A Real-Life Pregnancy: Week 41
Well, no matter what, by the end of the week I was going to have a baby! The OB-GYN wouldn’t move up my induction date so I went through another week of waiting. But at the end of it, I was headed to the hospital. It didn’t seem real and I wasn’t sure what to expect. My husband went with me to the labor area. We were sent to a room where I was told to get into a gown. We hadn’t even brought up the bags from the car or anything. I think we were both in a bit of denial about what was to come.
While I was getting as comfortable as I could in my hospital gown, the nurse explained to me what was going to happen. They were going to start a session of Misoprostol, which is a small pill inserted next to the cervix to help “ripen” the area and ready my body for contractions. The doctor came in, inserted the pill, left, and told me to lie back and get some rest. What? Relax?
First Signs of Labor
After a couple of hours, the doctor inserted another pill and the nurse suggested lights out. I was hooked up to a machine that was monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and also one checking for contractions. I sent my husband home and tried to get some sleep. Around 4:30 AM I was getting up to use the bathroom when, lo and behold, my water broke. I stood there pushing the nurse button. I felt like a three-year-old having a potty accident at preschool. It’s a weird sensation, and you can’t stop the gush. Everything got cleaned up, and then I crawled back into bed. The nurse told me that my contractions might become more intense and once again suggested some rest. Yeah, right. Rest.
Around 9 AM the doctor started me on Pitocin through my IV. Pitocin is a version of oxytocin, a medication that helps to bring on contractions and regulate them. The amount of medication is raised or lowered every half hour or so to jumpstart your contractions. The nurse told me, “Now the fun starts.” My husband arrived and I braced myself for what was to come.
A couple of hours later, I was a little bored and getting tired of the hospital bed. Not much was happening and I was feeling pretty good. The nurses were regulating me and they were finding it interesting that I was just smiling and pretty relaxed about everything. Then they moved us to a birthing room. I could hardly believe it! As we got into the room and were settled, I started really feeling the contractions. The small cramps that had been tickling me most of the morning and early afternoon were taking a turn to wrenching, twisting pain. I found myself standing and stomping the floor. Within an hour I was screaming and feeling like a knife was gutting me. Not to scare anyone, but I was in pain. I really thought I was going to be able to do this thing naturally, but the pain was intense and came on fast. (In all fairness, I later learned that Pitocin can make contractions more intense.)
I asked for a painkiller and the nurse said I’d need to lie down for it. The narcotic had a strange effect on me. For the next two hours I couldn’t seem to open my eyes and I had this low scream. I just had no idea what was going on. But at the end of those two hours, I was dilated to three centimeters. What did I want to do? Bring on the epidural! And bring it on they did. Within 30 minutes my legs were a little tingly and I was able to open my eyes and relax my body. I took a couple of deep breaths and tried to take a break for a bit.
Around an hour later, I started to feel a dull bit of the contractions and also some pressure on my bowels. I wasn’t sure what to do. I also started to shake pretty badly. My husband got concerned and went for the nurse. She checked me out, and the baby was ready to come out! She called the doctor and there was a flurry of excitement, and then all the sudden it was time to push!
And push we did. Two hours later, I was still pushing. Even with the epidural, I was still able to feel the contractions (but not pain) so that I knew when to push. Let me tell you, in my delivery world, pushing was nothing compared to the contractions! The problem was my pushing wasn’t going anywhere too fast. Another 45 minutes later, the doctor informed me that if the baby didn’t come out after the next couple of big pushes, she would need to give it some medical help via suction. Well, that motivated my husband. The coach in him really kicked in. Without his positive enforcement, I think I would have kept pushing for more hours. Within 15 minutes, out came the baby. Nothing can explain the feeling—a big rush of movement and fluid and a feeling of release. The baby was put on my tummy and big baby eyes stared up at me. Everyone was really busy and I was totally out of it. I think we were all so happy the baby had finally come out! Then the doctor told me, “It’s a girl!”
I didn’t want to lose sight of her, but the nurses needed to take her to be weighed and cleaned up while I was cleaned up. My placenta wasn’t budging so the doctor had to manually “remove” it. Then, my doctor had to do some fun stitching. Thankfully my epidural was still kicking in and it was all a bit uncomfortable, but bearable. The nurse handed me my little girl and started a breastfeeding session. My baby did a good job with the nursing and we were wheeled off to our room to rest.
Mommy, Baby Time
Waking up a couple of hours later, I couldn’t believe what had happened. I had a baby! The delivery didn’t go at all how I thought it would, but we were all happy, healthy, and ready to face what was to come. I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of pain involved. But it was all worth it—I’m so grateful for my baby every time I hold her close and touch her soft skin and soak in her sweet smell.
Waist measurement: 45.5 inches
Weekly weigh-in: 181 pounds
Pregnancy symptoms: Still pregnant!
My favorite pregnancy anecdote for the week: The baby just didn’t want to come out!
Pregnancy “first” of the week: We had a baby girl!
Doctor’s visit: Yes—wouldn’t change the induction date.
Weight: 7 pounds 11 ounces
Length: 22 inches long
About the Photo: The above picture of the author was taken during her first week after giving birth to a healthy baby daughter. The photo was taken by Dean Lipoff.
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