Nine days overdue with my second child, I had run out of patience and was scheduled to be induced the following day. When I woke up in the morning, however, I had three contractions in the half-hour I spent in bed, waiting for my husband to get out of the shower. The contractions continued with surprising regularity, every 15 minutes or so, as we went through our usual morning routines, so I figured that a) I was in labour, and b) unlike what I was expecting/hoping about a second delivery, it wasn’t likely to be over by lunchtime. So I took my husband to work & my daughter to daycare, stopped by the library for some reading material, and came back home. By late morning, the contractions were getting increasingly intense, and a little more frequent, so my husband came home to wait with me.
By early afternoon, we figured it was time to go to the hospital, helped on by a phone call to my father-in-law, an obstetrician, who said “Don’t wait too long…”, and a brief conversation with the doctor on call (Dr.__). The hospital was quite busy when we arrived, and we spent a long time waiting, first to fill out the forms, and then to get into the assessment room. There were three women and their partners/families sitting in the waiting room, periodically closing our eyes and breathing deeply as contractions hit, for the better part of an hour, until beds opened up in the assessment room.
In the assessment room, the nurse pronounced me 2 cm dilated and, after hooking me up to a monitor for awhile, noted that the contractions were still further than 5 minutes apart. This was dispiriting, as I assumed that it meant I had many hours of labour ahead of me, but each contraction was VERY intense, so although they were far apart they seemed to do their job fairly quickly. By the time Dr.__ arrived, a couple of hours later, I was 6 cm dilated and progressing well. I had stayed on the bed, either reclining, or lying on my side, up until that point, partly because the baby monitor had been on for most of the time. Dr.__ suggested that I get off the bed and try the medicine ball. As soon as I got up, the contractions got much more intense, and I heard Dr.__ making hasty arrangements to get me into a delivery room, which up to that point had been impossible due to a shortage of nurses. I also asked for, and got, the nitrous oxide gas that had worked well for me with my last delivery.
After a couple more contractions on the ball, I started to push, and I was hastily transferred to a wheelchair and rolled into the nearest delivery room. Getting out of the wheelchair back onto the ball brought on a huge contraction, and I could feel my water break. The doctor and nurses helped me onto the bed, lying on my side, with me holding on to the bars on the bed for dear life.
Apparently I pushed for about 11 minutes — it felt like about 3 contractions total — before the baby crowned. The pain was unbelievable, though blessedly short-lived, as my perineum stretched quickly to accommodate the baby’s head and BOTH his shoulders at once. Then before I knew it, I was lying back on the bed, being handed my slippery son.