In part 1 of my birth story (Click here to read), I left off right as the nurse midwife broke my water. The actual breaking of the water was quick and fairly pain free, but almost immediately afterwards, the contractions became very painful. When she broke my water, I was about 3-4 centimeters dilated, but within about an hour, I was in full-blown labor. The contractions were less than one minute apart, and I couldn’t think about anything else but breathing through them.
Mr. Handsome was a strong rock through it all. He encouraged me through every contraction and reminded me to breathe. I tried to stay calm, but it sure wasn’t easy. Because I was hooked up to an IV pumping pitocin into my body, I spent most of the time just standing by the hospital bed. I was so overwhelmed by the pain that I couldn’t even begin to think about trying other positions.
My goal was to do a natural birth without any pain medications. In general, I try to avoid drugs whenever possible, and I didn’t want to take on the risks associated with an epidural. After a few hours of intense contractions, I was sure it wouldn’t be long before the baby arrived. Unfortunately, both the nurse and the nurse midwife told me it would likely be another several hours. At that point, I hadn’t eaten in almost 24 hours and was completely exhausted. The midwife suggested that I consider an epidural so I could catch some sleep and my body could relax and dilate while I rested.
It was honestly very difficult to make such a big decision while I was in so much pain, but I ended up accepting the epidural. Within 20 minutes, the nurse anesthetist had arrived and I had signed the paperwork. The insertion of the epidural was painful and created an odd sensation, but within minutes, my body was relaxed, and I was able to lie down.
We slept on and off from about 2am to 7am. I had the discomfort of the IV in my arm (which made my hand go numb) and the epidural in my back (which I tried not to think about), and Mr. Handsome had the discomfort of the oh-so-wonderful hospital couch. Thankfully, I had packed an extra pillow and fleece blanket for each of us, so we had some of the comforts of home.
I was surprised by how much the epidural allowed my body to relax. I could still feel my legs a little bit, but I couldn’t walk, and I couldn’t feel any pain. The nurse came in frequently to check on us and help me change positions so I didn’t become sore. A couple times during the night, I called over to Mr. Handsome and asked him to bring me water or jello, but for the most part, I was pretty comfortable.
By 7am, I was dilated to 9.5 centimeters, and the midwife and a medical assistant started preparing the room for delivery. I tried not to look as they set out all the instruments and needles. I knew the baby was going to be large, and I knew there would likely be a lot of tearing, but I preferred not to think about it. At 8am, we woke Mr. Handsome up, and the midwife and nurse explained how to push.
To be continued soon…