Here we go, my Labor Day...
Rivers' Birth Story
We arrived at the hospital on Saturday December 10th at around 5:00. We carried in my labor bag and took the elevator to the third floor. We walked to the desk and I signed in my name. They gave me a few papers to sign and told us they'd call us back soon. I sat there and told Seth that this wasn't happening. I was sure they would send us back home. No way could you just walk in there, sign a paper and start the process of labor. They called us back to the window, gave us our bracelets and walked us to our delivery room. Talk about surreal! Walking into a room pregnant and knowing that you aren't leaving this room without your baby. Wow. Reality! A few nurses came in and started my IV, but only after a few unsuccessful attempts, ouch. My mom, Aunt and sisters got to the hospital pretty early on and we all just sat around for a while anxiously waiting for the doctor.
My belly was hooked up to a fetal heart monitor, the doctor placed a small pill into my cervix, and induction had finally begun around 6:00 pm. I remember Baba, my dad, my Pap, Helen, Joe, and Narissa had all arrived at some point. My friend Autumn stopped in and gave me a hug. Baba came in with her camera and took a few pictures with me in early labor and I was all smiles. Early on we watched the monitor as the waves went up, showing a contraction and I just sort of sat there not feeling anything yet. I was really worried that the pill wouldn't jump start the labor and that I would have to use Pitocin. I had read every baby book, blog, birth story I could get my hands on and had heard negative things about a Pitocin induction; namely that it was nearly impossible for an all natural drug free childbirth with a Pitocin induction. I stayed positive though, and to my surprise my nurses told me that I was actually in the early stages of labor on my own and that the pill should help me to contract more frequently soon. Hearing this gave me a small boost of confidence. After another hour, I could start to feel the contractions as I watched them rise up on the monitor. It felt uncomfortable, but bearable. At that point I decided to start practicing using "the breath" that I had learned in birthing class and listening to my HypnoBabies Birthing CDs . The tapes were so relaxing and really helped me to focus. I had dreamed for months about what my labor would be like, and it was quiet. My eyes stayed closed almost the whole time. I tried really hard to focus and stay calm. There were three people allowed into my delivery room at a time and each time a new person switched in I felt their love. I always remember when Helen came in and saw me in hard labor. She held my hand and told me "you are surrounded by love'. She couldn't have been more right. My sister Amy flew in from North Carolina to support me when I needed her the most. She held my hand through my toughest moments of insufferable back labor and got me through each pressure wave. She knew what I needed to hear and she got me through some of the hardest moments of my life. My mom played with my hair and held me. My Aunt massaged my legs and feet. Seth sat behind me in the hospital bed and put pressure on my back to ease my pain. I was fed ice chips and had my face cooled with rags. I was writhing in pain. I wanted to cry and lose control, but I didn't. I was surrounded by the most intense love I have ever felt. That room was bursting full of peace and love. Baby Rivers was going to be born into the perfect room. Right outside, the rest of our family was waiting and praying. My water broke around 1:00 am. I remember saying "something's happening down there"! They all reassured me that this is good, your body is doing exactly as it should, good job. There was lots of positivity. The hours went on and I started to feel weaker. I was getting worn down and started to second guess a drug free birth. I remember asking for an epidural. I had told Seth previously to discourage me from this, because I knew that I really wanted to see what I could do without it. I reached a point though where I was mentally worn out. My doctor's shift had ended and a new one was assigned, Dr. England. He asked me "Why are you putting yourself through unnecessary pain? Take the epidural." This was horrible. His words made me doubt myself and I became terrified. I am saddened that I let this man break me mentally, but I am also grateful for his ability to safely deliver my child. I made it through six hours of un-medicated hard labor. I am very proud of this. I got my epidural probably around 1:30 AM or so. I remember feeling very cold and shaky when I got it. I was told to nap for a bit, which is sort of impossible when you are about to give birth haha. I did rest a bit and at 5:50 AM I was told that I was ready to push. Everything was surreal. It was like a dream.