I had my plans all written out- no/low intervention, no inductions, no pitocin, no epidural. I was planning on trusting my body to do what it was created to do- birth my baby. I had emailed m family and let everyone know that we would call after the baby was born and even the boys would not be present during the labor (unlike the parties in my previous births). I had prayed, thought positive affirmations, and tried to turn my OP (sunny side up) baby for the past 3 months with different yoga positions. I was told that he was not going to be my biggest baby and I was ready! My biggest baby was 9 pounds 5 ounces so I was confident that this would be another 2 1/2 hour labor once things got started.
I had been talking with my good friend, Jen, who was going to be my "doula"- it can be a bit challenging for labor nurses to be put in the doula role but she was gracious enough to accept the task and I knew she would be the best labor support for me and my husband. I told Jen that I had flurries of contractions for days on end lasting a couple of hours but I could never sustain the contractions.
Fast forward to Monday morning- August 13th. I was awakened with some strong contractions but they fizzled out as they had for the past couple of weeks. I was 40 3/7th weeks and very tired of being pregnant but really wanting to trust that I would go into labor on my own as I have done in the past without a problem. I did buy some blue cohosh and after taking a couple of doses decided not to continue and to just trust my body. The day before I had a wonderful prenatal massage and felt relaxed but still very irritable. I called Jen and told her that I felt like today might be the day. Then, I packed my 2 younger kids up and started walking around Fred Meyer because it was much too hot to be trekking outside.
My husband picked me up for a 1 pm appointment with my lovely doctor. I still didn't think I had quite kicked into labor but since I was over 40 weeks and my contractions felt a bit different I figured the most prudent thing would be to have him accompany me to the doctor's office.
While at the office, my doctor was trying to convince me to come in the following day for an AROM induction (breaking of the water to start labor) since all of my favorite people were on that day- her, the midwife and my lovely friend/doula. As she was trying to convince me (and I was thinking how great it would be to get the baby out) she was checking my cervix and said, "Oh no, Dawn- you are having this baby today! You are 4-5 centimeters with a bulging bag.". She told me that she would call downstairs to prepare to get a room ready for me and I told her that Egui and I were going to go out to lunch before I had the baby. Egui and I went to Denny's because I wanted the salad with the stawberries, chicken and oranges. Then, we headed back to the hospital where my nurse began to check me in.
Jen showed up shortly after I was getting admitted and it turned out that staffing was short so she ended up being my nurse instead of doula for the first 6 hours. She admitted me and everything was going according to plan thus far- no IV, intermittent monitoring and just my husband in the room. He was resting on the daybed and Jen and I were chatting when Dr. A came into the room. She checked me to see where we were and she said, "Wow, Dawn- when you go into labor you really mean business!". I was 8-9 centimeters and doing great. Breathing a bit through contractions but they were all very tolerable. This was at 4:30 pm. She also broke my bag of waters at this time and I had meconium stained fluid so this meant that the NICU nurse and Respiratory Therapist would probsbly have to be present, much to my dismay since I wanted the least amount of people in the room as possible. After discussion with the doctor and Jen they decided that calling NICU would not be needed unless we really needed them but the second nurse that was in the room would be one of our stablization nurses, just in case.
