After a very difficult pregnancy, including pregnancy-induced hypertension (landing me in the ER twice and putting me on 3x the normal dose of BP meds starting at eight weeks), kidney stones, and morning sickness for 23 weeks, I was happy to have made it to 40 weeks with no serious complications. I was in no hurry for labor as long as Mason stayed safe and my blood pressure remained under control. We made the choice to switch from our homebirth midwife to a high risk OB and to deliver at St. Joseph. I was sad to give up my ideal birth, but knew it was the best choice for Mason and me. We found an amazing doula, and I spent my time researching and making plans for a low intervention hospital birth.
Monday night was the day after my due date and we were out celebrating Waid’s BFF’s birthday. We had a fabulous meal of fish tacos (which is weird, I HATE fish!) and I kept telling everyone I was certain I would stay pregnant for another week. I was finally enjoying my pregnancy! We finished the night off with more cupcakes than I care to admit and headed home. Every time I woke that night to use the bathroom, I felt crampy, but it wasn’t anything painful and went away when I laid back down, so I thought nothing of it.
At about 7:30, I went to the bathroom and noticed I was bleeding. We decided to call the hospital and let them know just to be safe. They said it was most likely nothing, but wanted me to come in to make sure my placenta wasn’t separating from my uterus or something crazy like that, I don’t remember. During the last weeks of my pregnancy, we were all praying for God’s timing for my labor. My mother had three foster daughters at the time and not a ton of childcare options if my labor started since they weren’t in school. The girls were literally stepping onto the bus when I called my mom to tell her we were going in, God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect. We almost didn’t bring our bags because I had had no real contractions and I was still sure I was going to be pregnant for another week! I took my morning dose of 400mg of Labatelol and we headed to the hospital. I gave my doula Casondra a heads-up on the way just in case.
Upon arriving at the hospital, two other women were heading up to L&D as well. I had trouble convincing the nurse that I did not need a wheelchair, I politely told her I wasn’t here to have my baby, I’d be back in about a week. They put me into an exam room and the on-call doctor came in to check me. 2cm, 50% effaced, which meant nothing to me, I was 2cm earlier that week. Blood pressure was looking great! They had me get up to walk around for an hour and were to check me after that to see if I would make any progress, but were telling me I would most likely be going home. As soon as I stood up after my cervical check, WOOSH! My first real, painful contraction! I excitedly began prancing myself around the circular hallway around L&D. It was only fun for about 60 seconds until the next one came, and the next one 60 seconds after that, and so on and so on. I could time it perfectly to where I could make it around the whole circle to the little waiting area and lean over the same chair to work through that contraction and make my “dinosaur noises.” I think the whole waiting room was scared of me!
After an hour of that, they checked me again. 3cm, 75% effaced. Blood pressure still looking great! They reluctantly decided to admit me which I was sad about because I had hoped to labor at home as long as possible, but I knew there was no way I could possibly sit through the car ride home. Waid called Casondra and she headed up. After getting me all checked in, I requested a dose of medicine to relax me a bit as I was tired from being up all night. They also started antibiotics for my GBS (I only ended up getting one bag of antibiotics). I rested a bit between each contraction and was enjoying my 30 second cat naps! My friend Janna, my grandma, my mom, and Waid’s mom were all there at this point. They went down to get some food while I enjoyed a fabulous foot rub from Casondra. She also reminded Waid to put on my labor playlist and help me into my own gown (doulas are the best!). They brought me back some protein-packed juice and I tried to drink a bit but it was disgusting! I paced the room, squatted, lunged, peed 1,000 times and hung around Waid’s neck.
Waid was my rock through my labor, he was such amazing encouragement! I was having some back labor, so my mom and Waid took turns putting counter-pressure on my lower back. Things started to get fuzzy here as I was heading deep into “labor-land”, but I remember chuckling at my grandma who was concerned that squatting would cause the baby to fall out! If only it were that easy, grandma! I started to feel panicked at the intensity of the pain and requested another dose of the relaxing drug (I was told later that I was actually demanding an epidural). It only lasted for about 40 minutes, but it was a nice break, and just what I needed to keep going.
After being back up for a while, I started to feel pushy. I couldn’t see how this was possible as it had only been a few hours and I hadn’t progressed between my last two (and only other) checks. I was an eight!!! I swear, the heavens opened and I heard the “Hallelujah Chorus!” After another blood pressure check and it still looking good, I decided to get into the small tub in the bathroom while they filled the larger tub out in the room. As soon as I got in the water, my pain was cut in half at least! I was feeling like I was finally starting to get back in control of things and feeling like I could totally do this! I spent a few contractions in that tub with Casondra coaching me through not pushing, which was the hardest part of the whole labor. I also had her pray with me and Waid which really helped me focus. Kim Walker’s Holy was on repeat.
As soon as I got into the birthing tub, I knew I couldn’t hold back any more. I pushed gently with a few contractions, but was scared I was “going to the bathroom.” After everyone convinced me I wasn’t pooping myself, I really started to push and reached down to feel Mason’s head! Feeling the progress of my pushing motivated me and he was out in three pushes! I delivered him myself and pulled him up to my chest (this was about 20 minutes after being told I was an eight). My OB (who had previously told me I had an almost 100% chance of a c-section) helped me untangle the cord, and that was the only time he had to intervene! It felt so empowering to see the look on his face and hear him tell me I won the birth lottery (although, I knew it was God’s amazing grace!)! I trusted my body to do what I knew it could do. My life was changed in that moment, and I knew it would never be the same.
Mason Russell Hoyt 7lbs. 11oz 19in long. Born at 3:25pm, after seven hours of labor