I am a first time Mom and Caden was due October 8th, 2013. I had a "Birth Plan" written out (one page, bullet points, very simple and easy) but I liked to refer to it as "Birth Wishes" instead, as I felt it important to always acknowledge things may or may not go that way. Bottom line, I hoped for as natural as possible hospital birth as I could have. Most importantly, I worked on staying determined that no matter what happened, I would decide the best of it and I would have the best experience that I could under any circumstances. This was my hope.
Early in the morning on the 3rd, around 2:55 am, I was woken up by a sharp stabbing pain towards my cervix and vagina, and a small trickle of fluid as I sat up. I went to the bathroom, decided to grab a pad as I had a feeling I was going to keep getting more fluid, and I did. I soaked 2 overnight pads. I called labor and delivery and woke up my husband. I knew they would want to see me but I was hoping they would let me come back home to do early labor at home. So we headed off to L&D (we live about 15 mins from hospital is all.) Oh, and also notified my Doula and that we would keep her posted, but no real contractions had started or anything.
When we got to Triage, they let us know that there was an unusual amount people being admitted and all L&D rooms were full. They also let me know, that I wouldn't be able to go home, in labor or not, because I was GBS positive (I think it's called GBS? I always was getting it wrong.) I realized that I knew that they wouldn't let me go because of this and couldn't be too upset. However, it started to dawn on me as well that my Ob/Gyn was going to want to induce me since my water broke and I tested positive. That started to cause a slight amount of anxiety since I didn't want to be induced since I knew it could be so much harder possibly. Finally a room came open, and my awesome nurse said look, let's move you in there right now so you have a room, and we will worry about admitting you later! So, I got a room. Only small, sporadic contractions still at this point, maybe every 10-15 minutes if that.
My doctor came in and said she read my birth plan (all the nurses loved my plan by the way, it started off by telling the in bright color, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO IN ADVANCE!!) anyway, the Doctor said she would induce me right then and there if she didn't know I was against it, and so she asked me to agree with her on a time to induce if my body didn't start up on it's own? Since I knew that birth after 18 hours post-water break increased the GBS risk to baby, I asked to wait as close to that time as possible, maybe at 15 hours? She said she'd go 12 hours. I told her I understood why we should do that, and I promised not to be a butthead even though I had my hopes on how things would go, we laughed a little and agreed, 3 pm.
My Husband and I took a couple hour nap, and then we did a small walk every so often, sat on the ball etc. But I pretty much knew my body was not going to completely start on it's own without help, not in the time frame we needed to make sure Caden would be safe. Now, he had been at a -2 position and my cervix was partially effaced but not dilated at the last office check the week before. But, with small contractions starting with the water breaking, at least my body was ready and starting on it's own. I was very grateful for that!
So at 3 pm, we gave another update to Doula and told her probably in a few hours we would like to have her there, but we would call. (I didn't want to bring her in if it was going to be hours before anything was happening. She was an hour away.) At 3:30 pm, they started the Pitocin drip. (I also had Penicillin added to my IV I think twice at this point? it ended up being 3 doses of Penicillin altogether, the last being right before baby was born I believe?) By 4 pm, contractions were starting to become regular but everything was still ok. I had to concentrate a little, but not bad. Then I had one good contraction. I went from telling my nurse a pain level of oh 4 or 5, but I had nothing to compare it to, to that one was a 7 or 8 and I thought no way can I do this if this is just the start and that is how bad it is going to get! I asked DH to go call Doula and ask her to get there as soon as she was able to now, because that scared me, and it was becoming very regular, very fast. I think my pitocin drip may have been up to a 3 by then? All I know is they never pushed it above a 4...
I had a nurse who was WONDERFUL and was very much into natural births, so she NEVER pushed an epi on me, and she also knew my story of why I didn't want one (nerve damage in hip and back, did not want it touched or possibly made worse by the epi). She was great though. She helped talked me threw it. (DH was doing AWESOME this whole time and remained so calm too!!) But I told her "I can't do this!", she said yes you can, you are. But don't make a decision in the middle of a contraction, try to wait for your Doula to get here. So that gave me something to try and wait for. Although, I did say, "let me rephrase, I don't WANT to do this then!!" lol But, once one contraction was done, I rested for a minute again. One at a time.
