April 2014 Moms

Maxwell's Birth Story

Hey all, this is long and there are a million other birth stories already it seems like, but I know I really loved reading birth stories when I was waiting for labor to begin, so here is mine. TL;DR — I had a med-free hospital birth after about ten total hours of labor, only three of them really hard. 8lb 6.8oz baby. 

Maxwell's Birth Story 

My official due date was March 30, a Sunday. I had been having mild but noticeable, time-able contractions for about a week, but nothing more seemed to be happening, so I assumed I was going to go all the way to my original due date of April 7. I went to my regular, "just-in-case" doctor's appointment on Wednesday, April 2 at 10am and still had nothing to report. My OB doesn't do cervical checks, so I didn't know if I was dilated or effaced at all after all those warm-up contractions. He measured my fundal height and it was two centimeters lower than the previous week, indicating the baby had dropped. He was all smiles and assured me I wouldn't make it to next week's appointment. 

I started having what I thought were the same warm-up contractions at about 10:30 when I was having coffee with my parents. On the walk back to the car an hour later, they started hurting a little bit, but still not much, so I didn't think much of them. Still, when I got home I started timing them while I watched some TV, and I let Matt know just in case he needed to come home from work. He decided to come work from home, just in case. I also let my parents know, and my dad arranged to pick my older son up from preschool so I could stay home. My mom came over and watched TV with me, and Matt got home around 1pm. 

At about 2 we decided we needed to call labor and delivery to see if there was room for us (because our hospital does not always have space). They said come on in, so Matt and I got into the back of the van and my mom drove us the 30 minutes to the hospital. There was no traffic and the weather was perfect, so the drive was not as bad as I worried it might be. I had a few contractions in the car that were difficult, but manageable. When we got to L&D we were sent to triage, and after waiting a while I was eventually checked and determined to be 4-5 cm dilated, woo hoo! 

We were admitted and settled in our room, where they needed me to pick a position and stay still as I could so they could get the 20 minute monitoring strip they needed of baby's heart rate. Someone asked me if I would consent to having a hep lock, I declined, and that was the last I heard of it, which was a relief. The nurse asked me if I'd like to put a hospital gown on, but since I was wearing a skirt I asked if it was ok if I kept my own clothes on (knowing they'd get trashed). Again that was fine with the staff, and it was a relief not to have to change. 

Lying on my side for the monitoring for 20 minutes was working for me, though the contractions were getting more difficult, so I stayed that way for what felt like a long time, then tried some hands-and-knees positions on the bed. By about 6 I was checked and had progressed to 8cm! The doctor was sure that as soon as my bag of waters broke I would complete quickly and the baby would be here. 

At about 7pm I felt my bag of waters bulging. The nurse called the doctor in, and everyone got ready for me to push! The whole circus came in. Doctors, residents, nurses, they broke the bed down, everything. No one checked me to see if I was actually complete, they had just assumed that when my water broke the baby would be born. When the doctor finally did check me, she said I was only 8 and a half, and sent everyone away, telling me to give it another hour. It was incredibly disappointing! 

After being admitted at 5, and going to an 8 in a relatively short time, I felt like I "stalled" between 8 and 10, and those last two centimeters were incredibly difficult. The baby was working through my pelvis, so even in between contractions I was still in a lot of pain and couldn't get much relief. Matt and the lovely young nurse who was with us most of the time stood on either side of me and put pressure on my hips to help with that. Matt was great and kept reminding me of the natural alignment plateau, that the baby was working his way through and down. But I had to keep breathing through the urge to push, because I knew I wasn't fully dilated yet but the baby's head was putting a lot of pressure on the cervix and that was making me feel the urge to push. Working through that was really hard. 

At about 8pm one of the residents came and checked me and I was at 9. But given how fast I had gone from 5 to 8, she didn't seem optimistic about how long I had taken to go from 8 to 9. Her bedside manner wasn't the best, really, because she seemed doubtful rather than encouraging and optimistic, which isn't what a woman in transition needs. After she left, I decided I needed to find a way to take pressure off my cervix and let it dilate, so Matt and I got into the shower and I got down on the floor with my rear end up in the air while he sprayed hot water onto my lower back. I worked through a few contractions that way, but then started to get cold so we got out and got back onto the bed. I laid on my side, again to take pressure off my cervix. About two contractions later I couldn't resist the urge to bear down, and all of a sudden I felt the baby come down into my birth canal! Not only that, but he came down so fast his head was halfway out by the time I said "I feel something!" and lifted my top leg. The nurse took one look and ran for the doctor! The doctor came running and let me push with the next contraction while she applied pressure to my perenium. One more push and he was out and on my chest, crying! It was 8:21. 

The doctors and nurses rubbed him up and covered us both. The cord was clamped a few minutes later when it had turned white, and Matt got to cut it. I delivered the placenta with a few pushes (the placenta is easy!), and after that all the residents and nurses and the doctor left the room for a while so we could bond as a new family. After a half hour or so, the doctor who had caught Max came back to put one stitch into the first-degree tear I had. I got the leg shakes and she asked me if I was cold, but it was just muscle spasms. They really do happen! Then we were left alone again in the delivery room for another hour before the nurse who had been with us from the beginning came back and weighed and measured the baby.  About an hour and a half after being born, Max was finally weighed in at 8lbs 6.8oz and measuring 20 inches long.

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