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Britton's Birth Story, Part I

I had known for several weeks that Britton had grown faster than we'd all expected. By week 38, she was measuring like a 42 week baby, which presented some issues for her upcoming birth: the major ones being that she might be too big for me to birth naturally, or she might have expelled meconium into her amniotic fluid. I also had tested positive for Group B Strep, which--if left untreated during delivery--could have devastating effects on Britton. Because of these risks, we went ahead and scheduled an induction for her 39th week.

On Wednesday, June 5, Landon and I woke up bright and early at 4:30 a.m. so that we could be at the hospital by 6 a.m. After I had settled into my labor and delivery room, and a TON of paperwork had been completed at the hospital, my doctor broke my water (weirdest feeling ever) and I was encouraged to walk around to start the contractions. The nurse noticed that my amniotic fluid was slightly tinged with meconium, so the medical staff was careful to keep an eye on that while I labored.

In the hospital waiting for the doctor to come break my water and get this party started.
Landon and I took several laps around the labor and delivery ward to no avail. My contractions had started, but were erratic. The nurse started me on pitocin at a very low dose (about 4 milliunits per minute) to see if that would start things along. The contractions started to even out and get closer together, but, as the doctor wanted them to be two to three minutes apart, they still weren't doing what they needed to. The pitocin got slowly increased over the course of seven hours.

The nursing staff encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to in order to stay comfortable--I used a birthing ball, walked around, leaned on the bed, and sat in a hot shower. The shower really helped me focused through the increasing discomfort. Throughout all of that, Landon coached me using our Hypnobabies techniques; he kept me calm and focused through each of the contractions, and I wouldn't have been able to deal with the contractions as well as I did without him.

By two thirty, the contractions were coming less than two minutes apart, and I had little to no recovery time between some of them because of the way that Britton was positioned. I was exhausted after over seven hours of completely natural labor; the final straw was learning that (in those seven hours) I had only dilated another 1.5 cm to 6.5 cm total. At that point, I really didn't think I would be able to continue to labor for additional hours without some sort of pain relief, so I asked for an epidural.

I had originally been against an epidural because 1) I have a super sensitive back and I hate people touching it, and 2) I detest needles. By the time I'd been through those hours of pitocin-labor, I was ready for help wherever it came from, even if it meant I had to deal with the 1-2 punch of back touching and needles.

The anesthesiologist came almost immediately to administer the epidural (during which I tried to hit the doctor, but that's another issue all together) and my contractions were reduced within just one or two waves.

I don't remember much about the next few hours, other than I tried to relax and recover some of my strength so that I could push when it was time. I could still feel the contractions a little bit, but the pain was much, much more tolerable. During this time, I also found out that my doctor who had seen me through my pregnancy had gone home with strep throat, so she was being replaced with a midwife from the same OB group.

Around six p.m. the midwife told me that I had completely dilated and it was time to push!

On to Part II...