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Not the usual: The birth of Amelia Grace Epidural

Not the usual: The birth of Amelia Grace

"He said I would have some pushing to do and might even need a vacuum."

I am a labor and delivery nurse but I did not deliver at the hospital where I worked. I woke up on my due date with contractions every 15 minutes or so; nothing too major yet. Plus, I knew I had an appointment that day anyways but my OB was out of town and I had my first appointment without her. We had a great u/s (I had not had one since 20 weeks) to begin with. I was placed on the monitor at the office and saw my beautiful baby’s strip and confirmed my contractions now every 7-10 minutes. The doctor was really great and he checked me to see the progress and said I was still 1-2 cm but 90% effaced and the baby was ‘low’. He was all set to send me on my way when he checked my blood pressure and it was high. After rechecking a couple of times, he told me that I needed to go to labor and delivery to see what was going on.

I called my mom who lives 10 hours away and told her that I was being sent over, but that she didn’t need to leave yet. We still didn’t know what would happen. We ran home to grab a few things and my contractions started to get a little more intense but nothing too horrible, just more noticeable. I was admitted in the hospital. I told my husband to leave our stuff in the car in case they sent us home and we looked silly bringing all kinds of bags and pillows! My blood pressure was still up so they ran some extra blood work and had me lay on my side and try to relax. I told my husband that I didn’t want them to know I was an L&D nurse in case I was acting crazy if I was in labor! A few hours later, my blood pressure had calmed down, my labs came back, but I was still contracting every 5 minutes or so, slowly gaining intensity. The nurse checked me and I was…1-2 cms. I remember thinking, “Come on!”

After speaking to the doctor on call, the nurse said they decided to keep me and just induce me in the morning since I was 40 weeks pregnant. Now, the entire pregnancy, I was against getting induced. I’ve seen where the labors are more intense and you have to be on the monitors the whole time. I wanted to try to labor at home and come in fully in labor but my weary mind said, “Induction? Sounds great!” They fed me dinner, asked if I needed any pain medicine for the contractions which I declined and gave me Ambien to help me sleep.

Around 2:30 am I woke up in serious pain! After a few minutes I called for the nurse and she checked me and said I was 3-4 centimeters! Hooray! I went in labor on my own. At this point I had been in early labor, I realized, for almost 24 hours and I decided that I had experienced enough so when she offered me an epidural I said, “Yes, please!” The anesthesiologist was busy doing c/s so I did accept some pain medicine while I waited. I was in happy land and really went back to sleep. When the doctor came in to place my epidural, I was a little groggy and they sent my husband out during the procedure. Now being an L&D nurse, some women freak out. I totally get that it’s scary but women will be thrashing about during the procedure. I just decided that I was going to relax, try to slump over as best I could and get through it. I don’t remember it being too bad. Now I’m not sure if the pain medicine that I had 2 hours before was helping me but it seemed pretty manageable.

My nurse checked me and I was 5 cm after the epidural. Making progress. The nurse saw where I worked at a hospital and I finally confessed that I was in fact a Labor and Delivery nurse. The doctor came by an hour later or so and broke my water at 6 am and said I was 5-6 cms. I settled in and my husband and I took a nap, watched TV and tried to relax until it was time to push. Except about four hours later, I started to feel my contractions again.
I knew that in my experience that this wasn’t unusual. My nurse was great and quickly got the anesthesiologist back who gave me more medicine (twice in fact) and I was more comfortable again but I was only 8 centimeters. They started pitocin to get my contractions going again. Finally around 12:30 I started to feel a lot of pressure. I knew that sometimes it was good to continue to have contractions in order to bring the baby down more. After 20 or so minutes, the nurse checked me said that I was 10 cms, the baby was very low, and it was time to push! The doctor was notified and we could start!

Now I of course knew that was to pull back on my legs nice and wide, put my chin to my chest, bear down in my bottom and try to give all my energy there for 10 seconds with each push. It’s a lot to remember to do all of that!! The doctor came and watched me push a little and then backed away (I knew that it was not baby time yet). He said I would have some pushing to do and might even need a vacuum. I pushed for another 30 minutes or so without much progress and thought if I was going to push for 2 hours and still need a vacuum I wouldn’t waste all of my energy now so I let them know if he wanted to use a vacuum he could. The doctor came back in and we used the vacuum. He said that it seemed like a big baby without a lot of space. We pushed some with the vacuum and she came down a lot! The doctor gave me an episotomy (an incision to make more room for the baby) and with my next push she was born at 1:19 pm screaming and beautiful (She was 8 lbs 2 oz and 21 1/4″ long!)! I held her for a few minutes and they took her over to the warmer while the doctor started to repair me.

Except that I could feel what he was doing, After a few numbing shots down there he was able to complete the repair but it took almost an hour because I had a 4th degree tear. Basically I ripped all the way! My nurse also gave me more pain medicine in my IV to help. Also an interesting fact is that red heads bleed more. So I had to get extra medicine to help with my bleeding. Now nurses usually have traumatic deliveries. Bad luck I guess. I was totally expecting to have a stat c/s or something but I did have a horrible tear and hemorrhage a little. At this hospital they take the baby to the nursery to give her her bath and do the assessment. They told us during our tour that it could take 3-4 hours to do this. During my long repair, my nurse asked if we could send her the nursery and I agreed. After everything was done, I was very groggy from the pain medicine and slept for the next couple of hours—even when the nurse gave me a shot to help with my post partum bleeding! Around 5 pm I started to feel like myself and waited anxiously for my baby to get back. And finally she did! My beautiful Amelia Grace. And she has blessed our lives ever since! My delivery was not the usual but after a little more than a week, I started to feel better again and had an amazing baby to show for it!

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 birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!

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