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Old 03-18-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: U.S.A.
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10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

This is going to be long, but I really want to get this off my chest and see if anyone else has faced something similar, and find out what things were like the next go round for others...

I had my first baby at home with my wonderful midwife in September.

I spent 12 hours in active labor from midnight on (birth pool = awesome) before I got to the pushing stage. Everything was going great and we all thought I'd have my peanut within an hour or two. Lo's vitals were great, positioning was perfect, and I was feeling pretty good. I'm a very athletic person and I was blessed with an easy pregnancy, so all signs pointed to a textbook delivery. After all, everyone knows the pushing stage means the end is in sight!

And then... I started pushing. And kept pushing. And kept PUSHING! It was so immensely frustrating, you have no idea.

After about two hours I think my pushing contractions began to get a little erratic, so we started trying things to speed them up. I had been pushing in a standing position by our bed, so my DH and midwife coaxed me into moving around. (BTW, much easier even during transition than during pushing!) Pacing, up and down stairs, DH helping me rotate my hips, on hands and knees, directed pushing on bed, in shower, on toilet. Nipple stimulation to encourage contractions... just craziness. After about 6 hours of pushing (and no sleep the night before) - I was exhausted. And I mean bone weary, and discouraged - because baby was still so high I couldn't even feel the head by reaching in as far as I could with my fingers. At this point I was starting to feel afraid that I would have to go to the hospital, and I was no longer thinking very clearly. I told my midwife I did not want to go, but DH and midwife basically told me if things didn't change within an hour I was going. They called up the hospital and gave them a heads up... things looked bleak from my POV.

But I am a stubborn, determined person and I was not finished yet. My midwife told me I had no chance of delivering the baby at home unless I could regain some energy. So, I ate the most nauseating meal I have ever had in my life. A huge bowl of chicken soup with a slice of buttered bread, and as many tablespoons of honey as they could get in me. Gag (I had already thrown up twice, and was praying I could keep it down). I forced myself to eat every bite, while I held onto the table through pushes. Then back into the shower for more nipple stimulation, and out again for stair pacing. Within an hour the change was amazing, the food hit my system, pushing picked up - and suddenly baby dropped. I could feel her head!!

By this point I had been pushing for over 8.5 hours, and it was taking a toll. Pushes were coming hard and fast again, and I couldn't seem to keep up. So I laid on the bed to slow things down with DH supporting me from behind, which helped tons (love, love that man!). The last place I thought I'd have my baby was on the bed, on my back, with DH helping me pull my knees back - but that is where she was born because once she began crowning (took an hour of crowning) I could no longer move. Her shoulders got stuck at the end, and I tore, but she was born! At home! Naturally!! After 12 hours of active labor, and 10.5 hours of pushing at 10:30 PM!

It was all a bit of a traumatic experience for me to be perfectly honest, even though I feel blessed that I was able to have her at home. I never expected things to go the way they did. My midwife said that in 400 births, she had only once seen another similar to mine. No clear indications as to why it took so long to push (no malpositioning, fit mother, etc.), but it did. She told me I shoud be proud of myself for persevering through it all, but really... I'm just praying that if I have another it will be faster. And easier. Apparently my vaginal muscles were spasming when I pushed, so my body was kind of fighting the baby coming down for at least the last part of labor. My midwife suggested I may want to see a physical therapist before I have another to see if they have any suggestions...

So long story short, has anyone else had anything similar happen?? Had an extended pushing phase? Had another baby after with more normal pushing phase?

(BTW, keep in mind we were constantly checking baby's vitals the whole time and she never showed any signs of distress. If she had, I would have gone to the hospital in a heartbeat.)
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