We celebrated my eldest child's birthday party this weekend. In honor of the growing being she is I am sharing her birth story.
I woke up in early labor around 5 AM on Monday morning. I was experiencing mild cramping sensations. At the time I wrote it off as end of pregnancy discomfort. I went back to bed, and dozed on and off until 9 AM. I spent the day putzing around. I started to reread a book I had recently read. The cramps got stronger throughout the day and eventually became time-able.
I called my mother and my husband around 1 PM to give them a heads up. My mom rushed home. My husband came home a few hours later after wrapping up at work. The cramping sensations had evolved into contractions.
We nibbled on food around 5 PM, but I wasn’t particularly hungry. My contractions were closer together at 3-5 minutes apart. However, they had no length or real intensity. My mother was nervous that I simply had a high pain tolerance, and would just have my baby on the kitchen floor. So we left for the hospital. Even though I wasn’t ready to go, I was worried my mother was right.
We got the the hospital about 7 PM and got checked into triage. I was monitored until 9. The triage nurse didn’t like my contraction pattern. They had moved to 2-4 minutes apart, but still lacked length and intensity. It was at this point that we were told I could be admitted, but that there was no hurry and that we should stay in triage for a while. Really we told them that if we could, we wanted to stay. I was making my mom nervous prior to going to the hospital. I felt like going home and having to come back in a few hours wouldn’t have helped anyone. So we walked the halls until we were admitted to a labor room at 10:30ish.
Once in the room my parents arrived and brought my husband food, and coffee. I was handling my contractions well. I felt like I was doing great. However, when my water broke at 12:15, I was not prepared for the change in intensity of my contractions. Around 12:30 my nurse walks in, and I had my husbands arm in a death grip. I was begging him to take the pain away.
I had the notion previous to labor that I was going to have a natural birth. However, neither my husband or I had the tools for the moment. I was unprepared. I ended up requesting IV medication. I felt like it would be an in between of a natural birth and an epidural. I had the idea that it was just going to take the edge off.
When the Fentanyl took effect, it was horrible. I was really disoriented. I was uncoordinated. The contraction sensations were different. Before, when I didn’t have the medication in my system I could feel a contraction coming and work through it. Even if I didn’t handle it well, I worked through it. I knew the contraction would end and I could take a deep breath. However, after the medication, I couldn’t really comprehend what was going on, outside of myself. Every contraction felt like an attack, because it came seemingly out of nowhere, it lasted forever, and the sensations of the drugs didn’t go away when the contraction was over. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was sweating, even though my husband said I was freezing. I thought I was communicating that I wanted to call the nurse. All I was saying was that I wanted to go home. All I wanted to do was sleep in between contractions, so I could get away from the feeling of being drugged.
I asked for an epidural at some point during that experience. In the moment it was amazing. I was physically and emotionally tapped. I had no more to give. All I wanted after that was to sleep off the whole thing. I had never had pain medication like that until that day. I had no idea my body was going to respond like that.
While I was getting the epidural I remember asking the anesthesiologist if my feet were supposed to feel like they were asleep. He chuckled and told me that’s what I was supposed to be feeling. I had no idea! I thought I would feel nothing. I ended up napping for a few hours, and everyone let me be to rest.
My nurse checked my cervix a bit before 5 in the morning. I was completely dilated, and it was time to start pushing. It was hard because I was so tired still, and I couldn’t feel to push. I had no idea what I was doing. Eventually I was told to push like I was pooping. Which was apparently more effective than whatever I as previously doing.
I was supported for the next hour by my nurse, and husband. For the most part, pushing felt like a nonevent to me. I was told when I was having a contraction and coached when to push. The doctor on call, whom I hadn’t met until that point, came into my room about 10 minutes before my daughter was born. She caught her at 5:56 in the morning on November 25th. She was placed on my chest in a blanket. We spent some time together as a new family, before she and my husband went off to bathe her, and I got settled in with some much deserved breakfast.