Hey guys! I know I’ve neglected my blog lately but life has been absolutely insane these past couple of weeks. I almost want to take a picture of the chaos that is our house right now with all the packing we’ve been doing but I’ll spare your poor eyes. So here’s part two of Amelia’s birth story instead!
Again, I’m warning you, it’s another long read! And if you’re just catching up, here’s the first part of her birth story.
5 freaking centimeters. I couldn’t believe it. How could I be in this much pain and only be at five centimeters?!
Another contraction hit. I immediately got up and pressed my head into my husband chest, while bending over and swaying my hips. It was the only position, besides getting on my hands and knees on the cold floor, that somewhat felt okay. I remembered the breathing exercises I was taught and did my best to breath through each contraction while the husband held me and tried to breathe with me. This went on for a while with each contraction remaining at the same intensity and coming at one to two minutes apart. And with each contraction, I would jump into my husband’s arms and repeat the same hip swaying motion. Unfortunately, because of the way I was positioned, my husband was unable to reach his arms around me to press into my back where it hurt the most. But I preferred to labor in this position just because it felt nice to be held so I stayed this way until between contractions, where I would sit back down and try to catch my breath. The intense breathing through contractions really took a lot out of me.
By 1am I was exhausted and it was getting harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had already been in labor a few hours too long considering this was my second and I really thought I’d have a baby in my arm by now. The contractions were still coming on fast, and they were the most painful feelings I’ve ever felt in my life. It was nothing like the “front” labor I experienced with Caleb so I was completely taken back. My back felt like it was splitting into pieces and I could barely hold myself up. At this point, there was no position that provided any relief, even when the husband tried to provide counter pressure to my spine.
Finally, I had enough. I started to consider the epidural. I knew that we’d have a baby soon and that we’d be up all day with her, and after our long day and the exhausting labor I was going through, I started to think that it would be beneficial to try and get some rest before the real adventure started. When I told the husband, he looked shocked and asked me if I was sure I wanted to go that route since I had already made it this far.
I actually wasn’t so sure I wanted the epidural but before I could answer him, a contraction hit.
NOW I was sure. I absolutely and positively wanted relief. I needed a break. It had been a long day and I was emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. This was not the state I wanted to be in when we first met our daughter.
We informed the nurse that I wanted the epidural and as soon as we asked for it, all of these horrific scenarios of births gone wrong flashed in my mind. I was terrified. I had always been more terrified of a needle going into my spine than a little pain, but this wasn’t just a little pain. But was I really going to do this? Was I taking the easy way out? What about the natural birth I had so hoped for?
And then suddenly, it hit me. Why was I so caught up in the birth experience? It’s only one day out of a whole lifetime with this baby, just like a wedding is only one day out of an entire marriage. Ultimately, this experience is just a very small part of the bigger, more important picture. It was at this moment that I finally let go of this image of this perfect birth experience that I was trying to fulfill, and instead decided to focus on what I would experience after all of this was over. I was getting that damn epidural.
The nurse came back in and told us that it would be a while before the anesthesiologist could come in and administer my epi since he had several other women to attend to first.
WHAT?! After I justified my decision and finally decided to go for it, I had to wait for it!? I had no idea how any of this worked so I was NOT expecting to have to wait for sweet relief. I always thought you asked for it, got it, and then baby popped out. Plus, this meant that I had to endure even more of these painful contractions. I seriously almost cried when I realized this. Even though I knew contractions weren’t going to last forever and that baby had to arrive sometime, I didn’t know how much longer I could handle it. It was almost 2am and I had already been in ridiculously painful labor since 10:30pm. I wanted that epidural before I changed my mind again or before it was too late!
Finally, after what felt like an eternity but what really was only 45 minutes, the anesthesiologist arrived.
But before he could administer the epi, we first had to go through a health questionnaire that consisted of a gazillion questions.
Again, WHAT!? Are you kidding me?! I just wanted the freaking epidural already! Fortunately, he sped through the questions while I contracted and did my best to answer them. And then it was time.
I had built up so much fear around the epidural and when he told me that I had to be as still as possible as he inserted the needle, I started to freak out. He didn’t help my fear at all. How the hell was I supposed to remain still during these contractions? What if I was paralyzed? I know the chances are extremely rare but I still couldn’t but wonder.
And with my luck, just as he was about to insert the needle, a contraction hit. I almost panicked, especially since they had kicked the husband out for the procedure but the nurse quickly squeezed my thighs, told me to squeeze her arms, tuck my chin to my chest, and really push the breath out from the bottom of my belly. I closed my eyes and did exactly what she said.
Surprisingly I managed to stay completely still and even though the contraction was insanely painful, I realized that if I did this exact thing for my contractions, I could have possibly gone without the epidural. But oops, it was too late at this point.
The nurse left the room and the husband came back in with a worried look on his face. I assured him I was fine but that I had to labor through the contractions until the epidural took effect. I was told that for some women it worked immediately, and for others it could take up to 40 minutes to take effect.
Thankfully, I happened to be of the statistic where the epidural worked pretty quickly. I labored for another 20 minutes when I started to feel the epidural kick in. It slightly took the edge off the contractions where I could still feel the pain, but it was nowhere near the level they were at before.
UNFORTUNATELY, the freaking epidural only worked on my right side. So even though it made my back pain less painful, I could still feel my uterus contracting during each contraction and since my right side was numb, it was like all of the pain had concentrated on my left side. It was an odd, painful sensation and I still found myself breathing through them just as I did during my labor with Caleb. The nurse came into the room to check on me and when she saw that I was still in pain, she flipped me over to my left side. I labored even more while on my side, even though it really didn’t seem to help distribute the epidural. I was clawing at the bed during each contraction.
I squeezed my husband’s hand and breathed through each one till around 3am when the OB came in to perform an internal exam. He checked me and then informed us that I was complete. Yay! I was at a 10 but because my bag of water hadn’t broken, baby wasn’t able to move further down into my pelvis. He decided to break my waters and see if baby could engage from there. The OB then said that he’d give me a few minutes to see if baby starts to move further down and then he’d like for me to start pushing.
And here’s where I feel like I finally had some control over this experience.
I was honestly shocked that he wanted me to start pushing when I really haven’t felt the urge to push yet. I always thought that you were ready to push when the urge to poop felt uncontrollable. Since I could still feel my contractions in spite of the epidural, my maternal instinct kicked in and I knew my body and baby wasn’t ready. I told them that I wanted to avoid purple pushing and any sort of medically directed pushing. So I firmly requested that we wait just a little longer. I knew that when the pressure remained in between contractions, I would be ready to bear down and push but now wasn’t the time. They reluctantly agreed and left to allow me to labor on my own just a little more.
So for another hour I laid in bed, breathing through each contraction as it hit me on the left side of my body. I told the husband to get some rest because once baby arrives, life will get even crazier. And then I tried to rest but it wasn’t happening with how fast my contractions were coming. They started to come right on top of each other again when I realized that I felt like I needed to push. And just as soon as I felt like pushing, a whole team of people walked into our room telling me that it’s really time to push NOW. The monitor was showing that my contractions were right on top of each other and that baby’s heart rate was accelerating fast.
YES. It was finally go-time!