During our weekly Tuesday OB appointment, our doctor recommended that we induce. Wednesday was our due date, but he prefers to induce earlier to reduce the risk of complications leading to a c-section. He indicated that in the past, only about 10% of his inductions have resulted in c-sections. For almost a month, Mel had been at .5 cm dilation, and induction (or a c-section) was beginning to seem likely, so we figured we should take his advice and go for it.
We got some dinner, checked and double checked the hospital bags, and headed over to San Dimas Community Hospital at 1 am for our reservation. At 3, Mel was given the pre-labor drug, intended to thin the cervix. By 9 am the dilation had increased to 2 cm and contractions were noticeable, so they pushed the meds to start labor.
Then we waited.
Dilation was still sitting around 2 cm, when the doctor decided to break the water (around 3 pm). Instantly, dilation increased to 6 cm, and contractions intensified.
Some friends (Mark and Laurel) called at about 2:45 wanting to come by. By the time they arrived, Mel was indicating that she needed to use the bathroom. Mark and Laurel, both EMT’s, exchanged a knowing look… it was coming.
I called the nurse and she checked the dilation, walked to the phone and called the doctor at his office. He needs to come NOW. Pull him from his appointment, she is 9+ and is feeling the need to push.
All told, Mel went from 2 cm to delivery in less than 2 hours!
It would have been faster, but there was a minor complication with the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck. This is common, but can be dangerous.
Perhaps the most amazing part of labor/transition was watching the way that the human body dealt with the overwhelming pain of delivery. When Mel was getting close, she entered an altered state of consciousness. She seemed to be going back and forth between delirious (at times appearing passed out) when there was no contraction and oblivious to everything when there was a contraction. I found it helpful to take her face in my hands and touch foreheads to get her attention.
A recommendation — if anyone is waiting until the end to come, call and tell them to hurry when she reaches that point!
For first-time dads-to-be:
Forget the stages that they talk about in birthing classes. Here they are in terms that you will remember (for natural birth, no epidural)
1) water breaks/early contractions
2) “I can’t do this” stage (this is what she will be saying/screaming — my wife indicated that we needed to leave the hospital and tried to get up out of bed, IV and all, which was the transition to stage 3)
3) Altered state of consciousness/”I need to do a number 2″
4) “I need to push” (strap yourself in, it’s coming)