By 7:00pm it was time for Jen to transition back into my doula and I would get a new labor nurse. It was a fantastic seasoned nurse and she was orienting someone who was thought to be a nurse previously so it was thought to have been a good match. She was very green and I am so thankful that Jen never left my side because the other wonderful seasoned nurse was basically just acting as the new nurses resource at this point in her orientation. I was a solid 9 centimeters from about 6pm and my baby continued to decent but he was not decending all the way- just enough to make me pushy and the contractions with the pressure became quite painful. The back labor was the most intense labor feelings I have ever had as the baby kept coming lower and lower but not coming out. My husband was a great support and gave great back pressure as guided by Jen. I bet he was glad he rested when he did because I really needed him during those strong contractions. The new nurse tried to give me pressure in my back but it became very clear to me right away that she had not had any experience with back labor before and probably had never had a child by the way she was giving me pressure (or lack thereof). I cried to Jen or my husband to PLEASE give me the counter pressure! This went on for hours- moaning, groaning, grunting, cussing a couple of times, begging Agod to help me, and then telling my husband to "callate" when he asked me if I was sure I did not want an epidural. I was told that on the outside I looked very well controlled and was doing everything right. I was also told (MANY times) that I was at the tail end and it was almost over. This was told to me for hours. Finally, Dr. A brought it the ultrasound machine. I am assuming this was around 10 pm- 4 hours of being stuck at 9 cm with a swollen cervix. She looked at my baby's head and sure enough, he was direct OP (sunny side up). I was so discouraged because my labors are never this long!! I had done so many positions to try and rotate this kiddo- hands and knees ,squatting during contractions, leaning over the bed, rocking inthe rocking chair, right and left lateral, and sitting on the toilet. Now, Jen was asking me to do exagerated SIMS on both sides (despite alredy doing this and it was the WORST position EVER) but if it would rotate my baby then I would do it one more time. I gave her 6 more contractions- the most painful ones I had experienced and at this point Dr. A checked me again and sure enough- I was still 9 cm with a swollen cervix that would not reduce! My baby was not coming out! I became so discouraged because I had been 9 cm for almost 5 hours. I cried and told Jen that I knew it was time for an epidural (actually I told her this before the 6 contractions and she made me get through those contractions before I could get my IV).
The new nurse put in my IV and did a fine job. I am sure I was not her favorite patient- the bossy nurse type that was not progressing. She did tape my line in such a way that the fluid was ot draining which made calling the anethesiologist take a bit longer. I was not very happy at this point. When the anesthesiologist was paged he was doing an epidural in the wing over from me and I kept asking Jen how much longer he was going to take. She answered me firmly and gave me boundaries that I could not give myself- this is why I knew she would be perfect for me. Finally, Dr. K arrived and I said, "I consent, don't give the the speech, just put it in!" And he did. My hudband stood in front of me and supported me while Jen was back with the doctor giving me back pressure as he was putting in my epidural. She is a true friend because she is deathly afraid of needles and was fighting nausea and dizziness as she supported me with the back labor. Jen never watches any of the epidural placements and always manages to position herself so that she can do her job but not watch these the placements. I am so grateful for her and her back pressure. When Dr. K was done I lifted my head and said, "Hi, it's me- thank you very much for placing my catheter. I am glad it was you today.".
Once the catheter was placed the new nurse wanted to place my foley and she started to but ai was still a little jumpy since I could feel everything and asked her to wait and not place my foley quite yet. Dr. A said she would come back in a few minutes once I was a little more comfortable.
The epidural never made me numb- I could move my legs the entire time, I could feel the foley being placed, I could feel my contractions and the pressure of my body trying to open and let my baby out but it DID take away that back pain that was so intolerable. Dr. A came back and they set up the room for delivery. She allowed patient led pushing and I was not directly on my back but was in a side lying positon. She was able to reduce my cervix (and I am not sure if she rotated V or not) and I pushed through 6 or 7 contractions- no one counted and they just let me push which was awesome. Jen also had me push towards her extended hand (which helped me focus) and I felt so much pressure. Before long, I was feeling the ring of fire and I could hear the voices of everyone get xcited that they could see his head. This gave me the encouragement to keep pushing and he was finally OUT!!! What a relief!!! I cried and I was so excited that I did it. My little son was now in my arms! He cried right away. The new nurse called the NICU team despite the doctor saying that it was not needed but they stayed behind my curtain so I did not even see them. I am so glad they did not come in my room since we did not need them. My baby was perfect!
They weighed him and he was 9 pounds 10 ounces with a head circumference of 37cm. He was my biggest baby and sunny side up but rotated at the very last moment.
While my birth did not go exactly as I expected I am very proud of myself and I know that I could tolerate a normal OA birth- the back labor was excrutiating! I found out that I have a very high pain tolerance, that my husband was a great labor support and that Jen is an amazing friend and birth worker. I do not regret having the epidural and everything else did go according to plan- no pitocin, skin to skin right away, quick first feeding and just my husband at my side.