For the events that transpired Monday-Thursday leading up to L’s birth, please read this post.
I had a couple of contractions that woke me up, but I was able to fall back asleep quickly. Around 4am I started feeling contractions about every 15-20 minutes. I timed them while Mr Boots got ready for work and told him I they seemed to be getting closer together again. He told me he was hoping to leave work by 12, so he’d hopefully be home earlier the normal.
I managed to fall back asleep around 6 and woke up around 7:30 when G was ready to start his day. I was still having contractions, but since I was trying to get G dressed and fed I was too distracted to time them.
After breakfast I started taking more notice of the contractions. I had to lean against the counter and sway my hips to get through a couple of them. I noticed that I leaked fluid either right before or right after a contraction. My pads were still stained pink, which I thought for two days post-internal exam was strange. I felt the baby move and had a cramp immediately after, so I decided to call my midwife.
I spoke to a nurse who asked me questions about the fluid: how much was a leaking? was there a smell? am I having contractions? I answered the questions best I could and she decided it was best I come in to be seen. I made the appointment for after lunch so Mr Boots would hopefully be home to watch G.
I called Mr Boots and told him I’d made an appointment to see the midwife. He called his parents to see if they could watch G and then called me back and asked if I wanted him to go with me to the appointment. At the time I didn’t think he really needed to but I said yes, mostly because I just wanted him home. He said he’d try to be home in time to go with me.
My contractions were getting stronger and I found myself on the floor on all fours rolling my hips to relieve some of the pain I was feeling. G thought this meant I was inviting him to use me as a jungle gym. I was anything but kind to him as I was trying to manage a contraction while trying to make him stop climbing on me.
Despite my harshness, G was really pleasant with me. He constantly ran up to me to give me hugs and kisses and pat my belly. He also wanted to cuddle, so in between contractions we cuddled and watched TV.
I had another contraction that made me feel like I needed to use the bathroom. I felt sick but I also felt like I had to poop. I told G I was going to the potty and he insisted he needed to go. So I sat him on the toilet and leaned against the wall outside the bathroom. I gave him as long as I could, but it didn’t seem like he really had to pee and I felt like I wanted to poop as another contraction came on so I kicked him off the toilet. The contraction was coming to a peak when G grabbed himself and said “Potty” so I scrambled to get him back on to avoid an accident. Luckily I got him on just in time.
I kept him there a lot longer than I usually would since he was content playing and watching videos on the Kindle. While he sat there, I tried to find a comfortable position on the floor outside the bathroom. I was feeling pains about every 15-20 minutes, but they weren’t all contraction pains. Some of them just seemed like a bad cramp that would happen after the baby moved.
I made us lunch and was proud of myself for making mine more protein rich than I felt like eating. I wanted to make sure I had something substantial before possibly being told I’d have to go to the hospital again.
G didn’t eat lunch. Instead he complained his back hurt. I wondered if children could also have sympathy pains. He announced he needed to use the potty again so I sat him on it.
I was starting to feel anxious that Mr Boots wasn’t home yet. My contractions were definitely every 15 minutes now and I started accepting that this was more than likely labor and I probably shouldn’t go to the doctor by myself. I didn’t really want my in-laws taking me, but it might come down to that.
I was contemplating calling my in-laws to tell them they needed to come now to watch G so I could labor in my bedroom/bathroom in peace when I heard the garage door open. Mr Boots was home.
And my contractions slowed down.
Hubby got cleaned up and I finished my lunch. My in-laws arrived and I gave them the run down of what was happening. Mr Boots asked if I wanted to take my suitcase with us just in case. I said no. Secretly, I felt if we went prepared to be admitted to the hospital it wouldn’t happen.
As I was laying on the exam table waiting for my midwife I felt three big gushes of fluid and had a decent contraction. I was seriously tired of leaking at this point.
