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Why You DON’T Want a Short Labor
Everything about the birth of my third (and last) child was different than the other two.
This last baby came after a VERY short labor. Sounds great, right?
My first two were scheduled inductions. We knew exactly when we would be going in, we calmly packed our bags, had a meal and headed for the hospital. With each one, I was in active labor for about 4 hours and my water broke while having the epidural placed. (The epidural never actually happened with the second, as soon as it was placed and before they gave me anything, I sent the anesthesiologist running for the doctor.) Both times the pain was completely manageable. With Reagan, I never actually had any pain because of the epidural. Oh, and both babies were 7 lb 7 oz.
Then came Harrison’s birth. My induction was scheduled again. (My doctor does this routinely. I understand this is controversial, but it worked wonderfully for us and the vast majority of my doctor’s other patients.) We packed up the kids and sent them to my in-laws house five minutes away. I had been fine, and busy most of the day running last minute errands. We were all set to settle in for the night to get good sleep before heading to the hospital at 7 am.
I had been feeling a burning pressure since about 7:00 pm, which was actually kind of welcome. I carried all of my babies extremely high, and I was glad to know that this baby (we didn’t know boy or girl yet) was FINALLY dropping and might not need the assistance that my first had to get into the right position. I decided to take a shower because, who knew when I would get to do that in peace again and I wanted to at least start out fresh and clean.
Just then, (about 8:00) my mother-in-law called and said that she had forgotten something that Reagan needed for school the next day. Instead of my shower, I hopped into the car, drove over to my in-laws and brought her the missing item. Back home 10 minutes later, I finally got my hot shower. The pains from earlier were getting more intense, but walking around and stretching seemed to make it better. Another phone call from my mother-in-law. I told her we were getting ready to go to bed early so that we could have a fresh start in the morning.
During that conversation, I noticed that the burning/stretching pains were coming in waves. They didn’t feel at all like the contractions I’d had with Noah, but the regularity made me pause. I decided to time them, just to see. This was at about 9 pm.
Ummmmm, 3 minutes apart in regular intervals. Wow! Maybe they were contractions.
I told my husband that I was having regular contractions. He looked at me in a panic. Remember, even though we had done this twice before, everything was carefully planned and scheduled. He was in the middle of packing his hospital bag.
“Should I take my medicine?”
He takes a sleep medication for insomnia. This was a real dilemma for us. If he did not take it, he would not sleep. If the contractions faded away and he got no sleep, he would be useless to me the next day when it mattered. Also grumpy. I did not need a grumpy exhausted husband while trying to birth a child. If he did take them, driving would be out of the question and again, he would be useless to me if we needed to go in. He assured me that if he took them now, it would take awhile for the effects to actually kick in and it doesn’t keep him asleep, only helps him go to sleep to begin with. As long as he had about 4 hours, it would be fine.
“Yeah, go ahead and take them. I’m sure we have 4 hours. And we could both use a little sleep.”
I kept timing the contractions. They were definitely getting stronger and closer together. 2 minutes apart now. My contraction timing app was telling me in big red letters GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW. I was pacing back and forth involuntarily.
“Ok, we need to go. Now.”
The look of sheer panic on my husband’s face is something I’ll never forget.
We threw our bags in the car and I remembered to grab a towel and a coke for my husband, whohad of course, taken the sleeping pills a few minutes before. He started the car. Nope. Couldn’t sit down, another contraction had hit.
By 9:35 we were on the road and thankfully the hospital was only a ten minute drive. I did have to remind my husband a few times that he did not need to run red lights and that I wasn’t going to die.
You know how when you’re pregnant with your first, other moms tell you that it won’t be like in the movies. I’m sure I even told other moms that it’s not like in the movies. This time it was EXACTLY like in the movies.
When we pulled into the emergency room drop off, I jumped out of the car (this is just an expression, 9 months pregnant women in labor don’t actually jump out of anything) and pushed my way past a group of old people getting out of a van and lining up in the emergency room. Seriously! Where did these people come from and why were they in the emergency room?
They called a wheelchair for me immediately and sent me up to labor and delivery. The ride up to the labor and delivery unit was comical. First we went through the emergency room hallway where an elderly woman with an IV was slowly making her way across the hall at the perfect pace to collide with us. The next obstacle was the door that took a full 10 seconds to open. This was quickly followed by the elevator closing just in front of us. When we finally arrived and they put us in the room, they started asking all the check-in questions. At this point, it was taking all of my focus to make it through contractions still breathing. I could still talk, but I was annoyed at having to answer questions at all.
The funniest part was when the nurse asked what kind of pain relief I wanted. I was not opposed to an epidural having had a positive experience with one before, but I had actually preferred my birthing experience without one taking effect, so this time the plan was nothing. However, I could tell this baby was not going to patiently wait for an anesthesiologist and told the nurse that there would not be time for that.
Then she forced me to sit on the bed, I was still involuntarily pacing, so I could get my IV. The things this nurse told me were hilarious.
“I know you’re not going to like this, but I have to ask you to stay on the bed. We don’t want you to deliver a baby in the toilet or on the floor.” I won’t. Don’t worry.
“We called Dr. Shakespeare and Dr. Walker, they’re on their way. You’ll need to wait to deliver until they get here.” That’s funny.
“We’re going to move you to another room. This room is just for triage.”
“Try not to scream or yell as we move you down the hall. It might scare the other mothers.”Nurse: Try not to scream, you'll scare the other mothers. Husband: I don't think she cares right now. #laborstoryClick To Tweet
We were actually settled into the delivery room and the contractions were coming hard and fast. My water had broken on the way to the new room with a pop and a gush. This was 10 times worse than ANYTHING I had ever experienced with either of my other babies. Each one was about a minute long with about 30 seconds in between. By 10:30, I was convinced I was going to die. I lived for those brief minutes in between contractions. That sweet calm where I could almost fall asleep.
I could feel the baby moving down with every contraction and knew that pushing was not going to be optional in a few minutes. At 10:40, I started pushing whether my doctor was there or not. At 10:50ish, I could feel the baby crowning. At the exact same moment, my IV popped out. At the time, I did not care at all about the IV. I was FAR more concerned about the baby that was about to come out. The nurse, however, seemed much more concerned about the stupid IV. With one hand on my baby’s head and one stopping the blood from pouring out I remembering her calling to the other nurses, “I need a little help here.” They came in with the on-call doctor in tow and fixed the IV problem. Pushing was not an option at that point and Harrison George (no, not because of the Beatles) was born at 10:59 pm, less than two hours after I had determined I was actually in labor.
In the chaos, everyone forgot to tell me that it was a boy! Well, once that was cleared up and we settled in to rest, I was able to reflect on how different this experience was from my other two deliveries. A short labor might sound great, but in reality, it was incredibly stressful and exhausting.
Oh, and my doctor and his partner? They walked in at 11:01 pm.
Did you enjoy reading my crazy labor story? Do you need to know what items you’ll actually need as a new mom? Check out this post on The Baby Product Must-Haves I Actually Used and sign-up for my no frills registry list.