This is part 3 of 3 of my labor story. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.
My excitement over checking in at 9cm slowly morphed into confusion and discouragement because over the next few hours things did not progress as everyone expected. . .
One of the first things I did when I got to the hospital was get in the hot tub. I spent a lot of time in the tub during my last labor and that’s what sounded best to me. As I was in there, however, the contractions slowed down and became more mild. That was not supposed to happen!
We “briskly walked” back to my room, and although I was fully dilated and effaced, I had zero urge to push. It was so strange. If you’ve ever had a baby naturally you know exactly what I mean by “urge to push.” Your body completely takes over and you have this overwhelming urge and power to push that baby out with each contraction. It enables you to work with your body to push productively. I definitely knew exactly what that felt like from my first experience, giving birth to Ella. This time it just wasn’t there.
They told me I could just start pushing anyway since there was nothing in the way, and hopefully the urge would come shortly. So I tried all kinds of things. Squatting, sitting on this bar thing, sitting on the toilet, standing (which was more like hanging) on David. . . brisk walking! Nothing was working. I felt weak and discouraged, as much as I tried not to. I felt conflicted because everyone was cheering me on and kept saying this baby would come soon but I knew in my body it just wasn’t feeling that way. I was a bit hungry, I was tired, and I knew that there was no way I could just summon the strength to push that baby out on my own with out the urge to push. And I didn’t know why it wasn’t coming. Everyone was telling me one thing but my body was telling a different story.
At one point I was on the bed, ready to try to push with people holding my knees back just waiting for a contraction. We all sat there and waited for what must have been 5 minutes and no contraction came. You can imagine the scene. I would have thought it was funny if it were anyone else! The contractions had stalled out again.
Here are some pics of all the fun things I tried!
So we went round and round with all these techniques into the wee hours of the morning. I must say that once again my husband was amazing. You can see it in this picture. He was attentive and supportive and I just needed him so much.
So back to the story . . . I had mentioned to Maria and Tara that I would not be opposed to having a bit of Pitocin, because I knew it would progress me faster. A few minutes later Tara came to me with this eyelet dropper thing and told me it was an all natural thing to ramp up the contractions. I took it because I trust her. She came back to me every few minutes and had me take more . . .she said you have to keep putting it in your system. Oh it tasted awful. Like the tree bark that it was. However, it began to work. Slowly but surely the contractions started feeling stronger.
I was at a low point physically and knew I needed strength. The contractions were coming about 3 min apart probably and I started feeling motivated to pray. I knew I had to time it right if I was going to pray because there was only like a 2 min window in between contractions and there was no way I could pray through a contraction! About that time Maria began talking about Pitocin again. As soon as she suggested that I took that opportunity to pray right there, I knew Pitocin was strong and I didn’t want it if I didn’t have to have it. Plus I knew that tree bark stuff was starting to work on its own. I could feel it.
So I prayed . . . I simply acknowledged God as the creator and physician of life and that He made my body to do this. I asked Him to give me the strength and make a way for this baby to come! I did it mostly for me honestly, I needed to regain a sense of faith and trust that God would bring this baby and get me through.
After that, things continued to pick up. No Pitocin needed. I remember moving to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet and feeling my body begin to shake. I was so encouraged when Tara said the shaking was hormonal and it meant my body was in transition! That means it’s go time and the urge to push was coming. And it came strong. They got me back in the bed and we did the same “tug of war” position I did with Ella, though instead of a sheet this time we had rings. You can see here in the picture what it was like. Those rings were money. I did my most productive pushing in that position.
So all systems were go and this thing was beginning to happen. However, the pushing this time felt very different, and I was concerned. The pressure was in the front, and it felt like I was going to bust my bladder. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was really painful. You are supposed to feel rectal pressure, towards the back, and thats what I felt with Ella. However this time I kept feeling pressure in the front. As I pushed (big breath, chin down, pull on those rings and push as hard as you can until you have to breathe again and do it over and over until that contraction stops), I wanted to give up several times because that pressure felt so wrong to me, but Tara was right in my ear saying “push through it! push through it!” so I did. I don’t know how I would have done it without people cheering me on. You really need that. At least I needed it. Here is a shot of me pushing . . .
I only had to push for about 20 minutes I believe, (compared to 3 hours and 45 min with Ella) and Avery made her appearance at 2:54am.
And then it all made sense.
When her little face finally came out it was facing the wrong way! She came out posterior! In other words, she came out with her nose up rather than down towards the floor. Ella was posterior too during a good part of my labor but she ended up having room to turn her almost 10lb body during the pushing phase. Avery was a little smaller (9lbs 1oz), but my water had already broken so maybe she didn’t have room or feel the need to turn! The tell tale sign when a baby is posterior is back pain, and I didn’t have back pain this time. When she came out it surprised everyone. But in hind sight, that’s why the contractions were ramping up and going back down for almost 24 hours, thats why I had pressure in the front rather than rectal pressure, and thats probably why the urge to push took forever! This baby was coming backwards!
At least for me, nothing can compare to the relief you feel when you finally see the baby’s whole body and they land on your tummy. You can touch them and hold them, and the hard part is over. Its the best thing in the world.
When all was said and done, I was so thrilled that she was healthy and I didn’t care how it happened. I was also so thrilled that my mom was able to make it now for not only the first but the second birth. Both times she boarded her first flight on the East Coast after contractions began, and made it in plenty of time to see the whole birth of both our girls. What a blessing. Guess I’m just good at carrying posterior babies. They seem to like it better backwards. But at least it gives my mom time to make it!
Thanks to my dear friend Stacie (far left) for taking all these awesome pics!