My labor experience

 The following blog discusses my labor experience and has some personal medical details some people might not care to read.  Gus, this means you.  If you are not comfortable with discussions of cms and other such things, maybe you should skip this.

It has been two weeks since my baby girl, Sofia Carolina, was born.  My mom keeps telling me to write it down, before I forget it all, because it is already starting to grow hazy.  They say it is evolution's way of ensuring the propagation of the species.  Who knows?  All I know is that I better write it before I forget, and maybe baby girl will get a kick out of it someday.

I want to say I feel blessed and lucky to have a great husband and great mother.  Without their support I have no idea what I'd be doing, but I am sure it would not be writing on the blog.  My house is clean and we are all fed thanks to my mother.  She is on top of every little thing and allows me the luxuries of long showers, and sitting calmly with my baby on my lap.  My husband is a trooper.  He is a first year business owner who is in the middle of his busiest season, but does not complain about rocking a fussy baby at 1 am.  He does it with gusto, and tells me repeatedly what a good job I am doing.  I know, I am sickening. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

As I mentioned in the previous blog entry, we had a planned induction.  I had my baby in  a hospital, with an Ob, had an epidural, and an episiotomy, and would not have it any other way.  I am very happy with how everything turned out, and I will be eternally grateful to my labor nurse Kathy, and my Dr. for being so awesome, entertaining all my questions, and respecting my choices.  In my pregnancy reading I read a lot of stuff about the evil OB/GYN and how they do not care about the patient of their wishes.  People will have you believe that if you go with an OB you will be transported back to 1973, where you will not be given any choice or explanation, and they will gas you and take your baby away.  Period.  I don't know if that is the case in other places, but it certainly was not for me with Dr. Goggin or Athens Regional.

The first thing I must say is the my doctor is a solo practitioner, which I have heard is rare these days.  This means that throughout the pregnancy you can develop a relationship with him and know that he is the one that will deliver your baby, unless something unforeseen happens.  He does all the ultrasounds himself, never passes you to a technician, and takes the time to explain every detail  we questioned.  I had three ultrasounds, and the last one was at 30 weeks and a 3d.   We discussed our options throughout the pregnancy, so he knew how I felt about everything that could happen.  I always felt confident when I left his office. His optimism was contagious, and I feel now that we had time to get to know each other.  I am very comfortable with the nurse practitioner, and the rest of the office staff, and so was Michael - which makes a huge difference.

At the hospital everything was pretty smooth.  Our nurse Kathy was amazing.  She was an incredible source of information, and a whole lot of support. She explained everything before we did it, gave me a chance to ask questions, and the opportunity to change my mind if I wanted to.  We discussed ER and House and other medical shows, she joked around with us a lot ad was just all around awesome.  Twenty plus years of nursing experience.  As my best friend growing up is a RN, I always tell my nurses "there is a special place in heaven for nurses" which they appreciate, but I really believe is true. (Hi Janice! Love you!)

I got to the hospital at 6:30 am.  After all the bureaucratic junk, I was in my gown in my room waiting for my "go juice" as she called it - or the pitocin to induce labor around 9:30.  She explained they would give me the lowest dose to see how I progressed.  I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced, so they want to be careful not to induce labor too quickly.  By noonish I was 4-5 cm, and they never needed to increase my pitocin.  Kathy said she would have to agree with Dr. Goggin, I would more than likely have a baby by supper, since my body was reacting to the lowest dose of pitocin so well. She said everything was going as well as one could expect, and then she and the doctor discussed the process of the Epidural once more.  It is well known that when you are on Pitocin the contractions tend to come faster and stronger than in most natural labor scenarios, so they wanted me to know if I still wanted it, how long it would take to be prepared for it and how long it would be before I got relief from the pain.  They said at least an hour to be comfortable.  I asked for the epidural around 1:30 pm, when the pain was starting to get scary.  Sure enough an hour later I felt no pain.  I mean none.  I was truly amazed.  I even dosed off a little.

I will say this though, getting the epidural was the scariest part for all of us.  Michael was in the room with me for support.  I was in serious pain and there is a doctor going to stick a needle in my spine.  We were both concerned, it was indeed scary.  When they let my mom back in the room she looked like she was going to cry.  In fact, after I confirmed all the pain was gone, she did cry.  Not being in the room she was very worried, when she left I was in pain and they were about to stick me in the scary way.  Moms.

I want to say that I have a new level of respect for my friends Page and Krystal, who did the natural child birth thing.  Every woman, and every pregnancy is different, but I just cannot imagine enduring the pain of the contractions for any longer than I did.  From what I have seen, labor seems to be the only time when people believe going through the pain is a plus.  No one tells you to go ahead and pass a kidney stone without the drugs, or have a root canal.  I just don't see myself choosing pain.  I truly respect those of you who did this without the medical assistance, that is truly amazing.  You go girls!

So we are all chillin' in the room, discussing the play lists on the ipod.  Michael was still trying to talk me into laboring to Led Zeppelin.  He still thinks we could have timed the birth to The Immigrant Song.  However, there was never any screaming in the birth so the whole thing would have been annoying. I listened to the Eagles, because they always seem to calm me, I don't know why.  Marc Anthony, Franco de Vita and the Dixie Chicks.  Yes, my daughter was actually born to the Dixie Chicks, which puts me in a good mood too, and I feel it is good girl power music.  Michael, however, is a little ashamed of this.  I say if she is going to "American by birth, southern by the grace of God." as he likes to say - then why not the Dixie Chicks?  He tried to correct this later on, by playing her "Stairway to heaven" as the first song chosen especially for her to listen to. 

