I thought long and hard about the type of labor I wanted, but always knew that my 'plan' might not unfold as I wanted. The focus was on having a healthy baby, with the hope that I could do so without a c-section or epidural. I wanted delayed cord clamping, skin-to-skin contact, and to labor in different positions (including the tub).
I thought I would go into labor at 40 weeks. I thought I would labor at home for hours with the Hubs by my side. I thought the labor would be over 15 hours. I thought I would know when the contractions started. I was wrong on all accounts.
My due date came and went. The days kept coming and going with no baby news. I began to think that I would be the first woman to be pregnant forever. Week 41 came and that night I had a restless sleep - just didn't feel good. But then by the morning I felt fine. The Hubs went off to work and I tried to distract myself. He checked in at 10:30 to see how I was feeling. I said fine and that there was no news.
By noon there was news. I started to feel heavy cramp-like pains across my lower abdomen. The pain didn't go away - it just got more intense and then back to the regular pain then more intense again. I was told that contractions started in your back, so I didn't think these were contractions. I never felt any Braxton Hicks during pregnancy, but I didn't think it was those either. I just thought it might be the beginning of something.
I called the Hubs, and it went straight to voicemail so I left a message and sent him a text. Ten minutes passed and no call back. I called again. Straight to voicemail. I left a message, sent a text, and an email. I was starting to get distressed at this point. I got a text from my sister-in-law, Chelsea, asking how I was going (perfect timing!). When I told her that I can't reach the Hubs, she offered to go to his work since her work is close by. I thank her and go back to rotating between laying on the bed and sitting on the toilet.
Chelsea literally ran from her work to the Hubs' work to tell him to call me. He called and I told him to come home. He called again when he was on the road, and asked if I want to talk while he drove (I ALWAYS want to talk to him). I said "No, JUST DRIVE!".
My mother-in-law called to check-in. She said she could come down, but the Hubs would probably be home quicker than she could get to our place. I tell her about my pains and she said they sounded like contractions to her. I said they couldn't be because I didn't have any back pain. She said everyone was different.
The Hubs got home around 2pm and started timing my 'pains'. I still refused to call them contractions. The Hubs kept saying we had to go to the hospital. I kept saying no. He's said they're 3mins apart and lasting over a minute. I said I couldn't make it there, because I kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom. Finally I accepted that we should leave. The Hubs seemed relieved and rushed around to get everything together - snoogle, bouncing ball, music, hospital bags. I decided to get in the shower. I then decided I never wanted to get out of the shower.
We headed out to the hospital at about 3pm. We called the midwife from the road. I said I wouldn't be able to walk through the hospital to get to maternity. She told us to go through ER. The entire way to the hospital I have my eyes closed and all I did was moan. The Hubs later told me that my moans were so funny that he had to stopped himself from laughing.
I swore I wouldn't moan, because it seemed so annoying when I was watching all the birthing videos. However, moaning HELPS! And when you're in labor you'll do whatever it takes to get some help.
When we got to the hospital the Hubs asked if I could walk in or if I needed a wheelchair. I said wheelchair. When we get to the front desk they wanted all our forms and yadda, yadda. They told us that someone from maternity would come down to wheel me up. I begged them over and over to let the Hubs wheel me because I couldn't wait. Of course they asked if I was a first time mom. I was definitely the crazy, pregnant lady in the ER room. Finally, they decided to check me to make sure I was not actually going to give birth in the next few minutes. The midwife checked how dilated I was and when she did my water broke. She said I was 6-7centimeters dilated (later she told me that she really thought I was 7-8 but wanted to be conservative so I would have more time to labor before interventions began). I was relieved that I wasn't the first-timer who ran to the hospital and she was barely dilated (mostly because of all the moaning I did in the ER ... haha).
They wheeled me in the bed up to maternity to the room with the tub, so I could have the option of laboring in the tub.
I ended up laboring in the tub for a bit, and enjoyed it. Um, 'enjoy' might not be the right word. It was an improvement from the bed though. Then these horrible pains started that felt like my insides were going to burst. I was taking gas to help with the contractions, but no other pain relief. At this point I started screaming about wanting a epidural. I had previously told the Hubs that I would probably ask for one, and he had to be strong. I told him to tell me to work through a few more contractions and then I could have one. So I kept telling him I was serious and he needed to get me one and I really wanted one. I told him I wanted one even after the contraction was over. Our midwife was useless and kept going in and out of the room at the worst times. She said she would go get the guy to give me one, and was gone for 15 mins. Of course I started bleeding a bit and the Hubs freaked out and went to scream for her in the hallway. She finally came back and said it's all normal.
Then she told me that she's never done a water birth, which was something I said I was interested in when I signed up for this particular midwife program. I thought her timing was pretty poor. She also said she couldn't check me while I was in the water (I think she could have but didn't want to get wet. I'm sure women having water births get checked in the tub).
I decided to get out of the tub, which was a very hard and painful decision. I went back to the bed, but then I wanted to try standing up. I stood up and leaned against the Hubs. I liked the way it felt, but we quickly realised the baby did not. The midwife told me I had to get back in bed. I was frustrated that the epidural wasn't there yet. It was so painful.
Finally, the epi-guy came into the room. But he told me what I already knew in the back of my mind - it was too late in the game for it. It was time to push! They were worried about the baby's heart rate, so they set up internal fetal monitoring. Doctors were in and out. Finally I was 9 centimeters! I began screaming out that I felt the urge to push. Of course my midwife had left the room again, so it was just the Hubs and me. Another midwife and doctor came rushing in (my scream was pretty loud). They asked where our midwife was and we said we didn't know. They stayed until she got back.
I pushed for 1hr and 13mins, and eventually we needed to use a vacuum to get him out. I scribbled my signature on the consent form (seriously who could read at time like that?), and I pushed as hard as I could. The next thing I know there was a purple bundle on my stomach and I kept saying "oh my God". We waited for the scream, and when it came it was music to my ears (it probably won't be music when he's doing it in the middle of the night).
Hudson Vance was born at 8:43pm on 29 October 2013 and weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces.
In the end my labor was just shy of 9 hours. The 1st stage was 7hrs 30mins, 2nd stage was 1hr 13 mins and the 3rd stage was 7 mins. The Hubs never even had time to bring in any of our stuff from the car (probably because I wouldn't stop squeezing his hand). It was a completely different experience compared to what I was expecting.
Honestly, I thought I would feel awesome afterwards knowing I did it as naturally as I could, but I wasn't left feeling empowered. I am, however, grateful for my son's safe arrival.
To say that the Hubs and I are smitten with Hudson is an understatement. We are looking forward to sharing life's adventures with our little man.
Off to enjoy a shower (a rarity these days),