It’s Impossible to Tell: My Third Baby Story

This week we’re sharing our (baby) stories here on Modern Mrs Darcy. This week is devoted to childbirth, but like so much I talk about here, it’s not just about childbirth: it’s about our hopes and our dreams, our beliefs and our fears. It’s about focusing on what’s truly important. I’ll be sharing a little bit of my own story each day this week. You can read all posts in this series here.
After we miscarried, we decided to wait a while before the next one.

And then we found out we were pregnant.

I loved being induced with my second so much–and hated the third trimester so much–that I wanted to be induced with this one, too. My doctor agreed to schedule an induction for 39 weeks.

I was keenly aware that my last baby arrived 20 minutes after my water broke, and I was paranoid my water would break in the car, or at the grocery store, and I’d end up giving birth in the produce department. But everything was still intact when I arrived at the hospital on a bright summer morning for Baby #3’s scheduled induction.

I was hoping and praying this birth would unfold just like my miracle second delivery: 20 minutes and done. But just in case, I met with the anesthesiologist that morning. I talked with him about my parents’ old friend, I asked him about my friend’s spinal headaches, and I signed all the release forms. I told him I was a chicken about the big needle in my spine; he was reassuring.

The nurses started my pitocin drip, and I waited for my contractions to get going. My doctor told me he wouldn’t break my water until my contractions were underway and I’d dilated at least a couple of centimeters.

After several hours, my contractions finally started to get interesting. I progressed to 3 cm. My doctor broke my water. And nothing happened.


I continued to progress, each contraction more intense than the last. After an hour, I abandoned all hope of a miracle birth like I’d had before and asked to get the ball rolling on an epidural–because at this rate, I could labor for hours. The anesthesiologist arrived and my husband had to leave, per hospital protocol. I refused to look at the giant needle that was about to enter my spine, but I felt the puncture and a foreign cold sensation overtaking the pain.

It was awesome.

I had been weeping with pain, but now? Let’s see what’s on tv! Or maybe, let’s just take a nap. The nurses cranked up my pitocin, and I stared at the monitor, watching my contraction peek and ebb. I felt nothing. I placed my hands on my belly, and sure enough, my uterus was contracting into a ball, in perfect harmony with the graph on the screen. I didn’t feel a thing.

My husband still hadn’t been invited back in, but I decided to go with the nap. The nurse checked my progress before I got too comfortable.

I was fully dilated.

My nurse hustled to the doorway and shouted into the hall, “We need her doctor, now. She’s ready.”

They told me not to exhale or the baby might pop out before my doctor arrived. I laughed (I was laughing!) and told the nurse I didn’t care if he was there or not, but she assured me she did.

My doctor made it and so did my husband. Pushing was hard, because I had a brand-new, full-strength epidural, and I couldn’t feel a thing. But it was only a few minutes before my doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” and popped my baby onto my chest.

****       ****       *****       *****       ****

Later, I had one big question for my medical staff: Was I almost ready to deliver when I got the epidural? Did I get it for nothing? Because if I’d known it would all be over in 15 minutes, I wouldn’t have chosen that path.

They said it was impossible to tell. Perhaps it would have unfolded like that no matter what I chose. But likely, the epidural let my body relax, so it could do what it needed to do.

I liked that explanation better.

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  1. Annie says:

    The epidural allowed me to relax and rest before pushing as well (though everything happened rather quickly after the epidural, within 1.5 hours). I waited until I was 5 cm dilated before getting the epidural. So I had a wonderful birth experience.

    When the hospital staff asked whether I needed more epidural during pushing, I refused, so pushing was a little easier for me. I pushed when the nurse told me to and I felt the push.I think the epidural wore off faster because I refused a second dose.

    My baby was alert immediately after the birth, but then slept for a while. I have no idea if it is from the epidural or the fact that she is considered premature. But she is a healthy and a big 13 month old now. So I have no regret about the epidural and will probably choose this route again.

    However, the hospital stay was horrible. Not so much the staff, but they are constantly checking on either the baby or me around the clock. I felt like I did not sleep the entire two days I stayed in the hospital.

    • Anne says:

      Annie, I’m glad your birth went so well!

