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Clara is my third and last child. J She is adorable and loveable in every way, and we are so blest to have her. We weren’t planning on having another child for lots of reasons, one of which was the difficult birth I had with my now almost 8 yr old daughter. Katie was 8lbs. 3oz, which is a little on the large size, but not huge. Yet, when she was born her shoulders were caught on my pelvic bone, resulting in a relatively serious shoulder dsytocia. Katie’s first Apgar was only 3, and her shoulder had to be dislocated in order to safely deliver her - her arm was paralyzed for the first few hours after her birth. We were very lucky though and there were no long term ill effects to her. J
Once I discovered I was pregnant with Clara, I was deemed “high risk” both for my age (38) and because of the previous shoulder dsytocia with Katie. I needed to be careful not to gain too much weight, and there were additional growth ultrasounds scheduled throughout the pregnancy to make sure she didn’t get too large. The possibility of having to deliver by C-section was brought up at almost all of my appointments if Clara was estimated to be larger than 8lbs. To complicate matters further, we determined that Clara was transverse at 34 weeks. At 36 weeks when she was still transverse, I had a version scheduled. Luckily the version was successful. J
At 38 weeks I had my last ultrasound at which they estimated her weight at 7lbs 4 oz. and she was still head down. My OB decided the best course of action would be to induce at 39wks while she was head down and before she reached that dangerous (for me) 8lb mark. So we scheduled the induction for 4/11/2012.
On Wednesday 4/11, I called Labor and Delivery at 5:30am as by OB instructed. Unfortunately there were too many women already in labor to bring me in at 7:30am as I was scheduled. For awhile it looked like I wasn’t going to get to come in on the 11th at all, but finally I got a call at 2pm that we could come in at 3:15pm for my induction. Once we got there and were settled in a room, it was about 5:15pm when they checked me and got me hooked up to the monitors. I was having some mild contractions already, but I was only a very tight 1cm and the contractions weren’t really doing anything. So we started the pitocin at about 5:15pm.
In an effort to avoid the epidural, I was trying to stand and move around during the labor to deal with the pain, but oddly, my contractions would slow down and become much less intense when I was standing. This was more comfortable, but also discouraging because after 2 hours I had made no progress. So they upped my dosage of the pitocin and DH and I watched the movie StarDust on the DVD player in my room. I was still trying to stand on and off because it was helping me deal with the pain of the contractions which were getting more intense. After another 2 hours, at about 9pm I was a 3. I was so happy that I had made some progress, but also discouraged that it was taking so long. At that point I decided to stay in the bed and let the doctor break my water.
The doctor tried to break my water, but wasn’t really convinced she had done it as she only got a small trickle of fluid to come out. In any case, my contractions got even more intense and they dialed back the pitocin a little to give me a break, but that didn’t seem to slow anything down. My body had taken over and the contractions were still coming pretty hard. By 11:15p I was having them check me again, and since I was still only 4cm. I knew I wasn’t going to last all the way to 10 without an epidural, so I went ahead and asked for it. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was suddenly progressing very quickly. It took about a half hour to get the epidural placed and the nurse checked me again as soon as I was laying back down. I was a 7! No wonder it was so hard to hold still through those contractions during the epidural placement.
So the epidural was firmly placed and I was just starting to relax a little at about midnight. I was a little sad that she wouldn’t be born on the 11th as it was my grandfather’s birthday and he had just died last year. The nurse said she thought Clara would be here by 2am. I nodded and tried to relax, while the doctor and nurses monitored my blood pressure, which had gone down a bit from the epidural.
Very soon after that I noticed all this pressure in my vagina. Although the epidural had taken the edge off, I was definitely still feeling contractions, and down right pain in my vagina. When I mentioned this to my nurse, she checked me again and I was already 9 and a half! She called the doctor back in and 10 minutes later I had the okay to push. Despite the epidural, I could feel her crowning and moving down in the birth canal. It was painful and wonderful at the same time. I’m sure it was much less painful because the epidural was taking effect, but since it hadn’t been placed long enough to take full effect, I could still feel a lot of it. This was perfect for pushing and I understood in a new way just how to push. I didn’t have a ton of trouble pushing my other two kids out effectively (well except for the shoulder dsytocia, but that wasn’t a pushing issue), but this was different cause I could feel how effective I was or wasn’t with each push.
It took about 4 pushes, and she was out. She immediately stuck out her tongue at all of us. J We are still figuring out our new normal, but we are all so happy to have her.