Talk to any mom when you’re pregnant and they’ll want to share their birth story with you. As a woman close to her due date, these stories can really terrify you. Most women who share their stories had more extreme experiences and the women with easy labors tend to not share. Either way you have to remember that every woman’s experience with labor and birth are unique to them and yours will be unique to you.
Mine didn’t go how I thought it would at all. Starting the night before my due date, I started getting labor pains. I had mild contractions and started to get excited. I timed them at 5 minutes a part. We prepared our bag for the hospital and went to bed to see if I could sleep through some of it. Well I slept through all of it and woke up not in labor.
This went on for the next ten days. It’s called prodromal labor and it’s commonly called false labor, but it’s not like Braxton Hicks. The contractions are real, but they never stay consistent and usually stop when you lay down. They are painful though and fool you into thinking your labor has begun.
They are so frustrating!! By 6 days after my due date, I was so over it and just wanted to induce. We scheduled an elective induction for the 6th of Nov. and we kept getting bumped by the hospital. First we were scheduled for 8am then bumped to 7pm then 9pm then finally they told us to come in at midnight. When we arrived though they were too busy and asked us to just go to sleep.
In the morning, we prepared for the labor ahead by ordering a large breakfast. Then the charge nurse came in and kindly asked us to leave, because they wouldn’t be able to fit us in that day. They rescheduled my induction for Saturday. On Saturday, I would be 41 weeks pregnant and considered medically necessary to induce. So we left and went home still pregnant. I cried all day.
I prayed I would go into natural labor before Saturday, but it never happened just more false labor. On Saturday we showed up at 8am and we started the induction process. Of course an induction was far from what I planned, but I didn’t want to carry my baby for 42 weeks and have him be too big for a vaginal birth.
I got the foley bulb they fill up a balloon and put it inside the cervix and another outside to put pressure on it so it opens. They also gave me cervix softening pills. The first 6 hours I had manageable contractions and it took the nurse yanking on the balloon to get it to fall out. The finally I was 5 cm.
I didn’t progress as fast as hoped and my contractions still had lulls that weren’t helping, so they started the pitocin. This mimics oxytocin, the hormone that brings on labor. You can have up to 30 ccs and I just started with 2 then 4 and finally 6. I labored through the night. I was doing well managing the pain with meditation and other techniques like music, the yoga ball, and the therapeutic tub.
I was proud of myself. Then they upped the pitocin to 6 and my contractions were a minute a part and very strong and she broke my water bags. So with every contraction came a huge gush of fluids. I was at 7 cm around 6am and was in excruciating pain. The contractions were so strong that I wasn’t able to meditate through them. I was shaking in pain.
I really didn’t want pain relief, but I tried the nitrous oxide and it didn’t help much. It just made me dizzy. Finally I was unable to handle it anymore and after 24 hours of labor without drugs, I gave in and got an epidural.
It was probably my best decision, because it gave me time to rest for three hours pain free until the pushing began. I pushed for almost 3 hours because my sons head was stuck. I had an audience of med students watching me, but no energy to ask them to leave. I somehow drummed up enough energy to keep pushing every time I felt the urge.
In between pushes I’d exclaim that I’d given up and couldn’t push anymore. I had to get an episiotomy, which isn’t common these days but was necessary. The doctor was standing by with a suction to yank him out. I felt so discouraged seeing his head still going back in after each push. Finally I pushed my hardest and before I knew it these little blue eyes were gazing up at me from my heaving chest.
I held him with tears in my eyes as they stitched me up. I don’t know how I found the strength to keep going but I did. Women sure are warriors and I felt like one that day. Even though I’m still in pain, it was all worth it to have my son in my arms. Childbirth is not for the faint of heart.