I wasn't sure if I was going to do a post about the labor/birth, but was encouraged by friends to do so. I have had some time to reflect knoe, and some time to type, so here it is:
I never thought my labor would start with my water breaking, partly because I am a teacher and the thought of my water breaking in class was so horrifying I eliminated the possibility for peace of mind, but also because both my mother and sister never had to have their water broken for them after hours of contractions. But leave it to me to be different. At 1:30 am on Tuesday May 1st I woke up suddenly to what I was hoping was my water breaking – I jumped up and told Ryan, “I think my water just broke! But, I might have just peed my pants . . . . not sure.” After a couple more minutes of waiting I was able to determine that I did not pee my pants! And thus was going into labor. This was really the only time my whole pregnancy where I began to freak out about having a baby, it finally became real.
We called our doctors office and received a call back from the on-call doctor 2 minutes later telling us to head on in to the hospital. I was not having bad contractions yet, so we took our time getting our stuff together, called my parents, snapped one last belly shot, and headed out to have the baby! We got to the hospital around 2:15 am and settled into our room, our nurse did some initial monitoring of the baby’s heart rate and my contractions (which were still nothing significant at this point). Ryan and I tried to get a little sleep before the storm, but of course as soon as we laid down to rest the contractions set in. They were not bad yet, but there was no sleeping going on.
Around 4:00 am my contractions were pretty significant – the kind you need to stop walking and talking and concentrate on and about 3-4 minutes from start to start. However when the nurse checked me a couple hours later I was only a little over 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I continued to stay on my feet or on the birthing ball hoping gravity would help. As contractions increased in intensity and decreased in time between I became encouraged and hopeful that things were progressing – they were! Around 10 am I was checked again and was already 4-5 cm! I was really encouraged because my contractions were starting to get pretty brutal, but I was half way there! My mom had arrived around 8:00 or so, and my dad and brother were in and out all day long. Their and Ryan’s support got me through the day.
Here is the next 7 hours summed up: contraction, 2 minutes. Contraction, 1 minute, CONTRACTION, 1 minute, Jacuzzi, contraction, 1 minute, CONTRACTION, 30 seconds, puke up everything, CONTRACTION, 30 seconds, Jacuzzi, CONTRACTION, 5pm. At this point I thought I was going to die – really I did. To make matters worse my doctor checked me at this point and I was still only 4-5 cm dilated!
At this point my doctor shared her concerns with us about me not progressing and my water having been broken for so long already – she wanted us to think about a couple options: 1. Giving me pitocin to increase my contractions, or 2. An epidural to relax me and hopefully relax my muscles enough to let me dilate more. For as much as I did not want an epidural I did not want pitocin even more! So at 6pm I got an epidural and within 5 minutes was 9 cm! I guess I was able to relax!
*I almost did not include this part since I have so many pregnant friends right now I don’t want to scare anyone – but it will not happen to you!!! It got a little crazy with the epidural. Because I had not had any drugs I did not have to have an i.v. until right before I got the epidural. I requested not to have an i.v. unless necessary because I wanted to be up and moving around not attached to anything while in labor. Being not attached was great, but it also meant that I did not have many fluids/nutrients in me (cause I had puked everything up that went in earlier). That in combination with dilating so quickly did not bode well with Sean. When I dilated to 9 cm in minutes he dropped very rapidly and must have pressed up against the umbilical cord making his heart rate drop and stay low. The nurses immediately made me get on my hands and knees, gave me an oxygen mask, and were squeezing the i.v. bag to get nutrients in me. Needless to say I was hysterical. I was so scared and could not stop crying even after his heart rate came back up. Because of the cord issue I had to spend the rest of my labor/pushing on my left side or his heart rate would drop again.
Two hours later I was fully dilated and ready to push – it is pretty crazy that I was having just as intense contractions that whole two hours and even with a low level epidural I could hardly even tell. When it came time to push however the pressure was so great, and an epidural does not decrease that sensation. So at 8pm I started to push and at 8:30 pm Sean Oliver was born.
There is really no way to describe the joy we both felt when Sean came into this world – he was placed on my chest and at that moment everything was perfect! He is such a beautiful baby and has brought so much joy to our lives. This love that we are experiencing, both new love for each other, and the overwhelming, my heart might burst kind of love for Sean has been so amazing and rewarding. Thank you all for you support, thoughts, prayers, and for being such a loving community for our family!