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I had my 39 week OB appointment on the 14th and my doctor told me that I was "a big 1 cm" dilated and about 80-90% effaced. She asked me if I wanted her to strip my membranes, because then I would probably go into labor that day. She guessed that if I went into labor on my own, it would happen that weekend. I decided to skip the membrane stripping and went to work for the day, making sure to have everything done in preparation for maternity leave. When I got home, DH looked it up and we figured the doctor didn't know what she was talking about because plenty of people are dilated and effaced and still pregnant for a while.
Well, the doctor ended up being right! At around 3AM Saturday, I started having contractions with some back labor. Ugh!!! They were 15-20 minutes apart, so I was able to sleep in between them. At 5:30AM, they were too close for me to fall asleep in between contractions, so I got up to walk around to see if that would help with the pain. DH saw me standing next to the bed and jumped up to help me start timing the contractions. He went and downloaded a program for his cell phone that let him push a button when a contraction started and ended and it graphed out the length of the contractions and the time in between contractions. We sort of on and off watched TV until 7:30 when I went to the bathroom and saw bright red blood falling into the toilet. At that point the contractions were over a minute long but still 6-7 minutes apart, but we decided to head to the hospital anyway.
When we got to triage, the nurse said I was completely effaced and 3 cm dilated with a bulging bag of waters. She called our doctor on call, who said to admit me. So off we went to the labor and delivery room. By then, I was sick of the contractions. I think if it wasn't for the back labor, I could have dealt with them a little longer, but when my doctor came in and offered to break my waters to speed up the process, I said "Can I get the epidural first?" I was ~4 cm at that point, so she said yes. The anesthesiologist was awesome. He gave DH a book showing how the epidural works and talked to him the whole time he was putting it in. Then they gave me the magic button so I could control when I got more medication. I actually didn't use it too much, because I ended up sleeping through most of the labor. Listening to her heartbeat while sleeping was very soothing! I felt bad for DH because he had nothing to do all day. They ended up giving me some pitocin because I had stopped dilating at 5 cm at one point. Finally, around 6 PM, I hit 10 cm and I let the epidural start to wear off so I could feel what I was doing. DH and my nurse held up my legs to help me start pushing. After the first couple of pushes, they could already see her head. The nurse pointed out to DH that she had long black hair. At that point, I figured I was almost there, but nope. The joke was on me. I ended up pushing for 3.5 hours. It was exhausting and I got a little feverish, so they put me on antibiotics. The doctor also noticed that she was face up, so she spent a good amount of time trying to get her turned face down. In the end, they got the vacuum ready, but didn't end up using it. I pushed the magic button again because the combination of pain an exhaustion was just too much for me and ended up being able to push her out myself at 9:31 PM. She was 7lb, 9oz and 20" long.
I ended up with an episiotomy and a third degree tear. Ouch! The doctor stitched me up while I held Natalie on my chest and she stuck her hands in my face. It was awesome. We had some problems afterwards due to Natalie's white blood cell count being high, so the next day they took her off to the NICU to administer IV antibiotics. We had trouble with a couple of nurses there who managed to bully and scare us into giving her some formula because at 2 days post partum, my milk hadn't come on yet. DH took care of that, but by then, it was too late. She had already had a few bottles and wasn't happy at the breast. We got this great lactation consultant who got us a supplemental nursing system and sent us home with a little bit of formula to tide us over til my milk came in. We used the SNS for 2 days before it became superfluous. Now she breastfeeds exclusively and I manage to pump around 3 oz a day to start the freezer stash.
Lisa, mom to Alie and Christian