Just an FYI: This was 5 pages on my word document...so read if you have time! :)
I woke up at 1:00am on Saturday, November 27th and to put it out there, I felt a small gush and headed to the bathroom. Unfortunately when I looked down, I saw blood. At a recent birth group meeting I remember discussing the fact that any amount of blood more than spotting is NOT normal. My heart sank a little bit as I felt my dream natural delivery quickly going out the window. I tried to rationalize that it was not that much; maybe it was a onetime thing. I feared as soon as I called the doctor’s office I’d be met by a surgical team and wheeled off to the OR for a c-section. Fear and a bit of panic crossed my mind.
Just after that, I had my first contraction. My mind raced a little more with the what if’s, the why’s and so on. I decided just for fun, I’d pull out my iphone and I started my “baby’s coming” contraction app…yes, after my first contraction I started timing them! J That contraction lasted maybe 45 seconds. At this time, Richard was still awake, after just seeing Nevada and Boise State football game. His first words to me as I came out of the bathroom were, “You have to see this replay! Nevada just beat Boise State!” I replied, “ummm, no, I’m having a contraction…and I’m bleeding!”
Five minutes later I felt another little gush of blood, followed by another contraction. Then again, gush of blood, another contraction. With my measly little 3 contractions, we were looking at approximately 5 minutes apart, lasting 45-50 seconds. The blood made me REALLY nervous, but I decided I needed to call the doctor because the “not normal” part kept going through my mind. My plan of staying home as long as possible was out the window...and I called the office number.
I got my call back and yes, they wanted me to come in. I knew that. I called Ann, my doula, she agreed, the bleeding I described it sounded like going in was a good idea. Again, I was scared...why was I bleeding? I sort of knew why in the back of my mind…this wasn’t just cervical bleeding, this was my placenta. I was excited that labor was starting, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up for natural birth.
We got all of our stuff together, told my mom we were leaving (she had been here for 2 weeks already), and off we went. I remember from Kaisley’s labor that being in the car and contracting was terrible. But I also remember a friend telling me that she turned around in the seat and hugged the back. So that’s just what I did…much better way to deal with contractions in the car. Granted, not quite safe, but hey, I was in labor. Oh, and here too, now about 1:30am, the small stop light outside of our neighborhood was just optional, right?
I got to the hospital and the security guy at the door asked what we were here for. I said having a baby. He said are you being induced? Hahaha, that made me laugh, since 1:30am is such a popular time for arrival for induction. No, just not having a contraction RIGHT now, but I’m in labor. He asked if I wanted a wheel chair and I said I’d rather not! I was glad he asked. For Kaisley they “made” me get in the wheel chair and well, that’s just not fun when you’re having a contraction.
My only complaint about the whole day is when I got there, even though I called the OB Express number, I had to wait in this little room, standing there, as she got my paperwork and bracelets. Maybe it was because we only live like 8 minutes from the hospital and we made the call on the way, so they just didn’t have time to gather everything? I don’t know. I was hoping to bypass the assessment center, but that was also when my plan was to labor at home as long as possible and come in with lots of progress, maybe even pushing. I NEVER thought I’d be calling in and going in after just 3 contractions. But, back to the bleeding, it was the right thing to do.
I got to an assessment room and they hooked me up to some monitors. I mentioned my bleeding and being GBS positive (I wanted my antibiotics ASAP since Kaisley contracted GBS last time and I never received my antibiotics). I quickly told the assessment center nurse that I had a “safe place”, something I know they have to ask you before they “allow” your husband to come back with you. She didn’t seem very interested in my desire to get my husband back to me ASAP. I flat out asked, what else do you need to know so he can come back here. She didn’t seem happy with me, nor was I happy with her.
Richard came back to meet me and must have realized some of my frustration because he rocked…he went out to the nurses and told them that I have a birth plan that I had worked on with my doctor and it was very important to me. At this point we never saw that first nurse again and 2 new nurses must have been assigned! YEAH HUBBY! J This part, I did not know until days later, I was so proud of Richard to stick up for me! As prepared as I was, I was NOT prepared to butt heads with anyone. Major props for Richard stepping in at this point…this was just the first small piece of him supporting my natural birth!
At 2:15 I walk myself upstairs, again saying no thank you to the wheel chair. Walking was MUCH better, so I was able to stop and be in a more desired position during a contraction. The nurse made a comment or two about how amazing it was for me to be walking myself up to L&D. It was sweet, I liked the encouragement, but honestly, a wheel chair sounded miserable! We get admitted upstairs to labor and delivery at 5cm. Ann met us up there, the room was ready and our nurse Hayden greeted us. I got set up on the wireless & water proof monitors, which were fairly new, so it was a little bit of a learning process for my nurse. But, she was very patient and gave me space during my contractions.
At 2:30 my first bag of penicillin was hung, which made me very happy! J We were on the way to defending GBS!
