After having weeks of uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions, I sailed right past my due date of Dec. 22 and into the 41st week of pregnancy. By the time I arrived at the hospital radiology lab for a biophysical profile at 40w6d, I was pretty done being pregnant. So when my midwife suggested we start an induction that day for the low fluid that showed up on the ultrasound, I happily agreed.
We were admitted around noon on Tuesday, and settled into a room in labor and delivery. My husband had to go home with a list of items I wrote on the fly, since I had no idea I'd be going in for an ultrasound and not coming out.
In the first hour of monitoring on the fetal heart rate monitor, the baby had a heart rate deceleration. They gave me oxygen and had me lay on my side, and he recovered. But as a result, the midwife changed her course of action. Instead of giving me Cytotec to ripen my cervix, she wanted to try a Foley catheter instead. Her reasoning: The catheter could be removed if the baby was in distress, but the Cytotec couldn't.
So I spent the first night 1 with a Foley catheter in my cervix, hoping it would fall out, since falling out would mean I was 4 cm dilated. It didn't. I awoke the next morning and started a Pitocin drip, then sat in bed all day and waited for contractions. They didn't arrive, and at dinnertime I was still 3 cm. The 2nd night I asked for Cytotec but was given Cervadil instead - again because of the baby's HR decels - and awoke to day 3 still only 3 cm dilated. So back on the Pitocin I went for another whole day of nada.
By 4 p.m. Thursday I was in tears. DH and I were bored out of our minds. The nurse came in, and I asked if perhaps my body was resistant to Pitocin. She just told me to be patient, which was frustrating to hear at that point. But the frustration didn't last long - around 5 p.m. I started having hard, painful contractions that put me on my knees within minutes.
I lasted about an hour through the Pitocin-amped
contractions before begging for an epidural. It had been my plan to go natural,
but I was in so much pain there was no way I could continue. The epidural
insertion process was probably the hardest and most uncomfortable part of my
labor, mainly because I was experiencing terrible contractions throughout and
had to remain perfectly still. Once it was in, it was pure relief.
About 4 hours after getting the epidural, I was checked again for progress and was fully dilated. I had gone from 4cm to 10cm in the course of an evening! It was the best news ever. Because I still couldn't feel a thing, the midwives had me wait a few more hours until it was time to push. We sat there, rested and talked, and waited to meet our little boy.
At 2:30 a.m. the midwives came in and told me it was go time. I was still completely numb, which made it difficult, because I couldn't feel the contractions, and couldn't really feel myself pushing. I had to watch the contraction monitor, and feel my belly with my hands to know when to push. And with every push, the baby's heart rate decelerated.
Because of the continuing decels, they brought in an OB, who advised me that the baby had to come out in the next hour, or they'd have to do a c-section. I very much wanted to avoid a c-section, mainly because I didn't want to stay in the hospital any longer than I already had. So I agreed to try a vacuum-assisted delivery, and was given three contractions to get him out with the vacuum.
Pretty soon I was almost out of my "chances". A pediatrician
was in the back of the room now, and assorted other medical personnel, ready to
take me for a c-section. On my very last push, at 3:43 am on New Year's Eve,
Caden John came into the world. He was 7lb 4oz, 21.5" long, and
Even though it took 41w3d and a 62 hour induction to get him here, it was worth every minute. All in all, I was only "in pain" for that one hour before I got the epidural. I didn't feel anything while pushing, and needed 3 stitches for internal tears, but didn't feel those either. My recovery has been fast and easy, and Caden is now 9lb 1oz on the eve of his 3week birthday.