The midwife came in and said she’d do a quick swab test to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid. She lifted the sheet I had draped over my legs and said, “Oh, your water has definitely broken. You’re laying in a puddle!” I don’t even think she inserted the swab, I think she tested what leaked out onto the piddle pad. She held up the swab, which turns bright blue when positive. It was blue. “Yeah, your water has broken.”
My midwife did an internal exam, which barely hurt compared to the exam the doctor at the hospital did, and told me I was four centimeters dilated. This baby was on its way and I needed to get to the hospital.
I’d had the Group B Strep test done that Monday and the results had not come in yet. That, combined with the fact we didn’t know for sure how long I was leaking fluid, meant I would have to be given antibiotics when I arrived at the hospital. I was disappointed I would have to have an IV, but I definitely didn’t want another NICU experience, so I was more than willing to comply.
My midwife asked what my birth plan was and I said “Pain free” instead of “drug free.” She said, “Pain free? Ok, good luck with that!” We cleared up what I wanted and she was open to no interventions if I could progress in a few hours. She was giving me until 5 or 6pm to show progress before having to give me pitocin. It was 2pm.
This stressed me out. I didn’t want pitocin. My contractions had slowed down. I was on a clock which isn’t what you want when trying to have a drug-free hospital birth.
I called my doula on the way home and she said she would notify her back up, Jenny. She said she was bummed she wouldn’t get to be the one helping me, but Jenny had a similar style and I’d like her. I was nervous about having a doula I had never met and was also put off that mine was out of town in the first place (since I was 36 weeks she was supposed to be on call for me). But there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Things weren’t going how I’d pictured and I needed to just roll with the punches.
We got home and updated Mr Boots’ parents. I took a shower and restocked my hospital bag with the things I need on a daily basis. Jenny called and I spoke with her. I appreciated that she listened as I vented and updated her on what had been happening since Wednesday. I felt immensely better when she said she was familiar with my hospital and my midwife delivered her last child.
I think we got to the hospital about 4pm. Luckily, since it was confirmed I was in labor, I didn’t need to visit the triage room. I filled out a form and was taken to my labor room. Jenny arrived just as we got to our room. We got acquainted as the nurse took my vitals and asked me some questions.
I had to be hooked up to the fetal monitor for 20 minutes. I didn’t want to be, but I knew I needed to be when I first arrived. During this time I was also administered the antibiotics. Just before they gave them to me, my midwife called in to say that they received my Group B results and they were negative. I opted to go through with the antibiotics due to the leaking I’d been having.
Once I was done with the monitor and first round of antibiotics, I was free to walk the halls. I put on a pair of the super sexy mesh panties and a pad the size of a whale so I didn’t leak fluid all over the halls and Mr Boots, Jenny and I started walking the halls.
Jenny squeezed my hips during the first contraction I had while walking. It helped, so during the second contraction she showed Mr Boots how to apply the counter pressure.
It was really busy on the labor and delivery floor that day. I commented that earlier that week there was a Super Moon. I’m convinced this is what set my labor off and I’m sure it’s why it was so busy that day. People milled around the halls. We kept walking past a woman and tween who were sitting on the floor eating something that looked and smelled delicious. I wanted what they were having and wished they had chosen someplace else to eat their dinner.
I was going to decline being strapped to the bed for monitoring, but it wasn’t as awful as it was when I was in labor with G, probably because I wasn’t having back labor this time. I felt the baby move and immediately had a cramp that made me crunch up my face. Jenny asked if I felt anything leading up to that. I said no. Apparently I wasn’t feeling some of the contractions until they were nearly at their peak.
While we sat in the room during the second round of monitoring we discussed names since Mr Boots and I really hadn’t talked much about what we wanted to name this baby. It was weird to me to feel fine and be part of the discussion and then have the discussion stop while I breathed through a contraction.
My nurse told me they’d have to administer the pitocin if I hadn’t progressed by 6 or 7pm. I was thankful that I was going to be giving a little extra time. I assumed it was because we didn’t get to the hospital right away.
