I decided in my 3rd tri to have a natural birth. I read all the books and deleted the "e-word" from my vocabulary. I understand that there could always be complications and was mentally prepared for anything that came my way, but I was set on a natural birth for many reasons (most of which had to do with a terrible hip/back condition I have that could be further injured if I were to receive an epi).
Fast forward to Saturday, April 6. I worked a 13-hour day, running around, carrying boxes, and was pretty much on my feet from 5:30 - 6 p.m. By the time I got home, I noticed I was rather wet. I had been wearing pads all day (some light mucusy bleeding doc had told me was perfectly normal) and I was starting to soak through the thin liner. I called the doctor around 9 p.m. and he said to go into the hospital just to check and make sure it wasn't amniotic fluid from my water breaking. We hopped in the car, sans toothbrushes, clothes for my husband, and just a lightly packed bag for myself "just in case" and fully anticipated being back home before 10:30.
At midnight, they told me my water had indeed broken at some point today and I wasn't going anywhere. AH!
Since I was already approaching the 24-hour mark, possibly, of having my water broken, they decided to give me a pill (I'm forgetting the name now) to soften my cervix (I was only 1 centimeter and 50% effaced). I tried to get some sleep from midnight - 4 a.m., but was rather unsucessful, and at 4 a.m. they checked me again. 2 centimeters, 60% effaced and gave me another dose of that pill. I dozed on and off again and finally at 6 a.m. contractions started.
And boy did they start! From the get-go they were 1 minute apart, lasting 25-30 seconds each and never let up. The longest break I got was 2 minutes and it was glorious.
By 8 a.m., I was 3 centimeters and really starting to struggle. My back pain was unbelievable. The next time they checked me, at 10 a.m., I was just about 4 centimeters and they assured me I was not having back labor. The next hour was crushing. I could no longer feel the contractions. It was ALL back pain. I have displaced hips and scoliosis and often "go out" resulting in a 12" displacement of my hips and back. I have seen a chiropractor since I was 12 and been counseled on the inevitable surgery I will one day have. With each contraction, my lower back would throb and strain and scream with pain... I felt nothing at all in my uterus. In fact, there were a few times after chaninging positions, that I would experinece 1 or 2 contractions without the back pain and they were relatively tolerable and I could easily breathe through them. It would give me hope that I could make it naturally, but then the back pain would come back.
On top of that, with only about 45 minutes of sleep after such a long work day, I couldn't keep my eyes up... pure exhaustion which I'm sure was not helping me tolerate the pain.
It was during this hour(11 a.m. - noon) that my contractions picked up once again... They were 45 seconds apart, lasting 20-30 seconds, giving me only 10-20 seconds of breathing time. It took me 10 minutes to communicate to my husband that I wanted to ask the nurse about an epidural.
I had realized that I wasn't able to progress myself if I wasn't able to feel and concentrate on the contractions. All of the breathing techniques and mantras about focusing on the uterus contraction and envision things "moving down" etc. went out the window... all my focus was on my lower back and nowhere else and I couldn't reverse it.
I received an epidural around 12:30 p.m. and had the glorious ability to sleep until about 2:30. The whole time, I could feel contractions but they were painless. So at 2:30 when I woke up and felt A LOT of pressure and A LOT of contracting, even with the epi, I knew it was time and told my husband that I thought I was ready... he laughed. Sure enough, they checked me and I was 10 centimeters and baby was more than ready to come out. It was a mad dash to get the room ready for delivery. They stopped my epidural so I could feel enough to push (even before they stopped it I had complete movement in my legs and could "feel" but was numb almost like when you bite the side of your mouth after getting novicaine).
I started pushing at about 3:25 and Kaylen Elizabeth was born at 3:54 p.m.
I like to think my decision to get the epidural was the first decision I made as a mother to my baby girl. I knew she wanted out, I knew she needed out and I knew my back condition was not going to allow that without some relief. Going about labor in this way was the best decision I ever made. I feel as though I labored for long enough naturally that I experienced its rush and throws, was able to rest and progress without pain with the assistance of an epi, but then I was able to feel everything during delivery once again. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Good luck to all of you 3rd trimester moms reading this in anticipation of your own baby's birth!