On December 12, (my due date) I woke up with a small trickle of water coming down my leg. I thought my water may have broken, but there were no contractions. A few hours later, Richie and I went to my doctor’s appointment and as we were waiting for the doctor I realized my water was definitely leaking. She told us to head over to labor and delivery. We went home to discuss our next options. Basically, when your water breaks the hospital has to admit you. Even if you have no contractions and are not dilated at all. This makes it difficult to have a natural labor and delivery because after about 12 hours the hospital will induce you with Pitocin (artificial oxytocin) because of “risk of infection”. Now, from what I learned, the risk of infection is small, but its still a possibility. So Richie and I waited a few hours, filled ourselves up with a big breakfast to get energy for labor and then headed to the hospital. At that point I was feeling antsy and just couldn’t wait. Unfortunately for me, when we got to the hospital I was barely one centimeter dilated, no contractions, no labor yet my water was broken. The hospital admitted us at 2 p.m. on December 12. They let me “labor” on my own for 9 more hours. Around 11 p.m. there was no progress in dilation or contractions so they said they would have to induce me with self-monitored Pitocin. I was disappointed, I had planned to have as natural, unmedicated birth as I could, but since we had chosen to check in to the hospital there wasn’t really anything I could do at that point. Would my body have gone into labor on my own within the next day or two? Most likely. Was there a possibility of infection if I didn’t start laboring? Yes, there was that risk. We decided to go with the hospital’s plan and induce because I didn’t want to risk that infection. The Pitocin hit me like the worst pain ever….I had to be attached to fetal monitors, blood pressure, IV….the works. Still, I wanted to try without medication. I think that lasted an hour or so.
First, I asked for an IV narcotic which was pain medicine that helped me rest from the contractions, after a few hours, I was in severe pain (Pitocin is like super labor because it forces your body to contract). I decided that I needed the epidural. It was a hard choice for me, but I knew I couldn’t tolerate the pain that was shooting through my body. I had truly wanted to have an unmedicted birth and didn’t like the idea of an epidural that would basically numb half my body. It had a lot to do with my anxieties and my fear of putting additional medications into my body.
In the end, I decided though for myself that I wanted the epidural. It did take off the edge of the pain a little bit. I didn’t experience that numbing sensation at all though. I could still feel my legs and my hips. Sometime during the birthing process, Sophia cocked her head to the side in a position called Asynclitism. It happens and it doesn’t cause problems, but for me it was extremely painful. The epidural didn’t help with that part of the pain, so my amazing husband spent hours pushing on my hips to help me get through the pain.
After having been checked into the hospital for about 24 hours, I was only dilated 9.5 cm with an anterior cervical lip.I pushed for several hours and Sophia’s head finally turned. The anesthesiologist came back in and put more medication into the epidural. This time it took some of the pain away in order for me to sleep for one hour. I woke up from my nap ready to push and having strong urges. I was determined to give birth to Sophia without any more interventions and I could feel the atmosphere in the hospital room was shifting and the docs were considering vacuums and possibly a C-section. Before my nap, I won’t lie, I was considering telling them to do anything to get her out. Once I had a little rest I had a renewed sense of purpose, I wanted to give birth to her vaginally and as naturally as I could at this point (after the Pitocin and epidural that is). With some helpful encouragement from my doula, my wonderful husband and awesome nurse, I was able to deliver her after another hour and a half of pushing. A last minute decision to bring out the mirror gave me energy to keep pushing at the end, when we could finally see her hair (a full head of dark hair) I knew that I could do it. It only took a few pushes after that to get her all the way out and Richie and I experienced a moment of pure elation. We both cried our eyes out when we finally got to meet our daughter, Sophia Elyse. I’m not exactly sure all the details, but this is how I remember my labor. It was a very long, long process and there were several times that I felt I was about to give up.
I have to give a special thanks to my husband who never left my side. He rubbed my back, pushed my hips when they hurt, held my hand, kept me drinking water and coached me through my pushing. I could never have done it without him. Thank you for giving me my beautiful girl and helping her arrive into the world. I love you, Richie.
Stay tuned and I’ll write more about our first few days in the hospital.