On Wednesday, my mom and I went to lunch for some curry. I was 2 days past my due date so we went out for spicy food to help start labor. Well, turns out, it actually worked!! We were enjoying a nice, relaxing lunch, eating slowly and people watching. I started having those feelings, what I thought was baby’s bum pushing up in my right ribs. I’d had this feeling before but we always thought it was the baby rolling over. Turns out those were contractions because I started to notice a pattern it, every 10 minutes. I think my labor started!
We drove home, still timing them and logging them down in my notebook. I called Adam at work and he answered saying, “You’re having contractions.” He just knew.
He came home from work and we all went out to dinner for some pasta. We chose Italian because we looked up what foods were best to eat before delivery and it said carbs. Makes sense to carb-load before the biggest workout of your life!
When we got home I took a hot bath and went to bed. I woke up at 1:30am to stronger surges (the hypno-birthing term for contractions) and they were closer together but then they lightened up again so we went back to sleep.
We had an appointment at 8:30am on Thursday with Dr. D for a non-stress test since I was past my due date. I showered and dressed and as I got more active so did the surges. Once we got to the doctor’s office it was very clear I was in labor. We didn’t do the non-stress test, instead, Dr. D did an ultrasound to check the size of the baby. The scan showed he was over 10 lbs. 8 oz.!!! Like, what?? He sent us to the radiology lab at the hospital to measure baby more accurately and they had him at 8 lbs. 10 oz. So, ok, we knew he was big, but that’s a pretty big range!
Kelly, our doula, came to the hospital and they put me in a labor room. Everyone had read our birth plan and they were very respectful of it. It was made up of hypnobirthing techniques, things like self-hydrating and no pain meds. Yep, I went all hippie-dippie and decided it was best for baby if I didn’t have any pain meds.
Once we were settled in the room I changed into my birthing gown and went into my relaxation/meditation and breathing exercises that we had practiced with our hypno-birthing book. I was doing great so far and the relaxation was working. The surges started to get stronger and we used different positions to get more comfortable. We did so many positions – standing, bent over the bed, on the birth ball, squatting, leaning on Adam, on my side, on my knees, and some more I probably can’t remember.
One of the things that made it harder was that baby was sunny side up so I had really painful back labor. They told me the baby would spiral during delivery and get into the right position, but he never did. Kelly rubbed my hips/sacrum and it was so helpful. She was worth her weight in gold for those hip massages. Adam was amazing too, he was so supportive and comforting and involved the whole time.
I was plugging along with my birth plan and breathing and visualizing and relaxing, but 24 hours in now and wasn’t making much progress. The surges continued getting stronger. Adam and my mom were about to get some lunch when my water broke at 2:30pm. The only words I could get out of my mouth were “Water, water, water!” They all thought I was thirsty, till they figured out what I was talking about.
The next 8-9 hours were a complete blur. The labor got stronger and harder and I still had no meds at this point and WOW it was intense. I think Dr. D showed up around 5pm.
At 10pm he asked me if I could go another hour like this. I was only dilated to 9.5 cm, but yeah sure, it had already been almost 30 hours so what was one more?
Not much happened in that hour so Dr. D gave me Pitocin to see if that would dilate my cervix more. It didn’t do that, but it did make my contractions super strong and made my body involuntarily push, and I mean PUSH! They would come on and I couldn’t help but push. The problem was that I now had some swelling on my cervix. So even if I did dilate that last half cm it was like 2 steps forward one step back because the swelling made it smaller. My baby was working so hard too and he started getting more molding on his head than the doctor was comfortable with.
