After Anistan was born, I was sitting in the kitchen talking with my mom about my experience with her labor and delivery. We decided that its therapeutic for women to swap "war stories" Or at least to share them, so here's my therapy session. Feel free to skip this post, after all, its mostly for me.
I think it would be difficult to share Anistan's birth without remembering back to Collin's. Collin was born at 9lbs 6oz by c-section after 19 hours of labor, which included nearly 3 hours of pushing. The stars just were not aligned for him, and without modern medicine and the capabilities to do a c-section, things could have been very ugly.
My doctor was cool with trying VBAC with this pregnancy. We planned to try with the understanding that at any sign of trouble we would do a c-section. We would just have to play it a little by ear. It was apparent, at least to me, we were dealing with another big baby as we neared my due date. But this time, the baby was more cooperative than Collin had been and was getting into the right position early on. At my 36 week check I was already at 3, and at 4 at my 37 and 38. Where with Collin I made almost no progress before he was born. The doctor joked with me that I wasn't going to make it to our induction date on the 17th. On the 16th I was cursing him for telling me that!
My mom came over Thursday night. She made the comment that she felt I would go very quickly once they induced me since I had progressed so far on my own. I honestly had it in my mind, that this labor would be LONG and SLOW, just like Collin's was, and I was even expecting to have anther c-section in the end. I didn't have a lot of faith in myself. After Collin's c-section I felt a little cheated that I really had no idea what it felt like to give birth, and even felt that I had failed as a woman because I wasn't able to get him out on my own. I suppose that is another discussion for another day, but I have since dealt with those feelings and they aren't an issue anymore, but the memory of the struggle was fresh in my mind as the induction approached. I was really nervous. I really had no idea what to expect and was feeling quite a bit of anxiety. I asked Trevor to give me a blessing and was very comforted by his love and faith in me and my strength. I actually slept really well that night.
Friday morning Trevor and I headed off bright and early. We got to the hospital and I got changed and set up with the IV. The Dr. came in and checked me, I was at a 5 and about 50%, he went ahead and broke my water, that was around 7:45 am, then headed off to surgery. I started having contractions right away, well, I had been having contractions I just started feeling them more. They weren't bad at first, but steadily got worse and much more intense. I was planning on getting an epidural, but I didn't want to get it to soon because that can slow things down, and last thing I wanted was a drawn out labor. After about an hour, I called the nurse in and she gave me some IV drugs, which made me really not care about the painful contractions. It was kind of a cool feeling, and it totally made me relax, I almost fell asleep. In about 45 minutes, I was dying again, the nurse checked me and I was a 6, but 80%. I told her I didn't want to wait any more for the epidural and she went for the anesthesiologist. Unfortunately, by that time both of the Dr.'s on that day were already tied up and in surgery. I was assured they would come as soon as they could.
I'm not sure how much time passed, but I started feeling all kinds of pressure and even a need to push. The contractions we intense and close together, so the nurse checked again, I was at a 9, and had just a lip of cervix left. The nurse ran to fetch the Dr. from surgery. As the contractions got worse, in fact they almost didn't stop, I just kept looking at Trevor and complaining about how badly it hurt and how badly I wanted the epidural. I never planned on the pain of labor once things got this far. I hadn't taken any classes or even brushed up on the literature. I very distinctly remember looking Trevor in the eyes when I realized the epidural wasn't coming and I was going to have to do this without any help with the pain. A very disheartening moment, but Trevor assured me that I could do it, so i tried to buckle down and be tough. I say that laughing because when I was laboring with Collin I was determined to be strong and push hard, and not scream. All of those resolutions flew out the window with the unexpected pain. I tried to be positive and strong and to believe in myself, which helped but there is no way for me to explain how I was feeling. I don't know how much is mental, or emotional or actually physical, but there just are no words that I can find to explain that kind of pain. I tried my best to keep myself focused, but my lack of preparation made that difficult.
My doctor came and we started to push. I found it really difficult to focus on pushing, again because of the unexpected pain I was experiencing. I cried and yelled and probably did a lousy job. I remember now, reading on a friends blog about how her midwife said she knows the baby is about to come when the women cries out "I can't do this!" I said that. I wanted so badly for it to be over and I just wanted to give up and have it all go away. I heard the Dr say to my nurse, "I think we'll have it on this next one" and the nurse agreed. That gave me a burst of strength and on the next push, there she was. The very second she was out, the pain was gone, I mean gone. Not a trace remained, it was completely and wholly gone. That was the most amazing feeling in the world! My brand new sweet baby girl in my arms and no pain. In the end pushed for 11 minutes total. It felt like 1,000. Total labor time 2 hours and 32 minutes.
Within a few minutes I was up walking around the room, getting changed and cleaned up, and very soon afterward had a nice hearty lunch. I don't have anything to compare recovery to but Collin's c-section which was kind of awful. And while I still hate that I had to go through that without any medication, I can see what a nice recovery it was without it. I've had almost no pain since then and needed very little medication for pain.
I was traumatized for a few days but I found myself quickly forgetting. Our bodies really are miraculous and perfectly designed. Perhaps the joy of a new life, the excitement of not being pregnant any more, or the comfort of home makes it easier to deal with the traumatic experience, but simply put a women's body is made for giving birth. It was an interesting experience going with the drug free way of child birth and I'm kind of glad I've had the opportunity to experience it. I don't know if I'll chose to do it this way again and I'm grateful I don't have to decide right now. All I know is, I am so blessed to have this sweet little girl and the wonderful son and husband I do have.