Things started early the next day, which was Friday, June 12. Since I had done so well over night and I didn’t want to be completely miserable during labor, they removed my NG tube and started all of the preps to more fully induce labor. I was 4 cm dilated by this time.
Prior to being induced, I had considered doing a natural labor with no epidural, but changed my mind for 3 reasons: 1. I have heard that if you are being induced with Pitocin that you’re usually better off with an epidural since contractions are often more intense and closer together. Plus, since it’s not a natural labor, it often takes longer. 2. I hadn’t eaten anything in more than 48 hours and didn’t think I’d have the strength. 3. I had been through so much pain the previous two days that I honestly didn’t think I would be able to make it another day dealing with the same sorts of pains.
They got the epidural in early, so we could start it before the induction medications. Thankfully it went in easy and worked really well for the most part. Around 11:00 a.m. they started the Pitocin, and about 2 hours later one of the doctors came in to break my water, which meant we were really getting things going. I “labored” for about 8 hours but didn’t feel a darn thing. (Except at one point I started feeling the contractions so they gave me a quick epidural booster.) Around 5:00 that evening the doctor came in to check me again and said I was at 9 cm and getting really close. (Cue the freak out!) But they told me to hang tight until I really started feeling pressure and the urge to push. It was about 7:00 when I started feeling like we were close to “go time.” Of course this is right at shift change in a hospital, so it took a little while to get everything ready for that, which I am now glad for since I think it would have been a longer road if I had started pushing right then.
It was a busy night on the delivery floor with, I believe, four other women in the final stages of labor. So it was just the nurse, my husband and me in the room when I started pushing. It was actually really nice, because it was quiet and we had the lights down low and the nurse and my husband each held one of my legs as I started pushing.
I believe my epidural had started to wear off a little by now, because I was definitely feeling contractions. This didn’t turn out to be a bad thing because it helped me better know when was time to push, rather than judging based on the monitor. It still definitely took the edge off, because even pushing never really hurt. It more of felt like a ton of pressure and took an extraordinary amount of energy. Looking back, I definitely don’t think I would have had the strength if I had been dealing with full-blown labor pains all day.
I pushed for right about an hour when we got the point that we had to get the rest of the team in there. After that, there were 5 or 6 other people as a part of the whole process. It was about another half-hour before I finally heard the “here he comes” and Waylon Alan Hughes entered the world at 9:13 p.m.
It’s normal procedure at my hospital to immediately give the child to the mother for skin-to-skin contact for a few minutes before doing all that they need to do. They brought him out and did put him on my chest, but for only a few seconds. I think because he was a preemie and wasn’t making a lot of noise right when he came out that they wanted to make sure everything was alright.
I felt so helpless as I had to lay there while the rest of the birthing process continued to happen and they had my baby across the room, where I could hardly see him, but my husband got to stand there with him. I was waiting so anxiously to find out his weight. I knew we needed over 2000 grams to forego a guaranteed trip to the NICU. I was so nervous because just 2 weeks before I had an ultrasound and was told that he was measuring small for his due date. I was just praying that he had gained weight, even though I had been on liquid diet and bowel rest for most of the time since the scan. Then I heard he was 2580 grams, which I had no idea how big that was but knew it was over 2000! Turns out, he was 5 lbs. 11 oz.! I couldn’t believe it. I was just hoping for over 4.5 pounds and he was close to 6! He was perfectly healthy and they were able to bring him back to me and let us spend some time together after they checked him over.
I can’t explain the relief I felt in knowing that he was doing so well and had gained weight in those final weeks and would not need to go to the NICU. It is such an amazing feeling getting to meet this little one that you have anticipated for so long and who has been growing inside you for the past 9 months. He was so tiny and perfect and so much more than I could have ever imagined.