Thanks everyone! We are so glad to have him.
It's not what a lot of people on Mothering would have done or chosen, but I'm really happy with how Peter's birth turned out. For various reasons, we went to the hospital Saturday afternoon to be "induced" by means of cervical massage. Due to my history of rapid labors and the point my body was already at, everyone expected that our baby would be born sometime that afternoon/evening. Well, I guess life always brings suprises!
We got the show on the road around 2:30pm on Saturday. I was already contracting on my own before the cervical massage, so immediately afterwards I began contracting even more. The dr. offered to break my water but I declined. At that time I was a solid 4 cm dilated. What felt best was to curl up in bed on my left side, so we played soft music while I breathed through contractions. It was very calm and peaceful. Dh joked that we needed to pretend it was a date, since we had "room service" from the hospital and no children to contend with.
A few hours later we had the dr. do the cervical massage again; there didn't seem to be much change from last time. By 8:00pm we were on our third round and I had progressed to 5 cm. I was still having contractions every few minutes, but knew intuitively that they really weren't doing much to progress me. I decided to get up and walk for a bit, so we walked down to look at all the adorable babies in the nursery. After a circuit around or two I realized that my contractions had stopped. Not good! We went back to our room and as soon as I got back in bed they began again.
Late that evening dh and I decided to get some sleep. I'd only had 3 hours of sleep the night before and was really beginning to feel really shaky and sick. Unfortunately, I only managed a very broken 2-3 hours more. The regular pregnancy discomforts plus contractions every 3-6 minutes were impossible to sleep through. I woke dh up around 5 am and asked him to walk with me again. Same thing as last time - contractions completely stalled out after a few minutes of walking. Back to bed I went. My contractions began again, but they were much more spaced out and less intense.
A few hours later I hit my wall. I was completely exhausted, in pain, and knew in my heart that things were still not truly progressing. I told dh that I knew I couldn't go on much longer with the way things were - I had had only about 6 broken hours of sleep in the last almost 48, had been contracting for almost 20, and couldn't take any more. My energy was completely gone, and it was then that I told dh that I thought I wanted the dr. to break my water. I also decided that I might want to have an epidural, but asked the dr. to check my dilation again before I decided anything for certain.
I have to say, my dr. was WONDERFUL throughout this. Not one single time did she pressure us, bring up options she knew we weren't interested in, or make us feel like I needed to hurry. She kept repeating that we were the decision makers and that she was just along for the ride. She also repeated several times that she was going to be physically at the hopsital for the next 36 hours (she was on call and staying there), and there was no rush whatsoever and no clock. Every laboring mama should feel that kind of support from her dr.
At 8:00am Sunday the dr. checked me. I was still at 5 cm. I asked her about helping my labor along by breaking my water, and she answered all of our questions and again stressed that everything was our decision. In the end I decided to have an epidural before my water was broken and a small amount of pit started. There were a lot of tears with my decision. I felt like a complete failure. But my last two births were epidural-free, and I knew that I honestly couldn't handle any more pain, especially once things picked up. And I also knew that I couldn't handle another day or more of labor. My dh was great. He kept reminding me that once the baby came I wouldn't care how he got here - just that he was here. He told me that he was proud of me and that he loved me.
I mourned my original plan for my babe's birth for awhile, and then decided to just celebrate and be positive. My baby was coming into the world and into my arms, and nothing mattered but that. At 10:30am I got my epidural, pit started, and my water broken. I was finally able to rest and sleep, and for a blissful hour or two I dozed in complete comfort. The epidural wasn't at an extremely high dose, so I was still able to feel some sensation and move my legs. Around 1:30pm I started feeling some pressure and asked the nurse to check me as my dr. wasn't nearby. She said I was at 6-7cm. A few minutes later I began feeling contractions really strongly - so strong that I needed to breathe and count through them. About that time I felt A LOT of pressure, and dh ran back out to tell the nurse. She came in, checked me, and said, "Yep - there's just a tiny bit of cervix left." Dh asked, "What does that mean?" And she replied, "9.75 cm" and hustled out of the room.
A few seconds later she comes back in followed by another nurse, the nursery nurse, and the dr. all wheeling equipment. I yelled out that I needed to push NOW. The dr. told the nurses to not worry about breaking the bed down and told me to push. I was on my side, and one of the "old school" nurses kept telling me that I needed to roll over. My dr. told her that I was just fine and could push however I wanted. Another contraction later I did roll onto my back, just because it felt like I could focus my pushing better that way. I'm not sure exactly how long I pushed; dh says it was only about 10 minutes. Before I knew it dh was saying he could see the baby's head up to his ears.
A minute later his head was out and I heard the dr. say, "We've got cord around the neck." My mind was going 1000 miles a minute and I was scared to death. All I really remember is the dr. telling the nurses, "Get her butt up off the bed," - I guess so that she had better access to get the cord fixed. The baby came out and gave one tiny cry. I heard the dr. say, "Ok, we need to recessitate him a little." That was scary. She cut the cord and lifted him up, then he was taken straight to the warmer. I saw that he was really blue and started crying. She and the 2 nurses worked on him - they had to suction him and give him oxygen, then kept clapping on his back and feet. Finally he let out another cry or 2 and they brought him to me. I'd only had him for a minute or two when the nursery nurse apologized and said she thought he needed to go to the nursery for more oxygen. I told her to take him, and dh and the dr. went with her.
A bit later she came back to make the repairs (1 tiny tear - 2 stitches) and to deliver the placenta. She said the baby was fine and had just needed to warm up. Dh returned with the baby a bit later and placed him in my arms, where my beautiful boy has been ever since.
Even though it wasn't what I had "planned," I feel good about Peter's birth and the decisions I made during it. Dh was right - I don't care how he got here - I just care that he's here. I'm so glad and grateful that I have a gorgeous, healthy boy.