Harrison's birth story begins the day before on 8/15/12. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant at this point. I was not at all expecting to go past my due date. My water had broken at exactly 40 weeks with Connor so I was getting a little antsy at 3 days overdue. I had a checkup with the doctor that morning at 10:30. He checked my cervix and found me to be 1 cm & 50% effaced w/ the cervix still far back (I'd been the same for the past 2 1/2 weeks). We discussed that I very well could be looking at an induction. We decided to induce the following day due to Garrett's work schedule. He is a contract worker & gets no paid time off so our plan was for him to take little to no time off of work. He works 4 10s with Thursday, Friday & Saturday being his days off. I know that not everyone would take the induction but I felt comfortable with that option. I was scheduled to go in the following morning at 5:30 to start cervadil (a medication to help soften the cervix). I dropped Connor off at my parents house that evening & went home to clean up a few things. Garrett & I finished packing up the bag with last minute things, I took a shower & we went to bed.
At 4:15 it was time to get up, drink some coffee & head into the hospital. Since I was scheduled to come in, I got to skip triage. I was checked into a room & 2 very kind & funny nurses got me settled. They both tried to get my IV started but I have very tricky veins. By that point it was shift change time & my new nurse came in. She was able to get the IV in! Third times the charm. Around 8:00 the on call doctor came in & checked me (loved her, she was so friendly & calm). We were all surprised to find that I was 4 cm & 70% effaced. I hadn't had any noticeable contractions over the last day but obviously something was changing my cervix. She said there was definitely no need for cervadil & we were going straight to a small dose of pitocin. She figured he would be born by dinner time. I thought she was crazy given how long Connor take to come out. We let my doula, Kate, know that she would be needed a lot sooner than originally thought. As a background, my plan was to go as long as possible (hopefully all the way) without an epidural. I'd had such a rotten experience with it last time (spinal headache that left me in bed for a week) that I wanted to avoid it if at all possible. My nurse came in & started my pitocin drip at 9:00. Almost immediately I started feeling contractions but they didn't hurt at this point. Fairly quickly (and still on a pretty low dose of pitocin) I was in a good pattern of contracting every 2-3 minutes. Around 9:30 or 10:00 Harrison had a few heart rate dips after contractions. They had me get off the birth ball & everything went back to normal. However, because of the drops in heart rate they wanted me to remain on the monitors for the remainder of labor. I was checked again at 11:00 and was 5 cm & 80% effaced. The doctor wanted to break my water but I was hoping to keep it intact as long as possible. I know that the contractions are much more painful once your water breaks. Since I was making progress we decided to wait & be checked again in a few hours. I stayed on my feet for the majority of the next 4ish hours & continued to have contractions. They still weren't painful; just a lot of tightening & pressure. When the doctor came back to check me at 2:45 I had just gotten into bed. I felt a snap (like a rubber band) right below my belly button. At first I'd thought it was a kick but I quickly realized that it had felt different than any kick I'd felt. I decided to shift my position to see if my water had broken. Sure enough I felt a gush of fluid. I told the doctor I thought my water had broken, she checked me & found that to be true. I was 7 cm at this point. I don't remember how effaced I was. I'm so glad I let my water break on its own because the contractions certainly picked up in intensity almost immediately.
Kate had me get on the ball at this point. Contractions were getting more and more painful. Most of the pain was associated to the intense pressure of him getting lower & lower. I felt like my bottom was being broken in half. The atmosphere in the room was significantly more subdued at this point. We had been watching TV & chatting through early labor. I started to get really warm so Kate went & got ice chips & cold rags. Those were a life saver. She rubbed my back which was very soothing too. The contractions got to a point where I was having to verbalize to get through them. Kate reminded me to keep my voice low (instead of screaming & hyperventilating). This keeps the body open and prevents you from tensing up (slowing down progress). Without her constant reminders I would never have made it through without screaming for medication. My nurse could tell things had changed so she decided to check me (this was around 4:50). She said I was 7 1/2 to 8. I then had a super intense contraction & decided to ask for the epidural. If it was going to hurt this bad for 2 1/2 more centimeters I just couldn't do it. All of a sudden I had a contraction that gave me an intense urge to push. Really it wasn't an urge, my body did the pushing, I had no choice. I felt his head "down there". I believe I yelled that I felt his head "right there." Anesthesia came in just as my nurse was checking me again. I was fully dilated and he was coming. I actually felt relieved that there was no time for the epidural. First of all, with the way the contractions had changed there was absolutely NO WAY that I would've been able to sit up & remain still for the epidural to be administered. Second, it had been my goal to get through labor without it. I had known (when I was still sitting on the ball) that I was close. Being told I had only made 1/2 of a cm of progress after 2 very painful hours took away that confidence. Yet, there I was, not 5 minutes later being told I was fully dilated.
The nurse sent the anesthesiologist out & yelled for the doctor to come in. The doctor came in & I distinctly remember her asking if she had time to put her cap over her hair. I don't think she did. They didn't even get to break the bed down. At this point I was laying on my left side gripping the bed rails for dear life & I was screaming. None of the nice low sounds I was able to make earlier. These were bloody murder, "get this child out of me now" screams. The nurse & doctor wanted me to roll to my back & pull my legs back. This was so incredibly physically difficult. It took my nurse & Garrett to help me. Once I was on my back, I gave a few more good pushes and he was out. He was born at 4:59; less than 10 minutes after I had been told I was 7 1/2 cm. As soon as he was out I said, "I never have to do that again." (We're planning on just having the 2 boys). It felt so good to have him out. They placed him on my chest & I fell in love immediately. All that fear of not being able to love another child as much as I love Connor vanished. I had a 2nd degree tear that required a few stitches. We got him weighed & took a few guesses as to how big he was. I think I guessed 8lb 11oz. Everyone else guessed lower. I was the closest. He ended up being 8lb 15.6 oz. Just shy of 9 pounds. Guess he used those extra 4 days to pack on the weight. He was 21 inches long. I nursed him soon after & he's been a great eater ever since. Family came to visit a few hours later.
I was able to get out of bed quickly & with very little pain. My legs weren't shaky like they had been after I got up with Connor. I felt like I was on top of the world. The first night was actually quite restful. Harrison slept well & I actually got a few hours myself. We went home a little over 24 hours after Harrison had been born & things have gone quite smoothly since. Overall I am overjoyed with how labor went. I really can't imagine it having gone any smoother. Kate was absolutely crucial during my labor. If you want a pain med free birth I absolutely recommend a doula. She was just awesome!
We've posted a few photos on facebook so if you're friends with me you can see them there. I'll post the first photo we put up & plan to put up a few more soon now that I have my photography software up & running on the new computer.