Unfortunately, my ability to move freely and untethered by monitors didn’t last long. At my next check my blood pressure had gone back up and my doctor was pushing for internal monitoring. Lorrie fought hard for me and was able to persuade my doctor that internal monitoring wasn’t necessary. I still had to stay in bed, but Lorrie had me try a few different positions that would help the baby move into a better position and move labor along. I was beginning to near transition and found it most comfortable to sit on the edge of the bed with Seth providing counter pressure on my knees and Dana providing counter pressure on my lower back.
About 4:30pm I took a bathroom break and then sat against the raised back of the bed. My contractions seemed to space out a little and I was able to rest in between contractions. After a little while I began to get very uncomfortable and again needed to support of Seth and Dana. I was checked periodically and with each check I was progressing, however to me it seemed that time was moving so slowly and I just wanted to be able to push. With Dana’s encouragement I decided to squat through some contractions. After doing this through a few of them I was checked and was nearly 9cm. I decided to squat through a few more even though it was incredibly intense and difficult to hold back the urge to push. I really wanted to meet my baby! After squatting a bit more I decided I was ready to be checked again as the urge to push was so, so strong. I was checked and the nurse said I was still at a 9. Dana told her I was having the urge to push and she said that I shouldn’t because I was going to swell my cervix. She then said to me that she had noticed how I was breathing (long, deep breaths) and suggested I try taking shorter breaths. Had I not been in the middle to some very intense labor I would have told her what I was thinking, which was: This is how I have been managing my pain through nearly 36 hours of labor…I’m not changing it up now! As soon as she left the room, Dana told me to continue to breathe however I wanted.
At this point I was feeling discouraged that I was still not to 10cm and therefore not ready to push. I decided to squat some more and try to wait longer before requesting another check. I really couldn’t bear to ask them to check me just to hear that I was still at a 9. I think it was at this point I voiced thinking I would not be able to do this, and Dana reminded me when you’re at that point it usually means you are almost there. Not long after my check a new round of staff came in as it was 7pm. My doctor also stopped by to see how I was doing. Much to my relief my doctor said that she wanted to check to see how dilated I was. She checked and said that I was almost there and suggested I push through some contractions.
Finally, I thought, now I can do something. What I didn’t prepare for was how exhausted I was and now I had to do the work of pushing. It took me a bit to get the coordination I needed to push, be in a good position, and remember to breathe! I tried using the squat bar through a couple contractions but it was so exhausting. I could hardly hold my body up, let alone push. As I would push I kept thinking about how anxious I was to meet my little girl and desperately wanting to feel the ‘ring of fire’ because then I would know that she was almost here. I also remember wanting to keep pushing even after a contraction had come and gone. I just wanted to be done so badly. The hardest part was making myself rest in between contractions because I just wanted to be pushing. Even while I was pushing I continued to hold onto my comb until Grace was very nearly here. I also remember looking up at my feet at one point and thinking they did not look as swollen as they had earlier in the day.
Apparently (per my doula-I had no sense of time) after an hour and ten minutes of pushing the delivery team was gathered. All I knew is that my doctor was back in the room so that had to be a sign we were getting close. She asked if she could inject some local anesthetic as I was likely going to tear and I agreed. After pushing about 15 more minutes (again, per my doula) my little girl emerged! I remember the nurse telling me to look at her and I leaned up to look but my belly was in the way and it took way too much strength to try to lean up any further. Within seconds Gracie was placed on my chest. My first reaction was that she was so cute in the classic baby way-round head, perfect little nose and chin. I was in love. I also remember being slightly confused because I hadn’t felt the ring of fire. Of course later I realized this was due to the local anesthetic that was administered. Duh. Gracie was very alert as she laid on my chest and I was very thirsty. Dana had a couple gatorades on hand which I downed in a matter of seconds. Seth was by my head and had been feeding me ice chips throughout labor. I know was taking ice chips by the mouthful and couldn’t get enough. Gracie tried holding her head up to look at my face, reached her hands for my face and opened her eyes to look up at me. I was so in love.