I went in for my scheduled induction on the morning of July 11th, at 6 a.m., out of sheer desperation. I was terrified and conflicted about the whole process, but I had decided to go with it because I just wanted to hold my baby. I was *done* with being preggo.
We signed into the L&D ward at 6 a.m. My doula, Jessica, met us there shortly after and at 7 a.m. my membranes were ruptured by the resident who worked with my doctor. It was scary to see that hook go in, but nothing hurt. At that point, I was 2 cm, -1 station, fully effaced. I was told to just walk around to try to get the contractions going.
By 9 a.m. I hadn't had much in the way of contractions so my doctor came in to have a look at me. She found the baby's head at 0 station and well applied to my cervix, which was 3 cm dialated. She was able to find another pocket of water and ruptured it. I knew she would have prefered that I take pitocin, but she was respecting my wishes and being as hands off as possible. I walked some more, climbed some stairs with DH and my doula, and was only able to have 1 big contraction.
By noon, my doc came back to see me and suggested the pitocin again seeing as I had made no progress whatsoever. DH finally negotiated with the doctor like a pro for the shortest course of pitocin possible (2 hours) at the lowest dose. I had to stay on the monitor for the full 2 hours, but was told I could move around within the area around the bed.
The first hour was bearable, and I spent a lot of time listening to Hypnobabies and using some of the relaxation techniques I had learned. The nurse on the day team was nice, but she was a stickler for protocol, so she insisted I stay IN bed so the monitor wouldn't move and lose the fetal heart. DH argued with her and eventually got my doctor to come back and let the nurse know I could in fact be allowed to move around. As nice as the nursing staff was, they didn't want to "get in trouble" so we really had to advocate for what we wanted.
The second hour of pit induced contractions was hell. Pure hell. I couldn't use Hypnobabies anymore; things were so intense, all I could do was stand beside the bed, swaying and rolling my hips while my doula pressed on my hips and back. She was a lifesaver during those "pitocin hours"; because of his sore back and ribs, DH wasn't able to get a good enough grip to help me so it was all up to her.
By 2:30 p.m., I was supposed to have the pit turned off so they could see if my labor would continue on its own, but my doctor asked me to stick it out for another hour to make sure things were well on their way. It was either that or turn it off and risk having to start over from scratch. God, that last hour was SO HARD. I felt very near to being out of control. Some contractions all I could do was grab at DH's shirt and try to crawl out of my body...it was horrid. The fact that I was unable to deal with contractions in any other way but standing made it even more tiring; sitting, side lying and squatting seemed to make everything worse, so I was constantly on my feet and very soon I was exhausted.
By 4 p.m., I was able to get off the damn monitor and the pitocin, get rid of the IV line (promptly throw up all over Jessica's feet!) and get into the shower. It was absolute bliss. I was suddenly able to deal with my contractions and start using Hypnobabies techniques again. I stopped needing to vocalize "Oooooopen" and to have Jessica apply pressure to my hips. I just stood with the hot spray on my back or my belly and rotated my hips with each set of contractions so as to massage myself with the water. There were times that I thought I was left alone, but I was in the zone so much that I didn't notice DH and Jessica switching places once in a while with each other to get a rest while I labored. Strangely, I felt as though if I dared speak to anyone, even to give them an account of my progress, my voice would get high and whiny, and I would suddenly be focusing on how hard it was, instead of just getting through the next contraction. I knew I just had to deal with 1 contraction at a time; if I started thinking about how long it had been, and how much longer it would be, I'd be lost. So I went inside myself and had the longest conversation with my baby, telling her about all the wonderful things we'd share when she came out. That inner monologue and the hot water probably saved me, and got me through transition.
I don't know when, perhaps 2 hours later, I was checked and found to be at 8 cm. I remember thinking "This is transition. You're going to shake like mad (which I was), and you're going to get emotional and think you can't make it. Just focus on getting through to the next contraction".
Even though I didn't see her much in the beginning of the birth, my doctor constantly checked up on me and came to lend her support. Before checking me one time, she held me and slow danced with me through a hard contraction, telling me how amazing I was. I couldn't have asked for a better doctor!
At some point later on, we tried the jacuzzi, but it didn't do anything for me. The water didn't move like in the shower; the jets weren't strong enough and I couldn't get relief. After maybe 2 sets of completely out of control contractions and throwing up on the jacuzzi bathroom floor, I decided I needed to get the heck out of there.
I was checked again--I don't know at what time and had made it to 9 cm with a little lip on the right side. We tried to push with the next contraction with the resident pushing the lip out of the way, but it was excruciating so we stopped. My doula asked me to lay on my right side for the next couple of contractions to see if that would help the lip go away. A few torturous contractions later, I was spontaneously pushing, so everyone was called in. I think at some point I asked for "a break", and my doctor offered an epidural, but I was in such a haze of exhaustion, speaking only in 1 or 2 word requests/orders that they never took me seriously. DH later told me I was comatose even during contractions, making all the noise but not moving at all.
At that point, it was 1 a.m. and I was beyond what I would call exhausted. I did remember though, in my birthing haze, that I needed to try different positions if I was going to avoid tearing, so we tried on all fours over the back of the bed, standing, squatting, and even on the toilet, but nothing gave me the same traction as lying on my side, which was horrible.
After about 30 minutes of futile pushing, my doctor convinced me to give the "traditional" pushing position a try: feet in those horrible stirrups, half reclining, arms pulling on these handle thingies. Somewhere in my mind I screamed "NO", but I only managed to say "I'll tear that way". I knew we had to get the baby out soon though because I was about to collapse. DH later told me they'd taken out the vaccum extractor and were even quietly discussing what they would do if I didn't manage to push baby out. So I got in position and gave it a try.
