It all started with me waking up at 5 am on June 10, 2013 to Josie wanting to nurse. She didn't normally ever nurse in the morning like that, but I let her and immediately got contractions. I might have been getting them in my sleep, but I'm not sure. The contractions were around 7 minutes apart consistently. I didn't think anything of it though because I had false labor for the last few nights before this. They were painful, but manageable. Little did I know at the time, but that was Josie's very last nursing session ever. I hold that memory in my heart. I couldn't go back to sleep so I decided to go downstairs and hang out with my husband while he did his homework. I made our grocery list and painted my fingers and toes. The contractions didn't let up, but I had a midwife appointment at 11 am and I just decided to wait and talk to her about my contractions. Once they were 5-6 minutes apart, Jon was really convinced I was in labor, but I was not at all convinced. He was getting SO excited and kept saying we were having a baby that day. I decided to let our friends know what was going on with me since they would be watching the kids for us and they were super excited too. I finished my nails up and had to paint both of my girls' nails too and then we were on our way.
On the way over to our friends house I was still having plenty of contractions and Jon kept commenting about them saying he could tell they were getting worse. We dropped the kids off and headed off to our appointment. We were about 15 minutes late for my appointment and ended up having to wait. We got called back shortly before noon and ended up waiting a little longer to see the midwife too. Baby's heart rate was in the 140s as always, my blood pressure was 110/70 and I still had only gained 15 pounds total for the whole pregnancy. My fundal height was measuring 39 weeks and I was exactly 39 weeks that day. The previous week I was 5-6 cms dilated and baby was NOT engaged in my pelvis. This week she checked me and I was a good 7 cms and 80% effaced and baby was no longer floating. Locked and loaded for sure! I could not believe I was 7 centimeters just walking around not convinced I am in labor! I still did not think I was in labor since contractions were not getting much worse, so I made a comment about going home and what I should do since we live about 45 minutes away. She laughed at me and said, "oh no you aren't going home! You are going to the hospital. Sandra is the midwife on call there today." All I could do was laugh and all Jon did was say I told you so! He was pretty dang proud of himself for telling me all morning we were having a baby. They let the on cal midwife know we were on our way and off we went.
Before we checked into the hospital we had some phone calls to make and I demanded we go get lunch. We stopped at a local sub place here called Eegees and I got a giant grinder sandwich. It turns out I would be VERY happy I chose to eat before heading in. Even though I was 7 cms, I still wasn't convinced we were having a baby because my contractions still weren't getting worse. I knew I didn't want pitocin, so i was nervous to go into the hospital, have labor slow down and then be told I needed pitocin. We texted and called our friends and family from the hospital parking lot so Jon could eat his food and then we headed inside. We signed in, got checked in and were sent directly to a labor and delivery room they had waiting for us. I thought it was so cool I didn't have to go to triage first.
Once in the room, I got to meet our nurse, got changed into a hospital gown and got hooked up to those dang monitors. Sandra, the midwife on call, came to see me and she was as worried as I was about my contractions not being good enough. We had a talk about pitocin versus breaking my water, but going home was really not an option. She told me she couldn't let me go that far away with advanced cervical dilation. She feared I would pop a baby out in the car haha. Before we decided on breaking water versus pitocin, she decided to check me first. I was definitely a 7 and 90%, very soft and baby was at a -1 station. We both agreed I should get on the birth ball and rock for a little bit to see what my body would do on it's own, she also did a membrane sweep. She said it was kind of pointless because of how far dilated I was but that it might stir something up. It was the weirdest feeling. Literally like she swept her finger in a circle. By the time all of this was going on it was about 2 pm. I got on the ball and labored there for about an hour. My contractions steadily got worse but they were not showing up on the monitor and it was making me so mad. These were very intense and I wanted them to believe me not give me pitocin! They were so bad I definitely could not talk through them. Throughout all the labor, the baby was doing amazing on the monitors, but we kept having an issue with the belt sliding off my belly since I was on the birth ball. The nurse and midwife kept having to come into my room to fix it. At one point my midwife looked at me during a contraction and said, " oh yeah, you definitely didn't look like that when you first got here. I dont think you will need pitocin." I told her they were getting worse for sure! Jon had been timing them since they were not showing up on the monitor and they were 3-4 minutes apart lasting for a minute.