It was tough though because when they checked me, as I was saying things that I knew to be a sign of transition supposedly, I was only dilated to a 2! I about panicked! I had hours left at this intensity??? There was no way! Where was my Doula?? Finally she got there (she was delayed by a wreck,so it had been 1 hr and 20 mins about. I believe she arrived about 615pm?) Now, right before she got there, I was begging for anything at this point, and I begged her please don't up the pitocin, please make it stop, make it slow down etc. I had gone to the bathroom and while on the toilet by body started to spontaneously push and took me 100% by surprise! Just small fast pushes, but I couldn't stop them, and I just kept trying to continue to breath and "relax" whenever I could breathe again. (I think that may have been right before they checked me to be a 2 actually, and that was why I freaked out) The nurse did ask me then if I wanted an IV med to help take the edge off as I think she saw I really was starting to not do well. "YES, please! Anything!" So, I got a dose of fentenol. Not much pain relief, but at least it was enough to take a slight edge off and I could get a hold of my somewhat running away brain and got back in the game.
Ok, skip ahead again, Doula arrives. Fentenol is worn off. I beg to get in tub. They tell Doula I am at a 2. I am still begging for tub. She has thoughts of oh no, it's too early for tub, but she decides to let me do what I feel I need to do (we talked about all this later) so we move me to the tub. Now, I keep getting overtaken by pushing contractions still, even though I am not trying to push, and I try to immediately continue my breathing and "relaxing" (which they said I was doing really well but I didn't see how what i was doing was "relaxing", that was pretty intense!) got in the tub, immediately, huge contraction, pushing, ok, breathing again. I want out. I don't like this, this is not better, I want out, out now! It only took them a minute to realize I was right and I needed to get out of the tub and they wanted to check me, because at this point it was becoming apparent I really was in transition, regardless if I was just a 2! I got out, they checked me, I was at a 7. About 35 minutes had passed since I was a 2.
They kept trying to encourage me that he was right there (and already crowning with each contraction but going back in when it stopped). All I could think of, I was at a 2. I have hours left. I can't do this. Thank goodness for my awesome DH, Doula, and nurse, they kept my head in the game and kept encouraging me. I had a hard time believing I was really about to give birth though and DEFINITELY didn't realize it would be any minute! It gets a little blurry for me here. I know my Doctor didnt make it in time, and I had one of the on-call midwife doctors I think? I kept hearing the other nurses that were in the room and people being so amazed I was a FTM and how fast this was going but how well I was doing. I could feel the "ring of fire" starting, I somewhere knew he was getting ready to be out, but I still couldn't believe it. I still thought I had hours. Again, thank goodness for my awesome support team.
So the doctor wanted to check me one last time (they did checks as little as possible due to the GBS pos thing) and I was at a 10 with a lip. (it had been about an hour since I was checked at a 2). She said I was ready to push him out now, and she would just help him push past that last lip, but it would help if I got on my back. On my back, next contraction, she checks, lip is gone now and so they say to push. Now, I never really felt like I had consciously pushed yet, my body was just doing it's own thing and pushing when it wanted to up to this point. So now I pushed, but only along with my body. My body stopped, I stopped. They said that was good and kept encouraging that, to wait for my body. There were a few contractions like this. Then, right before the last contraction, I could feel him and my Doula said later I think , that his head was out to just below his eyes?) but I stopped pushing because my body stopped. I had such a moment of clarity and just remembered that I was not going to force my body at any point, so I waited. It seemed like forever. I remember looking around at everyone's faces and thinking, um, I hope labor didn't just stop! But then, one last contraction so I pushed! (ok, second to last, but to me the last 2 seemed like one with another pause is all) but when it paused this time, the Doctor said look! Now, in my mind, she just stopped him herself from sliding all the way out so I could see him. I shouted (as nicely as I could lol) "I don't want to see!! Get him out!!". I figured, no really, seeing him all the way out instead of paused halfway would be just fine by me! So pushing continued (in my mind still, she stopped holding back the contraction. I think I really did think she was holding him in me. lol) and he was born! They immediately handed him to me and I asked "what do I do with him?" LOL I saw pictures of my face later, I'm not a gushy smiley person when I am concentrating, and as happy as I was, the look on my face was so typical for me I had to laugh. Oh! Another answer to prayer and I am sure it is from allowing my body to control the pushing (another reason I didn't want an epi) and the pausing while he was crowning, NO tearing and NO stitches!! Recovery has been so awesome. I am VERY grateful!
Overall, I very much enjoyed the whole experience, pain and all. I think if I had known it was going to move so fast, I could have gone without the fentenol even and tolerated the pain a little longer and been able to keep my head about me. Caden Jase was 7lbs 3 oz, 20". Cried on his own right away and then was quiet and content, looking beautiful and perfect.
I hope my story is encouraging for someone out there and thank you for hanging in there and reading the whole thing if you did. I hope you all have great birth experiences, no matter how they go, and find the good in any experience and hold on to those good moments.