She Says… Labor

For those who missed it, here’s Part 1 of my labor story. Now on to Part 2…

Ok so when I last left you, I had progressed to 9cm by 9:00am. “Right on schedule” as the doctor said. As with so much of my pregnancy, everything happened like clockwork according to what the textbooks say. At this point I was beginning to feel like my epidural was wearing off faster than I wanted it too. I found myself saying things like, “Umm, can we top this off or something? We’re getting to the most painful part and I can feel EVERYTHING!”. Amazing how things went from “I’m not sure I even want an epidural” to “Give me ANOTHER epidural”. Ha. Anyway, I was definitely regaining feeling in my middle and legs, and could feel a lot of pressure and deep contractions coming very quickly. They felt different than the earlier contractions, probably because now the baby’s head was spreading my hips wide open.

I also started to experience some really horrendous back pain. My lower back felt like someone was sticking knives in me. It was a constant, throbbing pain that overshadowed the contractions and the hip stretching and made me really unfocused. The doctors explained to me that I had two options at this point:

  1. Have the anesthesiologist come back and perhaps increase my epidural. The downside of this was that it would most likely prolong my labor/pushing because I wouldn’t be able to feel the urge to push. The upside was, of course, that the back pain could be reduced so I could concentrate.
  2. We could start pushing, despite the overwhelming feeling of back pain. The nurse said sometimes the opposing pressure of pushing eases the back pain, and since I had a lot of sensation, I would probably be a very strong pusher if we started now.

I wish I could say I easily answered, “Let’s start pushing!”. But I didn’t. The back pain felt like it was killing me. And it took my focus and clouded my judgment. I said I wanted more epidural.

But then the doctor checked me, and she said “Give me one push and we’ll see how close you are to meeting your baby”. The nurse gave me instructions, I took a deep breath, and pushed. Her eyes lit up and she said, “Kate, the baby’s head is right here. I can see tons of black hair!”. That was all the encouragement I needed. I was ready to push. He was SO CLOSE.

So close, yet so far away. I pushed for 2 hours! On tv it looks like it happens in 5 minutes. But, miraculously, the back pain was gone and my focus was 100% on meeting my little man. Turns out he was face up (just like I suspected in the last two weeks), and his head was angled in my pelvis in such a way that he was rocking back and forth without making a ton of progress on each push. We tried various positions (pushing on my side, pushing with one leg up in the air, pushing on my back at different angles, etc.). The nurse was so encouraging and kept telling me exactly what I needed to hear to get from one push to the next. Little by little, we were making progress. Unfortunately that’s when we had a little scare. We had been pushing for awhile and the baby was getting a little stressed. His heart rate would drop every time I pushed. The beeping monitor would slow and everyone would get tense. The nurse decided she needed to put an internal monitor on him to watch the heart rate. Unfortunately I remembered from childbirth class that those probes are literally screwed into the baby’s head! Poor thing! But we all knew it was an important thing to keep an eye on. After awhile the doctor gave me a bit of an ultimatum — if the heart rate kept dropping and my pushing wasn’t strong enough to get him out soon, we may have to do this a different way. She said it was not an emergency, but I really needed to focus on my pushing and get him moving. That got my attention.

Anyway, after a bit more pushing and a lot of grunting and few screams, I heard the doctor say, “Here he comes! Stop pushing.” Those are some beautiful words to hear! He spun around right at the last second and came out just like he was supposed to. The umbilical cord was wrapped around him from all that spinning, so the doc had to cut it as soon as the baby popped out (sorry, Benjamin!). He was very purple and a bit stunned from the long journey and didn’t cry right away. I could see in Benjamin’s teary eyes that he was terrified. He kept saying, “Is he ok? Is he ok?”. Then just a few seconds later, I heard the baby’s little cry. I’ve never heard anything sweeter. Since he was looking a little floppy and there were some questions about his heart rate, they couldn’t put him on my chest right away. Although I had been so looking forward to that moment of holding him right after he came out, nothing mattered more than making sure he was ok. So the doctors took him to a little table in the corner of the room and cleaned him, measured him, etc. Benjamin just stood by his side and cried and cried and cried.

Everything seemed to go in slow motion then. As they cleaned him I kept asking, “How much does he weigh? Is he breathing ok? Is he cute? 10 fingers and 10 toes?”. It seemed like it took forever to deliver the placenta… that I was not prepared for. It was very uncomfortable to push it out after I thought I could stop pushing, and I had to get a few stitches for a little tear. Finally Benjamin came to my bedside with our little bundle. We just stared and cried and stared and cried. What an unbelievable experience. And what a prize we got at the end.

Pictures and more details to come later, but now it’s time to nurse (again!). My breaks are short but I’ll be back with another update soon. I can’t thank you all enough for your thoughts and comments. We are SO thrilled to be able to share this special time with you.

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31 responses to “She Says… Labor

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your labor story – I just love hearing other experiences! Enjoy each and every second of this itty-bitty phase. They grow SO fast!

  2. I’ve never read such a detailed labor story before. You had me tearing up at the miracle that is live. Thank you so much for keeping this experience real and honest.

  3. Taryn M. Peine

    What an amazing story! I’m so glad everything turned out so well! I can’t wait to hear what it’s like to have him on the OUTSIDE!

