Giving Birth -
What it's Like
Giving birth to my daughter was the most amazing experience of my life. It was so exciting! After waiting 9 long months I was finally able to see and hold my precious baby girl. Although the contractions were painful, I didn't feel any pain between them, and once I got my epidural I didn't feel any pain at all, and I didn't even know when I was getting a contraction. The epidural made my labor painless. There's a great website called Birthstories.com, where women write their experiences with giving birth. Before you check it out, here is my story below:
"Lily's Birth"
by Lisa Colver
I was over a week past my September 10th due date. My doctor finally scheduled me to have my labor induced, but I went into labor naturally 2 days before that. On Saturday September 20th 2003 I woke up around 7:20am with some abdominal cramping, which I thought was just gas. It didn't feel anything like the Braxton-Hicks contractions I had experienced over the past few weeks, and it didn't feel like cramps, it felt more like intestinal pressure from gas. The contractions got stronger, my husband Ben asked what was wrong, and I told him it was probably gas. He suggested I try to go to the bathroom. That didn't work. I began to think it might be labor, so I started to time the contractions. They were about 5-6 minutes apart. I went downstairs and started walking, which made the contractions suddenly 3 minutes apart. I was really excited! My labor was finally here! I ate half a bowl of cereal, figuring I wouldn't get the chance to eat later. Then I called up my doctor's office. The doctor on call was Dr. Chai, the only obstetrician in the office I hadn't met before. She said to go to the hospital. So I took a very quick shower, got my bags, and Ben drove me to the hospital. They wheeled me to Labor&Delivery and hooked me up to a contraction monitor and a fetal heartrate monitor.
  It was amazing to watch my contractions shown on the print out. The doctor checked me and said I was only 1 centimeter dialated, but they decided to let me stay, because I was uncomfortable from the contractions. The next time the doctor came in to check my cervix, I felt her put something plastic inside me. I asked what she was doing, and she said she was breaking my water.
I was shocked she hadn't even told me what she was going to do, until it was almost over. After that I felt a continuous trickle of water with movement or contractions, but never any huge gush. She said I was 2 centimeters at that point.
The doctor then said she would hook me up to pitocin to speed up the labor. I asked if I could wait and see if my contractions would progress on their own, but she said that since the water was now broken, waiting for a long time could increase the risk of infection. I didn't argue, and they hooked me up to pitocin. They gave me half a dose of a painkiller in my IV, which I had never heard of before. Later, they gave me the other half of the dose. They increased the amount of pitocin drip to 3 times as much, and the contractions became painful for awhile. I used lamaze breathing with my husband's help. I asked the nurse for my epidural, but they said there had been an emergency, and the anethesiologist was busy with the emergency. Ben helped me to breathe through the contractions, until the anathesiologist arrived. When she showed up I think I said something like, "Thank God!". I was only 2 to 3 centimeters, but they gave me the epidural anyway. I didn't feel any pain from the numbing medication injection. Getting the epidural wasn't painful at all! It was more like a strong pressure. Once it was in, I had instant relief! The next contraction felt like my earlier weaker labor contractions, and I could easily breathe through it. After that, the next few contractions only felt like gas pressure. Then I felt nothing at all, and didn't even know when I was getting a contraction! I could still move my legs, but they felt numb. The rest of the labor was a breeze. I was talking with my family, relaxing and reading a magazine, like I wasn't in labor at all. The epidural made my labor painless! I tried to sleep, but I guess I was too excited to be able to fall asleep. It was the most exciting time of my life! I kept wondering when I would be able to push, and finally see my baby girl. Time went by quickly, and within a period of one hour, I jumped from 4 centimeters dialated to 8 centimeters dialated. An hour after that, I was 9 and a half centimeters dialated and ready to push.
The nurse went and got the supplies needed for the delivery. When she got back, she told me I could start pushing. I was able to feel the urge to push, and I could feel a slight pressure with each contraction on my left side, since I had been laying on my right side for over an hour, and the epidural medicine had mostly settled in my right side. As my sister videotaped each push, Ben was my labor coach, and encouraged me to push with each contraction. The nurse stretched open my vagina, and I held my knees back and pushed. I believe it was after only one or two pushes that they could see her hair. The nurse turned off my epidural and said it wouldn't wear off for two hours. I was scared that the pushing phase might last longer than that, so I pushed with all of my strength. After 20 minutes of pushing, they said I had accomplished what most women need 2 hours to accomplish. I asked to see Lily's hair in a mirror, and the nurse showed me. Dr. Chai showed up, and she told me she understood I had a birth plan in which I asked to not have an episiotomy. I explained, I didn't want a routine episiotomy for no reason, but if there was a good reason to have one, I was ok with it. Well she said I needed one, because I was already starting to tear a little bit. I didn't feel anything tear though, due to the epidural. So I asked to have a local painkiller before the episiotomy. The doctor explained they don't give a local painkiller to someone who already has an epidural. But I was scared of being cut open, and I insisted, so she gave me the local painkiller. She didn't give me the episiotomy right away. Instead it happened without warning, as I was pushing. The pressure suddenly became stronger, and I could kind of feel the doctor give me the episiotomy. After one scream of pain, I heard everyone saying her head was out. With the next push and another scream, she came out. I heard my sister excitedly say, "She's out! She's out!". The whole pushing phase only lasted 30 or 40 minutes. When Ben saw her, he had the biggest smile I've ever seen. He was thrilled!
They put her on my stomach, and I immediately noticed how much she looked like Ben. She had a lot of black hair, and black eyes. Her eyes were slightly blue for a moment, and then became fully black after they were exposed to light. She looked so beautiful. Her skin looked almost the same color as Ben's skin, but the next morning was much lighter.  They took her to a little table across the room, and I couldn't see what they were doing to her. While that happened, the doctor stitched me up, and then I delivered the placenta, which hurt, but not too bad.
Lily's Very First Photo
After they cleaned Lily up and had cleared her lungs of meconium, they handed her to me, and my family came in to see her. When everyone crowded around her and talked loudly, I could tell she was scared, and she started crying. So I said I needed to feed her, and everyone left. She was born hungry, and I breast fed her for a long time. I soon found out, she was 8 pounds 5 ounces and 18 and a half inches long. Ben went with Lily and a nurse to the nursery to take photos of her first bath. They moved me to the mother/baby recovery room around 1am or 2am, and Ben brought me dinner from Del Taco and went home shortly after that. It was a somewhat painful that night as I recovered from temporary hemorroids from pushing, and I asked the nurse to take Lily to the nursery for one feeding period, so I could have 4 hours to sleep and recover. The next morning they brought her back to me, and Ben showed up soon after that. Some of my relatives came to visit me that day. Lily was a very peaceful baby that day. Everyone was so happy to see her. She's the only baby in the whole family, born in the past 22 years. The hospital served me and Ben a great celebration dinner that night, with prime rib. All of the food the hospital served me during my stay was really good.
Ben drove me and Lily home the next morning. Lily is doing well, and she's the cutest baby in the whole world.
Thanks for reading!
Story and Photos Copyright 2003 - Lisa Colver
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