An ultrasound at 38 weeks confirmed polyhydramnios and a baby in the vicinity of 10 pounds. The thought of giving birth to such a large baby consumed my thoughts for the next week, but by 39 weeks, all I wanted was to get it out!
At my 39-week check, the doctor swept the membranes in the hope of starting labor. Two days later, at about 1 AM (after only two hours of sleep), I woke to go to the bathroom and felt a gush of water. I woke up my husband, Paul, and told him that this was it and to get some towels! I took a shower and ate some cereal, while Paul rang the hospital and put my bags in the car.
We got to the hospital, and even though I was leaking amniotic fluid and I was having contractions 10 minutes apart, I wasn't dilating yet. They sent Paul home, and gave me sleeping tablets so I could rest. I spent the next day enduring contractions between three and eight minutes apart in various degrees of strength, walking the hospital grounds, and trying to sleep. They sent Paul home again that night, while I was left to endure mild contractions, with the promise of an induction the next morning if nothing happened.
By 3 AM, I had very little sleep, was not coping well, and the contractions were so bad I was in tears. I was told I could go to labor and delivery for gas, or have a shot of pethidine. I opted for the pethidine as well as phenergan (to reduce the pethidine's side effects), which bought me another three hours of sleep. By breakfast, the contractions had stopped, so I was taken to labor and delivery and given a syntocinon and glucose drip. They examined me and found I was only one centimeter dilated! The contractions came at a steady pace, although I was feeling them mainly in my back, which meant Paul was busy rubbing and massaging. By 11 AM, I started on the gas, but after a while, found it just made me dizzy and was of little value. At five centimeters I had an epidural and catheter administered, and it was discovered my baby was posterior. The epidural was bliss, and I even caught another nap!
By 9 PM the baby had turned into the anterior position and I was finally completely dilated. The epidural was turned down so I could feel the contractions, but not painfully. With the help of Paul and the midwife at each leg, I was instructed to push as though I had to go to the toilet with each contraction. I pushed for 90 minutes, but it was not very fruitful. I was given an ultimatum to either get the baby out by 11 PM or "other" action would be taken (the big C). The obstetrician tried the vacuum extractor, but it slipped off the baby's head, so I finally succumbed to forceps.
After much tugging, and the feeling of a release of pressure, Stephanie Jennifer was born at 10:55 PM. She weighed 10 pounds, eight ounces, and had a head circumference of 39 centimeters (15¼). No wonder it was such hard work!
I ended up with a fourth degree tear and third degree episiotomy, which took almost two hours to sew up. Because my legs had been in stirrups for so long during suturing, I blacked out for a half an hour. I also had a seizure, and awoke with cannulas in my arms, an oxygen mask on my face, and a roomful of midwives and doctors. Following the whole ordeal, I was allowed to recover for the rest of the night in labor and delivery. Also, one cannula and the catheter were left in for two days because of the damage, and Stephanie had many checks (including a head ultrasound) due to her size and head circumference. We were in hospital for a full week. Let me tell you though, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat!