Birth story for ya, sorry it is so long. It probably shouldn't be for how ridiculously short my labor was!! Gretchen was born just shy of 36 weeks after I'd spent almost 3 weeks on bed rest for a premature rupture/slow leak.
We went into it with a very open mind, had read lots of books, taken a couple of NB classes (one at a freestanding birth center, one at the hospital), discussed our wishes with my OB and felt comfortable with the hospital we'd chosen after discussing with friends that delivered there. Just last week you guys were helping me get my birth plan typed out and finalized.
I was supposed to come off bed rest Tuesday (7/10), but last Saturday morning I woke up with leaking like I'd had at 33 weeks when I ended up in the hospital. I knew if I went back to L&D I would get admitted, so we took the morning to get laundry done, finish packing our bags, and dh went to our scheduled infant CPR class.
Sure enough it was amniotic fluid again and I leaked a bit off and on all day but had no contractions. Doctor took me off continuous monitoring in the evening so I could get some sleep, they also locked my IV because it wasn't working great and I'd had about 12 hours of fluids already. I sent dh home to rest thinking we'd be having a difficult discussion with the doctor in the morning about scheduling an induction (nurse had hinted that was the direction he was leaning). Then my water broke in a true gush at 11:30, right when I was getting ready to sleep. I called dh and told him but said to stay home since I figured I would be waiting on labor to start for awhile. Called the doula and told her the same thing.
When my water broke and the nurse hooked me up to the monitors was when I realized I should probably tell the nurse that I was hoping for a med free birth since my birth plan wasn't on paper. So she knew I had a doula, was hoping to avoid pitocin, but I also explained that we were approaching this this with an open mind. She asked me once after my water broke if I wanted pain meds and I just told her nicely I'd ask for them if I needed them and she didn't ask again.
The monitor showed some irregular contractions, some at 4 min apart, some 3, some 2, all about a minute long, but inconsistent so the nurse took me off the monitors and I tried to sleep. The cramping/contractions started to slowly intensify so I called dh back about midnight and said "nevermind, come on in, I don't want to be alone." He got here about 12:30 and was all "turn off the tv! we need to rest during early labor!" just like our classes/books taught us, lol. So he fell asleep but my contractions were becoming somewhat steady at 3 min apart so I went to the bathroom to labor in there, and then decided to walk the halls to let him rest and encourage my labor to progress. Also walking was the only thing that felt good during contractions. There had been a bag of pitocin in my room all day and I did not want to use it!
I walked from about 1-1:20am, then the nurse asked me to do a quick check on the monitors again since my contractions seemed to be regulating. I think she asked me to rate my pain and I said "maybe a 3?" I honestly didn't know how to rate it, it was worse than period cramps but I could walk and talk through them at that point.
She called the doctor to update him and asked if he wanted me to have my cervix checked (he had said no cervix checks since my water broke at 33 weeks and I was 1cm/90% effaced, trying really hard to prevent infection so no touchy!) He gave her the go ahead and at 1:30 she told me I was already 4-5cm. I was encouraged but knew I could have a long road ahead of me depending on how quickly I progressed. Dh asked if I wanted him to call the doula and I said no since we were coping okay and it seemed early. The nurse brought in the birthing ball without me even asking and said I could get on it as soon as my IV was running (doc wanted me to do a quick round of antibiotics since my labwork hadn't come back yet and there were concerns of infection due to my leak). Unfortunately the IV wouldn't work at all at this point, so she tried to start a new one. Needles don't bug me but being on my bed on the monitors during this was hard, and each contraction was becoming more painful, but were still 2-3 min apart.
I got nauseous and threw up while she was working on the new IV site, and then all of the sudden it seemed my contractions were unbearable. My toes were curling, and I started kind of thrashing my head back and forth and vocalizing a lot. I told her I would probably need an epidural and soon if it was this bad at 5cm. But before calling the anesthesiologist she checked me again and I was at 9cm!!! This was only 30 minutes after I was 4-5cm!