I never looked at the machine that was monitoring my contractions, but afterwards, mom and Adam said they were reaching the top of the chart. I made it all the way to the pushing part of labor without any medicine. I felt very accomplished in that. At this point though shit got real and I was talking to God and the Universe to help me. The only words I could get out in the middle of a contraction, in a whisper, were, “You guys. You guys. This really hurts.” I didn’t scream or yell like in the movies. In my head to the Universe I kept saying, “help me.” It was a very interesting experience. Nevertheless, my body and my baby weren’t progressing and it became the topic of conversation in my room. My brain was so checked out, I had my eye mask on, but I could hear everyone around me. Adam by my head and hands rubbing me, Kelly next to him, doc by my feet, mom in the chair, and some midwives too. I heard them chitchatting with each other or talking to or about me. I went through another huge contraction and then everyone got quiet. I pushed my mask up to my forehead and looked at Adam first. His eyes were welled up with tears. That made me look at Kelly and Dr. D and I could tell by their faces. I said, “C-section?” They all nodded. I looked back at Adam and said, “I’m sorry” – I felt so defeated. Adam said, “No babe, you did awesome, I’m just worried about you.”
This was the moment my pain threshold hit the floor. Mentally, I now knew that I was going in for a C-section so I didn’t want to push, I didn’t want to be in pain anymore, I was done, I wanted it to stop…now! But that’s when it got even harder.
Where was the anesthesiologist??
I started asking anyone I didn’t recognize if they were Dr. Davis, the anesthesiologist.
Waiting for him and contracting like that was the longest hour of my life!
They wheeled me to the OR and Dr. D brought Adam to get washed up and put on scrubs. There was a tiny moment there when I saw Adam walk into the room in scrubs and I forgot all about what was happening. I thought, “Damn, my husband looks good in scrubs! He missed his calling! He shoulda been a doctor!”
Then back to reality…
They transferred me to the table in the OR.
My body kept contracting. HARD!
I was sitting on the table when I had another huge one and I flung my arms around the OR nurse and squeezed her as hard as I could while my whole body contracted. It happened again after Dr. Davis sterilized my back. This time I grabbed Ali, one of the midwives. Then Dr. Davis gave me the spinal and it was instant relief. It was so nice. No more pressure, no more weight, I felt relaxed for the first time in 32 hours.
Adam was on my left side, they put up the curtain, checked to make sure I couldn’t feel anything below my waist, and began. I watched Adam’s face for any reaction of what he was seeing. He was good though, he didn’t cringe at all.
It was so fast and then heard our baby boy let out a strong, healthy cry. I couldn’t see him yet, but just hearing him was amazing. I looked at Adam and said, “That’s our son!” We both had tears in our eyes. Luckily Dr. Davis told him to get the camera just before baby came so we have some pictures.
They snipped the cord as close to the placenta as they could and took him over to the warming table to wipe him down, check him over, and weigh him – 9lbs 11oz.!!! Can you believe that?? They wrapped him, brought him over to me, and laid him on my chest. It wasn’t skin to skin, but I was finally holding my baby!
Adam left with the baby to go do skin to skin while I got stitched up. I could feel Dr. D and Dr. Ching moving stuff around and chatting. I asked what they were doing now, and then now, and now. They told me each time. Then I said, “it may be a little late, but did you cut me low enough that I can still wear a bikini?” They laughed and said, “yeah, it’s a little late for that, but yes, you’ll be fine.
I finally got wheeled to my recovery room where Adam, the baby, and my mom were.
I was SO tired.
Adam wouldn’t tell my mom his name till I got there. We had a name in mind but wanted to meet our baby before choosing it for sure. Once I got to the room they put my baby on me and he began to nurse right away, he knew exactly what to do. It was so sweet nursing him for the
first time. He was so tiny and perfect and sweet. I looked at Adam and said, “Is that his name?” and we both nodded and agreed. I said, “Mom, this is Julian.” That gave her the biggest smile.
I was in the hospital for 3 nights and then we got to bring our little nugget home. And the rest of the journey began!
PS – What’s your birth story? Leave a comment below. Did you get the experience you wanted? Did you have a plan or just go with the flow? I’d love to hear about the day that changed your life 🙂