Ah, so eloquent.
On the evening of Oct. 12, I started having intermittent contractions. I was 41 weeks at this point, so contractions were super exciting to me – an induction was planned for the 18th. They weren’t painful per se, but enough that I knew they were different from BH, and strong enough to wake me up a few times that night. The next morning, I was still having them during the day, ranging between 3-5 per hour. By 5pm
, they were bad enough that I needed to soak in the tub for a couple hours. During that time, contractions got to 5 – 6.5 minutes apart, and I texted my doula to think about coming over.
Of course, while waiting for her to get there, the CXs slowed to 9, 14 and 18 minutes apart. I texted my doula to let her know that I thought my labor had stalled, and maybe it wasn’t time for her to come over. Luckily she was already in my neighborhood, so didnt get the text. She DID however, have several techniques for getting labor back on track, bc to her, my labor pattern sounded like baby was posterior. We did lunges against furniture, walked up stairs two at a time, then slowly walked around the house. She got my labor back to 5 mins apart in an hour, and down to 3-4 mins in the next hour. YES.
So off to the hospital we go at about 11pm on Oct. 13. The car ride was ok… I was just glad we weren’t in rush hour traffic in DC during labor! We skipped past triage and went right to the room. My doctor and nurses were all totally on board with my natural birth plan – I was very pleasantly surprised by their supportive attitude, considering their natural childbirth rate is 5%. During my initial cervical check, I was at 6cm 100% effaced (granted, I’d been in early labor for over 24 hours, and was 3cm 50% effaced 2 days prior at my check up). I walked the halls and bounced on the ball for a bit, but then had to go back on the monitor for my hourly check in – this took forever to get both baby’s heartbeat and my contractions to show up, so instead of 15 minutes on the monitor it was more like an hour. A couple hours later, I was checked and was 8cm. I was really, really happy that things were progressing – this was the whole point of me going med free – although it seemed baby was still posterior. Or at least it felt that way in my back! My doula and I did some exercises to try and change her position.
This is where things get a little hazy, and according to Darling Husband, I went all zen and inward, so I’ll try to be as accurate as possible. I was checked again after another hour or two, and was 9cm with a bit of a lip, and they broke my water which had been bulging since I checked in. Dr worked some sort of magic and got the lip pushed back – I was at 10 within the next hour (and after a catheter, bc while I was drinking lots of water, I couldn’t pee). They wanted me to labor down for an hour or two so that I felt the urge to push all the time, and not just during contractions. This is where time started to stand still. It felt like my contractions were a million minutes apart, and I was nervous that something wasn’t right. In actuality, they were still 4 mins apart, but not that strong and at one point my doula and I were talking about whether or not to “get a wisp of pit” to get things going. But my awesome nurse told me to lay on my side, as that’s where that lip was, and its likely I just needed to relax on that side. Over the next hour, I labored down on my side and the urge to push was unfuckingbelievable. It was simultaneous back pain, stomach pain and the intense need to push, but knowing that you can’t. I was literally bucking every time a contraction hit. When people say you feel like you have to poop, they are NOT kidding! I think this was the worst part of labor.
In my mind, I needed to poop first, and then I could get down to the baby business. After a few pushes, I kinda yelled “I need to get this turd out of me!” Darling Husband was like, damn, you just called our baby a turd! Everyone was laughing because that wasn’t poop… It was the baby coming! (Ok yes, there was a little bit of poop too…)
I pushed on my side for about an hour and a half, and then for delivery was half on my side/back, with one leg in a stirrup. The last three contractions were the hardest, bc I knew she was so close. They told me to reach down and touch her – both totally weird and inspiring to keep going! In one of those contractions I definitely felt a bit of a pop – mmm tearing. But whatever, she was so close, I had to get her out. Alexandra was born at 9 in the morning after a total of 36 hours of labor. She ended up turning at the last moment, and born face down. Her cord was wrapped around her neck, and I got her on my belly almost immediately. They noticed she was having breathing issues, and rushed her to the treatment area in my room. They stabilized her a bit and brought her to me for skin to skin before taking her to the NICU for further testing. Turns out, even for a full term baby, she had fluid in the lungs and needed surfactant to help her along. She’s still in NICU and will hopefully just need an extra day or two after I get discharged.
The aftermath did suck a bit. It took 45 minutes to deliver the placenta, and my dr did not want to do a manual extraction on me without me having an epidural. Luckily, I again felt the extreme urge to poop and out came the placenta. Then it took another 20 minutes to stitch me up – 2 tears, both between first and second degree. Neither hit my perineum, which I’m very thankful for!
I don’t know that I ever *really* thought that I would actually be able to get through this naturally – there were times when I was laboring at home, and I’d be thinking… Shit, this is only going to get worse! But my support system was amazing – my Darling Husband, doula, nurses, doctors – Everyone was on board. I took each contraction as it came, and always just thought I could do one more. And honestly, once I got to the hospital it never entered my mind again. I’m already forgetting the pain… Although I don’t think Darling Husband is forgetting the “carnage” he saw anytime soon 🙂