Saturday 29 December 2007 – he was born at 2:40 pm weighing in at 9 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. This picture was taken about an hour after he was born. He was born without an epidural or any pain medication. For me, it really wasn’t that bad – the contractions I had been having since late Wednesday night (26 Dec) were much worse than the actual pushing.
I hadn’t slept in three nights at this point because those contractions were so uncomfortable they kept me up all night. I went into the hospital early Thursday morning because it felt like my contractions were close enough – but by the time we got to the hospital they had slowed down to about every 7 minutes apart. I was only dilated to 2 cm and effaced at 80%, so I was sent home.
Friday morning we went to the hospital at about 7 am because I had been up a 2nd night with contractions and couldn’t sleep that well. Again, I was only at 2 cm, but this time I was 90% effaced. It still wasn’t considered ‘active’ labor because I didn’t progress during the hour that they watched me and my contractions weren’t 2-3 minutes apart.
Saturday morning I was about ready to lose it! I hadn’t slept through the night since Christmas night. I had really long surges – some of them I timed last 15 minutes or longer. I made Marc get up at 4 am to squeeze my hips every time I had a surge that felt unbearable because it relieved some of the pain. He also timed my contractions for me so that we could see if they were close enough to go to he hospital. They were only 5-6 minutes (mixed in with the really long contractions) for the couple of hours that he timed them. Then with one of the contractions I felt extreme pressure in my pelvic area – after that I couldn’t sit down without almost immediately feeling pain. The only thing I could do was to stand and walk around. That got really old after a while – like I said, I already felt like I was going to lose it. But we were really wary of showing up at the hospital for a third morning in a row and getting sent home. Finally, around 8:30 I told Marc we just needed to go and hope that I had progressed enough that they would admit me, even though my contractions weren’t 2-3 minutes apart like they wanted them to be (the nurses had told me that the last two mornings in a row and said that first time moms really needed contractions to be 2-3 minutes apart in order to contract the uterus). We got to the hospital and I was admitted and because I was fully effaced and dilated to 5 cm – enough that they were going to keep me – hooray! Since I had tested positive for Group B Strep, they got me hooked up to the IV to start the antibiotics by 9:30 am.
Around 10:30 I started to have one of my really long contractions – enough that they lost Mason’s heart rate and they were worried that he was in distress. So a 2nd nurse came in and they put an oxygen mask on me and were talking to each other about breaking my water. I almost couldn’t believe that they were just going to break my water without talking directly to me about it – so I started asking them what they were going to do to me and why. At least they had the respect at that point to explain what they were doing to me. They were going to break my water so they could put a sensor in his head to gauge his heart rate. The nurse didn’t break my water completely and only got the sensor on the membrane, so the doctor came in and finished breaking it completely and got the sensor on Mason’s head.
It wasn’t that much longer before I dialated to a 7 and THEN my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. I had planned on delivering Mason without any pain medication (‘natural’), but by the time I was dialated to an 8 I felt like pushing with every contraction – so I struggled to NOT push with each contraction because in my reading I had learned that if a woman pushes before her cervix is fully dialated, it will swell the cervix and actually prolong the birthing. So I asked the nurse if it was too late to get an epidural – I figured that if I couldn’t feel it, I wouldn’t push too soon and prolong it. She said that it wasn’t, so she got the anesthesiologist. I had signed the form when the doctor came in. (A nurse had previously come in for our birth preferences and took it out to put with my chart so the doctor had read it and knew I wanted to deliver without pain medication.) Marc told her that I felt like pushing with each contraction and was trying not to push because I didn’t want to swell my cervix and prolong the birthing. She checked me and I was still at an 8, but because his head was so far down in my pelvic area (remember how I couldn’t sit or lie down at home because it was so painful? that was my son’s head) she told me that if I wanted to start pushing I could because his head was so far down that I wouldn’t being pushing for that long. I don’t remember what time this was – but I do know that we decided to start doing the coached pushing as opposed to the gentle breathing down that I had practiced in my HypnoBirthing because I just wanted the baby out at this point and had read other non-medicated birth stories where the women said it actually felt better to push.
We started the coached pushing with the nurse at 1 pm and he was out by 2:40 pm. I opted not to have an episiotomy and ended up only having a 2nd degree tear.
When the baby’s head was starting to descend more (I got to watch it in the mirror) I asked the doctor to guess how big he would be. She guessed some where around 7 lbs or so – so when he finally came out we were all surprised I had such a big baby in there!
I really did feel great after birthing Mason. I truly did have the rush of natural endorphins that would have otherwise been non-existent had I received pain medication. So it was a huge adrenaline rush. I talked to my father-in-law on the phone within the hour after Mason was born and he commented that I sounded great and not groggy at all.
What a difference a year has made! A year ago tonight I started cramping and knew that I was miscarrying our first pregnancy. But now a year later Marc has graduated from BYU, started a job that he enjoys (what isn’t there to like at a job that pays you to play racquetball for 2 hours a week, right?) and we have welcomed our first child into our family. We truly feel so blessed to start out 2008 with our little son Mason James here in our family. Heavenly Father’s timing is so much better for us than if we were allowed to have blessings when we wanted them.
Yvonne and Marc