Ok, let me start with some brief background as to why I found myself having a hospital birth and wanting the epidural to start with. I had my last child in a birthing center with a midwife after some issues with my daughters birth that I found (after some research) were possibly linked to the epidural. Anyway, I never got that endophine rush or adrenaline or any of that with my natural birth. It was incredibly painful and pushing him out was hard, even with the midwife pulling, he almost didnt come out without intervention. Afterwards I was left feeling more shell shocked than anything. I just wanted them to get the baby away from me and leave me alone. The next day I felt like somone had beaten me with a baseball bat over every inch of my body. The point is, I didnt think I could do that again. This was my fourth birth and the only time I actually was in fear of the pain. Start with the fact that my insurance covers the hospital and the OB but not a midwife or birthing center, add in the fear and I easily decided to give birth in a hospital where pain relief was possible if I needed it.
So onto the birth! Though I had passed my adjusted due date of April 17th, my labor started on my original due date of april 21st! (17th was by u/s and 21st by dates, it was also the 21st by my own calculations of when Im pretty sure I actually concieved). Now for three weeks I had had little bursts here and there, at most an hour and half of contractions that were sporadic (like ten min apart, then seven, then twenty, back to ten, fifteen, eight, twenty etc.) That happened once earlier in the day, around three pm. I was really tired and sleepy and could not fight it. Though I had gotten a full nights sleep the night before, I feel asleep around four and slept til nearly six. My wonderful husband made dinner and I got up and ate around six, or six thirty. At 6:50pm we started timing contractions. This time they got progressively closer, 18min, 17, then ten, ten, ten consistentely for awhile, then eight, seven, six. After three hours of contractions and an hour of contractions that were consistently six min. apart we headed for the hospital. I still wasnt totally sure though, as some of the contractions were stronger than others. Id have a couple of weak ones and start to think maybe not, then have a really strong one and think ok, maybe so. My father in law had taken my nephew fishing and we had to call him to come home then wait for him to get here to take care of the other kids.
At ten p.m. we headed for the hospital. Called my mother and sister in law on the way. Checked in around 10:30. The nurse asked what my stats had been at my last visit. Well, my last doc visit was a week before and she said I was dilated to "almost three" and Id had contractions since then. I expected to be four or five. She checked me and said I was "between two and three" and this was most likely false labor. I felt a little sheepish, my fourth baby, I should know if Im in "real" labor or not. I felt bad for dragging everyone to the hospital for nothing. But then my mother reminded me, and told the nurse how fast we have babies. I pointed out that when I had my first baby they had just told me I was at 7cm and it would be a few more hours and within minutes I was pushing him out. My mother had similar stories for my and my brothers births. The nurse said well, each pregnancy is diffrent, still insisted it to be false labor but said theyd watch me for an hour or two. My mother warned them several times that it could happen really fast. So did my husband. So there was me, my mom and sister in law chatting away and my poor husband falling asleep in the chair for the next couple hours. The contrations didnt get any closer togather, but toward the end of that time they started to hurt. The nurse came in around 12:30 to check on me said I was STILL between two and three, obvsiouly false labor. I told her it sure didnt FEEL false and she said that with each subsequent baby, the braxton hicks contractions hurt worse (of course, doctors always tell you that they dont hurt at all, hmmmm). Anyway she said it wasnt going to happen tonight and that she would bring me a sleeping pill. She encouraged my sister in law to go home and sleep, since this was false labor. My sister in law left. My mom had a fit and refused to let them bring me a sleeping pill and told them again how fast labor can happen in our family and that she was sure it was going to be tonight. So they left me alone for about thirty minutes during which time the contractions really began to hurt and I told everyone that I was sure this was really labor. At 1am the nurse asked if I wanted to be checked again or did I want to get up and walk around.
Now heres my little vent about those stupid monitors. They had two belts around my stomach that were uncomfortable as hell. The monitor next to the bed measured contractions and fetal heartrate. Whatever. It was first of all worthless. Some of the contractions that hurt really bad looked like "little" ones on the monitor and some that looked big I barely felt, so worthless as far as Im concerned. Second of all, they were counter productive as I would see on the monitor one was coming before it did and tense up in anticipation BEFORE I actually felt it! And even when I was trying not to watch the stupid monitor, either my mom would say "here comes one" or I'd hear the babys heartrate increase and know it was coming. Plus I felt like I had to pee, but couldnt get up. So I opted to be let up.
The nurse unhooked me and left the room. I never made it up. Almost as soon as she left the room, the contractions became much, much more painful. I turned up onto my side and was gripping the bedrail and burying my face in it as well. After about half and hour was when it really started to become unbearable and the contractions were one on top of the other. Now, I do not think the pain is in my head my any means, but I do think how I cope with it is partially. At first I was really a mess, but when I realized that they WERE NOT going to do anything to help me manage the pain and I had no choice but to bear through it, then I did. I calmed down some, I did the breathing and the imagery and all that. And the vocalizing. It gradually got worse and the contractions came closer and closer togather. I was not aware of how much time was passing. I held Charlies hand and my mom rubbed my back and that actually helped an amazing amount. I know, because after awhile of crouching by the bed, he got up to stretch and I went back to not being able to cope until he came back. When the nurse finally came in, they wanted to rehook the monitors. I resisted for awhile but eventally complied just to get it over and be left alone. From that point on, all I wanted to do was rip the damn things off but I knew that if I did, they would harrass me and refuse any further treatment until I complied and to comply, I'd have to roll over on my back again and I really waned to stay on my side. So I left them alone. By that point there was some cussing and some praying outloud to god and asking the universe in general why. I was really pissed that they wouldnt do anything to help me. I kept asking for pain relief and being ignored. At one point of course I was asking for an epidural, a csection, a tubal, a hammer to the head etc. Guess Im glad no one took me up on that. When she finally checked me again, she said ok, time for the epidural. As soon as I knew the epidural was coming, I went back to not being able to cope again. Then I reminded myself that I had to. I asked how far I was dilated and she said "between six and seven" which must have been a lie because when the doc finally got there, she said they had called her said I was at an eight. And they only checked that once.