After the epidural I couldn't feel much, and I could not get up and walk, but, for me at least, it was such a short period of time that it was not a big deal. I knew when they checked again I'd be like 7-8 cms for sure.  But I was wrong.  At 4 something Dr. Goggin checks and in fact I am 10 cm and ready to go. Active labor was only around 4 hours for me, and then it was time to push.  The pushing is why this whole thing is called labor.  I couldn't feel a thing, but the pushing was still very intense, hard work.  The nurse said she could feel the head, and there was hair... lots.  Once her little head started to show everyone had to remark on all the hair she looked like she was going to have. That is another disconcerting hing about labor, the exposure.  More people peeked at my vajayjay than I care to discuss.  I mean, it is hard to be discreet after this. 

I pushed for almost two and a half hours.  I hear that is a long time to be pushing but I have nothing to compare it to. My mom kept telling me how lucky I was that I could not feel the pain while pushing.  At this point the doctor brought up the episiotomy.  We discussed it at my last visit in his office.  He knew I didn't want one.  He said we didn't have to have one, but that the baby would need to come out and sometimes a tear could happen.  If he saw the possibility of a tear, he would suggest a cut to prevent the trauma of a tear.  In a way, to control the tear and have a cleaner opening.  His actual words were; "the baby will need room to come out, either she comes out easily, she makes the room herself, or we make it for her."

Anyway, he told me we were there.  I am paraphrasing here, but here is what he told me: "We are at that point we didn't want to be in.  You have been trying now for two and a half hours.  You could be at this for another hour, and you are exhausting yourself and your body.  Let me do this, and we will have a baby in five minutes." I was truly exhausted.  My mom and Michael were both looking at me like "Honey, let's have this baby" and so, I let him cut me.  Some people might think it is bad, but I was mostly scared of how it would be because of all that I read about it.  It really was not that bad.  At the time I was a little sad that it came to that, but the idea of tearing myself, or pushing for another hour was scarier than the episiotomy.  I told the doctor to make sure he left me as pretty as he found me.  He said he'd leave me better than he found me. Always with the sense of humor.  The fact remains though: I felt nothing.

He was right though, we had a baby in five minutes.  She came out screaming bloody murder and all anyone could say was "look at all that hair!"  One nurse told me she had so much hair that I could put bows in it. My mom and Michael were both there in the front row, patting me, coaching me, and taking it all in.  Although my mother had three children of her own, she had never seen this in living color.  We were all amazed and excited.  Michael cut the cord, and they brought her to me.  She was cleaned up and on my skin very quickly.  Beautiful baby girl, screaming from the first second and looking at everything.  So very alert!  I was concerned she'd be groggy because of the drugs, but she was wide awake and seemed so curious.

The next morning the doctor came to see me, and told me he was proud of me and gave me a hug.  I just love him.

I left the hospital two days after I arrived.  My complete stay was less than 55 hours.  I walked out, as I walked in, no wheel chair or anything like that.  I got home and had to start adjusting to the new normal.  My body felt alright.  I have not had more than four hours of sleep straight since the night before Sofia was born but I feel pretty good.  I am tired, I was sore, but not too bad.  The day after I gave birth I felt like someone had beat me with a baseball bat from the effort of pushing for so long.  Other than that, the healing process has been good to me.  I honestly cannot complain.  Things could have been so  much worse, that I am grateful for the care I have received, for my mami, my hubby and my baby girl.

A good friend of mine told me when I was trying to decide on which way to go with the birth that I should remember the only thing that mattered was that I left the hospital with a healthy baby.  Everything else was nonsense.  As long as I was happy, and my baby was safe, nothing else mattered.  I am sure I will  forget a lot of this eventually.  I hope to always remember the looks on my mami's face, and on Michael's as the baby started to come out.  I hope I will always remember the sound of that scream Sofia belted out like she was Robert Plant, and the feeling of having her against my skin for the first time.

Later on I will blog about the baby herself, and other more pleasant topics.  I just felt I needed to get this all out of the way before I forgot it.

Sorry if I was too graphic.

"Put me back in!"


  1. Lisa! love make me laugh! I applaud you for taking a stand on your health and your body choices, but feel bad that you feel you have to defend yourself! As a physician, if I suggested to a patient to go through a kidney stone without pain medication, or get that root canal, I'd be in big trouble, probably sued, and possibly get my licensed yanked after all the patients complained to the governing boards. Funny how a bunch of women (because that's the difference, isn't it--that only women can give birth) can do this to each other--feel guilty about taking a pain medication! i think, If the day ever came that men could give birth too, the discussion on epidurals during labor would basically be accepted as done! (probably because most of us would be too busy arguing over who would be the one to get pregnant!) Anyways, keep the blogs coming...Oh and I'm printing this and putting it on the fridge for Gus to read! ;)

    Tia Nisha

  2. Tia Nisha:
    I did feel guilty at first about the epidural, but once I made up my mind, it was done. My main concern was how Sofia would react to it, would she come out drugged? Well, she put that myth to sleep when she came out screaming like Robert Plant and looking at everything.

    Thanks for the support!

  3. Awsome! Thanks for sharing that! Specially the music selection for the birth... Next time, if you're gonna go for Marc Anthony, time her to be born with Preciosa playing... Sounds epic!


  4. Beautiful story!!!!! I loved all the detail:) I too am proud of you and how you went about making your choices for your labor and birth. Although my choices were different, it is an admirable accomplishment nonetheless:) Thanks for the shout out though. I am so excited that Sofia heard the Dixie Chicks as she entered this crazy world - LOL! Love you all and can't wait to see you soon, Pagina

  5. She is screaming "Hello World, here I come!!" Gracias por compartir, me reí y lloré. Felicidades a TODOS! Gloria


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