|In the delivery room|
Our baby girl, Charlotte Eve, was born Friday morning at 11:14 am, weighing 8 lbs, 5 oz.
I decided on Wednesday to be induced Friday. I feel selfish that I decided to do it based on convenience- my in-laws were headed down and we had 5 days of childcare and help to ease the transition with the new baby. I didn't feel like I was going to go into labor on my own, and if I waited a week only to be induced after my in-laws left, I would have been annoyed.
But given the way things happened, I am glad that I was in the hospital!
I went in at 6 am. I did not sleep well Thursday night. First I had a breakdown, crying, about how I was ruining the boys' lives by having a baby at 10 pm. I took an ambien and did manage to fall asleep, but I kept waking up, and would lie in bed in disbelief that I was going to have a baby. I finally got up a little before 5 to shower and get dressed. I ate some toast because I was so hungry during my last labor.
My parents came to take over at 5:45. The boys were still asleep. It was pouring rain outside. Of course I didn't travel light- 2 bags, a pillow, umbrella...
We got to the hospital at 6, went up to labor and delivery, and checked in. I still felt guilty, explaining to the nurses that I was in for an elective induction. I had also had some helpful friends tell me that I would surely have a c-section, so I felt anxious about that- since after my uncomplicated vaginal delivery with the boys, I really didn't want a c-section.
Around 6:30 or so, a resident came to check me- I was 3 cm and about 70-75% effaced, so no different from Wednesday, but the resident assured me this is a good starting point for an induction. She put cytotec in vaginally- just a little pill- and said that's it, now we wait. She said it would take about 4 hours for the pill to run its course.
My OB came around 7:45 to say good morning and let me know the plan. I, of course, was anxious about the fact that my contractions had barely started, and he reassured me that the pill would take some time to get to work, and it had a few more hours before we went on to bigger things- like pitocin.
I put on the Today show and tried to nap. Regular contractions started, but they were extremely mild- about the intensity of the Braxton-Hicks I'd been having. I emailed a little, started watching an old episode of Glee (boring, Eric and I agreed that the show has gone downhill), and kept trying to nap. Alarms kept going off- my IV ran out of batteries, the heartbeat monitor machine ran out of paper... so every time I would nod off something would start to beep. I was already hungry and feeling upset that I might not get to eat til dinner! At one point the baby's heart rate dropped off the monitors, and they told me I would have to lie on my side to keep it up. That made me nervous, but they assured me it was normal and things would be fine.
At 10 my OB came back and said, "I think I'm going to rupture your membranes." This was the point of no return- before I had thought if things didn't take off, I would get up and leave. I guess I decided I wanted this baby, so I said ok. He asked if I wanted an epidural first, and I said no- I wasn't in any pain yet, and I told Eric, "if there isn't any pain at all, it won't feel like a real labor." I also know an epidural can slow labor and I wanted to keep things moving. I told my OB that I would call for one when things started getting painful.
My OB checked me, and said I was now 4 cm and 90% effaced. I have to say that didn't feel like major progress for 3 hours worth of induction, but it was something. He broke my water, said it was clear, and that this should start things. I asked if I should call my mom, who wanted to be with us for the labor and delivery but was helping my dad with the boys at the time, and he said no, we had lots of time.
About 10 minutes later I started to have contractions that were painful. I would say they were similar to the contractions I had when I went into labor with the boys, before I got the epidural. They didn't seem that frequent. After about 20 minutes of them, I told Eric I was ready for the anesthesiologist. I believe my words were: "I'm no hero! These really hurt! I don't know who those crazy people are who want to have a baby without drugs." We told the nurse to call for the anesthesiologist, and she did.
