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I woke up Saturday night (Sunday morning technically I suppose) at about 2 am with horrible horrible menstrual like cramping. I pretty much just though, ugh, this sucks, and tried to go back to sleep. About 4 am, after not being able to get back to sleep at all, I realized that they were coming in pretty regular intervals, and were actually contractions. Hey cool!
So I decided to get up and walk around the house for a while. My husband was still up watching TV (yes, we're total night owls!), I think he was in a bit of shock when I told him I was actually having contractions! I wandered around, came down to my computer and sat on my exercise ball and surfed the web a bit. Looked up a description of back labor, and every explanation I found was pretty much dead on what I was feeling. So not cool! I felt so much pain my my back and lower abdomen, but pretty much nothing around the rest of my uterus. I'm not sure if it was because the back pain was so intense or what. Found a cool contraction timer online and started using it. From about 6am- 7am my contractions were about 7-8 mins apart. Then from about 7am-8am they were very regular and about 4 mins apart. So I tell DH to get the bags ready, we're heading in!
That was when they slowed down. To about 15 mins apart. OK... so we decided to try to get some rest, see what happened, hopefully they would pick up again or just go away. Well, there was no rest for me, about the time I'd start to fall asleep, I'd have another contraction and I was awake again. And laying down made the back pain that much worse anyway. Semi-reclined on the couch was about the best compromise between resting some and making the pain worse.
They sped up and slowed down through the rest of the morning and early afternoon. I was getting really frustrated. Finally around 6 or so I came back downstairs to my computer and used the contraction timer some more. For a couple hours they were about 6 mins apart, but seemed to be getting more and more intense. Finally around 8pm I told DH we were going to the hospital to at least see if anything was actually happening with these, I just needed to know, I couldn't keep doing this at home without knowing what was happening! He didn't want to go. What?!? Seriously? Yeah, he thought we had to wait until my water broke... then he said he thought I wanted to stay at home as long as possible. Yes, I do, and I get to decide how long is as long as possible and we need to go now!
We finally got to the hospital about 10pm, they put us in a room to be monitored for a while, then came in to check my a little while later. I was 3 cm and 70% effaced. This is after being barely a fingertip and 0% just a few days earlier, so these were actually doing SOMETHING! Thank god! They admitted us after that and moved us to the room with the birthing tub soon after. I had a hep-lock placed and wireless monitors so I could move around the room as I felt like it. I found the exercise ball to be the most comforting, I didn't want to get in the tub until I had progressed a bit farther. I was checked again at about 11:30, and I had made it to 6 cm already! Holy cow! So we put out the call to our moms and sisters, let them know what was going on and to expect a baby announcement from us very soon! My mom and one of my sisters headed to town (they had about a 2 hour drive) and another sister in town started making arrangements for someone to watch her two sons.
I decided to get in the tub at this point, see if it would provide some relief from the back pain. I gotta say, it felt amazing to be in the tub, but other than the foot rests making it so I could push my back up against the back of the tub, it really didn't do much for the back labor. My mom and sisters arrived at some point around there. It was really nice to have so many people in the labor room with me, we were able to talk and joke and all that between contractions.
And then we took a turn for the worse. The contractions got more and more painful, and my memory starts to get a bit hazy about here. I kept thinking, this must be me getting close to transition. The next check the nurse said she thought I might be close to an 8 with a bulging sack of waters, but it was hard to tell with the angle that the tub puts me at. Also, my cervix was still not fully anterior. Some time later, the next nurse checked me, and said she thought I was still about a 6-7. So you can imagine my disappointment to hear that. I think I had been in the tub for 3-4 hours at that point and had been a 6 before getting in. I needed to get out to use the restroom. Standing up made all the contractions that much worse. In the tub I had been able to get into a zone where I was at least breathing steadily, even if I wasn't able to focus on anything in the room besides whoever's hand I happened to be squeezing at the time. Once I was out and standing up, I couldn't even do that, I was pretty much in tears, I wanted to have my back rubbed, but it hurt so I didn't want to be touched. I think I lost touch with my center at that point. I tried getting back on the birthing ball, but it wasn't working. Plus my contractions actually started to get further apart again!
I don't remember the exact time line, but around here I decided that there was no way I could handle this pain if I wasn't going to be making any progress and my contractions were slowing (though no less intense), and I asked for an epidural. Luckily for me, I had always planned to keep my options open, so they were able to get the anesthesiologist in to my room quickly. It took a little while for the epidural to take full effect, but the relief it brought was enormous. I really hated being stuck on the bed, but it was the best decision I could have made at that point.
After a while, my contractions still hadn't picked back up, I was still at a 6-7, about 90% effaced, and my cervix was still slightly posterior, so the doc ended up breaking my water. After another hour or so I had made it to a 7-8 and 100% effaced, but cervix wasn't budging still. My contractions were also STILL not regulating. Also, laying flat on my back was causing the baby to have some decels, so I had to be turned onto my side. Which really really sucks when you don't have control over the lower half of your body. It just felt awkward to be laying on my side. After a while of this, I ended up getting a low dose of pitocin to help my contractions pick up again and regulate. I think it was probably about 7 or 8 am at this point, I hadn't slept a wink in 2 days, and I just wanted my baby out! The pitocin finally did the job of making my contractions finish the work of dilating me and getting my cervix into position. Soon it would be time to push!
My mom and one sister left the room, hubby and my other sister stayed (sis was taking photos for me!) and we all got a quick lesson on how to hold legs and how the heck I was supposed to be able to tell if I was pushing or not! Finally I got to try pushing, and I really had no idea... I felt like I was just holding my breath really hard, but I concentrated on what I thought had to be pushing
My stupid contractions started to get further apart again right then. So we would push, breathe, push, breathe, push... then have to wait 2-3 mins for the next contraction. Luckily after only 4-5 contractions the nurse told me I could rest, it was time to get my OB in there to deliver, baby was starting to crown! I was able to rest up for a couple contractions while he came in and got situated. Then it was time, first push got his head mostly out, second push his head came out fully, then the third push he had me do some mini pushes so the body could be properly positioned and suddenly I felt the absolute strangest sensation as my baby's body left my abdomen. He had to be suctioned a few times, but started screaming after that! They laid him up on my chest for a few minutes while toweling him off. He was so beautiful! And I was a mom at last.
Sean Elliot Golden was born at 11:15 am on February 7. He was 8 lbs 4.5 oz, and 21.5 inches long. TONS of dark hair. And he's had us wrapped around his little fingers ever since.
~Kasi~ Mommy to Sean Elliot and Taylor Joelle!
Love your story! I was getting little updates from Shannon....and it really sounds like the epi was your best option. I've never had back labor....but I hear it's horrible. I'm glad you are happy with your decision. Your son is beautiful!