We walked the halls again and my contractions started getting closer together. I was able to walk through a lot of them. It wasn’t easy, but I didn’t feel like stopping. I felt that stopping for each one would make me lose progress, though I know that was a ridiculous thought.
The next time I needed monitoring Jenny started doing acupressure on the pressure point on the inside of the ankle that is supposed to induce labor. I think she spent about 10 minutes massaging it when my contractions started intensifying. She gave the spot a little break and massaged my foot until it was time to get off the monitor. Then we went back to walking the halls.
This was the last round of hall walking we’d do. It wasn’t long before I could no longer walk through the contractions. I found myself having a contraction while bent over a chair in the hallway holding Jenny’s hands. She coached me in the proper way to moan (low and slow — she even said that mooing like a cow was a good way to moan, but she understood if I didn’t want to moo [I didn’t]) and reminded me to relax my jaw. Standing during contractions was getting less uncomfortable and I wanted to try and labor on all fours, so we went back to my labor room.
Jenny had just enough time to get a yoga mat on the floor when another contraction started. I got down on all fours and Hubby squeezed my hips. It wasn’t comfortable.
When that contraction was over, Jenny suggested I get up on the bed and lean over the back of it. I told her I needed to use the bathroom before I got back up on the bed. I barely had enough time to finish peeing before another contraction started. I had to call Mr Boots into the bathroom to squeeze my hips.
Now that I think about it, I don’t remember taking off the mesh panties. But I may have decided to leave them in the bathroom because I was scared of another contraction coming on before I got them back on.
I got onto the bed and Jenny gave me two combs to hold in my hands during the contractions. The pressure of the tongs digging into my hands was supposed to be another trick to help manage the pain. Mr Boots got behind me and squeezed my hips during each contraction and Jenny reminded me to relax my jaw and fed me apple sauce and water in between each contraction.
Now the contractions were double peaking. There was no denying it, I was in transition. I was still able to manage the contractions with Hubby squeezing my hips, having a big grip on the combs and moaning. When the contractions started peaking the second time my moaning got louder. I have no idea how much time passed, but it didn’t seem like it was very long before my midwife showed up.
My midwife asked if I wanted to be checked to see how far I was dilated and I decided to decline. I knew I was in transition, and was probably an 8 or 9, but I was really scared of being told I was actually 6 or 7. I think she left after making sure I was doing alright. After a particularly intense contraction I said, more to myself than to the people in the room, “It’s almost over.”
Jenny and the nurses agreed, which made me feel better.
I got through a few more contractions and I started feeling a new sensation. I felt like something was trying to come out of me during the contraction. I was confused. Was this the baby? I thought you felt like you had to poop when the baby was making it’s grand entrance. I thought you’d just have the urge to push, not have contractions before the urge. I didn’t feel like pooping (although I did around this point). I struggled between wanting to push and not knowing if I should be pushing. I asked to be checked.
I was a 9.
Shit, really? I learned from my Bradley class not to push until you reach 10cm and 100% effaced. I tried resisting to push, but after a contraction or two it just wasn’t happening. 10 or not, I decided to bear down when I felt the baby move down and said so. My midwife said if I felt like pushing I was more than welcome to push.
In between contractions, which felt like they were still getting closer together, my midwife asked me some questions: did I want to try and deliver in the position I was in? (Um, sure? I don’t know?) Do I want pitocin to contract the uterus after the baby is delivered? (No.) Do I want to wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before cutting it? (Yes. Also, I want to keep my placenta, please.)
During all this, it was time for me to be hooked up to the monitor again. However, the position I was in wasn’t going to make that possible. My midwife told the nurse to hold the monitor to my belly. I felt grateful I didn’t have to lie on my back, but did feel bad that the nurse had to stand there holding the monitor. It felt like she had to hold it there a long time before the baby moved far enough down the birth canal that it wasn’t easy to detect his heart beat anymore.
