Warning: There are details about childbirth in this post. Do not read it you don't want to "hear" the details.
It seems like this story started a long time ago. We started looking for her to arrive at the beginning of May, but....she didn't. Not on Mother's Day...not on Corey's birthday, not on Friday the 13th...not even on the full moon.
I had several periods of early contractions that would be regular and fairly strong. Then I would go to bed and they would stop.
My blood pressure would not behave at the dr. office and was high a few times at home. I didn't have any other symptoms of pre-eclampsia so I personally did not feel in danger but the dr. was giving me the push for an induction starting when I hit the due date. I held out. They wanted to start me with Cytotec which I felt very strongly against. It was because she was high and I wasn't dilating at all, the cytotec thins the cervix and would prepare me to be induced. I kept holding out on them. 40 weeks came. 41 weeks came. And the night before my appointment on Thursday May 19th I had more contractions. The morning of my appointment the dr. had to leave to catch a baby so my appointment was put off until the afternoon and I kept having contractions off and on all day. By that afternoon when they checked me I had progressed to 2-3 cm, 50% thinned but she was still high. We had already discussed the fact that if I progressed enough that we could start an induction with just pitocin, we would agree. And I had. BUT, they wanted me to go to the hospital right then. I held them off again so I could attend the kids' recital for their homeschool afternoon co-op group. The doctors and nurses really thought I had lost my mind. I was 41 weeks and 2 days and asking for another delay on the induction! The dr. told me to report to the hospital at 5am.
I got harder contractions the rest of the day. That night at the kids' recital they got harder and we decided to let the kids go ahead and spend the night with my parents afterward. On the way home we stopped at the store and I thought for sure we would be going straight home and back out to the hospital. The contractions were harder and very regular.
Well...guess what happened when we got home? They stopped. But not before keeping me up till 11pm the night before I was reporting at 5am.
Now, we get to the actual birth story....
We got up at 4:15. Arrived to the hospital to check in at 5am.
It was around 8:00 before they got everything going/hooked up/checked in.
At 8:15, the dr. on call came in. NOT A FAN. She was extremely snippy. She is one of those who is a "swooper" with a domineering attitude. Before I knew what was happening she had broken my water, upped the pitocin, and made me cry.
The AMAZING nurse comforted me.
Lindsey, our birth instructor/birth coach assistant/friend arrived soon after that at around 8:30. She is the one who kept notes and a timeline so I could even put this together so I am very thankful for that.
At 9:15 I was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart. I was needing to concentrate during them, but in between I was talking and chatting.
We decided to try out the birth ball chair that the hospital has. It was pretty neat...a ball on a wheeled base with a back on it. I sat on the ball through the next few contractions and then decided to get up. When I did, (around 10am) I had a BIG gush of water and I started laughing which then resulted in an even bigger gush of water. It soaked the floor everywhere and my socks. We all got a good laugh in before the next contraction came.
The nurse checked me at 10:20 and I was 4-5 cm dilated and the baby still at -4 station. I was personally a little disappointed and was hoping things would start going a little faster. The contractions were very strong and close together. At 11:05 I had a triple peak contraction...no rest in between.
Every time I had a contraction I was doubting my ability to go through with this without an epidural. But then in between the relief was so intensely AMAZING that I reminded Corey to not let me give in.
At 11:20 I had my freak out session. I said I didn't want to do it, couldn't do it. Every time I had a bad contraction I would freak out thinking about pushing her out and how much worse that was going to be.
Corey and Lindsey got me refocused and encouraged me.
Corey was so great the entire time. He was smiling, encouraging me, and not freaking out at all (in front of me anyway!)
At 11:40 my contractions were making me feel very "pushy." Lindsey suggested that I use a high pitched singy songy voice instead of the low moan I was doing. She noted that my response to that was "I'm not doing that!" ha ha. I did end up with my own variation which was a high pitched "heeeeeee heeeeeee" sound instead.
These were VERY intense pains. There was no build up or let down. It was just instantly very intense and then instantly gone. I am not sure exactly how long they were lasting, but it didn't seem terribly long. There just wasn't a good break in between many times.
At noon the nurse checked me again and I was 8-9 cm. FINALLY some progress. Her head was a little lower but still fairly high.
At some point Lindsey suggested we stop and pray. I cannot remember at all when we did that but it was a beautiful encouragement for me. I believe it was while the squat bar was up but it isn't listed in the notes so I honestly don't remember for sure.
At 12:15 we got the squat bar for the bed. I changed positions a little bit and started using the bar instead of Corey's arm to pull on during the contractions.
