My daughter is one month and one day old, so it has been a while! I never posted much while pregnant, but I wanted to post a short birth story and let you all know that I really appreciated this forum and learned a lot from all of you! Thank you! I know it was all of you that made me realize it was possible for me to have the natural birth that I was hoping for!
I was due Oct 26. The Tuesday after I was due (Halloween) I started having contractions in the morning around 10am. They weren't painful at all, but they were regular, between 5 and 20 minutes apart. I made sure to finish everything up in lab where I work and give all the instructions I needed to for the person who was going to continue my project while I was gone because I knew I wouldn't be coming back to work, no matter what happened!
What happened is that I continued having contractions... I sort of slept on Tuesday night, but not that well. Wednesday they continued, and they were pretty regularly 4-5 minutes apart. They were getting stronger, but still not at all painful. My DH stayed home from work and class all day and we walked outside a lot, then they'd get to be 3-4 minutes apart and I'd have to stop walking. By 4pm on Wednesday we decided to go to the hospital, since I had been having contractions (just like the birth class told us!) 5 min apart, lasting for a minute and going on for not just one hour, but many! (and also, partly out of boredom, for a change of scenery and to see if anything was going on.)
I was 3.5 cm at the hospital, but they had us walk around there for 2 hours (and we thought we were bored before!!) and I was still 3.5 cm, so we went home and got a good night's sleep on Wednesday night.
Thursday: Contractions continue all day, just like before. Fun! Then around 7-8pm, they start getting even stronger. This is where I feel like I finally went into active labor. I sat on my birth ball a lot, or was on hands and knees on the floor. I needed my husband there. But I was still doing fine. I could definitely handle this! The contractions were by now 3-4 minutes apart lasting for a minute and a half. (at the time I was hoping that this was transition, since that's about what "they" told us the contractions would be like... I wish! ;o)
Around 3 am we headed to the hospital again. This time we knew we'd be staying.
When they checked me I was at 6cm! I was pretty excited because it really hadn't been that bad up til this point. Then we went to our room and labored there. The hospital was very nice. They had a birth ball, two different kinds of rocking chairs, a large tub in the bathroom, shower, etc. etc. I tried pretty much everything. Things were pretty tough, but still I was able to relax in between contractions and I was fine, though getting quite tired since we hadn't slept all night. At one point (between contractions) I said to my DH: "this is tough, but grad school is way harder!" (I'm in my 5th year of a cell bio PhD program)
Around noon (8 hours after arriving) they checked me again... only 6-7 cm! I was pretty disappointed! All of that work, for maybe 1 cm!
( They wanted to break my water to speed things along. I agreed, to hopefully avoid the use of pitocin. The resident was pretty horrible at breaking my water, so it really hurt, but after that, things got moving.
And this is where it got tough! wow! it was so intense, the contractions were maybe 3 min apart and lasting for almost 2 min! and I was so exhausted and so was my DH. I pretty much had my eyes shut for the whole of transition... which lasted about 3-3.5 hours. It's amazing how I can't really remember the pain now, but I do remember that it was there.
At 9cm I asked if it was too late to have a 1/2 dose of narcotic. It was and I said, fine, I'll just do it then. My doctor told me later that it wouldn't have helped me at that point anyway. And I'm glad I didn't get it, though if I would have, that probably would have been okay too. I never wanted an epidural, even when it got bad, they scare me too much, plus it never seemed quite that bad, I guess.
Anyway, then it was time to push. That was so much better, really. The contractions didn't hurt when I was pushing. Surprisingly, I ended up only being able to push correctly when I was half-lying on the bed with my husband and nurse holding my legs, or pushing my legs against the squat bar. I never, never thought I'd want to push like that, but I was exhausted, and every other position I tried (toilet for one) I just couldn't "feel" the push the right way.
So, that went on for 2.5 hours and then Claire was born at 5:43pm, Friday Nov 3... with a full head of hair, screaming at the top of her lungs and staring at me with her big eyes and big cheeks. I was absolutely in love from the start. After looking myself to see that she was a girl, my first words were: "Oh my god, she's so beautiful!"
I only had a tiny tear in my vagina requiring a couple stitches and have recovered pretty easily, I think. I feel amazingly lucky in my whole pregnancy and birth and to have my wonderful daughter. Thanks again to all of you for your (mostly) unknowing support.
Nov. 3, 2006 5:43pm
8 lb 5 oz. 21 inches (a surprise for everyone, including my doctor, who thought the baby would be small... I kept saying, "well, all of my siblings and I were over 8 pounds, I think this baby will probably be 8 pounds...")
p.s. the hospital and nurses and everyone were great. Our birth plan said that no one should ask me if I wanted drugs and be positive, and everyone followed our wishes. Even though I liked everyone, it was very strange though, every time a nurse or doctor would come into the room to do anything, even just look at a computer and then leave, my contractions would slow down to 6,7,8 min apart instead of 3-4. I didn't notice this. My DH told me later. Very strange. I think for this reason, I won't go to the hospital next time until I'm sure that I'm in transition (it didn't happen then!).