Posted on | October 11, 2010 | 12 Comments
Labor was nothing like I anticipated. I expected to labor at home for hours, excited and impatient. I wondered what would be on TV to keep us distracted and envisioned progressing slowly from bed to the birth center’s birthing ball, then jacuzzi tub. In the three weeks leading up to my due date I paused at every twinge, hoping for more pain, any sign of impending true labor. I tried every old wives tale and we watched dozens of natural induction videos on YouTube.
In reality, my water broke at 4am on September 23rd, four days before my estimated due date, after a few painful but definitely tolerable contractions. I had a prenatal appointment scheduled for just five hours later and was hopeful that, at best, my doctor would tell me that these contrax were leading up to the real deal. Upon hearing a loud, surprising pop at the end of one contraction, I slinked quietly from bed to the bathroom, slightly nervous, but not ready to get the husband’s hopes up.
It absolutely was my water breaking, and I called Donny into the bathroom in what I’m sure was a giddy, sing-songy voice. It was a pinkish gush and I called labor & delivery, who told me to come in and warned that my contractions would soon grow stronger. In close to zero pain at this point, I was skeptical. I messaged a friend, then my September Moms BBM group. One of the Sept moms suggested I eat before being admitted to the hospital, so I drank a bottle of Muscle Milk in the car.
In the 20 minute drive across town, contractions went from next to nothing to unbearable, and were coming every three minutes. I timed them on the dashboard clock, unbelieving of how close together they were. Not only were the contractions themselves much more painful and intense than I’d imagined they would be, they were leaving me almost no time to recover in between. By the time we had checked into L & D, each new contraction was starting just as the last one had tapered off and I was four centimeters dilated. I requested pain medication and the IV helped immediately, but temporarily.
I went in wanting to avoid an epidural, but the IV meds were losing effectiveness after just half an hour and I knew things were only going to get more painful. I ended up being incredibly happy with the epi. I had feared being totally numb and immobile, but wasn’t. At one point later I even got on hands and knees.
The couple of hours between getting the epidural and my doctor arriving are hazy but when she did arrive she told me to hang out a bit longer until I felt the urge to push. A little over an hour later she came back and I began what would be two hours of pushing. Pushing was my favorite part of the birth process. It felt completely natural and I felt like I had unlimited energy. I had a concrete goal in mind, reinforced each time his head would push down and my doctor/nurse/husband would announce, “Head full of dark hair!” I was chatting and laughing all the way up until it was time to push the baby all the way out. Donny says he almost passed out from breathing along with my pushes. He was a fabulous birth partner & coach.
It turns out that Baby’s hand was up by his neck, making pushing take longer.
‘Crowning’ is the part of the experience I will have to forget before I ever choose to have another child! Unlike even the closest contractions, actually pushing his head through allowed NO break, just constant, searing & tearing pain. I’m told I let out several loud “mother fucker”s, but that I was pretty quiet overall. The moment he slipped out, my first reaction was just relief. Only when I heard Donny breathe, “Oh my God” did I come back to the moment.
Baby Sebastian was born at 10:46am on September 23rd, and put directly on my chest. I noticed that he attempted a breast crawl, and he easily latched and breastfed within an hour of his birth. I could not have been happier with my birth experience. Perhaps with half a day or more of labor I could have toughed it out longer, maybe even done it med-free, but for going from my first real contraction to pushing him out in under seven hours, I’m more than happy with my choices. I credit my awesome doctor for urging me from the beginning to keep my options open in regards to a birth plan.