I was fortunate enough to enjoy a wonderful pregnancy–I was energetic, happy, and the healthiest I've been in my life. However, I was plagued with fear about not knowing when I would go into labor, and was afraid of being in the wrong place when my water broke. I didn't have to worry though because my due date of May 6 came and went. On May 13, I had an appointment and the nurse told me the doctor had decided to induce me the following day. I was so excited–that day was also my husband's birthday!
During the whole pregnancy, my husband and I just couldn't imagine actually going through labor. We knew that our baby was going to come out, but it seemed more like one day it would just appear in the crib!
The morning of May 14 was very quiet. We rode to the hospital, trying to comprehend what we were about to do. At 9 AM, the nurse started the Pitocin drip, and I had to stay in bed attached to the fetal monitor. I was already three centimeters when we checked in, but the contractions weren’t really bothering me, even though I had heard Pitocin makes them worse. I felt just a very warm tightening sensation across the top of my belly that would last a while and then go away.
My husband and I were in the room talking and watching TV when the doctor came rushing in. He'd seen the contractions on the monitor at the nurse’s desk and thought I'd be begging for drugs at that point, but I still felt fine! I was five centimeters by then, so he decided to take me into the delivery room. He broke my water after we got settled in the new room, and that’s when I got scared! All of a sudden, the contractions started to hurt, and without that layer of water all around I could really feel the baby moving. I started to cry then, but my husband was so wonderful and assured me that we could do this.
I spoke to the anesthesiologist and asked how late I could get an epidural. I was sure I'd need one, but didn't want it until I couldn't take the pain anymore. He said I could get one anytime. It turns out I didn't have time for one anyway. Before I knew it, I was eight centimeters, and the contractions were really intense. The doctor gave me a drug to help relax between contractions. It didn't stop the pain, but it was enough to allow me to close my eyes and rest between contractions.
Finally, during one contraction, I had to fight a tremendous urge to push. The doctor confirmed that I was 10 centimeters and said I could start pushing. I was a bit unsure if I'd know how to push the right way, but it seemed to be instinct for me.
At my last ultrasound prior to going into labor, the technician assured us that we would have a small baby, probably weighing six pounds, and our doctor had agreed. I weighed 120 when I got pregnant and 156 when I gave birth, most of which I had gained in the last three months. However, as I was pushing, it became clear that we couldn’t avoid an episiotomy. I trusted my doctor, and knew he'd only do what was necessary. Once the head was out, I experienced a huge sense of relief, but the worst was yet to come. The baby's shoulders seemed to be stuck, and when the baby did come out, I tore the rest of the way. I could feel it, and in my mind I would say it felt like ripping a t-shirt; I could almost hear that sound in my head, but there was actually no real pain.
I was exhausted, but it only took an hour of pushing to deliver my 10-pound, five-ounce baby girl, Kim! The first thing the nurses asked was if I had gestational diabetes, which I hadn't. By that time, I was so wiped out, I wouldn't have thought twice if they'd said she was 20 pounds!
I was very happy that I was able to deliver Kim naturally. I'm sure if I'd known how big she was, I would have been too scared to try. My husband also turned out to be the best labor coach in the world. I definitely could not have done it without him.
It took over an hour to stitch me up, and recovery took longer because of my tearing, but all in all it was a wonderful experience that I wouldn't have done any differently if given the choice.