Well, it was two weeks ago that I was in labor with my little girl. I can't even believe she's two weeks old already!
It started with mild contractions Wednesday night, August 30th around 7pm. They were erratic (minutes = 6, 15, 9, 2, 7), but I was still getting seven per hour. This went on for about three hours before we decided to play it safe and called my parents to come over - just in case. Naturally, as soon as they arrived, the contractions lessened. Since the contractions really weren't painful, we decided to head off to bed. Around 2am, I woke up and they were about six minutes apart with a little more discomfort (but not bad), so we went to the hospital.
We got there at 3am and I was 2-3 cm dilated and 90% effaced, the water bag was "bulging" but never broke on its own. I was placed on observation because I was 36w4d and 37 weeks is now considered term. The doctor on call, and her replacement at 7am, were both very concerned about premature delivery and Amelia's lung maturity due to the gestational diabetes. The first doctor wanted to send me home because I hadn't progressed in two hours! Well, she wasn't allowing me to walk the halls at all because she didn't want to do anything to encourage labor yet didn't want to do anything to stop it either. In the meantime, my regular doctor on Wednesday morning had said, "I want you walking! I want you to get this baby out before it gets too much bigger." Go figure!
Thank god for fantastic nurses! Both my night nurse, Jeannie and AM nurse, Laurie were incredible patient advocates. Working in healthcare and having friends who are nurses, I know they are the ones in the "trenches" and sometimes they know as much or more as the doctor. Additionally, Jeannie had been a midwife in Central America. After she informed me that the doctor wanted me to go home, she told me that I wasn't going anywhere and she knew that Baby was coming that day. She held off the doctor until her replacement and set me up with Laurie. Meanwhile, Jeff and I had been walking around in the room and using the birthing ball.
When the next doctor arrived after 7am, I was 5-6cm dilated and there was no question I was in labor. He was still concerned about lung maturity, but after questioning him, he admitted that there was a 10% chance of problems and a 90% chance everything would be ok. I felt really relieved knowing those odds. Labor was moving along slowly and I guess you could say reasonably comfortable. I had mentioned to Jeannie that I'd been thinking of a drug-free L&D and I'm sure she mentioned this to Laurie.
Around 1:30pm, I was at 8.5cm, the pain had increased but I was still tolerating it well sitting in a glider. My water still hadn't broken, but did when I got my next internal. The pain increased significantly after that. Even so, it was so different from the pain I had with Julia.
Now here is my PSA: if you are considering going drug-free, please, please, please, take advantage of all the women at StorkNet who have done this and pick their brains. Also read through the Choices in Childbirth forum!! Be prepared! I cannot stress this enough. I was in some sort of denial or foolish enough to think I could fly by the seat of my pants through this. I still haven't determined which category I'm in yet.
The pain was very intense when I had the contractions and I was getting frightened, but I truly believe that if I had been more prepared, I could have handled it much better. Because the pain was so distracting, I was not pushing effectively 3/4 of the time. I ended up pushing for over an hour - the majority ineffectively. Finally, when the doctor came in and bluntly (we'd been bantering back and forth all day) told me "You know, you could have had this baby at least five minutes ago, if you'd been pushing properly . . ." it snapped me out of . . . well, whatever, and I started focusing more carefully on where to push and Amelia was born after a few more pushes at 2:42pm on August 31st - 3 ½ weeks early.
I was so clear-headed after Amelia's birth. It really made me realize how loopy I'd been for Julia's although I believe that was due to Stadol (a demerol derivative) and not the epidural. I was nuttier than a fruitcake. With Amelia, as soon as she was out, the pain stopped and my first thoughts were "The Baby's crying pretty loudly so it seems like the lungs are fine," and "If they would just move the umbilical cord I could see whether it's a boy or a girl."
She was very healthy and weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 20" long. Can you imagine if she'd gone full term??? Julia was born at 37.5 weeks and was 6 lbs 8 oz. I really wonder if the GD really was the cause of her being so much larger.
She started nursing well right away and I've been able to be more proactive about controlling my oversupply and overactive letdown. When we left the hospital, she was 7lbs 6oz and at her one-week weight check she was only at 7lbs 5oz so it seems like she's on her way up.
Julia has been a great big sister. She hates to hear Amelia cry and is immediately at her side trying to soothe her. There won't be too much spoiling going on around here as Amelia gets older, eh?