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April 7th 2012. 2:31am.
7lb, 11oz. 20 3/4 inches
Labor duration: 16.5 hrs
I never imagined, as I waddled into the health clinic for my 40 week midwife appt, that I would be waddling out about 40 minutes later...in labor!
I woke up on Friday morning the 6th feeling as NOT in labor as a woman can feel. I had no contractions at all after weeks of strong braxton hicks and multiple bouts of false labor. I didn't even have the slightest little cramp. I was feeling pretty certain that this appt would bring bad news (no progress). It's a bit of a drive to the clinic and we were all running late that morning. My last appointment and the only time I was ever late! I called the front desk on the way to let them know I was running late and they said they weren't sure if I would be able to be seen depending on how late I was. But...to my surprise, as I waddled as fast as I could into the clinic, I was told my midwife had cancelled something she was doing so she could fit me in that day! Oh what a relief, and what a wonderful midwife!
My appointment started out like any other. I was weighed....44 lbs up! Yikes! My blood pressure was taken and for once it was a little high. I told her I was just a little stressed being just hours away from overdue, worries about the birth and the baby, and making sure our families from out of town were going to be able to be there for the birth and meet the baby. My midwife told me that was the last thing I needed to worry about and that my stress could actually keep me from going into labor. She said I needed to focus on relaxation somehow, whatever it would take for me to really truly relax. She asked if I wanted to be checked for progress. A big fat yes!!! I nervously got into the gown and when she walked back into the room I pleaded, "Please have good news" as I held my breath and waited...She said after the longest few seconds ever, "Well you're open!". I squeaked, "Oooh how much??" and she was concentrating really hard, "Well I'm feeling a good 2 centimeters....no wait 3 centimeters.....actually.....4 centimeters! You're a good 4 centimeters but your cervix is still posterior so it's hard to really get in there. I'd say fifty percent effaced. It won't be long so hang in there" I sat up as she stepped over to the trash can, "4 centimenters?!!?! You have good news!" Oh the tears of joy that streamed down my face! I just wanted anything better than 0 like last week and here I was at a 4! Needless to say I was thrilled and sure it wouldn't be much longer...so what did I do? I relaxed! Instantly!
I waddled out into the waiting room whilst texting Jason to tell my mom the fantastic news! Of course since my mom was feeling very positive that I had progressed and expected good news she wasn't surprised but was equally as thrilled! Just then Jason replied to my text with a bunch of smiley faces! ) We all knew it couldn't be too many more days.
We got into the car and that's when the contractions started. Good, long, strong contractions that wrapped around to my back and made me breath through them. I had had many disappointing and frustrating episodes of false labor in the last few weeks though so it was going to take a lot more than that to convince me I was in labor! We started heading to K-mart where my mom wanted to pick up a few last minute things for labor and delivery. She asked me if I wanted a snack and I asked for nacho cheese doritos. Not a usual request from me! I can't imagine why I wanted nacho cheese doritos while I was in labor. What could my body possibly need from those!? My contractions continued. At this point I'm thinking the check just irritated my cervix and everything would calm down again soon as I got up and walked around. I waited in the car with Abbey who was asleep in her carseat while my mom did her K-mart run. I updated on Facebook about my appointment and progress, and continued to time contractions. It seemed as though they were getting worse and I started to really remind me of how I felt when I was in labor with Abbey. I can't even describe it. It was just the exact same feeling both physically and emotionally. I felt like I was in a dream state and on some kind of high all at the same time! My mom spent almost 45 minutes in K-mart and my contractions never missed a beat, every 2-3 minutes!
Jason had a short day at work that Friday. He was getting off at noon and we were going to swing by and pick him up and head to IKEA for a good walk and lunch. We pulled into the parking lot outside his office and my mom started getting really nervous, asking me if we should just go to the hospital instead of IKEA. I told her I needed a good walk to see if this was REALLY it. Jason came out and soon as he got in the car he said, "You look different. You look like you did when you were in labor with Abbey" and my mom agreed with him. How does a woman in labor look? Maybe like she's in pain? Your guess is as good as mine! We all 3 decided it might be best to just go home and finish packing the bags with last minute items instead. On the way home the contractions just got stronger and stronger. I truly had to breath through them although I could still talk through them. Both Jason and my mom were absolutely sure I was in labor. Me? Still not convinced!
As we were running around the house like hamsters in their little playgrounds, gathering up all our last minute labor and delivery and diaper bag needs, I considered this finally my opportunity to determine if this was real labor or not. I was waddling room to room, grabbing a few bites of a muffin to eat, and taking what just might be my very last belly pics. Everything says if contractions get closer together when you move around that is REAL labor so that is what I was checking for. My contractions were 1 minute apart while I was up and about. I figured if I was having false labor, all this would surely stop the contractions and not bring them closer together! So I sat down...and...they continued! I was convinced it was FINALLY labor and delivery time!!! Here we go!!!
