Adele’s birth was pretty much a whirlwind to me, so I want to get as much down as possible before I start forgetting.
I started getting contractions Monday night (July 11). They lasted pretty much all night long and were about 10-15 minutes apart. Some of them were painful (think: bad menstrual cramps and some lower back pain), but some were just plain old Braxton Hick’s contractions. They kind of petered out by morning, though, so I figured it wasn’t anything. That was quite disappointing, of course.
I went to my last OB appointment that morning. I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant. When I got there, we discussed induction and scheduled it for July 14 at 7:00pm with pitocin starting the next morning, and I had an internal. The week before (40 weeks), I wasn’t dilated (just a bit on the outside still) and was 50% effaced, which was no progress pretty much in an entire month. Monday I was finally a centimeter dilated and still 50% effaced. I was a bit crampy when I left the office, but nothing too exciting.
Throughout the day I noticed I was having a few contractions here and there, but they were few and far between. That night, however, was pretty annoying. I was having contractions again, but this time they were about 8-10 minutes apart and it was all night long. I didn’t sleep at all. I also started feeling back labor, which really sucked. It was much harder to get through that than regular in-the-front contractions, but definitely doable. However, yet again, my contractions pretty much stopped by morning. The Mr. ended up going to work that day because we weren’t sure anything was really happening.
Throughout the day on Tuesday I started getting more and more contractions. They weren’t too close together or regular, so I was trying to ignore them. I figured my body was just playing with me, so I was frustrated. However, toward the end of the day I called the Mr. and told him to come home. My contractions were getting closer together and the back pain was pretty uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be alone anymore.
When he got home, we spent the night sitting around and timing contractions (still pretty far apart), having our last dinner together as a couple and not a family, and we took the dog for a walk, too. While we were out on our walk, my contractions were a little easier to handle, but they quickly jumped close together. They were coming every 5 minutes at that point. So we went home. Of course they slowed down. We decided to just wait things out and see what happens. Of course we aren’t supposed to go to the hospital until the contractions are 5 min apart, lasting 1 min each, for at least an hour. We were definitely not there yet.
We went to bed around 10:00 and I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable, especially with the back pain. It was very difficult for me to get into a position that was comfortable as I was going through those contractions. The most frustrating thing is that I would have a few contractions that were in the 5/1/1 pattern, but then they’d get further apart or way too short. This went on for a few hours.
By the time midnight rolled around, though, I knew we’d have to go in soon. The pain was getting worse and my contractions, while still not perfectly timed, were getting closer together. Most of them were now in the 5-7 min range, though we did have a few that spaced out 10 min or so apart. What made me certain that we needed to call and go in was the length of my contractions. Many of them were lasting 3-4 minutes each. It was hard to get through them. I figured they’d at least listen to that.
So we called and were told to go in (yay!). We took our time packing our bags and walking the dog real quick. While we were out, we crossed paths with one of our neighbors who was out walking his dog, too, and he wished us luck and was very excited for us. It was nice. :) Our walk lasted much longer than normal (even though it was an incredibly short walk) because I had to stop and breathe through a contraction 4 or 5 times out on that walk. So we get back home, throw our stuff in the car, and we were off. The car ride wasn’t too bad, but I was very glad that it was only 20 minutes until we were at the hospital. They were waiting for me at the front desk.
When we got there, I was moved into triage to check my progress and see if I was going to stay or not. Around 2:00a Wednesday I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. Progress since Monday! My blood pressure was also a bit high (not exactly sure what it was but it was around 140/95), so they admitted me. Sweet! They took labs to make sure my liver was doing fine (it was) and moved me to the room where I would eventually have Adele.
We decided to not call our parents yet because it was pretty late and I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone there yet. At that point, I preferred laboring with just the Mr. and trying to get some sleep (ha!). I got through the night all right and progressed to 6cm by 6:00 in the morning. Things were looking good and the doctor believed I’d have the baby by lunch time at the latest. Hooray!
Shift change was at 7:00 and I was checked again by the new nurse (whom I loved). I was 7-8cm (!!) and completely effaced. I felt great. My mom got there soon after and we just hung out in the delivery room. My labor, while being labor, wasn’t too difficult for me at all. I was super confident that I’d get through without any meds and was feeling great. I was able to have conversations between contractions and the day was going by quickly. Now don’t get me wrong, the contractions were painful and I had to breathe through them, but they were easy enough to handle. I was definitely on top of them and feeling confident. However, this is where things started going downhill.