Currently we had the on call doctor. I don’t remember her name, but she’s not too significant other than she wasn’t in a hurry to rush me off to a c-section. I am VERY VERY grateful for this. Mom & baby looked beautiful on monitors, so at this point, bleeding was not an emergency. HUGE HUGE RELIEF! I think the fact that I was in active labor helped. My body was obviously working to get baby out. The on call doctor did require that I was continuously monitored, but I was prepared for this since I was a VBAC. It was not something I planned to fight, since I knew they had the wireless and waterproof ones, so they wouldn’t be in my way too much. And anyway, even though I was a VBAC, my doctor was very relaxed on the “continuous” part of the monitoring. I expressed some of my goals and desires for my natural birth and while on call doc seemed “okay” with them, she wasn’t super supportive like MY doctor. But whatever, I had my husband and my doula and I was ready to rock this birth! It helped quite a bit that just a couple days earlier my doula and I had discussed delivery without MY OB (since he had an out of town emergency just the day before). So, I remembered the conversation with my doula about how we’d be just fine, even if someone else delivered me. Still, I was a little eager to find out when MY doctor was going to be called to come in, since I knew Saturday was actually his on call day…nice!
The one thing on the on call doctor told me was that I couldn’t labor in the tub like I wanted to. She said it was because she wanted the monitors on me. I was very proud of myself when I “stood up to her” and asked, is it because you want to have me monitored or because of the bleeding? She said she wanted me continuously monitored. I said, well, what about the fact that they are waterproof monitors? Because the monitors were so new, she had no idea they were waterproof! Hahaha! She said as long as I was monitored she was okay with the water…however, when the nurse looked up the bleeding and being in the water, it was contraindicated. So, no tub labor for me after all. DARN! This was a bit disappointing as I was really looking forward to the relief that I heard water could bring. But honestly, I never thought too much about this again, until after labor.
The next few hours (maybe 3am til 6:30am) were spent with very controlled contractions. At least in my opinion. I felt like I was coping wonderfully. I spent some time walking, swaying, leaning on Richard, lying in bed on my side (since I had only an hour and a half of sleep), on the ball, basically just switching things up every handful of contractions. Thanks to my support group for suggesting constant change to get baby moving around and down as much as possible, at least that was the thought process. The time seemed to pass decently fast and I felt like I was handling things wonderfully.
I was very dependent on Richard and looked for him every time I felt a contraction coming on. If I was standing, I was holding on to him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. If I was somewhere that I couldn’t hold him (like sitting on the ball, squatting, leaning over the side of the bed, leaning on the wall), he was right there next to me telling me how awesome I was doing and encouraging me, over and over again.
A few memorable moments were when we had the whole room swaying, to keep me swaying and keep my hips open. Then probably my favorite was when Richard didn’t know that I could juggle so I took it upon myself to use the 3 massage balls to try it out. According to pictures, this was around 5:30am. I didn’t do so great at the juggling, but hey, I WAS in labor and I was working on no sleep!
Some time notes from Richard and my doula. Around 5am, I was 6-7cm. Dr. Dickerson arrived to the hospital around 5:20 and I was very relieved to know my doctor was there. I felt very at ease knowing that he WOULD deliver me! Around 5:45, I started doing some squats to get baby to descend. Around 6am, everyone noticed a change in my pattern; I was around 8 or 9cm. At 6:10 I received my second dose of penicillin! Again, I was very relieved; I couldn’t believe I actually made it to receive a second dose! By 6:22, the dose was in. This one was pushed faster and it was only half the amount of the first dose. At 6:20 I was sitting on the ball between contractions and squatting on the side of the bed for contractions. Around 6:40 Dr. Dickerson came to check on me, I was at 9cm. At 7am there was a shift change and we asked for our nurse friend, Gayden. She was actually at the hospital and we thought it would be nice to have another person in the room who would really work with us towards our goal of a natural delivery. At this point I was maybe 9.5cm, I was said to still have a lip. There was the slight urge to push and I was told to go with it with little pushes if I felt the need. But at this point, I still had a lip and baby had not yet descended. My water was still intact and I was joking that I would deliver him in the bag of waters. However, it was a bit frustrating to know that things were progressing so slowly, even during transition. Well, maybe it’s not fair to say it was “so slow”, but I went from 5-10cm with Kaisley in 30 minutes. Now, his head just wasn’t putting any pressure on my cervix. Richard and I discussed if we should ask to have my water broken. I did NOT want my water broken artificially, but at the same time, here I am 9.5cm and the bag was still intact, with little to no progress. I asked my doctor what he thought and it seemed like it was a good idea to rupture, which I consented! So at 7:25, Dr ruptured my membranes.
So, the urge to push came sometime between 7 and 7:30 and the whole pushing phase gets a little fuzzy. I know my water was broken at 7:25 and things of course intensified, like I knew they would. But the entire pushing phase was extremely, extremely intense.
