I have been meaning to write this for a while, but as much as I was busy with a preschooler, add an infant to the mix plus a pandemic and there’s just been no time! As we are approaching Liam’s first birthday though, I have been reflecting a lot on my birth experience and wanted to share.
Since my babies seem to be perfectly comfortable staying on the inside (remember Evelyn was born 12 days after her due date with an induction), I went in to see my midwife on 8/7, 4 days past my due date to check in. I had an induction scheduled for 8/10 because I wasn’t going to stay pregnant any longer than necessary this time!
My midwife checked me and I was 3 cm and 60% effaced I believe. She told me to go home, rest, enjoy the next few days and they would see me at the hospital on Saturday.
That night, we went to bed and I woke up around 2 AM with some stomach cramps. You know when you have really bad gas and your stomach feels crampy so you sit on the toilet but nothing happens? That’s what it felt like. Oh well, back to bed. I tried to relax and get back to sleep, but I couldn’t sleep through this. Hm, maybe it’s contractions? Am I in labor?
I decided to get up and walk around our house a little bit and lay on the couch and read. I started timing my contractions during this time and after about an hour, they had reached a point where I was having to stop and deep breathe through them. They were inconsistent though, coming every 6-10 minutes lasting 15-30 seconds. I called my midwife and she said it sounded like labor and to run a bath, and relax in there. I should call back when they were 5 minutes apart and lasting 40 seconds.
I woke Chad up, told him I thought I was in labor and that he should call our neighbor and my parents so they could come stay with Evelyn. I ran a bath and had only been in there a few minutes and started having really regular contractions. Yep, about 5-6 minutes then another contraction and they were about 45 seconds long so I called the midwife back.
She answered and said, ‘you just called!’ I told her they met the criteria, what should I do now? She said I could come to the hospital if I wanted and she could check me out. So as I was getting out of the tub, my water broke. Then, it got real. Painfully intense contractions were upon me – so much so that I could hardly stand through them.
We got changed real fast and I had to stop mid-brushing my teeth to kneel on the floor through a contraction. I kissed Evelyn bye and my neighbor came in just in time to witness a contraction where I had to stop and lean against the dining room wall.
I put a towel down on the seat in the car and yelled at Chad to come on. I thought he was being so slow putting on his shoes! I tried to sit down and buckle up but I couldn’t tolerate that position. I ended up on all fours in the front seat with my face directly over the a/c vent. Remember it was August, so it was hot!
Chad rushed through town only slowing down at red lights, even though I told him not to slow down or stop! I was keeping track of my contractions and when I’d make it through one, I thought oh good, I have 5 minutes before the next one, but then another one would come. That didn’t make sense. I’d make it through another intense one and then another. They were coming every 2-3 minutes! Oh no – hurry, Chad, drive faster!
We arrived at the hospital and the security officer did not know where we should park. I yelled and told them I needed to get into the hospital NOW. Chad just drove back around and pulled right in front of the women’s hospital. I told him to leave the car running (I didn’t even care if someone stole it or we got a ticket) and to wheel me in.
I was rushed into a triage room and Chad ran back downstairs to have the car valet parked. During those few minutes the midwife checked me and said I was 8 cm and 90% effaced. I told her all I wanted was an epidural and to please help with the pain. They said they had notified anesthesia I was there since they knew I wanted an epidural, but I was progressed so much there might not be much they could do. There was definitely a point of desperation where I was in so much pain and I realized there was absolutely nothing they could do to help me.
They left the room and told me to call for help if I felt the urge to push. Literally a minute later as Chad was walking in the room, I was on the bed, calling for help saying, ‘He’s coming!’ I had this unbelievable urge to push!
Everyone rushed back in the room, had me quickly crawl over to the actual labor and delivery bed and I screamed and pushed. I could feel my body tightening with this intense pressure and burning sensation, I’d yell and push and relax for a few seconds. I did this about 4 times and then little Liam was here! He was born at 5:23 AM, approximately 11 minutes after the arrival at the hospital with no monitoring, no medications, no IV!
2:30 AM: wake up
4:48 AM: leave house
5:12 AM: arrive at hospital
5:23 AM: have baby!
This experience was so completely different than my labor with Evelyn. Both were marvelous and perfect. My recovery with Liam was easier. I did not have any tearing or stitches and without such a long labor and pushing, felt more like myself quicker.
Since my feelings about this haven’t changed, I’ll copy mostly what I wrote in Evelyn’s birth story:
Was this how I envisioned my birth experience? No way. It was supposed to be a planned induction with an epidural this time. I actually didn’t want an unmedicated birth this time and never would I have imagined we’d almost have a lobby baby! Would I change anything? Absolutely not. For the second time, my body helped create, nurture and grow a human being! We’re at almost a year later, and my body is still doing miraculous things, like producing food for my son now. Every woman’s birth experience is to be cherished – whether it’s without medications, with all of them, a vaginal birth or a C-section or something in between, our bodies are all part of the miracle of birth and that is special and never anything to feel like a failure about. I learned so much about myself, my body, my mind and Chad during this process. At the end of it, we received the best 7lb 15oz present we could have ever dreamed of.