Between 7:00 and 11:00 I did not progress at all. Not one measly little centimeter. Nothing. The doctor came in and said that she thought I needed pitocin to get things going again. At this point, she broke my water to see if that would help. She said she’d be back in a hour to see how I progressed and warned me that it would start getting more intense now that my bag had been broken. She was definitely right. Almost immediately the contractions became unbearable. My back labor was kicked up 1million notches. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to go through with that much pain, so I was hoping that they were doing something. However, it wasn’t long before my contractions were very close together and lasting 4-6 minutes long each. Had these contractions only lasted the typical 1.5-2 minutes a piece, I could have done it. But feeling such intense pain for 6 minutes at a time was not something I was handling well.
Between 11:00 and noon, I fought against the contractions. They were no longer something that was bringing me closer and closer to meeting my baby, they were a battle that I was quickly losing. We tried many different positions during the hour, and nothing (not even the super hot shower I took) helped. Previously it helped sitting on the toilet and leaning back (I had to pee a lot, so I had many contractions on that toilet when I took a break to pee), but that was excruciating. The shower didn’t help me at all. The Mr. was with me through all of that and massaging my lower back, which also was not helping. I was losing faith and had no confidence in my abilities left.
I want to mention how wonderful the Mr. was during this time. I’m tearing up thinking about it. It was so hard and I felt like a failure. I was doing so well, and now I was quickly losing the ability to do anything during a contraction. I was shaking, I was not staying on top of the contractions anymore, I was starting to cry during contractions because I was in so much pain, I was seriously losing it. I felt so out of control at that point and didn’t think I could do it. In fact, I knew I couldn’t do it. I told the Mr. numerous times to take me home, to make it all stop, that I couldn’t do it. Unfortunately for me, this was not typical transition. I had a small hope that maybe it was and things would get better and I’d be complete when the doctor came back at noon. But the Mr. was so perfect. He was holding me when I needed it, telling me how well I was doing, how proud he was of me, how strong of a woman I was, etc. He was the only reason I was able to get through that hour. He’s my rock in everything, and that hour really showed how strong he is for me. I could tell at times that he was starting to lose it, too. I know that I was not handling the pain well all of a sudden, and it was hurting him. But he didn’t let me see a single tear or worried face. I really love him so much and couldn’t imagine myself going through anything similar without him.
Finally it was almost noon and the nurse checked me again and said she thought I was closer to a 9, which made me feel confident. We waited about 10 minutes or so before my doctor came back in to check me again. I had one of the longest contractions at that point and was still crying when she came in. She was not pleased to see me that way. She did not think it was a good sign at all. When she checked me, I was definitely still at an 8 and she said that they needed to start pitocin to get me to the end. She was afraid I’d stay at 8 cm without it and end up with a c-section. She brought up an epidural, saying that she thought I might want to consider it with the way things were going. I started crying again. I have to say, my doctor was also pretty wonderful at this point, too. (And she was one I didn’t like before this, but I love her now.) She sat down with me and reassured me that it wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t progressing and that it just sometimes happens this way. She also said how she knows it is difficult to go in wanting a certain birth and not having it go the way I wanted, but it didn’t make my baby’s birth any less important or perfect if I have to have some interventions. Granted I wasn’t so concerned about the way the birth was going. In fact, at that moment, I would have let them cut her out of me with no pain management at all. I was just concerned about the pit contractions. I knew I couldn’t handle more pain for potentially another few hours and then go through labor. I said yes to the pit, thought about it for two seconds, and said to order the epidural. I was terrified of the pain.
I had two pit contractions before the anesthesiologist finally got to my room. Those were the worst two moments I’ve ever experienced. I cannot explain the pain I was having. It felt like my back, my vagina, my front, my everything was being ripped apart from the inside out with a dull knife multiplied by infinity. I had never been in so much pain, and I had essentially been in pre-labor/labor for the last two days. Those two contractions were worse than all the others combined. The Mr. and my mom had to leave the room while I got the epidural per hospital policy. However, I did overhear the Mr. pleading with the nurse to allow him to stay with me because I needed him. And I did. But he couldn’t stay. Thankfully my nurse was awesome and held my hand and helped me through the contraction I had while the doctor inserted my epidural. That was hard. However, as soon as he was done I didn’t feel anymore pain at all. It was seriously the most wonderful thing ever. I was afraid I’d have to wait 10-15 minutes before I felt relief, but I didn’t have to wait even one minute. He was my favorite person at the time.
