If you were to tell me that I would go PAST my due date I would have laughed and confidently bet against you that I wouldn’t. I was extremely confident that I would go into labor 2 weeks early, just as my Mom, Aunt, and Grandmother all had with ALL of their children. I kid you not. No child born on my mothers side of the family made it to their due date. Well, that was not going to be my story. Week 37, 38, 39, and 40 came – no baby. At my 40 week appointment I wasn’t even a bit dilated and my cervix was in the posterior position, meaning tucked back behind babies head. There would be no baby anytime soon. I left the office, walked to my car and cried. My body was extremely uncomfortable at this point, I was taking at least 3-4 baths a day because it was the only time my entire body wasn’t throbbing, I was exhausted from not sleeping, my chest was on fire, and I was done. I was done being pregnant.
The next 5 days were pretty rough, I tried to keep myself distracted, but was fearful to go places alone as I thought “my water is going to break any minute, I just know it!”. For the next 5 days I read, needlepointed, painted my nails, watched Netflix, bounced on my ball and tried all the old wives tales of inducing labor… yes even sex. Still nothing.
On Monday May 24 I woke up doubled over in cramps and I (TMI) passed a small blood clot. After searching online at what a “mucus plug” was I determined this was not the same thing and called my doctor. Once there I got checked out, a non-stress test, and was told I was not in labor yet. I had an appointment scheduled for the following morning for an ultrasound, another stress test, and to start discussing induction options. Again I went home and continued to let the clock tick.
Later that night…
After my 4th bath of the day I started to feel a bit crampy. I did not get too excited as this had been occurring for the past few weeks and always went away after an hour or so.
11pm – Around 11pm these cramps were consistently 10 minutes apart so I woke Justin up and told him I thought I was in labor. I started to track them and he called his mom and sister to come pick up the dogs – just in case. Justin started to rush around the house to gather last minute items, take a shower, and pack our car. Little did we know the long night we had ahead of us…
2am – My contractions started to progress and by 2am they were lasting approximately 1 minute and 5 – 7 minutes apart, so I called the on call OB to check in. She told me I was definitely in labor, but not progressed enough to come in to the hospital. I was shocked… my whole pregnancy I was told to follow the 5-1-1 rule. Contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for 1 hour. I was shocked when she told me she wanted them 4 minutes apart. She wanted me to labor at home. “Take some Benedyl and take a bath” she told me “Go to your morning appointment and they will assess you then.” So… for the next 6 hours I labored at home… it was awful. Between contractions I was either throwing up or trying to power nap.
Justin sat with me through the night helping me track my contractions. I was most comfortable being on the floor on all fours or leaning against my ball. My contractions never got to the 4 minute mark and I waited for the morning to come so we could head into the office.
7:30am – I called my doctors office. I had been counting down since my 2am phone call with the on-call OB for the office to open. I had described my night to them, where I was with my contractions and they invited me to come in right away. That was not the answer I wanted. I wanted them to tell me to go to the hospital, that the baby was coming any minute… again no. So Justin and I drove the 15 minutes down the road to the office. Sitting in a car while actively contracting every 5 minutes = misery. Would not recommend.
*I really hope you weren’t hoping to read this and find out I gave birth on a cloud with angels singing, that’s not this story… but I promise you its not awful, but I did push a human out of my body… so theres that.*
8am – I most definitely scared a young happy newly pregnant couple in the waiting room at my OB’s office. I looked haggard from laboring all night, could barely walk, and most definitely moaned and groaned a bit too loud during my office visit. I did another non-stress test and got checked. Good news I was 3 cm dilated… but guess what they wanted me to go back home and labor some more. Again, I was told to take a Benedryl and get in the bath for a bit. Tears in my eyes I nodded my head. I felt like I kept running towards the finish line and just when I was about to approach it, it was moved farther away.
Justin and I walked to the car, discussing our game plan for the rest of the day when my phone rang. It was my doctor. She had looked over my non-stress test and it appeared that there were some dips in baby’s heart rate during some of my contractions and she would feel more comfortable if I headed to the hospital now and have them assess me there. There was a chance they wouldn’t admit me, but at least I was going to get checked out.
9:30am – Justin and I checked into labor and delivery and I got assessed. Another non-stress test… I was getting good at these and I got checked out again – 4cm. Woo! Things were moving along. Then I heard what I had been waiting to hear for hours “you’re admitted”. Fear, excitement, joy, and panic were just a few of the emotions I was experiencing.
