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I met with my midwife, Julie, on Thursday 3/24, and had my membranes stripped. She told me that she was actually leaving town on 3/30 and hadn't told me since she was sure that I'd have delivered by this point since Keith had been so early. We decided to schedule an induction for 3/29 in case I didn't go into labor that weekend. I hadn't wanted to be induced because I wanted a natural childbirth, but Julie said that I was dilating faster than with Keith, and my bag of water was stretched really tight. She didn't think it would take any more than breaking my water to get things going. I figured I could handle that, so we scheduled it. That night I had several hours of pretty painful contractions, but went to L&D only to be sent home a few hours later because I hadn't dilated any more while I was there (I was at 3 cm) and my contractions were fizzling out. The next morning Julie stripped my membranes for me one more time. I have to say, I'm a strong believer that so much of how your body handles labor and delivery is mental, because as soon as I had Tuesday in my head for induction, I pretty much stopped having contractions altogether. I was okay with that though, I figured I would rest all weekend so I'd be prepared for Tuesday.
Monday night I couldn't sleep at all. I pretty much laid in bed all night, forced myself to keep my eyes closed and occasionally dozed off. I was up at 5:30 showering and getting last minute things together. I called L&D just after 6 to make sure I could come in, and they said to go ahead. Unfortunately my SIL who was coming to stay with Keith was running really late, so I ended up driving myself. It wasn't a huge deal though, Mike had his truck so he waited until she got there and then went to the hospital.
When I got there they put me into the same room that I had Keith in, which I thought was pretty fun. (side note – I also ended up in the same recovery room I was in with Keith, too funny!) I changed into the gown I'd brought since I didn't want to wear a hospital gown. That was such a good decision. I didn't have to worry about anything showing because it was a nightgown, and it fit me unlike the hospital gowns which always feel so big. The nurse hooked me up to the monitors and started asking all of the standard health questions. She asked if I was planning on an epidural and I said no. I was so happy when she got excited to hear that. I was so worried I would end up with a nurse that wasn't supportive of me doing it naturally. She was excited though, and started telling me how they handle natural births. She said that I could be up and moving for an hour, then they'd monitor for 20 minutes, moving an hour, monitor 20, etc. She said to let her know if I wanted a yoga ball, and that I could use the jetted tub in the bathroom.
Then she started the antibiotic for GBS. Soon after thatd Julie got there. She said that the antibiotic needed to be in my system for 4 hours before she could break my water. If I wanted to, she could start me on a the lowest dose of pitocin. She said she'd start me at 1, then every half hour move it up until I was at 4, then stop it there. She said that wouldn't do anything other than let my already irritable uterus know that it could start contracting. She wouldn't even consider that the method of induction, the water breaking would be. The reason she suggested this was so that I wouldn't have to sit there for 4 hours with nothing happening while I got the antibiotic. I said sure.
So she left to her clinic while I got the antibiotic and started the low dose of pitocin. At first the dose was so low that I was only having contractions every 15-30 minutes, and they weren't painful at all. Once they bumped it up to I believe 3 I decided it was time to get out of bed and get things moving. I couldn't go far because I was still hooked to the IV, so I put a chair next to the bed. I sat for 10 minutes and stood for 10 minutes for an hour or so. That alone got the contractions coming every 3 minutes. By the time the pitocin was at 4 they started getting painful, so I used the yoga ball. Some people swear by them. For me it was okay, but honestly not that helpful. By this point it was 1:00, and Julie was going to be back any minute to break my water. I was kind of nervous about that, because I was starting to really feel it, and I knew that breaking water could really make things move.
At this point the ball wasn't helping, so I decided to climb into bed and lean over the back. This was a position I'd read could help. I did that through one contraction, and it really didn't help. After that contraction Julie came in. She said she would check me and break my water. When I got there that morning I was at 4 cm. I figured after 4 hours of good contractions I would at least be at 5, maybe even 6. Nope. Still 4. That was a bit frustrating.
I told Julie that I was nervous that between the pitocin and breaking my water I wouldn't be able to handle the pain. She said we'd turn unhook me from the pitocin and just break my water. I thought that would work, so we did it.
Breaking my water didn't hurt at all like I thought it might. It actually relieved some pressure and felt good. Within minutes of breaking my water the contractions got seriously intense. It was a whole new kind of contraction than what I'd been feeling before. I wanted to get in the tub right that second, but they had to fill it up first so I had to wait. I put my arms around Mike's neck with each contraction, and either my SIL or Julie would massage my lower back. This is where I really started to notice how aware I was of what both my body and Melanie's body were doing. It was so different than being numb, but in a really good way. I could feel the changes happening. When I would have a particularly intense contraction I could literally feel her head descend lower and a gush of water would accompany it.
Soon they had the tub ready. I got in and we got the jets going. With each contraction I would squeeze the bar on the wall of the tub and the hand of whoever happened to be next to me. I believe they started rotating because my grip was pretty firm. I thought I must be nearing transition because it was getting to wear contractions were coming about every minute and then I was feeling pressure. I hoped the pressure meant I was nearly complete, but in my head I knew it was the wrong kind of pressure. This pressure was all up front, more like I had to urinate than have a bowel movement, which is how I'd heard the pressure you feel at the end is like. I asked Julie to check me, and she said I was at 6. Julie got me a pillow at this point because she said I looked uncomfortable. I said it wasn't necessary, but she was right. In between contractions it was really important for me to relax as much as possible, which was hard to do leaning against a hard tub. She also said that she'd left the on-call phone at her office, and was going to run over and get it. I said I couldn't do it if she left. I really felt like if I didn't hear her voice telling me to relax this or that muscle, and to let my body release the baby to me, I would lose it. That wonderful woman said okay. She called her office from the hospital to make sure no one had called her, and stayed with me.
Soon I got to the point where I really thought I couldn't do it anymore. If I was only at a 6, I figured I had at least an hour and a half, maybe more before I could push. And that was if I progressed quickly. And even though I said out loud “I can't do it”, there was a voice in the back of my head telling me that I could. It was the strangest, out of body experience. That little voice was telling me that I was prepared for this, that my body knew how to do it, and that I wasn't going to have to do it forever. That I'd be done soon.
With each contraction I would continue squeezing the bar and a hand. One thing that I didn't do, that I had expected I would, was scream. I tend to be pretty vocal if I get hurt. And for some people groaning or screaming is how they deal with contractions. But for me, I knew that if I screamed I would lose control of myself. I knew that I had to deal with this by squeezing like I had been, relaxing every muscle that I could, and by keeping it in my head. I just kept repeating in my mind “It's going to feel so good when this one is over.” And then when it was over, I would lean against the pillow and try not to think about the next one. I would just enjoy how good I felt. Then when the next one came, again I would think “It's going to feel so good when this one is over.”
Julie told me I was going to need to get out soon to get monitored. I told her if I got out I couldn't do it. The contractions were extremely intense in the tub with the jets on, I couldn't imagine what they would be like if I got out. She said that I could do it, and if I got out they could refill the bathtub with warm water, since it had cooled off. I knew there was no point in arguing even though I truly believed I couldn't do it. They helped me up (I'm not even sure who “they” were, I was so focused on keeping control that I only heard voices, but was never aware of who was helping me move, or who was holding my hands during contractions). Julie told me to sit on the toilet and empty my bladder. As I sat down another contraction came. I squeezed a bar and someone's hand, and as the contraction put pressure down I emptied my bladder. I stood up and made my way toward the bed. About two steps away from the bed another one came. I knelt down next to the bed and laid my head down until it passed.
I climbed into the bed, and as I laid down I knew I had to push. When they say “uncontrollable urge to push”, they mean it. It had only been 20-30 minutes since Julie had checked me and I had been at 6 cm, and I didn't want to ask to be checked and be told that I wasn't ready and couldn't push yet. So I rolled onto my side, lifted the upper leg up, grabbed onto the side of the bed and onto Mike, and started pushing. This is another example of how cool it is being so aware of your body during labor. I just instinctively knew what position to be in. I knew exactly how to push. It was very cool. Julie came over and checked me and said “You're complete, you're ready to push.” I'm not sure if what I said next was something I said out loud or if I just thought it, but I said “I already am!”
Pushing was awesome because my body knew exactly how to do it, and it felt so good to push with all of that pressure. It was also cool because no one needed to tell me what to do. Julie just stood there while I pushed waiting for her to come out. I knew when to start pushing, I knew when to stop, nobody needed to tell me. I pushed probably 4 or 5 times, and out she came. She came so fast that I didn't even feel the “ring of fire” people refer to when they talk about the baby crowning.
It was the most amazing feeling to know that I had done it. There was my Melanie laying on the bed, and I knew that I had accomplished what I had set out to do. And there she was.
They handed her to me as she started crying. It felt so good to hold her. I asked Julie if I had torn. One of my biggest goals was to not get an episiotomy, since I had one with Keith and it was horrible to recover from. She said I had a 1st degree tear, and I ended up with 4 stitches. But truly, it's been SO much easier than the episiotomy. TMI – the first time I had a BM after having Keith I thought I was going to lose it, it was so painful because of the episiotomy. This time it didn't hurt at all!
I was able to do a lot of things with Melanie that I didn't get to do with Keith because he had Tachypnea. I was able to nurse her right after delivery. I was able to hold her for a long time. They asked if they could take her to the nursery for her bath, and I said no since I honestly just didn't feel ready to let her go. They said that was fine, and came back for her later.
Melanie was born on March 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 8 oz, and was 19 inches long. She is absolutely perfect. <3
Wow! What an amazing story. You truly inspire me. I plan on having a natural childbirth and you truly give me hope. I am so happy that your delivery went well and you have a perfect little girl now. I am so happy for you!
<3 PMWJONES <3
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13
that is one of the most awesome pitocin induction stories i have ever read! you should submit it to some ncb sites or even to those book collections or something! Its hard to find successful induction stories, im so happy for you!
The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it is you~ Unknown ~