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My Labor Story

Note: This is the longest entry I've ever written. I wrote this labor story weeks ago and kept meaning to edit it down before posting but finally, I decided just to post it as is. I completely understand if you skip this post but since some of you asked for it, here it is...the long version of my labor story.

So I was that girl that went into the hospital (twice!) thinking I was in labor only to be sent back home both times. Having a child at home, going into the hospital is no simple feat. We had to call and wake friends and family in the middle of the night to come over (bags packed to sleep over) and stay with A. My mom, who was on a trip with friends in Korea cut her vacation short to come to Chicago a week early when I told her of my contractions (despite my pleas not to come early). How could I not feel like the boy who cried wolf?

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The truth is...I was terrified and it was my friend S that did it. She had her son (her 2nd also) a few weeks before I started feeling contractions. She said the contractions were mild and then, all of a sudden in a matter of minutes, they were coming so quickly and painfully. She rushed to the hospital (after a pit stop to the gas station..can you believe they were out of gas??) and was pronounced 10 cm dilated with no time for an epidural. The entire labor took 3-4 hours! Our hospital was a good 20 minutes away and I was terrified of getting there too late. I admit I'm a huge wimp and never considered laboring without the epidural. It was actually a huge fear of mine!

So...starting at 38 weeks, I started feeling contractions. They weren't painful but they were pretty regular. There would be nights when they would be 4-5 minutes apart for 2 hours straight. Then the next day, the contractions would be more sporadic and all over the place. This went on for 2 weeks and it was extremely frustrating and confusing. Also, I felt so much pressure that I hadn't felt with A even at 40 weeks, which made me think even more that I was close.

The first time I went to the hospital, I wasn't dilated at all. The very next day, I had my regular doctors appointment and I was now 2-3 cm dilated. Again, confusing! I thought I dilated so quickly overnight so I would probably continue to progress quickly. I was wrong. I stayed 2-3 cm for 2 weeks until I finally begged to be induced.

On Monday, 10/24, we arrived at the hospital at 7 pm. I was still only 2-3 cm dilated. The nurse assigned to me was so sweet but new and inexperienced. She didn't know how to turn on the contraction tracking machine and her hands would shake a lot. She had to keep paging another nurse to ask for help. It was far from comforting to be under her care. When it came time to put my IV in, it took her and another nurse 3 tries to get it in properly. My left arm, where they made the first 2 attempts was so swollen, painful and badly bruised for weeks afterward. When the newbie nurse's shift ended at 9 pm, I think I bid her farewell a little too enthusiastically. My new nurse was much older, very experienced and had a soothing tone to her voice. I started to relax. They started me on pitocin and the contractions began shortly after. They weren't painful for the first couple of hours but around 11 pm, I started to feel more pressure and pain. Not unbearable by any means but definitely getting more intense. I told the nurse I would want the epidural soon but not quite yet. At midnight, she came back with the anesthesiologist and I was glad. After the drugs kicked in, I was completely numb from the waist down and no longer feeling the contractions, I was able to rest. Hubbie and I both slept from midnight till around 5:30 am except for when the doctors came to check on how I was progressing. At  around 5:45 am, they checked me and I was fully dilated at 10 cm. Yay! But then we had to wait for my doctor to get in. She finally arrived a little after 6. The nurses tried to put my legs on the stirrups but they just flopped down. So much for being modest. I was completely numb and couldn't feel a thing. People always worry that they won't know how to push if they're numb but with both A and D, I couldn't feel a thing but somehow managed to push them out quickly. I pushed through 3 contractions and around 8 minutes with D.

When she came out, I remember my doctor saying "woah she's big!" as they put her on my chest. I felt so overwhelmed as I held her repeating "oh my gosh oh my gosh" over and over again. I was tearing up as I held her and examined her face.

I should explain. When A was born, she was rushed to the NICU right away. I never got to hold her or even look at her until hours later. When we finally were able to visit her in NICU, she was in an incubator with an IV and all kinds of needles poking her. It was completely heartbreaking and terrifying. I remember standing outside of her incubator and just bawling my eyes out while holding her little hands. She was born with a little pocket of air in one of her lungs but apparently it's pretty common and usually closes up on it's own, which is what happened with A. But they had to keep her and monitor her until it closed up. So anyway, I never got to experience that traditional first meeting with your infant when I had A.

So going back to D, it was absolutely perfect. After I had a few moments with her, the nurses took her to the side of the room to do their tests. They were like "let's guess how much she weighs" and one of the nurses said 8 lbs and Hubbie and I laughed as in "yeah right!". A was 7 lbs, 6 oz and I was expecting something similar. Then, they announced "8 lbs, 6 oz"! We were shocked! Then, my doctor said if I have a third and it's a boy, it might be over 9 lbs! Yikes!

After they finished up, they brought D over to me swaddled and I was able to nurse right away for almost an hour. I was so proud of D for latching right away and it was such an amazing bonding experience. Another thing I missed out on with A.

My doctor said that most people labor similarly for all their children and she was right. My water didn't break for both, I labored for about 8-10 hours for both, and I pushed for a short amount of time (8 mins and 22 mins) for both. I'm so thankful that I've had easy labors without complications and that I have 2 beautiful, healthy girls. Sorry this was such a long post. I'm seriously impressed if anyone read through this whole thing!

For those of you with children, I'd love to hear your labor story even if it's just the cliff notes version! If you don't have children, what do you fear most when you think about labor?