Within 2 pushes, I realized that half-reclining was the way to go for me. I could actually feel the baby's head descending. It took me a while to get her head trapped underneath my pubic bone, but after that, it was easier. I was also instructed not to breathe out but instead to hold my breath, so as to make my pushes more effective. I wasn't "coached to push" really; I pushed whenever the urge took hold, but when I did I was given encouragement and direction. It was during this time that my DH shined; I couldn't have made it without him. After each pushing session, I almost hyperventilated, but DH leaned over my face and whispered to me that I was amazing and strong. Sometimes he kissed me, other times he told me he loved me, but every single time he told me to match my breathing to his soft words, which I did. My doctor was so impressed with him that she said he was a doula in training. DH's wonderful support and my desire to get my baby out myself were what kept me going during that last hard patch.
When I was able to touch the head while pushing, it helped immensely to focus me. She was almost there! It was a frustrating process of two steps forward, one step back though, and I could feel myself stretching beyond anything I'd ever experienced. My doctor applied tons of hot compresses and Jessica insisted that she use almond oil to massage me, even though she didn't think it did anything. I'm so thankful to both of them for helping me with what I had previously considered the scariest part of birthing. I think I was slowly crowning for over 8 pushes, but I tried to leave the head where it was instead of pulling back so I would stretch out gradually. I was too exhausted to care about the pain. I heard someone mention how amazing it was that I was able to keep crowning so gradually, instead of screaming to have the head taken out...I honestly don't think I could've done it any other way. Yay for being exhausted.
Finally, when her head come out of me oh-so-slowly, it gave me the incentive to push through that horrid stretch and burn, through exhaustion. I pushed harder and strained more than I have ever done in my life, willing my baby to come meet me. Her head was finally born to a set of cheers from my support team, and one big push later, her whole skinny body came sliding out of me.
Immediately, she was placed on my stomach and gently rubbed. I remember crying joyously as I pulled her towards me. It was surreal. I panicked for a bit because she wasn't pinking up, but as soon as she did, I started blubbering to her in French about how she'd made it and that she did such a good job. Her big eyes opened and looked around the room, and she immediately started rooting around for my breast. Jessica pulled her right up to my breast and she started nursing right away. She knew just what to do!
Suddenly, I was awake and energized. I started looking around the room, realized how late it was (2:50 a.m.), and that there were more people in the room than I had initially realized. Things were so vivid then...I couldn't believe that I'd done it somehow and come out of the experience relatively unscathed...and I hadn't used any pain meds despite the pitocin!!! The placenta came out very soon after, and it felt amazingly good as it massaged its way out of me. My parts burned like fire, but I was told I only had three or four 1st degree tears (the one near my clitoris is the big ouch!). After that aweful stretching I knew I had torn, but I'd take 1st degree tears over an episiotomy any day. I had always suspected that I was small down there, and the doctor confirmed that this was what made my birth longer...my birth canal was very narrow and my parts were really tight.
Alia Thanh-Ly ("Pure Lion") Berg was born at 2:50 a.m. on July 12th, measuring 46 cm, and weighing in at 6 pounds 15 ounces, the EXACT weight I was when I was born. She had a full head of hair, long fingernails, and lots of peely skin on her extremities....so I suspect she was postdate, just unable to come out somehow. I still have doubts about whether or not she would have come out spontaneously because all the signs of impending labor had been there for weeks and yet it took a lot to get her into this world.
Afterwards, the repair work was easy compared to the actual birth (thank goodness for local anesthetic)...the only part that really REALLY sucked was having to empty out my bladder to help my uterus stop bleeding. I was so swollen down there that I was unable to pee, so the doc suggested a catheter. I shrugged and consented but nearly *jumped* right off the bed when she inserted it in. I think I yelled "Oh my god why does it hurt so much?!!" and cried more then than during my whole labor.
The rest was a wonderful haze of elation and happiness. DH and I greeted our beautiful daughter together, and somehow I felt as though that moment was the one I had been looking forward to sharing with him since the very first day we met and fell in love. As for my wonderful doctor--who was supposed to leave at 11 p.m. the night before but decided to stay with me until the end, she had a long conversation with me about how amazing my experience had been and that I should be proud of myself for sticking to my guns. I still had doubts about having given into the induction (and felt silly for having been so LOUD!), but I couldn't argue with her while I held my baby!
I only spent 1 day in the hospital instead of 2, and discovered that my little girl is a very sound sleeper, an avid nurser, and not fussy at all. I spent the hours after the birth listening to other babies in the postpartum ward crying incessantly, and watching my baby girl snooze right through the noise. I was a little paranoid about someone coming in to take her away from my room--don't ask me why, so I only got 20 minutes of sleep with my arm drapped over the bassinet, holding onto my baby.
Mom to James ( 5/2006), Claire ( 6/2008), furry kitties Calvin and Bob, and wife to Dennis.
Maya, What a great story. So happy for you. I couldn't see the picture for some reason it didn't work on my computer but she sounds gorgeous
Hope it works
Sara - - PreK Teacher, Birth Doula, Wife to Shaun (8/13/05), Mama to Caleb (8/17/06), Chance (6/22/08), and Brielle (10/31/09) - - -
Congrats beautiful story, baby, and name
somehow i missed this post until now, even though i've been looking for your news quite compulsively.
huge congratulaions, maya. i totally enjoyed reading your story and found so much of it oddly familiar, both in terms of the events/"plot points", and your internal experience.
alia is beautiful!! i hope she remains peaceful and easy=going and that bf-ing is going well for you here on day 4.
amazing and wonderful to hear how yur dh came through for you. so awesome.
I was also induced due to being "overdue" and clearly recognised parts of your story - what a strong mama you are!
Widowed mummy to T 6/08 and a crazy blue dog