We were in Labor and Delivery by 5:30pm, and I was already 6cm dilated and 90% effaced. Our doula Katya met us there - by dumb luck, my assigned student nurses were home for Thanksgiving, so I got the first-year nursing student who was also a professional doula and lactation consultant with four years' experience. Score!
Moe learned to dance me through contractions (think bad junior high slow dancing, not the rhumba). Transition sucked and I asked Katya to remind me again why I wasn't having an epidural. Her spot-on answer was that I could, but I'd probably have to have Pitocin. Not that I'd feel it, but I didn't like the Pitcoin last time at all, and that was enough to convince me to keep on. (Also, it had to be near pushing time, right?)
Right. First they wanted me to push on hands and knees but that felt too weird, so it was side-lying. This is where the screw-up came. For some reason, I could not handle keeping one leg in the air, but relaxed, and curling around my stomach. I kept tensing my legs and trying to curl sideways. I wanted to be on my back (that's how we did it last time) and Katya silently thought the same, but no one wanted to contradict the midwife. She never asked me if I wanted a different position, and since the baby was in distress (cord around the neck again), I assumed there was a Medical Reason for this position. I was pushing hard enough to break capillaries in my face and chest, but the baby wasn't moving much, because I was pulling back just as much.
I freaked out well and truly once, when I was hearing a lot of noise and the word "vacuum" along with the refrain "The baby needs to come out" and Katya was urging me to push when the urge had passed. The midwife had been harping that I should only push when I felt the urge, so being told to push when I didn't feel like it contradicted that prior order and I panicked. Why the change? What was wrong? (The contraction was just really, really short, only one push instead of three; not unreasonable for Katya to have misjudged.) Katya was very good at getting me to unfreak. (Kind of funny, actually: she'd do this thing where she pressed right between my eyes and ordered me to "look up, that is your focus point." So I, of course, looked up at the ceiling - not at her hand. "Up" in a gravity-based reference frame, not my own body-centered one.)
The midwife. Maybe she works well for other women. But something about her tone made me mad as hell. The second or third time she told me to only push when I felt the urge, I actually said, "Do you think I'm doing this for the heck of it?" It continually had the undertone of "Why don't you listen to me and do this right?" instead of just being guidance. That was probably the worst part of the labor (aside from the pain and panic) and that's not too bad.
In the end, no vacuum was needed so the delivery did not literally suck. I got to hold Ben instead of just seeing him before he was whisked off to NICU (as happened with Spud). He's been great with learning to breastfeed; Sunday was miserable, and he needs to learn to nurse longer, but we've got this latching thing down and he eats.
Okay, Moe and Spud are home and Ben is overdue for his lunch so... that's it for now.