The last time I posted I was 37ish (?) weeks pregnant. Little did I know that I would go to 41 weeks and 1 day before giving birth. The wait was agonizing and there were frequent bouts of hysteria. In the end, just like everyone said, it was well worth the wait.
Fiona Catherine was born on 1/9/14 at 5:50AM. An early riser, just like her mom and dad.
She’s 12 days old today and I’m finally getting the chance to sit down, gather my thoughts, and write a post about it. It’s hard for me to adequately convey in words how life changing labor and delivery was (I seriously cannot stop thinking about it) and how blissfully happy I am getting pooped, peed, and spit up on. I have discovered there is nothing in the world better than baby snuggles, the smell of her head, and how her tiny hand grasps my finger. Matt and I are both smitten.
I feel obligated to share some of the birth story. But since this is a running blog, I’ll spare you the gory details and instead give you the cliff notes version.
Since I was late and my OB didn’t want me going too much past 41 weeks, I was scheduled to be induced on Tuesday night (1/7). The plan was to begin Cervidil overnight and then start Pitocin on Wednesday. I wasn’t thrilled with the plan but I knew Fiona was not coming out on her own. My big concern throughout pregnancy was the possibility of being induced, not progressing, and ending up with a C-section. I know a C-section is always a possibility even if you go into labor on your own, but I’ve seen far too many friends go down the induction-not-progressing-C-section road. I was terrified.
I was actually surprised to learn I was having “contractions” when I went to the hospital on Tuesday night. I say “contractions” because I felt no pain whatsoever. I remember the nurse saying she didn’t consider them contractions if I didn’t feel any pain. I agreed with her although the doctor felt differently (note: this OB was NOT from my practice). The OB felt that since my “contractions” were 1-2 minutes apart, Cervidil would send me into abrupt labor and put the baby in distress. It was best just to monitor me overnight and maybe I would progress on my own and we could start Pitocin on Wednesday morning. I was still not dilated at all but Matt and I were hopeful with this news. Even though my gut was telling me otherwise.
On Wednesday morning I met with an OB from my practice. She was on call for the next 24 hours, thank god. After hearing that my cervix was still thick, hard, and uninducible (her words), I pretty much lost it. This was the exact opposite of what the doctor told me on Tuesday night. She also said Cervidil would not be effective enough for me and suggested we start Cytotec instead. Matt and I knew a little bit about Cytotec and had reservations – it’s a nasty drug – but talked with the doctor and decided we really had no other choice. My cervix needed to be prepped for Pitocin and my OB felt that Cytotec would do the job. I was still not dilated.
The next 12 hours were pretty much uneventful. I was still having “contractions” but felt no pain and was still not dilated. I was beginning to think the baby would never come out without a C-section. In fact, around 6PM on Wednesday night, my OB came in to check on me and I was all prepared with an argument for a C-section. I didn’t want another dose of Cytotec. I had been at the hospital for 12 hours at this point and was still at square one. During the check I had dilated to 1/2 a centimeter and my OB went ahead and broke my water. There was no mention of breaking my water, she just went ahead and did it. She also told me to give her 12 hours and she would have the baby out. I never got my chance to argue for the C-section.
After that my “contractions” were no longer painless. My pain level was about a 5 but I could still walk around and talk with Matt. The contractions were still 1-2 minutes apart. Around 9PM they started the Pitocin. I was terrified of the impending pain since my contractions were so close, I hardly got a break from the pain. Let’s just say that Pitocin is no joke. Before I knew it, my pain level was a 10 and I was shaking and nauseous. I have never experienced any pain like this before. I would oscillate between sitting on a medicine ball and standing. All I could do was look forward to the brief, pain-free moments between contractions.
I immediately asked for the epidural. I was only 1 cm dilated at this point (typically too soon for an epidural) but my OB agreed to it since my contractions were so close and my pain level was so high. Ahh, the epidural! How can I convey in words how wonderful it was?! I was a completely different person afterward and it allowed us to get some sleep and let the Pitocin do its job.
Around 3AM I started to get nauseous, shake, and vomit. I repeated a cycle of shake-vomit-sleep about 6 times. I think it was due to the epidural but the nurse said it was due to pain (even though I felt no pain). But the good news was I was progressing fast and furious! I was about 8 cm dilated. This was the best news I could have ever heard.
Around 4:40AM I began pushing. This is the part that was life changing. It was like an out of body experience – like the last 6.2 miles of a marathon. Your mind is sharp but your body is tired. I was exhausted and kept falling asleep between pushes. I felt no pain, just some pressure. I kept thinking give 110% every time you push and it’ll go faster. Kinda like the faster you run, the faster you get done. Even though Matt and the nurse were right there with me, encouraging me every step, I felt like it was just me in that room…on a mission.
One hour and 10 minutes later, I pushed 4 last times and the baby came out with a small cry. The feeling of her exiting my body is something I will never forget. I heard my OB say it’s a girl which confirmed what Matt and I instinctively knew for the past 10 months. And my OB made good on her promise – Fiona was born just shy of 12 hours after my water was broken. She was perfect – 10 fingers and 10 toes – and all ours…finally!
PS – To answer a burning question that I was always curious about: which is more painful – racing a marathon or labor? Labor, hands down. No comparison there!