You can read Part I here.
I asked to be checked again - and I was STILL 6 cm. This was now at about 11:30pm. I dealt with the pain another 1/2 hour or so, and then I got logical. I thought that either I needed an epidural to help my body to relax, or I would probably end up with a c-section. So I opted for the epidural.
Getting an epidural was something I wanted to avoid for various reasons. But a big reason was that someone at my old work died from a rare complication from an epidural. She developed an infection and by the time a person gets symptoms, it's too late to do anything. She was a first time mom and died. I didn't know her - but many of my coworkers knew her well. That story still haunts me. But luckily in that moment of deciding to get the epidural, that story wasn't in the front of my mind.
Everyone talks about how the epidural guy is always hot. I don't know whether it's because women are delirious and want to get rid of the pressure and any man coming to take that away is amazing, or whether there really is something to it. But I made sure to check mine out - he was cute.
He came in and gave my the epidural at 12:00am. It took about 15 minutes to kick in. I have to say, I didn't love the epidural. In fact, I didn't really like it. It made me shaky and I hated my legs feeling so lifeless. But I loved not having the back pain.
This was me when the epidural kicked in:
I felt some pressure about 1/2 hour after the epidural kicked in, so I asked to be checked. And wouldn't you know, I was ready to start pushing. The relaxation between contractions that the epidural provided was exactly what my body needed to progress.
I decided to take a nap - but could barely sleep because I was just too excited to meet our girl! I slept for about 45 minutes, then hung out, then sent our nurse to get my midwife so I could start pushing.
I started pushing at 2:00am. Halfway through pushing, I started being able to feel my contractions more strongly, and feel the progress of my pushes. I could feel our baby girl making her way into the world. And I am SO glad I let the epidural wear off for the most part. I ended up watching the progress in the mirror - which is something I thought I'd want to avoid. When they first set it up, I was like WHOA and totally weirded out. But then I watched while I was pushing, and could see our baby! It was totally weird, but was motivating me to push correctly.
I wasn't making much progress so we altered my pushing position a few times before we found one that worked well. Once I was into that position, things moved very quickly. Everyone talks about the "ring of fire" when the baby's head crowns. I can't say it was that bad. It felt like a lot of pressure, but nothing crazy. I think again, having the mirror there when she was crowning helped distract me from any type of discomfort because, holy crap, my baby, was about to be born!
Finally at 4:23am, our girl came into this world. They put her on my chest, and I was in shock. She was finally here. The little girl that had been inside me, doing yoga poses during ultrasounds, and refusing to come out on her own. She was on my chest, pink, arms and legs flailing, and scrunching up her face to cry. She was here, and she was ours.
She was having some mucous issues so they took her to the table to suction her better. Then they wrapped her lightly and handed her to Ian to bring back to me. I held her, with Ian next to me, and we soaked her in. As we stared into her eyes, and she stared right back at us, I couldn't help but feel a bond, a love, I had never felt before. She was alert, bright eyed, and wanted to eat! She breastfed like a champ on the first try. And then she quickly went to sleep. Labor was hard work for her too, apparently.
Those first two days, before she got sick, she was an amazing baby. She was abnormally alert for a newborn. She was quiet unless she was hungry. She slept well. Those first two days in the hospital were amazing. Sure we didn't get much sleep, but we were oh-so-content to be together, to finally be a family.
I hope my labor story doesn't scare anyone. Were there times that were uncomfortable and painful? Yes. But it was pain with a purpose. A pain that brought me closer to meeting our girl. Giving birth was an unbelievable experience that I am so grateful I was able to do. If there was one thing I'd say about giving birth, it would be that women shouldn't fear it. It's an empowering experience and bringing your baby into the world is an amazing moment!