I, however, was not as comfortable. Although I was more open to the idea, I didn’t like it, and began to feel all kinds of guilt about inducing. I started thinking I was “pulling her out before she was ready” and other similar thoughts. It wasn’t that I was miserable and “just wanted her out”, I had other legitimate reasons, but I was still feeling a lot of guilt. I cried a lot of tears. In my gut though, I felt I should keep Monday’s induction appointment and just prayed my body would start labor before then anyway.
As the weekend progressed I did find myself in early labor. Come Monday morning though, the contractions still weren’t consistently regular, so we headed to our induction appointment at 6:30am.
In the car at the hospital parking lot
The long walk into the hospital... Lots of construction going on over there
The hospital was booming with babies, and we had to wait in the main lobby for 2 hours just to get a delivery room. The hospital was also undergoing a switch to completely paperless charting, so the computer system was new, complicated and made the nurses lives horribly difficult. Good times! Needless to say, it was 10:30am before my nurse even hooked up the IV and things got going.
Our luxury delivery sweet! ;) That room was huge!
The contractions became very regular after that, but they were mild enough that we were actually having a fun time talking, getting excited, and trying to convince our family not to come and wait at the hospital. First time moms can labor a while (especially when they are induced). Many times, I’ve heard 12 hours or more!
Relaxing before "active labor" began
A doctor came in around 1pm or so and broke my water. Very soon afterwards, I noticed I no longer wanted to talk when a contraction came along. Ryan and I would be having a conversation and he would go to add a comment and I would say, “Now is the time when you can’t talk, okay?” Then, a minute or so later, I would be okay to talk again. I was dilated to a 4 around this time.
The next hour, the pain intensified. I had decided beforehand that I was open to an epidural, but I would play it by ear. I should have played it by “back” because that is exactly where my contractions went. By far, the worst pain I have ever experienced. I decided to go for the epidural after all. The only problem was they only had 1 anesthesiologist on shift that day, and had also scheduled back-to-back cesarean appointments. For each cesarean, the anesthesiologist would be completely occupied for 1 hour. Which means, unless a nurse could grab him between cesareans, we were on our own. And should he go into another cesarean without coming over to do epidurals, you would have to wait another hour before trying to get him again.
Thus, it was about 3:45pm before he moseyed his way on over to give me an epidural. I was dilated to a 5. The contractions were so bad at this point, the thought of sitting still while I got the epidural was pretty impossible to imagine. But I leaned on Ryan and got through it. Afterward, I laid back down and they told me I would feel much better in about 15 minutes. The nurse checked me again, still at a 5.
And so began the longest 15 minutes of my life. Once I had laid down, the contractions almost immediately changed, and intensified. Instead of being in my back, they now were in my tailbone. I was feeling extreme pressure and a lot of pain. They did not get better, they were feeling worse. The anesthesiologist checked everything to see if there was any reason I would be feeling so much of the pain; my nurse thought he might have done something wrong. After looking me over he said that there was nothing else he could do. I thought, “I can’t go through hours of this. How am I going to make it???”
I was rolling from one side of the bed to the other in pain, telling my nurse that it felt like I had to go to the bathroom badly. Although she had checked me just 15 minutes earlier, she decided to check me again. I was fully dilated. I had gone from a 5 to a 10 in just 15 minutes! My nurse was shocked! The pressure I was feeling was Katelyn's head in my pelvis. The nurse called Dr. M and told him he better head over to the hospital right away.
Chaos ensued. Well, not really chaos, but I was progressing so quickly, people began to act fast so it felt chaotic to me! There was a nurse shift change and I got a new nurse, who was really excited to come into the situation when I was already ready to go. A baby nurse came in along with an OB assistant, setting up carts of supplies and putting Katelyn’s bed on pre-heat.
I was so ready to push! It is amazing how your body just knows when it’s time. I was still able to feel most everything. They never really bothered to ‘turn up’ the epidural and I had full feeling in both legs, my back, you name it. Although I imagine the epidural might have taken the edge off a little, so that was nice. In one way though, I was happy that I was going to be able to feel the birth of my baby after all.
After setting up all the supplies (and draining my bladder), I finally began pushing around 4:20pm or so. My mom arrived at the hospital and came in the delivery room to watch her granddaughter’s birth. Ryan was next to me the whole time. When the urge to push came, he would grab my leg and pull it up, put his other arm around my neck to support and prop it up, and begin counting. He would count to 10, tell me to breathe, and count to 10 again (usually 4 sets per contraction). He would encourage me to push harder, even though it hurt. He was AMAZING. Later I learned he had assumed he would just be standing there by my head during the pushing part. He had no idea he’d be that involved. You couldn’t tell a bit. I never could have done it without him there.
In the first few pushes, they could already see the top of Katelyn’s head. She would have been out quite quickly, but I had a band of thick muscle just inside that had a hard time stretching. So we worked on slowly trying to get her past it. Soon, Dr. M arrived and took over for the nurse. He is just awesome and I am so glad I chose him to be my doctor.
We pushed for a little while and soon it became necessary for Dr. M to snip that muscle a bit. Very soon after that I clearly felt Katelyn’s head come out. It’s amazing how you can feel exactly what’s happening, even though you can’t see it. Her shoulders came soon after, and then the rest of her little body. She was born at 5:13pm.
In an instant I had a slippery, crying baby on my chest. Our baby girl. She cried for a minute, then became very still and relaxed. She laid there quietly on my chest for a while. It was the most wonderful and surreal moment of my life. I can’t even think about it without tears.
We couldn’t keep the family in the waiting room anymore, and soon the room was full of visitors. I loved seeing the happiness and joy on everyone’s faces. We weren’t the only people who waited a long time for this. After about 10 minutes, we cleared the room out and tried breastfeeding, which went pretty well for the first try. After that, I ate a turkey sandwich. Life could not have been better.
Later that night, we were moved to a post-partum room. Because there was another woman in there, Ryan wasn’t allowed to stay, so he left around midnight. I was on my own with Katelyn that night and it went pretty well. I slept about 45 minutes total, but I didn’t mind. I was busy feeding her, changing her, changing myself, and pretty much checking to make sure she was still breathing all night.
The next day, Ryan returned and we had some more visitors stop by. The hospital was busier than ever and my 1 roommate became 3 roommates. Four women in one room, each with their own nurses, OBs, husbands and visitors… it didn’t take long before I wanted OUT.
Eating a sandwich in my cramped little corner. They didn't let me shower, and I had cried a LOT of happy tears, so I am looking pretty ragged at this point...
Holding our little girl!
Fortunately, Katelyn was perfectly healthy and both my doctor and her doctor gave the okay. That evening, we were discharged.
Going home outfit
I had a going home outfit for me too, but I was so ready to get out of there, I just had them wheel me out in my robe and flip flops!
It feels so good to have our little girl finally with us. I feel incredibly blessed to have gone through such a short, smooth and complication-free labor. Katelyn is everything I dreamed of and more. We are blessed beyond measure, and grateful beyond words.
Everywhere in nature we are taught the lessons of patience and waiting. We want things a long time before we get them, and the fact that we wanted them a long time makes them all the more precious when they come.
- Joseph F. Smith