I wrote this a day or two after Vince's birth... Three years ago. Happy birthday, little man!
Vincent Joseph - A Labor Story
It's time to write this story down before I forget all the gory details (most of which I will spare you), but if you are anti-labor story, please feel free to skip this post!
For those of you who attempted to contact me last Wednesday, I must apologize for my lack of answering the phone and general lack of interest when I did. I spent most of the day on an emotional rollercoaster of feeling sorry for myself because it seemed I would DEFINITELY be getting induced. I hadn't told a lot of people, but I was really hoping to not only go into labor naturally this time, but to actually have the kiddo without use of drugs or anything, and I was INCREDIBLY depressed knowing that I'd probably need Pitocin to get labor started. I'd always heard that Pitocin makes labor about 20 times harder, and I just knew I wouldn't be able to do it without help if I had to be induced.
As a last stitch effort, I ate spicy foods for dinner on Wednesday evening and continued with some of the other old-wives tales that are supposed to get labor started, but I had pretty much resigned myself to a Pitocin-induced labor. Much to my surprise I woke up at about 3:30a Thursday morning with contractions that were definitely a bit harder than the ones I had been feeling for a week and a half. By 4:30p I started timing them and wondering if this could actually be the real thing. I woke Andrew up 20 minutes later and we discovered that they were coming about every 6 minutes and they actually hurt! I continued to contract like that for the next 2 hours and they were still going pretty strong by the time Andrew and I had to leave to go to the hospital for our scheduled induction.
After checking in, I told the nurse and resident that I had been in labor on my own for about 3 hours and wondered if my doc would let me continue on this path without the Pitocin. They decided they'd check to see if I had made any progress and then give her a call. It turns out I had gone from 85% effaced and dilated to 2cm with baby at a -3 station on Tuesday to 85% effaced, dilated to 4cm and baby at a -1 station by 8am on Thursday. I actually WAS in labor. They gave me about 45 minutes to go walking the hospital halls and then they said they'd break my water to see if they could pick things up.
At 10am, they broke my water and my sweet nurse told me that I'd probably start feeling the contractions even more intensely. I had progressed to 5cm by then, but, unfortunately, my contractions slowed down and seemed to get less intense after they broke my water. I was pretty bummed. By 11am, I was till between 5 & 6 cm and another call to my Doc said that she wanted things to go faster so they wanted to start the dreaded Pitocin!!! I was distraught. My contractions were hurting, I was progressing (even if slowly), and I was managing my pain pretty well. They gave me a few more minutes to get up and walk around, and said they would start the Pit at noon.
My nurse told me that I had been doing great managing labor so far, and she really thought that I might be able to muscle through the Pitocin. So I still didn't ask for an epidural or pain meds... I just let them start me on the drip. About 3 minutes after they started the epidural, my contractions went from fairly intense and every 3-5 minutes to INCREDIBLY PAINFUL and every 1-2 minutes. There was no longer a break to catch my breath. And when, by the grace of God, there was a slightly longer break between contractions, the break always built up into a longer and more intense contraction than the previous one. After and hour of enduring the Pit contractions, with lots and lots of help from Andrew rubbing my back and breathing with me, I told the nurse they needed to check my progression. I decided that if I hadn't hit at least 8cm, I wanted the epidural.
I was only at 7cm. The nurse called the anesthesiologist and started fluids into me so that I would be prepped for the epidural in 10 minutes. By the time she arrived, and they had me back up in the bed, the contractions were so intense that I could barely talk through them. I could barely scoot back to the edge of the bed, and when the asked me to curl into a fetal position, there was no way I could do it because the contractions were coming so quickly. They told me I'd have to lay perfectly still for them to get the epi in, and I knew that wasn't going to happen. The anesthesiologist finally told the nurse to check me again because she wasn't sure there was time for the epidural. And that's when things went nuts.
With the next contraction, all I could think was "I HAVE TO PUSH NOW!!!" and I'm pretty sure I yelled that. The nurse somehow got me into a position that she could check my progression, and I was suddenly 100% effaced, 10cm dilated and baby was at a +1 position (ready to come out!). The nurse had to start telling to just push a little bit with the contractions if it helped but she didn't want me to push too much because they needed to get the doctors and the other nurses in the room. Tiny pushes weren't working and Vincent was on his way. At one point there was a flurry of residents and the on-call doc into the room but I don't remember that at all. After about 2 more contractions his little head was out, but I was so tired that I couldn't push as hard. Andrew later told me that little Vince was turning blue and it was at that point that the nurse forced me to make eye contact with her and she said "Kristi, I need you to push NOW." So with everything I had left in me, I pushed one last time, and out came our beautiful baby boy! The doctors didn't realize we didn't know what he was so when they said "What a big boy!!!", Andrew and I just started crying. 9 lbs 5.8 oz and 20 inches long! All I could think is "How did I do that??!!"
As much as I wanted to go drug-free, I don't think I ever believed I'd actually be able to do it. I know that it was through so many of your prayers that everything went as it did. The fact that I went into labor on my own was a miracle in and of itself, but then to progress 3 cm in a 10 minute time frame just to avoid the meds at the last minute was another miracle on top of it. Thank you so much to all of you for the well-wishes and the prayers. We are so grateful.
Now little Vince and I are home and doing great. Mia isn't so sure what this new little person in the family means, but she's so sweet when she peeks in his crib and says "Baby Brother". Andrew is the proudest Papa ever with his little son at his side. Recovery seems to be going pretty well though the preggo hormones decreasing are definitely making me feel super funky every now and then. That's pretty par-for-the-course I assume after a pregnancy that had as many weird symptoms as this one did. Vince goes in for a weight check tomorrow, but he's a great nurser and I think he'll be back up to his birth weight in no time.
I can't wait to introduce our little boy to you. He's so awesome.