I labored without pain meds from 1:30am to 2:30pm the next day. Progression was slow and steady with checks at 2 cm, 3-4 cm, 4-5 cm. Those “coupling” contractions were so intense they brought me to the floor and took my breath away. There was no time for rest and recovery. Every contraction was followed by what felt like an aftershock. Jen worked with me on breathing and trying to stay calm. Dave and Jen worked together massaging me and holding me as I contracted. The doctor and nurses were waiting for “regular,” “organized” contractions.
Finally, I was in active labor, 6cm dilated. However, the doctor was looking for contractions to become more regular and they weren’t. Also, my water hadn’t broken. I was so exhausted and in so much pain and would have had so many hours before delivery that I decided to get an epidural and Pitocin to help regulate things and move them along for fear I would need a C-section if I became too exhausted to push.
Even though I had wanted an unmedicated labor, the epidural was such a relief. After so many painful hours I got to rest and so did Jen and Dave. The contractions became more regular and I was 8cm dilated when the doc broke my water by 7pm. They say pushing usually takes 45 minutes to 2 hours. After 2 hours, the baby still did not appear. The doc threatened a C-section if I didn’t progress. Pushing was becoming exhausting. After all that work the thought of a C-section terrified me so much I pushed with renewed vigor and determination, and with considerable pain, especially in one hot spot on the right side that the epidural couldn’t seem to reach. Nurses and the doctor adjusted the Pitocin and epidural trying to balance pain relief with maintaining good contractions. After 4 hours of intense pushing Henry finally decided to join us. He was 7 lbs and 12.5 ozs. He got a near perfect Apgar score which is good because we will expect his future test scores to remain at that level. His birthday is October 26th at 10:28pm. The doctors were amazed by how healthy and resilient Henry was during a 34 hour labor–they called the two of us “troopers.”
The Lenox Hill nurses were incredible and so respectful of our birth plan. We were in labor so long we got to work with nurses Erica, Donna, Lisa, Ellie, Kristin, and Gabrielle. Jen Buice, our doula, was incredible and so supportive physically and emotionally to both me and Dave. We cannot say enough about her.