In the last days of my pregnancy I found much comfort in reading other people's birth stories. Before that I didn't have any plans to share Caroline's birth story on here. However, after realizing how much it helped to ease my anxiety about labor and delivery to read others' stories, I decided to share mine here. One thing I realized is that everyone's story is completely different and that helped me to walk into the hospital with an open mind and ultimately have a great birth experience.
So here goes...
Caroline was 10 days overdue and I was pretty much convinced that she was never going to come out. My mother-in-law decided to go ahead and come up here on Saturday, January 19th with the plan to induce me on Monday. After she arrived we had a nice dinner and she asked us what the plan would be if I were to go into labor that night. I just shrugged my shoulders and assured her that I was pretty confident that was not going to happen. We vaguely talked about who would drive to the hospital, etc.
Fast-forward to about 3:15am... I couldn't sleep and started praying that something would happen...that my water would break or contractions would start. Literally as I was praying this I felt a "pop" in my belly. I had heard that this is what it feels like when your water breaks, but there was no "water." I got out of bed and started walking around...still nothing. I started googling stuff on my phone to see if the internet could provide me with some answers. Surprisingly, it wasn't very helpful. I tried to wake Curt up and told him I thought my water "might've" broken. He mumbled something, told me it was 3:30 in the morning, and to go back to bed. Just then I felt a gush of fluid and I was like, "yup! my water definitely just broke." Curt was still half-asleep as I called the doctor on call and she told me to go ahead and come on in to the hospital. She said we could take our time, but try to make it in the next hour or so. This was amazing because we were all able to take showers, get our stuff together, and drive to the hospital in a calm and relaxed state.
We arrived at the hospital, the nurses confirmed that my water had indeed broken, and they gave me a small pill to help to soften my cervix. At this point, my contractions still hadn't started and I wasn't dilated or effaced much at all. The doctor said I would probably need another dose of that medicine and then they would start me on pitocin if the contractions didn't kick in soon.
Obviously before the contractions started :)
I tried lots of different things to help deal with the pain: sitting in the jetted tub, sitting on the birthing ball, walking, etc. but nothing seemed to help much. Curt had practiced some different massage techniques, but I didn't even want him to touch me. I got sick a few times (something I didn't expect!). After about 2 hours I asked if the doctor could come and check me again to see how I was progressing. I felt like the contractions were coming right on top of each other and they were getting more painful each time. After some convincing the doctor came in to check me and I was already 4 cm dilated. Woo hoo! I was progressing much faster than they thought and I felt like I was drowning in the pain. I went ahead and opted for the epidural*.
About 30 minutes after the epidural had been administered, the doctor came back in with a strange look on his face. He said my contractions were coming very close together and he wanted to check me again. I was at 9 cm! I had progressed 5 more cm in just a half hour. At this point, I was so thankful for the epidural. He said about 30 minutes more and we'd be ready to start pushing.
So I started pushing....and pushing...for the next 3 hours almost. The doctor was confident that we wouldn't have to do a c-section even if she took a long time to come out (which I was so thankful for). It was definitely a long time to be pushing (and probably would have been shorter if I hadn't had the epidural), but I was not in pain and felt like it was more of an aerobic work out than anything else. Finally, she made her way out and it was the most surreal experience. They put her directly on my chest and I couldn't believe it! I don't think I even cried because I was in such shock that she was actually here.
Curt is the sweetest dad...seriously y'all.
We are so thankful for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby!
*A note about epidurals: After going through active labor I have SO much respect for mamas that do this naturally. I didn't have any huge reservations about having an epidural before labor started, so I wasn't opposed to it. For me, it was definitely the right choice. It allowed me to enjoy the labor experience so much more.