Hi ladies! Sorry I have been MIA, but last Wednesday I became a mommy! Henry was born January 11th at 9:43 AM, 6lbs, 15.5 oz, 19.25 inches long @37weeks, 1 day.
To catch you up, I started having preterm contractions at 32w3d which led to a short admission to the hospital and bed rest for the next 4.5 weeks with a hefty dose of Procardia. My ultimate goal was to make it to 37 weeks because I had planned on having a birth center birth and they could not deliver me unless I was 37 weeks. Honestly, I never ever thought I would make it that far, but on Monday, the 9th at 36w6d, I had my final appointment with the perinatologists who had been taking care of me. It was so nice to know that I could return to my midwives at any time. The perinatologist told me to stop my Procardia and that I was no longer on modified bed rest! The doctor said to not get my hopes up too much because oftentimes women who had been on the drug don't immediately throw themselves into labor and sometimes even go over term. I had an appointment with my birth center on Wednesday and I was so happy to be going back to them. Well...
That night, only 1 hour after my first missed dose of Procardia I started having contractions! I knew they were real contractions but I didn't think much of them, since I figured my uterus was just getting the memo about the Procardia being gone. I went to bed but I felt like something was happening. It didn't matter to me because I knew at midnight I was "safe" to deliver at the birth center. The next morning just shy of 9 AM I went pee and felt a little pop and gush. It wasn't a huge production so I wondered if it was my water breaking or just me peeing myself. I called my husband and we went to the birth center so they would check me. Turns out I was leaking so much that my midwife touched the litmus paper to the paper on the table where I had been sitting after taking my pants off and she verified that, yes, that was amniotic fluid!
She gave me instructions to try to get things going. The rule at my birth center is that you have to be in "good, active labor" by 24 hours after your membranes have ruptured. Because I was not showing any other signs they offered to give me a dose of antibiotics at 9PM if I chose because my membranes would have been ruptured for 12 hours. I decided that I would probably do that if I wasn't really contracting by then. I went home, got a pedicure (since I had been on bed rest I hadn't had one in a while!) and bought some castor oil. I came home and had a quite large bowel movement without the castor oil, so I knew something was happening and decided not to take it! I had contractions that increased in intensity throughout the afternoon but they didn't get too tough to deal with. I called the midwife at 5 PM to let her know what was going on. She said to call if my contractions got 3 minutes apart or when I wanted the antibiotics. At that point I was only having contractions about every 5-6 minutes apart.
Despite all of my walking around, bouncing on a ball, etc, I was not really feeling any worse by 9 so I decided to go in for the antibiotics, which were administered within 5 minutes. She checked me and I was 3cm dilated and 100% effaced. I also had a forebag that was not yet ruptured. I had the option to go home but I was already out there and I knew that I was going to have to get things really going if I wanted to have this baby at the birth center, which I did!
The rest of the night was spent walking, in the shower, on the birth balls, and trying to rest, but I never really did. I was so worried that I wouldn't progress and that I would be sent to the hospital to be induced at 9 AM. After trying so hard to keep that baby in for 4 weeks now I was doing everything I could to get it out! At 2:30 AM I was still only 3cm and after a lot of walking and a quick nap I woke up at 5:40 with no contractions anymore. Not a one. I was so scared. I only had 3 hours to get things started again! I, for some reason, decided to bring the castor oil with me to the birth center and I asked my midwife if I should take it. She said that there was no harm in trying. I took it (yuck) and walked around for another half hour or so.
Suddenly, out of nowhere at 8:30 I felt a HUGE pop and gush! The forebag had broken. Out of absolutely nowhere, here came the contractions. It was really perfect timing, seeing as I was going to need to be transferred if nothing happened. My midwife was scared that the pain may have only been from the castor oil, as I did have some diarrhea shortly after the pain. She was reluctant to check me because she was going to be so disappointed to have to send me away after all of this. About 9:15 she decided to check me. I was in quite a bit of pain and I knew that these had to be contractions. I used my HynoBirthing breathing techniques but I was still not quite sure if I was going to be far enough. I needed to be 5cm in order to stay.
I got to the bed from the toilet as quickly as I could and it was kind of agonizing to lay flat in that bed. My midwife went to check me and got a strange look on her face. I thought for sure I was not going to make it, so it was a huge shock to hear her say, calmly, "You are 8 to 9. No, 9." All I could think was that I made it and my baby would be here soon. The pain and anxiety I had been feeling was all transition. No wonder! I got into the tub and my DH tried to call everyone to let them know the news. I made it into the tub by 9:25 and my contractions took over as my body began to push for me. The human body is amazing! I only spent less than 20 minutes in the tub before he was born and my midwives took a very hands-off role, acting as "lifeguards" in case something were to need attention, but essentially letting me do the whole thing myself. His head birthed and I reached down to touch him as he crowned. I felt all of this hair! As his head emerged I was in the most amazing state. There he was, half in and half out. I birthed his shoulders and the midwife stepped in for the first time and unwrapped his cord from around his shoulder. On my next contraction I pushed him out and pulled him onto my chest myself. What an amazing feeling to catch your own baby!
I wanted DH to be the one to announce the gender. I will always remember his sweet voice calling out, "It's a BOY!"
Natural birth is indeed the most empowering thing I have ever done and was so worth it! I am so fortunate to have been able to do everything MY WAY and safely. We are so in love! He has the sweetest smooshy nose that is slowly straightening out, but here he was at 2 days old.