A bagel with cream cheese…
No, wait, Chinese…hmmm, sweet and sour and an egg roll…
I was supposed to be focusing on the task at hand, more commonly referred to as “labor,” but people, all I could think about was food.
Seven or eight hours into my first-ever induction, I was feeling pretty downright miserable.
Having had doubts about getting induced in the first place, I went into my induction on an early Tuesday morning still wondering if we were doing the right thing. Not only was I unsure if an induction was even the right choice for our baby, but I was terrified of pretty much everything that went along with it.
I was scared the induction wouldn’t take, that I would end up with a C-section, that somehow we would hurt the baby, that my dates would be way off and she’d actually be only 30 weeks (an exaggeration, but still…), that they had missed something in the ultrasound and she would have a birth defect.
Needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves throughout the entire process and (shocker!) even though the Pitocin was cranked to the maximum level it could go without a special order from the doctor, absolutely nothing was happening on the labor scale.
I was having regular contractions every 2-3 minutes, as I had been almost the entire last month of my pregnancy, but as I kept complaining to the nurse, my doctor, my husband, the janitor–they weren’t “real” contractions, you see, because I know when they are real because I’ve done this before and why aren’t they real yet?!?
It felt like a vicious cycle–I was on Pitocin, so hospital policy dictated that I stay in bed (which of course I didn’t, but still, there were only so many hour-long “bathroom breaks” I could take) which kept her head from moving down which meant that labor really couldn’t get going which meant that the contractions weren’t really doing anything which meant they kept bumping up the Pitocin, which meant they wanted me to stay put in case and so on and so forth.
Hence the reason I hate inductions in the first place.
And on top of all that, of course they don’t want you to eat, so I was starving and that just made me even more cranky.
Cranky, stressed, anxious mother + not being able to move = a labor that took forever to get going.
I snuck some food here and there from my husband, but I usually get nauseous at the end of labor, so I knew I wanted to avoid barfing up a whole pizza if at all possible. So my husband and I spent most of the day in my room, with me sneaking food, wandering around aimlessly, and catching up on “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix. (No spoilers–I’m still in Season 5!)
Dinnertime rolled around, my doctor wandered in to check me and the baby’s head was still too far up in the birth canal (irony of irony, although the doc had checked me in the office the day before and the baby’s head was well engaged, of course that morning she had floated back up) to break my water–the reason I was induced was because one of the major risks with polyhydramnios is that the cord will slip out before the baby’s head when the water breaks, so the doctor had to be careful not to break my water before the head was far enough down. Which is what we waited for all day.
By that time, I really and truly wanted to give up.
I texted everyone I could think of, complaining that the induction wasn’t working, I was so exhausted and over it, and started brainstorming ways I could go home. When the next check rolled around at about nine p.m. (funny how time rolls together during labor), and I was about to launch into my let-me-go-home speech, I had finally progressed a little bit and the baby’s head had finally moved down enough for her to break my water.
Then came the scary part.
After my request to fill the bed with a million and a half of the giant blue pads for the bed, my doctor broke my water–and it was seriously a torrential downpour–all the while holding the baby’s head in place. It took forever and the minutes ticked by as we both watched the monitor in fear, hoping no cord would go rushing by in a current of water and drop my daughter’s heart rate.
When it was over, we both breathed in a sigh of relief and I prepared (finally) for the “real” labor to begin. And after laughing at my now ridiculously deflated belly, kick in it did. I knew that my labor would be fast now that my water was broken and with the Pitocin still running at max capacity, I planned on asking for my epidural as soon as the contractions got really intense–there’s nothing worse than trying to hold still for an epidural while you feel like you’re going to die of labor pains.
I held out for about an hour and then after the most excruciating painful experience of having the doctor place a scalp lead on the baby, I got my epidural a little after 11 p.m. I had a really hard time with it, as the contractions were super intense and I was into that really emotional stage of labor and bawling and the anesthesiologist asked,“Do you sweat this much usually?” which just made me cry even more.
The relief was so nice, although I find epidurals to be the strangest feeling ever and I tried to get some rest, but almost immediately, I started feeling horrible. I was dry heaving all over the place and totally restless and uncomfortable and shaking uncontrollably and dry heaving some more and the nurse came in and checked me and you can guess what’s coming, but I had gone from 5 centimeters to complete in minutes.
Which explained the heaving. And my gratitude that I hadn’t ate more of Ben’s pizza.
After that, I started to calm down and feel a little bit better and we decided to let the baby “labor down,” which means just let her continue on her merry way down the birth canal until I felt the famous “urge to push.”
Except, of course, moms of many often times don’t get that famous urge, so my doctor ultimately made me start pushing even though I felt absolutely no urge and the baby came flying out in four pushes just before 1:30 in the morning.
It all happened so fast that I was literally repeating, “Are you sure she’s coming?” even as her head was already out and Ben and the doctor were laughing/yelling at me to shut the heck up and just push her the rest of the way out, but I couldn’t believe that was all it took.
And then she was out and all I could do was say, “Oh my gosh, there was a real baby in there!” because somewhere along the line, in worrying about being pregnant in the first place, and then worrying about the complications, and then worrying about the induction, it all felt like the pregnancy that would never end and then was over too fast and I had lost sight of the reason for everything, the reason for living at all–
After she was born, she latched right on like she was an old pro, ate for about an hour, and then all three of us crashed harder than I ever have in my life. After almost of all my kids’ births, we were wide awake and buzzing on excitement for hours afterwards, but for whatever reason, after I had my obligatory shower and shuffle back to bed, we all just passed out and didn’t wake up for like 6 solid hours.
It was amazing.
When morning dawned, we had about 800 text messages and calls from worried family members, who had abruptly stopped hearing from us after constant updates all day (sorry about that, guys) and were wondering, rightly so, IS THE BABY HERE YET?!?!
She was definitely here and I have never been more grateful and humbled by a birth experience. I was so relieved that it was all over and she was healthy. I felt, for the first time, the enormous blessing of it all, and to be honest, I’m still weepy thinking about this.
Aside from my overspilling emotions, I also felt more fantastic than any other birth–no tears or episiotomy for the first time ever meant I was left marveling at how it was possible to feel so great after a birth. I literally felt completely normal, except the wicked afterpains with nursing and that weird empty, belly feeling of birth. #hellojellybelly
Family trickled in, the kids got to meet their baby sister (best moment ever), and at long last, my second favorite moment of the day arrived when my sisters brought me the biggest mocha I had ever seen and the delicious, toasted bagel with cream cheese that I had been dreaming of.
As were these, of course.
All in all, I’d say I was the world’s worst induction patient, I made things way more difficult than they had to be, labor is never easy or predictable no matter how many time’s you’ve done it, and in the end, family is everything and there’s nothing more satisfying than the first meal after birth.
Welcome to the world, baby Sara. We’re so glad you’re here.