I'd been having quite a few contractions starting about 3am on Thursday and Friday morning. They'd be 5 mins apart and last for several hours, but eventually stop. And they weren't terrible, but I couldn't really sleep through them. But I didn't get too excited because everyone says to not go to the hospital until you have contractions 5 mins apart for an hour and you can't walk and talk through them. They were 5 mins apart, but never got closer, and occasionally, I completely skip a contraction, or maybe have a long one, so they weren't consistent either. And I definitely wasn't having trouble walking or talking through them. And my cervix was only "soft" as of Wedenesday so I figured that it would take awhile to dilate very much.
But I was making a special effort to stay relaxed through contractions. I read Ina May's book and was trying to use her sphincter's law to keep things moving down there and really worked to make sure that my jaw and face and throat and whatever else stayed relaxed.
But I was feeling more and more like Saturday might be the day, so me and DH decided to move up our last date night to Friday night. First we had to go to Target and get my prescriptions refilled... I was having contractions again and was getting a little sick of waiting at the counter but it wasn't a big deal. Then we went to dinner. I timed my contractions through dinner, 7 minutes, but I was still skipping a contraction here or there. Then we went to the grocery store to get snacks for the induction. We grabbed all kinds of junk food, I felt so guilty, but hey, an induction is kinda a special event. I noticed that I was finally waddling too. I thought it was interesting and maybe it meant that my pelvis was finally starting to open up some. I wasn't timing my contractions at the store, but just counting them and when we got back to the car, I figured they were about 9 mins apart on average.
I called the doula and let her know that I didn't think I would make it until Sunday but wasn't sure yet. We talked about my contractions and I had one or two while I was talking to her, but I could talk through them like nothing was happening. We discussed the full moon. We finished our conversation, figuring I wouldn't talk to her again until sometime mid day Saturday.
So we got home and settled and I was not looking forward to trying to sleep, but just in case we did last until induction time I wanted to get as much sleep as I could now. So I wedged myself into the most uncomfortable sleeping position you can imagine on the couch. I was sitting straight up with a pillow jammed into my back and my legs straight out in front of me with a blanket wadded up next to me as a pillow, and somehow, I managed to sleep. (note, I told DH to go to bed and close the door so that he wouldn't hear me moving around too much so he could get a good night's sleep. I should get a wife of the year award or something for that.) I'd wake up every once in while and try to look at the clock bleary eyed, but my contractions still seemed to be pretty sporadic. I moved around and changed positions quite a few times, but nothing was too bad so I didn't think much of it.
About 5 am I abandoned trying to sleep and decided that I would probably be going to the hospital that day. I would sit on my birth ball for awhile, do whatever, nothing was too bad.
DH got up about 6 am and came out into the living room. I was trying to time my contractions and they were about 4.5 mins apart, but still very inconsistent. I told DH that we would probably go to the hospital this morning, but probably not until 8. I wanted to take a shower first. I went the to bathroom and saw red mucus. My doula had mentioned that red mucus usually meant that labor was imminent.
I came out and told DH to start loading the car. And my contractions were picking up. I was having to walk very fast back and forth during them. I think I was trying to run away from them.
Then I had to go to the bathroom, which I didn't think much of because I normally have a morning, ahem, duty to fulfill. But things were not business as usual on the toilet. I was feeling an urge to push that scared me. And at the same time, I couldn't sit, I felt like pacing again and was having a pretty hard time. And then I felt like I was going to get sick and couldn't decided if I need to sit on the toilet, bend over it, or just keep moving because of the contractions. Thats when I knew we had to get out NOW. (For the record, I never actually got sick, my digestive fortitude record remains intact.)
I barked at DH to grab a trash can for the car and that we were leaving. He was moving fast, but no one was moving fast enough for me that morning. I quickly called McSoothy and left her a voicemail that we were going to the hospital. She called me back about a minute later. She asked me how far apart my contractions were and I told her I didn't know but I was clear that I was having trouble talking at that point... they had still been so inconsistent that I'd figured that we had a while to go and gave up timing them. She told us to go on in and she'd call and tell them we were coming.
