I have been thinking about this post for a while just haven't sat down to actually type it. As time has been flying by, I figure I better write it soon or we will be celebrating his first birthday before I know it. Slight exaggeration, but time does seem to be passing quickly.
We obviously had a successful outcome from the delivery, but I will say that it was different than I expected. As I have contemplated his birth, I think I went into the whole experience with unreasonable expectations. Elliott's birth was uncharacteristic of a first birth. First, she was a week and a half early. Not common for your first baby. Since she was early, I (and my doctor...and everyone else for that matter) assumed I would go into labor early. Obviously that didn't happen and I was actually a day late. Second, with Elliott, I went to the hospital at 9pm and delivered her at 12:06am...3 hours later. Apparently that's not normal either. So with that information, here is Mason's story.
I had contractions off and on several weeks before I actually went into labor that I thought for sure were labor signs. Not so much. My OB doctor was actually leaving town on Christmas Eve, my due date. My due date came and went and I had almost no contractions on that day. My mom flew into South Bend on Christmas Eve and Kev and Elliott were able to pick her up from the airport. I had resigned myself to the fact that Mason was coming in HIS timing, and just tried to make fun plans for the next day, Christmas. I woke up at 1am Christmas morning with pretty intense contractions. They continued to get harder and closer together, so when they were consistently 3 to 4 minutes apart, I decided to go to the hospital. This was at 6am. The best part was my mom was there, so we didn't have to take Elliott to anyone's house. Such a blessing!
When I got to the hospital, they checked me and said I was dilated to a 5-6cm. This was exactly what I was when I got to the hospital with Elliott. My nurse said she thought I would deliver by 11am with my previous experience. When we checked in, they informed us that the doctor on call for my doctor had a family emergency so a doctor from a completely different group was going to do the delivery. Fantastic. Just what I love...unpredictability. The hospital in South Bend was very different than my experience in Norman. They had lots of options for working through your labor...a jetted tub, walking in the halls, birthing ball, a rocking chair. They also did not require continuous monitoring so the nurse would listen to Mason's heart beat once every hour and then listen continuously for 20 minutes every 3 hours or so. They also let me drink clear liquids the whole time and I even got to eat some crackers. This was a huge blessing because I ate a bowl of cereal at 1am when my contractions started so by midmorning, I was starving! Not to mention nauseated when Kev started eating a Christmas meal from the cafeteria while I was having intense contractions.
So, Kev and I got settled in and tried to make the contractions more consistent by walking in the halls and around the room. They continued to increase in intensity so I decided to get into the tub. It was really relaxing but made my contractions slow way down...I don't think that was the intent. So I got back out and tried to do more walking. The doctor came and checked me around 11am and said I was an 8. From 11-2:30, my contractions definitely got worse and I was having TONS of back labor...something I didn't experience with Elliott. The only relief I could get was every contraction Kevin would put pressure with his hand on my low back. Not fun! I started feeling more and more pressure so I finally asked my nurse to check me again at around 2:30. I was still an 8.
I felt TOTALLY defeated at this point...definitely the low point of the day. I had been at the hospital for over 8 hours and had only dilated 2 centimeters. The nurse mentioned that she was afraid Mason was OP instead of OA (meaning he was looking up instead of looking down). I felt like every time I had a contraction, he wasn't being able to engage my cervix (my cervix was still apparently pretty posterior as well and had not rotated forward) instead his head was ramming into my spine. Not comfortable. My nurse recommended I try a few "techniques" to try to get him to turn. First she had me lay on the bed in a very awkward position. For me, laying while having contractions is one of the MOST uncomfortable things. We did that for about half an hour and then she had me doing lunges on the bed during contractions. You heard me right...LUNGES. I remember thinking, "What in the world am I doing?" I was in so much pain, disheartened, emotional, and weak. I decided at this point, we needed to reevaluate our course. I had Elliott naturally, but I decided at this point in the game, I needed some relief. I decided to have an epidural. I have always had a healthy fear of epidurals so this helped me deliver natural the first time. However, I was at the point that as they covered the risks of paralysis and death with an epidural, I really DIDN'T CARE!! Whatever helps take this pain away. The nurse also warned me getting an epidural might slow my labor down and push my delivery back. The epidural process wasn't too bad besides having to sit still while you're having intense contractions. Then they made me lay flat on the bed with instructions it would take around 20 minutes for the epidural to kick in. Again...not comfortable but doable. About 15 minutes after I had my epidural, I was still having pretty uncomfortable contractions but my doctor checked me and said I was a 9 with a bulging bag so she broke my water. REALLY? That's all it took? Apparently, sometimes if your body is able to relax just a little it allows the baby to turn. Well, my epidural finally kicked in and I felt so much more comfortable but was able to fully move my legs and feel pressure. The doctor came back about 45 minutes later, checked me and said I was complete and ready to push. I think I pushed 3 times and Mason just popped out. SOOOO much easier than with Elliott.
So, if anyone is actually still reading this, there is Mason's birth story. Not what I expected but TOTALLY worth it. Even though I wasn't necessarily planning on having an epidural, I don't have any regrets, and yet I don't have any regrets I went sans pain medicine for so long either. It happened how it was supposed to. I will say, the epidural definitely improved the actual birth, and I was able to enjoy holding Mason way more than I did with Elliott after he was born. Here is a few pictures from our hospital stay.
Just born. Kev says this is his "scary" picture.
Love this guy (actually, both guys in the pic)!
Ready to go home.