It was about 8:15am when I decided to go back to bed. They installed a birthing bar and I labored in many different positions over the next few hours. Primal noises, primal movements. With every contraction I needed to hold on to something with all my might: Tom, Katie, the birthing bar or in a few instances, Tom's hair (sorry love!).
Hour after hour after hour.. chugging along anxious to get this show on the road and even more anxious to meet our baby boy.
It was 9:15am when my midwife arrived. I had been laboring at Castle for over 10 hours! She checked me and I was dilated to 7cm. That was great, except my water still hadn't broken... they talked about breaking it but wanted to give me one more round of antibiotics first. So we had to wait... power on, breathe and wait.
By 11:45am I was dilated to 8cm (almost there!) and my contractions were SO STRONG. I was in a lot of pain now that I think back but in the moment I just did my best to get through one contraction at a time. I was still so determined and at this point and I was feeling strong and capable. I just kept thinking that he had to, had to come soon.
From 12pm-3pm I labored on but stayed right there at 8cm. What? No progress... I was 16 hours in, 8cm dilated but not making progress. I was starting to lose steam. It's so hard to really describe any of these moments but if I could, in this moment, READY would be the word. I was so ready. Doing my best to breathe but in reality, at this point, I was hollering (at the top of my lungs) through contraction after contraction.
Finally at 3pm they gave me one more dose of antibiotics and my midwife popped my water bag. We waited. Nothing. Stuck. I was stuck at 8cm.. then my cervix started to swell.
My midwife came in and sat down. She said they truly wanted to honor my birth plan but she also wanted to give me her honest opinion. My cervix was swelling and I wasn't dilating past 8cm. She really wanted to give me some pitocin to move things along, but it was up to me. Pitocin, she advised, would intensify my labor so she suggested an epidural along with it so I could rest, labor down and prepare for delivery.
In all honesty, I was in some serious pain and I was beyond exhausted. I talked to Tom and Katie and it didn't take me long to decide. "I'll take the epidural along with the pitocin.", I told her with confidence.
For a brief moment I was bummed, this was not the plan. This wasn't the plan at all but that feeling was so short lived. It felt like centuries until the Dr. arrived. I truly don't think I could have made it through one more contraction. He gave me the epidural at 4:15pm, 17 hours in, and I fell to the bed in total relief. The nurses covered me in warm blankets and I closed my eyes. There is no way to truly explain what I felt in the moment and I swear if I had the energy to cry tears of joy I would have... instead I drifted off to sleep silently thanking God.
So I napped. A glorious, glorious nap as my son labored down.
At 6:00pm I finally hit 10cm. When they let me know it was almost time to push I really couldn't believe it. His head was right there, I could feel it! I was doing it, we were doing it and after all the waiting our baby was almost here.
With a cue from my midwife, at 6:45pm, I began pushing. At this point I couldn't feel anything except for a little pressure. I had my husband holding one leg and my doula holding the other... I looked around and I swear there were 20 people in the room. A contraction would begin and they would all say in unison, "PUSH!"
This part felt very easy to me, and when the time came I'd just give it all I had. Everyone in the room would shower me with encouragement and compliments (they must have known how bad I needed to hear it, lol). I'd relax and then repeat.
I had been pushing for an easy 45 minutes. I felt his head moving down, and it was nearing the end. What a trippy, trippy feeling. We were about to meet our son!
In that moment I glanced over at Tom and I knew something was wrong (the monitor lost his heartbeat). As my midwife performed a swift episiotomy, the whole room yelled, "PUSH!!!". I closed my eyes and pushed with absolutely everything I had and at 7:29pm on January 2nd, my son was born.