I delivered my first daughter two weeks early after experiencing preterm labor so I was sure I would have my second daughter early as well. As my 38th week came and went, discouragement began to set in. I had been dilated to almost four centimeters for two weeks already and had what seemed to be continuous Braxton Hicks contractions the entire last month of my pregnancy.
As it was August and the weather was nice enough, my husband and I would go for very long, fast-paced walks every evening hoping to start labor. During these walks, my contractions would strengthen and be anywhere from three-to-five minutes apart. But, as soon as we'd get back to our house and get my bags ready to go, the contractions would slow or stop completely.
Finally, after a week of waiting and wondering, I awoke on Sunday morning, August 18, to find my water leaking. Real contractions had not started yet so we called my doctor who advised us to go to the hospital to confirm my water had broken. We took our time getting packed and ready, and then headed for the hospital. Once there, the attending resident determined that my water had indeed broken, but my contractions were still only about five minutes apart and not too strong so I could still manage to watch TV and talk through most of them.
I was dilated to four centimeters but the resident did not want me to have an epidural yet because the contractions weren't strong enough. Instead, they hooked me up to a Pitocin drip and we waited for the contractions to strengthen. That happened very quickly and it wasn't long before the contractions felt like they were lasting forever and I had no break in between. I asked again for an epidural (I had one for my first daughter and with 17 hours of labor, it was a Godsend!).
The hospital was short-staffed, with only one anesthesiologist there, so he couldn't get to me right away. I tried to wait patiently. Finally, my doctor came in to inform me I was next to get an epidural. By this point however, I was feeling the overwhelming urge to push. My doctor checked me and informed me that I was 10 centimeters. I would not be getting my epidural after all! After (what seemed like) a lengthy argument over whether I would be pushing with an epidural or not (I eventually lost!), I began to push. A half an hour later, and eight hours from when I first noticed my water leaking, our second girl, Stashia Belle, was born, weighing six pounds, 10 ounces. Even though she was perfect in every way, my contractions after delivering her weren't strong enough to cause the bleeding to stop so I was left on the Pitocin drip for another eight hours.
Stashia is a healthy, happy, energetic four-year-old who’s enjoying our third addition to our family–her two-year-old baby brother!