Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My labor story.

Monday found me going to my 38 week OB appointment as planned. I was scheduled to get another ultrasound to make sure that the baby was growing properly, since she was measuring on the small side at 36 weeks. I literally didn't think that having the baby any time soon was an option--everyone loved to tell me about how late they went with their first baby.

Ha. Haha.

Well, not only was the baby still a bit smaller than they would like, my amniotic fluid was low, earning me a first class ticket to the labor and delivery ward. My OB kindly gave us an hour to go home and make some arrangements.

After coming home to pack our bags and eat a quick lunch of burritos, we head to the labor and delivery ward. I had already filled out my admission paperwork, so we were checked in within minutes. We're directed to our room where we just kind of hang out for a half hour or so. It feels strangely like a hotel. Eventually, the nurse comes in, gives me a gown, and gets me strapped in to the monitors and hooked up to the saline IV that I'll be getting overnight. My doctor stops in to tell me that she has another option for me--originally my options were get fluids overnight and IF my amniotic levels go up, go on bed rest for two days to wait for natural labor, then get induced, OR get induced in the morning if the levels are the same. She said I could try Cervadil, a string that they put up in there that is infused with prostaglandin, the hormone that ripens your cervix. In most women it has a 20% chance of starting labor, but because I was already dilated to 2cm and 80% effaced she said that she would put my chances at 50-60%. I was all for this as it's a much less invasive way to get things going, so they put in the Cervadil. It stays in for 12 hours. Chris runs out to feed Buster and pick up soup from Panera, since I won't be allowed to eat after midnight. He also gets the DVD player and we watch episodes of The Office for a while.

That night I had an awful time sleeping because Lulu was moving a lot and the monitors kept losing her, setting off an alarm. Plus, the bed was just uncomfortable and I was pretty anxious. Around 2am I started noticing mild contractions, like menstrual cramps. The nurse gave me Ambien to try and get me to sleep, which helped a little. I still barely slept, which became a factor the next day.

The next morning, I had dilated to 3 and was having more regular contractions. My doctor told me that she was 98% sure that if she broke my water I would go into more serious labor. So, she broke my water, which didn't amount to much because my levels were still low in spite of the saline (saline I lugged around for days but seem to have lost now, thank you very much). Within an hour my contractions got more intense, but were still bearable. I kind of let them wash over me and breathed through them. Because I was trying to go natural as long as possible, they agreed to let me off the monitors for 45 minutes out of every hour. I paced around and ate popsicles and huffed and puffed. This whole stage of labor tastes like grape popsicles to me. They offered me a birthing ball and sitting on that for 45 minutes made me dilate two more cm. At this point I'm at 6cm and it's getting really fucking intense. Because I am so tired I'm having trouble controlling my breathing and I keep hyperventilating. There is a period when every time a contraction ends I say "it just feels so good when they stop". The contractions are not peaks and valleys but are long plateaus, the longest ones lasting well over 3 minutes, with just seconds in between. When I reach 8cm my hands went numb and I cried uncle and said bring on the fucking epidural.

Getting the epidural sucked because my contractions were still nonstop but I had to be really still. Once it kicked in, though, I felt like a million bucks. In retrospect, I likely would not have made it through pushing if I had stayed natural because I was just so exhausted. I felt so good now that I was just chatting about recipes and stuff. My OB came in to check me and said I seemed to be just about ready. While she was doing the cervical exam, she had me do a practice push and the baby moved forward the last three inches all in one go. Suddenly it was Time To Have The Baby and the room sprung into action.

The only real negative thing about the epidural is not really knowing how to push. I just kind of squeezed and concentrated my effort the best I could. I had a nurse on one leg, Chris on the other, and my mom supporting my shoulders. Even though it didn't hurt at all pushing was REALLY fucking hard work for me. I was still so exhausted from the night before and the day's labor. Regardless, after only 45 minutes of pushing, she was Right There and I just needed a couple of really strong pushes to get her out. Here is where I did something I never thought I'd do, I asked for the mirror. My OB told me if I could just see how close she was I would find the strength to push that much longer. So in comes the mirror and I can see a good three inches of the top of her head and her wavy hair. At this point I thought her head was abnormally small and actually thought "I will love her in spite of her pinhead". My mom thought the same thing. Once the mirror was in the room I only pushed two more times and she was here! It was actually really neat to watch, and I was so distracted by the baby that I didn't see the placenta being delivered. My mom did, though, and really wishes she didn't. I will say that I wish they had removed the mirror while they cleaned/stitched me up, but it was easy to ignore because hello, baby.

My doctor worked really hard to keep me from tearing, massaging literally a whole bottle of astroglide around my perineum during labor. Because of this I only had a small tear that didn't go into the muscle and required one stitch. I am SO thankful that she is anti-episiotomy and all about preserving the integrity of my vagina. TMI once again, but it's so true. Because of her patience I didn't have any bruising and I'm feeling pretty good by now.

I'm so happy that I still got a mostly natural labor and didn't have to get the Pitocin. So happy. Even though the situation was not my complete ideal I don't think it could have gone better. Plus, in the end I got to take home an awesome, good-smelling, incredibly sweet and adorable baby.


Andrea said...

Marianne, congratulations on your sweet Lulu!! =) she is practically perfect in every way. =)
Also, I think f*cking is the best way to describe labor. =)
You did great!!
Andrea Birch (Jeff's sister)

Anonymous said...


And Astroglide? Seriously? I guess it is just about the slipperiest stuff ever invented...

Pisceanchick said...

Oh congrats Marianne!!! She is so beautiful. Thank you for the details! I am sure that I will have an epidural if I am pregnant as well.