They finally let my husband and mom back in the room and I was so happy to see the Mr. I could tell he was so relieved to see me not writhing in pain anymore, too. Things finally got calm again and were happy. I was able to laugh and talk, and it was good. They kept having to up my pitocin because my contractions were still long, but had spaced out. I was so happy I couldn’t feel that.
The Mr. convinced me to rest and try to take a nap so that I’d have energy for pushing later. My doctor came in and suggested the same thing and expressed how she was happy that I was doing so much better, though she was sorry things weren’t quite as I had hoped. She was so nice about my feelings about interventions, and she was so right — I really needed them.
So, I napped for about two hours and then the Mr.’s parents arrived. He went down to lunch with them for a few minutes, promising that he’d be back in 20 min when the doctor was supposed to return to check me. I was glad he left to eat something because I knew he needed it. I was starving, so I was certain he was, too. My mom and I just chatted about what was coming and how far along we thought I’d be when the doctor came back. Well, my doctor came back a bit early (only 15 min later) and she checked me. By the way, when you have an epidural, you do not feel the checks at all. It’s the strangest thing to know that someone is poking around in there and you cannot feel it. Anyway, at this point I was complete and fully dilated. We were ready to have a baby! I quickly called the Mr. and told him to come back up since it was time to push. I’m certain he ran up because he was back in the room almost before I hung up the phone. My mom hugged him and she left so we could experience the delivery in private.
Finally the room was set up for pushing, and I got started at 2:20. And I kept pushing. It was hard. They mentioned how awesome I was at pushing, especially since I couldn’t feel where to push. We discussed turning down the epi so I could feel a little more, and I was glad that they agreed it was a good idea. We turned it down enough that I’d feel pressure and when my contractions were happening, but I wasn’t feeling pain. It was great. However, after a little while, we realized that this was going to take a long time. They brought in a mirror so I could see what my pushing was doing, and it helped so much. I loved having a mirror and will likely always have it. It was so encouraging to see her head and know that I was making progress, even though it was not much progress at times. In order to make this super long story slightly shorter, I’ll just say that I had to push for three hours before I was able to get Adele’s head out of me. Her head was so large that they were concerned I wouldn’t get her out myself. My doctor came in when I had less than a hour left in my three hour time limit (c-section was next) and said that if I didn’t make more progress soon, they’d have to use the vacuum.
I’m not sure if it was her comment about the vacuum or what, but I got a second wind at this point and pushed, pushed, pushed. Within 20 minutes of pushing, we were finally ready to deliver my baby! The most frustrating thing was that a large part of her head was sticking out of me, but they made me stop pushing so they could take off the bottom of the bed and set up. I’m sure it took them all of 2 minutes to do all that (I didn’t even have a contraction while they were setting up), but it felt like an eternity — there was a lot of pressure and anticipation! Finally, I was able to push again. With just one more push, my baby’s head exited my body. I heard everyone yell out in excitement and I gave one more slight push and felt her shoulders come out and the rest of her body follow closely behind at 4:58. The Mr. was so excited and happy to see her as the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!!” As she came out of me, I started crying and laughing at the same time. It was the most surreal feeling, knowing that I was finally a mama and our baby was finally here after 41 weeks of anticipation.
They placed her on my belly and she looked at me and I was in complete awe. All I could do was look at her, cry, and tell her how beautiful she is. The Mr. cut the cord and they took her away to clean her up. Of course the Mr. followed her every movement. It was so wonderful to be able to look over and see her staring at her daddy. And hearing her cry was honestly the best sound ever. She has this high pitched, girly cry that I love. My doctor kept telling me how wonderful I did and how proud she was. Everyone was laughing and the mood in the room was so happy. It was perfect. While I was sewn up (I had a 2nd degree tear), I just stared at my new family in awe. It wasn’t long before they brought her over to me, and it was the most wonderful moment in my life. The Mr. and I kissed and just basked in the love our new little girl. Everyone asked her name, and I told them her name: Adele Lorraine. It felt so good to say that!
While the birth of my little girl wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, medically, it was more than I could ask for in every other way. Those hours of pain and fear gave me the most beautiful little girl. I’m head over heals in love with her. I love seeing the Mr. love on her. She is definitely daddy’s little girl already. I would go through that every single day for the rest of my life if it would give me a day with little Adele. I am just so in love with her.