Now she is trying to put in an IV because the epidural will be there in "half an hour". I was crying and begging "now". Then as she grabbed my arm and tried to get me on my back again, I was hit with another one and this one was worse than ever. I yanked my arm away and rolled back on my side. I told her that 30min was too long, it was too late. She said it wasnt and tried to get me to roll over again. Then I said I had to push. She told me not too. I said I had to, I pushed once and then I said "He's coming now!" She's still trying to put the IV in and I drew my knees up and pushed really hard once, then I asked, "Is that the head? Is that the head?" and my mom and husband, the only ones in the room actually paying attention to what I was saying, said YES then I pushed again and looked down in time to see him practically shoot out and land on the mattress. He was born with the membranes intact, "in the caul" as they use to call it. The nurse swiped it off of his face and they whisked him away. He looked blue to me and I kept asking if he was ok, then I heard him cry. As soon as I saw him I said, "he's so tiny!" then the nurse finally got her precious IV in and I felt GREAT!! Not because of the IV, because of the sheer relief from the pain and the hormonal rush I got. I asked what was in the IV and they told me it was pitocin. I argued that I didnt need it but they wouldnt budge. Now I went from two to ten in an hour and half, and pitocin makes your contractions stronger. Do you think that if they had got that thing in sooner they could have made my contractions strong enough to rupture my uterus? Seriously! I did not need the pitocin. They insisted that you have to have it to help the after contractions becuase you bleed more with each subsequent baby. Ok, first of all I didnt have it with my third and I was fine. Second of all, am I to beleive that before pitocin was invented that women routinely bleed out after the fourth child? Third of all, this from the woman who assured me I as in false labor and didnt need pain management. Not a ringing endorsement.
He had meconium staining and they were suctioning him across the room from me. I mean I suddenly felt energized and alive and gosh, just WONDERFUL! Ok, I get it now. I got it all, the endorphines, the adrenaline, the rush, the hormonal surge, the pure joy etc. I was all smiles at that point. I was even having some twinges down below that were vaugely pleasurable. My husband said, "We could have done that at home" and I had to agree. They did NOTHING to help me, despite my pleading and they actually did a lot to impede me. He also said he was glad I didnt get the epidural after all and after it was all over with, I was glad too. I now totally get why people have homebirths. I sorta got it before, but now I *really* get it. I was really torn about having the epidural, I knew it wasnt what I wanted for the baby, but I also didnt think I could cope with the pain. As soon as it was over and I felt SO great and I knew the baby didnt have to get it into his system, I really was glad. Even though I was mad at the nurses for not listening to me. But in the rush of all those feel good hormones, all was forgiven. (Well, by me, they got an earful from my mother.)
The doctor showed up about ten minutes after the fact. I asked her if I had torn and she said no. After being cut twice and tearing pretty bad once, that was great to hear!! I barely felt sore. I didnt really feel like I'd been through anything remotely difficult. I had none of that groggy, jet lagged feeling I had after my other two hospital births or that depression and shock after the birthign center one. I felt, well, perfectly normal. Well normal and in a really great mood!
The nurses acted like they couldnt possibly have known what was going on, because I basically went from two to ten in under an hour and a half. Then my mom and my husband pointed out that "we TOLD you that". My doctor called it "precipitous labor" or something like that. Well, I had a history of that but no one listened.
The nurse was kinda snippy and acted annoyed with ME. Whatever. I have to say that all in all Im very pleased with how things went. I know at the time I was in pain I was begging for drugs and surgery and everything else, but Im so happy that I didnt use any of it and that everything turned out so well. I have to say that I am very pleased and this was probally my favorite birth experiance. My daughter was the easiest on me, thanks to the epidural, but there were other negatives. This went the way I imagine labor is suppose to go and at the end everyone was fine. I have a smallish bruise on my forehead where I was pushing against the siderail. Other than that, I have almost no symptoms left. The after contractions were bad for about an hour the first night and again an hour the next. Just mildly crampy other than that.
Pushing out number three was very traumatic and more pain than I thought I could take. Pushing this one out was practically nothing. The contratcions hurt much worse. I mean, this was my fourth child and I never had contractions that bad. My mother told the nurses that, that she had never seen me act this way and Id had three other children. My poor husband was crying and promising never to put me through it again and saying he felt like it was his fault (I needed some convincing to have a fourth after being traumitzed by the birth of number three then having post partum depression with him). But once I started pushing, I was fine. Maybe thats the diffrence between him (6'14) and his brother (10'6) because this time I didnt feel literally ripped in half.
So I got to push a baby out that I felt and it didnt hurt, mostly pressure (didnt feel the first two thanks to drugs, felt the third and it was unbearable). And even though the contractions were horrible, I got through them. So I finally feel like I experainced birth the way its suppose to be.
That being said, its pretty easy to say water under the bridge to it all, cuz Im pretty darn sure we are done this time!
~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2007) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty five years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness!