It's taken me a while to write this, A) Because we are all still adjusting to our new life and B) It took me a while to come to terms with my labor and delivery experience.
Let me start off by saying, I am completely enamored by my son. He brings out a different woman in me, a stronger, more capable woman. I love him with all my heart and I burst with pride when people tell me he looks just like me. "Oh he has your lips!" "I think he has your nose." "His eyes are very almond-shaped,"- yeah he gets those eyes from me, his momma. :D
With all of that being said, my labor and delivery was pure torture. Or at least it felt like it. It definitely was not something that I enjoyed, or something that I can even THINK about doing again. Maybe it's because I had such an enjoyable pregnancy?? I'm not here to frighten anyone, but here is my birth experience.
Painful contractions kicked in around 7 o'clock Halloween night. I tried to hand out candy for about 20 minutes before having to hand the reigns over to Kor. I planted myself on the couch while trying to get through each contraction. By 9 o'clock I was convinced that we'd be going to the hospital that night, but my contractions weren't consistently close enough to one another. So we headed up to bed, where the agony continued and Kory continued to keep track of each contraction. By some miracle I was finally able to fall sleep at 3:30 in the morning.
Early Friday morning I woke up with contractions so intense that I knew I had to call my mom and tell her I wouldn't be able to come into work. If you know me at all, you know that I had to know that I was having that baby and that I was in so much pain, in order to call in!
Around 9 am I turned to our jacuzzi tub to try and relieve some of the pressure I was feeling in my back. It soothed me for a bit, but it wasn't enough. By the time I got out of the tub, Kory had called his mom, who's a nurse, to get her advice. She said we should call the doctor because it sounded like we were having the baby soon! I called the nurse and sure enough she had me come in to be assessed. When I arrived I was dilated to a 3 and 75% effaced, not quite enough for them to admit me(even though I was in terrible pain!), so they monitored me for 30 more minutes to see if I would dilate farther.
Sure enough, I had dilated to a 4 and I was 80% effaced. It was time to get the show on the road.
Two notes I made at this point, 1) Each contraction made me feel like I was going to shit my pants. That's what you call back labor. Back labor=the devil!! 2) All day long I wasn't able to tell if I was peeing myself or leaking amniotic fluid. Awesome, I know.
Finally at 1:30 they admitted me and the doctor immediately came in and broke my water, sans drugs. I screamed bloody murder and thought I was dying. I had never felt pain like that before. I gripped Kory's hand so tight while he stared at me helplessly. Little did I know, that would be the least of my pain. This really kicked in the contractions and I began to wonder how I was going to make it through. I started to feel panicked and overwhelmed, but it was hard to focus on anything but the pain.
Everything had happened so fast that we were never able to present our birth plan to the staff. Which stated that we weren't to get drugs and we weren't even to be asked. Since my OB wasn't delivering us, the on call doctor had no idea of my plan. Naturally, seeing me exhausted already and hearing me moan in terror, the doctor asked if I wanted an epidural. I couldn't get the words out soon enough, "YES, give me all the drugs!" In this moment I felt so weak and as if I had given in too early, but I knew in my heart that there was no way I could tolerate 10(the nurse predicted I'd give birth around 11 pm) more hours of the pain.
My body shook like a rag doll and tears rolled down my cheeks as the doctor inserted the epidural. I had feared the idea of an epidural more than birth itself, but the temporary relief that the epidural brought was absolutely heavenly. TEMPORARY. For a couple of different reasons the nurse decided that petocin was necessary. Petocin should never be necessary. It is the devil's drug. I had about an hour and a half of pure bliss, while the epidural had set in and the petocin hadn't quite kicked in yet. However, as soon as the petocin kicked in, it was completely miserable from that point on. They had bumped my petocin up to a 10 and it was bringing the contractions in fast and hard. I was having contractions that would last up to 7 minutes with merely a 30 second break. 30 second breaks!! To top it off, the epidural was no longer helpful. The baby had shifted low into my pelvis and I was having intense back and bottom labor. The epidural only covers the pains in your stomach and uterus, so it was useless to me. The pressure that I was feeling in my back and bottom was brutal. I cried, I moaned, I screamed, I wrapped myself tight around the bed rail, I did everything I could to brace myself for the pain.
By 8:30 pm it was time to start pushing. Pushing was so much work. I never thought it would be so hard to hold my breath and push. With each set of pushes I could barely get through the second push, let alone the third push. I remember crying and screaming that I couldn't do it. I begged and pleaded with everyone in the room. I was writhing with pain, praying that it would be over soon. The doctor must have told me I was so close, 20 or more times, all it did was piss me off because I knew she was full of it.
After the longest hour of my entire life, the doctor exclaimed that she could see a full a head of dark hair and that the end really was near. With 3 strong pushes and 3 long, gut-wrenching screams, Henry Harper Schartz was born on November 1st at 9:39 pm, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces and 19 & 3/4 long.
Immediately we were frightened. We heard a nurse ask "if it was terminal." And Kory wasn't allowed to cut the umbilical because the nurses were frantic. Henry had meconium, so they rushed him to his bed and sucked his lungs clear right away. They told us not to worry that he wasn't crying, they didn't want him to swallow the meconium.
Meanwhile they're stitching me up(without anything to numb me and an epidural that had worn off prior to delivery!) and pushing on my stomach so forcefully to get the placenta out.
The pain seemed to be never ending. When was it going to stop? Why didn't I have a c-section? (Because I'm sure that would have been so much better, ha!) Somebody make the pain go away!!
Wait. Is that my baby? He's finally crying. He's here. He's healthy. He's happy. Give him to me. Let me see this beauty! He was indeed beautiful. The most handsome little man I've ever seen. He immediately stopped crying as soon as they placed him on my chest. My heart melted. He didn't waste any time, he started breastfeeding right away. He's been a champion breastfeeder ever since. He's my little prince.
Labor, and even the first few days postpartum, was a battle for me, but Henry Harper is worth every bit of pain I endured.
We are blessed.