Ok, as promised at one point, I’m posting my labor story. There are some details in here that may be too much for some of you, but really, I tried to keep it fairly clean. But, the story is long. Enjoy!
Well, so much for all my naps and time lounging at the pool prior to Abriella’s arrival! My last day of work was July 3rd. I figured on Monday, the 9th, I’d actually feel like I had stopped working, and would be able to get all rested up before Abriella arrived. So, it all started on July 8th at 3:20pm. I had just hung up the phone with one of my midwife colleagues and stood up, when I felt like I peed on myself. I said to Stephen, “Oh, I peed on myself. Man, I keep peeing.” He was laughing and I ran to the bathroom with my underwear soaking. I sat on the toilet and did pee, but I was very suspicious of what had just happened, as I hadn’t been peeing on myself even when sneezing during the pregnancy, so to have such a gush was odd. So, being a midwife, I smelled my underwear (I know, you’re thinking gross!). But, I wanted to know if it smelled like amniotic fluid…which it did. So, Stephen comes looking for me, and I looked at him and said, “Um, I think my water broke. The fluid really smells like amniotic fluid.” He was dumbfounded, and said, “Well, that’s not what I was expecting.” I told him that I was gonna leave my pants off and walk around and see if fluid continued to come out…and we both ended up seeing it dribble down my leg and drip on the floor. Stephen was convinced!
Of course, I was now thinking…great, I’m 36 6/7 wks, and I’m technically now a PPROM–my worst fear. This means Preterm Premature Rupture Of Membranes…meaning I was before 37 wks (you are considered full-term at 37 wks) and I was wasn’t in labor with my water broken. Visions of pitocin in the hospital were going through my head. I wasn’t having anything in the shape of contractions when my water broke, so it could be hours or days before I had a baby especially since this was my first baby. I called one of my other midwife colleagues, Mary, to see if she had nitrazine paper (turns bright blue when contacts amniotic fluid) so that I could feel more confirmatory in my diagnosis (although it seemed pretty obvious to me already). So, about an hour after the suspected rupture, she showed up and brought the nitrazine to confirm rupture, although the fluid continuing to run down my legs seemed a dead give away. Of course, it turned bright blue immediately.
After she left, I called the birth center and talked to the midwife on call to tell her what was going on. She informed me that their protocol was that I must be in active labor by 24 hrs or they would have to consult with their physician, which would certainly end up with an induction with Pitocin in the hospital. Uggh. She told me to call her back between 8 and 9pm to update her and to keep up with the kick counts of the baby and my temperature. Since my fluid was clear and I was GBS negative, I could stay at home. Before leaving, Mary had recommended to Stephen and I that we take a nap since I wasn’t having any contractions, and rest up. Well, we laid there….didn’t sleep! Who can sleep at a time like that?! haha! Then, we thought we’d watch a movie. We put in “The Pacifier.” That worked for a little while, but then my mom called and a few others called. Then, I just couldn’t lay down anymore. But, we ate some dinner and I started having some mild contractions here and there over the next few hours, but still very irregular.
All of the contractions were completely in my back, which made me extremely uncomfortable. Stephen started applying counterpressure to my lower back to help with that. And, I was wandering around the house getting in different positions to help with that too, i.e. hands and knees, a birth ball, leaning over the kitchen counter, etc. Around 8:30 or so, I called the birth center and updated them and reported that my contractions were still about every 2-10 minutes, but were all lasting at least 60 seconds long and were getting stronger. The midwife asked if we were gonna head that way, because she didn’t want me in transition (hardest part of labor during the last few cm of dilation) on the road. I kind of laughed to myself in my head, and was thinking that surely wouldn’t be a problem. But, I said we would probably stay at home a little while longer and then head to the birth center, and maybe get there sometime after 10:00pm.
