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Kristine and Grace
Vaginal Delivery, Epidural, Nubain, Episiotomy

My husband and I were very blessed and conceived after only two months of trying, even after I had been on the Pill for over seven years. I was a little apprehensive about the pregnancy at first, because both of my sisters had miscarried (my younger sister 3 times!) before having a successful pregnancy. However, I was lucky and had relatively no complications throughout my pregnancy. The only discomforts I felt were (controllable) morning sickness during the first trimester, and terrible heartburn during the entire 40 weeks. Because of the heartburn I ate much less than I normally do, and only gained 14 pounds!

When I was 36 weeks along I was put on bedrest for hypertension but even that wasn't so bad. I got reacquainted with my favorite television shows from my youth, like Hogan's Heroes, Andy Griffith, and Little House on the Prairie.

At 38 weeks, I was almost 3 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced without having felt a single thing! My doctor told me I would be thankful for that when the time came to deliver. I was. My water broke at 12:45 p.m. while my Mom and I were grocery shopping. It didn't gush - it just felt like a little trickle occasionally when I walked. I wasn't actually sure it was my water breaking at first, but a couple hours and two stores later I was pretty sure I couldn't be THAT incontinent, so we went home to call the hospital and my husband. I was given the OK to come in.

On the way to the hospital (at 3:55 p.m.) I felt my first contraction. My contractions were very irregular during the first couple hours at the hospital, but quickly became stronger and more regular. I was not allowed out of bed due to my high blood pressure, but I don't think I would have wanted to walk around anyway. The contractions were progressing rapidly (no need for pitocin), and I soon became quite attached to my bedrails. My husband and Mom were there and very anxious to help and comfort me, but I just wanted to be left alone. It's funny - during the birthing classes I was positive that if my husband just rubbed my back the entire time I was in labor I would be so relaxed!

After five hours in the hospital and despite my increasingly intense contractions, I was still only dilated to 3 centimeters. They wouldn't prescribe an epidural until I was at least 4, but since I was so obviously in great pain (I was crying with the contractions at this point) my nurse - bless her soul - went to ask the doctor if I could have some Nubain. This took the edge off the contractions, and I was able to sleep in between them. As this was wearing off, I was told I was dilated to 5 and they sent for the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural.

Right after the epidural was in, I became sick to my stomach and had to roll onto my right side to throw up. I did this twice. As a result, the medication wasn't distributed throughout my body evenly, and I still had slight feeling on my left side. Consequently, my left side dilated faster than my right, and I had to wait to push until both sides were at 10 centimeters.

At 1:39 a.m. on January 23, 1999, after only 40 minutes of pushing, Grace Louise was born. She was perfect. She weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces, and was 20-1/2 inches long. She was totally filled out - no wrinkly skin whatsoever. She was - and still is -the most beautiful little girl my husband and I have ever laid eyes on! By the way, my first ultrasound (at 10 weeks) predicted my due date as January 23, 1999 - right on!

As pregnancies, labors and deliveries go, mine went relatively smoothly. The nurses were fantastic. The worst part of the whole experience was when they stitched up my episiotomy. The doctor was teaching a resident how to do it, and it took them 45 agonizing minutes! My epidural had long since worn off, and the four shots of novocain they gave me didn't help, either.

My husband and I are definitely going to have at least one more child. I loved being pregnant, and I feel extremely blessed to be able to participate in the greatest miracle on Earth. Good luck to everyone who reads this!

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