Let me just take this opportunity to tell you, pitocin is no joke.
As I mentioned, I'd had occasional contractions during the weekend before, including - what I felt like were - some pretty strong ones Friday night at dinner. They did not prepare me for these contractions. At. All. I was limited to my room because of the pitocin, which required constant fetal monitoring, but I changed positions as much as possible in bed, and utilized the birth ball some as well. By about 10:30, Ben and I were trying to play cards to take my mind off the pain, but I was vomiting with the contractions and it got to be too much. The painkiller (fentanyl) was just enough to make me drowsy, which meant I was being woken up with each contraction and was even more miserable. I remember saying to Vicki, through a few tears, "I don't think I can do this," and she immediately asked if I wanted the epidural. In all our conversations, Ben & I agreed that I would go as long as possible without pain medication or anesthesia, but that I was open to it if the pain was so intense that I was crying and/or vomiting. The biggest fear we had was that the epidural would thwart the progress of my labor, which Vicki told us is not a factor when the labor is pitocin-induced. So, somewhat reluctantly, I asked for the anesthesiologist to come administer the epidural.
And I can now genuinely question, Why do women do this without an epidural?!
I barely felt any pain while having a giant needle put in my back, which is more than a little weird to say, but I was so focused on staying completely still while fighting through the contractions. And within minutes, sweet relief was mine. Dr. Trollip checked me at this point (now about 11:00pm, Tuesday night) and said I had progressed to 3-4cm, 80% effaced, and told us to try to get 4-6 hours of rest because, again, we were going to have a long day ahead of us. Sleep alluded me (although I think Ben was able to get a little bit) but I was able to rest comfortably for a few hours. Then, sometime after 2am, I paged Vicki into the room because I was having intense pain and pressure in my tailbone with each contraction. Even after increasing the epidural, the pain continued to the point that I was nearly in tears again. Vicki checked my cervix to find that I was 8cm dilated and the baby was moving quickly through the birth canal. She told us we'd be parents "before breakfast" so we anticipated several more hours before our daughter would arrive.
At 2:45, Vicki went to wake up Dr. Trollip and told me to push "if I felt the urge" and that London would be here within 1-3 hours, so Ben alerted our families and Kelly that they might want to head up to the hospital.
I pushed once before Dr. Trollip arrived, and Vicki and Ben said they could see London's hair. When the doctor arrived, she said I should be able to deliver the baby in about 10 contractions. Four contractions and 14 minutes later, I watched as my sweet baby girl came from my body into this world.
I never thought I had any desire to see her actually be delivered, but Vicki - whom we both trusted very much at this point - told me I "did not want to miss this" and boy, am I ever glad. What a miracle; a sight I will never ever forget. The cord was wrapped around our sweet girl's neck (which apparently happens in as many as 10% of births) but as soon as they removed it, she let out one sweet cry and they immediately placed her on my chest. Color filled her tiny little body and she was quiet and alert, she latched on and breastfed within 30 minutes of her birth, and she obviously recognized my voice and Ben's immediately. All the while, we cried the sweetest tears over our little miracle, and fell in love with her as we fell in love with each other all over again.
Our perfect, precious London Claire. Born Wednesday, June 20 2012 at 2:59am. Seven pounds, eight ounces, 20 inches long.
I don't want to take away from the beauty of London's birth, but things got a little scary after this. They were unable to deliver my placenta completely, so I passed the baby off to Ben just in time to have Dr. Trollip *literally* elbow-deep inside me. Nurse Vicki had me take off all my jewelry to prep me for surgery just as the doctor was able to get the remaining placenta out. Again, so blessed with thorough doctors. And so blessed that I did not have to be taken up to the OR minutes after delivering our sweet girl. They treated me with antibiotics during my hospital stay and there should be no long-term effects.
London has had absolutely no trouble breastfeeding, gained 9 ounces in three days, and has given us at least a 3-hour stretch of sleep (often times, two 3-hour stretches!) since day one. She has slept in her crib each night since we came home and is already starting to outgrow her newborn clothes. She is the joy of our lives and we couldn't be more grateful for her, and for the love we've received from family and friends to celebrate her arrival.