Mama: Cassie W.
Type of Birth: Vaginal Delivery
Birth Location: Hospital
Primary Care: Obstetrician
At 40 weeks pregnant, my doctor hadn’t seen much progress. After a long discussion, we decided to schedule an induction for the end of that week.
I didn’t necessarily want an induction; I honestly wanted my little girl to come out when she was ready. I hoped having an eviction notice would encourage my baby to vacate on her own terms.
I was scheduled to be induced on Thursday, September 1. Very early that morning, I woke up and realized I had lost my mucous plug. Giving her an eviction notice had worked!
I woke up every hour or so until the morning with wet underwear, but not enough to think my water had broken. I knew something was happening so I called my doctor who explained that the water had probably broken part way and was slowly leaking.
Since I was scheduled to go into the hospital that night anyway, she told me to wait and come in as planned.
I took it easy during the day but I didn’t feel any contractions. I went to a salon and got my nails done. My husband and I had a nice dinner at home (cheeseburgers!) and headed to the hospital that evening.
At the hospital, the nurse confirmed my water had broken and because it had been broken for 18 or more hours at that point, they hooked me up to antibiotics to make sure the baby didn’t get an infection.
Because my cervix wasn’t ready at that point, although my water had broken, I was also given Cytotec in the form of a pill in order to ripen the cervix.
I was dilated to 2 cm at this point and hadn’t felt any contractions, just some light pressure. My husband and I hung out, chatted and watched a Harry Potter movie.
My water broke all the way around 9 p.m. and contractions started on their own around 9:45 p.m. at seven minutes apart.
I stood up and swayed and “danced” while holding onto my husband during these to try to control the pain. After just a few contractions, they were five minutes apart and were quickly getting harder and faster.
By 10:30 p.m., contractions were two minutes apart and I was in active labor at only three centimeters dilated. The nurse explained to me that I had completely skipped the first part of labor and my body went immediately into active labor.
I was standing, bouncing on the birthing ball, leaning on my husband’s shoulders, “dancing,” and leaning over the hospital bed. I didn’t want to walk through the hallways because, as silly as it sounds, I was in a lot of pain and didn’t want people to be able to see me. Plus, I was still hooked up to antibiotics and didn’t want to bring the IV pole around with me.
Around 12:30 a.m., I asked for a narcotic.
The nurse brought me the medication and an epidural consent form. Just in case I wanted an epidural later, she didn’t want to me sign one while I was on the narcotic. I agreed at that point, because although I didn’t intend on an epidural, I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be able to take the pain.
The narcotic was supposed to last about 45 minutes to an hour, but after 30 minutes, my contractions started getting harder and closer together and I thought it had run out entirely. It hadn’t, the contractions were just that much worse.
Once it totally wore off, I handled the contractions for another 15 minutes or so before I asked my husband if he would be disappointed if I got an epidural. I was so worried he’d be upset with me if I asked for one. Like I had asked him to, he tried to talk me out of it to see if I really wanted one.
By the time I asked the nurse for an epidural, I still had 750 ml of saline to get into my bloodstream to push the antibiotics through. The nurse set it to administer at the fastest setting, which was one liter per hour, meaning I still had to go 45 minutes before I could consider an epidural.
Although my contractions were only two minutes apart and I hardly had time to calm down between them, I was able to stand up so I could go to the bathroom. (My husband laughed at me because, at this point, as I was leaving the bathroom, he saw me check and fix my hair in between the contractions—Hey! A girl’s gotta look good…).
The saline ran out around 2 a.m. so we called the nurse. She was about to check my cervix when I got a contraction, so she waited.
However, she saw that the contraction wasn’t stopping— it was just running into the next one, and that one ran into the next one. The baby’s heartbeat fell down to 70 BPM because she couldn’t “breathe” in between contractions.
The pain was so intense without breaks that I started blacking out, going in and out of consciousness.
When I was able to pull myself awake on and off, I just saw how scared my husband looked, I saw four nurses standing around my bedside all talking quickly and doing something with the baby and the on-call doctor inserting something onto the baby. They were all rushing and one nurse gave me an oxygen mask.
The doctor had hooked a spider monitor onto the baby’s head and it required three nurses to hold my legs up because I kept blacking out and fighting the contractions when I was conscious.
Once the monitor was on the baby’s head and they could see her heartbeat was still too low, they gave me a shot to slow down the contractions. It worked within a minute and a half, and once the contractions slowed down, the oxygen mask on me helped to get the baby’s heartbeat back up. It normalized back to the 150s-160s.
I finally got an epidural about 3:30 a.m. At this point, they also put me on Pitocin so they could better regulate the contractions since they were so sporadic.
At that point, I felt the epidural pretty evenly. I started to feel the initial shot of the epidural wear off around 30 minutes later. I called my nurse to tell her I started to feel the pain coming back, and she wanted to give me a clicker so I could up the epidural any time I started to feel pain again. That’s when she realized the epidural machine was off— the doctor had never actually turned it on after giving me the initial shot.
I was so annoyed. The anesthesiologist came back and flipped the switch, and I started to feel some relief.
Apparently, though, the anesthesiologist put the epidural in on an angle. My left side felt TOO numb, so numb that it hurt, but my right side was not numb enough. It wasn’t really all that bad, I didn’t suffer through every contraction on my right side, but I could definitely feel them.
The doctor offered to re-do the epidural, but I refused as I didn’t want to go through that again and thought I could handle it.
Honestly for me, the epidural was the worst part of my birth experience. For future births, I will try to handle the pain instead of getting an epidural. It made me feel sick and I hated not having control of my body.
At this point, I was told my parents had arrived from the airport and had been in the waiting room since 2 a.m. I was very anxious to see my mom, so I had them come in and say hello for a few minutes before heading back to our house to get some rest.
An hour and 20 minutes after I got the epidural, I progressed to nine centimeters. The contractions were two minutes apart the entire time I was on the epidural.
I had gotten to nine centimeters really quickly, and then stopped progressing. The next time I was checked I was nine and a half centimeters. Then, around 9:15 a.m., I was ready to push.
At 9:40 a.m., I started to push. Around 10 a.m., my OB arrived.
It was two “rounds” of pushing later that I gave birth at 10:17 a.m.!
The cord had been wrapped around the baby’s neck once. It was three to four seconds before she let out a few little cries in a row. It was such a sweet sound and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
The baby was quickly evaluated on my tummy on top of my gown and cleaned enough to be put on my chest.
Baby got a nine on her 1-minute APGAR and another nine on her 5-minute APGAR.
Soon enough, the nurses all left us and my husband and I sat with our baby for a little while just admiring how perfect she is and how wonderful everything had worked out. I was able to breastfeed her right away and I was in absolute heaven.