I think it has taken me 41/2 months to finally write this because I don't feel like i could ever do this story justice, but here it is anyway.
It was Monday May 14. My doctor was planning on inducing me on Tuesday. I really didn't want to be induced, but I was in so much pain at that point that I just wanted the pregnancy to be over.
At 12:30pm I visited my acupuncturist hoping that he could kick start my labor.
At 2pm I had an appointment with my OB. She said I was still less than 2cm dilated, but that I was "soft and so ready to go". She also asked me if I was aware that I was having contractions. I wasn't. I just felt kind of crampy. She told me to check into the hospital at midnight. They were going to insert something into my cervix to soften it and get labor going- unless of course, I was already having regular contractions.
Labor and delivery was really busy that night so they called us and asked us to come at 1:30am instead.
We checked in (we are in the biggest birthing room in the hospital- my doctor hooked us up) and I was hooked up to the monitors and IV's. It turns out that I was having contractions about five minutes apart so they couldn't give me the medicine to soften my cervix because I was already technically in labor. At 3:00am they started me on a low dose of pitocin.
They pump me up with so much fluid over-night that for the first time in my pregnancy my ankles are swollen and I get some stretch marks on my hips- NO KIDDING.
Over the next few hours various nurses and doctors kept saying to me "are you sure you're not feeling anything?"
My contractions were increasing and I still wasn't feeling them.
Over night I just hung out with my husband and watched DVD's- all the while watching my contractions increase on the monitor, but not feeling anything.
At some point early in the morning I had to poop. I was so worried that they weren't going to let me go to the bathroom because they told me once I was hooked up to the IV's and monitors that I couldn't get out of bed, but the nurse took one look at my terrified face and unhooked me. I was so relieved. I had spent the entire pregnancy- from the moment I first saw those two lines- worrying that I would poop on the table during delivery.
My contractions increased in frequency and strength throughout the morning- still with no pain.
My mother arrives.
At around 11AM one of my doctor's partners (my doctor was at her office a few blocks away) comes in to check on me. I am 4cm dilated.
He tells me that he wants to break my water and insert a catheter and that if I was planning on getting an epidural I should do it now because once my water breaks I should be in pain. I feel really weird about getting an epidural when I'm not having any pain, but I figure eventually there is going to be pain so we call the anesthesiologist.
After months of worrying, and getting an MRI and being assured that even though my back is fucked up, it's not fucked up in the way that should affect the epidural, they have trouble putting in my epidural. It takes several tries and two doctors.
They finally get the epidural in. I sit and wait for the supposed wonderful feeling that all of these woman talk about. The feeling that makes people want to hug their anesthesiologist. I just feel like my ass is asleep. I HATE the epidural. I tell my husband to have them turn it off. The nurses and doctors think I am a crazy woman. They keep asking me if I'm sure. I am sure. They turn it off.
My best friend arrives.
We are laughing and joking around with the doctors and nurses. We ask them to guess when the baby will be born. We hear things like 6pm and 10pm.
All of a sudden at about 12:30 I start experiencing INTENSE pain. It is different from how everyone describes it. It is not in my abdomen. It is in my crotch. I close my eyes and try to work through the pain. We call the anesthesiologists back to turn on the epidural. NOW I wouldn't mind a numb ass.
My doctor's partner sticks his head in the room as he's heading out of the hospital. I tell him that I'm having a lot of pain and pressure. He checks me. I am 8cm dilated. He is VERY surprised at how quickly I'm progressing.
My in-laws arrive. I am aware of their presence, but am focusing on getting through the pain. I assume that my husband will ask them to leave before I start pushing because that is what we had discussed.
SO MUCH PAIN. The epidural is doing nothing.
My best friend keeps asking why I'm not screaming. "Where's the screaming? How come there's no screaming?"
My doctor arrives. She is wearing a beautiful dress.
She had been sitting at her desk eating a sandwich telling her husband that she would probably miss the party they were supposed to go to that night because I was in labor, when her partner called her to tell her I was 8cm. She stopped eating her sandwich and ran over to the hospital. I tell her to take her time and finish her sandwich. She says "Um, yeah, I think I'm going to change into my scrubs".
Everyone in the room is watching my contractions on the monitor. My husband had explained to them how it worked. My best friend still doesn't understand why I'm not screaming.
She comes back into the room at 1pm and checks me. I am 10 cm dilated. She tells me it's time to start pushing. I wonder if she got to finish her sandwich. My best friend can't believe that after 16 years of me telling her that one day she would be there when I gave birth, that she is actually going to watch me give birth.
My doctor and my nurse tell me to start pushing. It is then that I realize that I have no idea how to push. It takes me a few tries to figure it out. My doctor has the epidural turned off which is fine with me because it wasn't giving me any relief anyway. (My doctor later says to me that she thinks she shouldn't have turned off my epidural. She thought it was making me numb, but she realizes now that it was just taking me a little while to learn how to push.)
My in-laws are still in the room. My father-in-law is standing a few feet away from the horror show that is my vagina.
My husband is holding one of my legs, my mother is holding my other leg and my best friend is pushing my head forward.
My doctor laughs and says that this is the most people she's ever had in the room during a delivery.
I am pushing. It is REALLY hard. It feels like the worst constipation I've ever had, times ten.
I am tired. I had pretty much been awake at this point for a day and a half.
More pushing. The contractions are right on top of each other. I only have a few seconds between each. I'm thinking if I could just rest for a couple of minutes...
But the urge to push is overwhelming.
I BEG for the vacuum. I say I can't do this. I feel the head and I'm thinking that there is no way I'm going to be able to get it out on my own. My doctor stays completely calm and tells me I'm doing fine. I feel like I've been pushing forever.
FINALLY the head comes out. I let out a scream. My best friend is relieved to know that I am human. I actually say "Thank God" out loud. I know the rest will be easy.
60 seconds later, at 2:30pm, after one hour of pushing, Willa was born.
There was much excitement and tears in the room.
My doctor tries to place Willa on my chest, but the umbilical cord is way to short- she can barely lift her. She asks my husband for help. He cuts the cord. I get to meet Willa. We are all amazed- when I was born I almost died because my umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck AND it was too short. I am relieved that Willa's cord was not wrapped around her neck.
Willa is perfect. I can't believe she is finally here. I feel the most at peace I have ever felt. Everyone around me is a flurry of nerves and I have never felt so relaxed.
I am a mother.
It was worth the wait.