Original Due Date: 2/1/16
Weeks Pregnant: 40+1 (adjusted)
Baby's Weight: 8 lbs. 12 oz.
Baby's Length: 21 in.
My pregnancy felt like it was never going to end! My original due date was 1/27, but was adjusted to 2/1 based on ovulation date and early ultrasound dating. So, it was technically the longest I had ever been pregnant!
On the first, my adjusted due date, I saw my midwife and she stripped my membranes, saying the last two women she had done it for had gone into labor. I was 2.5 cm already (first cervical check of my pregnancy!) but my cervix was still posterior, so it was anyone's guess whether it would work.
I came home, stayed active doing stuff around the house, sat on an exercise ball and squatted and bent over a lot, but had nothing other than some random cramping and spotting. I went to bed with nothing going on and convinced I would still be trying to go into labor all of Tuesday.
Instead, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with contractions that I had to breathe through. After several of them, I decided to start timing them. They were 5-1-1 while I was laying down, but I was still afraid that they would stop once I got up and started moving around.
Around 6:15, I woke Michel up and told him that I was in labor and that I was going to get things ready and see if the contractions continued. I asked him to call his parents to come and stay with our children, but that it probably wasn't a hurry. I finished packing my hospital bag (ha!) and kept timing contractions. The contractions went to 3 minutes apart. Then 2.5 minutes. I was telling my husband through the bathroom door that we had to get going SOON!
His parents arrived at 7:15 to stay with our sleeping kids, and my husband had little sense of urgency. My contractions were about 2 minutes apart and we had a 30 minute drive to the hospital. I told him we had to GO NOW! He drove with me facing backward in the passenger seat, gripping the back of the seat and hunching over as much as I could.
We arrived at the hospital and I couldn't walk more than about 100 feet without having to stop and lean over for a contraction. I found myself scanning for something to lean on. I felt things change and felt myself go into transition near the cafeteria.
All told, I had about 8 contractions between the parking lot and the elevator. It took everything I had to change into their gown. By then, I had a ton of bloody show dripping down my legs, and a ton of pressure on my butt. They asked me to sit on a bed to be monitored and I asked if I could get in ANY other position.
The nurse dispensed with all other preliminaries and said "let me check you". I was 8cm. All my sentences were one-word commands by then. I remember saying "pressure! pressure! pressure!" and moaning/yelling and gripping my husband's shirt as she was trying to place the IV and as contractions and pressure got worse. I said "antibiotics!" and she said they'd start a bag of fluids and antibiotics, but said she was going to go get my midwife first. She then came back and checked me again. I was complete.
I was also in my body but not completely consciously in the room. Suddenly, there was no time for fluids or antibiotics or anything else. I then realized what I already knew: I would NOT be getting an epidural. There was a rush and nurses and my midwife were suddenly wheeling my bed down the halls. I was aware of voices only, had no idea who was who, and could not open my eyes much for faces. I do remember they were so chipper! And I was in so much pain!
They asked me to transition beds, like it was no big deal, and I made it as far as getting on my left side and scooting toward the bed. Thank god for the male nurse/angel who said "give her a minute!" as I worked through a contraction and tons of pressure and then told me "get on your hands and knees," which is the ONLY way I was getting in that bed!
Once I got in the bed on my hands and knees, the pressure sort of eased and I wanted to stay in that place for a bit, and to just feel a little more relief from the constant pain/pressure I had been feeling. But the nurses were telling me I needed to push! One nurse said "she'll have this baby out in two contractions" and I was so hopeful she was right that I started to push. But, I felt more pressure and the "ring of fire" as baby's head descended. I was so scared and it hurt so badly, and at that moment I had to give myself a mental shove: "you're the ONLY one who can do this! you HAVE TO do this! you HAVE TO push! it's the only way this ends!"
So, I screamed and pushed as hard as I could. As I did, my water broke and I remember being vaguely grateful it had not broken earlier. I pushed maybe three times (HARDEST thing I've ever done!) and she was born. They handed her to me through my legs, and I put her on my own tummy as I flipped onto my back. I handed a nurse my still-undone gown and she said "ok! we're going naked!" as my midwife helped monitor my contractions and birthing of the placenta.
Her labor and birth was crazy, intense and I'm so glad it wasn't any longer than it was. After a spontaneous, medicated labor, an induced, medicated labor, a section, and now a unmedicated VBAC, I can now say I have birthed in every way I know to be possible! Each of my children have definitely written their very own birth story, and this is L's.