Overall, I was lucky and Avery’s birth went pretty smoothly. (MAYBE IT WAS THE DATES I ATE). By my due date, September 25th, I still wasn’t experiencing any labor symptoms and my OB decided she wanted to induce at 42 weeks as long as the baby and I remained healthy until then. We were doing regular fetal non-stress tests (NSTs) and everything looked just fine so I feel like I could have pushed back and insisted on waiting a little longer. But, I was generally feeling ready (i.e. super antsy and impatient) and the date worked out: my OB was scheduled to work on the date of the induction so if I didn’t go into labor on my own before that, she’d likely be the one to deliver Avery (typical of a lot of OBGYN practices, I would get whichever of the OBs was on the day I gave birth).
At my NST two days before the 42 week mark, I was having contractions, but I couldn’t feel them. I lost some of my mucus plug around then, too, but nothing else was really happening, so we checked into Swedish First Hill at 8pm on October 8th. It was a little anticlimactic as I had been prepared to labor for quite a while at home. I’d assembled coconut water and snacks, made a list of yoga poses to try, and DVRed lots of Jeopardy episodes, thinking that would be a good distraction from contractions. Oh well.
I was pretty nervous about being induced, having heard lots of stories of inductions dragging on with no progress and ending in C sections due to fetal stress. My OB had warned me that an induction would boost my chances of a C section from about 10% to about 20-30%.
After checking in and taking blood and putting in an IV line and other assorted medical type things, they gave me a round of misoprostol to try and soften my cervix, and encouraged me to try and sleep. The contractions slowly intensified to the point that I could feel them. At some point they gave me a second dose of misoprostol. I still wasn’t dilated past like 1 cm or so but the contractions were strong enough that they didn’t give me any pitocin. They did however give me an Ambien which helped me sleep between the contractions, until about 3 or 4am when they became so intense I could no longer sleep.
Baby w Burrito
Somewhere around 5am I made Will wake up as shit was getting pretty painful and I needed the moral support. The contractions felt like really intense pelvic and lower back cramps/spasms. The most painful thing I’ve ever felt, for sure. Eventually I got into the jacuzzi tub in my room and hung out in there. The tub, counting through the contractions, and trying my best to breathe through them, was was got me through. And a lot of bracing with my arms against the walls of the tub which the very no-nonsense nurse kept admonishing me not to do. My guns were really sore the next day. The staff also gave me a couple doses of fentanyl, which just lets you get into kind of a weird zone in between the contractions that relaxes you a little but doesn’t do that much for the actual pain.
At some point, maybe around 8am or so, my water broke in the tub and at 10ish I decided I couldn’t deal anymore and wanted an epidural. The staff didn’t measure how dilated I was but I guess they could tell it was fine to hook me up with an epidural given the breaking of the water and the intensity of the contractions.
The anesthesiologist took his sweet time getting there and I felt a little desperate by the time he arrived. I then waited out a couple brutal back to back contractions since I didn’t feel like I could hold still through them. Though the epidural needle is indeed huge and scary they numb you before inserting it and besides a tiny pinch from the numbing, I didn’t feel a thing. Within like 20-30 minutes I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down which was amazing. I’m totally pro epidural-it was fantastic and I can’t imagine going through labor without one. I slept and ate Haribo gummy bears (you can only have shit like gummy bears or popsicles post epidural-real food was allowed earlier but I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything. I was actually really nauseous for much of early labor and puked a bunch of times which I did not expect).
By 12pm ish my OB came and checked on me and I was fully dilated and at 2:30 I started pushing. I was able to push really well somehow despite not being able to feel shit. I pushed for an hour (3 pushes with every contraction) and the environment was extremely chill-Will and I were talking to the nurse and doctor about, like, wine tasting, and how we met in college, and other random chit chatty things. Avery hung through labor like a champ, and after an hour, she was born and placed on my chest. Will admirably overcame his fear of blood and cut the cord. I had a couple superficial tears and just needed a couple stitches here and there. Avery was only 7lbs 3oz which I am sure helped with this, and probably all the squats and kegels I did while pregnant didn’t hurt either.
Recovery was pretty smooth though I was definitely sore for a few days. But in all, labor went really well and I feel extremely lucky. Swedish, my OB, and the rest of the staff were fantastic and it was a great experience overall. Way smoother and faster than expected. Life with a newborn? Definitely NOT smoother than expected. More on that later…