After finding out at my last prenatal appointment on Monday (the 20th) that I was 2cm dilated and 75% effaced, I had decided that she was still probably going to hang around for another week. So, I was very surprised Tuesday night at 11:30pm when I felt several small gushes and realized my water had broken! We called Tracy, the midwife on call to let her know and we went back to bed to try to sleep, which, didn?t work well. We dozed on and off for a while and I got up at 6 to shower and get breakfast. We needed to be at the birth center for antibiotics around 8:00am (on the 22nd) and after 9 attempts (my veins were NOT cooperating) we finally got the whole bag in. We left around 11 with some lemon verbena/castor oil concoction to try to get things moving since I still wasn?t having contractions. After a nap, I started feeling some contractions but they weren?t painful or time-able so we went back to the birth center at 6:30pm for another round of antibiotics (only one stick this time!) and they checked me again (3.5-4cm and still 75% effaced). We then talked with Ali and Tracy about our options since my water had been broken for 18 hours already and nothing was happening. Ali said that if I wasn?t in active labor by morning (of the 23rd), we?d have to go to the hospital to be induced which was really discouraging. She also found out that my water hadn?t broken over her head directly so she ruptured the remaining membrane in hopes that it would help things start up.
After getting home, we briefed my mom and Courtney about the situation and prayed that God would help my body get into labor soon! About an hour or so later around 8:30, I started to notice that I could now time my contractions! They were 3-4 minutes apart and 1 to 1 ? minutes long and I noticed I was having back labor as well. We called Tracy to let her know and I did a few different things to stay comfortable/keep them coming. Around 12:30ish contractions really started picking up and we decided to have Tracy meet us at the birth center at 2:15am on the 23rd. I only had two contractions in the car which was nice and we got settled into Room 2. They checked me again around 4-4:30 and to my huge disappointment, I hadn?t made ANY progress! I was crushed and started to doubt that I was going to be able to do this after all. Tracy and Sarah (the student midwife) suggested we take a walk around the center, take a shower and try to rest. The shower really helped my back pain which was starting to get really intense and never let up. Phil and I were able to rest for about an hour and half during which I would wake up with a contraction and then fall back asleep instantly. The heating pad wrapped around my back helped a ton but I was struggling really hard to get through each contraction. At 5:30am, I called Tracy and Sarah in to tell them that I was done. At that point, I had been in labor for 9 hours, my water had been broken for over 30 hours and I had missed two nights of sleep. My back labor was excruciating and I knew that if I hadn?t progressed, I?d never be able to push her out. Tracy and Sarah agreed and were really proud of me for making that decision and of how hard I?d tried so Tracy left to call the UW hospital to see if they had a bed open for me while Sarah checked me one last time, just to see.
While Sarah checked me, I had a contraction that was the absolute worst yet and I thought I was going to be sick. It took several minutes after it had ended for me to get my composure back but when I did, Sarah told me that I had made tons of progress and that I was now 6-7 centimeters! Tracy and Sarah told me that they felt I could still safely deliver at the birth center if I wanted to try, but they understood either way if I still wanted to go in to the hospital. It was about 6:00am at this point. I decided to stick it out for another hour to hour and a half and see if I could progress some more. After that, I instantly had three contractions back to back that got me vocalizing and in the back of my mind, I was so thankful I wasn?t in the car! I had Tracy start filling up the tub while I did what I could to cope. I got in the tub around 6:15am and it was a huge relief! It made my back feel so much better and took a lot of the pressure off. With the first or second contraction in the tub, I realized that it felt better to push with the contraction than not but I didn?t say anything. A contraction or two after that, my body bore down on its own and I announced to everyone that I was pushing! It was the most intense feeling I?ve ever had in my life and it actually scared me a little how powerful and how involuntary it all was. I pushed about three times each contraction for 3 or 4 contractions and could feel her head crowning but didn?t really realize it until all the sudden, I felt the ?ring of fire? for a split second and her head was out! It definitely shocked me but not as much it shocked everyone else! Sarah and Tracy ran in and Sarah got down by the tub and had me lean back so she could check the baby. She took the cord off from around her neck and told me that with the next contraction, her body would be born and to let her know when one started up. It took a couple minutes but at 6:41am, I pushed one last time and Kaia Helene was born! I had pushed for 17 minutes, 41 minutes after being told I was at 6cm. She was placed on my chest and it was the most amazing feeling to finally be done and to be holding her in my arms. She gave a few cries and was alert and looking around. We waited until the cord was done pulsing and she was handed off to Phil for some skin to skin time. It was so surreal and I am so glad that she and I were able to stay at the birth center and have the birth that I had wanted after all!