On Wednesday 6/23, I woke up feeling nothing, but by about 9:00am, I had some very light bloody show and some stronger contractions. I was also extremely hungry all day. My doula left for vacation that morning and I was planning to meet her backup (Bria) at a café at 10:00 am. Everyone freaked out about me driving to the meeting, so I called Bria and explained. She agreed to come over to our house and we had a great meeting. I actually liked her more than my original doula. After discussing my symptoms, we agreed that I would probably go into labor sometime in the next 24 hours.
My contractions continued throughout the day. We took Zoe for a walk to the park and then I went for a chiropractic adjustment, listened to my Hypnobabies, and had an acupuncture treatment (Chris drove me to both). I was getting a little discouraged because things were not really picking up. Chris and Zoe went to his parents’ hotel for dinner and I got some quiet time at home alone. I made myself a big salad with avocado and grilled chicken then got to bouncing on the birthing ball.
After putting Zoe down for bed at 8:00, Chris and I watched a movie and by 9:30 my contractions began to intensify. They still weren’t too bad and were irregular, coming anywhere from 10—20 minutes apart. At 11:30, I went to bed and tried to fall asleep, but the contractions were slowly becoming more intense and I knew there was no way I was getting to sleep. I got back up and tried to distract myself by watching tv. By midnight, I was having to really breathe anesthesia into my lower pelvic area and repeat to myself “my face, my hands, and my pelvic floor are completely relaxed.” I was getting pretty excited and confident that I would soon have my baby. I used an online contraction timer for about 45 minutes and realized they were lasting 1-2 minutes and coming every 3-5 minutes. At 1:00 am, I woke up Chris and told him it was time to call his parents and get ready to go to the hospital. I called the midwife and doula and within 30 minutes we were loading up the car.
The 15 minute car ride was very uncomfortable—sitting was bad. By the time we got to the hospital, my contractions were about every 2 minutes. The concourse from the parking garage to the hospital was locked for the night, so we had to walk around the entire building to the emergency entrance. I kept having to stop for contractions and it took forever to get inside. I checked in at maternity around 2:00 am. There was another mom at about the same point in the birthing process as I was who had the same midwife. Becky (the on-call MW) asked me if it would be okay for her student nurse-midwife to be with me instead and I said okay. She was great. She checked me and I was only at 3 cm. My contractions also began to slow, she had me get up and walk the halls to get things going again. We did that for awhile and then I wanted to go back to the room. They had me get onto the bed and lean over the back, which was elevated. That was a pretty good position for me, but in time, things began to stall out again (just not progressing) so I got on my hands and knees on the floor holding onto the back of the rocking chair. I was checked again and had gone to a 4. Then I moved to the birthing ball, then standing and holding onto the side of the bed. I was checked again about an hour later and was at a 6-7. That was my final cervical check. They got the tub filled up for me and I sat in there for about 25 minutes. As much as I thought I would love the tub, it was not as comfortable for me. It was too slippery and I did not like the weightlessness. I was beginning to hit the “transformation” stage while in the tub and was getting very vocal with every contraction. It took some time for me to get out of the tub and get back to my room even through it was just a few doors down the same hall.
I stood on the side of the bed again, then spent a lot of time on the birthing ball. Things were picking up and I could feel Liam descending into my pelvis. It was pretty intense, but I still felt in control. Finally, the pressure in my bottom let me know it would not be long before I needed to push. I said I wanted to try kneeling on the bed holding onto the back again for pushing. Things continued to intensify. The pressure of Liam turning from posterior to anterior while in the birth canal was difficult to handle. I was getting scared about pushing and began to feel really sick. This was shift change time for the on-call midwives and my favorite one, Patti, was there. She was the one who did my initial intake appt when I transferred to the practice. She was very calm and supportive. I said I was scared and she said that was okay, but that my body was made to do this and it will do it. She kept her finger on my third eye chakra to help get my consciousness out of my pelvis. I guess it worked to a certain extent because I was really able to let go and relax between waves. She offered to break my water and I said no. About 5 minutes later, my water broke on its own and I felt a great deal of relief.
The relief was short-lived, however, because with the bag of waters out of the way, Liam was ready to come out. It was at this point that I began to feel true “pain.” I was thinking how stupid I was for not getting an epidural at that moment. I knew I would survive it, but it sucked. I began vomiting (really dry-heaving) and I guess it took my attention away from the pelvic pressure. I think Liam may have still been turning. Finally, it was time to push and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I wanted it over fast and gave a good hard push (despite Patti telling me to slow down) along with a blood-curdling scream—out came his head. Then my body decided to take a break. Patti told me I had to push again right away. I said I needed to take a break and she said, “you can’t; the baby needs to come out right now.” I knew something must be going on with him so I pushed without a contraction to help me out. I had to push hard but I was able to get his shoulders and body out with just one or two more pushes. What a relief to have him out!
They told me to reach down and grab him and it was hard to do because he was so slippery. I also had to turn around to sit down. I knew I tore and needed to get stitched up. Once I was holding him, I could tell why they needed me to push him out so quickly—he was blue and not crying. His initial Apgar was 6. We tried rubbing him all over, but still no change so they took him over to the baby table and gave him some oxygen which required cutting the cord a little sooner than planned. While he we getting oxygenated, I delivered the placenta and reminded the nurse that I was going to take it home. She asked if I was going to have it encapsulated and I was hesitant to answer. She said---it’s okay, my friend is a homebirth midwife and she does encapsulation.
Liam was returned to me quickly and he looked pink and was crying. I held him skin to skin and he found his own way to the breast and latched himself on. I couldn’t believe how big he looked compared to how Zoe looked at birth. While I nursed him, Patti stitched me up. I had a 2nd degree tear from pushing his head out in one hard push. I kept saying, “I can’t believe I did it.”