So here is the story of my 50 hour labor. Sometimes it sounds like I am exaggerating, but unfortunately, I probably am not. I wrote some of this down once already, but it was so long I had to try and make it more concise so here goes. This is long, but so is 50 hours of labor.
Wednesday at around 9 am I had my first 2 contractions while listening to one of my Hypnobabies hypnosis cd's. I was so excited to come out of my hypnosis so I could let Ros know that I thought my labor had begun. Although only 2 contractions, I just had a feeling that this was it.
Wednesday, Hours 1-14
Decided to get the labor moving by going to the mall and walking there since it was going to be around 95 degrees that day. We went for over 2 hours and walked, looking pathetic when we slowed our pace for a contraction but it seemed to be working as I got my contractions closer together to about 1 every 10-12 minutes. I was proud and figured we were starting to make some progress. We came home and I started trying to relax with my hypnosis and bounce on the birthball. My contractions were there but seemed to have started spread themselves out. I began to doubt myself that maybe I wasn't in labor...but I knew these contractions were a lot different than my previous Braxton-Hicks.
We went back to the mall that evening around 4ish to walk some more. This time we were able to walk my contractions to about every 5-6 minutes apart and way more intense. I can't even imagine what we looked like hanging over the railing at the mall, breathing through the contractions. During this time I really started having some pressure in my butt with each one. When we got home I tried my hypnosis again. This time it was much different. I couldn't relax on the couch anymore because with each contraction I had laying down intense pain would radiate from my ass up through my abdomen. I called these my "let me try to scratch the paint off the wall" contractions. Unfortunately, when we got home the contractions, though intense, started to spread themselves out again. I tried showering, bouncing on the ball some more, pacing...
Wednesday-Thursday, Hours 15-32
Around 11pm we decided to put in a call to the midwife since the contractions were so painful even though they weren't the 4-5 minutes apart that they should be. Sometimes they were, sometimes they were more spread out, we weren't sure so we called. When she called back about 20 minutes later, I explained to her what was going on, she determined that I was still in early labor, and to stay home and try and sleep that night. We went to bed only to wake up every 15-20 minutes moaning with an intense asstraction. I stayed in bed intermittently sleeping because I knew I had to get rest. I pretty much did this until the sun came up.
We got up at around 6am and decided to go out and walk up and down our street to try and get the contractions more regular and closer together. We did and called the midwife back around 7:30. She thought we were making more progress but it was still early and to come to the hospital after rush hour. We planned on going around 9am, but by the time that came, my contractions were irregular and about 10 minutes apart again. Frustrated we stayed home. The next on duty midwife called us at around 11:30am to check on things, she told me to rest and continue to labor at home. We headed to the office at 3pm for a previously scheduled appointment. When we got there, I had my first breakdown and the waterworks started. The midwife there decided to check me to see where things were, low and behold I was 5cm dilated and had a softball sized bag of water hanging in my crotch, hence the reason for all of my previous ass labor. I felt good that I had progressed and all the pain so far was at least doing something. We headed to the hospital.
Thursday, Hours 33-the end around 50
Ros had to drop me off at the hospital because we left our bags at home because we didn't want to jinx anything. I had one of my ER friends walk me up to antenatal where they hooked me up to the monitor. Baby looked good, contractions were about every 5 minutes. Ros came back and we were escorted to L & D. We met our awesome nurse Yana and our midwife Angela. In L & D we did pretty much the same thing we had been doing at home, bouncing on the birthball, pacing the halls, having intense asstractions. This went on for hours and hours. Around 10pm Angela decided to check me to see my progress...7cm. I had mixed emotions about this. I was glad I had made progress, but 2cm in 6 hours was a bit discouraging. So we kept walking and bouncing. The midwife made me do lunges down the hallway and nipple stimulation. Around 1am I started to breakdown. The pain was intense, all the hypnosis I had practiced for pain control for months was out the window from the beginning so I was just dealing with labor taking one contraction at a time. I couldn't stop crying. I tried the nice tub, but I was too far gone. I wanted someone to ask me if I wanted an epidural, I didn't want to feel like a failure in my natural childbirth. At 2am she checked me again and I was at 8cm. Totally frustrated, exhausted, and hopeless, she suggested an epidural...I agreed.
The anesthesiologist was paged, my IV was started (after 2 attempts). The MD arrived and I sat on the bed, pillow in front of me, having my terrible asstractions every 4-5 minutes. I had to sit there with my back arched out like a cat and totally still while he tried 4 times to start my epidural. This was fucking torture. He decided he needed to call another anesthesiologist because he didn't want to poke me again. The next MD came in and try #5 happened...FAIL. By this point I didn't even know if they were going to be able to place it. My mind flooded with the idea that this birth was going to end up with me having a c-section under general anesthesia...so far from my ideal situation. On try lucky #6, it was in and I was numb from above my boobs to my ankles. My water then broke, and I finally got to rest after 42 hours. All was dandy until my blood pressure started to drop and the baby started having decelerations in her heart rate. After a shot of ephedrine, 4 liters of fluid, and my epidural being cut in half all was stable. I could only lay on my left side for the next several hours because the baby wouldn't tolerate my changing of positions. They let me rest, and let the baby labor herself down. Finally around 10am it was time to push.
What an odd concept to push with an epidural. I had absolutely no feeling from my upper abdomen to about my knees. They would tell me to push with each contraction but I had absolutely no muscle coordination to do that since I couldn't feel it. It's like telling a paraplegic to just bear down to have a bowel movement even though they are paralyzed, impossible. But somehow after 2 hours of pushing, our baby was here. She had a nuchal cord so that was cut immediately, but Angela had me reach down to pull her out and up to my chest. She was purple and scary looking so they took her over to the baby warmer to be stimulated and then she cried. It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
After all that pushing and labor, my nethers remained pretty much intact except for 2 second degree tears and a horrible case of the roids.
Few things that I have learned from my labor experience. First, I now know what 10/10 pain feels like. Secondly, that having a midwife to birth your baby is definitely the way to go. Our midwife Angela was awesome, she barely left my side the entire time I was at the hospital. She was patient and encouraging and helped me stay focused. The word midwife means "with women" and during my experience I could totally feel the meaning of that. And lastly, that I have the best, most supportive wife in the entire world. I definitely couldn't have made it 10 hours, never mind 42, of hard labor naturally. She stayed calm, cool, and collected the whole time. Even when she was freaking out, my impression of the situation was that everything was fine. I think that this experience, as horrible as it was at the time, has definitely brought us closer together, and has surely made me love her even more than I thought was possible.
Has it really (almost) been a year?
6 months ago