When we got to the hospital, I was monitored for a bit to make sure I was really in labor and we finally got into our room around 9:30 pm. Here I am in the triage room still:
In our room at about 11 pm:
The on call doctor came in and broke my water at about 7:30 am (I think). At that point I was only 4 cm dilated. Of course, once my water was broken my contractions became much stronger. My hubby really had to help me get through them at this point. I got back into the tub for a while and sat on the ball some more.
I started to feel a little unsure that I would be able to continue without pain relief.I think I said to my hubby a few times something like, “I don’t think I can do this.” He continually encouraged me and told me that I could do it. It was probably around 10 am when the nurse offered to check my cervix to see how far I had progressed. We agreed, hoping I had made progress and it would help me to feel more certain that I could proceed without medication. When the nurse checked me she said I was almost 7 cm, which really helped me to get my “second wind” and I again felt certain I could do it.
A while later the nurse checked me again and said I was 8, almost 9 cm, with just a bit of cervix left. Around that time I started really feeling the urge to push with each contraction, though I couldn’t push because I wasn’t completely dilated. The nurse suggested I try getting on my hands and knees or lying in the “recovery position” (on my side with top leg forward) to help get my cervix to dilate the rest of the way. The “recovery position” was very uncomfortable and made my contractions more painful, so I spent quite a while on my hands and knees.
I was so tired I almost dozed off and face-planted several times while in that position. The urge to push continued to get stronger, and I would say this was the worst part of my labor, needing to push but not being able to. I think this went on for at least 45 minutes or so. The nurse checked my cervix a couple of times with minimal change.
Finally she said she could check with the doctor about whether she could stretch my cervix enough to allow me to push, and she called the on-call doctor (my doc was on vacation). The on call doc happened to be the doctor I had seen the previous day for my appointment, so I was familiar with her, which was nice. She came in and said that she would be able to stretch my cervix enough that I could start to push, so I did. It took a few tries to get into the right position and push the right way, but I got it pretty quickly and seemed to be making good progress.
I got great feedback from the doctor and from my hubby that I was doing a great job, which really helped. I was so tired I was dozing off in between contractions. I pushed for about an hour and a half, according to my hubby, though it didn’t really seem that long to me (maybe because I was sleeping between contractions??). Finally:
As soon as she was born, the doctor placed Lass on my chest, which was amazing. It was the best feeling ever. Unfortunately, she was not breathing very well right away and she wasn’t really crying, so I didn’t get to hold her for long, but the few moments I did were the best.
Man, she looks huge in these photos.
They ended up needing to take her to the nursery for monitoring for a few hours, but she turned out to be just fine and was back in the room with us after about two hours.
I’ve written a dissertation and earned a PhD. I’ve written a book. I’ve worked in various prisons with dangerous criminals. I have trained for and run two marathons. Going through 20 hours of labor and giving birth to a nearly 10 and a half pound baby without any pain medication was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I could not have done it without the help of my husband. No way. It was an incredible experience to go through with him, and I am so glad I got the opportunity have that and that our girl was healthy and perfect.