In the last few weeks of my pregnancy I had 4 bouts of false labor. I would feel some contractions, they would be every 20 minutes, then 15, then even 10, and I would be so excited. Each time, they fizzled away and I was back to waiting impatiently. 2 days after my due date, I was dilated to a 2.5 cm. I had a non-stress test and asked my OB to strip my membranes. She did at about 10 AM, and within an hour I was having contractions. I decided not to get my hopes up this time. I ran a few errands with my mother and sister and was still contracting hours later. I looked at the clock at 12:15 and decided to start timing the contractions. They were coming every 10 minutes. Once I arrived home, I started to watch a movie and noticed I felt a bit of back pain with each one. At about 1:30 I started to write down the times of each one, and they were roughly 8-10 minutes apart, 30-45 seconds long. I did a quick clean up of my house, just in case this was it, and double-checked my hospital bag. At 3 o'clock I had to turn the movie off to focus more on the contractions. I had studied the Bradley Method, so I lied on one side and relaxed with each one. They still weren't too bad. I called my husband and told him in detail what I had been feeling, and he was very relaxed, and said he'd be home soon. He got home around 4 and we talked as I bounced on my yoga ball and ate some peanut butter toast. My contractions were averaging 5-7 minutes. We couldn't believe they were this close together so soon. After a few painful contractions, I decided to relax in the bath tub for a bit. We lit some candles, played some peaceful music, and I lied in the tub on my side for a few contractions. He was timing them and they were already 3-4 minutes apart and about 50 seconds long. I was a bit vocal during one contraction and he said "We better get going!" This was about 5:15 PM. We dropped our dog off at his parent's house and drove the 30 minute trip to the hospital. The car was the worst part! I hated the sitting position, and was moaning into my pillow with each contraction. Each one was 2-3 minutes apart. We got to the hospital and walked to admitting. It took only a minute to register, and the woman sent us to Labor and Delivery. When we got there, the nurse checked me, and I was only 3 cm. I was so disappointed! My contractions were one minute apart, lasting a minute, and I was only a 3! She asked me what pain intervention I would like, and I responded, "None." It was my goal to have an non-medicated birth and I had to at least try. She had me walk a few laps, and I probably only made it 2 laps before I was in tears, moaning through my contractions. She checked me again, only 30 minutes later, and I was at a 5. She showed me to my room, I had my blood drawn, and I tried a few different positions to labor in. All of the pain was in my back so my favorite laboring position was a "hula hoop" where I stood, knees locked, with my arms on the bed and I circled my hips around through each contraction. My husband was a fantastic coach, reminding me to breathe and relax all of my muscles. I visualized my uterus was wrapped up in bows and with each contraction, a bow was coming untied to bring my baby closer to me. I was writing the word "temporary" in cursive, all in my head, to remind myself it was just temporary pain. Another 45 minutes went by, and my contractions were only seconds apart. I longed for those seconds of short relief. My nurse wanted to check me, and even though I requested not be checked often, I needed to believe I was making progress. Just an hour after finding out I was 5 cm, I was a 7. I was so relieved I was almost to the end. I knew I could do it, even though somewhere in the back of my mind I knew getting from a 7 to a 10 could take a long time. I tried all fours, but did not like it. I tried sitting in the shower with the water running down my back, but all I wanted to do was the hula hoop moves. I had peaceful Christmas music on (I love Christmas) but hardly remember hearing any of it. In fact, I barely remember anything besides hula-hooping and my visualizations. I do remember saying, "I don't want to do this anymore." At 8:30, just an hour after learning I was a 7, I slightly grunted which the nurse warned could be a sign I wanted to push. My husband ran out to the hallway and yelled, "She wants to push!" My nurse came in to check me and she said I was 8 cm, 9 during contractions. The doctor then came in-the first time I saw him the whole evening-and checked me. He said my bag of waters was right there, and if I let him break it, we could move things right along. I agreed, and when he broke it there was a bit of meconium. He said not to worry, and within minutes, I was 10 cm. It was all a blur-they turned on some bright overhead lights, adjusted me in the bed so I was sitting, legs back, and put some chuck pads and a cold plastic sheet underneath me. The pushing contractions were nothing like I expected. There was no pain at all-it was sweet relief. They would come over me and there was not a thing I could do to stop them (not that I would want to). My body just took over and although it was hard work, the pushing felt so good compared to the contractions I had felt earlier. The first big push was a crazy feeling. I literally felt my baby moving down through my body. My husband was a great coach, holding my hand and reminding me to relax my face and my body through each push. My eyes were closed the whole time as I tried to focus with each push, and when I opened my eyes after my third push, I saw my baby's head in between my legs. I never even felt the "ring of fire" as he crowned. One more push, and his little body wiggled right out. I started to cry, and said, "My baby. My boy. There you are. My baby. I did it!" I looked at my husband he was crying-and he swore he wouldn't. They were wiping him off and they set him on my chest. He was the most perfect little boy I had ever seen. He weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz. and was 20 and 1/2 inches long. I was so happy I had a drug-free birth. It was the best decision I could have made. I think every woman should experience the amazing process that their body was made to do. I hope I can have my next baby naturally.
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