may 14, 2010

"I'll see you at your induction next week, unless he decides to come before then, but I don't think so." Yeah, I didn't think so either. My doctor had just told me that I was only about half a centimeter dilated and 70% effaced. I'd be 38 weeks pregnant the next day with my first baby and I had heard from pretty much everyone that first babies always seem to come late.

So you can imagine my surprise when less that 12 hours later I woke up around 1:30 in the morning and had the thought, "I can't believe I just wet the bed"... and then it slowly dawned on me... I hadn't... my water had broken. And in case you're wondering, the quickest way to get your husband out of bed is by making the following statement: "Honey, stay calm but I need you to get up so I can
take the sheets off the bed, I think my water just broke."We made it to the hospital around 2:30 am and when the nurse checked me I was at 2 cm and still 70% effaced, but I still wasn't really feeling contractions. I had some back pain which I realized later was probably the beginning of back labor, but that's about it. The nurse and I discussed my plans for labor, including my desire to avoid an epidural if possible, and as I got settled into my room I naively had the thought that I would probably have a baby by lunchtime.

Quite honestly, that whole long day is a big blur, I don't remember a lot of details, and maybe that's a good thing. See, I never really started having contractions on my own, or at least not fast enough. You might not realize this if your water hasn't ever broken on its own, but once that happens, your clock is ticking. Doctors will usually give you 24 hours before they start worrying about infection and start pushing C-sections...
Which means I got hooked up to Pitocin, which caused me to have contractions, and STRONG ones, but they weren't really doing much to help my body progress as needed. I feel like the reason that labor is so painful is because it's so unrelenting. There might be worse pain, but labor is just pain, after pain, and followed by more pain, you don't get a break from it, and I was in so much pain that I couldn't relax enough to let my body do what it need to do. And I felt really confined to my bed, which does not help the pain. Anytime I tried to shift and get more comfortable the monitor strapped to my belly would shift and a nurse (usually one who seemed really exasperated) would come in, fix it, and ask me not to move so much.
Oh, sorry, I'm just trying to push a watermelon out of a keyhole here, no big deal. I'll lay more still for you. Silly me.

At some point they offered me the option of having Nubain dripped through my IV and I took it. Once again, I don't remember details so I can't remember if this was early in the day, or not till much later, my husband and I can never seem to agree on the timeline of that. What I do know is that Nubain probably saved me from having a C-section that day, because finally, after nearly 19 hours of painful, Pitocon-filled labor I was ready to push. I had written down in my journal that I went from about 7 cm to 10 cm in what seemed like 15 minutes, but again, I was pretty out of it. I do know that Mike barely made it back in time for me to push (he had left to go get food).

I only pushed for about 30 minutes, although I did end up needing an episiotomy, and our beautiful son cried right away. 
We ended up having to stay in the hospital a few more days because my son's bilirubin levels were so high. Have any of you had a child under the bilirubin lights? I kept telling myself that as far as problems go, this was a small one, but it is still so heartbreaking to see you tiny, helpless child laying under those lights when all you want to do is cradle them in your arms.

I look at pictures of myself from labor, and the recovery afterwards in the hospital, and I barely recognize myself. I look so mentally and physically exhausted, so "puffy" from being pumped full of saline... but in the end it didn't matter. I still ended up with a healthy baby, and we were a family of three.

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