Well, my birth story could read like a total disaster, but since I have a beautiful baby girl in my arms (well, not at the moment, but figuratively anyway), and I feel like I made the best decision I could at every turn, I call it a raging success.
On Tuesday, as lots of you know, we put my beloved husky to sleep in our backyard in the sunshine. It was horrible but time. That morning I had been to see the midwives and was 2.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. At 1:40AM Wednesday, I woke up in labor. Things progressed pretty much as predicted, with contractions going from twenty minutes apart to ten, to five, to 2 or 3, and then at 10PM we went to the hospital, expecting to have the baby pretty soon.
After 24 hours of labor, the midwife checked my cervix, and I was a whopping 3 cm dilated. 24 hours of labor won me half a centimeter. I broke down, as the pain had gotten pretty intense, largely because (taking a cue from the tmi thread) I hadn't fully emptied my bladder in 24 hours (every time I sat down I had a contraction, which, well, made it hard to relax!). Contractions on a distended bladder (oh yes, there was 2L in there by the time this was all over), by the way, suck.
At 3AM I consented to morphine and some other drug to help me sleep, with the thought that I was already emotionally drained prior to the onset of labor and a good night's sleep would probably kick me into active labor, since my water had broken around midnight.
The next day my contractions slowed to about every half hour, and at half the intensity, but twice the pain - my hip had finally given out, and I could no longer even feel the pain in my uterus over the pain in my hips. When my water had been broken for over 18 hours, my midwife said that I would need pitocin to kick off active labor. Faced with the idea of contractions that would be twice as intense as natural contractions (or so I had heard), I gave up. I have never felt like more of a failure, or more defeated, but I knew that I couldn't go on, and I asked for an epidural - exactly what I was so sure I would never want. At that point my water had been broken for 22 hours, and I had been in labor for 40 hours.
I got the epidural, then a catheter (how we found out that my bladder can hold 2 flipping liters), then the pitocin, and I fell asleep. I woke up three hours later to active labor that broke through the epidural, and I only felt them in one hip. The pain was so intense that I know in my heart that I made the right decision to do the epi. I don't believe I could have pushed through that pain without it. They gave me a bolus of anaesthetic and I fell back asleep. I woke again to the night nurse freaking out due to Izzy's dropping heartbeat, and she tried to check my cervix, to which I snapped that my water had been broken for 30 hours and she could call the midwife and keep her hands to herself.
The midwife came, changed my position, the baby recovered, and then it was time to push. To everyone's surprise, I only pushed for 45 minutes. Every push was effective, and despite her coming out with her hand next to her face, I had minimal tearing.
Despite a 52 hour labor, 30 hour membrane rupture, dropping heartbeat, and general chaos, Isabel is completely healthy. 8 pounds, 21.5 inches after a 41 +6 pregnancy. She feeds like a champ, and is quite possibly the cutest thing on two legs.
I want everyone in this DDC to know how much our board has helped me, even though I joined late. Through what seemed like forever waiting for her, through Janie's decline, through the hell of my hip giving out, all of you total strangers have been my lifeline. My husband hears stories about the tmi thread, he knows all about tutumamma's incredible strength, hears summaries of your birth stories. Cheers to all of us.