I had been having very mild contractions for the past week, basically felt like menstrual cramping with some back aches but it never picked up. On Sunday, at 40 weeks, I was very discouraged that my body wasn’t going to do what it’s made to do on its own and that I would have to be induced. I was also worried that my “doula”, our very dear friend Janelle (who is also our children’s godmother), wouldn’t be able to attend due to not being able to find a sitter for her brood. On top of all that, I really wanted a midwife to be at the hospital when I delivered, but due to some (in my opinion) crazy new rules, they only work during certain hours. So I was a little stressed, very pregnant, and praying begging God to help my body start preparing for this little boy!
Sunday evening I went to bed with a heavy heart, but I still had some hope that things would turn around. Monday morning I was scheduled to see one of the midwives and prior to my appointment I noticed that my cramping was a little bit more intense, but nothing I couldn’t get through. I didn’t even mention it to J because I didn’t want him to get his hopes up and then it be a false alarm. So I went about my morning as usual and mentioned to Janelle while I was chatting with her online that something MIGHT be starting and to be ready just in case.
So off to our appointment we went, J actually decided to take Boogie on a little daddy/daughter outing while I went to my appointment so that was nice that they got to do that as well. I knew that since I was over 40 weeks now that my midwife would want to discuss an induction date in case my labor didn’t start, and I even considered having her check my cervix (I had declined having it checked prior to this appointment because I truly believe they are unnecessary…. your body can go from 0-60 in no time or drag on for days…) and possibly strip my membranes to kick start labor.
However, once I got inside and had been sitting for a few minutes my cramping started to intensify, it was still a manageable pain but it helped me decide to stick to my guns and decline having myself checked and go about my day. After talking with my midwife we discussed waiting till Thursday to be checked and then discuss induction options. She was even willing to make sure she would be at the hospital on Friday to break my water so that I could have a midwife there with me. We discussed my cramping and she said to just go about my day and see how it went and if nothing happened she’d see me on Thursday.
I had an NST (non-stress test) that day as well and it picked up mild contractions, but nothing more. J and Boogie picked me up and we decided to stop at a quaint little toy store down the road and as we were walking to and from the store my contractions really began to pick up. (At this point I had mentioned to J that I was starting to get more intense cramps.) J and I decided it might be a good idea to pick up some lunch and just hang out at Janelle’s to see if these intensified since her house isn’t quite as far from the hospital as ours, and I knew having my friend nearby would be calming!
The drive to her house wasn’t fun, I found that when I was up and walking and moving I could relax my body and easily get through my contractions, however in the van it was much harder to relax going over bumps and imperfections on the roads. I just had to keep telling myself, “Breathe, relax. You can do this, you’re body was made for this.” And I prayed… a LOT! We made it to Janelle’s about 1:30pm with the intention that we were going to eat lunch and then just hang out until I felt we needed to head the hospital. We thought in several hours that would be the case… however after about 10 minutes I wasn’t able to talk through my contractions so I had J call my mom to pick Boogie up in case we needed to go soon. My biggest fear was that I would decide to go to the hospital with these intense contractions and be barely dilated. I didn’t want to drive all the way over there and be turned away, or worse, being feeling so much pain for only the beginning of labor. Despite all that I made the decision that we needed to go SOON, I was feeling a lot of pressure and knew that the ride there was going to be awful… might as well get it over with, right?
We headed to the hospital at 2:00pm, made it there by 2:30pm, and when they checked me I was SEVEN centimeters dilated! SEVEN! I couldn’t believe it! I had essentially labored all day and had reached transition. I was ecstatic and so incredibly relieved. I had pretty much resigned myself to the thought that if I wasn’t more than 4 centimeters I would be getting an epidural because my contractions felt like they did at the beginning of my labor with Boogie (which was awful, with back labor and very painful nonstop contractions). But this time, I had pushed through the pain for so long that I had made it almost to the end!
