My due date was 11/20/11 and on 11/16/11 things got started! We went to bed around 10:30 PM and around 10:45 PM I started feeling what I thought might be contractions. I tried to go to sleep, I knew I would need the rest if this was real labor! I slept off and on for about two hours waking to slight contractions. (No pain yet) I decided to wake Eric up around 12:45 AM and we started timing. We timed 6-10 contractions and decided this was the real deal! I got up and took a shower. (I was really really excited I got to do this because who knew when I would get to again!) The contractions were a little more debilitating at this time but still really manageable. They slowed a bit while I was in the shower but got right back to normal when I got out. I remember having to stop drying my hair and squat down each time a contraction hit. It wasn't terribly painful but I just couldn't stand up! (This should have been a red flag....a sign of things to come...) Eric showered and we both called our parents to tell them the good news! We also called our doula Angie. My mom came to pick up Elle and take her to her house and Angie arrived around 3:30AM.
Around 4:00 AM my contractions were coming faster and faster, only about a minute and a half apart. My contractions were most manageable on the birthing ball and Angie suggested that Eric should put pressure on my lower back during the contractions to relieve some pain. LIFESAVER! I ate a PB toast and a banana and drank a Gatorade and we decided it was time to go to the hospital. We left for the hospital and I had several contractions in the car despite the fact that it was 4:00AM and we live very close to the hospital. Contractions in the car were awful. I found that sitting up straight was my most painful laboring position.
We arrived at the hospital at 4:15 AM. Eric and I went right to triage and I was hooked up to the Electronic Fetal Monitor and checked. I was dilated to 3...almost 4 and 50% effaced. This was not good news....I had really hoped that laboring at home for several hours meant I would at least be dilated to a 4 or 5 considering I was at a 3 at my 39 week check up. The nurses said we could go home or walk around the hospital to see if I would dilate more. I was NOT getting back in that car so we decided to take a walk! I was pretty unhappy with the demeanor of the triage nurses, they just were not very comforting or helpful. Dr. Hardin was on call at this point.
We walked the halls of the hospital carrying the birthing ball. Each time a contraction would hit I would sit on the birthing ball and Eric would get behind me and put pressure on my lower back. The time between contractions varied once I got to the hospital but the intensity was steadily increasing. We went back to triage at 7:20 AM. Nurses change shift at 7 and we were blessed with new triage nurses that were kind and understanding and very helpful! I was checked again and dilated to a full 4 CM. The nurses told me I could be admitted but it would be better to wait until 8 when Dr. Brown came on call because she was very understanding of natural birth wishes. Although I was ready to be admitted I was very happy to hear that Dr. Brown was coming on as she was the doctor I had hoped would deliver our baby. We decided to take another walk! My mom arrived at the hospital at this time and joined us on our walk. Same story as before...my contractions were on top of each other as I walked around. I would sit on the ball and hold Angie or my mom's hands and Eric would press into my lower back.
Around 9 AM a nurse from triage came to find me to tell me that Dr. Brown was in triage and would like to check me herself. I was dilated to a 5! Progress! Dr. Brown admitted me and I went to my room and changed into my special hospital gown courtesy of my crafty momma! My contractions were getting stronger and stronger, mostly 1-1.5 minutes apart but some right on top of each other.
Around 11 AM I was feeling some pressure below so they decided to check me again. Dilated to a 6! Things were moving! My cervix wasn't quite 100% thinned but everyone was very happy with my progress. The contractions started getting pretty bad at this point. I again tried several positions but nothing worked. I would try standing holding on to Eric or leaning over the bed and the contraction would literally bring me to my knees. The ONLY way I could handle a contraction would be to sit on the birthing ball and push into the end of the bed while Eric pressed his palms and eventually full hands into my low back as hard as he could. Around 11:45 Angie suggested I try the shower. We sat the ball in the shower and Eric got in behind me. I used the sprayer on my belly while he put pressure on my back during the contractions. It felt a lot better than being out of the shower but still hurt like h**l!
