I was overdue, by how much was kind of up in the air. I had been UPing and planning a hospital birth and had seen a Dr. 3 times during my pregnancy for a few tests and an ultrasound, so I felt that my butt was covered as far as having a record of some sort for when I went to deliver. I had been cautioned against UP and hospital birth repeatedly on MDC. I found it a bit odd because I could find support if I wanted to birth in a remote cabin in the wilderness, or at home unassisted, but not for what I wanted. But I dedided that I was comfortable with the risk I was taking by not following a standard prenatal schedule and that was most important. It was worth it to me to have a peaceful pregnancy and deal with the hospital when the time came. I never imagined the senario that I would be overdue. I ended up being almost42 weeks, or 41 weeks overdue depending on which due date I went by.
So I headed to L&D to get a non-stress test. The Dr. on call happened to be the Dr. who I had my prental visits with. We had butted heads often lol. When I left her care, I took a copy of my chart and used it to record my self-prenatal care on it. She was kind of flabbergasted and unimpressed. BUT, every single nurse I dealt with thought it was cool. Anyway, Dr. wanted to induce me then and there. Ummmm no. Let the head butting ensue. She consulted an OBGYN who agreed that I wasn't yet 41 weeks and that I had a few days to make a choice. I didn't buy that if my baby wasn't born in a few days she would be in danger, but was happy to have a few "pressure free days". He suggested my membranes be stripped. I consented. Then I was sheduled for an induction on Friday if I didn't go into labor by then. Well, I wasn't going to go in on Friday because my dh was out of town that day, and I didn't feel induction was called for at this point. But, I figured I would call from home and cancel.
Anyways, not 1/2 an hour after the strip, contractions started. But, I convinced myself that it was just indigestion. I had been waiting for this baby for over a month and wasn't about to get my hopes up. So my "indigestion" was coming at regular 10 minute intervals. We got home and I went for a 45 minute power walk. When I got back, my MIL told me my dh was just about to leave and go look for me, figuring I was lying crippled in pain on the road somewhere. He wasn't believing me that it was indigestion at all. So I finally had to admit that I was indeed in labor. I made a few phonecalls to my mom and sisters and then really felt the need for peace and went to my room and just enjoyed those early, utterly painless compared to what was in store for me, contractions. A while later my mom called and
offered to pay for a hotel room for dh and I so we could be closer to the hospital. That was a great idea because we live 40 mins away. So we left our 3 year old with my sister and my MIL and headed to the hotel.
My contractions were about 5 mins apart and about a minute long. My dh was timing my contractions and driving me nuts! Every contraction he would say "that's it, we are going to the hospital now!". My plan was to "go in pushing". And I knew I was nowhere close to pushing. I had to tell him over and over to leave me alone and that I needed to listen to my body and I would know when it was time. But at about 2am I experienced the most awful pain in my side. I couldn't walk, it lasted for about half an hour and I started to vomit. I remember rolling around moaning "what is this....what is this??" Dh was adamant that we head next door to the hospital. I was in so much pain that I agreed, knowing full well I was still in early labor but was really worried about the pain and hoped it wasn't something wrong with the baby.
So we got there and they monitored me and my contractions basically petered out and the back pain in my side left. We had a super cool
nurse who had no trouble with us wanting to head back to the hotel. As soon as we left the hospital my contractions picked up again. But I was
able to sleep around them. At some point the pain in my side came back and it made me unable to move. Contractions were nothing compared to
that pain. But I found if I slept on my side I couldn't feel it. So all night I couldn't work through my contractions and help out my labor, I had to lie down. I woke up about 9am and thought the pain was gone. I got up and felt it immediately. I couldn't stand and I started vomiting. At one
point I was vomiting into a bucket and peeing all over the hotel floor at the same time. Thank goodness there was no carpet. I felt so out of control. We headed to the hospital. And I was a whopping 2 cm dialated. 16 hours of labor for 2cms....
The Dr, wanted us to stay and I agreed. Absolutely every nurse who cared for me was amazing, kind and respectful of my birth plan. The Dr. although not impressed with me only found a couple of things in my birth plan, that weren't very important to me anyways, to veto. I made sloooooow progress. 2nd labors ARE NOT ALWAYS FASTER!!!!! I had that pain in my side. It was so unbearable. I think part of the reason my labor was slow is that I had to spend a good portion of it lying on my side. Seriously, I could barely move with that pain. It was awful lying down thru contractions. I had gone into the tub a couple of times and tried the birth ball. But there came a point when I couldn't move from my side. I was so dissapointed because the birth ball felt so amazing and I had only ridden out one contraction on it.