Maybe 10 minutes later, I wanted to try to use the bathroom on my own before my epidural. I had to pee and thought I might have to poop, and wanted to do it in private. The nurse came in and said that the anesthesiologist was finishing up in another room and would be with me in a minute. I did get to the toilet, I peed, had a painful contraction, pooped, had another contraction, and really started to get uncomfortable. I had some trouble getting off the toilet, but finally did. I got back into bed and had another really painful contraction, where I felt like I was moving my bowels in the bed. I got really upset! I said to Eric, "Call the nurse! I pooped in the bed! Call the nurse!" Eric thinks I call the nurse too much, so he was hemming and hawing, also because there wasn't actually poop in the bed.
When she came in, I told her I thought I had pooped in the bed, but also stressed the urgency of calling the anesthesiologist because I was having a lot of pain. When she didn't have the anesthesiologist come in, but instead a nurse practitioner, it slowly dawned on me that something wasn't right.
The NP went to check me and said, "You're complete, baby is at +2-3."
I started asking if there was still time for an epidural, and in Eric's words, "No one really wanted to tell you there wasn't..." but the NP suggested that I begin trying deep breathing and to keep my legs relaxed. I think I was (more than) a little panicked- I remember saying things like, "but I didn't take a childbirth class!" and "I don't want to have a baby without an epidural!" and "are you SURE there isn't time for an epidural?" even though I knew that even given the small chance I could sit still for an epidural, it surely wouldn't take effect prior to delivery. Eric called my mom and told her to come right away- she was 2 miles away at our house.
I tried to talk myself into it, I told the NP that I had pushed 15 minutes to deliver my first, so I could do 10. I told myself, "10 minutes, you can handle this for 10 minutes. You can do this."
There was a bit of a mad rush, where they were calling my OB on the phone to come in from office, prepping the bed, getting the baby warmer, the nurse for the baby... I think I was kind of in shock that this was all happening right now, and so quickly. My mom still wasn't there, either.
With every contraction it felt 1) painful and 2) like I needed to bear down, but my OB was changing into his scrubs and I had to wait. When he got in, they moved me down into the stirrups. I think I was a little nuts- the speed, the pain- my brain could not keep up. I had another contraction and was allowed to push. My OB said to take a deep breath in, let it out, another deep breath, and then bear down and PUSH. I have to say that pushing is very easy without an epidural because you know exactly how to push to help the pressure. It hurt A LOT. It is true that you have no real memory for pain, all I know is that I was kind of riding up the hospital bed trying to get away from the pain, and the OB kept telling me to come down, keep my feet in the stirrups, and bear down. I had a hard time pushing for the full count of 10 you are supposed to push for because it hurt so much. I remember saying, at one point, "I can't!" because it hurt. I have heard of the "ring of fire" and I wouldn't say that I could feel a ring, but it really stung! Regardless, I can't complain- after 2.5 contractions, Charlotte was born!
I remember thinking she looked so big! And her face was all smooshy and purple. I was in total shock. My mom had missed the whole thing! She came into the room after Charlotte was delivered, while my OB was stitching me. I have a 2nd degree tear again but I figure that's not so bad given her size and the speed of delivery. I had a 2nd degree tear with the boys, too, and no problems recovering from it.
They gave Charlotte to me almost right away, and I put her up to nurse, and she latched right on. This was completely amazing to me, given the struggle I had getting my guys to latch as newborns. It was great. She peed as soon as she came out, too! And then while nursing she had a bowel movement on me- everything seemed to be in working order. I saw on the notes that her apgar scores were 9 and 9- a perfectly healthy baby, and what a miracle.
I am still in a little bit of shock about how it all happened- it was never my plan to have an epidural-free delivery, but now that it's over I am happy with it. I feel proud of myself for delivering a big baby without drugs- I didn't know I was capable! And recovery has been so easy. We came home from the hospital after only 24 hours, and she has been nursing and sleeping very well. The hardest part has been the boys- Benjamin seems fine, but Asher is having some trouble adjusting, which doesn't surprise me.
She is asleep now- so I better go, too! Life has just gotten a little more crazy here.