We all rushed to the car with a million bags in tow between the 4 of us and headed out on the 45 minute drive to the hospital! I was the only one who was glad it was a long drive with a bit of traffic because even though I was pretty convinced at this point I was in labor, it couldn't hurt to keep timing contractions for nearly another hour! Yes those contractions seemed like they were here to stay alright! Every 2-3 minutes like clockwork and getting quite painful. I checked the time. I had been having steady contractions for 3.5 hours now! I didn't even realize just how long it had been since we got into the car after my appointment.
We arrived at the hospital and I remember feeling really cold even though it was a pleasant temperature out. We arrived at Labor and Delivery and were asked why we were there. I thought this was a pretty ridiculous question as I was holding my belly and breathing through pain, and we each had about 2 bags with us! My mom said, "She's in labor" and the receptionist said we could go right in and we would be met by a nurse. I had to use the restroom while Jason was signing me in and that was when I saw bloody show, a good amount of it! I loved that last little bit of reassurance that we hadn't just drove 35+ miles just to be sent home!
We were led into our room. I remember looking around thinking, "I'm going to delivery my baby boy here, in this very room!" I started to cry and feel really nervous all of a sudden. I was told to get into my gown and lay down on the bed. I asked for Jason to help me because I was feeling frozen...not as in cold, but as in terrified!!! It all hit me so fast that this was IT!
A doctor and 2 nurses came in and checked me. I was now 5 centimeters and 60-65% effaced! It took 3 tries with one blown vien for the nurses to get my IV in. In fact the final IV was done by the anesthesiologist and he had to use a bit of lidocaine on my wrist first because he had a very large needle. I was trying to stay calm but was SO worried and uncomfortable. Once the IV was finally in (along with penicillin because I was positive for Strep B) and we knew James was doing well based on the monitors, we decided to go for a long walk around the labor and delivery floor and spend some time on the birthing ball. I tried to get down on my hands and knees using a waiting room chair and rock for as many contractions as I could because I knew James was still posterior. Abbey was getting very fussy so we pushed her around the floor in her stroller in hopes she would drift off to sleep. She finally did! We took her stroller back to our room and parked her there, not daring to move a sleeping baby! My mom watched her while we continued to walk the floor. I had to keep coming back to our room to use the restroom as I had read labor will go faster with an empty bladder. My nurse said we would get back on the monitors to check on James every hour and have a cervical check every few hours. We continued this pattern for many hours because my body likes to have long labors. All the while, my mom was in and out of sleep and Abbey slept soundly, now moved by daddy to her playpen.
After I didn't make any progress for a few hours we decided to have my water broken. I was very nervous about this even though everyone reassured me it doesn't hurt. It was true! It doesn't hurt one bit, but the amount of water that comes out is truly nauseating. I felt like I was peeing on myself, over and over and over and over! With every contraction came even more water! My contractions immediately got more painful and all I could do at this point was breath. I could no longer talk or walk through them. Pain was just radiating from my shoulder blades all the way down to the lowest part of my back. I felt the tears welling up and I started to cry because that's what I do when I'm in pain. I cried through every contraction and the nurse was not impressed. I told her I wanted an epidural, and soon! She said the doctor would be in for one more check and she ordered my epidural. The check was a little disappointing. Despite my tremendous pain, still 5cm, but 0 station and 'well thinned out". It reminded me of Abbey's birth where I didn't progress for hours and hours.
Finally the anesthesiologist arrived and started my epidural. It was so hard to stay still. but I managed. At some point he said in a very rehearsed voice, "Okay if you feel ringing in either ear, shortness of breath, numbness in either or both legs please let me know". I thought, oh great what does that mean?? Then it happened. First both ears started to ring and I suddenly lost the majority of my hearing. Of course I immediately shouted, "Ringing in both ears, can't hear!" and as I was saying this I started feeling extremely lightheaded, freezing cold and short of breath. My right leg burst into pins and needles, then went numb. I told the anesthesiologst and nurse frantically, barely able to hear my own speaking let alone theirs. All I said was, "Is this normal? Is this normal??" I pleaded to know if this was normal and no one would answer me. I was so terrified and no one was talking to me. In my mind that meant not normal! My mom said, "It's okay Amy. He's fixing it" and I asked if James was okay. Finally the nurse spoke, "Yes the baby is doing great" as she layed me down on my side. I felt a big sting in my back. I knew he was re-doing the epidural and I was waiting to feel normal again. I was SO scared. After a couple minutes, I did start feeling normal again. But then he said it again! "Okay if you feel ringing in either ear, shortness of breath, numbness in either or both legs please let me know" in the same awful, rehearsed voice. I held my breath in absolute fear it was going to happen again, praying it wouldn't. After a minute, I said, "Is it over? I feel okay still" and he said, "Yes it's over" and he left the room, quickly.
