This post is more for my own memory rather than being something that the blogger world will care about, but I started this blog to use it as a journal and I'm going to continue doing that!
TMI ALERT---This is a labor story, so it's gonna get icky. Read at your own risk. :)
As you might know, my due date was February 27th. That assumed a 40 week gestation period, and I had learned in our birthing class that the average woman usually delivers around 41 weeks and 1 day if she is left to her own devices and doesn't get induced. For my own personal reasons, I really didn't want to get induced. I wanted Baby Boy to come when he was ready to and not when I or my doctor wanted him to. Because of that, I always assumed he would be born sometime during the first week in March. I was kind of hoping for 3/1/13 or 3/3/13 just because I am weird and like fun numbers, but I definitely didn't think I'd have a February baby.
On the morning of February 27th, I had my 40 week prenatal appointment. They "checked' me and I was dilated to a 3 and effaced to 80%. I had had some contractions the night before and had thought I might be in labor, but they had stopped the second I fell asleep and I hadn't had any more that morning. The midwife asked me if I had a history of fast labors in my family. After thinking about it, I really couldn't say that I did. my sisters all delivered around the average of 12-18 hours. My mom had fast labors, but I wasn't sure that she tracked the timing the same way they do now. My midwife commented that my body had already done a lot of the work so I might get lucky and have a fast delivery. I laughed and told myself to plan on the exact opposite; no woman wants to get her hopes up for a fast delivery and then labor for 24+ hours!
After my appointment, I went to work and had a typical work day. I only had one contraction while at work and it wasn't even painful. I could just feel my abdomen tightening up. That was okay with me, though, as my doula's son was getting married on the 28th and I was on strict orders not to have a baby that day because she wouldn't be able to help me! I knew that if I went into labor that afternoon, I would be laboring into the 28th.
After work, I came home and lounged for a bit. One of the final things on my "to-do" list was to have Hubster take photos of my baby bump. I only had photos of it on my camera phone and I wanted some higher quality ones so I could remember what my bump looked like. He got home at six and we quickly took some photos outside. Nothing fancy, but enough to remember by:
|I can never be serious.|
After taking photos, we went inside and sat down to watch the TV show Merlin on Netflix. We were on the season 4 two-part finale. We watched the first one and it ended at 8:15. We debated for a bit on whether or not we wanted to watch the second part or go to bed. Since I was pregnant, I was super tired (note: HAHAHAHA--you THOUGHT you were tired!) and wanted to go to bed early but I decided that I could stay up for another 45 minutes to finish the season. The show would be over at 9 which was manageable.
We started the second part of the finale, and within minutes I wasn't feel good. I was uncomfortable and couldn't get adjusted in a way that helped. I tried pelvic rocks, tailor sitting, the works and nothing was helping. I found that I was very distracted from the show. Within 15 minutes of turning the last episode on, I was in enough pain that I decided I couldn't watch and opted to go upstairs and go to sleep to see if I could get the contractions to start. Once I got to my room, I realized that the contractions were strong enough that I wasn't likely to sleep through them so I decided to take a bath instead to help relax them away.
TMI ALERT---Icky details are starting. :)
Before I climbed into the tub, I decided to pee. When I wiped, the toilet paper came away BRIGHT red. It scared the crap out of me. I had heard about the "bloody show" but had always imagined it would look more like period blood rather than "holy crap I'm bleeding internally" blood. With the pain I was feeling, I thought something was wrong and I instantly yelled for my husband and said. "SOMETHING'S WRONG. WE NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. NOW!!!"
I'm not dramatic at all...
Luckily, he had a cool head on him. Also, he hadn't noticed that I was in labor yet and didn't even realize that I was having contractions. I don't even think he noticed that I was writhing around in pain during the episode or that I had wandered off to the bathroom. Given that he missed all of that, he maintained a calm head and said "Um, let's call the doula first. She will be able to tell us if we need to go to the hospital or if this is normal."
I called her (note to self: dumb idea. Contractions are lame and hard to talk through. Next time have the man talk to her) and explained what I was feeling. I kind of didn't fully tell her how bad the contractions were. I told her about the blood and that I was having contractions, but I didn't tell her how close or how hard they were. I said I'd text her any developments and that I was going to get in the tub and start timing my contractions.
The tub felt awesome and I started timing my contractions on some random app I downloaded on my phone. I was horrified when I saw the results. My contractions were last a minute and happening every two minutes like clockwork. I had always assumed that they would start out slow and build up to that, but that didn't happen for me. I didn't have time to do anything I needed to do (thank goodness I had packed my hospital bag!) and I was in so much pain that I couldn't have done anything even if I'd had the time!
It quickly got serious so Hubster texted our doula Amy and told her to get down here right away. Luckily, she was able to come and labor with me during the night. She said she'd have to leave in the morning but she could help me throughout the evening. I was glad of that!
She showed up at our house about a half an hour later. She immediately checked me out for emotional signposts and said that I was pretty far along. I was talking a bit more than she'd like, but I was clearly in labor and it was the real thing. Normally she has you labor at home for as long as you can and then gets you to the hospital when you are dilated to a 5 or above, but I had tested positive for Group-B Strep so I had to get there a little earlier to get the antibiotic. Plus, I really wanted to get out of my stupid shallow tub and into their very deep labor tubs. With that in mind, I only labored at home with her for about 45 minutes before she had us leave for the hospital.
