With my first, I was in labor for 40 hours. I was exhausted! I tried to breathe through the pain, I tried visualization, changing positions, anything to ease the pain! I wanted an unmedicated birth. I have borderline scoliosis and I was concerned about getting an epidural. But the waves of cramping pain were more than what I expected. I thought I was ready for it, I had read articles and books about the birthing process. I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation. I also read HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition) but I did not get the home study course or take classes. I did sign up for the yahoo group.
I thought I was prepared. But when the first contraction woke me up in the middle of the night, I remember being shocked at how painful it was! I remember thinking, wow, this is pretty intense but ok, I’m mentally strong, I can handle this. I breathed into the contraction, concentrating on relaxing into it, confident that my body would cooperate. The pain subsided and I smiled smugly to myself, thinking, I can do this and fell back asleep. The next contraction came and I was like, oh crap, again?! Again, I practiced my own technique and waited for the pain to subside. The third time the contraction came, I thought, you have GOT to be kidding me! I prodded hubby awake so he could start timing my contractions. I was so sure they were close together. Not! It was a very restless morning for the both of us.
I was not expecting the labor pains to be so intense! I did my best to get through the rest of the day and I kept feeling pressure on my bum, like the baby wanted to come out. I called the labor and delivery line at my hospital but my contractions were not close enough together for me to come and the nurse did mention that, “some women just do not tolerate pain very well.” Oh, those are fighting words! I’m a former dancer, I have pushed my body beyond what I thought it could do when I was bone tired. I’ve gotten brazillan waxes and lasered off the hair on my lower legs! “Some women do not tolerate pain well?!?!” Just who does she think she is talking to here?! I was determined to prove her, this stranger I did not know, wrong about me. I would get through this pain and have my unmedicated birth!
My resolve to get through the labor process only lasted into the early morning of the next day. I was unable to keep food down. I was starving and ate normally but the contractions were so intense, my body decided it did not want food in me and I would end up hurling up whatever it was I ate. So not only was I having contractions, I was also hungry! My poor hubby was also exhausted, trying to comfort me and keep me comfortable and time my contractions so that we could go to the hospital. But at around 2:30am, he fibbed and told the labor and delivery advice nurse that my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart so that we could come in. Frankly, I think he was just tired and wanted someone else to deal with me!
We live about 5 minutes from the hospital and it was a cold and rainy February. I remember worrying that I would slip and fall on the sidewalk. I was also silently crying on the way to the hospital because I felt like a failure, that I couldn’t handle the labor pain and was seriously considering the epidural. Did I mention that I was also sleep deprived and very hungry???
When we arrived at the hospital, my contractions were not as close together as they would have liked but fortunately, they admitted me anyways. I think if they hadn’t, my husband would have begged them to anyways!! The nurses were having trouble with the band thingy staying on my stomach but I do remember some kind lady coming in and offering me some fentanyol. I admit, I just wanted to get some sleep! The Pitocin allowed me to get some much needed sleep so I was finally able to rest.
The next day, my labor was not progressing as much as they would have liked and I had also used up all my fentanyol. I could either get an epidural or go without. I started crying and again, I was lucky I had such kind nurses around me and they asked what my concerns were. I explained that I had borderline scoliosis and I was concerned that A. the anesthesiologist would miss and I would end up paralyzed and B. something worse than A would happen to me AND the baby. I ended up getting the epidural, needing to get my water broken and thankfully, only took twenty minutes to push out my baby.
I obviously “survived” the first time around, even though I did not get the unmedicated birth that I wanted. This time around, I’m still hoping for an unmedicated birth and that the labor and delivery gods will be with me and perhaps baby will make these contractions not so unbearable. Atleast, that is what I tell myself!