My due date was November 28th but I woke up having contractions at 2:30 a.m. on November 30th. At my appointment with the midwife a few days earlier, I was told that the baby was head down but that his spine was to mine and that I should try and turn him by getting down on all fours and or by leaning over an exercise ball a few times each day. That's what I did, as well as walking in circles, until my doula arrived at 8 a.m. From then until midnight that night, I walked in circles around the house and the block and did lots of lunges trying to turn him. When I could no longer walk or talk during a contraction, the doula said it was time to head to the hospital.
We got there at about 1 a.m. on December 1st and I was checked in and told that I was dilated to 4 cm. I was planning on having a water birth, so I sat in the tub for a while but my back started to hurt, so leaning against the tub didn't help. Then I stood in the shower for a while leaning over with my hands on a birth ball but that also became painful. During several hours I tried leaning on my husband Jasper, slow dancing with him and sitting in the tub again, but my back just started hurting more and more and the pain got harder and harder to bear, plus the contractions started getting closer and closer together. I sat in the tub for two hours at one point and it felt like one really long contraction. Just getting out of the tub, I had to stop twice to get through contractions.
At some point that evening I was told that I was only dilated to 7.5 cm and my water was broken by the midwife. I was then told to try lying on the bed on my knees and my forearms to try and turn him, and somehow I did that for half an hour even though the pain was excruciating. Though I tried to breathe slowly and deeply, I think I cried and screamed most of the time. After that, all I could do was stand up—and I could barely do that without being in incredible pain. Then somebody said the word epidural. I had wanted to deliver naturally and had written a birth plan to this effect, but at that point I decided to ignore it and asked to be given the epidural. I am so glad that I did.
I was able to sleep for a few hours and at some point, maybe while I was on my knees and forearms, the baby turned. While I slept, though, my contractions started getting farther and farther apart so I was given Pitocin (also not on the birth plan). Soon after waking up, I realized that I felt like I needed to push. So soon after that, I started pushing … and then I pushed for five hours. I don't know if he kept getting stuck under my pubic bone or if every time I pushed I stopped before I had pushed enough. What kept going through my mind was what we had learned in natural childbirth class, how trying to have a baby on your back with your knees up was counter-productive and that I should be squatting, yet I couldn't because of the epidural. However, I was able to deliver him vaginally at 11:53 a.m. on December 2nd, 57.5 hours after waking up with contractions on November 30th.
We had previously asked the doula how long the longest birth she had attended lasted and she didn't want to tell us at first so we wouldn't get hung up on it: 31 hours. She left the hospital after having been with us for 53 hours! I'm not bitter about not having had my natural birth. I did everything that I could to turn him but the back labor was just too painful without the epidural.
So there it is. No way I'm letting Evert forget how many hours I was in labor with him!