We slowly made our way from pre-op to our labor room (by slowly I mean we stopped like 3 times for me to sway and breathe through contractions). Literally right after we got to the room I asked to be checked again because the pressure I was feeling was so intense, and amazingly just from the walk from pre-op to our room I had gone from 7 to 8cm. We weren’t able to get a room with a tub so I decided to stand in the shower and let J use the shower head hose to spray hot water on my back during contractions. That felt AMAZING.
This is when it started getting really intense. I started feeling like my body wanted to push while I was in the shower, so they had me get out and when they checked me I was already at 9cm. The OB (yes, none of the midwives were there… boo) tried to stretch the little bit of my cervix aside so that I could start pushing but it was very painful and obviously didn’t help. So I stood, swayed, and not minutes later my body started pushing on its own. I can’t even describe to you how this felt. I literally felt like I had no control over my body, it was like someone had taken over my body and was using every muscle to push. My legs started shaking really bad so the nurse and the residents that were attending me suggested that I kneel on my knees in the bed and lean over the back (with the back raised of course) so that I could continue to sway and stay upright. Just prior to doing so however, my body continued to push and my water broke! It was a totally different sensation pushing to break my water than it was with Boogie when it just spontaneously broke.
Once up on the bed, my body continued to push and it was incredibly painful. I had expected pushing to feel a bit better because from every birth story I had read (for women who birthed naturally) those women claimed that pushing made the pain go away. However for me, the pain was still very much there, and I almost felt out of control of my body… so while it wasn’t entirely unpleasant to push, it also wasn’t the relief I expected. I groaned and yelled and screamed through every push while my dear, sweet, wonderful “doula” Janelle teased me about being an opera singer (you just wait, woman… the old jokes are just going to get worse from here!).
I was begging for water between pushes, my body was working so hard that I felt like I was completely dehydrated and my mouth was so dry and chapped. I was trying to ask the entire time where Bubby was (in relation to how close he was to crowning and how close to his head coming out), but I guess through my pain I sounded like a crazy person screaming, “Where is he?!?!” Yea, Janelle teased me about that too.
Eventually, I felt his head slowly starting to come out and I started to feel more control of my body and really put everything I had into pushing. I was doing really well with staying calm (despite what everyone around me may have been thinking) but at this point I started to get scared that I was going to tear horribly because of how quickly he was coming…. I prayed a quick prayer as I pushed his head out and after that I forgot those fears. Once his head was out I pushed one or two more times and he came completely out. The resident handed him to me between my legs and all I can remember at that point was how beautiful my sweet boy was and that, “I DID IT!”
I got to hold Bubby while his cord finished pulsating, I got to do skin to skin care and nurse him within minutes of his birth. I got to kiss him all over and count his fingers and toes…. all the things I desperately wanted to do with Boogie but wasn’t able to so soon after birth. Once the cord stopped pulsating J (yes, J really did it this time!) cut the cord and we just bonded until they were ready to check him over and get him bundled up. We stayed in L&D for a few hours because I was bleeding a little more than they like to see, but thankfully after giving me a shot of Pitocin it slowed and we were able to go up to the Mother Baby Unit.
So, let’s recap. I arrived at the hospital at 2:15pm, was 7 centimeters at 2:30pm, minutes later was 8 centimeters, and probably 30 minutes later was 9 centimeters. Started pushing shortly after and Bubby was born at 4:09pm. Despite how quickly he made his debut I only had two superficial tears! Also, because of how quickly everything had happened, I never got an IV, which was what I had hoped for as well. They never had time to draw my blood, and I think I threw my whole birth team for a loop with how fast everything went! Bubby didn’t even have a cone shaped head when he came out, his head was perfect and round; he just didn’t have time for his head to be any different!
I feel like super woman, seriously. This was the birth I dreamt about during my pregnancy with Boogie. And while it didn’t happen with her, I am so incredibly blessed and thankful that God gave me this second opportunity to birth without fear. The woman’s body is phenomenal, it’s awe-inspiring, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the high I got from this whole experience!
Welcome to the world my sweet, little Bubby, my 7lb 10oz, 19.3 inch long miracle!