I always liked reading these, so thought I’d post. Especially since I had the relatively uncommon plan of birthing in a birth center.
So my last day at work was last Wednesday, when I was 38 weeks and 5 days. I started feeling light menstrual-like cramps that same night. Thursday morning I had a contraction strong enough to wake me up, but it still was not really painful. I had an appointment with my midwife that morning and talking through it, it seemed I had had my “bloody show” that same morning. Nothing much else happened during the day. I had a few more cramps/contractions in the evening, but i took a warm bath and they went away.
On Friday I had more cramps and they were starting to feel uncomfortable to the point where they might be called a little painful. I tried timing them but they were really irregular. At some points they seemed to stop almost completely. But then they started getting painful late in the evening. They were too painful to sleep through, so I started timing them. But they were still too irregular. They said I should not call the birthing center until they were about 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each, for at least an hour straight. Mine were all over the place. They hurt a lot in my back more than my stomach. I just drank water, ate a bit, and took a warm bath to try to ease the back pain and see if the contractions would go away again, but they didn’t. They did slow down though. I had been practicing hypnobabies course to ease pain, and that was helping quite a bit at that point.
Around 4 or 5am on Saturday morning, my contractions were a little over 5 minutes apart. I called the birth center and they said to call back and come in when they were 4 minutues apart. But then after that, the contractions became irregular again and started to space out. DH and the midwife thought I might not be in real labor. But the contractions were pretty painful and I had to concentrate and breathe through each one. Saturday afternoon I decided to take a walk. It felt better to walk than to stay in the apartment. I timed the contractions while I walked, and they really started to speed up and get regular. They were about 3.5 minutes apart, and they continued that way even after the walk was over. I called the birth center and they told me to come in. It’s about a 40 minute drive from our apartment, and we went in. We got there around 3:30pm.
My contractions were now pretty strong, though my techniques for pain management were still helping some. They felt like they were entirely in my back. I really couldn’t feel hardly anything at all in my abdomen. I had to really focus to breathe through them and many times I moaned through them. When I got to the birth center, they checked me and I was 100% effaced and 6mm dilated. So not false labor, lol. They ran water in a deep tub for me to labor in and i got in. But it didn’t help as much as I thought it would. The contractions were getting closer together and were now very painful. The birth center does not normally give pain medications, but they saw I was in a bit more pain than is usual, so they offered stadol. They tried to give it to me through IV, but I was so swollen/fat that they couldn’t find my vein, so they gave it to me in my leg. It was stadol mixed with vistrol I think. The medication, they told me, was basically for amnesia and would also allow me to rest through contractions, but anybody watching me would see me still moan and move through each contraction. So they gave it to me and I basically passed out. I don’t remember anything. Apparently I would moan and twist around during each contraction and someone would apply counterpressure to my back. When I came to, I was in even more pain. My back was killing me! I was at 7-8 cm dilated then and I thought, all that pain and all that time (another 3 hours or so), and only 1-2 cm more! At that point I decided to go to the hospital for an epidural. They only transfer about 10% of their patients to the hospital, but they agreed this was a situation where transfer was a good idea.
So DH drove me to the hospital. We got there around 7:30 or 8. I was moaning and breathing heavily. We walked through the hospital to the labor and maternity ward. Everybody was looking at me. I’m sure it looked scary! I told the nurse who was walking with us that I know my moaning and breathing must sound scary, and she said it didn’t scare her, she just wanted to make sure I didn’t have the baby in the hallway, haha. I went in, got some IV fluids, and then got an epidural. The anesthesiologist had a hard time finding where to put the needle because of my fairly marked scoliosis, so it got kind of bloody (DH said, I didn’t see), but he got it. And then I went to sleep again. I slept for several hours. I slowly woke up. I could feel contractions, but they didn’t hurt. They felt like Braxton Hicks contractions. That epidural worked really well! Shortly after I woke up, they looked and the baby’s head was already visible, so it was time to push. I pushed and it was the easiest part of the whole labor. They said I was the picture of control for the pushing. I only pushed for a short time and she was born early Sunday morning. They suctioned her with some long tubing (Im told, couldn’t see), there had been a little meconium in the water, but no big deal. I was 39 weeks and 2 days. She was 5lbs and 14 oz and healthy.
I stayed at the hospital until Tuesday and we have been home and learning to adjust to life with a baby. And that’s the story! 🙂