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Erin and Braden Matthew
Two weeks overdue, induced with Pitocin, 23 hours of labor and an epidural

Braden Matthew Hartman was born on August 14, 2001 around 6:00 a.m. after nearly four weeks of drama. I began having contractions at around 38 weeks, which was the end of July 2001. Since this was my first baby, I wasn't sure what to expect. So when I awoke one night with moderate contractions that soon moved to five minutes apart, I thought my baby might soon arrive. However, like they sometimes do, the contractions spaced back out and I went back to sleep. My body continued to "tease" me like this until my due date on August 1, 2001.

When I visited the doctor on that day, I was 75% effaced and three centimeters dilated. Surely I would have the baby any time, I thought. Like many first time mothers, I was wrong! We set an induction date for August 10, and I proceeded to exercise, garden, and clean my house in an effort to help things along. On August 8, my doctor's office called and said that the hospital wanted to wait on the induction until August 13, as they were short staffed over the weekend. I couldn't have been more crushed! After three and a half weeks of contractions, I was going to have to wait five more days!

My husband and I arrived at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. on August 13. They checked me in and hooked me up to a pitocin drip and monitors. I was already having contractions five minutes apart, so the pitocin helped strengthen them. By 5:00 p.m. that day, I was still laboring with my bag of waters intact, and was still only five centimeters dilated. My doctor soon arrived to break my water, and things started to progress. The contractions, which I'd had to breathe through for about the last three hours, soon become much worse. I had been in labor about 12 hours at that point- active labor for three, and I was dilating about one centimeter every three hours. With a long night ahead of me, I opted for the epidural. It was truly a Godsend! I still had discomfort, but was able to nap through the night.

About 5 a.m. I started feeling intense pressure, and wasn't able to focus through the contractions. I had been on the epidural for about 11 hours, and it had pretty much worn off. However, the doctor didn't want to redo it and risk stalling my labor. I began to feel desperate, along with terrible nausea, so the nurse checked me again thinking I might have finally hit transition. She was right, and it was time to push. My husband, who had been a great coach so far, took one leg and my mom took another, and we began to push. After 23 hours of labor, I was exhausted, and scared from the pain, but the pushing brought a lot of relief. After only 7 pushes, and about 15 minutes, my son, Braden Matthew was born.

To everyone's surprise, he weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces and was 21 1/4 inches long. The doctor had estimated his weight between 8 and 8 1/2 pounds! He came so fast that I did have a moderate tear, but I was so relieved that he was born, that I barely remember the pain. His birth was one of the best experiences of my life, and now that I know what to expect, I can't wait to do it again!

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