Leaving for the hospital was a joke. My contractions were so close together that I couldn't get anything done. I needed to get dressed, but kept having painful contractions that stopped my progress. Walking down the stairs was horrible. And riding in the car was the worst. Luckily, Amy had told Hubster to grab some garbage bags "in case she throws up on the drive." I hadn't thrown up the entire pregnancy, and I never throw up, but that turned out to be some really sage advice because right as the hospital came into view I told Hubster that I felt like puking every time I had a contraction. Two seconds after saying that, I puked. Five times in a row. Of the two garbage sacks he grabbed, I luckily grabbed the one that didn't have a huge hole in the bottom of it! :) Also, I had eaten breakfast burritos for dinner which is a horrible thing to throw up, just for the record...
On the way to the hospital I had remarked that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to have a natural (unmedicated) birth. The pain was super strong and I was worried I wouldn't be able to handle it. I was really hoping that we would arrive at the hospital and they would tell me that I was dilated to an 8 and nearly ready to push! However, once they got us checked in they informed me that I was only dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced. That was EXACTLY what I was at that morning without being in labor. Talk about discouraging!! I really thought I was done for at that point. Luckily my doula told me to brush it off and ignore the numbers because I was physically and emotionally way farther along in labor than my body was showing.
They couldn't admit me because of my dismal numbers, but they would keep me for an hour for observation. Worst hour of my life. The contractions were still coming on hard and strong and right after each other. I couldn't get in the big tub because I wasn't admitted. Being out of the water made the contractions even more painful, but luckily my doula knew some handy massage/pressure techniques that helped take the edge off. They worked surprisingly well.
Eventually they let me get into their Jacuzzi bath tubs they have in the labor rooms. They aren't deep, but they are better than the labor beds. I was a little bit happier in them. By this point I was super serious and really feeling the pain of labor. It was roughly 11 pm by this point. An hour passed and they checked me again. I was expecting (again) to be at an 8 or so, but I had only progressed to a 4.5. Luckily, it was enough progress to convince them that I was actually in labor so they let me get in the big tub. FINALLY. Only one problem, though---the hospital was somehow out of hot water. They only had mildly warmish water so the tub was pretty cold to me. While that sucked, it was still significantly better to be fully submerged so I was happier than I had been.
Time passed (very weirdly, I might add. I had no sense of time during my labor. It passed really really quickly, which surprised me) and eventually they checked me again. I was at a measly 6. A SIX. If I could've screamed I would have. I felt like I was going to rip apart with each contraction. At this point, I truly felt that my dream of a drug-free labor was lost and that I wouldn't be able to hack it. They were measuring my baby's heart beat and were worried it wasn't responding the right way, which meant I might have to have a C-section. I will admit my stupid brain thought "YES. If I can have a C-section I don't have to deal with this awful pain!" However, I knew well enough to know that a C-section was the last thing I wanted. Luckily, baby's heartbeat started responding right and they didn't push for it.
My next contraction came and all of a sudden my body was forcefully pushing. I had heard that I would have an "uncontrollable urge to push" but I hadn't realized that meant my body would actually be uncontrollable and push without my consent. I panicked because I knew I shouldn't be pushing while only dilated to a 6. I told the doctors and they said "try not to do that again." Haha, like I had any say! My body does what it wants!
Another contraction came, and again my body pushed. Every single muscle in my abs and back were united in trying to get my baby out of my body. It actually felt a LOT better to be pushing. I preferred the pushing contractions WAY over the other ones. Transition really sucks, that's all I have to say. :)
With each pushing contraction, I could feel the progress my body was making. I could feel his head move lower and lower down my body. Most first timers complain that the baby comes down the canal only to come back up and lose progress. I definitely did not have that problem. With each contraction, he made a lot of progress. Eventually he got low enough that I thought I was going to have a bowel movement (ha, gross). Luckily, I didn't(!) and it was just his head being so low.
A few short contractions later, I felt Baby Boy's head pop out. The contraction pushed again and suddenly I had a baby in my arms. It was incredible! I only had about seven pushing contractions total--so bizarre! He was born at 2:41 AM and weighed 8 lbs 4 ozs and 21 inches long. From start to finish my labor was just shy of 7 hours. Apparently my midwife was right--I was going to have a fast labor. Unfortunately, my body pushed so quickly that it didn't have time to properly stretch and I ended up with a rather large tear. It was a partial Stage III tear. Google it. Wait, on second thought, don't, because it's horrifying. I also hemorrhaged a bit so they were worried about my blood loss. Luckily, that resolved itself pretty quickly. Also, I'd like to comment that the part where they have to push on your tummy to get the remaining bits out after labor is the worst. The absolute worst. I kind wanted to punch somebody during that part.
After everything calmed down, I was so happy to realize that I had succeeded in my goal of having a natural drug-free childbirth. My baby was happy and healthy and so was I. Other than passing out in the bathroom while they check to make sure you can still pee (mothers have no pride at this point), all went well after the labor.
My final thoughts: water birth is the way to go. If I hadn't had the giant tub, I would've tapped out. The pain would've been too much for me to withstand. However, having that option made all the difference in the world. The best part is that I almost wasn't eligible to give birth in a tub! The hospital had just gotten approval the week before to let women actually deliver in the tubs. I had signed a waiver just that morning giving me the option to deliver in the tub in case I wanted to. I ended up being the very first water birth at the hospital! I hadn't even intended to actually deliver in the water, but once the pain hit there was no way I was getting out of that tub! Thank goodness I had signed the waiver!
So that's my birth story. It was intense and incredible. I loved being fully aware and involved in what my body was doing, even if sometimes it was so intense I wished I couldn't feel it. With my next birth, I'll definitely go the same route. However, I might need to take up residency in the hospital because if I'm like the average woman my next labor will be even quicker!
Totally worth it: