On Sunday night we had a frequent flier trip to L & D. I was still 2 cm and thick and the contractions were fairly short. Got sent home with something to help me sleep, and boy did I ever. I slept from about 6 am until 11 am. Got up, ate food, and then crashed again until 4:00. I’m pretty sure my body knew to be prepared.
Didn’t have contractions Monday afternoon and had a few in the evening while we watched Gossip Girl and Heroes. Around 10:00 they picked up but I decided to be zen so I didn’t time them. From Sunday on I’d been having very pale bloody show, and I’d lost my mucous plug some time Monday afternoon so I figured it was going to be time soon. Chipmunk spent the night at my parents’ house.
By 11:30 I was on the couch writhing quietly through contractions in a goofy nest of pillows and blankets. Eventually I got George’s iPod out and started timing them with his AWESOME CONTRACTION APP. Dude seriously, pregnant people, get the app. It’s the coolest 99 cents you’ll ever spend on a one-time-use product.
Around midnight or so I had George run me a bath and make me some toast. Shaved my legs and my ladybits. Ate four pieces of toast in the bath while reading my mom’s copy of Self magazine, then got out and got into pajamas and crawled back onto the couch. George went to bed.
By 3:30 am I hadn’t slept and the contractions were pretty intense. They also went instantly from 7 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart. My doula had warned me to go to the hospital closer to 10 minutes apart because I’d go quickly so I hobbled to the bedroom and woke George up.
Luckily we were more prepared this time due to the frequent flier trip. By the time we were driving I was breathing/moaning through contractions. I had him drop me off at the ER so we could take a wheelchair up.
Still—once we hit assessment I was half-sure we would be sent home. I knew I had to be four centimeters and that seemed like a lot since I’d only been two the night before. The nurse checked me while I tried not to kick her through a contraction, and she announced that we were a four and were being admitted.
I high-fived George and grinned for a second and then realized a. holy shit we’re not leaving without a baby and b. dude this hurts.
The nurse had me walk to my room, and as we passed the nurse’s station I had a strong contraction and had to stand there clinging on George and wondering crankily why the hell I didn’t get a wheelchair.
Things seemed to go from excitement to focused holyshit-ness very quickly. They got me on my IV antibiotics, I got settled, we called the doula at 5 am, and I dreaded every contraction as they came with shocking regularity. (Honestly it was amazing and unbelievable to me that my body was doing this on its own. Chipmunk came via pitocin.)
The nurse offered to check and I declined, but after a few minutes she insisted and I was a SIX. SIX CENTIMETERS. Man. The doula wasn’t even there yet. It was about 6 am at that point and we’d checked in at 4:30 am. The nurse wouldn’t let me in the shower and I kept asking when my awesome midwife lady would be on. (Soon. Soon.)
She let me get on the ball and I bounced gently on it between contractions. That felt very good. But nothing was making the contractions hurt less and I had a hard time sitting up through them without thrashing.
By 7 am I was giving up. The Today Show was on, the room was too bright, George couldn’t leave me alone to get our music and stuff, and it hurt. A lot. I couldn’t imagine pushing. The fear was getting to me.
But everything turned around when the shift changed and my doula walked in. Our new nurse heard I wanted to shower and walked right in there and got it turned on. I could hear the rushing water and it filled me with hope. She let me stay off the monitors completely for well over half an hour while I stood buck ass naked in the shower through contractions and my doula sprayed hot water on my butt. Between contractions I sat on a birthing ball and sprayed my tummy. This part was amazing. I felt animalistic. Strong.
Then I got dizzy, had a particularly excruciating contraction on the toilet, and headed back to the bed asking for my epidural. I knew it would take at least 45 minutes to get enough saline in me so I figured I’d leave it in fate’s hands. And I wanted to know I had a choice. I needed a choice to keep from panicking.
Around then my midwife arrived, and being AWESOME, she stayed the entire time after that. She was honest with me that an epidural would hinder pushing and she strongly encouraged me to get on my side through the contractions. She didn’t discourage me or try to sway me one way or another other than asking me to lay on my side and not my back.
