I was very nervous about an induction, as I'd heard Pitocin was very rough, and worried that if my body wasn't ready to deliver it would end in a c-section, so we tried lots of "natural" induction methods. At my 39 week appointment I was 1.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced, and I pretty much resigned myself to the induction two days later. The day between my appointment and the induction we cleaned the house, ran errands, and I even made some freezer meals (brilliant idea for someone that's 39 weeks preggo and miserable). We went to bed that night around 10pm excited and nervous. I woke up at 2:45 that morning for my normal bathroom trip and could not go back to sleep. We got up at 4 am, ate a light breakfast, gathered the last of our things, and headed to the hospital for our 5 am induction.
We got all checked in, and they started my iv (ouchie) with the Pitocin at 5:35am. They started me at 6 mil/hr. I had the same type of contractions I'd had the weekend before, regular but not too painful. My Dr came in at 6:50, and checked me. I was at a 2-3 cm dilated, still 80% effaced. She broke my water, which basically just felt like a long cervical check. They also upped my Pitocin level to 10 mil/hr.
I had a lot of amniotic fluid and went through towels and waterproof pads like crazy. The first few changes of towels I waited for the nurse to do it, but it was so uncomfortable (basically like peeing your pants for a minute at a time with each contraction and then laying in the puddle) that eventually Blake changed them for me. He was incredible through this whole process and it gave new meaning to the word love. It only took abut 30 minutes after the breaking of my water for the contractions to get more and more painful. I wrote down that it felt like really intense, really horrible gas pains, with a lot of pain in my hips, which surprised me. This progressed until I was to the point that when Blake asked me what it felt like, my reply was "hell." It didn't help that my contractions were nearly constant.
Emersyn was still sunny side up, so my nurse was having me labor in several positions to get her to turn. I was on my side with a leg in the stirrups for awhile, and they got me on all fours hugging a labor ball as well. This position didn't last very long because I started to feel nauseous and lightheaded. I got a dose of my favorite medication, Zofran, to help with the nausea, and we gave up on the labor ball.
By 8:20 am, I was ready for some relief. Blake kept reminding me to breathe through the contractions, and at one point I looked at him and said, "I don't want to breathe, I want drugs." I told my nurse that I was ready for my epidural and she really encouraged me to not get it quite yet, because if I got it too early it may not be at it's peak when I most needed it, so we did Nubain instead, administered through the iv. This worked within a few minutes and took my pain level from a 10 + to about a 4. Ahhh, drugs. Gotta love em. They also turned down the Pitocin back to 6 mil/hr as they said I should not be having contractions that close together. Apparently it wasn't allowing my body to progress because the uterus wasn't able to get enough oxygen. The nurse said my body must have been ready to go because of how much I was contracting on such a low dose of Pitocin.
The relief from the Nubain lasted until about 10:45 am, at which point I would say I was well on my way back to the hellish contractions- time for the epidural! The actual insertion of the epidural was less painful than the iv, but combined with contractions it was hard. I was glad I still had some of the Nubain in my system or I have no idea how could have held still. I also got very faint at this point, sitting up on the side of the bed with it raised very high and my feet in Blake's lap, I kept asking why it was so hot in the room and started to see stars.
By 11:00 the epidural was in effect, but only on my right side- the left side was still experiencing those horrible contractions, again, mostly in my hips. We shared this info with the nurse and she had me turn only my right side (which was a mistake, she thought we meant it was the right side that was hurting, so rolling onto the right actually made it even worse). We figured it out fairly quickly (but not before I pushed the little button for extra meds a few times) and they rolled me onto my left side and brought the anesthesiologist in to give me a bolus (a one time iv push of even more medication). My Dr. came in and checked me at 11:50 and I was dilated to 4.
By noon my bottom half was dead to the world. All the extra effort to make the epidural take on my left side meant I had a LOT of medication and I couldn't feel the contractions at all. Our families came in and visited and they again were elevating my a leg at a time in an effort to make her turn. By 12:45 I was dilated to a 5 and they inserted my catheter. Again, bottom half was totally dead and I couldn't feel a thing going on down there! We even joked about how our baby was a Star Trek baby (May the Fourth be with you). Yes, we're nerds. Yay drugs!
At 2:50 the nurse checked me and initially said I was dilated to a 9, which shocked me. She had me "practice push" to see if that changed how much she thought I was dilated. She told me to push like I was pooping and while I couldn't feel anything down there, I did as she told me and helpfully stated that the face I was making was the face I made when I pooped so I hoped that was right. After this she said she thought I was closer to a 6 or 7. However, when my Dr checked me at 3:20 she said I was indeed at a 9, but E was still sunny side up, and they continued with the leg elevations while I laid on my side. Our families came in again to visit at this point and my mama prayed that E would turn.
At 3:45, Dr. said I was complete and we were going to start pushing soon! They got the room ready, and I begged my nice nurse for more Zofran, as I was again feeling nauseous. My SIL came in and put my hair back as Blake's ponytail skills left quite a bit to be desired. My completely dead legs (seriously it was laughable how floppy they were) went into stirrups and the Dr. said she didn't think I'd even be pushing for 30 minutes as she could "see hair". I asked her if she told everyone that and she said she didn't haha. They removed my catheter at I started pushing at 4:26.
I'd heard that pushing was actually a relief from the pressure you normally feel, but since I couldn't feel the contractions at all it just felt like a lot of work. Those 10 sec counts (3 per contraction) were a lot longer than 10 seconds, and holding my breath and pushing that hard again made me extremely light headed. They gave me oxygen so I wouldn't pass out. At one point the Dr asked if I wanted to feel her hair (she has a ton) and ahem, my reply was an emphatic, "NO!' I wanted her OUT, so I just kept going, the best I could, and I must have done something right as she arrived 12 minutes later at 4:38pm.
Even though I couldn't feel below my waist, I could feel E exit my body since my upper abdomen wasn't dead and it was such a weird and incredible feeling. The doctor handed her over to me and I just sobbed, "I love you" over and over. Followed by "I can't believe I had a baby"! I held her while they stitched me up (I had a second degree tear), and Blake and I were just in awe. She came out hungry, sucking on her fists and rooting around, so I asked if I could breastfeed. The nurses cleaned her all up for us, weighed and measured her (8lbs 10 oz, 20.25 inches long, 13 inch head), and gave her her first bath, complete with a mohawk.
I nursed for the first time, and then our families came in and met the newest addition.
And that is how our life as a family began.
*All images are courtesy of Andrea Murphy Photography, who I highly reccomend. I am so very happy we had a birth photographer, and if you love photos as much as I do, here is a slideshow of more of our birth images.