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.
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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.