Well by the time I was 40 weeks I was actually begging him to induce me the next day because I was so uncomfortable. But I had to wait until I was a full 41 weeks, which was officially December 13th. However Friday's are my OB's normal surgery day and he had four big surgeries planned for the day already so he wanted me to wait until the following Monday. To him it's just his next work day; to me it meant three more days of agonizing constant discomfort and another weekend where I would have had to sit and do nothing but think of how badly I wanted to have this baby. It was still up to us and we decided to go ahead for Friday. We took a risk by being induced on his surgery day because if I was ready to deliver while he was in the middle of surgery I might have to wait and fight the urge to push to give him time to get done with surgery. But since I was only dilated to a two I felt that it wouldn't be an issue because it would take me a while to dilate to a ten (I was contemplating like ten or so hours) and then the couple of hours it normally takes to push.
We arrived at the hospital at 7:20 ish Friday morning and were very eager to check in and get going. The OB came in and broke my water once we were settled, which did nothing surprise surprise, so they automatically started me on pitocin around 8:30. Jared had already settled in for a nice nap after his graveyard shift the night before which I was fine with because I thought I could entertain myself and ride the contractions alone no problem.
They started me off easy at 4mL/hr but because my contractions weren't painful just consistent they raised it to 8mL/hr around 9:45, which is when they started to actually hurt. I was able to bear through them and kept moving, using the birthing ball, and trying to just count as I breathed through the contractions. My pitocin continually got moved up, first to 10mL/hr and then to 12mL/hr to keep the contractions consistent and keep them getting stronger. Well the problem was that as they got stronger they did as contractions do and got closer together as well. So my ability to compose myself after each contraction was severely decreased and I started having problems breathing during the contractions and they got so painful I didn't want to move. I started hyperventilating and honestly felt like I was going to pass out just sitting in bed.
Again for those that don't know my goal was to go unmedicated during this labor. I didn't want to be cathetered and I was genuinely concerned about having lasting back pain from an epidural. I had heard horror stories from other ladies at work who had sciatic pain from their epidurals and even people saying that they got the epidural and then it stopped working just before birth. I just wanted to avoid the whole scary aspects I had associated with getting an epidural.
Around this point probably 1:30 p.m. the nurse came in to check on my progress (five hours into actual labor already) and I had dilated...to a three. I could have cried. She said she would come back in a half hour to check me again (she said I had also fully effaced at this point so I was hoping that this meant I would start dilating faster).
That half hour felt like an eternity. By the end of it the contractions had gotten so bad I was writhing in pain, and in the midst of one I looked over at my seemingly unbothered sleeping husband and lost it. I can't remember exactly what I yelled at him but I started to cry and he could tell I was seriously in pain and he was up in a flash. As soon as that half hour had passed I was on the call light asking for my nurse to come back. She came and checked me and I hadn't changed a bit. Another contraction hit and I just couldn't even get myself to breath through it, it was like I was flailing all my limbs hoping for relief and gasping for air.
My ability to see the end goal of having a baby was blemished by the fact I was living by the minute, waiting for each contraction to hit two minutes later. My stamina was killed by the fact that I had been in active labor for five hours-really painful labor for about three and had only dilated one whole centimeter. I still had seven more cm's to go and after calculating my track record so far of one every three hours that meant 21 more hours of labor. I'm sure it wouldn't have taken that long in reality but it's the only timing I had to go on. By the end of that contraction I started to weep because I had come to the conclusion I couldn't do it, and Jared kissed me on the forehead while holding my hand and said he thought I should get the epidural. I started to consider it and then the next contraction hit and I could barely gasp for breath. As soon as it was over I said in tears to my nurse who was standing by the bed watching this whole ordeal to 'please get the anesthesiologist', and that I wanted the epidural.
She called him and thank his blessed soul he was there within one or two more contractions, set up and administered after just one, and the wonderful thing kicked in within another two. When I felt relief I could just feel my whole body relax, my pacing heart calmed down, and my anxiety just lifted. I felt like a failure and started to cry because I'd given in, but my body was enjoying the needed rest. The epidural was placed around 2:30, and it honestly in my mind is now one of the greatest inventions ever because of what occurred next.
Well my biggest fear after having the epidural placed is that my labor would then slow down. I had heard that from multiple sources saying that epidurals relax your body so that your contractions slow down and baby can be put into distress making the need for a C-section much higher. Maybe that's true with women who are in natural active labor I don't know, but I had the pitocin still running and so my contractions-which I couldn't feel at all-continued strong and consistent and baby was handling it all like a champ partially I think because my body had stopped fighting the labor.
My nurse came back to check on me around 4p.m. and I was definitely expecting it not be more dilated because it was only an hour after I had finally dilated to a three. She checked me and surprisingly said I was already to a 4+. I couldn't believe it. I dilate one cm in an excruciating five hour period, and another in a one hour period AFTER I'd gotten the epidural? No way. I was happy but skeptical the progress would continue at that pace, it was just a fluke. By this time Jared was starving-he hadn't eaten all day because he'd been sleeping-so he went to get food and I hung out in bed, not that I had much choice. I couldn't feel from my waist down after all.
He came back and we started watching Man vs. Wild one of Jared's favorite shows, and got through maybe one episode by 5 p.m. when my nurse came back to check my progress. And by the hugest surprise of all I was already to a 9+! How was that possible?! My nurses's very surprised reply was that my body was probably just so tired from trying to labor for that five hours it had been more counter productive than anything and that once my body was really able to relax from the epidural he could actually descend into the birth canal which caused my quick dilation. She went and called the nursery, respiratory, and someone to prep the delivery room all of whom came and got set up because, 'baby would be here in less than two hours' depending on my ability to push.
By 5:45 they had me all ready to push and I did only maybe ten good pushes before she told me to stop that I was to effective of a pusher. She said he had already descended into the birthing canal, his head was visible and he was too close to coming before Dr. Larsen could get to the hospital if I kept pushing. She called him and then probably four contractions later Dr. Larsen was there and only three more pushes and I felt a huge release of pressure and my sweet boy was born! They cleaned him up a bit and put him right on my chest just beautiful fresh and new to the world. Jared was in tears and so was I!
Hilton wasn't crying at all really, he only whimpered but was just so awake and alert it was wonderful. We just sat there and held him, in awe of this little person that was now ours. It wasn't until we got to the maternity room that it really started to sink in. As we've gotten to know this precious little soul it is very clear that he is so well tempered and he looks exactly like his daddy who is thoroughly smitten and in love with him. It's so sweet to watch them together and to see Jared's face light up when he sees him or when he picks him up.
Jared can often get him to sleep no problem when I cannot, he's a baby whisperer
It's been quite the unforgettable experience the last day or so but I wouldn't change it for the world even though I'm completely exhausted, stink, and now have a belly that's like jello rather than the abdominal muscles I know are in there somewhere. I can't wait to be able to nurture this precious little soul and make sure he stays healthy and strong. It's amazing to me how much love you can feel after only knowing him for such a short amount of time. I am completely enamored with him and would just die if anything were to happen to him. I love my precious little family and I can't wait to see how he changes as he grows. I'm so grateful for the experience of getting him here, now that he's arrived I would do it all again in a heartbeat-every bit of discomfort, every contraction, every stretch mark for this little man that I get to call mine.
Hilton David Smith
born December 13th, 2013 at 6:08 p.m.
7 lbs. 15 oz. and 21.5 inches long