Friday, January 4, 2013

Lola's Birth Story: Part 3

In case you missed it, here are our posts from our two weeks of early labor and part one and two of Lola's birth story. Stay tuned for part 4, the conclusion of our birth story, coming next.

Then it hit me: pride. I wasn’t enjoying this experience anymore. I had enough sense about me to know that I didn’t want to look back on this time as traumatizing. I wanted fond memories of our first birth experience—not just for me, but for all three of us—and was concerned that if I kept going I might be too out of my wits to even comprehend what was happening. I didn’t want to be so exhausted after the baby arrived that I couldn’t take her in.

Continuing on without accepting help was about pride for me. I wanted to do it for myself. I needed to prove to the world that I could do this. I wanted to be strong enough. God spoke to me and told me these were lies and I was not failing by accepting help. All those verses we picked about about the Lord being my strength had an entirely new meaning.

I felt peace. I even looked at the clock to do the rough math that I had already labored for 30 hours, 16 of those being very intense labor. Look how far I made it. I am strong. So, in as serious and calm of a tone as I could pull together, I told them both, “I’m done. You need to listen to me. I need your support and to know that I am not giving up. I can’t be prideful. I need help. Please support me.” I could sense them finally believing me.

However, Matilda wasn’t about to give in just yet. There had been a battle going on between us about me laboring in the tub since I began to express how exhausted I was. The idea sounded fine to me, but there was already someone laboring in there. The nurses told us they thought she would be out soon, but then it would take another hour to clean and refill it. Literally every contraction was about whether I could keep going long enough to make it to the tub. During rests I would say yes. During contractions I would scream no. I really trusted in the soothing power of the tub, but waiting an hour seemed insane. Matilda suggested I try the shower while I wait, but the thought of getting sopping wet from head to toe sounded like the most terrible idea in the world.

With each contraction getting more intense, I grew less fond of the idea of waiting. What if I got in the tub and it didn’t do anything, or better yet, made things worse? Being wet and cold and in excruciating pain sounded harrowing. And what about when I would have to get out?! I knew if it did help, everything would just come rushing back the moment I got out. Afterall, I would have to make it back to my room in order to deliver the baby. Damn you hospital rules. The concept of the tub was feeling more bleak by the nanosecond.

In a moment of sheer genius, Matilda suggested I get checked. Ah hah! Why didn’t I think of this! Maybe I was in transition and we were on the home stretch. This made sense! I had so often read birth stories about women wanting to give up once they’ve reached transition. This must be what was going on. We called Fra Na in to give me a cervical exam.

She arrived quickly. 5.5 cm and 90% effaced, head station -1. Six hours at this intensity for one centimeter and such little progression. Oh heck no. The towel was thrown and I was ready for help. I begged for verbal support from Matilda and Arthur. I wanted to know that they believed this was the right decision. I was desperate for them to tell me I wasn’t giving up.

Quickly the room turned into a brightly lit and bustling hub of people milling around. The anesthesiologist arrived—a kind, but not friendly young woman—dressed in full scrubs, ready to get to business. Naked and with my legs dangling over the side of the bed, I pressed through each contraction. I was nervous enough for the epidural that the contractions seemed to be dwarfed in comparison. It was at this point that someone reminded me of everything I had already conquered. The epidural needles would be nothing in comparison. Exactly what I needed to hear.

Within ten minutes I had relief, quick as that. She explained to me that she had given me an epidural/spinal combo for immediate reprieve since I was so uncomfortable and that the spinal would wear off in a couple hours. It was around 6pm.

My lower half was heavy, but I was thankful I could still move my legs and feet. They got me situated in bed and reminded me I couldn’t get up from here on out. Oh...I hadn’t thought about that. I looked at my box of cheesy crackers across the room and was quickly met with a, “sorry, no”. Hadn’t thought about that either. Shoot. So I rested. We all rested. I felt a bit guilty for keeping Matilda around, but figured she would still be helpful when it came time to push...

Sometime after 8 p.m., the skin itchiness from my spinal wore off and was replaced with uncontrollable shaking. I was told this was normal and common, but no one ever mentioned this in our birth classes and it was so intense, scary even. I also began to feel my contractions at a very dull intensity. I mentioned the sensation and Matilda suggested I push my epidural button to release another dose. It didn’t seem to do much, but the intensity was easily bearable so I didn’t think much of it.

