FYI, this story is not entirely positive. It's also very long!
It's taken me a while to get around to writing this, partly because I'm only 6 weeks postpartum, and partly because I wasn't so sure I wanted to share. I am finding that every time I tell it, it's easier to focus on the good stuff and not be quite so p!ssed about the bad.
It was very important for me to attempt a med-free birth. My husband and I took Bradley classes, which greatly increased my confidence, and helped us both understand the process of birth so much more deeply. I had gestational diabetes which was easily controlled by diet and exercise, and I switched from a traditional OB to a midwifery practice at 32 weeks.
At 41 weeks, I started to feel the pressure of a looming induction. I had a couple NSTs and a biophysical, as well as 2 membrane sweeps. After the first sweep on a Tuesday my husband and I got in the car and I started having contractions almost immediately after my appointment. They lasted for 8 hours and were about 5 minutes apart. I went to bed around midnight figuring we were resting up for labor. I woke up, and nothing. I'm pretty sure this was my early first stage.
Second sweep was on Thursday. Nothing happened that night and i went to bed crying to my husband that I was destined to be pregnant forever.
I woke up at 2am to fairly strong contractions, called the midwife at 4, water broke at 7. At this point i felt ready to head to the hospital. When I arrived I was about 4 cm. In all my labor was a bit more than 22 hours, and most of that time I spent getting through the contractions, moving around as much as possible, relying on my husband for encouragement, and trying to relax. Generally I have a very low pain tolerance so I am pretty proud of managing to make it through without any drugs. Although I had really been looking forward to the tub, I hated it. I did like the shower. I vocalized LOUD although i swore I wouldnt be one of 'those' women. I also did this weird rhythmic tapping with my hand. Although I have never been one to meditate, I somehow was able to control my breathing in a way that greatly lessened the pain and turned me into one of those laboring women that people think are sleeping when they are actually contracting. It was awesome, and unexpected.
I pushed for a total of about 6 hours. FTMs - dont worry, that is not the norm. Around hour 4, the midwife suggested that it might not be happening on its own and I should consider vacuum extraction. Of course i was against this since I was anti intervention and stubborn, so I pushed for another hour before telling her I would talk to the OB on call.
He comes in, gives me a sort of rough internal exam, and tells me that I have two choices - an epidural with the vacuum or a c section. I felt completely backed into a corner and SO frustrated. I said I needed to think about it, which took yet another hour. It's hard to make important decisions in labor! I asked the midwife if she thought I would be able to stand the pain of the vacuum without and epi. She said yes, so I asked her to please talk the OB into it, which she did.
He walked in and I thanked him for doing it and to please just be gentle. His response was " this is not a gentle procedure" I had her out in 3 or 4 pushes. She was 9 lbs. 2 oz with a giant head full of beautiful dark hair. She had been posterior. Unfortunately I was not able to hold her right away - she was taken to the corner of the room for some tests. Also unfortunately I had a 4th degree tear.
Since I was bleeding quite a bit they were trying to get me to the OR quickly, so the delivery of the placenta was rushed. Even with pitocin I was unable to deliver it so fast, so the midwife pulled on the cord, snapping it off and leaving the placenta inside. This had to be removed during the rest of my surgery. Luckily I was able to hold my little girl for about 10 minutes while all of this was happening. Then I was wheeled off to the OR, having been told I would have a spinal and some reconstruction. My husband went to the nursery with the baby and was able to stay with her every second. I am so thankful for this.
In the OR, I was given the spinal. Apparently I was also give general anesthesia, which I was unaware of until I was wheeled into the recovery room and woke up. Here, they promised several times they would get my parents and husband to come see me. I later found out that my family was told they were not allowed to see me. I was alone in the recovery room for 30-45 minutes, which was probably the scariest part. I had uncontrollable shakes, and was just told that it was fine and I shouldn't fight it. There was a nurse in the room, I could hear her, but she was busy with paperwork and pretty much acted like she couldnt hear me.
And that's it. The end was horrible, but most of it was empowering and triumphant. And our little girl is beautiful, healthy, and strong. Thanks for letting me get it out, even if it was super long.