One Very Long Day…My Labor Story

You know how they say ‘if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan?’

…The same could be said about writing a birth plan. Looking back, that’s a nice, noble thought. I carefully planned every moment I could think of, ya know, just in case. I even printed 5 different copies so the doctor, Shane, and all the nurses could have their own copy and there would be no confusion. It was Type A perfection.

But then at my 40 week appointment, my doctor broke the news to me I still wasn’t dilated. At all. So then came the plan to induce me at 6am the next Tuesday, the 20th. Now, I had spent my whole pregnancy with the small fear in the back of my mind about being induced. Maybe I brought it to myself by dwelling on it. But the fact was, I had a unfavorable cervix.

Once we got there, checked in, and went through all the preliminary procedures, there was a bit of debate between the nurse and the doctor about whether to start with Cervadil, or go straight to Pitocin. The nurse wanted to start with Cervadil to help dilate me, but my doctor trusts Pitocin more, and I fully trust my doctor. He was actually my mom’s doctor when I came along, and although he didn’t get to deliver me, he delivered my brother and 3 of my cousins. I am so grateful he was the one who brought my son to me.

Almost 28 years, my mom and I broke the hospital’s record for fastest induced labor. Six hours from complete start to finish. I was really hoping to follow in her footsteps…but that was not in the stars for me it turned out. My pitocin started dripping at 8:20 that morning with contractions that were a breeze. I had my headphones, my running magazine, and my favorite game on Shanes’s ipad. The only thing uncomfortable was trying to find a good position in that bed with my big belly and a fetal monitor for my son that I couldn’t let move out of place. The back pain that had been my faithful companion throughout pregnancy was there with me until the very end.

As the day progressed, my cervix still did not, except the nurse would offer that it was softening. Whoop-dee-do, basically. Now normally, if nothing happens, they’ll send you home and tell you to try again in a couple days. But my problem was with every good contraction, my son’s heart rate would drop to unsafe levels. Instead of increasing my pitocin so I could get on with it, they put me on oxygen and they lower the pitocin or keep it at the same level for an extra 30 minutes to make sure he would stay stable. I was having my baby that day no matter what now. Rewinding back to earlier that morning, I am so grateful I began with Pitocin and not Cervadil. As my doctor explained it, with my son’s heart rate dropping, they could control the Pitocin. Cervadil is a pill and impossible to control or put to a halt when things go awry. There’s no telling what would have happened to us if that had been the case. I may have mentioned, my aunt is the office manager of the OBGYN, so I have gotten to know the staff really well over the years. During her lunch meeting, they told her how likely a C-Section would be for me. I turned to prayer.

And then, my prayers were answered. Every time the nurse came for her 30 minute check, I took a bathroom break. Around 2:30, I felt a pop. Make that two pops. Since I knew my baby’s head was down and it wasn’t a kick, it was exactly how I imagined my water breaking to feel. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I went to the bathroom, had a hard time peeing, and then liquid started leaking even more once I was washing my hands. I was really hoping that I wasn’t just peeing myself….I wouldn’t rule that out given my experience in pregnancy. So I let the nurse know and she confirmed it! Hallelejah! God is so good. I was 1cm dilated and 70 % effaced at that point….a big jump ahead from where I had been. It had been my only hope of avoiding a C-Section.

The contractions started to intensify at that point. Up until then, as much as the contractions hurt, I felt confident that I could handle them naturally if that was how they would progress. Well let me tell you….those weren’t contractions. Not in my book. My doctor came back and finished breaking my water…apparently only a little had come out on its own. That. Hurt. I mean HURT. I have been kicked in the face by a horse and I never knew I could experience pain like getting my water broken. What seemed like minutes later (who really knows though), Grayson’s heart rate was dropping again and it was decided that the fetal monitor wasn’t being accurate enough to keep going with it. Enter (literally!) the transvaginal monitor. Let me just tell you….that is worse than your water breaking. He worked putting it in through a really hard contraction, which I’m assuming made it that much more excruciating. That’s when the conversation of my epidural (ya know, the one that I was going to get according to my birth plan…) began. The nurse also offered pain relief that she could just put in my IV…I thought that would be a good choice to take the ease off the pain until my epidural later since I still wasn’t very far along. That was a bad choice. A very bad choice, it turns out. Apparently I don’t react well to narcotics. I wish my doctor had stepped in and pushed me to go ahead with the epidural. The nurse told me it may make me a little drowsy….no. I was drifting in and out (mostly out) of  consciousness for 3 hours. Shane, my mom, and a few other family members talked about how bad I looked. Like, if you didn’t know I was in labor, you would have thought I was dying. And the pain? Every time I woke up, it was excruciating. What pain meds?

Finally I got my epidural. They say it hurts when they stick that needle in your back, but I really couldn’t tell you. I was in another world. This was around 8:00 that night. So I had been there for 14 hours at that point. My family said time flew by that day, I just don’t see how. It was very distracting that I had so many people in the waiting area, waiting on my body to cooperate. I had a couple friends, and most of my immediate family, aunts, cousins, Shane’s family, come visit throughout the day. I tried getting them to sit down but no one ever would. A word to the wise- if someone in labor tells you to sit down, SIT DOWN. I don’t care if its in the floor. You sit your butt down. That freaked me out feeling so out of it, contractions every couple minutes, and people hovering over me, as if literally watching for the baby to pop out. Did not help things. At all.

11:00 that night was the moment of truth. I was 10cm and ready for the next stage of my life to begin. Waiting for my son’s life to begin, and mine to begin as well. 30 minutes later I began to push, and I wondered if I could get him out before midnight. I couldn’t. I found pushing to be very easy, but I think that was the epidural talking. It took me an hour and a half, and he joined us at 1:03 that morning. As the doctor speculated may be the case, the cord was around my purple little baby’s neck. His hair was minimal and light on his little temporarily cone-shaped head. He was perfect. We did skin to skin and he easily took to breast feeding. We originally had wanted (in our solid, unwavering birth plan) an hour of privacy before any visitors came in, but remember, this is 1 in the morning. Roughly 10 people filed in, awestruck. I was dog tired, but I was in complete heaven. We rested, let the nurses bathe him and take care of everything they needed to, and I can’t really say it had hit me yet I was a mother. We got our new room about 4:30 that morning, and I slept with him on my chest while poor Shane watched us through the rest of the night before finally getting a total of 45 minutes of sleep. Longest day of my life, but I would do it again to have my son. He is the love of my life.

For anyone who actually read this novel, bravo. Next time I will tell about our hospital stay and life with a newborn. Closing this post the only way fitting, we are so blessed. Exhausted, but so extremely blessed. 

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