My husband will adamantly tell you this is not exactly how our labor went but it’s my recollection and I’m sticking to it! I wont get too graphic but consider this your warning…I’m talking about birthing a child for goodness sake!
The weeks leading up to the birth of our son, I had been making significant progress with effacing and in dilation. At 38 weeks I was 1 cm dilated and 70% effaced. At 39 weeks I had gotten to 2 cm dilation and over 80% effaced…My OB swept/stripped my membranes for the first time at this appointment. To the surprise of my OB I made it to my 40th week appointment on my due date – 1/30/17. I was almost 3 cm and over 90% effaced. For a first pregnancy this was great…she swept my membranes again and, as I told my husband later, she really got after it this time.
The rest of that day I walked, sat on my birth ball, stretched…you name it – I was excited to get that kid out. A friend of mine came by mid afternoon to visit. While sitting at my kitchen table I was feeling very mild cramping and didn’t think much of it. I started timing them when I realized I was beginning to anticipate their arrival. They were 45 seconds long every 4 minutes. Regularly. Having some episodes of Braxton-Hicks the weeks leading up to this point I grabbed my water and repositioned myself on the couch. After about 30 more minutes of slightly noticeable intensity of the contractions I called the on-call doctor. She advised me to pay attention to them for another hour and if they indeed did not go away to come in for monitoring. She also told me while on the phone that I didn’t sound like I was in labor so it might be nothing…”What is labor suppose to sound like?” I thought to myself.
I called my husband to come home from work around 5:30 pm and we went to the hospital around 7 pm. We shared the elevator up to L&D with a nurse just coming in for her shift. Our conversation went like this:
Nurse: Are you here visiting friends?
Nurse: A tour of the Maternity unit?
Nurse: An induction?
Me: No. I’m in labor…
She looked very puzzled at how this woman could be standing here actively contracting and holding a conversation like nothing is going on. She wished us luck as we stepped out of the elevator probably assuming we’d be sent home. When we walked to the desk to check in the nurse there was the third confirmation of how unusual my labor was presenting itself. “You don’t look like you’re in labor.” She had said…again, I was wondering what does labor look like? Sound like?…I kinda began doubting that what I was feeling was actually it.
We were sent to a monitoring room for a few hours where I was hooked up to the machines that allowed them to “see” my contractions…by 9 pm we were admitted to the hospital but no one explicitly told us this. I was over 5 cm and 100% effaced. We were told to switch rooms and when we were alone I asked my husband “So, we’re not leaving here without a kid?”.
Prior to my third trimester I began visualizing what labor was going to be like. Not necessarily about the pain or sensations I would experience but the atmosphere and energy that would be present while I labored. I often told friends and family that I pictured Jason and I joking, laughing, and generally enjoying the moment as I kept progresssing. And what do you know…that’s exactly what I experienced. We alternated between Pawn Stars and My 600 lb. Life on TV, we Googled where our nurse was from (p.s. It was the same nurse that we had met in the elevator so she was a little shocked to see us admitted!), “doctor Jesus”, and the list of fun and memorable moments goes on and on. My early labor was FUN!!
Around midnight the OB came in to check my progress. She medically broke my water and I was at 8 cm!! I could not believe how quickly everything was going and relatively less painful than I had anticipated. My contractions where definitely stronger and more painful at this point. We also learned that he was “sunny side up” so the OB tried to turn him into correct positioning but he wouldn’t go. I continued to labor and around 2 am I started feeling the need to push. My sweet, sweet nurse tried to hold me off as long as she could but by 3 am I think she had enough of my complaining…The OB came in and I began to push.
Because this was my 1st labor and he was facing the incorrect direction everyone kept telling me that I’d probably have to push longer so to save my energy. At 3:20 the doctor left the room to check on another patient in labor but instructed me to keep pushing. So I did. Only a few pushes later there was panic in the room…His head was out! I was told to refrain from pushing until the OB came back..so I waited…it was the longest minute of my life. I remember it feel like slow motion – almost an out of body experience. Once the OB was back and suited up she wanted me to scoot towards her on the table.
“YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?!?!” With the help of Jason and the entire medical staff they moved my body down the table.
At 3:36 am on 1/31/2017 Noah James was born. 7lbs 1oz. 20.5 inches long. Unmedicated and perfect.
There are parts of his birth story that ignited this desire within me to become an advocate for women in their most vulnerable state. This is why I trained as a doula…someday childbirth won’t be viewed as a ‘medical event’ in a woman’s life, it will be viewed as a spiritual one. Because of this we will all be happier, healthier, and most of all hopeful!