I had to stay rolled on one side or the other since the baby’s heart rate was finicky and she didn’t respond well with me on my back. But after awhile of being on one side or the other, my epidural would “sink to the bottom” of the side I was on and whatever half was facing up wouldn’t be affected. Back and forth I went trying to keep the baby happy and my body comfortable. I was surprised how not relaxed I was and how much sensation I was actually feeling. Not to mention it was getting more intense with each passing contraction. At one point, her heart rate wasn’t staying stable and my blood pressure was dropping, which provoked a dose of blood pressure medication for me. I had no idea what they were giving me and it all felt very rushed, but I had to trust the decisions that were being made.

It was probably sometime after 9 p.m. that Fra Na came in for a cervical check. The last we left off was the check before my epidural at 5.5 cm. She explained that if I wasn’t progressing we would need to take steps to get labor moving, namely the balloon catheter, since there was meconium in the fluid and also because Baby’s heart rate wasn’t staying stable. It was all sounding very serious and not ideal, but I told myself not to panic until her check actually showed I wasn’t progressing. I told her I understood and she proceeded.

8 cm and 100% effaced—perfect! My body was doing something. She was satisfied and told me she’d be back later. Before she left, I mentioned I could feel my contractions and she reminded me to just use my epidural button to release more medication. I figured I probably had two hours to go since my body was dilating about one centimeter per hour, but who really knew.

I continued to labor on my left side, the only one baby would tolerate, but was getting to the point where I was having to breathe through each contraction. Matilda even jumped in to help with massage. I couldn’t believe how much effort I was putting in post epidural and was feeling thankful for her presence all over again. I breathed, listened to Matilda and Arthur chat, and repeatedly pressed my epidural boost button as often as it would allow. Things were getting intense, particularly in the area around my hips. Deep, deep breaths and moans.

It was 10:30 p.m. when Fra Na arrived back in my room to check my progress. I was feeling exhausted and drowsy, but unable to sleep through the near constant pain. 10 cm and 100% effaced, head station +2! “Wow!” she said, “you did a lot of work already. Time to push.” I had no urge to push. No sensation like I needed to go to the bathroom. I felt almost exactly the same as I had for the prior 36 hours. I’m supposed to just start pushing?

I was also surprised to hear that I had been laboring down (letting the baby descend without pushing) and figured that was where the intensity in my hips was probably coming from. I thought to myself about how I had just labored her +3 head stations unknowingly. There are only three more to go. I’ve got this!

Then it hit me. I was about to meet my baby. I freaked out. Something inside me wasn’t ready. How was it that I could feel so close to this mysterious creature inside me, but I was terrified to actually see her? I told Matilda how scared I was. She asked what I was scared about. “I am scared to meet her,” I said. She reassured me this would be good. I didn’t need to be scared. I was about to meet my baby. My shaking got intense. Breathe, I reminded myself. Breathe.

“I am scared to push,” I cried. “You are a very strong woman. You are about to meet your baby. You can do this,” Matilda replied. “I am scared to meet my baby,” I reminded her. “That’s okay. But it’s going to be good. You can do this,” she affirmed. I was scared. Deep breaths.

Our nurse, Jen, was milling about getting things ready. It was 11:15 p.m.. “Let’s try some practice pushes,” Jen said. This was it. And what the heck is a practice push, anyways?! I genuinely wondered if the baby would come flying out during one of these “practice pushes.” Where the heck was Fra Na? She better get ready to catch this baby.

Deep breath, push with all your energy, take a quick breath, push again, breathe and again. Three pushes in a row then you can rest. Ok, start whenever you’re ready, I was told. Nothing happened. I pushed again. Nothing. Ah, so this is what pushing is all about.

Stay tuned for part 4, the conclusion of Lola's birth story, coming next.

Need to catch up?

Pregnancy Posts:

Weekly Updates:


  1. Love reading your birth story! I'm currently almost 19 weeks along and getting to the point where I think about labor and delivery a lot. I can't wait to hear more about your experience. Keep up with the posts! :)

    1. I am just realizing I missed a bunch of comments. I'm sorry I never replied! I'm glad we've become internet buddies now. I love watching your sweet little guy get bigger. I hope you're enjoying mommyhood! xo


Leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you!