***This is going to be a LONG post***
(I've contemplated posting this whole thing as I have it written vs condensing it down... I just don't know what all to cut out without making it sound like "contractions, labor, baby." If you make it all the way through, ROCK ON with your bad self!!)
** I hope this is semi-coherent as it’s been written in bits and pieces when I have 2 free hands (I’ve not yet mastered 1-handed typing just yet) and a free moment not filled with visitors, sleep, or attempts to eat. **
Wowwee! It’s been a crazy, hectic, and absolutely wonderful 5 days… As the previous post said, we celebrated the arrival of our baby GIRL Emma Parker this past Sunday. But to fully appreciate her birth story, I think I need to start back at Christmas.
Christmas day – I began losing my mucus plug and baby had dropped some already. I was being told by people left and right “Any day now!” When I became unplugged, I started to believe them!
Things were only amplified at my next Ob appt 4 days later when the Dr did an internal check and I was 2cm! When I had checked my self the day prior, it felt like just a tiny gap the size of my fingertip! Woo hoo progress! Any day now! The more frequent Braxton Hick contractions didn’t help either.
We waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. The next week at my 39w appt, things were pretty much status quo. Still just 2cm dilated. 50% effaced and baby was at about +2/+1 station. Things could change at any time, or stay right there for 2 more weeks. It was weird talking with OB nurse practitioner that has been with me from the start. We were looking at possibility of things come 41 and 42w- Induction and the like. I had resigned myself that baby wasn’t in any hurry to come out, and just wanted to play mind games with me. Might as well just go about regular business
We went out for dinners with friends a time or 2 and just had life as normal. No planning on “what if labor this that or the other.” Previously-PG SIL (the baby crazed one) invited us over for dinner. She was making chili, because, wouldn’t you know it, that’s what a friend made for her the day before she went into labor. I wasn’t buying that as a labor starter as I had my own chili the week before, it was spicier than hers, and nothing happened. But hey, a free meal is a free meal and even better that I didn’t have to do anything. Her son had a friend over for the night and they were just cutting jokes left and right! I laughed so much and so hard, my belly was actually sore that night!
On the ride home, I was really uncomfortable. Actually, I was fairly uncomfortable for most of the day. I just thought it was from all the laughing and how I had been sitting at their place as well as just the usual BHs. We headed to bed, life as usual. Except, I couldn’t stay comfortable. I was able to maybe sleep 45min over the next hour and an half. Stupid back ache! And man, I just felt like I needed a good trip to the restroom. Regardless, at 1am, there was no way I was able to go back to bed.
I sat around and surfed the internet, and started noticing a pattern. Backache, tightening around the front, and relax. Hmmm, maybe I should time these? They felt slightly different than the Braxton Hicks I had been having, thanks to the backache. Well, well, well! Wouldn’t you know it; they were about 5-6min apart, 30-45sec long. I continue monitoring them until about 2am, when I return to the bedroom to let the Boy know that I “think I might be in labor.” I told him he could go back to sleep if he wanted as I was just going to keep tracking things for a while. I gave my OB office a call and spoke to the on-call Dr, who notified the hospital that I may be checking in later. Not surprisingly, he wasn’t able to sleep alone with this knowledge for much longer. We played games in the living room as I snacked, hydrated, and worked through the increasing in strength contractions.
I suddenly dawned on me that the contractions were more like 4min apart and lasting at least 1 full minute. Man, did that gotta go feeling get stronger, too! I finally decided at that point we should probably get our things together and head to the hospital! It was getting a bit difficult to carry a convo through them, let alone walk. They didn’t exactly hurt, but just kinda stole my breath and “froze” my midsection. We called the parents and made arrangements for mine to pick up the puppy dogs later in the morning.
A short but long, uncomfortable car ride later, I was changing from my super frumpy pjs to a sheet from the 80’s with some snaps on the shoulders and ties in the back and began the baseline monitoring. Baby’s heart rate was good through the contractions, which they most definitely were and coming about every 3min at this point. Some how in 2 days I went from 2cm and 50% to 5cm dilated and 100% effaced. The baby was fully engaged in the pelvis and my membranes were “bulging.” The boy filled out all the paperwork and remembered to pass along my “Birth Plan” (which was pretty much a list of natural labor related items, as long as baby and I were doing well).
