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January 3, 2010

Labor and Delivery Part 1

My wonderful little boy, Nathaniel John, was born on December 30, 2009! In the short time that we have known him, Jonathan and I have fallen very much in love with our son and we feel deeply blessed to have him in our lives.

I want to remember every tiny detail of the labor and delivery experience so I will be writing about it here in the blog (albeit in several different parts since my little prince is likely to wake at any moment). It all began on December 29...

Jonathan and I went in for our 40 week OB appointment and saw the doctor. We discussed induction, given that our ultrasound estimated Nathaniel to be a 9 pound 11 ounce baby. Our OB agreed that we could attempt induction either that same day or December 31, depending on the Labor & Delivery schedule at the hospital.

Due to another high blood pressure reading at the clinic, we were sent over to Labor & Delivery at the hospital to rule out the possibility of pre-ecclampsia. We got hooked up to the monitors and they began the tests. We had been there for about forty minutes when I noticed that I was feeling a bit damp and I mentioned it to the nurse. She told me that it was nothing since I had just been checked for dilation and effacement at the clinic, but when I insisted that something was different, she checked me and announced that my water had broken!

At this point, Jonathan and I realized we were staying at Labor & Delivery until we had our baby and we were ecstatic! This was such a blessing for us- things had begun naturally, just as we had hoped and prayed for the past nine months.

About two hours after my water broke, the doctor started me on Pitocin to increase the frequency and intensity of my contractions. I labored in the bed for several hours, watching HGTV with Jonathan. The contractions were coming more frequently but they weren't terribly painful so my Pitocin drip was increased several times. As the contractions became a bit more intense, I labored standing and sitting on a birthing ball.

After about ten hours of being on Pitocin, the contractions became excruciating. The nurse checked me to see if we had made any progress and we received the discouraging news that we were only dilated to about 1 1/2 centimeters- the same as we had been in the clinic eariler in the day. Despite all of the painful contractions, we had made no progress. In an effort to ease the pain, I chose to take meds through my IV and the nurse administered half a dose of Fentanyl. After waiting several minutes, we realized that it was doing nothing to dull the pain and I was given the full dose.

At this point, I remember laying on my side, squeezing Jonathan's hand as hard as possible. When a contraction would come, my body would begin shaking uncontrollably with the pain and it became difficult to remember to breathe. Jonathan coached me through each contraction, reminding me to breathe and encouraging me when I felt as though I couldn't do it any longer.

Around midnight, the nurse checked me again to see if I had made further progress. Again, we received the disappointing news that I had not progressed. At this point, Jonathan and I knew that if we didn't start to transition into active labor, that we would be ending the labor process in a c-section. Despite the unbearable pain, I couldn't imagine ending my labor via surgery and we continued to hope for a vaginal delivery.

Because I was not progressing, despite the fact that I was on a Pitocin drip, and due to the fact that the contractions were so strong, the nurse offered to call the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural. I knew I would not be able to continue to labor through my contractions for much longer without pain relief and I chose to take it.

The anesthesiologist came in and I was barely able to acknowledge him. The contractions were unbelievably strong and I was shaking and moaning through each one. He administered the epidural and I felt relief within several minutes.

With the pain relief, Jonathan and I tried to get some sleep and we were both able to fall asleep for brief periods. When I woke, I was faced with a new challenge- nausea. Between the exhaustion, hormones, and medications, my body was overwhelmed. This was the point where I realized that I had been blessed with an incredible nurse; she was very sympathetic and offered to bring me a few Saltine crackers to nibble on. Apart from the epidural, the crackers were the highlight of my entire night. I hadn't eaten in 22 hours and I was running on empty; the crackers gave me just enough energy to fight off the nausea and to continue laboring.

At 6:30 in the morning, the nurse returned and again checked my labor progress. For the first time, we had encouragement; I had dilated to 4cm and I was 75% effaced! Jonathan and I were thrilled that my body was beginning to labor more effectively and we realized that our hope of a vaginal delivery could become a reality!

My little boy is starting to stir so part two will be forthcoming...


  1. Congratulations! He's adorable! We did end up having our babies on the same day! ; )

  2. Congratulations!!! You made it :) he is adorable!