14 hours of labor starting at 10:00am, ending with 3.5 hours of pushing and the most amazing ending at 11:57pm on February 25, 2017.
You should know that the majority of this post comes from writing on my wordpress phone app during 2am nursing sessions. I apologize in advance for typos and grammatical errors… let’s just call it baby induced insomnia writing.
My due date was Monday, February 20 and this magical thing happened… pregnancy became unbearably annoying. I was cruising along loving pregnancy except for the occasional ache and back pain. But on Monday my body decided to rebel against being pregnant and I was miserable. My back hurt constantly, I couldn’t sleeep, and I just felt enormous. Four days of this and I was ready to get this baby out! Maybe that’s what the third trimester is for… mentally preparing you for the next stage.
On Saturday morning my husband, Darren had gone to the office to get a few things done and I was hanging on the couch with my heating pad trying to get comfortable. At about 10:00am I started to have intense period like cramps but didn’t think they were contractions. As they got more intense and seemed to come in waves I called a friend for advice. I invisioned contractions being this whole-belly tightening like I had experienced with Braxton Hicks but for me that wasn’t the case. My friend said it sounded like early labor to her and so I started timing my contractions.
I was sitting on an exercise ball and leaning on the couch for support during the contractions and thought I had it under control… until I called my husband. It’s like hearing his voice made me realize how much I needed him and I broke down in tears. He rushed home and started packing the car, completing his list of things to do, and cleaning up my vomit (yep).
After talking with the doctor we headed to the hospital at about 1:00pm. I rode to the hospital in the back seat on my knees hugging the head rest. My water broke in the car and it wasn’t like I imagined either. There was no gush of fluid, just a feeling like I had just accidentally wet myself.
When we finally got to the delivery room I was freezing. I had been cold most of the morning and had a blanket around me and it definitely didn’t get better in that paper gown. As soon as they finished my hep lock IV port I got in the labor tub. The warm water felt amazing. I stayed in the tub for a few hours and it made the contractions much more bearable.
When I got out of the tub I had progressed from 3cm to 6cm dilated. Once in the bed I moved from my hands & knees to laying on my side to squatting to standing… whatever worked. I was constantly moving.
You hear about women cursing their husbands during labor and I’m happy to report that I had exactly the opposite experience. We had this unspoken communication during the whole thing. He gave me water, put a cold cloth on my head, held my hand, told me how amazing I was, squeezed my hips for counter pressure… he was completely amazing. I’ve never been more in love with him.
In the end I ended up on my back for delivery because that’s where I made the most progress with pushing. I had an amazing labor & delivery nurse that recommended me pulling on a towel “tug of war” style while pushing. She looped it around and I pulled on one end while she pulled back. In between contractions it was so uncomfortable to lay on my back that I stood up on the bed using the squatting bar for support. When I felt another contraction coming I would reach my hand over to Darren and he would help me back down. That was the most intense part of my labor. My doctor liked this up and down movement because the baby’s heartbeat dropped slightly between contractions when I stayed on my back. When I stood up his heartbeat returned to normal. I think it’s amazing that my body knew what I needed to do to keep myself and my baby healthy.
After 3.5 hours of pushing he was finally on my chest and just like that all the pain and intensity was gone. The next few minutes were scary and seemed to last forever. I noticed that the number of nurses in the room had multiplied and they were all looking at my baby. My doctor quickly explained “I know you wanted to delay cord clamping but we need to get him…” then it became a blur. I shook my head enthusiastically thinking “yes, do it!” I could feel the worry in the room. They took him to the warmer and suctioned, rubbed, and gave him the APGAR test. Darren stayed by my side and I assured him that I was fine and to go get a closer look. After what seemed like an eternity I saw his little arm move and heard a little cry. A few minutes later he was back on my chest and we spent the next 2 hours skin to skin. It turns out that my doctor called in for extra support when he was in the birth canal for so long. She was worried that he might get stuck at the shoulders and need assistance coming out. He came out on his own but I am very thankful for the help of the NICU nurses in that moment.
We arrived in our hospital room around 2:30am and the most amazing thing is that I, who can’t even stay awake during a movie, wasn’t even tired. I think women’s bodies and brains are wired with this survival/nurturing/protecting instinct that can run on literally no sleep. I stayed wide awake with him skin to skin, completely in awe of this tiny little human, for the rest of the night. I got approximately 5 hours of sleep in the span of our 2 day hospital stay and still didn’t feel tired.
The next morning I felt wonderful. After refueling with a big breakfast (hospital food is surprisingly good) I took a shower while my little man spent some skin to skin time with his daddy. Going through labor and delivery without medication was definitely worth how good and energized I felt the next day.
And then there were three…
And now, 5 weeks later I still remember the events that transpired, but the memory of labor and pain has faded. And I’m left with this amazing little dude to love and care for. Darren asked me after that experience if I would go natural and unmedicated again. Absolutely. Labor is supposed to be shorter the second time around, right?
2 weeks old, Ann Wade Photography
Lots of love,