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Old 03-18-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
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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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Old 03-18-2012, 10:14 PM   #2
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

Not had anything similar but I'm even more thankful for that now. I can not imagine. Here's hoping any future labors are much more "textbook"
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:39 PM   #3
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

wowie, i thought 30 mins was a lot for pushing. Im glad your care provider didnt push other interventions on you
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:30 PM   #4
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

OMG, bless you for getting through that. I pushed 45 minutes with my first and 10 minutes with the second. I had chiro care during my second pregnancy and I firmly believe it helped. I have to say I would have been screaming for drugs or a section. The pushing stage was the most intense and scariest part for me.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

I just want to give you enormous kudos! I don't know how long my pushing phase lasted maybe an hour or less, but it was horrific, the most extreme pain I have ever felt and then my DD got stuck (shoulder dystocia). If it would have gone on any longer...

My other two births had an epidural, so I can't really compare, although I do think each birth experience was a bit unique.

Mom to Mason (3/2003) and Maddie (11/2007) and Morgan (3/2011)
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

First of all awesome job, mama!! Most people wouldn't make it that long! I have a question, did you start pushing only after you had a STRONG urge to push? I have read that it can really drain the mother's energy to push before a strong urge. Also, I would suggest trying to find a good craniosacral therapist if/when you are pregnant again. It really could be a sacral issue and if so could most likely, easily be corrected with the therapy. If you go to, there should be a list of CTs in your area. In my opinion they work better than PT or chiropractors and use very gentle techniques that feel more like gentle massage than an "adjustment" (like with Chiros.)
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:41 AM   #7
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

I pushed for 3 hours with my 1st and about 20 minutes with my 2nd. It seems like my body finally figured out what to do. Hope it turns out that way for you too.
Nicole; spunky, sassy mama to my two little wild ones: Logan (9-08) and Liam (11-10) and Grayson (12-12)
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:23 AM   #8
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

Omg, never heard of someoneushing that long in my life. My doula told me the longest she has seen in 5 years of. Being a doula was 4.
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:38 AM   #9
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

Wow, you must have been exhausted. I pushed for four with my first and I could barely hold her afterwards I was so tired. May I ask if this was directed pushing or if you made the call? I only ask because my Dr told me when to start pushing with my first and with my second I didn't push until I was ready and It was one long, nine minute push, that I pretty much had no control over, and he was born.
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:44 AM   #10
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Re: 10 hours of pushing. Yes, I said pushing. Anyone else go long??

That is a sign of trouble and I'm surprised the midwife didn't make you transport! I pushed for 4-1/2 hours and my baby ended up being a severe shoulder dystocia. He had to get pulled out and needed rescusitated and now suffers a lifelong birth injury that requires surgeries and therapies and splinting, and so on.He has limited range of motion even after 4 years of super hard work. I also had an episiotomy, tore all the way, and broke my tailbone from the force of getting him out.

Prolonged pushing is a red flag. I'm glad you and baby are okay.

I've gone on to have 3 c-sections as my babies just keep getting bigger (my first was also a homebirth).
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