I was in labor for 40 hrs including early labor but not including prodromal labor, 22 of which were at the hospital. I managed to do it without medicinal pain management, largely thanks to DH since I had given up many times over. He surprised me as to how good a coach he was. DS is generally OK, but developed jaundice and we are ABO incompatible. He was borderline, so didn't need phototherapy but had to be monitored. His numbers are finally dropping to a lower risk category and I can breathe a sigh of relief and transition to motherhood.
I'd been having prodromal labor for a few weeks and had experienced other pre-labor signs of lightening, and show. I had prodromal labor the day before the real thing, but it stalled as it had done many times before. I have a strange relationship with pain - I don't always feel it. So, I wasn't sure if I would feel real labor pain but I did.
Contractions started around 6.30 am Monday last week, but they weren't regular, and while they were painful, I could handle it. By 3.30 am on Tuesday, they seemed more regular with periods of about 2-3 mins and lasted at least an hour. So, we headed to the hospital. I was 3 cm dilated (I had thought I was further along), 80% effaced. My contractions had slowed down though, due to stage-fright, I think. They also became irregular again and stayed that way for most of the rest.
By 10.00 am, I was antsy again. A cervix check showed that, again, I hadn't made as much progress as I thought. I was only at 5 cm. I was GBS positive, so I had to get IV antibiotics every 4 hours. I asked them to turn off the IV between doses. I also asked for intermittent monitoring (20 mins on, 40 mins off). So, I was able to get on my feet now and then. As time wore on, though, my legs got weaker, and I needed to hold on to something to stay up. The relaxation techniques I had learned during birth classes also went out the window; they weren't working.
At several points during the day, my morale hit rock bottom. I didn't believe I could go on unassisted. DH was a star and kept me going. I catnapped when I could, which wasn't often or for long enough. For some reason, the nurses seemed impressed by my 'calmness'. If only they knew how I really felt.
At 7 pm, my OB called to check my progress. She was headed home and I was only 6 cm or 7. ( BS from my birth class: "the pain peaks at 7 cm," no it doesn't!). My water broke at 10 pm. And for whatever reason (possibly to slow down contractions until the on-call doctor arrived) the labor nurse put me on my side, horizontally. This was the most awful pain I had ever experienced. I could no longer suffer in silence. I loudly moaned through the contractions until the doctor arrived. The moron doctor thought it was appropriate to tell me that I should've done an epidural, you know, after 10s of hours of labor and with the end in sight. If I were being filmed for reality TV, I would pause the pushing and stare at the camera with a blank face. Then, I was allowed to sit up and the pain was manageable again.
But I was completely spent. Coached pushing commenced and I kept being told I was almost there. But I couldn't seem to cross the finish line. I begged for vacuum assistance - anything to get the baby out. DH and the doctor thought I should keep pushing. I just let my body do its thing at this point since I had nothing more to give. I also agreed to an episiotomy and DS was born just after 1 am on Wednesday at 7 lb 2 oz.
A little bit about DS:
He has his dukes up a lot, ready to strike in protest in a moment's notice. He's very vocal, which is good because I am clueless. He seems to be an alternative rock fan. His worst enemy is cold surfaces. (Pic attached - he's still quite jaundiced in it, may delete in time.)
I'm still adjusting to the amount of work a newborn takes. I must say my standard of 'clean enough' has taken a new meaning with everything covered in milk and urine.
Thank you all for your support and companionship. I can't believe how quickly it all went. Hope you all have smooth pregnancies and I look forward to seeing you in Parenting>35.