we were scheduled to be induced Thursday morning, the 17th of October - 41 weeks. we arrived at the hospital around 745am and were taken to our room. I specifically asked for a room with a bathtub, as I was really looking forward to laboring a bit in the warm water. they were able to give us a room with its own tub, but unfortunately I wasn't able to use it since they started me on Pitocin right away. oh well - maybe next time.
I changed to my gown, got our stuff all settled, and the nurse came in. they got my IV started (took 3 tries....new nurse in training!), and hooked me up to the monitors while going through all my health history questions. I was feeling anxious and excited that we were finally getting things going. they got the Pitocin started around 9am. not much happened for a couple of hours. the contractions started up as they increased the pit dose every 15 minutes or so, but they weren't anything big or painful yet at all, just lots more pressure and tightening. my nurse midwife was actually already at the hospital (she had another patient in labor also) so she came to check in once or twice. she didn't check my dilation yet, but the nurse had - I was still at a 2 and about 70% effaced, like I had been for a couple of weeks. my midwife said she'd plan on breaking my water when I had dilated to about a 4.
around 1130am, just as jae's mom called him to check on how things were going, I had a bit of a rushing fluid feeling. I told jae something just happened. he asked if we needed to call the nurse. then I got another rush and knew something was going on. I told him yes, and he told his mom "uh...I need to call you back". the nurse came and verified - yep, my water had broke on it's own! I was super surprised and super happy about that. wasn't expecting it at all. and can I just say - my water breaking and me just laying in bed with nothing to do but let it go - one of the strangest parts of the whole labor/delivery process for me. I don't know why I found it so weird, but I kind of couldn't stop laughing at first just because it was so weird to have that happening! funny experience.
anyway, my water breaking began the commencing of the "real" contractions. pretty much immediately, they become much more hard to ignore and painful. nothing terrible or unbearable, but way more intense and painful than anything I had til that point. jae was great and reminded me to breath through them. my midwife came in and said she wouldn't bother checking me yet, especially now that my water was broken, until the contractions were worse and I was ready for my epidural.
by about 1pm, the contractions were becoming hard to bear and I couldn't talk through them anymore. jae was amazing and reminded me to breathe and talked me through them. I decided it was epidural time. about 130pm, the anesthesiologist had the epidural placed. if you've had one then you know well - they have you curl up in ball as tight as you can so they get a good feel for your spine. well when you have a large belly in the way, it's pretty hard to curl your legs up. between the curled up legs, the terrible terrible heartburn, and the contractions at this point, I was feeling the most miserable I've ever felt. that is the worst position for dealing with contractions and the heartburn was making me feel like I was going to throw up. it was a rough 15 minutes or so, but because of all that, I hardly even noticed the actual placement of the epidural. the anesthesiologist actually commented on how still I was for the whole thing. I really barely even knew he was there. finally I could move and the epidural started kicking in. relief.
my midwife came in just after the epidural was placed and checked me. I was at a 4 and completely effaced. I continued to contract, but could now only really feel all the pressure associated, not the pain. but by about 3pm, I was feeling quite a bit of pain again with every contraction. they were about 2-3 minutes apart. the anesthesiologist came in and redosed my epidural. I could feel it going in and felt the relief again. my midwife checked me again at this point (about 330pm), and to everyone's surprise (especially mine!) I was completely dilated!! no wonder I was feeling more pain coming through - I was going through transition.
we decided to let me rest and descend for about an hour before starting to push, just to help give time for baby girl to start making her way down herself and hopefully reduce pushing time. so 430pm rolled around, and we were ready to go.
by 6pm, and what felt like a million pushes later, she was still just hanging out in there. we had made some progress, but it was slow moving. my midwife's other patient was having some issues, so she decided to run over there and help her deliver and let me rest for a few minutes before continuing pushing.
by 630pm, my midwife was back and we were ready to go at it again. I was glad for the little break in pushing, but I could feel my energy starting to lack. the labor part had gone so surprisingly fast and well, I kind of expected the pushing to go the same. but it wasn't. I really think the mom's attitude and outlook during this whole process can have an influence on how the labor and delivery go, so I was trying my best to stay positive and focus on getting her out and everyone being healthy and not think about not being able to get her out. again - jae was AMAZING this whole time. he held my right leg and counted me through each push and kept encouraging. I think he did better than even he thought he would, and I seriously wouldn't have made it through all these hours pushing were it not for him.
my midwife asked me a few times if I wanted a mirror to see my progress and see baby girl's head. I told her thanks, but no thanks! finally she convinced me to reach down and feel her head during one of my pushes. I did so, and it was strange and kind of cool, but I wasn't about to do it again. I wasn't sure how I felt about that. she also convinced jae to actually look down and see her head. again - he did it just that once and was ok not doing that again :)
around 7pm, the nurses had shift change. while my first nurse (the trainee) was good and helpful and sweet, there was a definite difference in the second nurse. you could tell she was experienced and probably had worked as a delivery nurse for years and years. her encouragement was really helpful. kind of reinvigorated me. I continued to push and continued to push (I was doing 3-4 pushes per contraction, although I felt only the first push or two was really getting me anywhere at all; the 3rd or 4th push, I was just plain out of energy). by the last 30 minutes or so, the epidural was wearing off enough I could really feel baby girl moving down more and more. it wasn't painful, but so helpful actually. I felt like I was really doing something, since being all numb, I wasn't sure what I was doing or if I was even doing anything. that was pretty awesome to feel her little head and body going through my hips.
finally, at 758pm, she was born. 3 hours of pushing later, and our sweet Gracie had come out to meet us. they immediately placed her on my belly and began wiping her down. and we all realized why she took so long to come out - she was facing posterior! stinker. she was head-down, but instead of also being face-down, she was facing kind of up/to the left side, so her poor little head was just so stuck in my hips. and she had quite the cone head to prove it.
she came out wide eyed and hardly cried at all. and she was awake and alert like that for a good couple of hours after. after being on my belly for a few minutes, they took her over to the warmer to fully check her out and clean her up a bit better while I got stitched up (yes, I tore. ouchy.) then they brought her back to me and she laid on my chest for another few minutes. she ate pretty quickly after that, and did awesome.
having her on my belly and just looking at her and at jae - it's a moment I can't express or put into words. I was so overwhelmed with all the feelings and emotions. I think I even caught a glimpse of a teary eye or two from jae, although he'd never admit it. those few minutes were just pure perfection.
to this day (she's now 11 days old) sometimes I just watch her and catch myself thinking is this really real life right now? she really belongs to jae and I? I feel like a lot of the last few days has just been a lot of going through the motions to get through the day and figure out what the heck we're doing. but I do stop often and remember how incredibly lucky I am to have this perfect little baby girl and that she has an amazing daddy to help me raise her for her whole life.
gracie jane horrocks
born 10.17.13 @ 758pm
7 lbs 10 oz, 21" long