Birth & Parenting Series (21): Mom’s Long Labor of Love
This is our 21st guest post in the Birth & Parenting Series. The other 20 guest writers’ stories may be found here. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) anytime if you’d like to share your story of your child’s arrival, or a parenting perspective.
Today’s writer shares her birth story of her son. Jenni bravely faced a long labor and when she finally met her son it was a real gift and celebration!
I woke up at 2:00 am on Friday, March 2, 2012 with contractions. I had been having contractions all week around this time. Except, this time, they were different. These contractions were uncomfortable. With my husband sleeping next to me, I started timing the contractions using an app on my phone. The doctor wanted us to call when the contractions were 1 minute long, occurring every 5 minutes. I timed them. They lasted at least one minute long and were anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes apart. I calmly woke my husband and told him I thought I was in labor. So we called the doctor. The doctor told us to head to the hospital; at worst, they would send us home. He would call ahead to let them know we were coming. This was at 4:00 am. Part of me was still in denial that I was in labor.
We took our time to pack the hospital bag. Yes, we were a little behind in doing this. After all, the baby wasn’t due for another 5 days. I am a chronic procrastinator. We got to the Fairview Southdale around 6:30 am. I was hooked up to the monitors and checked by the nurse. I was only dilated to 2 cm. They had me stay in the hospital bed for about an hour and then they checked again. Still a 2. The nurse mentioned that she thought she felt scar tissue on my cervix. They then told me to walk. So I walked for an hour around the hospital. I was still experiencing the painful contractions, still happening every 3-5 minutes. My doctor arrived at the hospital and checked me. I was still only dilated to 2 cm.
My doctor decided to send me home and gave me some medication to help me rest. Ha. Rest while contracting. That was funny to me. We went home around 10:30. I napped until 11:45. By then, the contractions had subsided to every 10 minutes. I woke up and decided to eat some lunch. And walk. I walked around my house. The contractions started getting closer together again around 3 or 4 pm. My water hadn’t broken yet, but I finally lost my mucus plug around 3:00 pm. At one point, I reverted to being in denial about being in labor. I was convinced that I just needed to go to the bathroom and, if I could do that, I would feel better. That didn’t work.
Around 6:00 pm my mom arrived from AZ. My contractions were 5 minutes apart by then and increasing in intensity. Over the next hour, they were 3 minutes apart and so intense that none of my comfort measures were working. We finally decided to head to the hospital around 7:00 pm. We checked back into the hospital. The nursing staff hooked me back up to the monitors and checked my cervix. I was dilated to 4 cm. “4cm?!!” I thought, “I should be further along!” Again the nurse who checked me mentioned scar tissue on my cervix. I was admitted to the hospital and taken to the room where I would deliver my baby.
My water had not broken yet, so the nurses broke my water. Part of my birth wishes was to opt-out of pain medication. But at that point, I needed something to take the edge off until I got closer to delivery. I was given Fetanyl. That seemed to work great. It didn’t completely remove the pain, but it made things more bearable. The night nurse helped me with some pain management techniques. I sat in the shower, sat on a birthing ball, and my mom guided me through guided imagery. The birthing ball seemed to work the best.
At 2:00 am, the nurse checked my cervix. I was still only dilated to 4 cm. At this point, my doctor was consulted. My doctor believed that the scar tissue on my cervix was not allowing my cervix to dilate the way it should. With the strength of the contractions, I should have been much further along. She recommended Pitocin. I was also exhausted at this point. After a discussion with the nurse, we decided it would be best if I had an epidural and then we would start Pitocin.
Deciding to have an epidural was a tough one. I wanted as little interventions as possible, but as exhausted as I was, I feared I wouldn’t have the strength to push when it came time. The epidural was administered and instantly I felt relief. I remember the nurse asking me if I was having a contraction. I said no. She laughed and said “yes you are.” Clearly the epidural was working. From there, everything went very quickly. I slept from 2:30 am to around 10:00 am. The nurse checked my cervix and I had dilated completely. They let me labor down for an hour.
I started to push around 11:15 am. After a little over an hour of pushing, the baby was crowning. Unfortunately, the doctor who was to deliver my baby (not my normal OB) had not yet arrived. My baby was crowning for 20 minutes before she arrived and I was able to push him out. With the help of my wonderful husband and supportive mom, my son was born on March 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm. He was 8 lb 7 oz and 22 inches long. The most perfect and beautiful thing I had ever seen! While my birth didn’t go according to my plan, it went according to God’s plan. And with my healthy baby boy in my arms, I felt complete.