Well, Bergen, one of my other midwife colleagues, came by after getting off from working in L&D, and she stayed a little while and chatted while I had a few contractions, and then decided to go home and make me a rice sock for my back. She left just before 9pm to run to her apartment down the road. Well, in the short time that Bergen was gone (maybe about 10 minutes), my contractions suddenly started coming right on top of each other, and were extremely intense! I looked at Stephen and told him to call Bergen and tell her not to come back, and that we were leaving to go to Austin. She showed up about then, however, and I told her that I could “labor in their tubs and showers just as well as I could mine!” She asked if I wanted her to check me, but I told her no, because I didn’t want to know that I was just 2 cm! haha! (As a midwife, you see so many people come in for evaluation thinking they’re dying of contractions, and they are often maybe 1 cm or maybe even not dilated at all! My fear was that I was one of those!). So, we packed up and headed to Austin around 9:15pm or so.
First, I told Stephen not to speed… that I was fine. The contractions would still give me a reprieve every now and then. I even said to him, “I’m sorry now if when we get there, I’m only like 2 cm.” He replied that whatever I was dilated would be just perfect! Sweet hubby! Well, the contractions became much worse in the car, and I was all over the place in that back seat. If anyone could’ve seen me in that back seat, they might’ve wondered what in the world was going on! I was on hands and knees, sitting up, on my side, etc. I was moaning and trying to breathe with every contraction. Stephen was coaching me and cheering me on from the drivers seat. “You’re doing awesome. Breathe deep….” Nothing was helping. The contractions were fast and furious! I then told Stephen to feel free to go faster! He informed me that he had already been doing so! He started speeding more though. When we got closer to the birth center, he also took a red light upon my suggestion! haha!
We made it to Austin and by the time I was able to walk inside (contraction every few feet) and go to the bathroom and get undressed for them to check me, it was about 10:15pm. They had already asked me when they saw how I was acting and contracting, “Uh, when did things change?” (because, I had just talked to them on the phone and I wasn’t like this). I told them it was pretty much after I hung up with them. When, I got into the exam room, I said to them, “Tell me I’m SOMETHING!” Well, I was informed that I was 8cm, completely effaced, and baby was at +1 station…THANK GOD!! I wasn’t crazy! (I had thought in my head prior to this that if I was not dilated much, I really wanted to change my plan for natural labor, and pack up, and head to a hospital for an epidural!). So, they got the water ready for me, and I stripped down and was in that tub in no time. I don’t know what time I started pushing, but it wasn’t long after that. They checked me after I started pushing to see if I was completely dilated, and they said I was a lip (basically like 9 1/2 cm), but her head was lower than the lip, so I could go ahead and do whatever I needed to (like I could stop what I was doing anyway!).
They always say pushing feels better as opposed to contractions. I can’t say that anything about this labor felt better. My back was just killing me! I have to go back here and tell you that with every single contraction (even the mild ones) from the get-go I felt like I had to have a BM! I don’t wish that on anyone. Well, the pushing wasn’t as fast as I had imagined. I figured with such a fast labor, I’d push her out in maybe 20 minutes or so. Not so! I pushed for almost 2 hrs. Her head was in what we call military position (very erect and straight) as opposed to flexed down with her chin on her chest (as my friend, Bergen, later pointed out….”well, look at where you work!” She thought that was what she was supposed to do). She also had her hand up by her head (which she had up there on a sono at 29 wks–guess she liked it there). She also had a nuchal cord (cord around her neck). So, anyway, she was literally crowning (like up to her forehead) for about 45 minutes. Boy, were the midwives patient ( I had a new midwife and an experienced midwife with me). But, her heartrate was great the entire time. But, they kept moving me around…from the water to the toilet, to the water, to the bed, to the birthing stool, etc, all while I had this “bowling ball” between my legs! It was not fun! Also, my contractions became weaker and shorter during my pushing as well (sometimes happens when the labor is so fast), so we were doing nipple stimulation to try to help them to be stronger (I know, TMI for some of you). Anyway, I finally delivered when Joan (one of the midwives) did something absolutely awful feeling. She put her hands in, and I think she was trying to separate my ischial spines to make more room (those are the pelvic bones). But, I felt like I was ripping from one end to the other and the burning was awful. I think that was the only time I really got vocal, but they told me to “PUSH!”