I had to get up to go to the bathroom and noticed one heck of a bloody show. My midwife noticed it too and asked me if I would let her check me again. Initially I wanted minimal internal exams, but I was fine with her checking. She checked me and I was a good 8. We decided to go ahead and have her break my water in order to put internal monitors on the baby's scalp. Baby was doing wonderfully, but since the monitors kept slipping, the only way I could stay on the ball was if I had an internal monitor. At one point my nurse told me I was going to have to get in bed and I freaked out. No way in hell! That birth ball was a life saver. There was no way I could just lie there in bed. Every time I had to get in it to be checked I wanted to cry. So, she broke my water and holy cow, it was like a freaking flood. She had to jump back because she almost got soaked. She told me I definitely had a lot of amniotic fluid! Once my water was broken baby dropped to a zero station. I could not get out of that evil bed fast enough! I dont know how women labor in bed like that, it is pure hell!
I got back on my beloved ball and knew labor was serious now. My midwife didn't leave me anymore and I really had to focus during contractions. At this point I still wasn't making a ton of noise and details are a little blurry, but I do remember a few things:
- My midwife kept asking me if I wanted a drink or a cool washcloth. Neither of those things sounded helpful to me and I kept telling her no.
- I was super sweaty. It definitely is hard work. I kept getting annoyed with my gown touching my sweaty skin. I can totally see how women just rip their clothes off lol. She told me this was the part of labor equal to running a marathon in terms of energy exertion.
- I remember Jon rubbing my back and I kept hoping he was doing okay because I was in my own head at that time.
- Later, he told me he had tear in his eyes when I was REALLY in pain.
- I also remember being surprised that I felt like I didn't need anyone. I was also surprised that people talking didn't piss me off. I just tuned the world out.
- I vividly remember my midwife telling me there was going to be a point where I felt like I couldn't do it anymore and when that happens, we will have out baby.
- And I remember her telling me I was doing fabulous. She kept telling me I could make noise if I want and to keep breathing, even though I was!
Even though I felt like I was losing control, I remember thinking that contractions weren't as bad as I had convinced myself they would be. I also never had pain meds or an epidural enter my mind, which surprised me. Then I had a contraction straight from hell itself. I remember my midwife telling me it was a big one and to breathe. Then I had another one. And another. I really felt like I was starting to lose control because I involuntarily started moaning. I had no say in the matter. My body decided it had to moan lol. I remember slightly freaking out about several more hours of this. This is also when Jon was tearing up and I had no clue. I had no idea he was crying because I was off in my own little labor land. I just remember thinking, yeah, we are having a baby!
After several of these contractions from hell, I felt some pressure and I asked my midwife if I could push or what I needed to do when it was time to push since I was on the ball. She told me to push a little with the next contraction and see if it makes it feel better. It was funny because with the next contraction, my body started involuntarily pushing on it's own. She said she could see I was pushing and I told her it DID make the sharp pain of the contractions go away. But the pressure got way way worse. Then I had THE contraction. The one that made me feel like I couldn't do it anymore. I remember saying something about it sucking and pushing again. I was also moaning through them and rocking rather aggressively on the birth ball. At this point my midwife helped me off the ball and back into the bed to make sure I was fully dilated before I kept pushing.
When she first checked me she thought I had a lip on my cervix but after the contraction I was currently having she said it was all good and told me I could push with the next contraction. THANK GOD because contractions in bed are horrendous and I wanted baby OUT! I believe in total I pushed for around 15 minutes, and let me tell you, it was work! I could not help the grunts and groans that were escaping me as I pushed. The pressure was so so so intense. They kept telling me to hold my air in, but I couldn't help letting it out! I no longer had a say in it. My body took over. Turns out I am an excellent pusher but I remember feeling really tired towards the end stretch. I kept wondering if I was actually going to be able to get this baby out. I wouldn't have to wonder much longer! My midwife told me to touch my baby's hair and it made me cry(which made my eye liner run!) and I can remember hearing Jon tell me how amazing I was doing. He was excited he could see the baby's head. I remember looking up at him and seeing pure excitement in his face. I love that memory.
