It was January 26th, and I was 9 days past due. My OB had scheduled an induction to be started the following morning, so in addition to being tired of the pregnancy, I was worried about being induced. I very much wanted to have a natural birth, and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this if I had the induction. For a week I’d been trying everything I could think of to bring on labor, except eating spicy foods since I have a huge aversion to them. It was four in the afternoon, and my husband was heading out to his evening classes. We had just tried one of the more…intimate ways of bringing on labor, and I was having some mild contractions, but I figured they wouldn’t last since I'd been having them on and off for a week, and they always went away after an hour or less. So off to class my dear hubby went, and I promised to call if things picked up and became regular.
When around 5:30 the contractions had not yet gone away, and seemed to be fairly regular, I started timing them. They were 10 minutes apart and lasted about 20 seconds or so. Nothing to get excited over, but excited I got since this was the most that had happened in weeks. I had a snack and watched some TV trying to distract myself so I wouldn’t get my hopes up to high if this didn’t turn into real labor. I timed them again at 7, and they were 7 minutes apart, lasting 35-40 seconds. Now I did get excited. But I didn’t want to call my husband yet, just in case. Besides, they weren’t close enough to go to the hospital. I double checked that my bag had everything I wanted/needed in it. I spent about an hour fiddling with baby clothes and planning what I would put my baby in for his first pictures. At 8:30 I timed my contractions again, and they were 5-6 minutes apart lasting a solid 40-45 seconds. So I called my husband. He got home about 9 pm, and was raring to go to the hospital. We timed my contractions again, and they were still about the same as before, so I said we’d wait. He spent the next hour and a half timing my contractions, and asking me if I was ready to go yet. He was so anxious. At 10:30 they were a little less than 5 minutes apart, still lasting about 40 seconds. Off to the hospital we went.
The hospital wasn’t far, and there was no traffic since it was late at night. But in the span of that short car trip my contractions actually slowed down. When we checked in they were back to being almost 7 minutes apart, lasting only 30 seconds or so. Luckily, I was dilated 4 centimeters, 100% effaced, so they let me stay. I would’ve been really bummed if they had sent me home, which I was afraid they would do considering how much my contractions had weakened. It was a little after 11:00, and I’d now been in early labor for about seven hours.
The hospital was great about my desire to maintain mobility during labor. They put in a Hep-lock so I wouldn’t have to be attached to an IV, and they put it about midway up my forearm so that it wouldn’t interfere with my ability to use my wrist or elbow joints. They told me that since I was still fairly early in labor, they would wait until I thought things were really picking up before they did another cervical check, and attached the monitors. After that, they wanted to attach monitors once every hour or so for about 15 minutes, so that I wouldn’t have to be continuously monitored. I spent most of the next couple hours walking back and forth in my room.
Sometime after one in the morning, maybe closer to two, I got really nauseous very suddenly, and threw up everywhere. I was also beginning to feel pretty miserable in general, and decided I was going to lie down. They hooked up the monitors, and checked my dilation. I was 7 centimeters, and I think they said contractions were about 3 minutes apart, lasting for about a minute. After monitoring the baby and I for a little bit, they removed the monitors so I could move about as I liked, but I did not want to get up again. At this point, I remember there was a wonderful nurse who would sit with me for a while and help me through contractions. She didn’t stay in the room all the time, but when she came in she would stay for several contractions, and talk me through them. My husband spent most of the remainder of the labor alternating between pacing, and asking me if he could do anything for me. I remember he also had a wet washcloth that he would hold to the back of my neck or wipe my face with when I asked. I remember being really hot, and not wanting the sheets on my bed anymore. At some point, they had hooked me up to continuous monitoring. They gave me an oxygen mask, which I didn’t want to use. I think they gave it to me because of the baby’s heart rate, but I’m not sure. I also remember that the thing they put on my finger to monitor my pulse was for some reason seriously getting on my nerves. At some point, after asking the nurses several times if I could take it off, I just removed it myself and told them I wasn’t wearing it anymore. They didn't make a big deal out of it. The nurse just put up her hands in a sort of placating way and said, "OK, sweetie, that's fine." I think that was around the time I was dilated 8-9 centimeters. Somewhere in all of this they broke my water, since it hadn’t yet broken on its own.
I spent a lot of time thrashing about in the bed trying to find a comfortable position, and I didn’t want to get up. I was crying because it hurt so much, but I dozed in between some of the contractions, that’s how tired I was. Finally, I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, and asked for pain medication. I had been at 9 centimeters the last 3 times they checked, and I was frustrated and tired. They called the anesthesiologist, and then that wonderful nurse came back in. She told me I needed to get up from the bed and go pee, which I didn’t want to do, but between her and my husband they got me to do. Then she had me stay standing leaning against my husband while she changed the pads that were on the bed. Finally, when I got back in the bed, she said, “Let me just check you one last time, dear, before the anesthesiologist gets here.” Lo and behold, I was at 10cm. I think I laughed I was so happy. She cancelled the anesthesiologist, and a few minutes later, I felt like pushing.
