My 13 hour labor

I had a 13-hour labor… here’s how it went

I was 6 days late delivering my third baby. I was just one day from my induction date, and it giving birth could not happen sooner. My in-laws has been living with us for 8 days while they waited to babysit the kids when my husband and I left for the hospital. From the time my first contractions came until delivery it was a total of 12 hours. Here’s how it went.

11AM: My first labor contractions

My first labor contractions started around 11 AM on December 4th. My husband and I had been trying everything under the sun to induce labor. We had been trying nipple stimulation, sex, red raspberry leaf tea, massaging pressure points and I even had an induction massage. My first labor contraction wasn’t very painful and it kind felt like a false “Braxton Hicks” contraction. I didn’t want to get my hopes up at this point (and my family anxiously waiting) so I didn’t tell anyone about it. My second contraction didn’t come until about 20 minutes later. I should mention that my other pregnancies were much different. With my first child I was in pain for hours. With my third child, the contractions were much slower and less painful in the beginning.

12PM: More than just Braxton Hicks

By this time, it was almost noon and I was wondering around the house anxiously waiting for another contraction. I told my husband that it was finally starting to happen. But I didn’t want to get my in-laws hopes up if my contractions didn’t progress any further. Over the next couple hours contractions started to happen but they were scattered in timing. They started to get closer together around 3 pm. By 3pm, I asked my husband to tell his parents that we might be going to the hospital soon. With this being my third child, I wanted to stay in the comfort of my home as long as possible because I know my body and the way it feels to go through labor contraction.

4PM: Calling the hospital to deliver our baby

By 4pm my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and very painful. I estimated that I was roughly 2-3 centimeters dilated and I called the hospital to speak with a nurse. The nurses asked me about the duration of my contractions and the length in between each. We live only 5 minutes from the hospital, so I felt comfortable having my contractions in the comfort of my bedroom where my husband and I were camped out at the time. The nurse let me know that would have a bed waiting for us on arrival. By 5pm I decided it was time to head into the hospital.

6PM: Getting into our labor and delivery room

We were assigned a room and nurse by 6pm and when the doctor checked my cervix I was 4 centimeters dilated. This was a relief, because I was almost half way there! The doctor asked for me to rank my pain on a scale from one to ten which I said was a six as a crunched my LaborGrip. I decided to wait for an Epidural until I reached 6 centimeters. In my experience, an Epidural does slow down delivery. The doctors told me that Epidurals do not slow down the delivery necessarily but I think that they definitely do. By the time the contractions were about and 8-9 on the pain scale. I’ve had Epidurals in the past and I wanted to wait until I couldn’t stand the pain anymore.

7PM: Getting the Epidural

By 7PM, I was getting the Epidural. The process is so much easier than it was only a decade ago apparently. You don’t have to see the Epidural needle really, because it is put into your back. You do have to sign some paperwork for the anastesiologist. Once the Epidural needle was in they hooked up an IV type bag that they can now use to easily give the medicine. It takes about twenty minutes for the contraction pain to go away almost completely. Once the Epidural is in you can’t move very easily and I had to remind our nurse about getting a catheter in place so that I did not wet the bed. The catheter is a little awkward to get in place your euretera but once it’s in there you don’t feel any pain. My nurse only had to check it once and of course remove it before birth.

8PM: Steady Pain after Contractions

By 8PM, I was tired. I was almost 6 centimeters dilated and the nurses suggested that I get some rest. It was tough to fall asleep so my husband and I watched TV for a couple of hours. Once the Epidural was in, everyone was much more calm. Nurses would come in every half an hour. The labor and delivery team has the ability to remotely monitor the babies heart and my contractions. So they didn’t have to stay in the room to keep tabs on the progress. The Chester County Hospital was actually at full capacity and a lot of women were giving birth that day. A women across the hall was did not get an epidural. There was a lot of screaming coming from that room 🙂

10PM: Manually Breaking my Water

Our labor and delivery doctor was so nice. After she felt, it was time to speed along the delivery process, she manually broke my water with a special tool. It was painless and quick. During my first pregnancy, my water broke before I got to the hospital. But with this pregnancy, the doctor manually broke my water to help speed up the dilation process. The doctor pressed down on my stomach slightly and confirmed that I was progressing along nicely with my contractions. When the doctor broke my water I was about 7 centimeters dilated.

labor and delivery of baby picture
labor and delivery of the baby pictures

1AM: The Final Hour

I finally gave birth at 1 AM. Our wonderful doctor checked in and said it’s time to push. I only had to push three times. It was really important to me to not push too much because I didn’t want to tear. With my first baby delivery, I did tear a little bit. My first baby was barely 6 pounds (5 lbs 15oz). When it comes to tearing it really depends on the size of your baby and how much your cervix dilates. My second baby was 7 lbs 10 ounces and I did not tear. I guess that is because I had already stretched out my cervix with my first baby. With this delivery, our doctor seemed to get the timing just right. The first time I pushed during a contraction it made a lot of progress. Apparently I’m a good pusher, already that’s what the doctor said. In fact, I remember the nurse saying “Push like you are taking a poop.” I had about 2-4 minutes to wait until my next contraction. I should mention that my daughter was head down and in a good position to get out. There were no complications with the delivery in terms of baby positioning. With two more contractions and big pushes, the doctor was able to pull out a new baby out. And that’s the story of my 13-hour labor with my daughter Madelyn Rose Richards.

Questions that I get about Labor and Delivery

Was it easier to have your second and third babies?

Yes. It was easier to deliver my second and third babies for a couple of reasons. With my first baby, I did tear which was a painful process and it took longer to fully recover because of that. With my second baby, I did not tear, mainly because my body had already stretched out my cervix once so it was easier to deliver my second baby. With that being said, every baby is different. My second baby was much larger than my first baby.

Are you glad that you got an Epidural?

Yes, I couldn’t see dealing with that much pain without an Epidural. With that being said, I understand why so many women like to have 100% natural births with no medication. Some women have births at home or in birthing centers. I would say that I like the comfort of delivering a baby in a hospital. Our health insurance was able to cover a good deal of the expenses and I really like being able to stay at the hospital a second night with a nurse who can help out. The on-staff nurses who help out the next day allow you to rest and bring you your baby when they need to be fed.

How long was your first labor process versus your others?

Every child’s delivery has been very different for me. My water broke with my first child and my second child. With my third child, the doctor had to manually break my water. With my first child, the doctor actually sent me back home because he said I was not yet in labor. This can happen when you aren’t sure about the differences between Braxton hicks and real labor contractions. Overall, the biggest difference is recovery time. The more babies you have the longer it takes to recover. With my first baby, it was much easier to recover. With my third child, my cervix had been really stretched out for the third time in four years, so it took a lot longer to recover.

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