It started on our due date: January 30th, 2017. 11:00pm I laid down in bed and immediately had a contraction.
I had been having prodromal labor for several weeks (real-feeling labor that doesn’t dilate/lead to birth, but different than Braxton hicks), so I was hesitant to believe it was the real thing. Ten minutes after the first, I had a second contraction.
The contractions continued to come every ten minutes. By midnight, I gave up on sleep and decided to see if anything would make the contractions stop or speed up. I rocked on the birthing ball, walked around the living room, had a snack and some water, and tried napping on the couch. The contractions were definitely painful, but stayed ten minutes apart.
Around 3:30am, I decided to call the midwife on call. I filled her in on my past false alarms, including one that lasted seven hours. She suggested I rest and maybe try a bath and if the contractions continue, that I can decide when I think it’s time to come in since it’s my second pregnancy.
At 4:00am I went back upstairs to try and nap in our bed. I would start to doze, but every ten minutes I continued to wake, moaning in pain as I felt labor transition into my back (ugh. had back labor last pregnancy, too). At this point, David woke up and realized what was going on. He pressed on my pressure points on my back to help me cope through the contractions.
Around 5am we decided I should try a bath and start gathering our “last minute items” for the hospital bag. The contractions were not lessened by the bath, so my hopes that this was really it began to elevate.
We decided to have some breakfast (protein and carbs, please!), and prep the house for our parents to care for Ellavie while we waited for my father in law to arrive.
At 8:00, I seemed to stop having contractions. At 8:25 I finally had another one, but at this point I’m assuming that they’re fizzling out. My father in law arrives at this point and we need to decide how to proceed. Do I go to triage anyways? Or do I wait until my 11:30am clinic appointment? I decide if I get two more contractions less than 10 minutes apart, I’ll go to triage. 8 minutes later I get a contraction. 6 minutes after that I get another.
My husband is giving my father in law detailed instructions, while I tell him not to worry too much because we’ll most likely be back in a couple hours. Needless to say, I’m still pretty convinced it’s another case of prodromal labor.
We arrive in triage around 9:30am. I’m hooked up to the contraction monitor and baby heartbeat monitor. Such a sweet sound! The nurses monitor me while we wait for the midwife who was attending a delivery.
The midwife arrived close to 10:30 and checked me. Much to my surprise and relief, she declared I was 4cm dilated! Thank goodness. (During my prodromal labor I never progressed past 1cm). She suggested sweeping my membranes at that time to hopefully give the contractions the little kick they seemed to need to get closer together. She also says she is admitting me at this point.
I sincerely believed we would get sent home, so I’m thrilled! We were assigned a delivery room at 11am. We settled in and went to walk the halls until noon when they wanted to monitor me for a bit.
We were able to order some lunch to fuel up for the last stretch- thank goodness.
By 2:00pm, the fatigue started to catch up with me, and the contractions continued to increase in intensity. I could feel my coping strategies becoming less effective, and started to worry I wouldn’t have energy left when it came time to push.
I felt like it might be too soon to get the epidural, because I didn’t want to slow my progress.
The nurse suggested fentanyl to take the edge off of my contractions so I could rest. I agreed to try it. It worked for maybe 15 minutes but wore off quickly. I didn’t get rest from it so at 3:00 I requested to have my cervix checked so I could decide how to proceed. I was 6cm, almost 7. I was satisfied with my progress and ordered the epidural so I could take a nap; it was administered at 3:30.
Shortly after getting the epidural, my blood pressure dropped. This has happened before so I knew what was happening. Unlike last time, it took a lot to stabilize me. After three doses of blood pressure medication had been injected into my IV to no avail, another nurse came in and quickly resolved the issue by simply turning me on my side. Whew!
I rested and briefly napped between chatting with David and my friend Vanessa, who was present for our labor and delivery as an extra support person.
At 6:30 I suddenly felt a lot of pressure down low, despite the numbing effects of the epidural. I paged our nurse.
Five or so minutes had passed and the nurse hadn’t arrived. I paged her again, and began to feel panicked. The pressure was strong and I felt like I was doing all I could to RESIST pushing.
A few minutes later, she arrived and quickly flagged down the midwife. The midwife sat next to me on the bed and checked my cervix.
“Your cervix is gone and I can feel his head… Let’s break your water and push!”
Turned out my water had broken and we somehow never noticed.
I requested a mirror because I thought it would help me push more effectively. I was right. With the first push, I was able to see his hair.
Ten short minutes of pushing later (four contractions), William made his debut!! I was able to reach down and assist him out, which I didn’t do last time. What a special feeling!
David was able to stomach cutting the cord this time; so proud of him!
Recovery has been a breeze in comparison to my first, though I’m forcing myself to take it very easy while my body heals.
All in all, I am thrilled with my second birth experience. I might sound crazy, but I can honestly say after two different experiences, I truly enjoy childbirth. I may even skip the epidural next time. 😉 (don’t hold me to that. I said *might*).
Despite the pain I find it to be such an adrenaline rush- an absolutely empowering experience.
Moms of the world- no matter what your birth story is, you kick ass!! (Excuse my language- but really. You do).