Three years earlier, I’d delivered her big brother after a fast and furious 9-hour labour. My midwife and I decided to schedule an induction this time around as our hospital was located nearly an hour away, and my husband worked pretty far from home.
On Monday, February 8th, I went in at 7:00 am to begin the induction. I was 40 weeks + 1 day, and my bishop score put me in a favourable position to get things going. At 10:00 am, I was started on a low dose of Pitocin. My midwife felt this would be the best option to help my body dilate more to break my waters. Within the hour, I was getting regular contractions 2 minutes apart. They were super easy, really only a little pressure and no pain. This continued for a few hours. As my dose of Pitocin increased, the contractions became a little more painful. I used visualizations to help each contraction pass, and my husband Josh played trivia games with me to distract me as they came.
By 3:00 pm, the contractions were strong enough that I’d have to focus on my breathing as they peaked. The pain was strongest in my lower abdomen, like a very intense period cramp mixed with a Charlie horse! I had been moving around the room, frequently changing positions to help the contractions pass. I found that lying in bed made them worse. My favourite spot to labour was on the birthing ball! However, my tailbone was getting sorer with each passing contraction.
Around this time, my midwife checked my cervix and found I’d dilated to 1 1/2 centimetres. This was enough for her to break my water. After this, I had to wear a giant postpartum pad as I laboured. Every so often, I’d feel a gush of fluid, which was super weird! The contractions picked up in intensity after this.
Without the water to create a buffer, I was feeling the full force of the contractions. I had to really focus on even breathing as each contraction came and went. I envisioned myself in the middle of a storm through some contractions, which also helped! This visualization technique was really beautiful and helped me through some of the more painful surges.
By 6:00 pm, I was really feeling the intensity of labour. The contractions were never more than two minutes apart, and some were double peaking! I had little time to rest between the surges and was very much feeling the exhaustion of labour. At this point, I was checked again and had dilated to a 4. This was encouraging, and I was holding onto this as labour continued.
Once 8:00 pm rolled around, the contractions were becoming nearly unbearable. I resorted to grunting loudly as they peaked as opposed to breathing which seemed to help me better. I was tensing up as they passed through, so I wasn’t surprised to learn I was still only 4 centimetres dilated. I tried using the horse lips technique to loosen up but found that to make the pain worse. I began to get the shakes around this time as well. It felt like I was entering transition, though my dilation would suggest otherwise.
At long last, I opted for the epidural. With my first labour, the epidural allowed my body to relax and dilate much quicker, so I felt confident that this was the best option to get things moving along. I had to wait an hour for the IV fluids to get into my system, and at 9:00, I was being prepped for the epidural. Within 15 minutes, the pain of the contractions faded, and I really only felt pressure. The pressure was incredibly strong in my cervix and my bottom, though.
By 9:35, I was calling for the nurse to return. The pressure was getting so strong that I was worried it might be time to push. It had only been twenty minutes since my last check, which showed I was still only 4 centimetres. My nurse informed me that her head had dropped much lower, and to her surprise, I was 10 centimetres! As these words came out of her mouth, I felt an enormous pressure! A huge wave of pressure came across my bottom to my vagina, and I began moaning in pain! The epidural certainly reduced the pain of the contractions, but it did very little to mask the pain of my baby moving down the birth canal! My midwife quickly made it to my room and prepared to coach me through pushing. I was on my back thanks to the epidural, which was so uncomfortable on my tailbone! I desperately wanted to ask if I could move into a different position for pushing, but I knew it wouldn’t happen. Another huge wave of pressure came over me, and I felt a burning sensation between my legs. My midwife told me to push, which I did but only for a few seconds as the pain was unbearable! She told me to push again and counted me through 10 seconds. I was hollering through each push at this point and only putting half of my strength into it as the pain was so intense.
After about five minutes, my midwife and Josh were telling me excitedly, “she’s almost here; you’re so close!” Then she told me to give another strong push. I actually gave it everything I had, and I could feel her head pop out. One push later, and I felt her fall right out of me!
The pressure and pain ceased, and I pulled her to my chest! A surge of emotions poured over me as I looked down at her face for the first time. I cried as I held her, wondering how this moment ever felt so far away! My baby was finally in my arms! She had a head full of dark hair and the most deep and gorgeous eyes! I never wanted to see this moment end as I came face to face with this sweet little soul!
I learned after her delivery that she had flipped positions and was born sunny side up! This explained the extreme tailbone pain and the intensity of pushing. I needed only one stitch after her birth and was quickly left to enjoy the quiet of holding my newest baby!
She was born weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces, and she was 20.5 inches long! A little smaller than her big brother. labour took about 12 hours total, with transition and pushing lasting only the last 30 minutes! I dilated from a 4 to a 10 in about 15 minutes and experienced the full brunt of delivery, even with an epidural.
I do believe that the epidural was needed to help my body relax. Had I waited, I feel it would have taken many more hours to progress, so though this part of my birth story isn’t how I’d hoped, I don’t regret it at all.
Lillian Rosalie, like her brother, has completely stolen my heart! The love that has been created and the bond we share is unlike any other! She’s so new and has only been a part of this world for a few days, but already I can’t imagine my life without her. It’s like she’s been here all along!