We decided to wait to find out the sex of our second baby, our first being a girl. I was due on the 17th of December and I had been having prodromal labor for a few days. This continued off and on until the night of the 19th when I once again started getting contractions. They continued overnight, although very mild, mild enough to sleep through them. They continued in the morning but still very calm, although 7-10 minutes apart.
Since it was the Sunday before Christmas, we had family gatherings to attend. We went to my in-laws where the contractions continued at the same pace but still weren’t getting stronger. I wasn’t sure if it was really time or not since their was no change in intensity. We decided to head to my family’s side which was a 45 minute drive away. Contractions were getting closer at 5 minutes apart now, but no change in intensity. I was 4cm and 70% effaced at my last OB appointment and luckily, my mom is a labor and delivery nurse at a nearby hospital so I had her check me at the time to see if the contractions where doing anything. She said I was a tight 5cm and a little more thinned out so we had a good idea this was time! We agreed she would go home and get her things around and then meet us at our house to check my progress before heading to the hospital.
On the car ride home my contractions started to intensify, but still very manageable. Once home, my husband took our daughter over to my in-laws and I started getting our things around. Contractions picked up quickly then; I was having to pause through them and it surprised me how strong they got so fast. I knew I wanted to get to the hospital as soon as possible, because I didn’t want to be in too much pain during the 30 minute car ride to labor and delivery. Once my husband got home I told him the change of plan – my mom would meet us at the hospital instead of our house because I needed to get there now.
We arrived at the hospital at 7pm, exactly the time I arrived with my last labor and was checked at still 5cm. Last time I was already 7cm upon arrival so I was a little disheartened, but not too much. I was ready to do some work!
I got into the tub and labored for two hours, the majority of that being moderately painful. I asked to be checked at 9pm since my contractions were starting to get pretty painful and I wanted to see what the progress was – only 6cm. The nurse encouraged me to labor on the birthing ball in my room (which was across the hall from the birthing tub room). I sat on the ball and draped my body over the bed. Contractions were strong now, I was moaning through them. Something I never had to do with my previous labor. I went from the ball to the toilet, to the beanbag, back to the ball. All the while, my husband massaging my back because it was on fire during every tightening. These contractions were as strong, if not stronger than my contractions were at 10cm with my previous labor so I asked to be checked again at 11pm thinking I had to be close with the way these contractions were feeling.
I was so discouraged. I knew that in actuality I was progressing fine time-wise, but oh, the pain…I still had 2-3cm to go and I was in a lot of pain. I didn’t know how much more I could take. I went back to the tub, where I was most relaxed.
I labored sitting up on my knees, knees spread wide. I moaned through every contraction, knowing I just needed to get through three or four deep and long moans and then I could get a break. They were so powerful, they overtook my body and mind. I have never had such respect for my uterus. The sheer downward pressure made me feel like my whole body was being pulled toward the earth. The pain was almost unbearable at the peak. I felt my baby’s body descend. I said that I felt like pushing soon. The next contraction as I moaned my body knowingly pushed on its own and I felt myself opening. It was time.
My nurse came in and we told her what was happening and she went to call for the Doctor. I got out of the tub to move across the hall to the other room and it set off another powerful contraction. I hung onto my husband’s neck as the contraction pushed my baby closer to birth. Standing made the pressure worse, alarming me of the impending birth. I suddenly got a wave of panic. I said “I’m so scared” over and over. We got into the room and I lay on the bed and I propped my legs up, the next contraction came and I pushed with it. Meanwhile the nurses were prepping the room and the Doctor had just made her way in. The next contraction I pushed and the top of the head was visible. I felt the familiar ring of fire and new it wouldn’t be much longer. My legs were shaking in pain but it was still a breath of fresh air in between contractions. The next contraction came and I pushed hard, so hard as I felt progress happening. My mom said “Oh, there’s a hand,” and I wondered why she was seeing a hand when I knew only the head was out. I took a breath and pushed again, knowing I wanted the baby out with this contraction. I pushed so hard and my pain threshold was maxed out. But I knew I was just seconds away from it being over, so it gave me the strength to push my baby all the way out. There was no slowing down, I pushed with all my energy until…
They laid my baby on my chest and I quickly lifted a leg and the cord and saw….
It’s a girl!!
All 8lbs 13oz of sweet baby girl. She was born at 11:54pm and 21.5″ long. Perfection.
The labor was definitely harder than my first, but pushing was quick, and I had a beautiful prize to show for my hard work.
Submitted by Audrey Klein.