Around 1 PM I started feeling the urge to push so they called Dr. Brown in to check me. I was still dilated to a 6. No progress whatsoever in the last 2 hours. I was heartbroken. Dr. Brown suggested we rupture the membranes (break the water) to get things moving along. She also suggested I consider an epidural as ROM can make contractions much harder and mine were already pretty strong. At this point the contractions were so bad I would literally cry during every contraction and I was so exhausted I would fall asleep for the 30 seconds to a minute between each contraction. Eric was exhausted and his hands were in pain from pushing with all his strength into my back and would lean on my back during the breaks and sleep as well. I sent everyone but Eric out of the room to discuss the interventions. Although I had hoped we wouldn't have to do it we decided to let Dr. Brown rupture the membranes but we also decided that we would do it without the epidural. Eric was my rock in these moments. I was so tired and in so much pain that I could hardly think and he just reminded me of our hopes for this birth and this baby and told me he supported me whichever way we went but that he had faith that I could do this.
At 2:05PM Dr. Brown broke my water. It was interesting....not painful but strange! Surprisingly my contractions right after the ROM were considerably easier than before as it felt like some of the pressure had been relieved. That didn't last for too long though and before I knew it the contractions were back to extreme pain and intensity.
Around 4 PM I was feeling a lot of pressure and Dr. Brown thought maybe it was time to push! She checked me again and that was not the case...I was still dilated to a 6...no progress whatsoever. When she told me I was still only a 6 I lost it, I immediately started crying big rolling tears. I was exhausted and I felt like my willpower went out the window when she gave me that news. Dr. Brown said we needed to get labor going and suggested pitocin. She also again suggested an Epidural as Pitocin is known to make contractions stronger and more painful. Angie also suggests we consider the epidural. She said she was worried that if I didn't get some rest that even if I did dilate I wouldn't have the energy to push the baby out. Again I sent everyone but Eric out of the room so we could talk. After many tears we decided it was time to get the epidural. Our biggest goal was a safe vaginal delivery and at that point we felt the epidural would give us the best shot at that. It wasn't what we had hoped for but it was where we were at.
At 4:30 PM I got the epidural and immediately fell asleep! I woke up around 6 PM and was checked. 9 CM dilated! My body obviously needed to rest and relax, during each contraction I was so tense from the pain that I wasn't making any progress! We also learned at this time that Amelia was posterior (front facing...sunny side up!) and I was experiencing back labor which is why my contractions were so painful and why the only relief I could get was from Eric pushing into my back. Dr. Brown attempted to physically turn Amelia inside of me and succeeded but my stubborn little girl proceeded to turn herself right back around!
Around 7:30 I was checked for the last time. I was fully dilated and it was time to push! I pushed with the nurses for awhile and tried several positions. Although I had the epidural and I wasn't in pain anymore the pushing was HARD WORK. I would feel pressure when a contraction was coming and push for about 30 seconds and would feel completely winded each time! I was also having really bad acid reflux at this point and had to have a Zantac drip to stop it. It was so bad that I was throwing up between pushes. Yuck.
I had been pushing for about an hour when Amelia started having decels (decelerations). Basically the heart rate is supposed to drop during a contraction but her heart rate was dropping right after the contractions. Dr. Brown wasn't too worried but said that that could only go on for so long so we needed to get this baby out! I was watching the pushing in a mirror and could see the baby's head descend and then move back during each push and the news of the decels was apparently exactly what I needed to muster the strength to push this baby out!
At 9:07 PM on 11/17/11 my sweet baby girl was born! They placed her immediately on my chest while Dr. Brown milked the cord. Eric cut the cord and Amelia stayed on my chest for a good hour! After a bit we attempted breastfeeding and she latched right on! It was a LONG day...around 22 hours and it didn't go as planned at all but at that point it didn't matter. Amelia was here and she was healthy and beautiful and the light of the our lives! We are so blessed!