Sunday, July 15, 2007

Landon's Labor & Delivery Story

I really wanted to write down my labor story- mostly for my own memories, but also for anyone else wondering about one person's experience. It was just last night, but it already feels like so long ago. All the times are approximate and I may edit this as I remember more details.

Sat, July 14 - Sun, July 15
7:45pm: My water breaks in the Big Bowl chinese restaurant. I page my OB/midwife practice and get a phone call back telling me to come straight to the hospital. JP says something to the waiter about his wife being in labor and we jump in a cab.

8:20pm: We're in the Labor Evaluation Unit. My water is confirmed to have broken (and is in fact running down my legs and pooling in my shoes). I have no noticeable contractions and will be started on pitocin to get things going (once the water breaks you need to have the baby within about 24 hours). I am in some form of shock that this is actually happening right now- I'm quite hung up on the fact that I don't have a bag packed. JP is calm and excited.

8:40pm: I call a good friend of mine who lives nearby. She comes to sit with me while JP and her husband drive to our apartment to get my camera and a few other necessities. I get taken to my (huge) labor and delivery room. I'm now hooked up to penicillin (I hadn't made it to the 37-week appointment where they test you for Group B Strep), pitocin, and IV fluids. My contractions have started, but they pretty much just feel like cramps and are very irregular- I can (and do!) talk through them pretty easily. My midwife arrives and talks me through what might happen over the next several hours. I also meet my labor and delivery nurse who I really like.

10:00pm: JP gets back from our apartment and my friends leave. I can definitely feel the contractions now and they are getting more regular. I've already spoken with the anesthesiologist about getting an epidural when the pain gets too intense, so knowing that will be coming is very comforting.

11:45pm: I decide it's time for the epidural. My contractions are regular and intense- I can get through them, but I really can't imagine continuing to do so for an unknown number of hours. JP has to leave the room for the procedure, which is convenient since the dinner he ordered has finally arrived. I get the spinal/epidural block. It's totally painless except for the initial numbing shots and the relief is almost immediate. I can still feel and move my legs, and I'm still very aware that I'm having a contraction, but that painful edge is gone. I also get a catheter since I'm now confined to the bed until the baby is born- that process is completely painless and I actually start thinking that one of those would have been nice over the last few weeks when I was getting up every 2 hours at night to pee.

12:00am: I get my first internal exam- I'd been warned that my progress could be slow because my water broke without contractions and I was a first-time mother. But to everyone's surprise I'm 100% effaced and 6 cm dilated!

~2:00am: My contractions are getting downright painful, even through the epidural. I'm examined and it turns out I'm 9.5cm dilated already. We decide that I should get another dose of the epidural meds to get me through the last 0.5cm. This will also allow me to rest for a little while (you usually can't push right after getting a dose because your pain is numbed too much). JP falls asleep immediately and I try but spend most of the time in a semi-sleep-state dreaming about climbing up and falling back down a mountain.

4am-5am: I'm awake again and feeling more intense contractions, now with increasing rectal pressure because the baby's head is descending. The epidural is still doing it's job, but I'm definitely looking forward to the end- I want to meet my son and I really want to get some sleep. The contractions just won't stop- as soon as one ends I know another is beginning soon. I can't get comfortable. My midwife comes in- I'm a full 10 cm dilated and the head is engaged.

5:30am: Time to start pushing. This is really intense- the epidural seems to have disappeared. My L&D nurse is on my right, JP is on my left, and my midwife is in the middle. We leave the bed intact (most doctors shorten the bed and put your feet up in paddles), the lights down low, and everything is really quiet. My midwife talks me through the contractions and pushing, and JP and the nurse offer encouragement. JP was so amazing during the whole experience- he knew just how to encourage me without annoying me (tough at that point). Each push burns and stings more than anything has ever burnt or stung me before- my midwife called it pushing through a ring of fire and that sounds about right. I'm surprised to find that I feel discouraged even though it's only been about 15 minutes- this part is harder than I thought it would be. My midwife is encouraging me and JP tells me he can see the head. That motivates me again- I want this to be done and I'm so excited about meeting my baby. About 2 contractions later- with several pushes within each contraction- I hear my midwife say "keep pushing for the shoulders." At first I think she is just trying to encourage me (I must have missed everyone telling me the head was out), but the next thing I know there is a baby laying on my chest! It's incredible- absolutely incredible.

6:04 am: His official birth time. I get to hold him for a few moments and then he's taken away by the NICU team. I have two 1st degree tears my midwife is stitching up. I then deliver the placenta, which wouldn't hurt too much except that the thought of anything coming out of that area is somewhat horrifying. There's a little more pressure and then it's all over.

At about 8 am we meet our nurse from the recovery floor and stop by the NICU on our way up to the new room. Landon looks so tiny in his isolette all hooked up to different machines. We touch and comfort him the best we can and then go up to our new room and pass out.


  1. Congrats again! I am so glad it was a good experience for you!!

  2. Oh my goodness. What a shock for me to read your blog and find out your son is here! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! So happy to hear that both mom and baby are doing good.

  3. Sounds like a great labor! I've heard Pitocin really makes it harder. My epidural never wore off and they gave me Benadryl about 30 minutes before pushing (the morphine made me itch). I felt the burning but it really wasn't that bad, which gets me back to my point that I think Pitocin is the root of all evil and should be banned. ;)

  4. Wow, thanks for that story! I didn't get to do most of that, so it was interesting to read about in detail.

  5. (P.S. - PT, if Pitocin were banned, I might be about 60 weeks pregnant right now!)