I had been having mild contractions for a few weeks prior to Carson's birth, but they never really got painful. Sometimes they would stay as close as 5 minutes apart for a few hours, but then fizzle out. We went ahead and scheduled the induction for Monday, March 22nd, 2004. According to my doctor, I would have been 6 days overdue at that time. I thought all along that I was due on the 22nd, based on my calculations.
On Sunday, March 21st, Paul had inventory at work, so our two-year old, Jacob, and I spent the day at church, getting the house cleaned, and eating dinner with my parents. I left Jake at my parents' house and went to the grocery store to make sure we were stocked up on everything we needed. I remember feeling some pretty good contractions throughout the day, especially while I was at the store.
I noticed that I was still having strong contractions when we arrived home around 7pm. I went to the restroom and had a lot of bloody show. I didn't think much of it since I was going to be induced in the morning anyway. Paul arrived home around 9pm and I jumped in the shower. The contractions started to become more intense and closer together at this time. I tried to lie down to get some sleep, but the contractions kept waking me up. They were probably 5-6 minutes apart by this time. Paul finally convinced me a little before midnight that we needed to go to the hospital. He was determined not to deliver the baby by himself. I was in denial, because I had already had one false alarm and I thought I could make it until 7am. I called the doctor and of course the doctor on call was the one who had been there for my false alarm. She laughed but told me to come on in to be checked out.
We dropped Jake off, who was less than thrilled to be woken up, at my in-laws house and made it to the hospital at 12:15am on March 22nd, 2004. I was 4-5 centimeters dilated, 85% effaced, and baby was at a -1 station! I was so happy that I had progressed. I had been at 3centimeters and 50% effaced for the 3 weeks prior to this!
Our nurse, Emily, was awesome. She was also the nurse that I had during my false alarm. After monitoring me for a few minutes, she let us walk for about an hour before I needed to be monitored again.
Emily was very respectful of my wishes to not have an epidural and never asked me if I wanted pain medication throughout the labor. She even gave me options of different ways to labor. She said that we could walk around some more, or I could rock in a rocking chair or try the birthing ball. During Jacob's labor, no one ever offered me any choices. With Jacob, they made me stay hooked up the monitors because my water had broken. And with Jacob, I was given Pitocin because I didn't progress fast enough according to their standards.
I decided to try the birthing ball, and that is where I would stay until I began to push! Emily had me sit at the end of the bed on the ball and rock in a hula hoop motion during each contraction. I would also drape my body over the bed and move my hands and arms in a circular motion as well. The ball took away a lot of the pressure and rocking also helped me to divert my attention away from the contractions. The birthing ball was a lifesaver for me and I don't think I would have had a drug-free labor without it!
Emily stayed with us once I started using the birthing ball and just said that she would need to monitor the baby and me once every hour. She guessed that I would have the baby by 4am. She also said that she wouldn't ask to check me, so it was up to me to let her know if I wanted to be checked. Between contractions, Emily, Paul, and I made small talk and talked a lot about our childhoods. Emily was single and 27 and had a hard time believing that I was 26 years-old and birthing my second child.
I was starting to get shaky and thought I might be transitioning, so I had her check me at 2:30am, and I was 6-7 cm dilated. Every time I would get off the birthing ball, the contractions were unbearable, so I would immediately get back on the ball. Paul and Emily were great during the contractions and would talk me through them, encouraging me and reminding me to breathe correctly. Paul was amazed that I was staying so focused. He felt like he wasn't doing enough, but having him by my side to shovel in the ice chips was all I needed.
I continued to labor on the ball. Emily even figured out a way to monitor me while I was on the ball! At 4am, I was having trouble staying focused, started to get vocal during the contractions and the need to push was strong, so I had her check me again, and I was just about complete and ready to push! Emily freaked out, because she was going to call the doctor when I hit 8 centimeters and here I was ready to push. Emily told me that I had to wait for the doctor to begin pushing! Ya right! I couldn't resist the urge and my body unconsciously pushed a little with each contraction. The only problem was that the doctor on call was still at home! She didn't arrive until 4:20, so I was very uncomfortable and had a hard time not pushing until she got there.
Emily got the room set-up and the baby nurses came in to wait for the arrival of baby Carson. Paul said that there were at least 6 other people besides us in the room while I pushed.
Everyone thought I would have Carson out in a few contractions, but he had other ideas. When the doctor arrived, I began to push and she determined that he was sunny side up or in a posterior position. She tried to turn him every time I pushed, but couldn't get him to turn. Pushing was definitely the easiest part of the labor, but I was getting discouraged and they encouraged me to give it all I had. So, I pushed more than the 3 sets during each contraction. The harder I pushed, the more the doctor could tell that Carson was trying to turn himself. Finally, he turned on his own at 5am. The doctor said that it would only take one more contraction and she was right, I pushed him out with the very next contraction! He weighed 8 pounds 7.5 ounces and was 20 inches long.
As a side note, my water didn't break until right when Carson made his appearance into the world. I was ready to have the doctor break my water as part of an induction, and didn't think twice about how this could have impacted my labor. But as Emily explained it, the "bag of waters" was acting as a cushion that made Carson's descent much more bearable. I was glad and somewhat surprised that they didn't break my water to speed things along.
The doctor immediately laid Carson on my chest and I got to hold him close to me for a few minutes. Paul cut the cord and started taking pictures. I had a second degree tear, but it was nothing compared to the fourth degree tear that I had with Jacob.
After he was cleaned up, I got to breastfeed him and he took to nursing like a pro! My doctor arrived at 7am to start the induction and was very surprised to see that I had already delivered!
My mom and brother were the first to meet Carson as they had stayed in the waiting room after I had kicked them out of my room when the labor started getting intense. Jacob and the rest of our family and some of our friends visited us while we were in the hospital. We left the hospital on Wednesday, March 24th and were greeted with lots of food from our neighbors when we got home.
I lost a lot of blood the day Carson was born. I was having cramping that was worse than contractions and the amount of blood that was coming out was unbelievable to Paul and me. I was too weak to stand, blacked-out once, and felt like I had no control over the situation. It took a lot of time and Pitocin to get the bleeding under control, but they were finally able to do so. I was still very pale and weak for the first two weeks of Carson's life.