My Labor Story

I finally wrote my labor story down for a friend, and I know others were waiting on it… so here you go. It was kind of quick, but I think I covered everything.

I went in at 9:30 on Monday night. When we went, we went with the thought that the contractions MAY get worse, or my tolerance would wear down, we’d end up there at midnight, and get out at 4 AM, and Nick would be exhausted. That happened to us like a week and a half before. I had been down to the hospital twice before, only to get sent home. So when I went that night, it was with the thought that when I got sent home, at least Nick would be able to get SOME sleep.I got there, and the nurse checked me and didn’t seem to positive, but they wanted to wait and see what happened. They asked me if I wanted to walk or get in the tub, or what I wanted to do. Well, of COURSE I said the tub. Who wouldn’t want to sit in the jetted tub?So in the tub I went.Half an hour later, there’s a knock and the door opens. There stands my midwife, and she says “Just what do you think you’re doing?” I stared at her like she was blind and said “Sitting in the tub…” She says “I don’t think so. Let’s go, missy. You’re WALKING.”So I got out of the tub, and they checked me, and luckily I had been in to see her that afternoon, so she knew that I had at least made SOME progress. Gown, robe, and then I was out and walking the maternity floor, Susan (my midwife) on my left side, Nick on my right. We did laps for FOUR HOURS. Around midnight I was dialated to a full 2. By 1 Am the contractions were bad enough that I couldn’t walk through them anymore. Susan would have me stop and wrap my arms around Nick’s neck and sway back and forth. (Very helpful – eases the pain and helps you progress, just in case you wanted to know.) By the time we stopped at 2 AM, I was a 3. Susan looked at me and said “How are you feeling?” And I replied with one word – TUB. I don’t know if Mora has them, but Cambridge has jetted tubs in all their rooms. They are the best. If you have access to them, USE THEM.I sat in the tub for an hour, and at 3 I was dialated to a 4. Susan then asked if I wanted to have her break my water. We debated it, but I finally decided it had to happen sometime, and at that point Susan thought I only had 2-4 hours left if we did it. So I said yes. What a weird feeling. It’s like you are peeing yourself uncontrollably. And then when you have contractions it just seems to keep coming and coming… you begin to think it will never end. Most people I have talked to said once their water broke, the contractions instantly got really hard. Mine slowly and progressively got worse. By 4 AM I was dilated to a 9. Woo hoo! At that point I was hurting pretty bad, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it alone. Around 4:30 I asked for a shot of narcotics. I debated up until I ended up in the hospital whether an epidural or narcotics was the way to go. The narcotics dull the pain slightly – not as much as I think I hoped they would, but the great thing about them is that in between every contraction, you are pretty much asleep. At that point I was so tired, and the rest was a huge help. We went back to the tub, and I sat in there while Nick sat on the floor next to me. At this point my memory starts to lose time. I’m not sure how long I was in then – I think about an hour. Towards the end I fell asleep after one contraction, and when I woke up I felt like it had been quite a while. Sure enough,15 minutes had gone by without a contraction. I was terrified that labor had stalled and (in my irrational in-labor insanity) that they were going to send me home. Contractions went back to their regular interval at that point. Apparantly your body will naturally give you breaks like that to rest. I had no idea. Back out we went, and Susan had me get on the exercise ball. I remember very little of that. Nick sat in front of me and helped me rock back and forth. They checked me a while later, and I was still at a 9. By this time the narcotic was wearing off. I went for an hour after it wore off and finally asked for another dose. I remember the exams getting a little more painful, and the contractions getting worse, but I wasn’t progressing. We went on like that until 8:30, and I was still at a nine and the narcotics had worn off again. My midwife would not give me more than two doses of the narcotics, because it can make your baby pretty sleepy. They can reverse it once he’s born, but if there’s a problem during delivery, it could end up being an issue. At 8:30 my midwife fought to keep me awake after a contraction, and she was asking me to focus on what she was saying. She told me she was going to go ahead and order an epidural, but I had to okay it. She was worried that I had been stalled for so long, and now it had been nearly 12 hours and I hadn’t really had any sleep. She said I was too exhausted and we had no idea how long it would be, and she was afraid that without it I would never get through the rest of the labor. It took over half an hour for them to come in and hook me up. I was terrified – I hadn’t wanted an epidural anyway, and I was so afraid that I would have a really bad contraction while they were inserting the needle into my spine and that I’d end up paralyzed or something like that. I lived. I did have a contraction while they were trying to do it. I still managed to hold still enough that it was okay. By 9:30 I was feeling pretty good. By 10 I was feeling great. My parents came in to see me at that point, and my sister showed up just after they left. She came and sat in the room, and Nick took her aside and asked her to keep an eye on me while he tried to get some sleep. (Which is what I was supposed to be doing!) Rose and I watched TV and chatted, and finally around 12:45 I started to feel sleepy.Unfortunatly for me, just as I was falling asleep a little past 1, my midwife came in with two nurses, and they started doing Lord knows what. The room suddenly was filled with activity, and Susan said “Okay, Joslyn, it’s time.” (I still don’t know how she knew. I’m assuming that they figured it out with the monitors I had – I think I even had an internal at that point.) My sister was still in the room, and I suddenly didn’t care. Nick flew out of the chair he was asleep in and was ready to go. It was time to push.This was kind of the easy part in my opinion. I started pushing with contractions. Then my midwife brings in this big ol’ mirror so I can see what’s happening. I wasn’t really into that idea originally, but it helps SO MUCH, especially with an epidural, because you can see if what you are doing is working or not. Once I had that figured out, it was a breeze. Less than 40 minutes later, Ollie was born. Apparantly that part went pretty fast – especially considering his size. During the pushing, when we could see his head, his heart rate started dropping, so Susan did an episiotomy. I hardly noticed that. When they started guessing his weight, I thought they were kidding. I didn’t BELIEVE it when they told me he was 9 lbs 7 oz. I even remember saying “But that was too easy for that big of a baby!” The rest of the day flew by. I stayed awake pretty much the whole night, staring at him. The next morning Nick and I decided to put him in the nursery for just a little bit so I could shower and Nick could help. My family showed up right after Nick took him down and I was already in the tub, so Nick got the baby back and let them hold him while he came in and helped me shower. That was so nice. The next day my other midwife, Rhonda, came in to visit me, and she said “I know you had a long labor, and it was hard. How do you feel about it?” And I said “I would do it again!” She stared at me like I was nuts and said “I never hear that from first time moms – especially when they had a labor like yours!”We’re not really sure why I stopped progressing. Those hours were definitely the hardest. But I was so proud of myself for getting through it – and it wasn’t as bad as I expected.Anyway, now you have a novel! But I know I loved birth stories, so I thought I’d share it with you. Overall, don’t be scared, and trust your body. Anna Carlson was talking to me a few months before, and she said what you’ve probably already heard – “Women have been doing this for millions of years.” And I always thought, “Yeah, but I’m a sissy.” Well, I did it, and I didn’t think I could!

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