Quick back story: My EDD was 12/18. DH (Jason) and I really wanted a natural birth and felt that avoiding induction was key to achieving this. So we were pretty bummed when the dr wanted to go ahead a get a date set at our 40 week appt. At this point, I was only 1 cm dilated and 20% effaced, so I was pretty nervous about not going into labor by the Dec 29 induction date.
Dec 21 -
Around 3 am, I got up to move to the recliner due to back pain. I went to the bathroom and felt a gush. Somehow, I convinced myself that I had suddenly developed urinary incontinence, despite the fact that the gushes continued off and on for the next several hours. Contractions started around 5 and were immediately 10 min apart, so at that point, I was pretty sure we were going to meet our team green baby today. I got back into bed for one last snuggle with Jason as a family of 2 and let him know what was going on. Around 7, we called our parents and our doula Michelle to keep them updated. My parents immediately drove up from Charlotte (3 hr drive), even though I told them that we were staying at home as long as possible and the dr had said I didn't need to come to the hospital until 3 or so. Of course, they didn't care...
11:30 - Michelle and my parents both arrive. In the meantime, I was completely unable to go back to sleep (a sad fact that would later bite me in the butt) and had puttered around the house. Jason and I went for a walk, which really helped get my ctx regular - a process I repeated throughout the day with him and Michelle. I would go for an hour or so with ctx 5 minutes apart, but every time I would get near my mother (who stresses me out very easily), they would slow back down. So finally, around 4 pm, I decided to go ahead and head into the hospital, just to get a break from her staring at me, waiting for something to happen.
We got to the hospital around 5 and Jason, Michelle, and I went through triage. My ctx were good - 4 to 5 min apart, 1 min long, and at the point where I couldn't talk through them. I was checked and I almost cried - I was now 1 cm dilated and 90% effaced. 12 hours of pretty decent labor for nothing but effacement? But I put on my big girl panties and we all immediately started walking laps around the floor. At this point, I was still adamant that we were having a natural birth.
By 9 pm, my contractions had ramped up to every 2 to 3 minutes, some with double peaks, and I could NOT do anything through them but moan or chant various words throughout (the F-bomb got used a lot...) Jason and Michelle were awesome - they rubbed my back, swayed with me, distracted me when I got a break. I tried the shower for a bit, but I started shaking uncontrollably and got really nauseated (which made me excited, as everything I read said that that usually happens around transition). At 10:15, our nurse came in to check my progress - and I had only dilated to 2 cm! I essentially lost it - the ctx were insanely painful, every 2 minutes, and I had been going nonstop for almost 20 hours. I talked it over with Jason and, despite the fact that I felt like a failure, I decided to get the epidural. It took over an hour for the anesthesiologist to get there and place it and it took him 2 tries to get it. But once he did, my pain seriously just disappeared. (Perhaps a little too well as I could feel NOTHING when it came time to push...)
The nurse checked me again 40 minutes after the epidural was placed and I had progressed to 6 cm! I get tired of people saying it, but it was true for me - I really needed to relax to progress. Everyone fell asleep (or tried to), as it was now Dec 22 and we had been going for almost 24 hours. Around 3, we needed to start low dose Pitocin, as my ctx had spaced back out and weren't an effective pattern for progression.
By 4:45, the nurse checked me again and I just had a small lip of cervix left. She massaged it out of the way through a few contractions and then went to get set up to deliver. I asked them to turn down the epi, which they did - but I still couldn't really feel anything down below. I started to be able to feel the ctx in my upper abdomen, which helped some. I had 3 or 4 practice pushes and then they got the dr in for the rest. I pushed 3 or 4 more times and the baby's head popped out. I remember looking down and asking, "Why isn't the baby crying yet? Is it okay?" and the dr laughed and told me the baby would cry when he or she was all the way out. Next little push and out came the body - we had said we wanted Jason to be the one to announce the sex, so the dr held the baby up, Jason got a good look, and announced, "We have a girl!" I was totally surprised - I was CONVINCED we were having a boy! But Liesl Ann made her debut at 5:45 on 12/22/11, after almost 27 hours of labor.
We immediately did skin to skin, Jason waited for the cord to stop pulsing and cut it, and we had the placenta wrapped up to take home for encapsulation. We delayed all the newborn procedures for awhile, so it was an hour or so before we found out just how big our little girl was. Everyone kept speculating, but I was still surprised to find out she was 9lbs 3 oz and 20.75 inches long!
It wasn't the birth that we had planned on, but we're okay with how it turned out. We have a healthy daughter and a healthy mom, and that's the important part for us. And heck - nothing so far has gone how we planned! But I'm pretty sure that's part of being new parents and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store.