All my Braxton-Hicks contractions this time around were totally manageable, which always left me wondering whether my body could even produce strong enough contractions to move a baby.
Well, the waiting and wondering is officially over. And the answer? Definitively no.
It was a little unfortunate that labor began with my water breaking, because that put a time limit on the entire labor experience. They were simply not going to let me go past 24 hours after my water breaking, so I had to get things moving, and quick.
I wasn't contracting at all when my water broke at 9:30 p.m., but contractions picked up around 11. I wanted to labor at home, so we waited until they were about 5 minutes apart, meaning we left for the hospital around 1:30 a.m. I was in great spirits, and more than once commented that I had to be doing the whole labor thing wrong, because I kept laughing all the way to the hospital.
I was optimistic, because when we checked in I was already dilated to a 3. Unfortunately, that was about the end of my laboring success. After that, my contractions pretty much stopped. By 9 a.m., I was only dilated to a 5 and the contractions were coming few and far between.
Since I was already 12 hours into my labor, the doctor wanted to give things a boost. So - even though I have heard countless times through this pregnancy that VBAC patients never, ever get pitocin - I was hooked up to a low dose of pitocin to "help things along."
Let me just tell you: Pitocin sucks.
It's the difference between going for a run outside at a pace your body is comfortable with versus being forced to run on a treadmill at high speed. My body couldn't keep up.
I labored on my own without any pain meds until about 2:00. By then, not only was I exhausted, but it was looking more and more like we might be having a c-section after all. I'd been told that I should be hooked up to an epidural; otherwise if I had to have an emergency c-section, I'd have to be given general anesthetic. Between the pain of laboring with pitocin and the threat of being put out altogether, I elected to have an epidural.
And, if you ever have to labor with pitocin, just get the epidural. Seriously. I felt immensely better, and it was a good thing, because they upped my dose of pitocin from "boost" to "hyperdrive."
The first of several medical hiccups began, because my epidural wasn't complete. They kept boosting my meds trying to cover the window where it wasn't working before simply deciding to put in a new port. Which turned out to be kind of unfortunate, because by 6:00 I was 9 cm and 90% effaced, but not ready to push because my system was all jacked up by the massive amount of meds.
We waited until almost 8 when I finally had enough feeling back to push. Unfortunately by that point, not only was I exhausted after 23 hours of labor, but I hadn't been allowed any food or water since 7 a.m. Not to mention, I still couldn't feel the contractions to really know when to push effectively.
I kept it going for an hour before I was just too exhausted to go on on my own. Poor little man, they had to use the vacuum to get him all the way out. At 9:03 p.m., a sneeze short of 24 hours after it began, labor was over and my sweet little miracle finally arrived. Logan Joshua, 7 lbs, 5 oz, and I was so shocked you could have blown me over with a feather. He weighed less than Leah, and that giant head I'd worried about for months turned out to be downright, well, normal sized!
Everything else is totally worth it, and to be honest, there's a LOT of everything else. I don't think I'll go into details, because they're not very pleasant. The aftermath of this "natural" (ha, ha) labor has been every bit as tough as the aftermath of my c-section, and I think it's fair to say that I have been cured of my desire to have any more vaginal deliveries.
I'm good at making babies, but I stink at getting them out of me. I feel like I've been hit by a truck and I look about the same.
But my beautiful little man is here, and there's nothing in the world I wouldn't go through to see that precious little face and smell his (bruised, cone-shaped) little head. I'm absolutely in love with this boy we've created, and couldn't be more grateful to be his mommy.