After about 20-30 min of read outs, I was transferred to my labor and delivery room. I was able to keep drinking, walking around (ha!), sit on the birth ball, and use the bathroom as/if needed. At some point, I was actually about to “go” and finally had the show that all the sites are talking about leading up to labor. It only took me to be in active labor and 7-8cm dilated to have what most women have a few days before labor! And yes, I went from 5 to 8cm in 30min. My IV port was put in at 5:10a and blood was drawn for tests that I don’t remember now. The only way I know the time is it was written on the info sticker the nurse put on it after placing.
By this time, the contractions were so strong that I could only try to breathe through them and pat either my own or Boy’s leg until they started to subside. Apparently, I was completely my normal self between contractions though! Along with each of the crazy strong contractions was this equally strong feeling like I had to push. I told the nurse this and we agreed to do a check in a few more minutes.
“So you are at 10cm, fully dilated. This is transition and the hardest part. Try not to push as the Dr isn’t here yet.” Holy Cow! That was a) super fast, b) scary to think the Dr wasn’t at the hospital yet, and c) sounding impossible to NOT push! Heck, the contractions were coming so hard and fast that I wasn’t able to leave the bed after the check! I was informed that I should “breathe out” and “blow” through the pushing urge. Easier said than done! I lost focus on one contraction and pushed just slightly… launching my water “a good 2ft” according to the Boy. Now, the real fun starts!
A stand-in Dr arrives as we are still waiting for mine to arrive. Everything is such a frenzy and blur, but I remember her repeatedly telling me not to push at all until she was scrubbed in! Somehow, I was able to meet that request this time I think it was all due to the coaching from the main nurse and the constant reassurance that I was doing great coming from Hubs. The next bit is a bit vague and furious and all I recall is them removing my soaked gown so I was buck-naked on the bed, being intensely hot to the point of roasting, and my nurse instructing me to grab behind my own knees. I was now allowed to push when the feeling struck me! Hallelujah! Unfortunately, I also screamed, groaned and cried out, regardless of being told to steadily breathe through them. It probably sounded a lot like an exorcism going horribly wrong to anyone outside!
Next thing I know, there is a head, some crazy, unexplainable sensations down there, my Dr arrived, 2-3 pushes and a set of shoulders later there was this wet, sticky, completely perfect baby laying on my chest, crying. My normal, semi-reserved self degenerated into the stereotypical, blubbering, overly-sappy, Hollywood-stylized woman who just gave birth. It was ridiculous. And wonderful. I had never before felt as overwhelmed with emotion as I did at that moment. I laughed. I cried. I trembled uncontrollably. Cried some more. I loved this new little person with every single ounce of my being and fell head over heels in love with my husband, again. Best 5:42am of my life.
I was beyond happy that pretty much all of my birth preferences were met. We didn’t get to have the delayed cord cutting like I would have wanted, but the Boy still did the big snip. I was able to breastfeed right off the bat, and keep her on me for at least 5 minutes. It was a completely natural birth as there was no time for any form of pain meds whether I wanted them or not! Same goes for any episiotomy. To be honest, there was definitely a point where I wanted to just have the epidural as the contractions were pretty hard, long, and painful. I couldn’t imagine holding out and not getting one if my labor had gone on for hours and hours longer. Kudos to any woman that has done so!
There was just one small thing that I keep getting hung up on, looking back. After placing Emma on my chest, they asked if she had a name. I immediately blurted out “Emma Parker.” Not even a second’s pause to perhaps confer with her father on what we were going to call her. Oops! Good thing Emma was our front-runner and she fits the name quite well! It is a derivative of a Germanic word meaning “whole, universal.” With Emma finally here, I can honestly say that my heart does feel more whole. She has pretty much become my whole world in just a few short days (hours really).
So there you have it, my 4.5hrs of labor. My labor bag was useless as I only used the rice sock and only for a little bit. The birth ed classes were almost pointless as when it came down to the wire, all reason and cognition flew right out the window and everything was pretty much overcome with primal and instinctual urges and reactions. My concluding thoughts on the whole birthing ordeal – There is no such thing as the “perfect” or “ideal” birth. At least, from a planning stand point or how it is commonly thought. Whether X, Y, and Z happen or not and things having gone a certain way. Rubbish.
The mother and child come through the labor healthy and together – Now that is the best, most perfect labor and birth possible.