We got in the car and I was not looking forward to the car ride, I could barely sit. Oh, and it had snowed that night, not terribly, 1-2 inches, but the roads hadn't been fully cleared. Luckily for us, we were heading north and the snow was lighter to the north. But still only one lane of road was clear and I know DH was stressed, because I was doing really bad.
I got the doula called while we were in the car between contractions. I told her we were going to the hospital and I wasn't doing so well. I asked her what I should do about the contractions and she recommended walking once we got to the hospital. I told her I was worried that I would need an epidural. I don't really remember saying anything else, cause I pretty much hung up because another contraction was coming on.
The contractions were about 4 mins apart in the car and when one hit I was breathing like mad and yelling/crying, "Oh, God, oh God, oh GOD!" And need to push was there and I was trying to hold back with everything in me, but I couldn't. I was bucking up in the seat and knew I was either going to crap my pants or I was pushing a baby out. One contraction was so bad and I was up off the seat and I felt a leaking. I'm not sure if that was my water or just blood, but was really scary. I was afraid that I hours and hours left of this pain and there was no way I was going to be able to handle it and knew I was going to want the epidural when we got to the hospital.
We live about 20 minutes from the hospital and as DH saw how bad things were getting he started speeding about 10mph... the road is 70mph and there was the snow, and normally I would have told him to slow down, but I was just praying that we'd get to the hospital before another contraction.
And of course, the only time either of us had ever seen a cop on that highway section, there one was. But he didn't follow us. I seriously would have told DH to run if he had. I wasn't messing around.
So, we finally go there and I walked as fast as my feet would let me back to OB. I walked in there and just kinda stared at the nurse like "Isn't it obvious, I'm in labor, DO SOMETHING!". No one was moving fast enough for me. She told me she had a gown out for me and point to a room for me to go into. I put the gown on and DH walked in. Blood was dripping down my leg. I told him to tell the nurse. He did not move fast enough. I yelling at him to tell the nurse so he steps out and she comes in. My mother had a placenta abruptio and I was worried that I might be having one too. I heard her say something about a 'bloody show' but she didn't realize that I'd already had that a couple of hours ago.
She tries to get me to lay down and get on the NST monitor. I was whining that I couldn't do it and wanted an epidural and then I felt like I need to go to the bathroom again and went in there and yelled that the nurse that I felt I had to push. She's yelling at me not to push and I'm fighting with the damn toilet paper dispenser because I can't get any paper out of it and I wasn't exactly in the mood to fight with it. (My one piece of advice to anyone ever giving birth in the future: Bring your own damn toilet paper!) I didn't really wipe and my entire backside was open to the world because the gown didn't fit, but at that point I had bigger problems.
So the nurse finally sensing the urgency told me she just wanted to check me. I agreed to lay down for that and she checks and takes her hand out and says, "I think we're going to have a baby soon." It didn't really occur to to me exactly what she meant... I was thinking in a few hours or something... I asked about the epidural again. She told me there wasn't time and walked me to the delivery room and another nurse came to help.
And then a dr showed up and felt me and said in a surprised tone, "She's complete." And they kept asking me questions about if my water had broke and when I was due. I kept telling them my history. Apparently McSoothy's office hadn't sent over my records even though I was supposed to be there for the induction the very next day anyhow... grrr. Then they were wondering if he was head down and I was getting really frustrated because this info should have been there for them since I have been so heavily monitored.
And in the meanwhile, the nurse is holding the heartbeat monitor practically to my crotch trying to pick up the baby and I'm getting freaked out that she's not picking him up. She keeps saying it's because he's so low. Finally she got him for a second, and only a second, but it still made me feel a little better.
And another Dr. comes in at that point. A man. He checks me and is trying to make small talk and is a total idiot. Finally a third Dr. comes in and she is another one of the family practitioner OBs and the idiot dr. steps back when she gets in there. I was really glad because I didn't want that guy any where near my vagina.
And I'm having all these lovely contractions and needing to push still. It has finally occurred to me that I'm not going to be laboring for another 14 hours with this pain and we are having the baby now and I'm scared to death of having the baby.
The drs and nurses are debating weather or not to break the bed down and start me pushing because McSoothy still hasn't shown up (she lives about 40 minutes away and after the nurse checked me the first time she apparently went out and paged her a "911" to get her there now). But I'm all, I HAVE TO PUSH PEOPLE! YOU DON'T GET A CHOICE. So they decided to break down the bed.
