Around 4 A.M. on May 21 (one day before my due date) my son, Lucas, woke up wanting, “Mama!” and to cuddle, so I crawled in his bed and felt what I thought could be contractions. [Back story – with Lucas I had a c-section after a 3 day labor, 12 hours of active labor and 4 hours of pushing. Consented to a c/s because I was just exhausted.] After I went back to my bed, I noticed that the contractions were pretty regular. I couldn’t sleep through them, but tried to rest. After a few hours I got up and ate some cereal and got my phone so I could listen to the Hypnobirthing rainbow relaxation track while I rested. My husband, Chad got up with our son and I told him that I might be in labor and he’d probably need to drive me to my midwife appt later in the morning. I decided to get up and shower around 9. Went to the bathroom and realized that I was losing my mucous plug. Contractions seemed to space out while I was up and moving, so I still wasn’t convinced that this was ‘it’. Chad wanted to call his mom and have her come down (to watch our son), but I didn’t want her to make an unnecessary trip if it wasn’t for real! I ate breakfast and knew I wasn’t in hard labor since food still sounded good and I didn’t have to concentrate much through the contractions.
I began to think that maybe my water was leaking. I called my midwife’s office to ask if they’d want me to still come in for my appt or if I should wait. I was told that I needed to come in if I thought my water had broken. (I’m still not sure why since I was GBS neg.) So we headed in for my 10:30 appt.
When we got there, Pam CNM, checked to see if my water had broken and it kinda gushed on the floor, so that was a ‘yes’! She then asked to check me for dilation and found I was a 3-4 already and 80% effaced at a -1 station. This made me happy b/c I never got further than -2 station w Lucas. I asked if I could go home, but she seemed really uncomfortable with that and, since it was an hour roundtrip to the hospital, we agreed to be admitted.
My midwife, Anjie was the one at the hospital which I was very happy about since she was the one we’d done our Hypnobirthing classes with. She told me that baby was OP (shit!) and did some stuff with a rebozo to try and wiggle baby into a better position. I did lots of laboring on hands and knees and bending over the couch to try to get baby to move and also b/c that’s how it felt best. Then I moved into the bed to try and get in the zone and rest, but the contractions felt harder in that position.
Around 2:30, I decided that I wanted my doula, Michelle there, so I asked her to come over. When she got to the room, we also had a shift change and I got a nurse who had also been a doula! She was amazing too! They had me get in the tub, but the back labor was pretty bad and no one could rub my back when I was in the tub and I couldn’t use the jets since I had the telemetry monitors on, so I decided to get out. Michelle was doing hip squeezes when I had contractions and that felt SO good. I labored all over the place with my nurse, midwife, and doula all giving suggestions for different positions to try.
By that point, I’d decided that Hypnobirthers were full of shit and the relaxation track wasn’t doing anything for me. “An hour will feel like 5 minutes” – my ass! 5 minutes felt like an hour! Anjie checked me and I was only at about a 5. She said that the OB wanted to see me making more progress and that they wanted to start Pitocin. I was having a hard time dealing w the contractions as they were, so I kinda freaked out about getting Pitocin. I just wanted to take a nap! We then talked about pain relief drugs and an epidural so I could rest. I was worried about having enough energy to be able to push since I knew this could be a long road ahead.
I went into the bathroom with Chad and we talked it through alone. He helped me remember that my ultimate goal here wasn’t a natural birth, but a VBAC. So, while I was still worried that I’d start a cascade of interventions, I asked to be given a shot of Stadol and consented to starting Pitocin. Best decision ever! I was able to rest between contraction b/c it just took the edge off of them. I rested for a couple hours while Chad and Michelle took turns getting dinner. The whole time my Michelle was there, she was doing some sort of massage (certified massage therapist). It was wonderful and also gave me something else to focus on!
The shot of Stadol started to wear off and Anjie asked if I wanted her to check me. I said no, but then felt really ‘pushy’ with the next contraction, so changed my mind. I’d gotten up to a 7, which kinda bummed me out since I was hoping I would be ready to push. But Anjie was pleased with the progress I’d made. I decided to get another shot if Stadol to get through the transition phase bc the contractions were just getting more painful. This next period of time is a blur. I have no memory of it. Not sure even how long it was. I found out later from Michelle that they had slowly been increasing the Pitocin from a 1 to a 9.
At around 11 P.M., I decided to stand up and change positions. Anjie walked in as I got another contraction and after listening to me vocalize through it, she said she wanted to check me bc she said I sounded like I was bearing down more. I was also losing more fluid with each contraction. She checked me while I was standing there and declared that I was almost complete and she asked me to get on the bed so she could try to push the lip of my cervix out of the way when I got the next contraction. YAY! Finally!
I pushed in lots of positions…on the bed on all fours, on my left side, but the position she had me in the most was flat on my back with my legs pulled up like a frog. (Anjie told me later this was because my public bone is flat instead of curved and she was moving me into the different positions to get the baby to move around that bone.) I also pushed while pulling on a sheet that a nurse was also pulling on. Anjie used warm compresses to stretch me out. Baby would come down, but then go back up. Eventually we got to the point where they could see baby’s head and it stayed there. At this point, I was exhausted and was wondering why I hadn’t just had a c/section. I remember saying, “I can’t do this.” And “I’m done.” Everyone was so supportive telling me that I WAS doing it and what a great job I was doing. I was sure they were shitting me and they just didn’t want me to give up. It wasn’t until I reached down and was able to feel my baby’s head, that I believed I could really do this! Michelle told me the look on my face when I felt the baby’s head was priceless.
The contractions seemed to pace out to 15 minutes apart, but I’m not sure they did. I was just so ready to have this baby that I wanted them closer together so I could push again. Finally, after stretching me and using warm compresses, Anjie said she wanted to do an episiotomy to give baby’s head more room to come through. She warned me to pay close attention and she’d tell me when to pant and when to push. In my mind I was like, “Oh, hell yes. I am going to do all I can to do what she says!” I knew that an epi could cause you to have a bad tear. (I credit this as why I had no tearing beyond the episiotomy.)
After she did the episiotomy, the baby came out on the next push. It was put right up on me (after the nurse finally cut off the band holding the monitors on me). Chad had a hard time announcing the sex since the cord was in the way, but he soon saw and said, “It’s a boy!” We had our Blake here! Chad was able to cut the cord and Michelle took some pictures of those first wonderful moments. I was able to hold and nurse Blake for about an hour. I was exhausted when I was pushing, but couldn’t sleep after he was born. Just had to keep looking at him. I was on cloud 9 about actually pushing a baby out! I did it!!!! Blake was 8lbs 7ozs 21” and got an Apgar of 9!