Getting pregnant was the easy part...I knew right away because my boobs hurt so bad. So, I took a pregnancy test 4 days early and could barely make out a blue plus. I waited 3 days and took the test again and the blue line was clearly visible. At first I thought, "Yea! I'm pregnant!" Then when reality set in I thought, "What the hell have we done?"
I knew my due date should be October 7...and was verified by our first ultrasound at 7.5 weeks. As luck would have it my friend Terra was due 8 days before me. It was wonderful having someone to share all the ups and downs of pregnancy with. It seemed easier knowing she was going through the same things I was. However, when she started getting a cute little belly around 3 and a half months and I was still flat as a pancake I wasn't too pleased. When we would go shopping everyone would start asking her about the baby etc....I would get nothing. No belly appeared until I was 5.5 months pregnant and still wearing my regular clothes. I learned to love my low-rise curvy Gap jeans, the stretch was just right for baby all the way through the 8th month.
38 weeks was the most depressing of the entire pregnancy. I started applying butter balm, lotion, baby oil, cocoa butter and pure olive oil to my tummy throughout my pregnancy with complete dedication in hopes of not getting stretchmarks. Then the dreaded night came...in my dimly lit room as I was getting ready for bed I caught a glimpse of my belly in the mirror, and there it was! So far I had been dealing quite well with the popping and cracking pelvis, waddling, enormous breasts, and a strange fixation for toast and chocolate pudding. From that moment I couldn't wait to get that baby out of me.
39 weeks had come and gone - dilated 1 cm effaced 25%. Nothing changed at 40 weeks and Dr. F told me I needed to come in for a stress test to make sure the baby was doing ok. Of course I started to worry, this was not part of my birthplan...I read horrible things in the Bradley book about the stress tests and how they would try to convince the parents induction was the only way to go and I wasn't sure I could make it through an induction. Stress Test Day came. Baby was fine, but we scheduled the induction for Tuesday October 16th (1 week later)....This gave me time! I was sure the baby would come by then.
October 13th - I went to the bathroom and this horrendously icky things came out of me. I screamed for my mother and she told me what it was - the mucus plug....ewwww! So, still only having braxton hicks contractions, we all decided to make the trek to church (which was 75 miles away in Vicenza, but in the same place as the hospital.) After praying for the baby to hurry up and get here before Tuesday I again had to pee, and wouldn't you know, more of the plug decided to come! Oh, the wonderful things your body will do. I told my mom, and Dustin made the decision to get a hotel room because I didn't want to drive all the way home only to have to drive all the way back to deliver the baby and have the slight chance of getting stuck on the AutoStrada in Labor and deliver a baby in BFE Italy!
October 15 - So far I had had no contractions. Nothing worked to make this baby come...walking, light jogging, jumping, squatting, sex, nipple stimulation...nothing. I was tired but too nervous to sleep. Finally I made myself lay down at 1am.
October 16 - 5am, I woke up every hour on the hour hoping I would feel a pinch or a pull maybe even a slight tug. I got up and took my last shower and even shaved my legs. God forbid I have hairy legs during delivery! Knowing that this was my last day of being pregnant I decided to indulge in donut holes and a coffee for breakfast! A great start to the day!
6am - walked into the birthing center and was told I was not allowed to eat, and if I had wanted to eat I should have done it prior to walking through the door. "SHIT" Just my luck...I still ate a couple donut holes though.
7am. IV was started. Blood was drawn. All the wonderful questions were answered. I told the nurse I really wanted to have natural childbirth but was not totally opposed to IV Pain Meds. But, an epidural was entirely out of the question and I did not want to be pressured into one. I told her I didn't want it to be suggested to me either.
7:30 I was at a whopping 2 cm and 75% effaced! Dr. Frost put a pill in my cervix (Cytotec) and I put on Harry Potter & the Scorcer's Stone and relaxed. It wasn't anything new, felt like my tummy was getting hard; no pain whatsoever. Mom was asleep in the rocker and Dustin was trying to not look nervous. Throughout the morning I was left alone to relax and watch the movie, no pain at all.
