I don’t generally write birth plans since I’m pretty go-with-the-flow when giving birth. That, and I’m an all-the-drugs kind of girl.
With my first, my water broke, so it was pretty easy to know when to go to the hospital. The second time, I asked for an induction since I was having hard contractions every 3-5 minutes for three weeks. I also had epidural a for both.
This third time, I was again having contractions every few minutes for days. I was desperate to not repeat the extremely uncomfortable three weeks of my second birth, so I asked for some help getting things going. My doctor scheduled an induction for two days later.
We got to the hospital at 5:30 in the morning to get things started. Woo hoo! I was hoping to meet my third baby pretty soon (especially since my second labor was only 5 hours).
They finally got my IV started which was a pain because of my tiny veins. It usually requires at least three sticks. My nurse got a tiny dose of pitocin started and there was no turning back.
Things progressed somewhat quickly, so I asked for an epidural when pain started getting intense. The anesthesiologist placed it, and I was ready to relax. Several minutes later, the contraction pain decreased (even though I could still feel when I was having one). I was told it could take 20-30 minutes for the drugs to take full-effect.
What seemed odd to me was that I could still feel my legs and even move them around; I wasn’t able to do that the first two times (but I could move my foot on my second birth). I told my nurse about half an hour later about that since I still wasn’t losing feeling. The anesthesiologist said that it shouldn’t be a problem since their goal isn’t to numb my legs, and since my contraction pain was less, the epidural was working. Looking back, I should’ve said something more there. I had been through this twice before and knew what it was like. But since I wasn’t really feeling my contractions, I didn’t worry too much about it.
As the day progressed, my contractions started getting stronger. I tried to distract myself by reading a magazine and playing on my phone. About an hour after my epidural was placed, I was starting to hurt again. A lot. I asked my nurse if my contractions were just getting stronger. She said they weren’t, which meant my epidural was wearing off. The anesthesiologist was brought back in to turn the dose up. This happened a total of 4 times, none of which helped.
My nurse placed a catheter and an internal monitor. I squirmed away during all of it because it hurt so badly. She said that was not normal if you’ve had an epidural.
At this point, I was in tears from the pain. There was nothing distracting me. I was lying on my side in tears, holding my husband’s hand while he rubbed my back. All the drugs had completely worn off.
When my nurse came to check me, I was at 7cm. She asked me if I wanted the epidural replaced. Knowing that I progress pretty quickly, I said, “I don’t know.” Just a couple minutes later, I decided that I wanted it replaced. I didn’t know how much longer this was going to last and I knew I couldn’t handle it.
What was interesting at this point I noticed was that there were more people in my room. They were getting ready for the baby. For some reason, this stressed me out more. I even asked my husband if that’s what they were doing.
The anesthesiologist came back, but there was a problem. I was fully dilated, effaced, etc. and ready to give birth (told you I progress fast as I went from 7cm to 10cm in just a few minutes). A laborist came in just in case my doctor didn’t make it. Luckily, my doctor came in minutes later. I was happy about that since I was so comfortable with her.
They had me push. I could feel everything. I think I yelled, “I can’t do this,” more than once. My doctor was extremely helpful and reassured me through the whole thing. My husband was on my left side holding my hand, and my nurse was on my right side holding my hand. I really had a great team, even when things didn’t go how I wanted them to.
Five exhausting pushes later, and the nurse laid my new baby on my chest. With my other two kids, I cried. With this one, I didn’t. I don’t know if I was mad or just tired. A nurse soon took him away to get vitals, and another nurse cleaned me up.
And because I’m weird, I asked my doctor if I could see the placenta. I was curious, and I figured I may not get another chance. I can’t believe this thing she was showing me housed my baby for nine months.
I know a lot of women out there opt to not have an epidural or any other drugs during childbirth. You’re amazing, but it is absolutely not for me. I am still firmly an all-the-drugs girl. But I also wrote this out for two reasons: the first is that I want to remember it and the second is to show that birth can absolutely not go as planned, no matter what your plan. So, go with it. No matter what changes (and something probably will), you still brought a baby into this world and it’s pretty amazing.