to speed things along but instead it slowed things down. My contractions had become incredibly painful and long but they were becoming less effective. Who knows why…. I guess stuff like that just happens.
They could feel the baby’s head. But I was stuck at 7 cm dilation. That’s when the midwives recommended I get Pitocin to speed things up. They called it “augmenting” — and by the time they recommended that I was about ready to throw in the towel with the whole ‘natural’ thing. To be fair, I think i would have continued with au natural if things hadn’t slowed. It was quite discouraging. After getting through 12 hours of natural labor, you kind of want to cross the finish line that way.
With them recommending IV fluids and Pitocin I figured I might as well get some pain relief…. and it was the best decision I could have ever made….epidural here I come!
Sweet Jesus it was the best feeling ever to not feel those contractions anymore. And as for the needle… they could have put it in my eyeball at that point. I really didn’t care. I just. Wanted. Relief. So yeah, I caved!! But only because they were cramping my style with the augmentation stuff (it meant I had to stay in bed… which made the pain a lot worse than when I was walking around.)
From 6 am to noon I lay in bed blissfully dilating from 7 to 8 to 9 to (ding!) 10 cm. The nurse came in and told me it was time to push but I couldn’t feel my legs or butt or any contractions at all, so I had to wait until the epidural was lowered. At around 1 pm I started the pushing. Legs up to my ears and seventeen people (it seemed) standing around my mostly numb lower half. My husband was on my right side, pushing along with me and I found that so helpful and comforting! There was none of that swearing and punching and squeezing his hand til the bones broke… I loved him the whole way through.
At 2:45 she was born. The sensation of having a human slide out of you … unbelieeeevably surreal.
She didn’t even cry, she just coughed a bit, looked around, and cozied into my chest as I held her for the first time. She was so beautifully perfect… alert… and calm. She looked at her dad, looked at me, and seemed quite happy with life on the outside.
10 weeks later, she’s still that perfect, alert, and calm little baby. She knows exactly what she wants, and we try our best to give it to her. The entire experience continues to be life altering in the most wonderful, beautiful way!