  4. From someone still in the trenches (34 weeks!) reading these kinds of detailed labor stories are fascinating and, I’ll admit it, a little terrifying! πŸ™‚

    I’m going in just like you — I’m going to see how I do without an epidural but I am completely open to getting one, if the need arises. And I’m very aware that it probably will!

    I wish the very end had been a bit easy on you, but like you said: what a prize at the end! Congratulations mama (and papa)!

  5. This post brought me to tears. A very sincere congratulations to you guys and your beautiful new family.

  6. what a day!!! sounds like you did amazing. i can’t imagine how hard/painful delivery must me

    glad baby owen made it out okay. what a cutie!

  7. Love your story! The part about Benjamin being scared and asking over and over if he was ok, totally made me teary eyed!

  8. It’s amazing how similar your birth story is to mine…I pushed for over 2 hours and my little girl had her head sideways. Her heartrate showed that she was in distress and they used forceps for to get her out (which sucks because they broke my tailbone!).

    I remember being so surprised that something so large had come out of me! It still blows my mind that my body MADE this wonderful little baby.

    I hope you’re enjoying your baby πŸ™‚

  9. Thank you so much for such a beautifully written story. I am so happy to hear he is healthy! I can’t wait to hear more!!!!

  10. Thank you for sharing your story! I love hearing how each birth differs from one another, and I’m so happy to hear that you have your precious little boy with you now πŸ™‚ Enjoy every moment!

  11. Thank you for sharing. It totally made me tear up and I’m not even pregnant! I’m so glad that he’s healthy. πŸ™‚

  12. Congrats again, Kate! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I met you and now you are mother!! Owen has entered the world born to such a loving family!

  13. I have cried twice at my desk: the first time was the video of you seeing the results of the pregnancy test and the second was this post. May have to stop reading at work!

  14. What a touching story! It hits home since we had our first little one 5 weeks ago after 5 years of trying. Isn’t it such a miracle? Now the fun really begins πŸ™‚

  15. I have chills. So beautiful! Can’t wait to read the rest of it! Enjoy your little man!

  16. It’s great that you were so flexible in your birth plan – I want to be the same way. I don’t think it’s good for you or the baby to ignore whatever need(s) you feel during labor. I’m so happy that little Owen arrived safely and hope you’re recovering well!

  17. Im so sorry your epidural wore off like that; I was numb forever! But other than that, our labors were pretty similar. I also had to try different pushing positions, and most of them made his heart rate drop. We also had the internal monitor. I agree, they really make the pushing seem fast on TV, but I pushed for hours too. It was so exhausting! I’m glad to hear you only had a small tear though!!! Thanks for sharing your story

  18. Oh, and Liam was also purple and didn’t cry right away, so I also didn’t get him on my chest until they determined everything was ok, and he cried. I wonder if that is common after hours of pushing??

  19. Thanks so much for sharing your story with all of us! It makes me so excited to meet my own little person. Sounds like you did a great job, and for a 1st baby- you did it pretty quickly. I’m anxious to hear about your breastfeeding experience, since that’s the thing I’m most nervous about. Glad you all are doing well. πŸ™‚

  20. I can’t believe he’s here! He’s so beautiful! Thank you for sharing all the details of your story. I couldn’t have been as brave as you!

  21. What an incredible experience and I can only imagine it’s something you just have to experience yourself to truly get it. I can’t wait πŸ™‚

    My anxiety was through the roof reading that and thank goodness he’s okay!

  22. Congratulations!!! What an amazing story. I’m so happy that you little guy is perfect. He’s adorable with all that hair. Enjoy every minute of it. xoxo

  23. Love love love love loved reading your story! Congrats on your little man! Next post: “Recovery” ??

  24. I’m so sorry you had to endure back labor. It’s the worst! When my daughter was born I had 17 hours of back labor without anything but my doula. It was horrendous. Every contraction I started telling myself I could do it and half way through I screamed, I can’t! I’m done! And in between contractions hurt worse! It was awful. I’m sorry you had to do that too.

    But it’s worth it, right? I’m so glad your little boy is happy and healthy. I can’t wait to see more pictures!

  25. Kate, what a beautiful birth story– though it sounds like your labor was difficult, you delivered Owen safely and with such grace. Be proud of yourself, Mama! We’re ALL so proud of you! XOXO.

  26. Very well written! So well written, that I have a teary eyes.
    I know that back labor!! Yikes! My second daughter was sunnyside up too, unlike my first daughter. What a difference.
    Hope all is going well with the nursing, that is another thing that can be very frustrating yet rewarding. Make sure you get all the help you need, and if you pass the two week mark, you are doing well!!

  27. Genevieve Daniels

    I just looked at the pics posted on facebook. Oh my GOSH is he adorable! I know you must be enjoying every minute with him!

  28. Wow – what a story! You’re so brave too. I would have been screaming for the epidural. πŸ™‚ Although with my son, I do remember at the end he was so close and I just wanted him out so I kept pushing and pushing and didn’t care about anything else. It’s amazing how focused you get!

  29. Thank you so much for writing this!! I love reading about labor.

  30. Barbara.Snyder

    I was wondering if you ever did donate cord blood and if so did you donate it publicly? We thought about doing it with our son.

  31. @Barbara.Snyder, I went to the hospital prepared to donate cord blood, but as it turned out, my son’s cord was wrapped around his neck during delivery and had to be snipped immediately by the doctor, so we could not donate.

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