After discussing many factors (the chief of which were my anxieties and concerns about having all my children cared for while I birthed Mercy), the doctor agreed to induce me on Sunday, March 17 when I would be 40 weeks and 2 days. I was immensely relieved and enjoyed a last weekend at home preparing for the birth. Sunday morning we needed to check in to the hospital at a little after 6 a.m. Micah helped kids at home wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for church. Holly and her family planned to arrive at 8 a.m. to assist Micah, take them to church, and ended up staying with the kids all the rest of the day.
We arrived at the hospital and were sent straight to labor and delivery to get started. A pca escorted me to the BEST room on the floor. It was a large corner suite with floor-to-ceiling windows along two walls. The room was incredible. The nurse got me admitted and began setting things up as we relaxed and watched the sunrise. Around 7:30 I had an iv placed, but it took longer to get the Pitocin up from the lab. Finally around 8 a.m. we started Pitocin and I had a contraction or two.
Close to 8:30 my doctor came in and broke my water, I was still about 5 cm dilated. The baby’s head was low and engaged, so there wasn’t a huge amount of water able to get out (since the head plugged it up). I labored on a birthing ball, but was already encumbered by the monitors and iv, so I felt limited about getting into good helpful positions. I couldn’t relax. Contractions were of course forced, but they were also erratic…one would come after 3 minutes and the next would be almost 6 min later. After my birth with Obadiah, where I labored on Pitocin many hours without progress, I knew that I would need an epidural. I anticipated that fear would keep my body from relaxing and opening. I told the nurse to order the epidural. Much to my frustration, it took her a while to get it done.
I had the epidural placed at 10:30 a.m. It went really well. I think my fears now are far worse than the epi actually is. I feel that the fentanyl actually made me feel a little loopy, even though technically it shouldn’t have, but I was feeling drowsy the whole rest of the day. It was doable, and the epidural did the trick for numbing me. I relaxed and felt like I was “cheating” by taking the easy way out to labor. The doctor came in and checked my cervix at 11:30. I was at 6 cm. I declared, “It will be about 45 min.”
True to my words, the nurse checked me at 12:15 when the baby’s heart had a deceleration, and sure enough I was complete but for a little rim of cervix left. She flipped me over and called the doctor to get dressed. I began to eye the clock nervously while the nurse went about her business. 10 minutes passed, and I asked, “How long does it take her to get dressed? I need to push!” The nurse said, “Ok, I’ll call her to come in.” I was confused, but shook it off.
I was really fuzzy on time at this point, but according to the nurse’s notes, the doctor walked in at 12:37. I waited until she got into position to start giving pushes. The team assembled and everyone was encouraging. No one counted while I pushed, but I remember wishing that they would have been. I think this is a trend in birthing where the woman wants to do what her body is telling her, not what a team of people is telling her to do. I am undecided. I wish they would have just counted, I could have done whatever they asked me to.
Oh, I forgot to add an important detail. Eden was present for the delivery. All morning everyone had been showing her around, explaining procedures and instruments to her. It was so cool. One of the nurses who came in to assist in the delivery really pulled Eden in close and explained everything in detail. They said, “Now, don’t expect this to look like a normal birth. Normally there would be a lot more vocalization (screaming). Your mom is not normal.” LOL I was grateful for all the education they were providing!
I was pushing, but it was hard work. Between contractions the baby was moving and kicking. I laid my hand on my tummy at one point and suggested that she push and help us out a little. One nurse had turned the Pitocin off, but the doctor asked for it to be turned back on because contractions just stopped. It didn’t feel like the baby was coming down like she should. I was worried and, well, it hurt too. At one point I actually did cry out, “It hurts!” I looked up to see a nurse unwrap a suction tool and lay it on the cart beside the doctor. I am sure I looked bewildered and she explained to Eden, “She might need just a little help.” I don’t know if I said it aloud or not, but I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh NO, there is NO way THAT is happening!” On the next push (according to the doctor), I pushed for 4 straight minutes. I didn’t care if there was a contraction or not. I got the baby’s head out on that push. Whew! A couple more pushes were required to get her shoulders out. They laid the bed completely flat to assist, all while saying, “This is a BIG baby.” Gee, thanks for pointing that out. LOL. She was not only facing up (posterior), but she was also asynclitic. Her head was molded on the side front from presenting the wrong way and had an immediate bruise. I’m positive this is why I had not gone into labor on my own, and bummed that all the positioning exercises I had done didn’t work to turn her.
I was so relieved when she was out! They didn’t put her on my chest as quickly as I thought. The doctor held her and suctioned her and we were all like, “Is it a girl???” Finally the doctor flipped her over and we all saw, “Yep!” I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her! Quickly they clamped and cut the cord so they could bring her up on my chest. I held her skin to skin for the next 2 hours. My sweet doctor did the exam right on my chest so that we could stay together. I didn’t have any tears or need any repairs. We adored her chubby round cheeks. As soon as I could set my bed back up into a semi-upright position I tried to nurse Mercy. She latched on right away perfectly. It was an amazing feeling. Everyone guessed she weighed over 9 lbs, but when we finally weighed her she was only 8 lbs 12 oz. She was 20.5 in long, and her head was 34 cm. Not too bad!
The whole day was surreal. The setting was perfect. I am so thankful for a good delivery and a healthy baby. I had questioned for months if I should try to have a natural unmedicated birth or not. I did prepare by restudying the Bradley method and doing various exercises. I just wondered if old fears/anxieties would mean that I was destined for an epidural. As the day came closer and I had some other pains to deal with, I began to accept more and more that an epidural was in my future. Once we decided to do an induction, I knew that we had started down a path of interventions that would mean greater risks. But I also knew my own limitations. Being on this side of delivery and now knowing that she was big, she was posterior, and she was asynclitic, I am SO relieved that I had the epidural. My feelings after the birth would have been so much different if I hadn’t had one. I feel so much peace about how it happened. I had tried for months to use different positions and postures and exercises to prevent a posterior baby, but in the end it hadn’t changed her position. It worked out just fine, though.
I’m so thankful for my beautiful baby girl and the way she entered the world, aside from the intense pushing and their naughty threat to use a vacuum, that is. I felt so good after the delivery and bonding went well. Learning to nurse has been a breeze. Having all the kids up to the hospital to meet her was also really good, and fun! The lack of sleep and the soreness/achiness is par for the course. I had a regrettable incident/misunderstanding with the nursery early Tuesday morning that really soured the end of my stay. But everything else was very good and I’m basking in the joy of holding my new girl. I wish I had taken more pictures too, but there will be time for that! And I do have plenty of good ones, especially thanks to Mitch and Eden.