Gatsby's birth story, or how I live tweeted my labor again
As I shared, I was not particularly loving the final week or two of pregnancy and was trying pretty much everything to get this little guy out.
Stuff that does not work to induce labor:
- Having the doctor strip your membranes
- Spicy food: Mexican, curry, triple-chili powder chocolate cupcakes
- Third trimester tea
- Pedicures/foot massages
- Labor Cookies
- Scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees
- Sweeping the floor
- Bouncing on a large ball
- Walking miles and miles
- Running on an elliptical
- “The thing that got you into trouble in the first place”
- Anything to do with your nipples
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Jumping off the bottom step
- Squats and lunges
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Full moons
- Walking miles and miles
What Does Work to Induce Labor: Having a baby that's ready.
Gatsby's Birth Story
On his due date, March 23, I woke up to some really mild contractions around 7am, while I was lying in bed. I didn't think too much of it because I had literally been having contractions for about three weeks at this point. I kept an eye on the clock—they were about 8 minutes apart. As an hour ticked by and the contractions got a bit stronger, I began to realize that this might be it, but I still didn't want to get my hopes up.
Side note: Having to rely on your own assessment of your discomfort to make that call to the doctor really sucks, especially when you're a stubborn mule like me who likes to think she's tough. Having your water break—like mine did with Holden—is at least a clear sign of labor, although, boy, does that make your contractions so much more intense.
Around 8am, I got up and took a shower (I had this weird thing with both pregnancies where I wanted to get myself "ready" to go to the hospital). My contractions were lasting about a minute, were 3-6 minutes apart and were still relatively mild. I called my doctor's office at 8:36am and my parents at 8:42am. My mom took me to the hospital while my husband stayed at the house with still-sleeping Holden.
We got to the hospital around 9:45am. I wanted to make the walk to Labor & Delivery rather than take a wheelchair, and I could feel my contractions intensifying and coming faster. My OB met me in L&D for my exam: I was 5 cm dilated and still kinda thick by that point, so she wanted to put me on the monitor to see how I progressed before deciding if they would "keep" me... which pissed me off because 1) I knew this was it and 2) the contractions were getting stronger and being strapped to a bed (without meds) is pretty much the last thing you want when you're in labor.
I was only on the monitor for about 20-30 minutes before they came back to admit me and take me to a room—I guess my moans of pain and the huge peaks of my contractions on the monitor told them this was the real thing. My OB told me then I was a bit too smiley when I first came in and that's why she didn't admit me right away... so if there's a next time, I'll keep that in mind.
Like my labor with Holden, the time from being admitted until receiving the epidural was a blur of pain. Contractions were coming every minute or so and, while they weren't at the same excruciating level of my first pregnancy (when my water broke), they still felt like I was being eviscerated with a rusty bread knife every 60 seconds. I was still strapped to a bed, receiving IV fluid before they would give me the epidural and still on the monitor. So no walking or ball-bouncing. Just me alone with my pain.
Around 11am (so after about an hour), the doctor gave me the painkiller, Stadol, which doesn't stop the pain of the contractions but "takes the edge off"—which means makes you kind of high so you can't focus on the pain as much. It made things a bit better, but the real joy came when my anesthesiologist entered the room around 11:15am.
I endured one more painful contraction before the sweet, sweet nectar of anesthesia washed through my body and I began the blissful, zen-like ride of no feeling—like, I literally couldn't even feel my legs. Also, I was still kind of high.
So now that I was feeling good, it was time to let my friends know where I was and to start...
My Labor Live Tweet, Part Deux
In case you don't feel like scrolling through all the pages, here is the "highly popular" video of me dancing to "Push It," like I did last time:
Around 1:50pm (so after about 2.5 hours), the doc came in and said I was about 9.5 cm dilated and we'd start pushing within the hour... which came as news to me because I had no idea I had progressed that quickly. I was still feeling nothing. Like, my leg looked and felt like a huge hamhock lying in bed with me.
She came back around 2:20pm and said it was time. So even though I couldn't feel what I was doing, I was going to push this baby out. They wheeled over the mirror—always a surreal experience—and I watched as, with three pushes that I couldn't feel, the baby slipped on out. The process took less than four minutes. No drama, no tearing (thank god—guess those padsicles weren't really necessary).
They put my beautiful baby boy on my chest and I was still in shock that it had all happened so quickly. But here he was, right on time.
And nothing would be the same again.