      I know what you mean about the hospital stay. I never understood the appeal of having a baby at home until I had gave birth in the hospital and was woken up around the clock to have my blood pressure taken, my uterus pushed on, to get some meds…not to mention feeding the baby!

  2. How odd, my husband held my hands while I got my epidural.

    I also loved mine. I went from crying to laughing in moments too. (And my husband says that it was the best thing ever ;)). I got mine at about 5 cm, and then within half an hour was at 10 cm and started pushing. I did have to push for a while, around 45 min, but I liked that I could feel her moving down, but it didn’t hurt at all!

    Although I had another friend who got an epidural, and it was stronger (or maybe she reacted differently) so she couldn’t even feel the pushing at all. She thought it made things longer because she couldn’t feel what she was doing. I, however, was a big fan!

    • Anne says:

      Jessica, it’s so funny to hear how different hospital’s policies can be. (And I’m never sure what is law and what is preference without anything to compare it to.)

      I’m glad everything went so well for you and your baby.

  3. Tracy says:

    I got an epidural with all 3 of mine, although the first one messed up and I couldnt feel my legs for like 12 hours, but the 2nd &3rd were awesome. It made the birthing experience pleasant and I actually got to enjoy my time with my family without all the pain. My husband got to stay in the room when I got mine also, which made it nice to have his hands to hold and his eyes to look into.

    • Anne says:

      Your husband got to stay, too? Well that would have saved my husband the major heart attack he had when the nurse came barreling into the hall calling for my doctor!

  4. Wow. That sounds fantastic! Anne, I’m so glad you had so many different experiences with all your pregnancies and childbirth. This has been exactly what I needed to hear: There’s NO one right way to do it. Every experience is different, and every pregnancy has its own needs. Having expectations isn’t a bad thing, but I need to be flexible and (literally) go with the flow! Thank you so very much for these posts. You–and all the commenters–have been so encouraging! <3

  5. The same thing happened with my first! I got the epidural and moments later I was pushing. I hated the sensation of trying to push without feeling anything and since I had done all my laboring without the epidural I opted for no epidural for my next two. The recovery was much easier for me without an epidural.

  6. Katie says:

    My third birth was my worst, but it has made a for a good story. I was induced three days before Christmas, but went all day with no progress. Just as I had to give the go ahead to start the pitocin my husband announced that there was a 50% chance he was going to throw up in the next five minutes. It turned out to be 100%. And it didn’t take five minutes. He missed the birth of his third daughter because he was passed out in the emergency room. Thankfully I had a doula and my fantastic mother-in-law was there! The aftermath of that birth was not a pretty one, and ended up being an extraordinarily painful recovery. It made the next birth very sweet, though. I appreciated my husband being there so much!

  7. I had a planned induction with my third, and it was by far my best experience of the three. I was already 5 cm at my last OB appt a few days before, so I got the epidural before they even started the process. Having been through one very heavily medicated birth and one very fast natural birth, this was the perfect middle ground. I felt pressure, but no pain. It was as if someone handed me a glass of wine (or two!) and told me to sit back with my feet up for a few hours. I could still feel to push when the time came, and Agent A came out after just 3-4 pushes. I wasn’t too medicated to be groggy, so I could hold him right away (cord still attached) and enjoy the moment.
    Like others, I’m surprised they made your husband leave the room for the epidural? They had mine sit on a chair next to me so I could kind of lean over the bed and “hug” him while they put the needle in place.

  8. Anne says:

    That sounds great! I’ve never started dilating until the big day, and I’m a little jealous! Except I probably WOULD have had my baby in the produce department if I’d dilated halfway outside of the hospital!

    I’m so surprised by these comments about my husband having to leave the room! I’m wondering if it was state law where we were, or maybe just that hospital’s policy?

    • I don’t know . . . maybe you’re right about the individual state law. I gave birth all three times at naval hospitals (twice in Virginia and once in Italy), where they are pretty sticky about protocol, and he stayed for the two epidurals. (No time with one of them.)
      And yes . . . I was pretty much convinced A (and J, when I was also dialated like 4-5 for a week or two and felt nothing) would basically fall right out.

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