And, as with so many things, it did not go at all as I had planned.
We had decided that if everything looked okay, we would have my water broken today (Wednesday). We were hoping that things would progress on their own after that (meaning, no need for pitocin) and made plans accordingly, realizing, of course, that it's kind of rare for things to go exactly as planned. We came in Wednesday morning and had all of my vitals taken, got me ready to go, and the doctor broke my water.
And immediately saw that Lydia had had a bowel movement.
Then the priority became getting Lydia out in a timely manner, which I totally understood. They gave me two hours to labor on my own and if things did not progress well, they would start pitocin. My whole reason for doing a natural birth was to avoid pitocin, but at this point I knew that the most important thing was quick progress so Lydia would come, for fear of her swallowing the meconium. My broken water continued to make an appearance throughout my labor and the meconium was still present.
After two hours, my progress was minimal. So, they started the pitocin. They started it minimally, but, to make a long story short, they had to up the dosage over the next few hours. I was breathing through the labor (my doula was amazing) and the contractions were hard, but manageable, as long as I had breaks. Then the labor moved to my back and I stopped having breaks. The contractions would start in my stomach and then move slowly to my back ... and then stay in my back between contractions, giving me no time to rest or rebuild my pain tolerance. Ask my husband--the cow-like sounds coming from my mouth were evidence that the contractions were fast and hard. Then the nurse came in, felt my stomach, and informed me that Lydia was in a posterior position, or sunny side-up.
At that point, I lost it and started crying. My son was posterior and the marathon pushing involved with getting him out was not forgotten in my mind. I knew that I could not push like that without an epidural, as he had turned in the birth canal. I was dilated to a 7 and knew that if I was going to get an epidural, this was the time. The contractions continued to hit hard with little to no break. So I chose the epidural.
I felt badly for my doula, that she had put in so much hard work (and she totally supported my decision), but I knew that the day had not turned out the way we had expected. I knew that as soon as pitocin made an appearance, things might change, and knowing that she was also sunny side-up sealed the deal.
I was still able to feel the contractions with the epidural. The pain was numbed, but I was still really sore and very nauseous (I think throwing up during pushing may have helped her come out). It was only a matter of moments before I began to push. When her head appeared, she was sideways, turning, and I was so, so glad I had that epidural. By the time she came, she came out in the right position, and they immediately whisked her away to scope her stomach and make sure she had not swallowed the meconium. It was a long time before I was able to hold her, but when I did, I knew that, while the day had not gone at all the way I had planned, it had gone perfectly. I'm so glad that we decided to break my water today, so we were able to discover the meconium. I feel like God's hand was over the entire day.
I'm exhausted, but I'm so happy. She's here, our little Lydia.
So, our goal was reached: Healthy baby, healthy Mama.
Time for bed. :)