This is the story of my labor with Alexia. It’s got details- somewhat graphic ones- so if you don’t like birth or birth details, I’d skip it.
This is probably going to be somewhat scattered- the whole night was- but I want to get it down before I forget too much more of it.
The day started off early- Thursday the 2nd- at about 3:19 according to when I finally checked my phone and began to wonder if these erratic contractions were it. I was alone in our big king size bed because Jarell had taken to sleeping on the couch due to back pain which in turn allowed me to stretch out to the most comfortable (relative term here) position I could manage with my 40 weeks, 3 days pregnant belly. I spent the rest of the morning tossing and turning and thinking “Oh lord another day of false labor and I brought it on because of my joke about Ali being born on my in-laws anniversary!” They were mild tho so I didn’t complain much. I spent the day mostly just puttering around and not doing much.
At about 4, my mother in law and J14 came down to our house and all of us were hungry so we went to the local Thai place to get our fix. Almost as soon as I sat down, my contractions started picking up, getting uncomfortable, and getting more regular. They moved up to about 7-8 minutes apart but since they still weren’t clockwork regular so I didn’t call my midwife, but I was starting to get more excited. We went to the grocery store and my walking around caused the contractions to get really hard so we hurried through the shopping (as much as one can hurry while in early labor anyway).
We headed home and the next several hours passed with my contractions getting more and more intense. Around 9 or 10 Jarell finally called my midwife because I was in a lot of pain and the contractions, tho not regular, were very intense.When she arrived, I was disappointed to find out that, again, I was only 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. My midwife did some work on my round ligaments which were ridiculously tense and some essential oil therapy, told me to take some ibuprofen, have a glass of watered down wine, and get some rest. I did as she suggested and attempted to go to sleep while Jarell and his mom kept watch. It didn’t take long before I was in pain again and the contractions picked up momentum until I reached the point where I was in constant pain which was quickly more than I could take. Jarell, taking a proactive stance, decided we needed to go to the hospital to make sure things were alright and I agreed because the pain was very intense.
We notified my midwife who headed toward the hospital and headed out ourselves. The drive was a blur and if I never have to ride in a car while having intense contractions, it will be way too soon. We arrived at the hospital and since the midwife had called ahead to notify them to be prepared for our arrival, we were met at triage with a wheelchair and moved quickly to a room. The nurse was really pretty great, even if she did have to hook me up to torture devices (fetal monitor, blood pressure, and heartbeat monitor) and check my dilation (ouch). I can honestly say I have no idea how long I was there, but at some point in there my midwife arrived and started talking me through my contractions which made things soooo much better. With her reminding me to relax my face and shoulders and breathe, I was able to catch my breath once in awhile, but my contractions didn’t lessen in pain level or become more regular.
I decided to have a shot of demerol because my pain was more than I could handle anymore. This required me to be monitored for another 45 minutes which was painful because it meant I would have to stay in bed, but the demerol helped. The pain didn’t lessen, but I was able to step back from it and relax enough to drift off for awhile. As the demerol started to wear off, we realized that the contractions were finally regular and when they checked me, I was 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. Woo hoo!! Although I really wanted to go home at this point, Jarell and my midwife made a strong case for the fact that once I was home, there was no pain relief if I needed it and my midwife was concerned that I might have some nerve damage or another injury that we didn’t know about so to play it safe I opted to be admitted. It was one of the harder decisions I’ve ever made because I knew it meant giving up my dream of a home birth for this baby and that broke my heart.