The position I was in wasn’t working for my midwife. I am not sure it was really working for me either, but I was scared to move. My midwife made me get into the standard laboring position, which sucked getting into.
I was still feeling confused. I don’t know if I really felt an urge to push as much as a feeling of relief when I felt the baby’s head move down. I thought with pushing contractions you immediately felt the urge to push, and pushing felt good. I’d have a contraction and mid-contraction the sensation changed as I felt the head coming down. Pushing through that sensation felt better than managing the contraction, but I was having a hard time concentrating on good pushing technique.
I felt the ring of fire. My midwife told me to give a couple small pushes. I didn’t feel in control of what was happening at all. I wondered where the down time between pushes was. I was able to nap between pushes with G and that definitely wasn’t happening here. I pushed, felt like everything in my Lady Area was being ripped apart, and then felt a very weird sensation that didn’t hurt, but didn’t feel great either.
“What’s happening?” I cried out. There may have been an F Bomb dropped in that question. I can’t fully remember.
“You’re baby is coming!” (Actually, the feeling was the midwife turning the baby on his way out.)
And L was born. He was put on my chest and wiped off. Since he was born early he didn’t let out an ear-piercing cry. His cry sounded soft, faint. I got to hold L as we waited for me to deliver the placenta. I watched as Mr Boots cut the cord. Jenny took pictures. I laid in bed in complete awe of myself. I delivered this baby without an epidural. Holy crap, I got what I wanted.
When G does something he’s proud of, he says, “I dee-yit.” That’s what went through my mind. I dee-yit.
I tore in several places. My midwife gave me a shot of something to numb the area, but it still hurt to be stitched up. I was still moaning and crying out in pain as she put me back together.
Since I didn’t want pitocin to help my uterus contract, the nurses had to press on my stomach. Now, they do this even if you have pitocin (I remember it happening when G was born), but they needed to perform this act more often since drugs weren’t helping me out. It had to be done 4 times in the first hour after labor, then I think it went down to once an hour for a couple hours.
This. Was. Not. Fun. I handled my entire labor better than these stomach “massages.”
I passed what qualified as several large clots during this time. I was able to get up and pee and had my next revelation about drug-free labor: physically, I felt just like I did after having G. Like I had been hit by a bus. The stitches made me walk like Frankenstein. My stomach was sore from the massages. I silently called BS on all the women out there who said they felt like a million bucks after their drug-free births. I was expecting the same feeling.
But that was physically. I started realizing that mentally I was feeling pretty awesome. Yeah, I was tired, but I wasn’t exhausted like I was when G was born. I was alert and was engaging with the people around me. I wanted to let everyone in the world know what I just did.
Jenny left once I felt I had some sort of grasp on nursing. I was sad to see her go.
Mr Boots and I shared a boxed meal and once the nurses felt I was stable, they left to find me a recovery room. This took several hours and I don’t think we got to our room until about 2am. I wish I had been able to sleep while we waited, but I was scared of being woken up to move once I did fall asleep. Plus, I was on this adrenaline high. The last time I felt a high like this was when I performed a pole routine for a large crowd of people. I spent my time admiring L and as Mr Boots cat napped I started emailing family.
When we finally got to a recovery room we met our new night nurses. One of them had to check to see if my uterus contracted some more and I braced myself for more discomfort, but it felt like she barely touched me compared to what the other nurses did earlier. I was less scared of the checks after that.
I spent some more time marveling at L, who was still nameless at this point. Since G was the only visitor we were going to have during the hospital stay, I wasn’t as concerned with naming him right away as I was with G. I couldn’t get over how little L was. And how much he looked like G when he was born! Fine hair still covered his body and he had adorable side burns. When he cried he sounded more like a baby puppy than a human baby.
It was hard to sleep that night. L didn’t have a great latch and my nipples started blistering and bleeding. I played on my phone and snuggled with L a lot. He seemed a lot happier on my chest than in the plastic hospital bassinet. It was hard to believe that I was a little over three weeks from my due date and my baby was here already.