After sharing my pregnancy story, I thought it would be prudent to talk about my labor as well.
I was a little, shall we say, “over-prepared” for labor. And yet, SO underprepared. Can you ever be prepared for labor?
I went into labor with every single labor aid that was suggested in all the literature. You know: candies, heating pad, snack bars, massage balls, massage oil, etc etc. It all stayed packed in the bag! But, that may have just been “my” labor.
Here’s how it went down. At 34 weeks, Aiden had already ‘dropped’. The doctor thought I would probably deliver before 40 weeks. Yay, right? Except being told that made it SO much harder. I thought that every day it could be “the” day, particularly as I went past 37 weeks. I had LOTS of Braxton Hicks contractions. Sometimes they came at regular times. Sometimes they got worse. But they went nowhere.
3 ‘sweeps’ later, lots of walking, and every other possible aid, I was still pregnant at 40 weeks and counting. I slowly went insane, I think. I was scheduled to be induced at 41 weeks… but, just a couple of days shy of that date, my water broke. Ok, I wasn’t sure if it was my water or not, but 6 hours later, I was pretty sure. Yet, my labor did not start. After a trip to the hospital to be checked out, I was sent home for a few hours while a room opened up.
So, it was my turn to be induced. I got on the drip and thought it was a breeze. I played Scrabble on my iPhone with my sister-in-law and tried to pass the time with what felt like pretty mild period cramps. They kept upping the dose, but I felt fine. I had a skewed perspective of this being labor. Ha! I don’t actually think I saw any “real” labor, any “natural” labor, at all.
After 8 hours, I was temporarily taken off the max dose of the drip and given some time to walk around. Noticed my hands were so swollen that they were purple and couldn’t be closed. 15 minutes later, labor started. Boy, it started. Within the next 30 minutes, I moved into “transition”-style labor. Contractions back to back, with only seconds between. They kept me off the drip, but the contractions didn’t slow down again.
My doctor warned me that, at only 3 centimetres dilated and with the baby facing down, I was going to be in for at least 7 hours of this type of labor. Uh, really? I was quickly rethinking my “let’s do this natural!” policy. She encouraged me to take the epidural… while I tried to take a minute to decide, my body decided for me. YES! DRUGS! So much for our printed out “birth plan”, lol!
During the next hour, I wailed. Like, wailed. A primal sound I couldn’t repeat if I wanted to. Thankfully, it only felt like about 5 minutes to me. I tried Fentanol, but I was one of the people it didn’t work for. When the epidural was ready, I had to have the gas so that the needle could be inserted. Too much screaming, you know? The gas helped a bit, thank goodness!
After the epidural, things got better. The epidural went a little too high, affecting my breathing, but mostly I can say that the next 3 hours just flew by. I felt nothing. I rested. It was good. When it was time to push, I was ready. Of course, I could barely feel my own contractions! Ianiv – my rock in all this, being a much better coach than I expected – and the doctor and nurse had to confirm for me when my contractions were so that I could push. That part was pretty instinctual, they are right about that.
Well, 45 minutes or so later, we had a baby! The pushing part flew by – probably because I didn’t feel anything. At all. Kind of surreal. But, then we had a healthy and screaming little boy!! It was all worth it, and I’m sure we’ll do it again some day. But with more realistic expectations. ;)