Her head finally came out! Then, they told me to slow down my pushing. Well, I had been pushing so hard, I didn’t know what a small push was anymore. So, her body came out quicker than they would’ve liked, I suppose. Then, Stephen (who was behind me on the bed, and I was lying back into him while I was on a birthing stool) says that I immediately reached down and grabbed her and placed her on my chest. He said he wasn’t sure they were even ready for me to do that! haha! But, she screamed immediately, and was perfect! Stephen cut the cord after a few minutes. The placenta delivered very soon thereafter. The midwife had already told me that she would want to give me a shot of pitocin since my uterus had decided to be a little lazy at the end, and I agreed. She felt like I was still bleeding a little much, so they also gave me a shot of Methergine (another drug to make your uterus contract—next drug of choice for bleeding). I actually think that was probably a little over the top, because the other midwife told her that I wasn’t bleeding anymore once they got the syringe ready to give me the shot, but she wanted to give it anyway. I didn’t care.
I had a couple of small tears, but no stitches. I looked at the tears with the midwives in a mirror, and I (being the typical midwife) said, “does it approximate well? is it bleeding?” When, I saw the answer to both of those, I said, “leave it alone.” Joan was glad that I said that, because that was her thought on it as well. Anyway, she was born on July 9th at 12:50 am. I did ask at sometime during my pushing if we had passed midnight, and they said yes, to which I replied, “good, because I don’t want a preterm delivery!” And, they replied, “Yeah, and we don’t want you messing up our stats!” haha! So, she made it to 37 wks, and she weighed in at 6# 6 oz and measured 18 1/2 inches. We were back at home less than 12 hrs after we left to go to the birth center. So, there we were in our house with a baby about 8 hrs old. It was surreal!
So, it was a fast and furious labor all in all, but it was totally worth it! I found it very hard to stay on top of those contractions, but as the Bradley (a prepared childbirth method) book states, many of the relaxation techniques don’t work for the “speedsters.” But, Stephen says I was great. He was impressed and continues to praise me…what a great hubby! I never yelled or said ugly things to anyone, so that was good! haha. I think I had my eyes closed a good part of the labor and just tried to breathe through the contractions. I have to say that it truly was the hardest and absolute most painful thing I have ever done. If she hadn’t been trying to come out so funny, she would’ve flown out (sorry for the visual). And, I wouldn’t recommend back labor. I didn’t feel a single contraction in my abdomen. It was ALL in my back! Yuck!
Stephen was the absolute greatest during my labor! He was so supportive and a good person to do counterpressure on my back. Couldn’t have asked for a better husband or a better daddy for our daughter either! Also, note to self in the future, be careful what you say. On Saturday night before my water broke on Sunday, Stephen and I were watching a movie in our room, and I told him that I was TOT….he said, what? I said, I am TOT—tired of toting! Well, be careful what you wish for! 🙂
So, you may ask if I’d do natural labor again. You bet. I knew it was going to involve pain. I never doubted that. Fast labors are definitely harder though, and I wasn’t really banking on me having one of those. I would say, based on how my contractions went, I was probably in active labor for about 2 hours. (Active labor is from 4cm to 10cm). On average, labors progress at about 1 cm per hour. I didn’t go by the book! Next time, we may have to hang out at the birth center from about 36 wks on so that we make it. Generally, 2nd labors are FASTER than the first! YIKES! Maybe Stephen will deliver the next one at home! HAHA! Anyway, I do plan on doing the next one naturally as well. I’m already starting to forget the magnitude of the pain I felt, so I should be good to go. Maybe next time I’ll actually get to deliver in the water. It just didn’t happen this time after all was said and done.
Anyway, that is my long birth story. If you’ve read this far, congratulations! Thanks for indulging me. I wanted to document this one way or the other.