I decided I need to write down my birth story while it's still fresh in my mind. So for anyone not afraid of the gory details (and there are a few) feel free to read on...
All day on Tuesday I was out of sorts. I was not feeling like myself at all. I was irritable, withdrawn, and very anxious I didn't want to talk to anyone and stayed in bed most of the day. I took a good nap out of sheer mental exhaustion. When I woke up, Dominic had made a lovely dinner: spaghetti and meatballs, vegetables, and garlic bread. We all ate well, and he was very sweet and understanding about how I'd been feeling all day.
Dominic laid down after dinner to get some sleep before work. I sat on the couch having each child come to me for help getting ready for bed. Piper sat down on my lap and was swinging a toy around which hit me in the face. I jumped a bit and felt a pop. I felt a little gush when I got up, but not huge. I wasn't sure at first that my water had broken. I woke up Dominic and told him I thought maybe it had. He wanted to know how I could not be sure, so I went to the bathroom and realized that the fluid was still coming. He was quickly convinced and we got busy.
I called our friend Sonya who decided that it was probably easier for her to come stay at our house then for us to bring all the kids to her. She came over quickly and after much last minute running around, we were out the door and on our way to the hospital. It's a good thing we didn't call first. The labor and delivery department at our hospital was closed and they would have redirected us elsewhere.
We were settled quickly in a room, and they verified that my membranes had ruptured. After several hours (and an ultrasound to confirm that Quinn really was head down) I was started on Pitocin to bring on contractions. I encouraged Dominic to get sleep while he could. The contractions were initially painless, though close together, and they kept turning up the Pitocin to make them stronger. I think it was around 5 am that I finally decided that Dominic needed to get up and help me with contractions.
He was fantastic. We were good at communicating, and I was able to let him know what imagery was working for me and what wasn't. I couldn't wrap my head around imagery that took me out of my body and put my pain aside. I loved encouragement, reminders to relax certain parts of my body, and to breathe. The ideas that took me out of my body didn't work because I couldn't be out of my body. Labor is very much about being in your body and I had to work with it, or let it work and get out of it's way. I couldn't leave the process.
I was checked several times through the night without much progress being made. Once labor really got going in the morning I feared that it would continue as slowly as it had started, and that I wouldn't make it. I can't express how great it was to have my coach helping me through it.
I tried to remember to empty my bladder frequently, but when labor really got going I was so nauseous that I didn't want to get up. And, of course, getting up had to be timed carefully so that I could get up, do what was necessary and try to be back in bed before the next contraction hit. I did still get up to go to the bathroom once after the nausea hit, and that really wasn't pretty. I threw up in the sink, and since my membranes were ruptured, every time I threw up I spilled amniotic fluid on the floor. It was quite a mess. Thankfully, the only thing in my stomach was water.
The nurse asked at one point in the morning if we minded having a student nurse. She didn't realize I was a nurse until I said that if people were kind enough to let me observe and be trained, that it was my duty to pass on the favor. And since I knew many women would be fine with a female student, but fewer comfortable with a male, I agreed to allow the male student to observe. Turns out he was about to graduate with his BSN and wanted to work in geriatrics. I expressed to him how rewarding I've found that field and we had a nice, albeit short, chat about nursing before it was back to the contractions.
At about 8:45 the nurse wanted to check me and found that I was to 3 cm. I looked at Dominic and finally asked for the epidural. He gently coaxed me into giving labor 20 more minutes. Those 20 minutes were difficult. I went back and forth between having the ability to mentally steer through the pains, and some where I was clinging to the bed for relief. At the end I was checked and found to be at 5 cm. I asked again about an epidural, and was coaxed into giving labor another 20 minutes. I think those last 20 minutes were better. Not as far as pain goes, but in my focus and determination to get through them. At that point I didn't want my back rubbed, or my leg, nor did I want to be touched. Dominic took that in stride and continued to offer the right balance of encouragement and cheerleading.
At the end of those 20 minutes the contraction felt different, and I felt Quinn's head move down. I felt like I was ready to push, but it hadn't been long enough. I couldn't believe that I was to 10 already. Dominic noted that I'd had two contractions on top of each other. In my head I remembered the multi-peaked pushing contractions I'd seen on the strips in the past. The next contraction came quickly and suddenly the decision on whether or not to push was no longer in my hands. I had no choice.
I forgot there was a nurse call button and I began yelling for her. She told me later that yelling works too! She came in quickly followed by the doctor who checked me quickly and found that I was ready to deliver. Things moved really fast. The room filled with people, not that I noticed most of them, although I did see that the student nurse was there to watch. Apparently while they moved about readying things, I stuck my legs straight out and pointed my toes. All I know was that I'd taken a position that felt good, I have no idea why it was that particular position. I was told that I got points for style, to which I replied that I thought I should get points for something that day! They asked me to move to my back and hardly had time to get the stirrups up before I was pushing out Quinn's head. They asked me to stop but I truly couldn't. I pushed the rest of him out easily and it was nearly climactic. It was such a relief to get him out that it can only be described as feeling good. It didn't hurt at all.
They placed him on my chest for a moment before taking him to be assessed, and then off to the special care nursery. He was 4 lbs. 13 oz. I still don't have a length for him.
In 45 minutes I went from 3 cm to fully dilated and delivered. When Bradley says that the third emotional sign post (defeat) means that labor is coming soon, it really does. Or, it certainly did in my case. And the book was right, it didn't matter that I was only at 3 cm when I hit that sign post. I was still less than an hour from delivery.
Welcome to the world, Quinn. We're so happy to have you here and can't wait for you to come home.