Once I was admitted, they moved me to the birthing center, a very nice comfortable room with a big easy chair and a comfortable bed. I was determined once I got there that I was going to get this baby out because my midwife was concerned about my energy levels at that point (I hadn’t eaten since 10pm the night before and all I’d managed to eat was an apple with some peanut butter). I was not willing to have any further interventions and so I began walking the hallway. Walking actually made the pain a bit more bearable and so Jarell and I shuffled back and forth for quite awhile. They checked my dilation again, but I honestly don’t remember where I was altho I had progressed some. All of this is a blur to me but I eventually moved to the bed, kneeling so that I could rest against the back of it. When the morning nurse checked me I had dilated to an 8 and my body was doing involuntary small pushes at the end of each contraction. My doula arrived at some point during all of this, but again, I don’t remember when. I remember asking at some point if I was in transition, and they assured me that I was. My response was something along the lines of “Oh thank god!” which got a laugh from everyone. I do know that somewhere in there I dilated 5 cm in 45 minutes which was intense to say the least and I remember going to the bathroom and losing my most of mucus plug in one huge chunk.
Suddenly, I knew the baby was coming. I could feel her moving down and my body needed to push. The nurse checked me again (agonizing and rough- I didn’t like the morning nurse- she was awful!) I remember her asking what time it was and someone told her 8:57 (in the am) and then calling for the OB. The OB came in and introduced herself followed by telling me that I needed to turn around because my position wasn’t safe for the baby and she couldn’t deliver me if I stayed that way. I panicked at this point, turning to my midwife for guidance because I knew it wasn’t true that my position was unsafe and I wanted to fight her. Looking back now, I know I could have told her tough luck you can’t leave because that would be abandonment and I’m not moving, but at the time all I could think was the mean lady is making me move and it hurts and don’t want to move. I wanted to cry when my midwife reminded me that we were in the hospital and we needed to do things how they wanted us to do them (she was trying to keep things on the same positive path they’d been on up to this point without the staff punishing me for her interference like she had experienced in past births) but at the time I was a little lost. Like a child who’s been reprimanded I dutifully turned over and assumed the position the doctor wanted me in.
My water broke not long after and the remainder of my mucus plug came out. I remember that I began pushing soon after that with the doctor doing perineal massage during the contractions. I would have a hard time starting off and I was roaring, but with my doula’s and midwife’s help I was eventually able to focus my attention and energy into pushing in the way that best moved the baby down. It was intense and uncomfortable, but the contractions that led up to this point were much worse than this was so I was okay with it. I drifted off between contractions, but during them I had my husband’s hand clamped in one hand and my doula’s in the other. My midwife brought me a wet washcloth to wipe my face down and suck on since water wasn’t allowed. The contractions and pushing seemed to go by very quickly and after what felt like about 5 minutes (but was really 45) I finally decided I was done with this because I couldn’t take much more so I pushed with everything I had until my daughter’s head was born. The OB wasted no time pulling her body out which pissed me off at the time but I had no more energy to be angry. I did manage to get across that I wanted to wait til the cord quit pulsing before it was cut and she mostly followed my wishes.
They laid Ali on my chest and my doula got my sports bra open so I could have skin to skin contact with her which was wonderful (and baffling- I know she did it but how she did it and how she did it that fast was pretty mind boggling at the time lol) The doctor decided that the cord had pumped enough and said we should cut it. I protested that I wanted to wait til it was done which she assured me it was, but I know now that it wasn’t entirely done. Again, I wasn’t in any state to argue at that point so I believed her. She pulled on the placenta rather than waiting to allow me to deliver it on my own, but I was too involved in learning to nurse my baby to notice or care about much else although in a corner of my mind, I was intensely annoyed. At some point they took Ali and weighed and measured her, but I don’t honestly remember her being away from me despite the fact that I remember them doing it. The drugs were long worn off but I was exhausted and lost in baby land. It was 9:49 am when she was born. I had been in actual labor for less than 8 hours. Ali weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 19in long. Her Apgar scores were both 9’s and she was quick to look incredible pissed at the world for disturbing her, but otherwise she was calm and content.
Tho I was sad to transfer and give birth in a hospital, I was thankful to bring my baby into the world safe and sound. I know now that I can do it so next time I will without giving in to my fears, and I’m grateful for the wonderful support of my midwife and my doula as well as my husband and my mother in law.