By 10:30 things had started to heat up. My contractions were getting stronger and I was doing a great job of just relaxing through them. I think by then we had put Chamber of Secrets on...I was starting to tune things out.
10:50 Dr. F breaks my water with a device that looks like a giant-sized crochet hook. This was the most disgusting feeling ever. Warm gushing nastyness. Then a contraction. Holy Shit. I got scared and started to cry. I had so much self doubt at that moment. How was I going to do this? How could I handle this for an extended period of time? Then the Dr. saw me in tears and told the nurse to wait a few minutes to start the Pitocin. Mom and Dustin started to rub my legs and feet with oil and I started to relax and concentrate.
11:10 - a very short 20 minutes later Pitocin was started. The contractions were strong, there was no warning, they just hit me full force and kept the intensity for the entire contraction. Distraction was a good thing. Mom decided to get Dustin lunch and Dustin was doing a great job. I was so glad I made him practice the Bradley Book...it was worth it.
11:30- I was sick of just laying in bed so we got the birthing ball out. Keep in mind that with every contraction amniotic fluid was still gushing out of me...not my best moments. The ball worked great, I rolled my hips around and leaned on the bed while getting back rubs. I felt like this was bearable. I had gotten in the mind frame of labor. Contraction to Contraction. Breath to Breath.
12:30 - 4 cm 80% effaced - Labor was working at a very slow rate. The pain was getting worse, I had to do something different. Nurse suggested the shower! Oh, the warm water was wonderful. For the next hour and a half I swayed, sat, kneeled and relaxed in the shower. For some reason the water eased the pain in my belly. Both Dustin and the nurse ended up soaking wet but it was worth it. Then at 2:00 my contractions intensified. I wasn't sure I could stand up much longer. I felt like I was getting weaker and weaker with each one. Drying off and walking back to the bed were the hardest 10 minutes of my life it felt like.
2pm -I was 5 cm. Dustin had spoken to Dr. F and had been told and "estimated" time of delivery. He asked me if I wanted to know, I said,"No, please don't tell me. It will make me doubt myself and I want to do this without drugs." Once in bed the nurse told me laboring on all fours was a good position and allowed the baby to get off my back. I was willing to do anything to make it feel better. The next contraction was like a slap in the face. My body was screaming in agony, then I got hit with a piggy back contraction. 2 full force contractions back to back with no break. I could no longer kneel, and I got into the Bradley Position. Dustin was rubbing my back. Mom was rubbing my legs. The nurse was doing hip squeezes and knee presses. I started to moan with each contraction. I couldn't help it. I was trying desperately to relax. Instead of a slap in the face I felt as if my body were being steam rolled. (Looking back, this was my transition into the last stage of labor).
3:15 - The room has been kept dark, everyone is quiet except for me. The steam rolling wave has continually hit my body. Nothing is helping. I'm not sure if I can go on this way. I ask the nurse about the effects on any medicine she could give me and would it really do anything for me. Would it hurt the baby? My mom (which also read the Bradley Book and Lamaze Book) asked me to wait just a little longer. She said," You're doing great Lizzy. You can do this."
3:50 - I tell the nurse "I need to push." I did it. My entire body convulsed, I curled into a ball on my left side. Pushing made the pain go away! It was relief. The nurse checked me. I was ready. She said,"Page Dr. F"
3:55 - Dr. comes through the door and asks if he has time to change. "NO" I kept pushing. By the time the Dr. put on his gown Jonathan was crowning. I had only pushed a few times. Then I screamed in pain,"he's hurting me!" Mom said,"I can see his head." Dustin took one look and almost passed out. Dustin would spend the next 5 min. with his head buried in my pillow while holding my hand.
4:04 - Jonathan is born. 8 pounds 4 ounces 21.5 inches long
And here they are - one, big happy family! Doesn't she look GREAT?! That little peanut of a man in her arms looks so content and happy, doesn't he?
Thank you so much for sharing your story!