Jessica Cole (January 6, 2012 at 7:51 AM)  

I had my son in 2008. Contractions started at one min past midnight, I had just gotten into bed & was exhasuted!! My husband refused to get out of bed and so I laboured on my own for the first 2 hours. I rang the hospital who said to take a bath and have some paracetemol. I did have a bath but the hubs had used all the paracetemol up. I was also extremely sick all through my labour, every contraction I was sick. I got to the hospital about 3am and they said I was only 2cm so no paid relief. Gas&air can cause sickness so couldn't have that but they did give me an anti-sickness injection which worked a treat! I didn't want an epidural but as soon as I felt the pain I asked for one! They said it was too early but I went from 2cm to fully dialated by the next check (roughly an hour) and so was too far to get anything. By that time I had a bit of gas&air but it made me really thirsty so I went without! Rory was born at 8.32am weighing 8lb 2oz. He was very content and didn't even cry. I had remained almost silent through my labour as I didn't want to be the embarressing screaming mum so the midwives said that helped it be quick and easy. Also I figured the baby woudln't know what was going on and to start screaming might frighten him. I gave birth lying flat on the bed as they wanted to monitor me (i was totally fine) but I had wanted to try and give birth in the squat position as this widens your pelvis by roughly 33%...whatever! But I was lucky to have a perfect delivery and the midwives said I was to have a home birth next time - don't know about that!! Congrats on D she is beautiful like her big sister! And sorry for the longest comment ever! Jessica x

pearls and green tea (January 6, 2012 at 7:57 AM)  

Thanks jessica for sharing your story! I love hearing people's labor stories. You were a trooper!! Was the pain bearable? What's gas and air?

christiana (January 6, 2012 at 11:20 AM)  

i love labor stories! glad dana was so easy too!

Anonymous –  (January 6, 2012 at 11:28 AM)  

Aww. My two pregnancies resulted in c-sections. My cervix did not want my kids to come out. It wouldn't dilate more than 2-3cm, even 8-hours after pitocin.

You are strong [you have to remember that]. Labor pains and giving birth are unlike any other. Love the pictures, especially the last one.

Beads in a Bag (January 6, 2012 at 12:06 PM)  

Congrats again! D is huge and adorable! I have a toddler and I was blessed to have an easy labor as well! everything went on schedule and all. i felt that the recovery process was more painful! couldn't sit down for a week! ouch!!

Anonymous –  (January 6, 2012 at 8:18 PM)  

Aw, I love reading labour stories too, they alwasy make me cry although i didn't cry when my son was born! To cut a short story short (!), my labour started at 4.35pm with contractions 15mins apart and my waters trickling out and my son was born that same day at 8.03pm!!! He's my first by the way :) the downside of a very quick labour is that you get back to back contractions from the start so I had no rest at all. I had a totally natural labour just like i wanted and had no pain relief at all. it was the most amazing experience of my life and would do it over and over again if i didn't have to deal with the terrible twos!!! By the way, gas and air is entonox to help with pain. it's popular in the UK, you just inhale the gas and it's supposed to help. I hated it, it distracted me from th task ahead :)

Truly Smitten (January 6, 2012 at 9:54 PM)  

I enjoyed reading your labor story! Dana is absolutely adorbs!

5inchpumps (January 6, 2012 at 11:15 PM)  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Priscilla Spicer (January 7, 2012 at 12:37 PM)  

I love hearing about other people's labor stories because it's always different! This may sound crazy but I'm jealous you felt all those contractions at home. I guess I read enough of people's labor experiences to think that I'd have that whole "OMG honey my water broke!" episode but that never happened. I went in on July 2nd 9pm thinking my water broke but once they took my vitals and determined I had preclampsia, I had to be induced, baby came out July 3rd 530pm. I think I only pushed for 1.5hrs and left hospital July5th. So it went by pretty fast yet during my stay, I kept thinking to myself "I'm only having one child! No more!". Fast forward 6 months later and I'm already going through newborn / pregnancy withdrawals. haha. It'll be exciting to see how round 2 will go :)

Jessica Cole (January 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM)  

I've suffered with back issues in the past and so my pain threshold is quite high. It really is a pain like no other but I wasn't really given any other choice! For me personally though it was ok and within an hour I was bouncing round the hospital ward with my baby! But labour is always hard no matter what, and I think just to get through a pregnancy is amazing!! Well done on your two beautiful girls :)

The Little Style File (January 8, 2012 at 9:44 AM)  

Beautiful baby! I love reading birth stories, thanks for sharing!

style fare (January 8, 2012 at 10:11 AM)  

Thanks for sharing, Jiye - it almost brought a tear to my eye. I can't imagine going through a pregnancy and labor just yet. Dana is beautiful and we can't wait to meet her one day! I don't know why, but she makes me laugh already. ;)


Anonymous –  (January 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM)  

THanks for sharing this precious moment :)

LeRae (January 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM)  

Love the last picture of little D. She is so perfect!
Thanks for sharing :)

borrowfromtheboys (January 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM)  

hahah..i tried commenting on this before but did it through my old name :)

i loved reading this story...and hoping for the day i get to meet both a & d !

B's mommy (April 17, 2012 at 5:07 PM)  

Just got to read your post on birth and labor of your second baby and I just had mine (1 month ago) and I cannot begin to praise you for the way you eloquently put into to words. I am so tired that when I begin to pen anything about my baby, I become super sleepy. I'm so bad... thanks for sharing. I hope to write it well enough to share it on my blog.

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