On January 24th, I went in for my 39/40 week appointment (technically due January 27th). I had a breakdown at the doctor’s office because he had PROMISED me that he would talk “game plan.” I was due that Thursday, a mere three days away. I had already lost my MP (which, yes I know, means diddly, but as all term pregnant women will tell you, it’s an ounce of hope for labor to come), I had been having contractions for weeks (six false labor drives to the ER which, as of that morning–go figure. had tapered off not an hour before this doctor’s appointment. I could barely walk because of the belly that measured 4 feet 2 inches AROUND–since I’m only 4’9″, it was unimaginable. I was miserable. I know I said I wouldn’t get my hopes up, but … I did as many week 39 pregnant women do.
I go in, and much to my dismay, I gained weight. I was up to 172! MY EYES WERE HUGE. The gritty details were that I had “SHRUNK” half a centimeter, even though I was at two centimeters the week before. The doctor proceeded to explain that I was one-and-a-half centimeters and that he would be stretching me to two!!! Ouch![Disclaimer: This does in fact feel like tearing skin, FYI.] Determined little me kept saying, “Seriously, can we just have the baby today? Please.” I asked nicely, tears included. But instead, his response was “See you Thursday and we will talk about how we should have the baby.” OMG. Instantly I started bawling right then and there. Like I said, I had a breakdown at the doctor’s office. The doctor left and Matt helped me get dressed again, because I couldn’t for the life of me put on my own pants anymore. Sorry, let me rephrase that…. my leggings. Matt just kept saying that we had found a doctor who clearly is letting us do the “natural” way, that we should be happy I was not being induced. As much as I loved that he was sticking to plan and kept my wishes intact, all I could do was cry. Cry. Cry.
Walking out to the car, I stood in the snowstorm face to snow (it’s my thing) and just tried to calm down. So… for that day, I was still pregnant. I prayed that his “stretching” helped. I was so disappointed in my body. I would make progress, then go backwards, swell and close. Ugh. Okay, I even started praying while he was “checking me, like “Please Lord, PLEASE!! Then I gave Baby Henry a pep talk. Did it work? Nope; zilch. “Come back Thursday” was not what I had wanted to hear. Fast track to Wednesday: my bloody show seems very “bloody,” so I went into labor and delivery to be examined. I had shrunk (again) to one-and–a-half centimeters, and they did a NonStress Test: passed. Thank goodness.Thursday, I went into my appointment , crying, feeling like “I’ll be pregnant forever.” The doctor decided to sweep my membranes. Wow! Did that feel “fun.” He then told us that if we didn’t have Henry by the weekend, we were to go into the hospital Monday at 5:00 a.m. to be induced. Finally I felt hope!To enjoy this awesome “end of race” feeling, Matt and I went to see our friends and visit. Well, around 9:32 p.m. I had my first horrible contraction. We were sitting around talking and I stopped and said “WTF?!Tthat hurt real bad.” It was a sharp pain radiating through my hips to my belly, almost paralyzing. Needless to say, I ignored it and kept talking,….. Well, lo and behold, after an hour, those were 10 minutes apart. I figured, Whelp, this will be a long night.And it was…. Come 2:00 a.m., I was five minutes apart, and had been in and out of the shower because they were beginning to stab and hurt. I could barely sit because the pain would stay in my joints. Waking up Matt was a treat.: Are you sure it’s real? I’m tired… [insert eye roll and crying here]. We headed into labor and delivery because my contractions were close together and I was super scared to–get this–poop! Sadly, I had swelled AGAIN to one centimeter, but they wanted to keep me to check what was going on. This was most certainly 2:00 a.m. on Friday. I was thinking, “Oh, this isn’t ‘it.’ I want some sleep so badly.” So, I opted for Demerol and just asked, “Can I please go home?” Whelp… Demerol did not work. I was up crying and never slept. Nine-thirty a.m. Friday rolls around; I’m still a steady three minutes apart, strong, crying, feeling every single stabbing contraction and still felt scared to go to the bathroom. I went into the doctor at 11:30 a.m., and the doctor confirmed it. I was in labor. BUT! I hadn’t eaten now for 24 hours and I was sent home to grab our hospital bags and eat soup. I couldn’t eat the soup. I paced and cried the whole two hours. Matt, working on little sleep, called his boss, took a shower, loaded the car, made me soup, took this picture [excuse the fat face of swelling awesomeness], and kept refilling my water. At 1:45 p.m., we got in the car.
