I’ve been having contractions on and off all week, but nothing substantial.
On Friday, I had already given up the fact that we may not be having the baby on her due date despite having pretty uncomfortable contractions. I still didn’t have that heavy feeling as if the baby dropped, but for some reason I was overly tired. We had a daycare tour scheduled that day and I kept getting strong contractions on and off. After lunch, all I wanted to do was go home and nap. I guess my body was telling me that I needed to reserve my energy for what’s to come. I did massage some of the accupressure points that people recommended if I wanted to naturally induce labor.
I didn’t move off the couch until it was almost dinner time. My contractions kept coming but at an inconsistent interval. We decided to stay close for dinner and went and had Mexican food. During dinner, my contractions were going off every 6 minutes and were getting stronger. We quickly finished off dinner and went straight home and started counting and timing the contractions. By 9pm, I decided it was time to call the doctor. Not only were my contractions getting more and more painful, but they were consistently at 4 minutes apart.
The doctor told us to go ahead and head on to the hospital. We checked in and I was strapped to the monitors by 10:30. I had mentioned that I wanted to hold off on any pain reliever for as long as I could. By then, the contractions were already 2-3 minutes apart and I was already 3-4 cm dilated. After 3 hours of stronger contractions going off at a minute and half each, I wanted that epidural. I was much too afraid of the pain that was to come and knowing that it was only going to get worse I couldn’t relax. I tried a few different positions but by the time I was able to move, the contractions would slow me down and I would tense up. My blood pressure was up to around 149/90 the entire time. They put me on an IV before they had to give me the epidural. I’m not sure, but the pain from the IV needle bothered me just as much as the contractions themselves. Nothing was pleasant at that point. 20 minutes after the IV, I finally got the epidural. The process wasn’t so bad, but the sensation was terrible. I immediately started shivering and I couldn’t control my breathing because of it.
I continued laboring painfree for another hour or so before the doctor came and broke my water at 2:30am. By then I was at around 8-9cm dilated. The contractions slowed a bit so they gave me a couple of doses of pitocin to regulate them. By around 4am, I was at 10cm, but my cervix wasn’t completely effaced yet. By then I think the epidural wore off because I started feeling every single contractions. Perhaps the pain meds were only effective up to a certain pain threshold because they wanted you to be able to push effectively. Who knows. From what I experienced, it felt like I wasn’t getting pain relief. I breathed through the rest of the labor until finally I felt like I wanted to start pushing. At 5am, the nurse came in and said I can start pushing during my next two contractions. That process actually helped with the pain, but she wanted me to continue to labor on my own with any pushing for the next 3 contractions. At some point I just wanted to push. I could feel the baby bearing down. I had Brian call the nurses back in and we started the process of pushing. At some point, they positioned me for the delivery, the doctor came in and within 10 minutes the baby was out. I remember asking over and over if the baby’s head is crowned yet, and the nurses offering me to feel the head. I refused because I was too afraid to actually feel the process. I think the whole process from the first push to delivery was 30 minutes. I just remember being soo tired from laboring that during the entire delivery process I kept mumbling that I couldn’t do this anymore and hearing words of encouragement from the nurses and Brian. None of that helped, it was more annoying than anything. I prefer being quiet the entire time but didn’t have the energy to tell people to be quiet and so I can focus on their instructions.
My only thought during that moment after delivery was yes, the baby is out, yes she’s ok, and yes I survived this. It wasn’t traumatic, but it’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget. Relief is really the term that sums up the overall experience. For the next half hour, the doctor delivered my placenta, and stitched up my second degree tear. The stitching process was just as painful as anything else. He finally realized I was feeling pain (I didn’t know I wasn’t suppose to), so he injected some lidocaine before finishing up. The process felt like it was taking forever and I wanted them all to leave so I can be with the baby. Finally, we got our moment and it finally felt real.
They kept me in the room for a few more hours until I was able to get up and use the bathroom. Once I was able to do that, they moved us into the postpartum room. Since we didn’t get any sleep that day we decided to let the baby be cared for in the nursery that night so that we can get some sleep. They only brought her in when she was awake and needed to be fed. Despite that, I think we got very little sleep.
Now our baby is 4 days old, and we’re still trying to figure things out. As much as anything, the whole breastfeeding process has been the most challenging. It’s hard not to be discouraged when the baby doesn’t latch on properly and when everything about it feels painful. I’m hoping we can continue breastfeeding for the long haul, and I hope we figure this out pretty quickly. Our lactation appointment is tomorrow. In the meantime, it looks like we’ll have to supplement her with a bottle so that we can get her jaundice under control.
At the moment, we’re taking things day by day. It’s hard to focus on anything beyond that.
Is it all worth it? Of course…