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Birth Stories at StorkNet ~ your pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting community
Andrea and Ethan
Epidural, Vaginal Delivery

My name is Andrea, I'm 22, and I would love the opportunity to share my story of the day my little angel came into the world. I found out I was pregnant in early May of 1997. I was not married, and I decided for many reasons that it could not work out with the father, my boyfriend at the time. Being single, I had a lot of questions and needed lots of love and support, which were taken care of by my family and friends. I can't begin to thank them enough.

My due date was December 30, 1997. It came and went uneventfully. I thought maybe I was going to have a New Year's baby, but no such luck. I decided that this baby was never coming. I had a very easy pregnancy - no nausea, stretch marks or swelling - and I didn't get too big; I only looked about 6 or 7 months, but I was anxious to see the little person who had been jabbing my ribs for the last few months.

I woke up at 4:00 am on January 3 to pee (surprise!), and I noticed some show. I didn't want to get my hopes up, so I went back to bed. At about 11:00 am, I felt a tightening and a mild backache. It happened again 15 minutes later, and again and again. I hadn't mentioned anything to my parents yet - I wanted to be sure it wasn't a false alarm. So, I went shopping with them. I guess the walking around triggered something, because before I knew it, they were coming every 5 minutes and getting stronger. The contractions weren't painful - just annoying. So my mom made my dad take us home. We were greeted at the house by my aunt and uncle (my mom called them from the car on the drive home). I still wasn't convinced that this was really it, but I got my bag packed, had a bite to eat and shaved my legs. It was now 3:00 pm, the contractions were still coming every 5 minutes so I agreed to go to the hospital. My mom, dad, aunt and I arrived at the hospital at 3:10 pm.

I was pushed to the maternity ward in a wheelchair, told to strip down and put on a robe, and I was then hooked up to an external fetal monitor for 30 minutes in the assessment room. It was so neat to watch on the screen as my contractions started, peaked and vanished. I was then examined by a nurse - 2 cm like I'd been for a month. I was sure they were going to send me home, but the nurse said I was here for the night. She suggested a mild enema to stimulate my bowels to see if that would help to move things along. I reluctantly agreed only because of her wise words - "Better to get it all out now than when you are on the table, right?" How could I argue? After all of that was taken care of, I got to walk the hallways for an hour. Gravity didn't do much. I was still only 3 cm at 5:15 pm. I wasn't in any real pain yet, so I figured it was gonna be a long night if things continued to move this slowly.

I was moved to a labour and delivery room where a resident came in and told me that if I wanted to have this baby soon, my water should be broken so the "good" contractions could start. I was scared because I didn't know what it would feel like. Well, I didn't feel a thing except for a very warm gush. The resident cleaned things up a bit and informed me that there was meconium in the fluid - my baby had started to have a bowel movement inside me. There was a bit of concern about the baby taking the meconium into his lungs, so she wanted to speed things up with a pitocin drip. It was now 6:00 pm, and my contractions were becoming more intense. I hadn't been put on the drip yet, so I requested an epidural to make me more comfortable. The anesthesiologist was in emergency surgery, so I had to tough out the pain for awhile. I was hooked up to an IV to rehydrate me and keep my blood pressure up. Finally the epidural cart was wheeled into the room at 7:00 pm and I knew relief was just around the corner. It was a little uncomfortable when the needle was inserted into my back, but nothing I couldn't handle. It was a very low dose. By 7:30 pm I was pain free, so the pitocin was administered and a catheter inserted. I was still only 4 cm and the nurse said I would probably have the baby at around 3 or 4 am. Lots of time, so my parents went for a bite to eat. My friend arrived just then and she kept me company while I napped off and on.

I was starting to feel the contractions at about 8:45 pm, so I had the epidural topped off. I was examined again - 6 cm. I was starting to get the chills and the nurse mentioned that I was probably starting transition. At one point I had 5 blankets on me. Because everyone expected a long night, my parents bought some magazines to occupy our time. We didn't get much reading done. At around 10:30 pm, I felt the most unbelievable pressure in my bowels. I thought I had to go number 2 so my mom asked the nurse if I could go to the bathroom. NO WAY!!! I was checked once more and finally 10 cm! Things had progressed much quicker than anyone had expected and my OB was paged. I have never been so scared in my life.

I got into position - legs bent to my chest, chin down to my chest and I pushed. My mom held my hand the whole time and kept me motivated to keep going even when I wanted to quit. Pushing that hard takes an incredible amount of energy. I could see my dad out of the corner of my eye, waiting with the video camera. The epidural had worn off considerably by then and I could pretty much feel everything. When the baby's head crowned I felt like I was being stretched to kingdom come. This was the worst part - thankfully it only lasted a minute or two. After the head was out it was such a relief. The nurse suctioned baby's airways and I could feel another contraction coming. I was told not to push with this one but it was too hard not to. My OB walked in the door just as the rest of the body slithered out. The pain vanished instantly. (This is when my dad started filming.)

After only 20 minutes of pushing, there was my beautiful son! It was 11:01 pm. My mom cut the cord. His lungs were suctioned again so he would not breathe in the meconium and finally he let out his first sounds. It was the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. His skin was wiped dry and off to the scale. A whopping 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Like I said, I wasn't that big so I'm still trying to find out where I had him hidden. He was wrapped up and laid on my chest. He was so precious. It was definitely love at first sight! (....and he didn't have a cone head!) I delivered the placenta and had my tiny tear mended with only one stitch.

I had such a wonderful experience. I can't say that anything about it was negative, except maybe that because my tear was labial, not perineal, it was uncomfortable to pee for about a week and a half. That's my only complaint. I decided to breastfeed and had no problems with that. He knew exactly how to latch on and sometimes I think he would stay there all day if he could. I feel completely back to normal. I lost all of the weight in two months and I've been back in my old jeans since he was two weeks old.

Well, Ethan Robert is 2 1/2 months old now and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect baby. I know it will be awhile before I can, but I am already looking forward to having another! I had a pregnancy, labour and delivery, and baby that I feel were as close to perfect as can get and I feel truly blessed.

born January 3, 1998 at 11:01 pm
8 pounds, 8 ounces, 20 3/4 inches

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