Wow, I just can't believe our little princess is here. Let me preface our story by saying that we did NOT get what we had hoped for at all, but we are very happy given the circumstances.
Let's rewind to Christmas Eve morning, when I started having very small gushes of what I thought was cervical fluid. It was thicker than water, didn't have a smell, and was sporadic, so I didn't think much of it. This continued through the weekend and then, on Monday morning (12/27), I noticed I was having more and more of these small gushes. I called my doctor just to check in with him, and he suggested I go to triage at the hospital to rule out rupture of membranes.
I picked M up at work and arrived at the hospital around 2 PM. They did the amniotic fluid swab test and sure enough it was positive. My small gushes were an amniotic fluid leak. At that point I knew they wouldn't be letting me leave. I was sort of in a state of shock. They checked me and I was already dilated 3 cm, 30% effaced (yay!), but I wasn't having any contractions or other signs of labor. I asked them to let me try the breast pump to stimulate things naturally while M went home to get our hospital bags.
It didn't work. So the next options were pitocin and/or breaking the whole bag of waters. At this point I was really upset. I knew there would be no way I would be able to have the intervention free birth we had wanted, but consented to both since it was no longer about the experience I wanted, it was about getting baby out safely and quickly. Any sort of rupture of membranes (especially a prolonged 3-day leakage) carries a high risk of infection.
As they inserted my IV and strapped on two continuous monitoring devices (one for my contractions and one for baby's heart rate), I mourned the intervention free birth that I was not going to experience. Shortly after starting the very low dose of pitocin and breaking my water at 5 PM, the contractions started like crazy. I just didn't feel prepared. I was expecting to start with widely spaced out contractions that would increase in strength and frequency like we learned about in Childbirth class; I was not expecting to go from zero to feeling like my uterus was going to rip apart in less than an hour.
The Hypnobabies techniques really helped me to relax through the first few hours, but as soon as I was only getting a 1.5 minute break in between the contractions and the back labor started, I needed to try something else. I used the birthing ball, the tub, and walked around but nothing helped. I literally felt like something was going to explode out of my butthole. They checked me again at 10 PM and I was only 5 cm, 60% effaced. I was devastated that I hadn't progressed more. I think I actually teared up as I asked for an epidural.
The pain went away almost instantly and I was able to sleep until about 3 AM. They checked me and I was fully dilated and ready to go. I decided to sleep a little while longer to try to regain some strength and then I started pushing at 4:30 AM. I was so glad I rested as much as I had, because I ended up pushing for 4 hours. Fortunately, almost all 4 hours were painless; I could push effectively, but didn't feel any pain whatsoever.
Carina came out pink and perfect at 8:27 AM, scoring 9's on her Apgars. We snuggled and breastfed right away. I was completely in shock that I just pushed this little person into the world. Due to the prolonged, slow pushing, I only have two very superficial tears that barely needed stitches. Who knew that there could be a benefit to pushing for so long?
While I am upset that I wasn't able to have the natural birth we had hoped for, I keep on reminding myself that delivering her safely after having an amniotic fluid leak for 3 days was the important thing. We are lucky that we didn't have any complications from any of the interventions I had, and that we are both healthy and safe.
Sorry, that was long. If you've made it this far you deserve a medal!
Shortly after birth at 38 weeks 3 days gestation
Edited to add: I did not poop on the table!