They say I only pushed for 20 minutes before my baby was born. I remember that during the pushing stage, the contractions didn’t hurt. My husband helped support me sitting up in the bed, and he rubbed my shoulders in between contractions. I vaguely remember the “ring of fire”, but it didn’t last long, nor did it hurt nearly as badly as I’d been told it would. I remember the awe in my husband’s voice when he said, “I can see his head.” What I remember most is the doctor telling me to reach down and grab my baby, as he guided my hands under my son's arms, and allowed me to pull him the rest of the way out and onto my chest with the final push. I remember my son’s eyes locking with mine as I greeted him, and those few seconds of silence and recognition before he resumed his cries.
My beautiful boy was born January 27th, 2010, at 6:37am, 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
Birth story two
So I was 10 days past due, again, and still no baby. I went to bed cranky and uncomfortable. With my first, I went into labor at 9 days past due, and he was born at 10 days past due. I’d been having pro-dromal labor on and off for days, but so far no real labor. At my appointment four days prior, I was 4 centimeters dilated and had really expected to be in labor by now. After all, second babies are supposed to come sooner, right? Not.
I woke up at 2:30 a.m. needing to use the restroom. When I got up from the toilet, I felt my water break. Yay! I was having contractions, but they didn’t feel any different from the false-start contractions I’d been having, so I waited. They started becoming regular around 3:30 or so. This is when I woke my husband up. We took our time getting ready. I made sure I had everything ready to go for my toddler when he woke up so it would be easy for my dad to take care of him. We were about to head out at 4 a.m. when my boy woke up crying. I laid back down in bed with him to try to get him to go back to sleep. It difficult at that point to lie next to him through a contraction without him knowing something was different. But I did it, since I didn’t want to scare him.
At 4:45 we finally headed to the hospital. By now my contractions were 3 minutes apart, and really hurting. The hospital is typically a 45-minute drive over the mountain, but there was no traffic, and hubby sped a little. We arrived just after 5 and were checked in to L&D at 5:20 a.m. They hooked me up to the monitors for 20 minutes, put in a Hep Lock. Hubby fetched me some ice water to sip on in between contractions. They checked me, and I was 6 centimeters. After 20 minutes, they took me off the monitors and told me I could walk around if I wanted. I had originally planned on laboring in the tub for a while, but at this point it just seemed like too much trouble. I didn’t even want to get out of the bed really. I don’t know how far apart the contractions were or how long they were lasting at this point. I was no longer paying attention to the clock.
I got out of the bed anyway since usually that helps speed things along. Hubby was basically holding me up during contractions. At some point, the midwife (CNM) arrived. She suggested squatting during contractions, but I couldn’t. It hurt too much, and my legs were shaking just trying to stay standing. Shortly after this, I wanted to get back in the bed. Hubby says it was just after 6 at this point. I was feeling a lot of pressure, so the midwife checked me and said I was at 9 centimenters. I started crying. I was upset because I’d gotten stuck at 9 centimeters for almost an hour last time, and I was immediately anticipating the same thing happening this time. Hubby was holding me, and telling me, “It’s ok, you’re doing great, that’s 3 centimeters in an hour, etc.” The next contraction came, and I told the midwife I had to push. She asked me to try not to, but I couldn’t help it, so she checked me again. She said I had just a little lip of a cervix left, but that I could go ahead and push past it.
I only pushed for about 10 minutes total. I started out pushing on my side, but then things got scary. First of all, this was completely different from my first in that the pushing stage hurt, a lot. With my first I stopped really feeling the contractions while I was pushing. This time was the opposite. The contractions hurt worse. I heard the midwife say, “He’s stuck, go get the on-call doc, now.” A nurse ran out of the room, and I think a couple more came in. Apparently we had a shoulder dystocia. They had me turn on my back. One nurse was doing compressions on my abdomen just above my pubic bone, kinda like CPR. That hurt like hell. It hurt more than the contractions and pushing. Another nurse was helping my hubby push my legs back during contractions. Whatever they did worked. He wasn’t stuck for long. I was told less than a minute.
As soon as he came out they rushed him over to the little warming table and gave him some oxygen. Apparently oxygen deprivation can be an issue with a dystocia. So I wasn’t able to hold him immediately like I was with my first. But everything was fine. He didn’t suffer any complications. Once they were sure he was ok, they handed him to me so I could hold and nurse him. They had to cut the cord quickly to get him to the table with the oxygen, but they still handed my husband the scissors to cut it down further once it was clamped. I thought that was nice. Everyone left the room for a while to give my family some privacy. We spent over an hour bonding before they took him to weigh him and clean him up.
And so, my second son was born at 6:29am Sept. 20, 2011, 9 pounds, 4 ounces, after just over an hour in the hospital.