I had a choice to make: I was in natural labor for about 20 hours before I realized that I needed to take Pitocin in order for the baby to come out vaginally, and for there to be less complications. And the thing about Pitocin: the contractions SUCK. I had gotten to the point where some of the contractions were really making me go out of my mind, and I knew one cold hard truth: the contractions HAD to get harder in order for my labor to progress. So I opted for an epidural. It was administered at around 5 p.m.
In the moment it seemed I made the decision rashly, but I don’t think so. I had been researching childbirth and delivering and natural childbirth for the entire time I was pregnant, so I knew the reality about Pitocin. The fact that the midwives kept on mentioning it to me as a necessary and not an option, made me realize how dire the situation was. And I was determined to have a vaginal birth (not via C-section) so I think that was the basis for my decision (some of this is still a blur). Some part of me feels bad for not having the natural childbirth I desired, but the baby came out perfectly, and more on that later…
So my sister, TC, was on her way from California for the birth. My water broke on Saturday night when she was right about to board the plane to NJ. She boarded the plane, took a five hour nap, then drove down just in time for the real action to begin. The epidural started working within 10 minutes and then the Pitocin was administered. I ended up sleeping (the best sleep of my life it seems!) for hours while the Pitocin did its thing. The last vaginal exam they did, I was dilated 2 centimeters, and it was important for me to get to 10 centimeters. They (the midwives) then started talking about putting a foley catheter inside me, which is some type of something that is supposed to help the cervix thin out. AM and I decided against it, and so again, we waited a few hours while the Pitocin did its work.
The midwives again came back and said the situation was dire, with my water having broken for hours and the contractions and active labor not even started. So AM and I agreed to the foley catheter. But then they did an exam and I was 6 centimeters dilated!!!!! That meant I didn’t need the foley catheter!
Anyways…things picked up by then. I had been in active labor for hours and at around 3:30 a.m. my cervix was fully dilated and I was ready to push! There was my team assembled: AM, TC, the midwife, nurse, and our doula. The doula was really integral to this whole thing. It was all quite amazing now that I think about it!
So for two hours, every time a contraction came, I was told to do a crunch and then push really hard for 10 seconds, 4 sets. This happened for a long time and I was tired and kinda ready to call it in. Then they brought me a mirror, because the head was emerging! And it gave me all I needed to keep pushing. It was kinda funny because it was around the time I go to the gym that I finally pushed the baby out.
So…for the action part! Everyone was cheering me on, AM was holding one leg, TC was holding the other leg and in the mirror I could slowly see the head emerge. And then, at 5:34 a.m., it happened! I pushed the baby through me! After pushing for 2 hours, the baby seemed to arrive in a span of seconds. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, so the midwives dealt with that, and then all of the sudden, the baby was placed on my chest. It was surreal to finally feel and touch the baby. I also saw AM’s face and he was crying and it was so beautiful.
Anyways, I’m late to feeding the baby, so I’ve got to wrap things up. He is now 5 days old and it feels hella overwhelming (feeding the baby every 2 hours, being sleep deprived, having all of the hormones course through me) but every day, AM and I fall more and more in love with our little guy.