Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Birth Story

Well, since I've had a few requests for the whole labor story, I figured I'd write a post about it, and then I won't have to repeat all of it a million times, and can just fill in random details for those who want them.

WARNING: This may be graphic in detail. :-)


As most of you probably know, I did not want to be induced. However, 17 days after Lane's due date, Shannon and I begrudgingly drove to the hospital for an induction at 6 a.m. After getting checked in and having my vitals checked, my cervix checked (70% effaced and 3 cm dilated), and all that jazz, they hooked me up to an IV of fluids and Pitocin at about 7:15. Every 30 minutes they would come in, see how I was doing, and since I wasn't feeling anything at all, they'd turn the dose of Pitocin up. My mom showed up at 8 or 8:30, and at around 9:15 I finally started to feel the contractions. They weren't painful...yet. By 10:30 I was in the bathroom, puking my guts out and shaking from the pain, having contractions every 2-3 minutes, and dilated to a "stretchy three." They turned the Pitocin down a bit. I continued to labor in my room, sitting on the toilet or using a birth ball to lean over the bed (while I continued to puke/dry heave through contractions). By noon-ish I was dilated to a "stretchy six," 90% effaced, and having contractions every 2ish minutes. I decided that I wanted some medication for pain, knowing that I still had four cm to go, so the nurse brought me a dose of morphine and gave me half. We then went to the labor tub down the hall where I got the other half of the dose of morphine and labored in the tub. And then the contractions got way painful.

They tell you to take "deep cleansing breaths" during early labor and then to do the "hee, hee, hoo" breathing exercises when you're in active labor. What a bunch of crap. Or maybe it was just because of the Pitocin, but there was no "rhythm" to my contractions. For that hour or so between noon and 1:00, my contractions came quick together and lasted either what seemed like forever (four or five deep breaths in and four or five awful moans out), or I'd get a good break between them and then they wouldn't last very long (two deep breaths in and out). I think the nurse turned the Pitocin down twice more during that hour. About 15 minutes into the tub-time I was finally at seven cm dilated. 45-50 minutes in I was still seven cm dilated and knew that they'd only give me morphine once more (they won't give it to you after eight cm), and besides, I don't think it really helped anyways. If it did help, I'd hate to think of what those contractions would have felt like without it. I knew I wouldn't make it, or at least that it was stupid to be in SO much pain when there was the epidural route. So I asked for it around 12:45 and we began the process of getting me out of the tub, back down the hall to my room, and getting the anesthesiologist and my doctor to the OB wing.

My doctor came and broke my water and after Shannon reading me the disclaimer on the epidural (which he had to stop reading while I had two contractions) and my signing it, the anesthesiologist got me hooked up at around 1:15. Let me tell you, it's hard to "be still" so they can poke a needle in your back when you're having contractions. Anyways, the epidural was great. I could still feel and move my legs, they were just numb or tingly-feeling. About 30 minutes into the epidural I couldn't feel my contractions at all, and I got to rest a bit and yes, I did update facebook. By 3:15 I was ten cm dilated so the nurse turned the epidural down a bit, letting me "labor down" (let my body do some pushing on its own without my active participation) and get some feeling back so I could push more effectively. At 4:15 I started pushing, and though they were telling me when to push (because of the contraction-monitor thingy they could see when I was having a contraction), I could feel when the contractions were coming and they took the contraction-monitor off of me when the doctor came at about 4:45. After almost 20 more minutes of pushing, Lane was born at 5:03.

I think one of the funniest things is that I was absolutely starving the entire time I was pushing. I'm sure I was hungry during the earlier part of labor, but I didn't notice it because of all the pain. After I got the epidural I noticed I was hungry, so they let me eat some jello. But, jello doesn't go too far. So, I'm lying there, pushing, thinking about how hungry I am. I mean, my stomach would growl through entire ten-second pushes. So, after they whisked Lane away to weigh her and clean her up a bit, I was sitting there eating a granola bar and drinking some water while the doctor stitched up my one tear. After he was finished I proceeded to eat dinner and let Shannon, my mom, and my brother Sean pass Lane around. Ha! I felt horrible that I was so preoccupied with food, but hey, I was starving! After I ate, I nursed Lane and then we made phone calls and continued to pass her around, marveling at her fingers and toes, trying to figure out who she looked like, and so on. Later that evening I took a shower while they cleaned our room, and we gave Lane a bath and got her in some real clothes.

We spent both Friday and Saturday nights at the hospital. We could have gone home on Saturday evening, but I'm really glad we stayed the extra night. It was nice to have a bathroom in the room, all the nurses to check if Lane was nursing correctly, if I was bleeding too much, to make me ice packs, to reassure me that the swelling in my feet would go down, and so on. We took Sunday morning easy, taking our time to get everything together, get cleaned up, and to get home.

All in all, I'd say it was a wonderful birthing experience. I really wish I could have done it without the epidural, but maybe I'll get a chance to try again with a future child if I go into labor on my own. If I have to be induced again I will probably just get the epidural, although I'd probably wait until I was dilated to five or so, but I wouldn't try to make it the whole ten. They say that you forget all the pain of childbirth within a day or two. I'd say it's true, because while I remember that I was in the worst pain I've ever been in, I don't really remember how much it actually hurt. And besides, look at what we got in return for eight or so hours of pain!


  1. She is beautiful! Congratulations:)--Julie A. from UI

  2. Aww...great story. She really is so beautiful.

  3. She is a cutie!
    What an experience!
    Glad you all are doing well!

  4. Well she is a doll and every birth story is wonderful when the end result is a beautiful healthy mom and baby!

  5. Thanks for sharing all the details :) I feel so much more educated about all of it now! As to the minimal comments - I tuned in 2 or 3 times, I think, and didn't comment on here, but did no FB.

    Anyways - congratulations; she's a doll. Have so much fun with her these first few weeks!

  6. Michelle, you're a champ! I'm so proud of you. Having been induced 3 times, I know pitossin. Yikes.
    Thanks for sharing this online--birth stories are just fascinating to me.
    So out of curiosity, when you felt the contractions after the epi., did they hurt or you could just tell they were happening? My first 2 epidurals came in a bolus, not a drip, and wore off as hard labor started, and I've always wondered if they really did or if I'm just a wimp. :)

  7. Kecia, I could feel the contractions for about 30 minutes after I got the epidural with them gradually fading until I couldn't feel them at all. When they started to let it wear off a bit then I couldn't feel anything in my stomach/abdomen area, but I could feel it down where her head would be coming out, just a pressure that would build and then fade. Does that make sense?

    I've heard from lots of people that epidurals worked differently on them...some people could feel on one side, some could feel contractions but not the pain with them, etc. I think I'm lucky that mine worked as well as it did and I felt nothing at all.


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