11am – Justin and I were in our labor room. The size of a shoebox, definitely not as glamours as described to me when I did my virtual maternity ward tour… I had a sweet nurse named Cara who was calming and friendly. She shared how this was her 3rd baby girl birth of the day and she helped make Justin and I feel comfortable. The next two hours I labored in our room. I told myself I would allow myself to ask for an epidural when I was 5 cm dilated. There is no rule as to when you can get an epidural, but I was still trying to “be strong” during my labor. Around 1pm I remembered that there was no trophy or pony I’d get at the end of all this for not getting an epidural so I looked at Justin and told him to call the nurse. I needed some drugs.
1pm – 3 new friendly faces walked into the room an Anesthesiologist, a resident, and a medical student. Come one come all I said, lets get this going. I make jokes when I’m nervous. Cara helped me to the edge of the bed, told me not to look at the needle and to curl into her. I asked her if I could hold on to Justin but she said for the procedure she had to make sure I stayed still. I started to get upset and cried a bit about how I was nervous that I would flinch and paralyze my whole body. The Anesthesiologist laughed and told me that was not even a possibility. They numbed my back and then stuck in the needle and the tube. I promise you, it did not hurt. It felt strange and cold and uncomfortable, but at that point I was in such pain from the pressure the odd sensation in my back was nothing. In the beginning they told me the procedure could take anywhere between 5-20 minutes depending on how easy it was to place the needle and tube. My procedure was done in 10! It was fantastic. I was feeling great, I did not need a catheter as I had suspected, instead Cara got the joy of coming in every 4 hours to empty my bladder for me… lucky her.
The gave me a small bit of Pitocin to keep my labor moving with the epidural.
Then ensued the greatest nap of my life.
5pm – I was 7cm dilated – the epidural and nap worked! Most people fear that getting an epidural too early might delay or slow down labor. In my case if helped! My body was no longer tense, I was able to relax and let me body do what it needed to do. I started to get jazzed that my lil babe was coming soon. At this point, I started to become more uncomfortable and feeling more pressure. The nurses suggested that the Anesthesiologist come back to give me a fast acting dose of some drug that I cannot remember at this time! This is was just to help me along until I was fully dilated. This made my legs go numb. Another weird feeling.
6pm – I thought my water broke, but instead I had lost my mucus plug. I was getting further along and my doctor decided to break my water to really get things going… and boy did it pick up from there.
6:30pm – I had to say goodbye to Cara and hello to our new nurse… Unfortunately, this new nurse did not get epidural bliss Amy, she got active labor Amy… and by 6:30 I was given the ok to start pushing – it was baby time!
I pushed from 6:30pm till she was born at 9:13pm. The epidural was super helpful, but I could definitely feel pressure. I never understood before when moms said that I would feel the need to keep pushing and not stop. I started by pushing at each contraction that were a few minutes apart, then they became rapid one after another. Just at the end I started to panic and felt like I “couldn’t do it”, and went into a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t breath. I looked Justin in the eye and told him to kill me. I even asked the nurse to knock me out. I was very pleasant. I later identified this as the “transition” part of labor. Our nurse tried comforting me with small hand cloth towel to cool me and Justin fed me ice chips in between contractions. But I was in a full panic attack mode and honestly needed to be slapped. Justin was smart enough to go into the bathroom grab a large shower towel, soak it in cold water, then put it on top of me covering my entire body. It was the equivalent of someone dumping a bucket on me and I needed it.
A few moments later my midwife and doctor had left the room to check on a few other patients on the ward. As night was approaching the maternity ward started to get busy with lots of moms to be coming in. However, my sweet girl decided now was time. She was coming and there was no stopping her. Our nurse paged everyone back to room and it felt like eternity. I could see her getting a bit nervous as she hit the button repeatedly and asked me to hold off on pushing. I couldn’t. Suddenly our room was full and someone asked if anyone had gloves on… our gal arrived at 9:13 with a full head of hair. Justin cut the cord and she was placed on my chest. It was pure magic. I looked at Justin confused as to how I managed to grow and birth a whole human. She was perfect.
I had minor tearing which was mainly internal. Recovery has been fast and easy (writing this 3 weeks PP)!
The next few hours were a blur… We settled into our recovery room around 11pm and by 1am she was taken from us for monitoring in the NICU which turned into a longer stay then we would have liked. Around 4am I had multiple people in our room explaining to me why she needed to stay in the NICU for observation. I was exhausted and a bit delirious. Her blood sugar was low and and after minimal intervention still remained low which resulted in her having to get an IV to help help stabilize her blood sugar. The next couple days were exhausting. Getting discharged and leaving the hospital without our baby was the hardest thing. Watching other families with their new babies, brining home the suitcase of untouched swaddles and clothes I had packed for her… This is something I am still working through and will talk about more at a later time. I had pictured my labor and recovery (honestly my entire pregnancy) to be different. I’m working on being ok with changing plans and expectations of experiences.
Eloise came home with us after the scariest 4 days for Justin and I and we’ve never been happier.