I asked the nurse what happened to me and she said he missed and hit a blood vessel. I asked her if I would have any lasting problems from that and she said no, probably not. I finally started to relax again. I could feel the pain melting away but much less quickly than it did with Abbey. I think about 10 still awful scontractions went by before I realized it wasn't going to get much better. I had some relief in my belly but felt EVERYTHING down below which was my biggest fear. I was concerned that it was taking so long and the nurse pinched the outside of my upper thigh and said, "Do you feel this?". I said "No" because it was true..the outside of my upper legs was totally numb. But what good is that going to do me?? She reassured me this meant the epidural was working and I would feel relief in my belly and groin soon. I tried to believe her and made a quick update on Facebook, barely able to see my screen through the tears. I really wanted to believe her but man this hurt! In my heart I knew I had a failed epidural but I continued to hope it would get better or the anesthesilogist could fix it. My fears were confirmed when I was given a catheter and felt the horrible stinging sensation as it went in and as it was adjusted. I knew with Abbey I had felt nothing at this point. the doctor came in and gave me a shot of pitocin in my IV. I okayed this earlier because I knew the epidural would keep me from feeling the extra pain that comes with pitocin. Oops!!! He checked me and I had already progressed from a 5 to a 7 since the epidural. All of the contractions of which I was still feeling. I started to lose my mind and begged the nurse to get the anesthesiologist back in to fix my epidural!!! My contractions were truly awful and I was frozen in pain with every one of them, not even able to breathe...just cry. At this point I entered transition and my coping mechanism was to beg and beg for someone to fix my epidural even though I knew it my heart it wasn't going to happen. I truly felt like no one cared because they told me to breath. Umm I just got an epidural, I should not be feeling like this and being told to breath!!! I was beyond upset. I was checked again by the nurse. 8-9 centimeters. Absolutely the most painful contractions I had ever felt between both births! As soon as the nurse took her hand out, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like my body was pushing all by itself. I could feel his head descending and it was unbelievable pressure and mindblowing pain. I have no words to describe it. I made one last cry for help as I saw a flood of people come in to prep for the delivery. I was in utter disbelief that I was still feeling everything and it was getting much, much worse. My contractions never ended. It was like one big, long, HORRIBLE contraction. The nurse put her hand inside me and said I could push. I didn't want to. I saw no doctor in sight and there was no way she was going to deliver my baby! She said it again, "Push push!" and I looked at Jason and my mom for reassurance. Both of them also said to push. I couldn't understand why everyone wanted me to push before the doctor was in! After a few pushes of which the nurse said were great, the doctor finally ran in! A midwife also came in and stood right by my side coaching me, "Okay Amy and PUSH! PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!" I remember looking her in the eyes and saying, "I can't" and all 3 of my coaches...my mom, Jason and the midwife said, "Yes you can Amy. PUSH!" I pushed with all my might! I decided the only way the worst pain I could ever imagine was going to go away was if I pushed. I felt fire. Searing pain. I'm sure you can imagine where. Suddenly I was told to stop pushing. Are you kidding me?? I screamed at the top of my lungs. No words, just screaming. I did not want a natural birth. Especially not with pitocin! I don't know why I bothered but I begged yet again for some pain relief. My pleads were ignored as they all said, "PUSH! PUSH! PUSH AMY PUSH!" The sensation of fire got worse and worse. I held my breath and they all said, "breathe breathe breath!" I tried and I couldn't breathe so I just screamed. I screamed as loud and hard as I could and in some weird way it helped. I was told to stop screaming but I knew I needed to. I heard, what felt like miles in distance, my baby girl waking up. I didn't want to scare her but I had to scream. I held my breath and pushed, then let out a long scream. Suddenly.....relief!!!! "His heads out!!!!" they all said. I knew I had his shoulders still but I was OH SO RELIEVED! I knew if I pushed again the fire would return so I was scared but I was SO CLOSE!!!! I pushed as hard as I possibly could, fire fire fire FIRE...and then I felt his little body finally slide out. I opened my eyes because I remember how I had kept them tightly shut when Abbey was born. I saw the most beautiful boy I had ever seen placed on my chest! Jason was in tears, my mom was holding Abbey who was now fine and cried, "Oh Amy he's beautiful!". He was SO incredibly perfect, but he was really pale and not crying. A nurse suctioned his nose and mouth and patted his back and he started to pink up instantly and then I heard it, the most beautiful sound in the world. His long, loud, vigorous cry. I kissed him over and over as the after birth euphoria hit me. All the pain I was still feeling below just vanished instantly as I gazed into his already open eyes. I checked to make sure he was really a boy. All boy! I counted his fingers and toes. I checked his ears for the prearicular pits his sister has. No pits! I continused to check him all over and Jason walked over to the bedside with Abbey in his arms and said, "Abbey this is your baby brother. Meet baby James!" and Abbey had a sweet little smile as she laid eyes on her brother for the first time. We were so in awe of our son. My mom was in awe of her grandson, tears spilling from her eyes. I felt so complete, and I felt so proud! I did not plan for a med-free birth. I certainly did not plan for a med-free birth with pitocin, but I did it!!!! I did it and he was here, finally here and he was wonderful. I looked up and said, "thank you Lord! thank you Lord! Amen!"