I was very impressed at how they treated me, especially since I had done my own prenatal care. The nurses were more like doula's. They massaged my side with oil, calmly kept reminding me to breathe, and suggested positions and movement. My GBS status was unknown, and no one mentioned antibiotics. I had declined the GD test and no one mentioned it. By about 5pm, I had progressed to 6 cms. At that point I was beside myself with that strange pain and feeling defeated that my progress was slow. No one could tell me what my pain was, and I knew they thought it was back labor. I would really like to find out what it was. It was like a massive pinch that would spasm and last for hours at at time. My Dr. suggested to break my water. I consented. I wanted this labor to be over. She also mentioned that we needed to start thinking about pitocin if things didn't progress. I knew that there was no danger in laboring naturally for as long as it took. But I was ready for some intervention to get things moving, even though I know the risks and my ideal birth was being threatened. I told the Dr. that before any pit was given, I wanted an epi. I had hours of pit contractions with my first birth and did not want to experience them ever again. So we agreed to break my water, wait 45 mins. If there was no progress I would get an epi and we would start pitocin. No one pushed any of this on me. It was my choice freely. That was the key difference between birth #1 and this birth. The first time, I was just there, not participating in any decisions about my care. This time even though it wasn't intervention free, I was actively involved in what happened to me.
Water was broken. I decided to take a shower. I had 2 huge contractions close together in the shower. All I wanted to do was throw myself down on my hands and knees...but I resisted, imagining how nasty the shower floor was. That was one the biggest problem about laboring in the hospital...not enough places to throw my self down on when contractions hit. When I got out, they took me into the birthing room and checked my cervix. Nothing. I was still 6 cms. So I called for an epidural, anticipating the pitocin. At no point did anyone encourage me to have the epidural. At this point the contractions were getting more intense. I had to lie down while they hooked me up to everything and it was not comfortable at all. It felt so ridiculous being hooked up to an IV and heart monitors and everything. The epidural guy came in. It took forever for him to set up and sterilize me. I was
sitting with my legs dangling over the side of the bed leaning on a nurse through contractions. She was so wonderful. She kept reminding me to
breathe and was calmly telling me how amazing I was and that I was doing so well. I had my eyes closed through most of this and was pretty much out
of it with pain by this point. The epi was finally set up. The epidural guy was very friendly and cracking jokes. I wanted to slap him. At one point he had asked me where I was from, just as a contraction hit, and I growled "Alberta" very menacingly at him...he stopped talking so much.
The next thing I heard him say is that "I don't think this is going to work." OMG. Not what I wanted to hear. It numbed the pain on the side where
I had the constant pain. I was glad for that, but it made the contractions on the other side double in intensity. He took the needle out a bit hoping that would help numb me, but it didn't. The pain of my contractions changed at this point. I have no words to describe how they felt. Rock hard perhaps? Then the nurse checked me again. I was complete. I started crying. I had avoided pitocin! I had avoided pitocin contractions!!! Everything went fast then. The Dr. came in quickly and they got out the stirrups. I was determined to not push flat on my back. I turned onto my side. The Dr. didn't like that and told me she couldn't deliver that way. I said "well help me get flat on my back then...we'll just do this your way and get it over with."
They started saying how the head was right there and for me not to push until they were ready. So I gave a huge push...just because I was feeling feisty. Then I waited. The Dr. asked me if I wanted to feel the head. It felt so squishy I couldn't believe it. The image in my mind was a huge swollen hotdog in a huge swollen bun. I didn't like feeling it. So 2 more pushes and my baby girl was out. Yay for epidurals that don't work, because I felt her being born and I missed out on that with my son. We did skin to skin right away and the cord was clamped after a couple of minutes. The Dr. apologised to me for not wanting me on my side. I told her it didn't matter because apparently I am a pushing champ and can push babies out flat on my back no problem (my son took only a few pushes also).
They had to take her to the nursery because she had a lot of fluid or something and my dh went with her. I wasn't worried about her being away from me, because dh was there and they were very respectful of my wishes that no eye drops, vit k or vaccines be administered. I sat up in the bed and waited for them to come back. I unhooked myself from most everything I could. The nurse came back in, took one look at me and gave a little jump. She was so startled that after an epidural I was able to be so mobile. Then she remembered that it didn't work. They brought my baby girl back to me and she started nursing. Then they all left us alone for a while. Dh called MIL and she and my sister and my son come to the hospital. I was walking around, feeling great after that long painful labor. Everyone I met was so shocked that I had just given birth, with an epidural no less, and said I looked great. I was covered in meconium and needed a shower, but it was still nice to hear. We settled into a room and I went to have a shower. Unlike my first birth I wasn't hooked up to anything at this point and felt so free and so good. The cool nurse from the night before was back on duty and she said something very nice to me. She said that "You are one of our very rare patients, the way you are walking around right after the delivery. Most of our patients treat birth like a disease. And it's not, it's a natural process." That made me feel really great. I enjoyed that shower and didn't want to get out. Dh and my son spent the night with me and baby and we were discharged the next evening.
I feel a little regretful that I went for an epidural that didn't work, and my baby was born minutes later. Like, I almost had a natural birth.
But that's just for bragging rights I suppose, because I did feel everything and it didn't make me immobile and helpless. This birth has really changed my thoughts on natural, med free, intervention free childbirth because even though my birth wasn't all this, it was the birth I had hoped for. I have such good feelings surrounding my hospital birth experience. I felt respected and I made the choices about my care. Doing my own prenatal care was so very important to me and I am proud of myself that I did things my way, and didn't see a Dr. out of fear of what "they" would think of me if I didn't.