DH and I were very blessed to have such a smooth labor and natural delivery following our Bradley Method guidelines and using a doula. We chose a doula since all our family members are out-of-state and we wanted one more person for support and to keep me calm (I'm known to be bossy and controlling).
At my 38 week appointment on Monday, Nov 30 I was only 2cm dilated and thinning out (not sure of effacement though). My last day of work was Wednesday and I was hosting a GTG for some Nesties on Saturday. I had a ton of errands to run. Friends and family said that I would "go early", but being our first baby I told myself that he'd be on-time or late.
Saturday, December 5th I hosted a holiday cookie baking party for our local Nesties. DH
and I spent the morning cleaning and organizing the house. There were
10 girls that came over for lunch and to roll out, cut out
and bake up about 30 dozen cookies. It was a fun and very busy
afternoon. I was on my feet all day, but otherwise felt fine. I had had DH contractions and some cramping on and off since 36 weeks, but nothing timeable.
Baby must have enjoyed all the excitement and my water
broke at 6:30pm while the Nesties were still here. Luckily DH had just
gotten home from the office. He informed the girls that I was in labor
and they promptly cleaned the whole kitchen and left us a lot of
cookies. I was pretty frightened when my water broke as it was a BIG
gush and I knew that baby would be delivered in the next 24 hours
and I wasn't ready; I was tired. I had several more gushes and decided
to lay down on the bed and call the midwife on-call. She wasn't my
midwife, but I had seen her in rotations.
The midwife knew that we wanted to labor at home as long as we could. She instructed us to call when contractions were 5 mins apart. We called around 11pm, she said to call back when they were about 3 minutes apart. Our doula came to the house around midnight to help support DH and I through the early and active stages of labor. The contractions were manageable and I rolled on the birthing ball while watching TV, I tried to rest in bed for awhile and then I got in the shower before we left.
We called the midwife again around 2:45am. We told her that we felt we were ready to go to the hospital. DH saw that the contractions were getting pretty close and I felt them intensifying. And DH was an unbelievable coach and had everything ready, packed and was in control. Surprisingly, I was calm through most of the labor, never barking or yelling at him. Closing my eyes through contractions helped me to focus inward. We headed to the hospital at 3:45 and arrived at 4:15am. DH brought in our goodie basket to the nurses station. I had made a basket with chocolates and treats for our nurses.
We were certain that the baby was going to be born any moment (since I did all that work at home). Unfortunately, we weren't as far along as we had expected, only 3 cms, and I had been 2cm earlier that week. The nurses called the midwife and everyone agreed that it would be many more hours until delivery time. I was stuck in that bed for over an hour while they stuck me with a Hep lock (which I hated) and asked me an insane number of medical/family history questions. I had the fetal monitors on during that time as well. They said no clear fluids, but ice chips were ok. At that point, I was super uncomfortable laying in the bed and asked to get out and walk around (I didn't have to have an IV per our wishes in our birth plan). Nurses called the midwife, she said it was ok. I jumped out of the bed and asked to remove the monitors since baby's heart rate was just fine for over an hour.
DH and the doula helped me with positions. And I found that lowering the bed, leaning over it and squatting to the floor was the best position. Even then it felt like my uterus was falling out of my body. I tried to walk with DH and lean on him, but the contractions were just too bad and the pain too intense. All of a sudden everything was just too much. I couldn't believe that I was just 3 cms 1 and 1/2 hours before. I was begging "Please, help me" to DH.
After another 30 mins I wanted to get checked. I figured if I was 5-6 cms I was going to get some drugs because I couldn't handle the contractions much longer. I got checked and and to our surprise we were 9 cms! The nurses called the midwife and told her to get to the hospital right away. Things were getting exciting and pretty darn painful. I felt the urge to push, but couldn't until the midwife got there. I kept protesting that "I can't wait for her!". Clearly, our little boy was anxious to make his way into the world. The midwife arrived at 7:15am and said we could begin pushing. I tried kneeling backwards on the bed, but it didn't seem to help, so I just sat up in the bed. The midwife just said to push when I felt the urge. 30 minutes later, the love our of lives was born.
I must admit that it was super painful going through transition (but I didn't know I was that far along) and
that if an anesthesiologist had been standing in the doorway with an
epidural ready to go, I probably would've asked him to stab me in the
back, lol. But I progressed so quickly once we got to the hospital that
there was absolutely no time for medication anyway. Thank God. We felt that the Bradley classes were worth it as was our doula. And
our hospital staff was so fantastic and followed our birth plan. They are very baby and breastfeeding friendly. We
definitely are going back to that hospital again for our next baby.
In the end, we got to the hospital at 4:15am at 3cms/90% effaced and dilated to 10cms by 7am and only pushed for 28 mins. All without any type of pain medication or intervention. I couldn't believe that we did it. And it's exactly the way we wanted to bring our first child into the world.