At 6:15 am, Sunday May 4th, I arrived at the hospital with DH and my mom, for my planned induction. I had been suffering with constant dizziness and light-headedness for two weeks, so the induction was scheduled at 39 weeks because of risk of fainting. I was disappointed that my birth couldn't be intervention free from the start since I was being induced, but I decided that I still wanted a pain-med free birth. My biggest fear was intervention leading to intervention and eventually c-section, which I would only be happy with if I did everything to avoid it but turned out it would still be necessary. Dr Q was on board with this plan.
I was in really good spirits that morning! The previous few days were riddled with anxiety but on induction morning I felt awesome. I had prayed with DH and mom before leaving home and knew the events of the day were all in God’s hands, and I felt safe knowing that. Dr Q said I could have eaten whatever I wanted until contractions were 1-2 mins apart so I had a good breakfast. Around 7:15, after blood pressure and weight checks etc (all normal), Dr Q arrived and inserted Cytotec vaginally. He said he would be back in about 3-4 hours to check my progress. During that time contractions started and I got really excited that things were happening! I was dancing in between contractions and talking through them – clearly they were a joke at this point!
Dr Q returned around 1 pm and contractions were mild to moderate at this point. On a scale of 1-10, I would say 4, thought this was my first labour experience, so what did I really know? I was checked, and to my disappointment I was only at a 2! Worse, the Cytotec never dissolved so the previous five hours had pretty much been a waste.
Now we had to start the process all over! Dr Q removed the pill and broke my waters. That was such an awesome feeling! I felt like I was creating a massive Jacuzzi around me that would not stop filling up. Thankfully there was no meconium in the water. I received an enema shortly after. Wow! Not such a nice experience. Dr Q wanted to start Pitocin at that point but we agreed to give me an hour to see if breaking my waters would speed up my dilation.
Contractions began to get more real at this point. I started breathing through them using techniques I learnt in Lamaze class. DH jumped into coach mode and rubbed my lower back through each one. I felt sure I was progressing. 2 hours later I got checked again, and I was now at a 3. A lousy 3. Disappointment set in, but I knew I was not in control of the day so I didn’t allow it to mentally affect me. Pitocin was administered at 10 drops a minute, and would gradually be increased. Contractions started to get REAL. I started rocking on my exercise ball hoping that it would help me manage the pain and that gravity would work in my favour. At 3:45 Pit was increased to 20 drops/minute. More pain. Breathed through every one of them. Got back rubs on demand from DH, my mom, DH’s mom and DH’s sister. I must say I had an awesome set of coaches and they kept encouraging me and offering anything that could help.
4:20 pm – another cervical check, this time it was done by the midwife because doc was with another patient. I had progressed to a 5. Disappointment started taking its toll on me and it was obvious. When the doc came to me about 10 minutes later, he offered to do another check and he said between 6 and 7! Great! I perked back up, excited that it was better than I had thought, but the pain was excrutiating at this point and I really wanted things to move faster. Pit was increased to 30 drops/minute at 4:30pm, then 40 drops/minute at 5:55pm, then 50 drops/min at 6:50 pm. I had been progressing a bit slowly and Dr Q was concerned that the induction would fail so they amped things up, fast.
It was devastating! My body was being ravaged and I barely had time to recover from one contraction before another set in. Pain right through my abdomen, back, waist and upper thighs. Every time a contraction began, the reading on the monitor would shoot right up to 100. I began to complain and say I could not do it. DH encouraged me along and told me it would not be much longer. I had told him before labour began that no matter what I said, I did not want the epi or any drugs, so when things got heated, to please keep encouraging me. And he did, and I fought through contraction by contraction.
8:30 arrived and I could barely hold up. I got another check and was still at a 7. Dr Q said I was heading toward “Failure to progress” and he offered me Buscopan to speed up the dilation. It isn’t a form of pain relief in labor and is meant to relax me. I took it. Happily. And then I got crazy. The dizziness and lightheadedness I had been suffering with for weeks came on full swing and I felt that I would both throw up and pass out. I was writhing in pain on the bed, still fighting each contraction but getting desperate. I called for the doctor and when he saw me he insisted that I get pethidine to take the edge off. I was also given additional oxygen to prevent me from passing out. He said I was suffering for too long. I begged for him to put me to sleep. I kept thinking a C-section would be PERFECT right now, and if it had been offered I would have taken it, but did not have the nerve to ask for one after so many grueling hours of labor. The pethidine was injected and I was told to be patient for it to sedate me. Contractions continued to fire through my body for the next hour and a half and I never felt any relief. I wanted to die. The pain was unreal. I kept praying for strength and for progression to be made quickly. I felt like I could not tolerate another contraction, but they kept coming and coming!
At 9:35 I was checked again and the Dr said I was almost ready to push. Awesome! I got wheeled to the labour room in the middle of a contraction. Oww!! I was now at 9.5 cm with extreme pressure in my butt. I needed to PUSH, but my cervix hadn’t opened all the way yet. I was desperate so we began the pushing. That was the best! It felt awesome to finally do something with those horrible contractions, rather than bearing them and breathing through each one waiting for it to be over, then being slammed with another. I actually wished these contractions would have lasted longer so I could have pushed more effectively through each one. 40 minutes later, baby was still not out and a c-section scare was looming over me as he was in my passage for too long and his heart rate was dropping. Dr Q gave me one last chance to push, or we would head to theatre. He told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head. I felt a mass of hair! So exciting! That was all I needed to give me the extra strength to push! DH was right next to me the whole time, encouraging me, reminding me of how to breathe (thank God we took classes together) and with the next contraction, all 7 lbs 4 oz of our beautiful little son, were out!! I got one minor tear that was stitched up quickly while I snuggled our baby and cuddled him into the world.
The past 16 hours of pain melted away and all that mattered was the moment. God had given me extraordinary strength to endure the pain throughout the day, and blessed us with a healthy bright-eyed boy! Meet Giovanni!