Birth Stories

Very long labor and no epi

So, this really did take a while to post and I'm a bit embarrassed but I couldn't have possibly predicted how all consuming it really is to have LO here. All in all it was a positive experience, but really only because my baby is here and healthy.  It was a long hard road!  A little background info:  I found out about a month before my EDD that I could not have an epi due to a previous spinal surgery so I ended up hiring a doula to help us with the labor process.  I ended up having a very long prodromal labor which basically means that your body starts contracting but doesn't do anything with it for a really long time!

I went in to labor on april 7th, one day after my due date.  50 hours later Phillip arrived!  My first sign of labor was the beginning of my bloody show when I woke up, quickly followed by my first contractions. I didn't really realized that you keep bleeding the ENTIRE time you are in labor as your cervix continues to dilate.  My contractions started about 10 minutes apart and felt like strongish menstrual cramps.  I called my doula after I was fairly certain I was having contractions just to let her know what was going on and she advised me to take a shower, finish packing my bag, and take a nap.  Oh how I wish I would have taken her advice!

I was of course way too excited to sleep but I did take a shower and finish packing my bag.  I tried to rest a little but I couldn't so I just went on about my day.  Throughout the day the intensity of the contractions increased and by about 10 pm they were coming 4-5 minutes apart, lasting a minute each and getting a bit more intense where I couldn't continue talking through them. I called my doula and she came right over. She and DH rubbed my back through contractions, I sat in the jacuzzi, and we basically continued a pattern like that for about another hour when my contractions started coming more like every 3-4 minutes.  I wanted to labor at home as long as possible since I knew I wouldn't be getting the epi, but I was GBS positive so I also knew I needed to get to the hospital in time to get antibiotics.  At that point, my doula suggested we go ahead and leave.

We got to the hospital and much to my dissapointment, I was only 2 centimeters!  The resident told me that judging from that and how long I had already been in labor, it would probably be a while longer and I might want to head home to TRY to get some sleep.  DH, the doula and I agreed, unfortunately, my doctor's on call partner did not and wanted me to stay at the hospital for three hours to be monitored.  In three hours, I dilated .5 centimeters more.  So, at that point we headed home and I tried to eat some breakfast.  I was given some ambien and was able to catch a bit of a nap while still waking up during the contractions.  Thursday afternoon, my contractions really picked up steam and I had to moan and be massaged VERY HARD in my lower back to get through them.  Finally about 7 pm I was in so much pain and I had the very strong urge that we should go back to the hospital. 

Once BACK at the hospital, I was told I was only 5 centimeters!  But, everyone agreed I should stay.  I had a bit of a break down at this point because I felt like I had been at it for so long and still had so far to go.  My doula, DH, and my doctor were all awesome at pumping me back up and telling me I could absolutely do it.  Well the next 14 hours or so were kind of a blur but basically they consisted of my being in the worst pain I could ever imagine and my husband being right beside me rubbing my back so hard that his arms ached for days through contractions every 1-3 minutes.  I asked, no begged for a c-section 3 times, but luckily my doctor stood strong and told me that things were progressing slowly but well and that the baby was not in distress so there was no need for a c-section. 

I finally felt the urge to push while I was on the toilet and abruptly stood up and practically ran back to the bed.  As soon as I laid down I literally couldn't stop myself from pushing even though the nurse was telling me to wait.  When she checked me I was 10 centimeters (finally!!!) with a small cervical lip which she moved out of the way on the next contraction.  I was told before by people that pushing feels good, well it did not feel good to me, but it was better than the contractions!  Mostly I think I was just exhausted at that point though.  After two hours of pushing I was begging the doctor just to reach in and rip him out of me, but luckily once again she did not listen to me, haha.  She did spend the entire two hours with me though, massaging and stretching my perineum, which was amazing for her to do.  Ultimately, I did have an episiotomy because I wouldn't stretch or tear and he just wasn't coming out.  I also tore a little bit more once he did come out.

The feeling of having him out is almost indescribable.  I really couldn't believe it was over until they put him on my chest.  I was a bit overwhelmed at first but it was an awesome feeling.  I did not have to push the placenta out at all but I did feel it slide out which was so strange. 

Anyway, I know this was incredibly long, but so was the labor!  We are home now and DS is perfect except for a very large bruise on his head where my vagina pressed for so long and wouldn't give in!  We are so happy if a bit exhausted/

My advice to all you ladies hoping to go naturally is to have LOTS of support around you.  Even if you don't have a labor as long as mine, I can imagine that you could really doubt yourself at times.  Good luck to everyone!

Link to pics:

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Re: Very long labor and no epi

  • Congratulations!
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  • Congratulations on your healthy baby boy.  Wow, I am endlessly impressed that you made it through a 50 hour labor all natural with nothing more than an ambien for help (and a very helpful DH and doula!). I'm planning/hoping to go all natural, so stories like this are very inspiring to me. Thanks for posting.
    Ectopic pregnancy Aug. 2008, followed by a diagnosis of two blocked tubes.
    IVF#1 gave us a BFP on 8/24/09, DD born May 2010
    Surprise, natural BFP July 2012 ended in miscarriage 9/4/12 at 10w4d
    FET#1 January 2013
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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  • Congrats!!! I'm surprised they wouldn't let you have an epi, but I don't know what type of spinal surgery you had, but I had two lower back surgeries and they let me have an Epi, that was the first thing I asked. 
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