"I pushed for 3 hours without any progress at all."
I went into preterm labor at 32 weeks and had been on bed rest for almost 6 weeks. Toward the end, I was so tired of being stuck at home that I was ready to try anything to get the baby out. I was becoming so anxious to meet my little boy and I knew the time was almost here.
Everyone had been joking that it was going to happen during the weekend that my husband, Joe, was out of town deer hunting. While I was certain I would end up going past my due date since that was just my luck. As it turns out, everyone else was right this time!
On Saturday November 16th, I started having regular contractions around 8 p.m., but I didn’t think much of them since I had been having contractions for over a month. I tried to get some sleep that night but wasn’t successful at all. Around 4 a.m. on the 17th, I was uncomfortable enough that I started timing the contractions and began to think it might be the real deal. They were roughly 5 minutes and lasting 45 seconds but they weren’t terribly strong, so I wasn’t convinced. I was 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant, so I didn’t think it could possibly be time since I was sure I would be overdue!
Around 7:00 a.m. that morning, it got to the point where I couldn’t talk through some of them, so I decided to call my doctor. He told me it sounded like real labor and to head to L&D to get it checked out. I texted my husband to let him know that I was going to go get checked out, but not to rush home because I was certain that it was a false alarm. However, my mom had very quick labors with both my brother and I, so my dad made the decision to head home since it was possible that I would be the same way. I called my mom and asked her to take me to the hospital since I didn’t think I’d be able to drive through the contractions. We arrived at 7:45 a.m., and I was still convinced that it wasn’t real and they would send me home. Turns out I was 4 cm dilated and 90 percent effaced. It was definitely baby time!
I wanted to give birth without any pain medications, so my mom and I walked and worked through my contractions together until Joe arrived a few hours later. It was getting pretty painful and a lot harder to get through the contractions, but I was pleased with how things were going.
After 5 hours of laboring at the hospital, they finally checked me and informed me that I had only progressed to 5 cm. I got extremely discouraged and had a little meltdown and said I wasn’t going to be able to continue at that rate without medication. I got into the tub to labor for a while and had to vocalize through each contraction. After a short while, I told Joe that I was done and needed the epidural. He told me to get checked again and make that decision once I knew how things were moving. Sure enough, I had progressed from 5 to 8 cm in less than an hour so I was feeling more confident in my ability.
My water broke shortly after being checked, which caused there to be less than 10 seconds of rest between contractions. I asked for the epidural and the nurse said no, since she knew how badly I wanted to do it without. I yelled at her and said some awful things, so she ended up leaving my room. Luckily, another nurse came in and she agreed to call the anesthesiologist for me. Within 30 minutes they had my epidural placed and I felt almost instant relief. I did not and do not regret my decision to give up on trying to do it naturally. The only regret I have is not getting it sooner!
Within a few minutes I was fully dilated, but Camden was still high in my pelvis so they let me labor down for 3 hours. He hadn’t made any progress moving down in that time, so we decided to start pushing and see if that brought him down.
I pushed for 3 hours without any progress at all. He was still quite high and they determined that his face was sideways and it would probably take several more hours of pushing. At this point I had been in labor for roughly 27 hours, so I made the decision to have a c-section rather than continue trying. My doctor agreed that it was the right call to make, and told me that it probably would have ended in a c-section even if I had the strength to keep pushing.
Camden was born at 10:53 p.m. I kept waiting to hear his screams, but they didn’t come. I asked the nurse what was wrong, and she said he needed just a little bit of help and that it was totally normal with c-section babies. I started crying and waiting for his cries. Finally after a few minutes, my sweet boy let out a few weak and pathetic cries. It was the most beautiful sound ever.
I found out after the fact that he refused to breathe on his own and actually had to be resuscitated. It was always the plan that Joe would be by the baby’s side the entire time if anything went wrong and he followed the plan to a “T.” Once he started breathing on his own, he was behaving like any healthy baby would and seemed to be in the clear. Just to be safe, they took him to the NICU for a few hours to be monitored. I am so thankful that they allowed me to kiss him and touch him before he left. His APGAR scores were 3, 9 and 10.
I think it was around 2 a.m. on the 18th when I finally got to hold my little man. It was the most glorious moment of my entire life and it made all of the pain and frustration of the last 9 months worth it. I instantly fell in love and have been falling more and more in love ever since. I cannot wait to see what kind of man he turns into!
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!