So here's Liam's birth...
After two rounds of pre-term labour it wasn't a huge surprise to have painful contractions at 36 weeks on the nose. We went into L&D triage half expecting to be sent home (since we were basically at term and not breech any more). But I was at 4 cm dilated so we checked in, so to speak.
The L&D room had a poster with various positions for both labouring and pushing, tub, etc. It's a very friendly atmosphere here that way.
But things didn't progress much and we met with two OBs (over a shift change) to decide how to proceed. There were a few things that were mildly concerning - not a lot of growth from the last ultrasound, although those measurements are fuzzy, and a slightly lower heart rate for the baby. We talked about whether we'd induce or go home. After an internal check it turned out I was at 5 cm -- with no visible contractions -- so we decided to stay rather than go home and have the baby in the car on the way back.
We did start some interventions (we had now been in about 14 hours); the first was AROM, which does put you on the clock as your membranes are ruptured. In my previous delivery with my son, AROM pushed me right into transition; with this one no dice. Finally I agreed to a ocytocin/pitocin drip and that really got things going - after about 20 minutes I was deep into transition.
They did put me on my side due to some not so lovely fetal heart decels, which freaked me out (given that I lost a baby to a nuchal cord accident). I had hoped that my really good hospital labour with my son would kind of overshadow the trauma of my first delivery, but I did get to that fear place with this one.
The pit contractions were definitely painful -- I hadn't had that with my son and with my daughter I'd eventually had the epidural. My husband was a great coach, but my headspace wasn't really right. It didn't slow anything down - I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and they checked me and I was fully dilated and effaced and ready to push. It was probably only 40 minutes after the drip started.
I should note that we just did intermittent monitoring until the IV went in and even then they were pretty open to me moving around until the decels showed up. I was allowed to eat no problem, although I didn't feel like it.
With the pushing it was kind of a party - I had an OB, a resident, a medical student, a nurse for me, a nurse for the baby and an RT at the end. The med student and resident provided support for my legs on their hips.
The baby was posterior (sunny side up) and WOW was that ever painful. I'd sort of poo-poo'd the epidural as my son's delivery was so quick and easy and honestly, sorry NFL community but I truly regretted my decision. The pain was overwhelmingly bad, and I was a little tired already although I'd gotten a few naps in earlier. It was really hard to concentrate on good pushes, especially as they weren't as productive as I'd remembered from my son.
I also found that having been on bedrest for most of my pregnancy affected my ability to push for the first 20 minutes or so. It was like I had spent all this effort during the pregnancy in NOT pushing my limits physically; in staying very much in self-protection mode. So when it came time to push way past my limits to push well, it took some adjusting. That was very different from my first two labours; the first one I had been training pretty hard before I got pregnant and was completely used to pushing through pain; the second less so but still had been normally active.
I did lose it a couple of times, but the team was incredibly supportive of me and the OB was great, talking me through some breaths between contractions in a very warm and caring way. I got my focus back for some good pushes. The OB had to go in and guide Liam's head over the pubic bone and she said "you're going to hate me for this," and honestly? I kind of did because it was absolutely the worst pain I've ever been in.
But that did trick, so after the 45 minutes of pushing, he was born with Apgars of 9/9 and he was lovely. Here it's standard to put him on the mum before cutting the cord and all that so they did. I wish I could have enjoyed it more but I was still recovering from the pain. I ended up getting stitched without anesthetic too and delivered the placenta, etc. (I tore along an episiotomy scar from my first delivery.)
I want to be clear that I really was at times in a very emotionally stressed out place in & things still progressed. It really is okay to have negative emotions when things are hard.
Liam was 5 lbs 11 oz, totally bruised on his head from my pelvis, poor kidlet, and didn't have any issues until the next week (totally different story to do with jaundice). We're so glad he's here! He's a champion nurser and I feel just as bonded with him as with my low-intervention son (I had AROM but that was it really), and as with my high-intervention daughter whom we lost.
Post-partum care here is very much about skin-to-skin contact, rooming in, and breastfeeding (a breastfeeding class and lactation consult are pretty much mandatory, not that you can't talk your way out of them). Because of his distress and near-term gestational age my son was tested for blood sugar issues and he was cup-fed some colostrum as he wasn't nursing well yet (after he was 'off the placenta' as one nurse put it he made up for it).
There were parts of the experience I didn't love (particularly the choices around induction, and if I were to ever have a posterior baby again I would honestly probably get an epidural) but I am really comfortable with the results given the whole profile of the difficult pregnancy, my unwillingness to lose a second child to any complications, and totally awed at the care and respect we got at the hospital.