If you don’t want the full details, don’t read this. It has grossness and a few choice words (although if I included all the cussing I did, there’d be a lot more)…
From my iPhone:
2:30a – water breaks
3:19a – contraction? Slow and steady peaking menstrual cramp
3:29a – contraction
3:51a – contraction. Lower back hurt a little more on that one.
4:01a – contraction. Low and longer, but mild. Less than last time.
4:09a – contraction. More than last time.
4:16a- contraction. Intense. More back pain, more pain than last one.
4:25a – low and slow. Less than last time, back pain.
4:29a – more than last time, but short.
4:38a – more than last time. Back pain.
4:46a – more than last time. Back pain.
4:52a – about the same as last time. Back pain.
4:58a – about the same as last time. Back pain.
5:03a – BM (cleaning house? Haha!). Girl is still moving around. Kind of annoying actually. Wish she’d stay put.
5:09a – about the same as last time. Back pain. Dry mouth, starting to feel a little nauseous.
5:25a – about the same as last time, short. Back pain.
5:32a – about the same as last time. Back pain.
5:37a – worse than last time. Back pain.
5:45a – same as last time. Back pain, mild menstrual feeling. Starting to feel sweaty.
5:58a – less than last time. Back pain better-used heating pad, mild menstrual feeling.
6:30a – missed writing in 2 contractions. Threw up with one of them.
I fear that I’ve waited too long to write this. Abby is 3 weeks old as of yesterday, and I’ve gotten to the point that I feel like I could do it again despite the pain.
I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (oh, the joys of pregnancy). On the way back to the bedroom, I felt what I thought was me going to the bathroom again. I quickly realized that was not the case, as it kept coming and I had just emptied my bladder. I went back to the bathroom and put on one of the pads that I had bought for postpartum bleeding.
I went into the bedroom and Ian was stirring, so I told him “Uh, Ian… I think my water just broke.” This of course caused him to fly into action. “Are you sure?”… “Um, yeah.”… “Are you having any contractions?”… “Um, no.” We weren’t really sure what to do. I vaguely remembered the doctor saying that if I went into labor in the middle of the night, unless the contractions were coming hard and fast, she didn’t need to know and it could wait until the morning.
Ian left to call the doctor, and I decided that now would be a good time to pack my overnight bag (which I had procrastinated in packing… because I’m a first time mom… why would I be early?) and changed into clothes that I planned on spending my anticipated long labor in.
Ian left a voicemail for the on-call nurse and came back upstairs. By then, I had finished calmly packing my bag and decided to go back to sleep. Something I had read said if I went into labor in the middle of the night, get as much sleep as you can because you would need it later… and since I wasn’t having contractions, that sounded like a fine idea.
At 3:20am, I had my first one. After a couple, I started keeping track to see how far apart they were. Around 4 am, Ian asked if I was texting people or if I was having contractions. I told him I was having contractions, but I didn’t need him yet for support. When I did, I would let him know. Around 5am, I started feeling sick and my back was starting to hurt, so I decided to go downstairs and use the heating pad.
Things sped up very quickly after that. On the baby boards, you hear about people vomiting during “transition”… which is what I started doing. At 6:18am, I sent a text to Ian: “I might need you here in the next 15-20 mins” and one to family at 6:40 that my water had broken and that we were heading to the hospital. Somewhere in there I called a left voicemails for work too… I was still working full time.
I was on all fours by this time and I stopped tracking the contractions… I just wasn’t able to any more. Ian got the stuff in the car and off we went.
I don’t really remember the drive into the city. I know that we stopped by Ari and Pam’s place to pick up the good camera. It’s about 25 miles to the hospital and we hit a little bit of traffic (thank goodness traffic was headed in the opposite direction). I have flashes of the trip in… Issaquah, Bellevue, Mercer Island, the exit into the city… it actually went very fast – I was otherwise preoccupied. At some point when we were nearing the hospital, Ian asked how far the contractions were. I said I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t tracking them at that point. “Have you had more than 4?”… “Yes.”
We got into the city and took a while trying to figure out where we were going. It was about 7:45 or 8 am and we couldn’t remember when the ER opened or whether to park and then find the labor and delivery ward. Ian pulled into the ER bay and ran inside to grab a nurse. She came out with a wheelchair and Ian went to go park the car. I was taken to triage so they could assess if I was actually ready to go to labor and delivery. When the nurse (or doctor – I’m not sure) checked to see how dilated I was (which is excruciating, by the way – there may have been some screaming involved – and nail marks in Ian’s hand), she looked at me and said “Well no wonder you’re in pain. You’re fully dilated.”
I looked at Ian. “What?!” The nurse then asked me what my birth plans were. I hesitated. I was in so much pain that I honestly considered an epidural. I couldn’t even say what I wanted. Ian spoke up for me (SO glad that he was there and on board with my decision). “The plan was to go natural?” he asked with raised eyebrows. I nodded.
I was wheeled up to L&D, prepped, and then began to push. For two and half hours. This is where it gets a little blurry and repetitive. In between pushing, they had me rolling to my side to keep the pressure off my back. I was really, REALLY hot and asked for a fan (we’d left the one we brought in the car). Ian and the nurses kept trying to get me to drink water to stay hydrated, and I didn’t want to because I was worried it would make me sick. That the pushing was every 30 seconds to a minute with not much respite in between.
After about two hours, the on-call OB and my doctor started going over options (who had only recently gotten there due to rush hour traffic and mixed messages from the hospital). The baby was presenting in the occiput posterior (OP) position – also called “sunny side up” – which is a misnomer if I ever heard one. This presents a bit of a challenging delivery. My face was getting swollen from the pressure of pushing and I was getting tired as was the baby. At this point, the options were to have a vacuum assisted birth or a c-section. The doctors both said that they were sure that I could do it with a vacuum assisted, so we chose that since I wanted to avoid a c-section unless absolutely necessary. They did warn us that there could be some injury to the girl, but that it was slim. I trust my doctor, so I knew she wouldn’t offer that option if it wasn’t mostly safe – and she knew what was in my birth plan and I trust her to follow it to the best of her ability.
The bottom part of the bed was removed to allow better access to my “undercarriage”, and we proceeded with the birth. After a few pushes with the equipment, it was clear that there would need to be a little more room made to help the baby out. I was given an episiotomy (I think they mentioned something about a local anesthetic, but it sure as heck didn’t feel like it – and by the way, those are not small cuts). Between all the pushing and the episiotomy, there was a whole lot of yelling and screaming (yes, I ended up being that women who you can hear down the hallway in labor… lots of cussing too… but only in the last hour or so when it was getting pretty bad). With a few final pushes, we got the girl out in one piece and without any drugs!
There are details that I’m sure I’m missing, but the memory has faded fast. Moral of the story is I got the birth I wanted (but not what I expected), and I and the little girl are healthy with no complications, and have healed beautifully.