Mason’s Birth Story: Part II

by Kim on March 28, 2012

Continued from Part I

When the doctor showed up to check me again at 7 PM, I thought there was no way I wasn’t at least 7 or 8 cm. I’d been laboring naturally for 12 hours at that point, 5 of them on Pitocin. And then the results came in: 5 cm.

5 CM!?!?!

I was trying hard to hold back the tears while I asked for the epidural. The nurse was great–knowing my “plan,” she asked whether I was absolutely sure and offered to try IV meds instead. But I was 100% sure. My body was resisting the contractions so much at this point that I knew I wouldn’t be able to relax and progress on my own anymore.

A half an hour or so later, the epidural was in. Brent said it looked like it was painful going in, but I don’t remember–I had several contractions during the process that took all of my energy and focus. The ten minutes I had to wait for the relief to kick in were the longest of the entire day. At first, I was only numb on the right side, but after a few adjustments…


Instantly, I was a new person, texting updates to my mom and checking Facebook like I hadn’t just been screaming in pain 15 minutes earlier. Although I hadn’t technically reached my dilation goal, I still felt that the timing was right. It was annoying being stuck on the bed and having no control over my legs (I would actually watch them start to slide toward the edge of the bed and have to call Brent to grab them before they slipped off–haha!). But it was SO amazing to look over at the monitor, see a contraction coming on, and feel ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Brent and I dozed, watched TV, and fiddled around on our phones for the next 2 hours, while contractions silently came and went. When the anesthesiologist came in to check on me, I proposed marriage. (Jk…but I did tell him he was my best friend.) Although I was worried about my labor hitting the wall, and the intervention train taking off, I was confident that I’d done the right thing. It had been a long day.

Less than 2 hours later (around 9 PM), the doctor showed up to check me again. When he said 9 cm, we were too stunned to react. I remember the nurse saying, “I’m not sure you guys heard him, but he just said 9 centimeters.” Holy crap! In the end, the epidural was the most effective strategy of the day. Who knew?

What felt like seconds later, they were telling me I was complete (10 cm dilated). It was time to push.

I was pretty out of it from dozing, and super low on energy from eating barely anything all day, but I was determined to be a good pusher. I knew it would be tricky pushing with an epidural, since you don’t have your instincts to rely on and have to think through the actions rather than just letting them happen naturally. But it was even harder than I’d expected. The nurse’s instructions sounded simple but were hard to actually carry out. There were five different things I was trying to remember and execute at the same time, and it felt incredibly unnatural and awkward.

About an hour into pushing, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it. I took note of what I was doing whenever the nurse praised me (“that’s it! that’s the push!”), and tried to reproduce those exact movements with more intensity each time. It was exhausting–not because it was painful, but because it was such a repetitive, lengthy process. I actually remember thinking about how bored I was. And despite the nurse’s compliments, I didn’t feel like I was actually getting anywhere. I didn’t think there was any way this would actually work.

Eventually, I realized what a perfect epidural I had. I started being able to recognize when a contraction was coming on without checking the monitor (I could feel the pressure, but not the pain), and eventually, I actually felt the natural urge to push.

Around 10:30 PM, things started happening fast. The nurse had told us her shift was ending at 11, and although we were just joking about a 11 PM deadline, I think I was actually subconsciously holding myself to that. I was giving absolutely everything I had to pushing. When the baby’s heart rate started to drop a bit, the nurse gave me an oxygen mask–which was annoying, because I was feeling extremely nauseated and was so sure I was going to puke in my own face!

At one point, the doctor announced that he could see the head and called Brent over to check it out. (Reality check!! After 10 LONG months, this was really happening!) Suddenly, the urge to push multiplied by about a thousand. The doctor kept reminding me to wait for a contraction to push, but the pressure was so intense that I would secretly push a little when he wasn’t looking (I would later find out I was giving myself hemorrhoids in the process–oops!–but it was honestly SO hard to stop myself).

In the final ten minutes before Mason was born, several things happened, including a second degree episiotomy, but I couldn’t focus on anything but the intense pressure I felt. I remember feeling like he HAD to be halfway out by now, and couldn’t they just grab him?? I started feeling extremely light-headed between pushes and announced about 20 times that I was going to pass out. When the doctor was mulling over the decision about whether to do the episiotomy, my response was, “just get him out!!”

So he did. At 11:03 PM (only 3 minutes past the deadline!), I felt the baby pass out of me (pressure, not pain! best epidural ever) along with a HUGE gush of water. When they laid him on my chest, I started to bawl and hyperventilate like a maniac in between trying to talk to the baby. He was silent at first, and his skin was a little grey, but after a couple seconds, he let out his first big cry. It was the most overwhelmingly emotional, wonderful moment of my life. I couldn’t believe it was all over.

And then again, it was all just beginning.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Em @ Love A Latte July 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Aw this is such a nice recap. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I have no idea what to expect with labor, but I really like reading other’s stories!
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