After being checked and being 8-9 cm in my head I knew now that there was no giving in or backing out now. There wasn't time for an epidural. I finally found myself in a good rhythm of heading off the contractions with a good breath, doing the high pitched sounds and then collapsing in between. I was in a dream like state almost. At one point I actually felt myself falling into a dream and with a half smile on my face as I came out of it into a contraction.
Now looking at this timeline I see why my arms starting killing me yesterday afternoon! I used the squat bar to pull myself up during the contractions...it felt good to have something to do with my body and change my position while it was happening. I started feeling a lot of pressure so the nurse checked me again.
At 12:57 I was still 8-9 cm and she said that the cervix left was on one side so to try moving my body at a different angle through the next ones.
At 1:08 I got this sudden overwhelming amount of pressure and I lifted myself up off the bed and yelled: "She's coming!!!!!!!!!"
Lindsey yelled, "Lynda hurry!" (Lynda-nurse)
My body totally pushed her out. I was never in less control of myself than I was at that moment. I felt no ring of fire moment. It was way less painful than all the contractions. The part I had dreaded the most was happening so quickly that I didn't even have time to think about what was going on. I felt like I was watching it all on tv...everything because busy and frantic as the nurse tried to get the dr. in. I really had no idea what I was going on as they got me sitting back instead of whatever position it was I was in during the squat bar/head crowning moment.
Everything seemed to happen all at once as Lynda started catching the baby and the dr. walked in just in time to "finish" the delivery at 1:10pm. Corey got to cut the cord.
She came out so quickly! Apparently she took a couple of minutes to pink up just because of how fast she came out. She had to be suctioned because of all the "stuff" still in there and she was pooping on the way out.
At 1:12pm she had pinked up. Her APGARS were 7/9. They laid her on my chest for a couple of minutes but I can't remember exactly when in this timeline that was because of the suctioning, etc.
At 1:20 the placenta was out and the dr. was stitching me up. I never did ask exactly what kind of tear or stitching I had done. The dr. was gone by 1:30pm. THANKFULLY I didn't have to deal with the dr. very much at all which I had also been dreading throughout labor. I think I may have a very special nurse to thank for how very last minute the dr. was in arriving. ;)
At 1:40pm she was brought to me again and she immediately was rooting and ready to nurse. She latched very well and was awake and actively nursing for a full 20 minutes!
At 2pm the notes stop because Lindsey left to give us our quiet family time.
It was amazing to have that time for the three of us to just be together. Her arrival has been anxiously awaited now for what seems like years. The experience of labor just brought it full circle. She is finally here and we are in love!
I was instantly happy that I didn't give up and get an epidural. My legs were strong and stable almost immediately. I was able to move around while they got me and the bed cleaned up, etc.
I will post some pictures and more about our time together later, I just wanted to get this typed up before the details got even more fuzzy.
I wouldn't change a single thing! Well...I guess I would have preferred if labor had started on it's own because I know the pitocin made things harder to endure. But I would not choose to get drugs if I was doing it again. Ruby is alert, interested in nursing, actively nursing already, and so content and happy. But the biggest advantage is the fact that less than 24 hours later I am for the most part completely back to normal! The difference in how I feel after less than 48 hrs as compared to my drugged births is completely unable to be compared in the least! I feel awesome.
More to come later.
Added: Many people think/thought I was crazy for wanting to experience childbirth without pain medication. I understand why people question because it is just the norm to get an epidural or other pain medication. I want to clarify that I did not want to do this to be "tough." I am not one who enjoys pain. If I get a bad headache I will take medicine for it.
My reasoning for going epidural free is for the sake of the labor/delivery/baby/and myself.
I did not want to inhibit or prolong labor and delivery. I didn't want pitocin to cause stress on the baby which is often needed if you get an epidural. I also did not want the drug to pass over to Ruby during labor. I also desired to experience the natural hormonal surges that occur with labor and delivery that can be blocked when the natural process is altered/inhibited. You can also read a longer list of things HERE which played a part in my decision. There are many other websites that list reasons to avoid interventions but I chose one that wasn't necessarily on a "natural" childbirth website to share.
The main thing I wanted to repeat is that I did not make this choice easily or just to appear "tough." I had to compromise on having zero intervention due to the fact that Ruby decided to wait long past her due date and I ended up with pitocin anyway.
To me, using pain medication increased my odds of having other situations arise that were not desirable. I would not get a tooth pulled without medication because that would not help the procedure go more easily or quickly or without additional risks. It's a personal choice, I do not judge others who choose epidurals. I just wanted to explain my reasons.
I wasn't actually sure I would be able to do it until I actually did it. If I'd have given in, I wouldn't have hated myself forever or anything. I am just glad that I went through with it because now I know that I can, and that I did what I wanted to do after having considered all the options/choices. :)