I kinda lost my *** for a second, cried, may have dropped the F bomb, and knew it was too late for an epidural and that there was no turning back. Part of me was glad that the road was clearly paved for me to have a med free birth and even my desire for pain meds couldn't get in the way, but mostly I was freaking terrified because things were moving so fast. I remember saying "my hands feel fuzzy, my face feels fuzzy" between contractions at this point and my nurse explained that it was a normal reaction when you hyperventilate. She and dh helped me regulate my breathing at that point.
It got chaotic in my room when she discovered I was at a 9. Nurses and techs rushed in to get everything in place for delivery. The NICU team got set up in the corner just in case. The doctor was called and told to get in immediately. He lived close fortunately. I told dh to call the doula and have her come in as quickly as possible. I kept thinking "I'm going to feel so bad if she misses it!"
About 5 minutes after we learned I was 9cm I felt the urge to push and loudly announced it to the room. My nurse checked again and said I was complete. Another "oh ***" moment as doc wasn't there yet. They called him again and told him to gun it.
Contractions were maybe 2 minutes apart at this point but REALLY short. Like 10-15 seconds, which was not at all what I expected. They coached me through how to NOT push, by making a hissing noise, quick breaths, etc. But usually towards the end of the contractions I would have trouble and would involuntarily push a bit. I kept my eyes closed from the point they told me I was complete as I was trying to keep my anxiety in check, and just kept willing the doctor to appear so we could get her out. He rushed in at 2:30am and they gowned him up and threw me into the stirrups. Someone on my left started coaching me on how to push and was saying lots of encouraging things in a really soothing voice, I opened my eyes and was surprised to see my doula at my side. She arrived at the same time the doctor did.
When the doctor arrived and I was between contractions I did ask if we could delay cord clamping if possible but that I totally understood if we couldn't due to her size/gestational age and needing to assess her quickly. In retrospect it's really weird to think about how aware of things I was and the conversations I had between contractions. When the contractions would start I would grab dh's hand on the left and the nurse/doula's hand on the right and squeeze, then they'd start coaching me on how to push (bear down, relax my legs, make grunts not high pitched noises, etc). I probably pushed about 4 or 5 times and she was out. The crowning hurt and I got the loudest then but when her actual body came out I think I sighed/moaned in relief. It felt SO good to have that part over. Gretchen Evie was born at 2:35 am, 5lbs, 12oz.
She squeaked a bit and they placed her on my chest for a brief moment and then had dh cut the cord (weren't able to delay as her status was unclear at that time) and they whisked her off to the warmer in the corner where the NICU team assessed her. Her apgar scores were 8/9 I believe. Everything was good, they just said she was breathing a little fast. The doula went over to tell them I wanted skin to skin vs. wrapping her up right away and dh stayed and held my hand for a couple of minutes, during which time they delivered my placenta (doctor just said "give a small push" and it came right out.) Then the doctor assessed my tears (2nd degree) and they started giving me numbing shots so they could start stitching. Took about 10 minutes or so to stitch me up, it was not pleasant but I just kept reminding myself it was way better than the sensation of feeling you have to push but being told you can't!
We had skin to skin for about an hour while they cleared out the room. She was fast asleep, no interest in nursing at that point. About an hour after she was born the baby nurse came in and bathed her and did newborn procedures while dh observed. She was alert after that and we attempted BFing. She latched and got crazy eyes, made me wonder what was running through her head.
We were discharged after only 3 nights in the hospital (2 nights since the birth). No NICU time, no oxygen, completely amazing how healthy she is for a late term preemie. I really believe the steroid shots I got at 33 weeks made all the difference. She is so tiny, but completely perfect. She loves to sleep, snuggle, suck, be swaddled, and occasionally she opens her eyes a smidge to look at us.
So I got my med free birth but it was so opposite of what I expected and we prepared for. Afterward dh said "I didn't get to practice any of the methods I studied!" but I don't think that mattered. He was supportive of me going med free from day 1, and more confident in my ability than I was in many ways.
I am still kind of in shock about how it all happened, it went by in the blink of an eye! Makes me wonder how future deliveries will play out!! SO glad I was already in the hospital when my water broke, otherwise we probably would have stayed home until the pain intensified and I was almost complete, and we live 20ish minutes from the hospital!