Last Monday was my 38 week baby check up. I discussed with my doctor the pros and cons of getting an induction, mainly due to the distance between me and the hospital. At this appointment I was now 5cm dilated, so the doctor was very willing to go ahead with the induction. She scheduled it for the morning of Wednesday, January 27th. It was crazy to have a date set; it made everything so real. It was also nice to have a plan so we could prepare and let friends/relatives know.
We arrived at the hospital at 6am for my 7am induction. I slept a good 20 minutes that night. In fact, I'd gotten maybe three hours of total sleep for the past week, so I was hoping I'd have enough energy to get through the labor. I wasn't exactly tired though, as I was running on pure adrenaline (and anxiety/excitement/fear/etc.). Steve was as cool as a cucumber, as he'd been this entire pregnancy. He didn't have a single nerve! I guess it's easy to be calm when you're not the one about to push out a watermelon through a straw. But I regress. They gave me my IV just after 7am and for the first time in my LIFE, I almost passed out. It was so weird... I'm totally fine with needles and blood drawing, but for whatever reason, I began to feel queasy and light-headed and they had to give me oxygen. Once I felt better, they started the Pitocin. My doctor came to check on me a half hour later and I was 7cm! Crazy! I hadn't felt ANY contractions or pain. At this point, I was pretty sure I wouldn't even need an epidural. The doctor then broke my water and was very happy with how I was progressing.
I began to feel a bit more uncomfortable as the hours ticked on and I eventually had to kick my parents out of the room to cocentrate on my breathing. Still, I was shocked that this whole labor thing was considered one of the most painful things a woman could go through. I normally have a low pain tolerance, but this was a piece of cake! They upped my Pitocin a few more times to really get me going and it wasn't much longer before I understood what contractions were all about.
It was around 11am when the worst pain of my life crept up upon me. I asked for a cervix check, certain I was at 9 or 10cm by now - nope, only at 7 1/2! UGH. I progressed so quickly to 7 and then when it counts, I come to a stand still. I was still iffy about the epidural because I had convinced myself I wouldn't need it and was kind of proud of that. Instead they gave me some drugs to take the edge off - which did, for about a half an hour. It wasn't long before I was in excruciating agony. I was squeezing Steve's hand for dear life and finally broke down and begged for the epidural. I was barely 8cm at this point so it could still be a little while if I continued to progress slowly. The worst possible contractions came while they were administering the epidural, so that, combined with a big ol' needle in my back, was the most unpleasant experience of my life. It was difficult not to scream my lungs out. I cried as silently as I could as I suffered through it. A few moments later... and nothing. The nurse kept asking me if I felt tingling in my legs. I answered with a wail, because NO, I felt nothing and the contractions were worse than ever. I was almost sobbing at this point. I couldn't believe it didn't work! The anesthesiologist came back in to administer another one, since he clearly missed his mark. Again, I went through the whole horrible process all over again. Only this time, it worked. Thank god.
But what do you know... the moment it kicks in, I'm at 9 1/2cm and it's almost time to push. Figures! Not only that, but I have Restless Leg Syndrome, so the epi was having a very uncomfortable and bizarre effect on me. I couldn't feel my legs, but I had the intense urge to move them because of the RLS. This made me queasy and short of breath again and I needed more oxygen.
A few more minutes went by and it was finally time to push! I had a hard time at first since I couldn't feel anything down there. It was hard for me to find my "center" and bear down. I told the nurse I couldn't do it and she was like "well, the baby is ready when you are" and that gave me a bit of courage. I pushed as hard as I could, not able to tell if I was making any progress. All it felt like was that I was giving myself a brain hemmhorage. But sure enough, the baby's head started to crown! The nurse yelled for the doctor, shocked that one push brought her down so fast. The doctor rushed in, and a few more pushes later, my baby daughter was born.
It was a very emotional experience. I was too overwhelmed to even cry. I just kept saying "oh my god" over and over again. I couldn't believe I had just given birth! Overall, I can't really complain about my labor. It was less than six hours and only a few minutes of pushing. I'm sad I wasn't able to make it through without the epidural, especially since by the time it started working, I was just about ready to pop her out. But still, I had it easy compared to some people! The only bad thing was that I did tear a bit (OUCH!). Of course I didn't feel it at the time and I had no idea it even happened until the nurse told me a few hours later. I was in massive pain down there. Still am!
I really do feel lucky though... I had a very easy, uncomplicated pregnancy, and a relatively smooth labor. And now I have a beautiful little miracle currently sleeping in my arms.
I couldn't be happier.
Our precious Willow is over a week old already! It's hard to believe. She's fit into our little family just wonderfully and we're so blessed to have her here.