The next three pushes were pure hell. It wasn't as BAD as I had thought in my head, but it was intense. Pressure beyond anything I have ever felt in my life. Sandra asked the nurse to get some oil and she put that all around the baby. After those three pushes I said, " Just be born already!" And I could have cried. I wanted to cry. I felt like I was doing nothing. My midwife looked at me at one point and said, "Danielle, you felt your baby's head, you ARE pushing baby out. It's only been 9 minutes, you are doing fabulous!" That did make me feel better but I wanted this child out! I felt tired and frustrated thinking I wasn't doing much of anything. Directly after these feeling and this conversation, I felt the ring of fire. I felt baby's head be born and I just kept on pushing. No one told me not to lol and I wanted this kid out! At this point, I did not know it, but I had started tearing along my episiotomy scar from Josie and I just kept on tearing. I definitely felt it when this kid's shoulders were born. I had my eyes closed pushing like a mad woman. I wish I could have seen my baby be born, but she immediately plopped that little one on my abdomen, I pulled up my gown and savored that sweet skin to skin time. Relief. I felt so incredibly relieved.
It took me a few seconds to savor the relief before it occurred to me I needed to see what this kid was! Everyone was under strict orders to let Jon and I see what it was and say what it was and they all did a wonderful job. I lifted baby up and saw that it was a BOY! I remember yelling that it was a boy at the same time as Jon, who had tears on his cheeks. As soon as I found out it was a boy, I started bawling my eyes out. I truly thought it was going to be a girl! All I could do was stare at how sweet this baby's face was and sigh a huge sigh of relief.
That feeling of relief was pretty short lived. We DID get delayed cord clamping until the cord was white and limp like we wanted and we got our initial skin to skin, but after his initial crying, he was just calm and looking at me. Apparently his face looked bluish, but I couldn't see it. One of the baby nurses wanted to take him to a warmer to check him out just to make sure all was well. She tried to take him when he was still attached to me! So they finally cut the cord and checked him out. I asked if he was okay and they said yes that it was just bruising from the birth. Apparently he had extensive bruising, but again, I couldn't tell. They awarded him with apgars of 9 and 9 and I could hear people guessing his weight. I heard one person guess 8 pounds but he looked so tiny to me! I remember saying he was so tiny and my nurse said, "honey, he ain't tiny!" Turns out he was 8 pounds 11 ounces and 20 inches! Almost as big as his brother.
I couldn't believe I had pushed him out! And so quickly! Apparently quickly was not something in my favor. I was bleeding. A lot. And this is why my feeling of relief was short lived. I really had no idea how much blood I had lost until later - 200 ccs! I was too busy looking at my little guy, who Jon was now holding, to even care. I kept saying how cute he was and I couldn't believe it was a boy. Then pain set in. And I got really nervous. I did not want to be in pain anymore! We had to get my placenta out, so I was given some iv fluids and pitocin. Once I pushed the placenta out, blood gushed everywhere. I heard her say she thought I had a 3rd degree tear and hopefully not a 4th degree. They called their back-up OB to repair. I heard talk of cytotec(which I never got). After the initial gush, my blood loss was not from my uterus anymore. It was from my confirmed 4th degree tear. It was at this point, when the OB came in to stitch me, that my hormones took over and I started crying. I wasn't freaked out, but I did not want to feel her stitching me. I knew what a 4th degree tear meant. I asked for pain meds and was given fentenyl, which sort of helped. The OB stitching me was amazing. She told me I could have anything I wanted and if I felt any pain AT ALL then we would go to the OR and get anesthesia involved because there was no way she wanted me in any pain. She gave me 8 of morphine and lidocained the crap out of me down there. I couldn't feel pain, but I was still crying and it annoyed me. I am not a crier lol. I couldn't control it. I kept telling them I didn't know why I was crying. They kept saying I just gave birth for petes sake! It was just a bizarre reaction for me. I just kept looking at Jon and Lawson and crying and then I realized I looked like a hot mess with my eyeliner everywhere lol.
I got a catheter, 2 more bags of pitocin iv fluids and finally, I got my baby boy back in my arms. And maybe the tear was a God send, because of it, I got an extended stay in recovery with Lawson. They didn't take him to the nursery! That was the most important thing to me in my birth plan. While they were stitching me, he was super mad and hungry. Getting to nurse him for the first time melted my heart and was like a reward for all the crap. Jon got to help give him his first bath right there in the room next to me and his very first diaper was a cloth diaper.
I really could not be happier with the birth. I needed no drugs or pitocin until after the birth. I am so proud that my body did it all on it's own! Sure, the tear sucked, but even my recovery from that was fine! My SPD pain from the pregnancy hurt WAY worse postpartum. I did end up getting 2 units of blood because my hemoglobin was low but Lawson and I did just fine! He was perfection and incredibly healthy.
Lawson James Conner
6-10-2013 at 5:53 pm
8lbs 11 oz 20 inches