I’d say for the last 2.5 to 3 hours of labor my eyes were closed, only opening if I was changing position or looking for Richard. Having my eyes closed was a big part of my focus and coping. I was able to block everyone and everything out, unless it was someone or something I wanted in, like encouragement! My support team was amazing. They had me moving, moving, moving. I don’t think I stayed in one position for more than 5-8 contractions in a row and they were encouraging me to switch to something else. We swayed, squatted (bed, ball, floor, you name it), rolled on the ball, leaned on the wall, hugged and squatted with Richard’s support (which seemed to be my favorite and I know everyone else could tell that.) My doula even came up with some new positions that impressed everyone in the room! While the entire pushing phase seemed to last FOREVER (well, can you blame me, it was 2-3 hours long), at the same time, I have no idea what we did during that time! I know I requested the epidural at least 4 times! But each time, everyone knew I was just starting to lose my control and they needed to help me refocus! I know having our friend as our nurse was very helpful! She worked just as hard as everyone else to get me through this. There were times I request IV meds or the epidural, but instead of running out of the room to go get it, she knew that this meant I needed more support. Instead of running to get me drugs, everyone stepped it up a notch, they helped me to refocus my breathing, gather my concentration, and they brought me away from the panic and got me back under control. I could feel myself about to panic a few times, I did panic a few times, but it was fairly short, because THAT is when I felt the amazing support from everyone. They didn’t let my panic get out of control, but brought be back to where I was before that moment.
Thinking about how amazing everyone was in the room really makes me feel blessed. There is no way I could have delivered naturally without everyone there! I know it was hard on them too. Richard told me that there were points where he wanted to give up. And that our doula was the reason he kept going! So she wasn’t just there for me, she was there for him! Richard told me there was a time where he felt like he was going to break. Here I was in pain, asking for drugs, he knew how to “help” me, but he also knew I’d regret it in the end if we all “gave in”. I’m so grateful that EVERYONE supported me in this and THEY stayed strong when it got tough.
And I can only begin to describe how amazing the support from my doctor was. From day one of pregnancy, he’s known my desire to naturally VBAC. He’s been on board with everything, every step of the way. He was so amazing to let me do things my way that he worked around me! There was one time that Richard later told me about when I was squatting on the side of the bed, but facing Richard and Dr. Dickerson was on the floor, his head actually resting on Richard’s shoe, with a flashlight and mirror! He tried to bother me as little as possible and let me go on with what I felt the need to do! It’s amazing to me how much he tried to stay out of the way and let me birth my baby!
I remember my last 3 pushing positions the best. The 3rd to last I was squatting off the side of the bed and I was “making progress”. I wasn’t sure if I should believe it or not. I had the mirror and “I” couldn’t see progress!!!! I was glad to see that my doctor thought things were looking good, but I didn’t feel any different and I was just downright exhausted. The 2nd to last position was with the back of the bed all the way up. I was kneeling facing the back and sort of hugging the bed. In this position I seemed to be making some progress for real…FINALLY! Or were they just saying this to encourage me? I wasn’t sure. This must have been around 9:25 because I apparently requested the epidural again (oy!) to only hear shortly afterwards some super excitement in the voices of everyone. I remember Richard telling me to that he could see progress in my BACK! Like he could see my pelvis spreading and his head descending! The intensity of everyone’s encouragement picked up 10 fold. I didn’t physically feel different, but the way everyone was getting SO excited and really bumping up the support, I knew they weren’t kidding, something REALLY was happening. I think this was when I was told that they were actually SEEING some of his head when I pushed. Thank GOD, this was something I needed, this WAS going to happen!
I can’t remember why, but it was suggested that I lay on my side to push. Maybe partially due to my severe exhaustion, maybe so I could open my pelvis in a relaxed way. And again, in this position the excitement of the room again increased 10 fold. I knew he was getting close just based on everyone’s reaction. I was so excited and relieved, but the pushing was the most intense thing I have ever experienced. Finally his head started crowing, but 2-3 times as the contraction went away, the crowing stopped. Then for 3-4 more contractions, he crowned and stayed, a little more and stayed. I remember during the contractions during crowning there was no way to ignore the urge to push. But when that urge went away, I felt so helpless and my patience was gone! Everyone said I could push anyway, but I couldn’t, I needed that contraction…so it was a HUGE relief to feel a contraction again with only maybe a 10-15 second break because I NEEDED to push! Here, contractions one on top of each other were very welcomed! Major encouragement surrounded me and they let just me and my body do the work!
Finally at 9:57am, I pushed my baby boy out and he was lifted on to MY CHEST FOR ME TO HOLD! Something I have never had before, a baby delivered onto my chest! He was here and he was on me, first! We had some blankets to keep us warm and my doctor patiently waited for his umbilical cord to stop pulsing and Richard was able to cut the cord, another first! I was exhausted, but I did it. He was here and on me! I held him for a little while, tried nursing, but he had no interest, yet!
Shortly after I delivered the placenta, along with a huge blood clot. If I remember correctly it was probably 6-8 inches in diameter. And thus the reason for my bleeding. I asked to see the placenta, something just interesting to me and Dr. Dickerson pointed out how unique it was to have the umbilical cord attached so far over on the side like it was! He said it causes no problems, unless it was over just a little bit more, it was just rare! Hmmm! Interesting!
Shortly after this, I was curious, let’s weigh my little baby boy! 8 lbs 8.3 oz and 21 inches long. Time to take a shower and get back to my big boy! J