Like I’m sure most moms do, I love talking about my labor experience. I don’t know why, but it’s my favorite thing to talk about. So, talk about it I shall.
Nola was due on July 1, 2015. And where was I on that fateful day ? The grocery store, running errands. 40 weeks pregnant, on my due date, standing in the deli line. I knew I wasn’t going to deliver or even go into labor on that day, but it was still not how I wanted to pass my due date.
I also had a doctors appointment that day, so I went to that, too. They confirmed that I was only 3 cm dilated and my water was intact and Nola wasn’t going anywhere today. Well, I was not having that. I wanted her OUT. So, I asked to be induced. As fate would have it, my OB who I planned on delivering my baby, who I had grown attached to over the past nine months, was on vacation. So, I asked this new lady if I could be induced and she said she would call me with an answer later in the day.
She waited until 8 PM to call me. The anxiety of waiting for the call about gave me a heart attack. But, she called and told me that I was scheduled for induction the following day at 9 PM. Oh man was I excited.
The night before the 1st (whatever the last day of June was) I had contractions. They were about 30 minutes apart, but they were strong enough to keep me awake all night. The night before induction. I had started having contractions again, but they were 20-23 minutes apart and still intense, so mark night number two of no sleep.
So, the day dragged. Hours ticked by and finally it was time. I was anxious and nervous and tired and ready to have one night of good sleep before the baby came. I drove to the hospital and my parents came with me. They were planning on going home that night and would be back in the morning.
When we got there, I got all checked in and the nurses got my port all set up in my arm (for the IV and pitocin). They got me all set up and said I had an hour to get all settled in and then they were going to start me on the pitocin.
Well, as it turns out, Nola didn’t need the kick of the pitocin to get labor started. Almost immediately when I got checked in, contractions started. They started and were about 90 seconds apart. The nurses checked and I was only 4.5 cm dilated, so they couldn’t do anything except let labor take its course.
My mom, who is a nurse and a mother of four, told me that we should walk around “it brings on labor!” she said. So, we’re walking around the maternity ward and I’m doubled over with abdominal pain that could end my life. It was intense. I went back to my room and was a miserable mess, and I couldn’t help but cry from the pain. Of course, as dads do, my dad is making fun of me almost the whole time. Thanks dad.
I was checked several more times and I was stuck around 6-7 cm dilated for the next 10 hours. Eventually, the pain got so bad they gave me something to try to take the edge off. And whatever it was didn’t really stop the pain but it was still fantastic nonetheless. I asked the nurse if she could give me the street name of whatever it was and she thought it was hilarious. Wasn’t a joke, Melissa.
My mom predicted that Nola was going to be born during the night, so she stayed with me. She was wrong. My contractions were still 90 seconds apart and whatever they gave me had worn off, so I requested an epidural. My anesthesiologist was hilarious and the experience was painless.
HOWEVER the epidural did not make anything painless. It didn’t take. I could still feel every cramp, contraction, pressure and shooting pain. So, despite the medication, it was essentially a med-free labor because it did not work.
Around 3 AM my water broke. And my mom was asleep so I didn’t want to wake her up. I pressed the nurse button and they came in and were like yup, that’s broken. I thought I deserved a little more than that, but whatever.
Around 7 AM the following morning, my labor nurse, Nancy (who is a wonderful woman and I love her forever), came in and she checked me. I was stuck at 8-8.5 cm and she said she’d give me a third thing for the pain and she’d come back and check me in another hour.
Whatever they gave me didn’t work. Medication will not be a part of my next delivery because it is a MYTH.
Nancy came back and I was a mess. I was crying from pain. My legs were heavy from the epidural, but not numb. I had to poop. I was hungry. It was just a mess.
She checked me and said “okay, start pushing” like oh okay Nancy, because I know how to do that. Now, Nancy was a seasoned nurse and wasn’t going to take my shit. She told me to stop crying and suck it up and push this baby out ! I didn’t listen and had convinced myself that she wasn’t coming out. Nancy was not having that.
And can I just say; I thought that labor was a much more medically involved process. When I was pushing, I had my one nurse and the doctor was in there at the very end. Nancy was on the computer entering in data and she was in and out of the room while I’m pushing a damn person out of my lady parts. I don’t know, I guess from watching it on TV I thought labor involved more people. Apparently, I was wrong.
Well. An hour of pushing went by and there was no baby and I was, mentally, a puddle. Nancy told me that if I wanted this baby out then I needed to be serious and PUSH !!!
And then something clicked in me and I grabbed my knees and started pushing as hard and as long as I could. For another hour I gave 100% to pushing this little baby out.
After 14 hours of active labor and 2 hours of pushing, at 10:48 AM on July 3, 2015 my little baby was earth side. She was perfect. They dried her off and opened my gown and plopped her down for skin-to-skin. Her cord was not clamped or cut until it stopped pulsing. She was not bathed, weighed or measured before I could hold her.
While I was holding my brand new baby, I felt some serious sharp pains. Turns out, I had tore and the doctor was stitching me up right there. 6 stitches later and she was out. Everyone left and I was able to having uninterrupted bonding time with my baby.
She nursed for the first time a few minutes later and ate for an hour. She latched wrong, which I didn’t know, but that’s another story for another time.
It was beautiful and wonderful and painful and amazing. And that is the story of how Nola was born. 7 lbs, 3oz, 21 inches long. Heathy, happy, beautiful, perfect.
I would like to comment on how amazing Sherman Hospital in Elgin, IL was. The staff was phenomenal, the nurses were personable, compassionate, dedicated, kind and caring. I cannot say enough good things about the mother-baby nurses or the labor & delivery staff. They honored all of my wishes and allowed my labor to be exactly what I wanted it to be.