My husband and I decided I would go off the Pill last summer (2003). Yet, as the summer approached I became more hesitant about this decision. As June turned into July I decided I would stay on the Pill until August or September. Then we went on vacation in mid-July. We no more than arrived at our hotel after a 6 hour plane flight that I realized I had left my birth control pills at home. We decided that this was either Fate or Divine Intervention. Within two months I was pregnant.
The pregnancy went easily. I didn't get morning sickness, hemorrhoids or stretch marks. Our little girl was due May 20, 2004. That date came and went with no significant feelings that labor was about to begin. I even went to work on May 21, although the weight and strain of pregnancy was wearing on me. On Saturday May 22, my husband and I went about our usual chores. I bought some flowers to plant in my garden. All throughout the day, however, I had these pains that radiated across the tops of my thighs. This feeling did not match up with what I had read about contractions and labor pains. All of those descriptions described a pain starting at the top of the uterus and radiating downward. I decided to ignore this leg pain, chalking it up to another pregnancy related pain, but not THE labor pain I was anxiously awaiting.
That evening my husband and I went to a friend's house for dinner, all the while these pains continued and became more persistent and more regular. Then right before dessert was to be served, I felt a significant mucous discharge. I hurried to the bathroom, but it was not the bloody show I was expecting. At this point, I decided to call my doctor. My husband knew what was going on, but our friends were a bit oblivious. My doctor thought my water had broken and recommended that I go to the hospital. We quickly told our friends that we had to go and rushed to the hospital.
At the hospital, a nurse checked to see if I was dilated and if my water had broken. It turns out that neither had occurred, but they decided to keep me there for an hour for observation. My husband went to register; I flipped through the TV channels and felt a bit stupid for coming to the hospital when I could be at home in the comfort of my own bed. After an hour, the nurse came back and checked again to see if I'm dilated. And guess what? I was dilated one centimeter! Only nine more to go! I no longer felt so stupid for coming to the hospital. We were about to have a baby!
The nurses hooked me up to a machine to monitor fetal heart rate and to monitor my contractions. At this point, 10 p.m. Saturday, I was offered Nubain. The pain wasn't bad, so I declined. My husband ran home to get some stuff. (I hadn't even packed my hospital bag!) He returned and we settled in as comfortably as possible for the long wait.
By 2 a.m. my husband is dozing fitfully. I, however, couldn't get any sleep because the contractions have gotten much stronger. When the nurse checked in again, I asked her if there was something she could give me to help me sleep. Again, she offered Nubain. This time I accepted. The nurse said that the Nubain would make me feel like I've had a couple of cocktails. She gave me half the injection in my arm and the other half in the IV that was set up previously. Within seconds I felt like I was floating, my speech was slurred and I was feeling very sleepy. The sleep I got was far from peaceful. Weird, drug-induced dreams plagued me. Plus, I woke up every time I had a contraction.
At 6 a.m. my water finally broke and the contractions got much stronger. Coupled with the pain of contractions, I also felt extremely nauseous. When I told the nurse that I was feeling nauseous and she says that this is one of the side-effects of Nubain. Well, why didn't she tell me that before! For about two or three hours I struggle with the contractions and the nausea. Finally, I am checked again for the amount of dilation. It's around 10 a.m. and I'm dilated 5 cm. At this point I opt for the epidural. With the epidural the nausea and the pain of contractions subside and I relax.
At 12 p.m. my doctor stops by and checks my dilation. To everyone's surprise, I was fully dilated and the baby's head is crowning. My doctor enthusiastically predicted that delivery shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. My doctor changes into her scrubs and the nurses coach me on when to start pushing and advising my husband on how to support and encourage me while I'm pushing. Thanks to the epidural, I can barely feel the contractions. I can feel a slight twinge, at which point I push. After pushing, I was so relaxed and I think the Nubain was still working, I fell asleep. I'm not sure if the doctor or the nurses knew this. My husband only knew because I told him later. Upon hearing this news his sympathy for me immediately diminished. He thought I had discovered a very good energy-saving technique!
After an hour of pushing my doctor was still saying just 20 more minutes and the pain of delivery really start kicking in and I was no longer falling asleep between contractions. The final hour is a bit of a blur, thankfully. The doctor did try to use a vacuum, but once she got the vacuum nozzle inserted she discovered it didn't work. Then, they discover the umbilical cord was looped over the baby's shoulder. This situation was taken care of. The doctor then instructed a nurse to push down on my upper abdomen to help push the baby out.
Finally, finally after much pushing and an episiotomy, our little girl was born. She weighed in at 7 lbs, 15 oz. The doctor cut the cord and placed her on my chest and she very calmly took in her new world before letting out a welcoming cry.