The nurse checked me again, and as she said “eight centimeters” I said “oh shit!” and she said “oh there’s your water.”
Eight centimeters. Water broken. Yikes. Transitional labor was the whole part I’d hoped to avoid with the epi.
I actually said, between contractions, “I guess I’m SOL on the epidural, huh?
My midwife said I could still have the epi but I knew deep down I was very close and could possibly maybe do it if I was crazy enough.
At that point I was curled on my side clutching the bed rail making insane crazy loud screaming/moaning noises through the contractions. They were earth-shattering. I can’t even describe the pain level. I felt hot and strange but was mostly able to focus between them. I made the mistake of glancing at the monitor and I could see that the little mountains they made were three times higher than the ones they’d been making when we’d arrived. Ow.
I kept looking for the epidural guy. He was nowhere to be found. Some dude walked in (George says it was the epidural guy) and I just wanted to growl at him for intruding.
My doula brought me a very cold washcloth and I snatched it out of her hands and rubbed it really hard all over my face. For some reason this moment stands out very strongly. I don’t usually act like that much of a nutbar bitch. Also, it felt so good for that split second.
While I was curled on my side, I started to feel pressure. Sort of like I needed to take the biggest shit on the planet. And the shit wasn’t taking no for an answer.
I started screaming things like “I NEED TO PUSH LET ME PUSH LET ME PUSH PLEASE I CAN’T DO THIS LET ME PUSH” and the ladies reminded me to breathe for the baby. (This incentive works well.)
They let me bear down a little through contractions and that felt extremely satisfying, but it got to the point where I HAD TO PUSH. I could feel the pressure and a hot gush with each contraction.
My midwife let me roll over to be checked and said there was a small lip. She asked me to push lightly and after the next contraction she said, “okay, you’re a ten, let’s go.”
I expected the room to get broken down and all the crazy lights to come up. With Chipmunk, pushing was a huge group affair and felt very clinical.
This time, she had George wash his hands and sit at the foot of the bed. She sat beside him. The nurse and my doula held my legs gently (not like up at my ears.)
I was thinking “oh shit oh shit, that ring of fire thing, oh crap, the epidural is not happening but a baby is omg omg omg” etc.
Thankfully they guided me really well on the pushing part. Mostly “HOLD YOUR BREATH TUCK YOUR CHIN” which was all I really needed to know. I’d hold my breath and bear down as hard as I could.
Someone: “You can feel the head, honey, feel for him.”
Me: “NO I WANT TO PUSH.”
Mostly I kept my eyes closed, but I do remember looking up long enough to see George there watching my crotch and looking absolutely thrilled and adorable and excited. Nothing helped more than that right then. I wanted to get that baby out for us and I was so glad he looked calm and happy despite how I was holding up.
Kept pushing. I’d scream as I caught my breath between pushes, and somehow I managed to hang on and wait to push at the right time. It felt like my midwife was taking a blowtorch or two to my vagina. Some part of me knew what to do.
I knew when the Big Push was happening and I put my all into it, pushing for the relief more than anything else. I felt his head go, then they had me push gently and I felt his shoulders go—one and then the other, and then George caught the baby and placed him on my chest.
I only remember continuing to make crazy noises while repeating “Oh, it’s a baby! It’s a baby! Baby! It’s a baby! Oh, baby!” It was 8:36 am. I was born at 8:36 am on a Tuesday morning too. (Found out later.)
The hospital allowed me to do skin to skin kangaroo care for more than half an hour. I am unbelievably grateful for that opportunity to bond with my little man. (He latched on within minutes of birth.)
I’ll spare everyone the rest of the story, which involves my sister showing up and going “Oh wow the baby’s here,” followed by several unsuccessful shots of lidocaine and some stitches without pain medication and my midwife saying “now I really wish you’d gotten the epidural.”
Because really? I had an ideal, beautiful birth. It went JUST how I wanted and ended with a perfect baby boy with a head full of hair. My recovery is going really well and we only spent one night in the hospital.
My husband called me Rambo. And I couldn’t be prouder.