As a pregnant lady you are perpetually bombarded with women sharing their awful labor stories. Whether you want to hear their stories or not doesn’t seem to sway them. By the time you go into labor yourself, you have a seemingly never-ending supply of terrifying thoughts and worries running through your mind. Not so helpful and encouraging…..
So if you don’t want to add any more scary thoughts to your pregnancy mind… read no further. That way I can never be accused of telling you something you didn’t want to hear haha. But I also want to clarify something before I go further. I was in a car accident over two years ago that left me with back and neck injuries including a damaged disc in my lower back so I knew that additional back pain during my pregnancy/labor was very likely. My story isn’t a typical labor story so if you’re pregnant with your first… don’t think this is the norm. Anyways, regardless of my back issues I stayed positive. After all…. from 27 weeks on my I was carrying my baby perfectly positioned on my left side with his head down.
On Friday September 21st I woke up and realized my baby had flipped sides?! In the afternoon I went to my midwife appointment where she too was surprised that after so long in the same position my baby had ironically changed sides, but told me not to worry.
Around 830 that night I started getting painful cramps while at my in-laws. (They joke that obviously their homemade pizza induces labor) The pain was very sporadic and completely tolerable, but just not something I had experienced before. But by 11 pm that night they were uncomfortable and happening every 30 minutes. But I held off, knowing that contractions need to be at least 5 minutes apart before things get serious. But by 1 am I was still wide awake in pain so I called my midwife who unfortunately told me what I already knew… that I needed to wait until they were at least 5 minutes apart. So I woke my hubby to tell him I was taking a bath and then I waited….and waited and waited. By 8 am Saturday morning I hadn’t slept a wink and the pain was increasingly getting worse. By this time I knew I was in labor… I had no idea what kind of labor, but I was in labor. My contractions would be 30 minutes apart, then 10, then 4 and then 15. There was no rhyme or reason to them but each one was getting worse.
By 11 am my midwife and the midwife student came to my house and assessed me. Only 2 cm!!!! They gave me a TENS machine (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is the use of electric current to stimulate the nerves to reduce pain) and told me to call when my contractions got closer. So I kept waiting….and waiting. By the afternoon I was having SEVERE back pain. My husband called my midwife for different techniques to try. I tried rolling on my exercise ball, walking, squatting, sitting, standing, lying down, having a bath, cold compresses, hot compresses and massage. Nothing helped. Every contraction was getting stronger and lasting longer.
Most women say the first stage of labor is tolerable….. but mine was unbearable, and I have a very high pain tolerance! So I knew something wasn’t right. By the afternoon I felt like I was crawling out of my skin with every contraction as my hubby stood by my side waiting to help when a contraction came. Friends asked what my back labor felt like. It felt like someone was stabbing meat hooks into my lower back and ripping my hips off of my body. Pleasant huh?! All my hubby could do was squeeze my hips together as hard as he could while I flopped over the counter waiting for it to pass. Many more hours of this…
Finally at 8:30 Saturday night I couldn’t take it anymore so we met my midwife at the hospital (even though my contractions were nowhere near regulated). I sat in the hospital room in agonizing pain. My contractions were over 2 and a half minutes long!! My midwife, the midwife student and my hubby kept holding, squeezing and rubbing my back to help me cope with each contraction. Four more hours of this! Finally by midnight on Saturday night I was given the options of pain meds since I was having such excruciating back labor. I was very torn (no pun intended) as to whether or not I wanted meds…. after all, wasn’t this stage the easier part?! I hummed and hawed and then as my midwife was in the middle of checking my dilation I went through one more horrendous contraction that left me breathless and sobbing into my hubby’s shoulder…. and I was only 6 cm! Call the anesthesiologist!! I was submitted to the birthing room to get prepped for the drugs. After three attempts my blood was taken, then after the third attempt my IV finally went in properly…. my patience was growing thin to say the least. Waiting for anesthesiologist to arrive was the longest hour of my life. When he finally entered the room, I’m surprised I didn’t propose to him. But yet again…. apparently I have skin equivalent to Gumbie so it took another three attempts to get the Epidural needle in the right spot. Three`s a charm!
My first contraction with the Epidural…. what contraction? I could barely feel the pain! I could totally do this! They told me to try to get some rest and relax in hopes that my contractions would start regulating. To encourage the baby to re-position they suggested I lie on my left side. So I did…. and I watched my babies heart rate drop from 120 beats per minute to 20 beats per minute in about 30 seconds. My heart sank as I experienced the worst moment of my life. Frantically I quickly switched back to my right side and thankfully his heart beat regulated. Thank the Lord.
How on earth was I supposed to rest and relax after that?! So I lied there wide-eyed and bushy-tailed…. waiting and waiting. Three hours later and nothing was happening. At 3:30 am they checked my dilation and I was 9 cm!! Great news right?! Wrong. My contractions were still nowhere near regular. Some were 15 minutes apart, some 1 minute apart and then the next would be 7 minutes later. The only thing that increased was the duration of each one. So they gave me my next option. Drugs or break my water. So I chose to have my water broken in hopes that my contractions would increase. They seemed to be getting closer together for the first 20 minutes and then nothing….. so I waited and waited. At this point I’d been in some kind of labor for over 31 hours and I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. All I wanted was to push, but as time ticked and ticked it looked less and less like things were progressing as they should.
At 4am the OB/GYN was called and I was assessed again. Even worse news….. I was only 4 cm now and the babies head was still posterior and regressing back. The OB/GYN explained my small window of options at this point that I could either get induced with drugs or have a cesarean. Inducing me at this point had a small probability of regulating my contractions, but a high probability to cause fetal distress and end in an emergency cesarean anyways. I was exhausted, emotional, and anxious and all I wanted now was to have my baby safe in my arms. So after much heart-felt discussion with the midwife, OB/GYN and my husband, we decided a cesarean was the safest option.
At 4:30 am we scrubbed up and I entered the operating room. Unfortunately my hubby had to wait in the hall until I was prepped for the surgery. That took longer than anticipated because after the first round of freezing I could still feel everything. They doubled my dose…. and I could still feel everything! So the third try was localized anesthesia since they couldn’t give me anymore regional anesthesia. Finally my hubby was by my side!
The surgery was…. interesting (we’ll save that for another day) but before I knew it I heard the best sound of my life…. the little cry of our new baby boy. He was safely delivered into this world at 5:31 am on September 22nd at 8 lb 4 ounces. They placed our baby boy on my chest and tears streamed down my face as I introduced myself to him. His cry instantly stopped as he looked me in the eyes and at that moment my life was changed. All the pain was instantly justified as I held my new son.
I was officially a mom.
Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear. ~ Jane Weideman