I went to bed around 2:30-3am on the 9th and started feeling menstrual like cramps, the same ones I'd been feeling for about two weeks prior. I got up, tried watching some TV to take my mind off of them, didn't work so I went back to bed. Around 4am they turned into non-stop belly cramps with back cramps. I ended up taking three hot showers over the next couple hours because it completely took away all the pain. At some point I started having contractions with the pains, now I'm starting to get excited because I'd yet to experience painful contractions until now!
Around 8am I went to use the bathroom and wiped quite a bit of pink blood, this is when I knew it had to be true labor because I'd never had any bleeding during the pregnancy. I told my boyfriend, Chris, to call off work because today was the day! I called our doula while he went into the most ridiculous nervous cleaning spree that made all my previous nesting look like a total joke! Around 10 I called our doula and she came over, we started timing the contractions, they were about 4-6 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds. We decided to go for a walk around a park that's a block away from our apartment to see if that got things going.
The walk was my favorite part about labor, it was a quiet, warm summer morning and there were hardly any people outside- I was hesitant to go outside because I hate dealing with pain in public and I was scared of looking, I dunno, stupid I guess. It was surprisingly intimate, holding on to Chris between contractions, it sounds really cheesy but it felt like there was nothing else but the two of us. The contractions were starting to pick up after a while, some of them I couldn't talk through but things were still a little inconsistent. I had called my midwives earlier and they told me if I was still wiping blood to go ahead and go the hospital so we gathered our things and our doula drove to the hospital around 2:30 that afternoon.
Got checked in, filled out our forms and got strapped up to a monitoring machine. I had had a midwife appointment the previous day and was told I was at 4cm which I still was at when the nurse checked me. They gave me a couple of options, I could go take a pain killer to go home and get some sleep, stay at the hospital for a few hours and see what happened or they could break my bag of water since they were "bulging" and get things going. I decided to let them break my water since I was already strapped in, this happened around 5:15. Looking back I wish I had taken the medicine and gotten some sleep because at this point the only sleep I'd gotten was 10-15 minutes between the contractions I was having in the early morning and I feel like the lack of sleep definitely impacted my birth experience.
After they broke my water things definitely got way more intense. My baby pooped before he was out so they stuck me on the fetal monitor again. After the monitoring I wanted to get in the shower on the birthing ball, I labored in there for a bit but I had to do another thirty minutes of fetal monitoring since his heart rate was going down during contractions instead of up. I wanted to cry because I thought it meant I had to go back on the bed and labor on my back again. They let me continue to labor on the birthing ball this time. I remember I wasn't able to tell if I was peeing or leaking fluid and I kept apologizing to the nurse. After the monitoring I was begging to go into the tub since I'd heard how wonderful the tub can be, especially after how great the hot shower was at home. It was still another 45 minutes before the tub would be ready so I got back into the shower. Everything is really blurred in my memory after this point, I remember my mom was there and I kept apologizing to her and thanking her for going through this for me. The worse part about the contractions was the pressure on my butt, I kept saying "I have to poop, I feel like I have to poop!" and had to keep being reassured that it's normal and my baby was just making his way down. It made it impossible to relax between most of the contractions after this point.
We went to the jacuzzi tub which by now I had built up as this magical place of no pain. It wasn't!! This is when I started begging my boyfriend, it was just us two for a while, for the epidural. I'm pretty sure I shouted and cursed and probably threatened him if he didn't let me have it. Our doula came in at just the right time, I gave her the same speech and I don't know how she did it but she calmed me down and had me moving and moaning through the contractions again. That was the only way I could deal with the pain, I felt like if my voice was loud and low enough I could focus on the force of that to get over the contractions. It was now somewhere between 8-10 and I can feel my body growing more and more tired after every contraction, as helpful as my birthing noises were they were draining my energy. I remember asking my body to give me a break, and I had a couple of 5 minute breaks between contractions where I was able to completely relax and fall asleep. The nurse and midwife came in periodically to check my baby's heartbeat and the midwife checked my cervix. When she told me I was only at 6.5 I started begging for the epidural again. She told me the baby had dropped significantly but for some reason I didn't see this as progress and could only focus on how little I'd dilated. Our doula suggested I changed positions, I remember trying to move a couple of ways and getting frustrated because "nothing felt good". Finally I decided to be on all fours with my head in my boyfriend's lap (I guess I chomped down on him a couple of times... oops!) I had one or two more five minute breaks where I was able to get in a little nap and had a couple of more breakdowns where I didn't think I could do it. I kept saying "I'm tired, I'm tired, I can't do this" and magically our doula got me through it again. The baby's heartbeat was dropping again between contractions so I had to have cool washcloths on my face and back to try and cool me down and I had to drink ice water even though I was afraid I would throw it up. I kept feeling like I either wanted to push or poop so I went to move to the toilet to try and go to the bathroom (I can't imagine actually being able to go to the bathroom at this point...) and I remember going to sit down on the toilet and feeling the worse contraction I'd had so far. I clung to my boyfriend and wanted to be checked by the midwife, I told them if I hadn't made any progress I was getting the epidural. They said okay, got the midwife, and I was told I was at 7.5cm. I was almost disappointed because I kept thinking if I got the epidural I could sleep. I don't think it wasn't even about taking away the pain, I was just so tired I was scared I wouldn't have the energy to push and end up getting a c-secion (this is why I shouldn't have been allowed to watch 'A Baby Story' during my pregnancy). My baby's heartbeat wasn't coming up so I had to get out of the tub and into the bed where I laid on my side and continued to labor like that.
I had to get an IV since I was dehydrated, they told me the fluid should boost my energy. They were also going to give me an IV drug called fetinol (I've never heard of this until then and no one I know has either!). They said it should it take the edge off contractions and help me relax between them. I don't know how long it took them to find a vein but I have 4 different marks on me now... the nurse tried a couple of times, the midwife tried once and then they called in two separate nurses who each tried once or twice. I barely remember this part, I was just inside in my head dealing with the contractions and trying to continue to make my birthing noises but it was getting harder and harder. They finally got the IV in and I got my fetinol. It didn't take the pain away by any means but the biggest difference was I could now relax enough to nap between contractions again. Between 10 and midnight I finished dilating although at around 9-9.5cm I couldn't stop my body from pushing.
At about exactly midnight my midwife said she couldn't feel any of my cervix and told me to start pushing with the contractions! This was so exciting, the end was almost here and I was about to meet my baby! I still don't feel like I knew what I was doing but apparently I got the hang of pushing very quickly, I remember telling them "I'm going to poop! I'm going to poop!" and my doula told me that meant I was pushing correctly. ...so I pooped. My boyfriend told me afterward that I made a really big fuss about it, which I did, but even though I know it's extremely common I don't want another adult having to take care of that! About an hour later I was told they could see the head, that was the strangest sensation, I remember feeling a gush of fluid and then I felt him starting to bulge out. I looked up to see my midwife telling Chris to put on a scrub suit and saw him pulling it on, this really got the adrenaline going. It's all so blurry, I remember this part the way you remember a strange dream, I don't recall crowning being all that painful but I do remember yelling "IT BURNS!" they told me to pant through the burning so I didn't tear, I wasn't sure what to do but I did what I thought was right and now they're telling me his head is out and to keep pushing. I kept saying I need a break, I need to breathe and was told "no, you have to keep pushing!" so I kept pushing! Feeling his body slide out was... indescribable. Next thing I know I hear a perfect, loud baby cry and Chris is handing me this little gray, slimy baby! I counted his fingers and asked Chris to count his toes and I kept asking if I should breastfeed yet and kept being told to make sure to wait until he can breathe! I held him for about 15 minutes and the midwife said it was probably time to cut the cord, which Chris got to do as well. He said it was like kalamari.
They weighed him and he was 9lbs 9oz! The midwife said he probably would have been 10 if he hadn't have pooped before birth! And no tears! :) I wish I could have done it without the fetinol but I'm glad I was able to do it without the epidural. I really believe if my doula hadn't of been there that I would not have been able to do it. For a first timer I feel like I did pretty well, 7 hours of hard labor and just over an hour of pushing! According to the nurses he's perfect and he's breastfeeding like a champ!
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