I had a really positive labor and delivery experience. The induction was pretty boring from about 8 am to 7 pm, except for the novice nurse who tried to put an IV heplock in me and failed twice. I have a huge bruise to show for that... I got two rounds of cytotec baginally. There was talk of the foley bulb but luckily the second round of cytotec got me to 3 CM. They started me on pitocin around 7:30 pm when I was dilated 3 cm. They also broke my water then. That's when I started to feel the contractions, which weren't too bad at first but I couldn't really get comfortable in the bed. I'm still not sure if it was real back labor (I don't think it was because she wasn't sunny side up) or just discomfort from the bed.
The contractions started to get really bad around 10pm or so and I asked for an epidural. They didn't feel like I expected them to--instead they just felt like really strong menstrual cramps. I should have asked for the epidural about 30 minutes earlier. It didn't really hurt except for when they gave me the preliminary numbing agent before putting the needle in. It took a while and they stopped whenever I had a contraction. The only really bad part of my labor was that the epidural didn't work correctly right away so they had to come in and do something to it. By midnight I was numb and we were able to sleep for a while. At 1 the nurse came in to check me and I was at 8 cm. I had the shakes like crazy, which the nurse told me was a sign of transition. By 3 I was at 10 so I woke DH up.
I started pushing at 3:30 am, pushing three times for each contraction--I could feel them very mildly. The nurse brought in a mirror. At first I didn't want to see but it was actually really helpful because I could see the progress and therefore push harder. At one point I thought my doctor wasn't going to be the one to deliver the baby (we scheduled the induction for Sunday because she was on call and would definitely be there) because she was with another patient but she was able to make it. After 90 minutes of pushing Margaret was born and they put her slimy self on my chest. Her heart rate had been going down after my pushes but I was able to get her out before any interventions needed to happen. One of the nurses wiped her down while I just kept my hands on her and my husband cut the cord. It was really nice to deliver in the middle of the night--the room was dark and I was really glad I'd chosen only to have DH there. Just us and the nurse for the bulk of the pushing.
This part is kind of foggy for me. We kept her for a few hours doing skin to skin and then a nurse came to bring her to the baby and mother floor. We got breakfast and were brought to the other floor.
We stayed for all of Monday and Tuesday and half the day Wednesday. It turns out I had a second degree tear. About 12 hours after labor it started to really hurt. They had to test the baby a couple times for jaundice but she ended up okay. Staying at the hospital was kind of boring but it was really nice. I actually felt really emotional leaving--the hormone crash. i cried on the way home.
Here are things I'm glad I did/wish I'd known. Feel free to take or leave as they align or don't with your hopes for your L&D.
- Bring a real camera, not just your phone, if you have one. One of the nurses took some pictures for us. It's just easier not to have them have to mess with your passcode, etc.
- Don't pack a lot of clothing for yourself. I stayed in the hospital gown nearly the entire time. Even when we had visitors I only put on a real shirt and just stayed under the blanket.
- If the nurses are taking your baby in the middle of the night for a test or something, ask them to keep him/her for a little while so you can get some real sleep.
- The recovery rooms at my hospital were small, so consider that if you're having guests come (yours might not be...)
- If they have to keep one of those pulse things on your finger and you're going to be sleeping, ask them if they can keep it on your toes instead. (this was magical).
- Buy a variety of sizes of pads. I only bought big ones but now regret it because I'm not bleeding that much.
- Bring some of your own pads to the hospital. The ones they give you are massive.
- If they let you order food from the hospital menu, ask the nurse if you can order extra to give your partner. DH was able to get free breakfast and lunch out of that.
- Get this stuff. It is amazing for recovery. I think they also sell it at CVS and Target.
- If they are only giving you ibuprofen for pain and it's not cutting it ask for something stronger.
- You don't need to bring a robe--you can just wear two hospital gowns if you're going to walk around, one open to the front and one open to the back