Very shortly after, McSoothy shows up. I feel a little better and I'm fully on the other side of transition and getting a nice break between contractions and things aren't so crazy now. They give DH ice chips to spoon into my mouth between contractions and that made me feel a lot better too. They asked him if he'd ever seen any thing birth before. He replies, "I've birthed sheep." I feel momentarily proud of this for some reason.
Sometime during all of this my cell phone is ringing across the room (8:50 according to my phone). We figure it's the doula... I'm remembering that we were supposed to call her after I was admitted but we obviously never got the chance. We left the phone go to voicemail.
At this time the worst pain is in my back and I said to the nurses that my back hurt a couple of times and they said it was my tailbone and that I should wish I was a cat right now. The back pain hurt but was nothing like the transition pain and I could handle that.
Pretty soon they have me really bearing down and pushing. They keep trying to get me to give three pushes per contraction, but I can only get out two. Then I would skip a contraction again!
And the glorious side of child birth, I was pooping a little after some of the contractions. I apologized once or twice. It wasn't a big deal of course, and I didn't really care at that point I just want the baby out and safe.
So he's nearly out at this point. I'm starting to feel a burn at the end of my pushes. He's kinda slipping out and back in a little with every push. I was thinking that if I just give it one or two more good ones and I'm done. And that thought excited me and scared me at the same time. There is still a doubt in me that I could do this and with so little left to do I just know it will all go wrong here. But I know that I have to go forward and I have to be brave and what happens happens. (I have to give myself the same pep talk before every surgery too.)
I go for it and feel his head come out. The burning is there, but it's mild and not nearly as painful as I had imagined it to be. They tell me to STOP! I hear them say things like "checking the neck for cord" and such. Then my last contraction comes and I push and have a giant gasp at the same time as he is pulled out of me.
They plopped him on me. He was beautiful. I cannot believe that I did it.
I'm touching him and stroking him and he's looking at me. I turn to DH and say, "That was amazing."
We have our time. I help to wipe off a some of the blood from his face. He was just perfect. It was amazing.
Meanwhile McSoothy was waiting on my placenta. My doula warned me that sometimes the placenta isn't a walk in the park, but after awhile, I finally had one more contraction and gave it a squeeze and it slid on out. I apparently had a three lobed placenta, which doesn't really mean anything according to McSoothy, but she sent it off to pathology.
After awhile they offer to take him across the room to clean up and weighed. He's tiny compared to how big we thought he might be, I'm not upset by this. He didn't cry a lot. He just looked around and made these cute little noises and the nurses said that he was talking to us, which I would agree with.
McSoothy inspected me and I was declared tear free, just a little road rashy. I wouldn't have believed it, but it really wasn't that painful pushing him out and I didn't feel any sharp firey pain so I figured that I had come through pretty well. I couldn't tell it, but the drs and McSoothy had been down there massaging me the whole time. I had been scared, but so glad things turned out well. I came to McSoothy for a reason and was not disappointed.
After he came back I tried to nurse him which wasn't exactly a kodak moment, but I got him to latch and try for about 10 minutes which I figured was ok for the first time.
Pretty soon I was up and went to the bathroom and taking care of myself and the baby. We were all smiles the rest of the day. My reputation precedes for the rest of my stay and every nurse that came on duty made a remark my quick labor. We'd shown up around 7:50 and he was out by 9:12 which is pretty good for a first baby.
The smallness of my hospital was nice for the post partum stay. We were the only ones there except for a girl on bedrest for blood pressure issues. There was almost no coming or going so it was very quiet and I felt free to walk out to the nurses desk in my night gown. The OB nurses had a collection of little French terry footie sleepers they had amassed from yard sales and such and dressed the baby in one over his diaper and shirt to keep him extra warm and snugglie.
Eventually DH and I decided to name him Michael Louis after DH's late uncle Michael and Louis for DH's middle name.
But the amazingness of the experience is something I hope I never forget. After all the worry about never having a baby and the scariness and uncertainty of pregnancy, albeit an easy pregnancy, I was finally holding our beautiful baby.