My baby was ten days overdue.
We scheduled the induction but I was hopeful, right up until the end, that I might go into labour spontaneously. My daughter had been born the day before her scheduled induction, so it was possible. I had heard so many negative stories about inductions and my daughter's birth had been so quick and straight forward, that I was really hoping for a repeat performance. It was not to be. It was bizarre to go to bed the night before and know for certain that the next day I would have my baby, and to know that it would be a very difficult day to get there.
8am. On the morning of my induction, my parents picked up the older kids and we headed to the hospital to register at 8 am. My doctor arrived at 8:30am and we talked about the options, which was a review from my last appointment. An internal exam showed that I was already well on my way to having the baby, so we decided to start with just breaking my waters. We were hopeful that that would start labour within a few hours. My doctor broke my waters at 9am, and headed to her office. Shawn and I settled in to enjoy the last few hours of quiet.
10 am. We were hungry so Shawn went and bought us an early lunch. Surely, I would be in heavy labour at noon, and we thought it was prudent to eat in advance.
1 pm. The foreseen heavy labour did not arrive at lunch. I was having contractions, but they were so small and so inconsistent that they could not be called labour. At this point, it was time for us to get serious. Shawn's mom delivered cookies, and we started walking up and down the hospital stairs.
1:30 pm. The cookies were gone. I started jogging up and down the hospital stairs.
2:30 pm. My doctor returned. Almost six hours in, and I still had nothing to show for it. So, she asked me: what do you want to do? In my mind, I had given myself a cut-off of 3pm before switching to Pitocin. It was time to start the IV. She thought it was a good idea and she said it shouldn't take much to get things going. After all, I had started the day 3-4 cm dialated and 80% effaced, and spent almost six hours with ruptured membranes. The tipping point had to be close.
3:00 pm. The nurse inserted the IV and I started the Pitocin. There was a shift change, and an very perky nurse took over. She told me that she was only on until 7pm, and she was confident that she would get to meet my baby. As the hour wore on, I started getting mild contractions at more consistent intervals, but it was nothing major. They hooked up the monitors to track my contractions and the baby's heart beat (that's the part that freaked me out the most about induction: "why do you have to keep me hooked to these?" Response: "Sometimes, if the dose is too high, you can just go into one continuous contraction or the baby can get too stressed." Right. No biggie?) At some point, I think this is when I started joking that the baby had wrapped its little feet around my Fallopian tubes and was hanging on for dear life.
4:00 pm. I learned that the standard procedure is to up the dose of Pitocin every hour if its not working. It wasn't working: Perky nurse upped the dose. Within 10 minutes I was in labour. Like breathing-through-it contractions. I remembered why getting pregnant was a bad idea. But Perky Nurse was perfect for me. When she saw I was in good humour, she joked with me between contractions and encouraged me in a totally honest, not raa-raa-raa kind of way. At one point, she looked on the contraction monitor, looked at me, and when it finished, she said kind of surprised " what would rate your pain at?" It was an eight or a nine. "Eight or nine? Eight or nine! Usually at this point I'm scraping some women off the ceiling!"
5:30ish. The timeline started to get blurry at this point. Everyone on the ward knew that my last labour had happened really fast, and when I felt the need to push, my daughter was born minutes later. So Perky Nurse did not leave my side from about 4pm on and at 5:30pm, I said I was getting faint feelings so she called the doctor right away. It seemed a little premature to me, and for the next hour things got a little awkward for me and I felt really bad, because the two nurses and doctor did not want to leave the room for fear I would have an insta-baby. I did not. I did however have ridiculous contractions (Perky Nurse: "There are some women that I want my teenage daughter to see in labour to keep her away from boys. You are not one of them."). I never knew what was coming and so I couldn't really tell anyone else in the room if I was getting closer are just stalling. That's the thing about inductions - sometimes I would have a 4 minute long contraction that was manageable and other times I would have a two minute contraction that took my breath away. Sometimes I would have 10 seconds before a new wave came, sometimes I had 3 minutes.
6:30ish. I was done with it. Or at least I wanted to be. I kept asking the doctor to check me even though I didn't feel an intense urge to push and finally at around 6:30, she said there was a small part that wasn't fully dilated, but I was close enough that I wanted to push it would probably be fine and progress the labour. On the next contraction, I pushed. I pushed hard. There was no baby. You have to understand that with my daughter, when I said I was done it was over - I pushed, she came out. So I was shocked that not all labours end that way. My doctor explained: "Its going to take time, and this is exactly what is supposed to happen. The baby has to rock up and down a few times." That sounded ridiculous to me, not that I told her as much. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm going to work that hard to get a baby down, he sure isn't going to go back up again. I braced myself for the next contraction. It was going to happen. I was NOT going to experience that kind of discomfort again. Now, its worth mentioning that as a quieter person I've always wondered if I were attacked or really needed to scream for help, would I be able to set off the siren? I can now tell you with certainty, I can indeed. I apologized to the audience between pushes and we braced ourselves. I was ready, I was pushing, I was screaming, and he wasn't coming out. I stopped and - I'll never forget this moment - I looked at my doctor and said "I can't" and she looked right back at me and said "Yes you can, its RIGHT THERE." And I did. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
I cannot say the following sentence without sounding like I'm bragging: I gave birth to a 10 pound, 10 ounce baby. They placed him on my chest, all warm and squishy and ginormous and it was such a rush. He was crying and I was hushing him and we were both just trying to breath. We stopped. We caught our breath. We snuggled. There is nothing like it. Nothing.
As they were cleaning me up and I literally was so taxed that I could not move my muscles from the waist down my doctor said, "So do you want to know what went wrong?" Gulp, yes, because that was NOT like the last time. "Well, first of all he's HUGE. But secondly, he came out with his arm wrapped around his forehead." Perky Nurse: "That added a good three centimeters!" Did I mention I loved my nurse? By this time my ego was huge. All in all, it was horrible, but it went exactly as it should and I know looking back, I will have good feelings about it.