Finally getting around to writing this. It's a bit long so I apologize for that!
I had been walking around with a backache most of the weekend of
Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't think much of it figuring it
was probably just late pregnancy discomfort. I also thought I had pulled a muscle getting out of bed. We spent the weekend assembling baby gear and vegging at home - looking back I'm so thankful we did all of that!
Monday, December 2nd I
started feeling a bit different and had this "I need to get things done"
kind of feeling. Tying up loose ends at work, running last minute
errands, etc. Ate dinner but wasn't all that hungry - which was odd.
Went to bed and didn't sleep great because of my backache. Still didn't
suspect labor, especially because it was a dull ache that didn't come
and go. I was also joking with people that there was a snowstorm coming so who knows, the barometric pressure change could maybe get things going. I must have known more than I realized - maybe it was mother's intuition.
Tuesday morning I woke up with period type cramps but again wasn't
sure if it was labor. I went ahead and went to work because of being close to the hospital and to home from there. I ended up with some bloody show (TMI - sorry)
around 11:00 and called Nate to find out where he was knowing he could be anywhere in the Twin Cities for work. He wasn't far and we agreed that I would go
home if things picked up in intensity. They did within the hour, so I
headed for home by 12:30 to see if it was going to stall or become
something more. I was contracting regularly but managing on my own
until about 3:00, then I called Nate to come home, because I was starting
to get a little panicky being on my own. He made it home and we labored
at home until about 5:00. We were ready to call the hospital when our
doula called us - we were supposed to have a pre-natal intake with her
as she was assigned to us since we were doing a water birth, but we
hadn't had a chance to meet yet, so her timing couldn't have been
better. Nate talked to her and she thought I was probably still in early
labor and said to call her if we wanted her to come over, otherwise she'd
check on us later in the evening. Nate then called the L&D line just
to check in, especially after a powerful contraction brought on a bunch
more bloody show (sorry I know it's gross), we wanted to make sure it was normal. They said it
was, we could come in then or wait. We decided to wait. After another
powerful contraction I asked to see if the doula would come to the
house. She said she was happy to and would be there in 15 minutes. It
took her a little closer to 45 minutes because of traffic and in that
amount of time I had almost decided I wanted to just go to the hospital,
but after she arrived, she helped me get through another hour at home,
she was amazing. At 7:30 she said she didn't want to pressure me, but
wanted to know what I was feeling about going to the hospital - we
didn't even realize it at the time, but I was starting transition here
as I was beginning to vocalize more with each contraction. Knowing I
could use the regular tub even if I couldn't be in the birthing tub yet I
said I was ready to go (my contractions were mostly back contractions
so the warm tub sounded awesome). Nate ate a little bit, the doula helped
us load up the car and said she would call the hospital on our way. I
had a few contractions in the car but they were manageable, that was the
part I was most worried about. We made it to L&D by 8:00.
in and as the nurse is asking me questions, I'm contracting very quickly so
she said, "ok, we need to check your cervix now " So she checks
and then says to me "let me ask you this, where would you like to be?" I
said "I'd love to be a 7 or an 8, but I'm guessing that's not possible"
And she says "I can give you that. You're an 8" I was shocked we had
made it that far in only a few hours. At this point they were now in a
rush to fill the birth tub so it would be ready when I was complete.
It can take up to 45 minutes to fill the tub with a hose alone, but they
started a bucket brigade to get it going faster. According to Nate, I
was smiling through my contractions at this point, guessing it's because
I knew the worst was almost over. They got the tub filled in 25
minutes which was perfect, at that point I made it to 10 with a bulging
bag of water. The doctor came in and asked if she could break my water
because they really want to make sure it is free of meconium before you
get in the birth tub, otherwise I wouldn't be able to deliver in the
tub. The water came out nice and clear and they got me in the tub right
away. I pushed for a hour and a half which really didn't seem bad, the
time in between was very relaxing being in the water and they just let
my body do what it wanted to do in it's own time. Finally Oliver's head
started crowning, they had me reach down and feel because they all kept
saying he had a ton of hair. At first I didn't want to, but I finally
did and it was the motivation I needed, on the next push he was born. I
pulled him out of the water and Nate got to cut the cord after a minute
or so. They had me get out of the tub and let Nate do skin to skin while
they delivered my placenta and stitched me up - I did end up tearing
thanks to my son's 14" head. Otherwise everything could not have been
more perfect - 7 hours start to finish, Nate was amazing through the
entire thing and the hospital staff and my doula were amazing as well,
they kept hanging out with us and thanking us for letting them be a part
of our experience. We kept thanking them as well! We were moved into a recovery room by about midnight and spent the next 48 hours at the hospital before heading home as our little family of 3.
I never thought I'd be able to have a natural birth, but I'm so glad I went for it. I think that one of the reasons Oliver has been nursing so well and has been pretty chill so far is thanks to his gentle birth. I don't think any less of anyone who has used drugs in delivery though - if I hadn't been as far along as I was when I went to the hospital, I think I may have had to do so as well. Overall I just couldn't have asked for a better experience and I'd highly recommend trying a water birth to anyone and I also recommend getting a doula - she wasn't just a support for me, she was a huge help and support to Nate so he could be a good support for me.
Nate went back to work today and I'm sad he had to do so, but so far Oliver and I are managing well on our own! I'm thankful to have six more weeks for my own leave. I'm just going to eat up every minute!