As some readers may remember from previous posts (this one in particular) our second child has a small physical anomaly. She is healthy and normal in every way, but she just looks slightly different from most babies. Because of this, it was suggested to me that I not carry this child past 40 weeks. If I didn’t spontaneously go into labor by then, my midwife strongly encouraged inducing labor.
(It was explained to Beard and I that most often when a child is born with a missing extremity or part of an extremity it is due to poor circulation in utero. It was for that reason that my midwife was unsure of the health of the placenta past 40 weeks.)
Just under a year and a half ago, I carried Bitsy Girl until 42 weeks and one day and still had to be induced. Labor was very long (read over a full day) and hard on both of us. In the end, she didn’t appear to be postterm, but her due date was more than likely miscalculated. I feared a similar situation would happen with this pregnancy.
I had a regularly scheduled appointment the Thursday before my due date, and I knew I would be scheduling an induction. I was dreading it. Because I was picky about which midwife in my practice I wanted attending this child’s birth, I ended up scheduling the following day: Friday November 30.
Originally, this child and I had a deal: she would be born in November because I liked that month better. In order to fulfill her promise to me, this baby would have to take shorter than Bitsy Girl to get herself out of my womb.
With Bitsy Girl being spoiled at my in-laws’, Beard and I went into the hospital at 8 am, in hopes of having our second baby that day. This was no small feat considering our first child took her sweet time being born.
The midwife suggested Cytotec combined with a cervical balloon to induce labor a bit quicker, but still more naturally than Pitocin. While attempting to insert the cervical balloon, she accidentally broke my water. I was excited, but no one else seemed to be. more than two hours later, I realized why: breaking water doesn’t necessarily induce labor. And it didn’t; despite the hundreds of laps I walked around the hospital waiting room. So the midwife administered the cytotec and instructed me to walk some more. Four hours later I still was not having any significant contractions. I was “too happy”, as the nurses kept saying.
Around 6 pm, the midwife gave me a choice between another dose of Cytotec or Pitocin. With only six hours left in November and aching feet from hours of walking, I chose Pitocin, knowing that when labor started, it would start hard and fast.
Within a half hour, strong contractions began, and I was rocking on a birthing ball, squeezing Beard’s hand through each contraction. I felt like I had a rhythm and could handle the pain for a while, until the contractions increased in intensity again. I moved to the bathtub for a while, but I wasn’t allowed to turn on the jets since women on Pitocin wear fetal monitoring pads constantly. After what felt like hours but was actually only about a half an hour, I told Beard I wanted an epidural.
I had been trying to avoid getting pain medication, but I was simply too tired to continue. It felt like another hour before the anesthesiologist came in to put in the IV and administer the pain medication. By then my contractions were getting more and more intense, causing me to literally dig my nails into Beard’s hand during each one.
I don’t remember if it was 10 or 20 minutes later, but soon after I felt relief from my contractions I felt the urge to push. It was about 10 pm when the midwife assured me that I was fully dilated and could begin pushing. Still tired from my day of walking, I wasn’t sure I was up for the task. I think I remember telling her I simply couldn’t birth this baby. She and Beard continued to encourage me, and when the baby’s head began to emerge, the midwife had me feel her. I knew she was almost here.
At 11:04 pm, our daughter came into this world. Beard proudly announced to me, “It’s a girl!”, and she was paced on my chest, crying and gurgling. Nurses sucked out fluids from her face and had me encourage her to cry. The midwife clamped the cord for Beard to cut.
We remarked at how much she looked like Bitsy Girl, and Beard took out his phone to show off our oldest daughter’s chubby cheeks and curls. The atmosphere in the room was light-hearted and joyful.
The nurses finally took Squishy Girl to be weighed and measured, then handed her back to me to breastfeed for the first time.
By midnight, Beard, Squishy Girl, and I had been brought into our room in the Mother-Baby Unit to get some rest. We were all tired, but generally glad to be alive and well.