I'm new here, but I think it's really great that there is a place for women to post their birth stories. I know for me, it was a really huge event in my life. Anyway, here is mine...
My due date was December 23rd and I spent nine months trying to be polite to all the people I'd talk to who seemed to think that they were the first ones to point out that this was near Christmas. I had gestational diabetes early on in my pregnancy and I was on both a very restricted diet and insulin and my perinatologist was concerned about the possibility of the baby being rather large. At 5'1" tall, there was some question about how large of a baby I'd be able to deliver vaginally. I got great prenatal care with ultrasounds every single week in the last trimester, but at 9 months, I was really getting sick of being so pregnant and diabetic. My husband and I tried all the "old wive's tales" we heard about how to start labor that were safe, even including me drinking some habanero hot sauce, but Ian stayed put, obviously quite comfortable in his current home. I had been hoping to avoid an induction, but we went ahead and set a date with the doctor.
The day before my induction on the 19th, my husband and I went to see Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. We figured that we wouldn't have much opportunity to go to the movies after that weekend. My doctor had warned me that the induction might not work at all since my cervix was not dilated at all still, but we were hopeful. That night, I went to the hospital and was hooked up to a fetal monitor and given cervadil to help ripen my cervix for the morning. I sent Jeff (my husband) home to get a good night's rest so that he would be ready for the morning. I'd had "stomach pains" all afternoon and it actually turned out that I was already having irregular contractions and I didn't even realize it! I felt kind of silly when the nurse told me since it seemed to me that would be something you'd notice. I took a sleep aid and slept relatively well (as well as one can in a hospital bed, anyhow!). Morning came and I was given an IV and a very light breakfast to get my blood sugar up for the work ahead...pretty much just toast. The cervadil came out and they started pitocin.
I think, with the irregular contractions all night, my body really was almost ready and the pitocin had an almost immediate effect, strengthening the contractions and making them more regular. I hated having the pitocin turned up, but I could definitely tell it was working. I think what amazed me the most was how my body just seemed to go on auto-pilot. Even though this was my first baby, my body just knew what it needed to do. I also really felt like I was in a very different mental state. I felt concentrated, so much so that I really never grunted or screamed, I just sort of felt myself drawn in so that all my focus and energy was just inside. I did have problems throwing up, which the nurse (I had a wonderful nurse) told me was my body's reaction to the pain. The hardest part was trying to keep my other muscles relaxed during the contractions...it was almost as if I was trying to help the muscles working with the other muscles in my shoulders, arms, and legs. The pain was getting very intense and I really couldn't walk, so I laid down. A few minutes later, I felt a pop inside and the pressure relaxed for a bit and it felt as if I'd pee'd myself! I was certain that must have been my water breaking, but the nurses weren't so sure. They checked what had leaked and said that no, it just must have been an accident, but an internal check proved otherwise! I felt so much relief after my water broke that I almost cried, but that relief didn't last long as the contractions came closer and closer and were even more intense.
I finally allowed them to give me pain medication through my IV, one called Nubain. I definitely won't do that again. I stopped throwing up, but I still felt the same pain. It was just as if I was drunk as well. I really felt that about all it did was keep me quieter. My perinatologist checked me before my water broke and I was at 5cm, so he went to his office across the street. One half hour later, I was fully dilated and Ian's heartrate had decellerated a little, so the nurse decided I should try pushing a little and see how that went. I was relieved to push. It relieved some of the pressure and just felt "right." Plus, I think it felt good to finally have something I could actively do to help the process. I was a little too good at pushing because Ian started to crown before my doctor (or any doctor) could get there. They tried to get me to stop pushing, but my body was already going. The nurse who had seen me through my labor ended up having to deliver him and he was the first baby she had ever delivered. He only needed a couple of puffs of oxygen and he was fine and even took his first poop on their scale! The nubain was already starting to wear off as I held him and my perinatologist made it in in time to stitch me up. Learning to nurse was a huge challenge and very frustrating since I had flat nipples and Ian would rather have slept, but I was able to keep him with me the whole time I was in the hospital and he slept in my arms in my bed.
Although I would love to try a natural birth, I still think the only thing I would have changed about Ian's birth is that I would not have had Nubain or any other painkillers. Although the pitocin did create intense contractions, my entire labor and delivery once the pitocin was started was only 2 1/2 hours. My mother also always had very short labors, so I am hoping that my next labor will be just as short even without induction. I think one of the biggest reasons my childbirth experience went so well even with all the interventions was that I had a wonderful and very experienced nurse who really helped me handle the contractions and helped my husband to be a good coach.