We rolled into the hospital at 2:00 p.m., where we were told they were expecting us…. but, “Not yet, your room isn’t ready and the doctor is in surgery, so we cannot give you anything for the pain.” They put me in triage–the room where you share it with five other beds. Three hours of pain: Standing, crying, swaying, all while trying to keep somewhat quiet because there were two other girls in there and I did not want to scare them . My whole family was out in the waiting room and Matt was trying to update his mother via cell phone with little reception. I was not a fan of those three hours Five o’clock finally rolls around and I had been having strong horrible contractions for 17 hours. I was at that “movie point”; you know, the … breathing SUPER hard and moaning part. Yes, that was me. It also wasn’t the worst I would be. Finally, the doctor was ready to see me, and I was moved to a room. I progressed to three centimeters and 100% effacement all on my own in three hours with no meds. Once in the room, I was given an IV for pain–but it didn’t exactly work for the pain as much as it made me loopy. Here I was hurting super bad and all I could tell Matt was “I want a BLT, please please please!” Then I had told my oldest sister, “You’re effing next.” It’s a memory us sisters will hold forever (ha-ha).
The medicine wore off and I was able to gain my brain again. Then the doctor broke my water and, oddly, “relief”! Ahhhhhh yes. And then boom! Contractions started strong again and, wow, even closer. Sadly, I was hitting almost 22 hours of labor and was seriously exhausted, without pain medications. I caved and got the EPI. I figured I’m 22 hours in and I was just checked. I was stalled at three. Well, controlling Stephanie entered my world. I then instructed –yes, instructed–the anesthesiologist to start my EPI promptly in one hour. He asked why, and I said, “Because this is me caving and I need time mentally to prepare myself. I had close to 10 months of being against an epidural during labor, so this is my self-prep time!” [insert doctor’s odd look now].
I received the EPI at 7:00 p.m.; on my side, too. No arched back sitting up, they had me LAY DOWN! And was given the lowest dose since I was adamant about being against it. Crappy part: They made me hold still on my SIDE during a contraction to insert it. If you think I was scared, you should have seen Matt’s face! The EPI started and again–lucky me–made my contractions further apart. I was so nervous that they were about to tell me “You need a C-section,” but instead they tried the typical Pitocin Cocktail and upped the flow every 30 minutes.
At 8:00 p.m., I was at five, then at 11:00 p.m., a six. The EPI started wearing off then. I kept telling them, but they didn’t up it “per my previous request.” I started feeling the contractions a little bit more, and by 12:00 midnight I was at eight. Shaking uncontrollably, I was back to heavy breathing, moaning, and, at times, cursing. (well, more like ridiculously loud, cursing, swearing, shaking, and shivering with each contraction). I kept crying saying, “Where’s the doctor? I swear I have to poop! I feel like pushing.”
Twelve-thirty rolls around; I am being told, “No, don’t push; you’re still at eight centimeters.” I finally said, “I’m having an extreme urge to push.”
By 1:00 a.m., they caved and listened and I started what I “thought” were practice pushes. NOPE! Apparently they were real pushes. Matt kept saying, “You can do this, you’re amazing.” In hindsight, he really was my strength. I felt like giving up because I kept screaming (hey, it helped) and breathing SUPER hard with each contraction. One nurse finally said, “Listen ,you have to focus on pushing, so shut up! (I was so shocked she said that, I did just what she said.) With that, in walked the doctor, 13-15 more minutes of pushing and BOOM! We had Henry. (Not only did they not tell me I was THAT close, but Matt played along too!) I felt a burn, the ring of fire (it exists) and a square brick that, apparently, was his head crowning and shoulders pushing towards the light.
I yelled a lot and screamed “I gotttttaaa poop” several times. I didn’t know I was actually pushing. It’s pretty comical now, but damn, I felt it all and only pushed for 13 to 15 minutes. I was able to have a vaginal birth and was in labor for 32 hours and only medicated for five. I’m pretty proud of myself. The best feeling in the world was the minute they put him on me and I said, “Baby, I’m your mommy,” and he gripped Matt’s finger tight. It was so amazing… SO amazing.
Henry Joseph Wagner, born at 1:19 a.m. on Saturday, January 28th. He was 19.5 inches long and weighing 8 pounds.
Finally, we were released on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
PS–I didn’t get to eat a real meal till like 10:00 a.m., but thankfully my mom went to Walmart and bought me apples. Thanks, Mom, for the apples.
My advice ….. Eat the soup. take pictures. and breathe your little heart out.
If you would like to read more about Stephanie, Henry, and Matt ,you can read Stephanie’s blog titled My First Everything