Joe and I were hoping to have as few interventions as possible, so we declined the pitocin, wanting to see what my body could do on its own. When my doctor arrived later at 1pm, I'd only reached 5cm, so he broke my water and said we'd see what would happen from there. Almost instantly, I had the most incredible, painful, awful contractions in my back and lower abdomen. I couldn't keep ahead of them. And, I got the shakes, which made me feel even more out of control. We tried coping for awhile and I told Joe I thought I wanted an epidural. By the time Dori came back in the room 2 minutes later, I was *very assertively* saying, "I want an epidural! Get me an epidural!" (I wouldn't recommend waiting this long for an epidural in the future...it was hard to hold still and cope while they placed it).
So, I got my epidural, which was worth every penny. My pain came down, but I could still feel the contractions. I was able to cope with them by breathing and having Joe rub my back and with moaning. When the doctor checked me again, I was 7cm and having good, strong contractions.
I got a new nurse, Nicole (who was amazing!), at change of shift, and she said she felt like my pain was too out of control. She was worried I would be too tired for pushing, so she increased my dose and all of a sudden, I felt wonderful. No pain, no back pressure, nothing for the first time in several days. When she checked me around 5p, I was 9cm dilated and only starting to feel a little back and hip pain on the left side, which never really took the epidural like the right side did. My doctor checked me and told us we could start pushing.
At first, Nicole told us she could see the baby's head and I was thinking, "Oh, good, this will be over after a few pushes." However, when I was pushing, she realized the baby's head was pointed toward the back of my pelvis and he was looking up, so his forehead kept getting stuck under my pelvis when I pushed. I ended up pushing for 2 hours, trying to get him to turn around. Let me just say this: epidurals eventually wear off and 2 hours of pushing is 2 hours too long, especially with back labor. I was very vocal during pushing and had a surprising (to me) amount of vomiting and nausea during this phase. Joe and Dori each held a leg and when I started to get tired, Joe helped hold my chin to my chest during pushes.
At some point, I looked down while I was pushing and was surprised to see my doctor had replaced Nicole at the foot of my bed. He said, "In a few contractions, we're going to have this baby." I didn't really believe him at that point, but he was right. All of a sudden, the head was crowing. Joe said, "His face is out!". I asked, "Is it a boy??" (like, "How can you tell from the face?" but Joe always refers to the unknown gendered as he) and then my doctor said, "Sure looks like a boy to me."
And, there was Sam. They placed him on my abdomen and I cried as I stroked his hair. Dori cut the cord. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hold him for long, because he was having some trouble maintaining his oxygen level, so Joe took him to the nursery (with the nurse) and Dori stayed with me while I recovered.
An hour or so later, though, I got to see my beautiful son, with his poor swollen and bruised head and face. I'd previously told Joe that no newborn as cute and I doubted ours would be, but I happily ate my words. We got into bed together and he nursed like a champ right off the bat. Later, the nurse offered to take him back to the nursery so we could rest, but I didn't want to give him up more than I already had to that evening, so I settled in for my first night as a mom. I told Joe the next day that there was a point when I'd been nursing and had my gown half off when I realized I had to pee...and then realized that Sam needed a diaper change...and that it was my responsibility to do it all. (Joe sleeps like the dead...this will change quickly, I'm sure). And, that was my first realization that I was indeed a mom.