Being a first time mom I was fascinated with other people’s labor and birth stories while I was pregnant. Everyone and every birth are different, but I couldn’t help but want to read or hear about other people’s experiences. It is such an unknown, so I think knowing all of the potential scenarios helped to ease my mind and also scared the shit out of me. Since there’s so much anxiety around childbirth, I figured I’d share my story, too. It’s long, just like labor!
I was scheduled to be induced at 41 weeks because baby boy just didn’t want to make his debut. I hoped and prayed he would come before then because even though I didn’t have a formal birth plan, an induction that I feared would end in a c-section was not what I wanted. Unfortunately, the day came and baby still wasn’t here.
On Sunday, April 24th – induction day- the hospital called around 2 pm and told us to be there at 4 pm. I was so excited and nervous! They told me over the phone that they’d be giving me medicine to soften my cervix throughout the night, and then transfer me to labor and delivery in the morning to be induced with Pitocin. I was a little discouraged knowing we’d spend the entire night in the hospital before I was actually induced, but at that point I was ready for anything if it meant finally having my baby in my arms – and not being pregnant anymore. It was also nice knowing exactly when I was going to the hospital because I was able to shower, shave, and do my hair before we left.
When we arrived at the hospital we were escorted to a beautiful room that eased my mind a bit about the anticipated long night. I had never spent the night in a hospital before. The nurse explained the process to me and got me hooked up to an IV (ouch – bloodbath!). At around 5 pm they made me eat some dinner before checking me (I was 3 cm) and giving me the first dose of Misoprostol, the medicine that would help soften my cervix and keep my contractions going through the night.
As time went on I was having consistent contractions that thankfully were nothing more than a little uncomfortable – like bad menstrual cramps which I was used to, and had had worse. The nurse was surprised at how often and strong they were at that point and told me it was a good sign. The Miso can only be given every 4 hours, so within that time they monitored me. Nick and I were just hanging out and watching TV. As 9 pm approached the nurse told me that since my contractions were happening too frequently they wouldn’t be able to give me another dose of the medicine. She said that I would be going to labor and delivery that night to start the Pitocin. We were so relieved that we were able to get started sooner than expected.
By 11 pm we were settled into the labor and delivery room and I was offered an epidural immediately. My contractions were still nothing more than uncomfortable, so I decided to hold off since I knew it meant I would be bedridden from that point on. This surprised me since I had said my entire pregnancy that I would get it as soon as I could! It only took a couple of hours before I decided that I didn’t want to be uncomfortable any longer. Thankfully, I still wasn’t in much pain at all – it was all very manageable up to that point.
I was really worried about getting the epidural, but it was a breeze! I didn’t look at the needle which probably would have made me pass out. After a small pinch I was good to go. It’s a weird feeling being numb from the waist down, but I could still feel touching and move my legs (but they were heavy!) which was a pleasant surprise. It also made me super loopy! Holy drugs.
Lots of hours and popsicles later I was having serious contractions – or so they told me. 🙂 Unfortunately, I was still only 3 centimeters dilated and starting to get impatient. The shift changes were stressing me out because it made it more obvious how much time was passing and how little progress I was making. My favorite doctor was on until 5 pm, and the nurse we had (and loved) was there until 7, so we were hoping baby would come before then. They told me they’d be shocked if he didn’t.
My mom came up to the room in the early afternoon to hang out which helped to distract me and make me feel a little better. I wasn’t in pain, but I was getting uncomfortable with all of the pressure from the contractions. They had been pumping up then dialing back the Pitocin the entire time to keep the baby’s heart rate normal, so I was also starting to feel a little icky (probably combined with the fact that I hadn’t eaten or slept more than tiny cat naps since 5 pm the night before.) It was more waiting and getting checked and finally I was at 6 and then 7 centimeters and in “active labor.” They told me this meant things should pick up, so I got re-energized. My mom left around 4:30 thinking I would be pushing in the near-ish future. (I should say here that we had decided to only have Nick and I in the room when baby was born.) My doctor’s on-call shift was over, and the new one checked me a couple hours later – still at 7 centimeters.
At that point, I was done. I was uncomfortable, the most exhausted of my life, completely impatient, and stir-crazy from being in a hospital bed for 24 hours at that point. I lost it – I felt like it would never end. I was also so stressed out about the fact that I didn’t know how I would push a baby out (they said I could be pushing for hours!) being as exhausted as I was. Nick asked my cousin to come because he knew it would make me feel a little bit better and add some humor to the situation. She hung out with us for the next couple hours which definitely helped me since I was an exhausted, emotional mess. At around 7 pm when I got checked again I was still 7 centimeters and the baby was still not descending. The doctor told me that she would come back in 2 hours and if no progress is made she would likely have to call a c-section. It was music to my ears! I just needed it to be over.
At 9 pm I hadn’t made any progress and a c-section was decided on. My cousin left and everything after that happened so fast. I was absolutely and completely delirious at that point and couldn’t even see straight. I was scared, but also too out of it to process too much. A team of people came in immediately, got us prepped, and I was wheeled down to the OR. It was so very Grey’s Anatomy – I had never had surgery before. I was given some more meds and they began. We were finally going to meet our baby!
After some hard tugging and lots of pressure (the whole thing was anything but pleasant) Noah Daniel Hemond was here – at 9:37 pm! It wasn’t ideal that I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and that the entire thing was a blur, but that little cry made my entire world change. They brought him over to me so I could kiss him and Nick held him next to me for a few minutes while we took in our first few moments as a new little family. I wish I could have held him right away, but I was just happy he was here – healthy and safe.
Nick and Noah were taken back to our room while I was still getting put back together and stitched up. My entire body was shaking so much from the medicine and labor it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Pretty awful. I also started feeling sick from all of the meds and exhaustion, and the rest of the c-section felt like an eternity. I hated that I was laying there alone not knowing when it would end.
Finally, after 28 hours of labor and a c-section, it was all over and I was able to hold our precious little angel baby. It is true what they say – that there’s no greater love. The entire process and the days that followed didn’t go the way I had expected, planned, or hoped, that’s what life with a baby is like! Recovering from the surgery has been worse than I imagined, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The outpouring of love from our family and friends has been overwhelming. We still have flowers and gifts being delivered almost a month later! Noah will be one month old next week and I can’t believe it. He is the best ever and we just love him more than we ever thought possible.